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Theology => Prophecy - Current Events => Topic started by: Shammu on September 28, 2007, 12:29:26 AM



Title: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on September 28, 2007, 12:29:26 AM
Russia promises retaliation if weapons deployed in space
14:17    |    27/ 09/ 2007

MOSCOW, September 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is ready to take appropriate measures if weapons are deployed in space, the commander of the Russian Space Forces said Thursday.

"Should any country deploy weapons in space, then the laws of armed warfare are such that retaliatory weapons are certain to appear," Col. Gen. Vladimir Popovkin said.

He said Russia and China have drafted an international declaration on the non-deployment of weapons in space and sent it to the UN.

"It is necessary to establish the rules of the game in space," he said, adding that the deployment of weapons in space could have unpredictable consequences, since such weapons are "very complex systems."

"A sizable war could break out," the commander said.

He said space must not be the sphere of interests of any one country.

"We do not want to fight in space, and we do not want to call the shots there either, but we will not permit any other country to do so," he said.

Popovkin also said that Russia has an integrated missile attack warning system, covering the country's entire territory.

Russia promises retaliation if weapons deployed in space (http://en.rian.ru/russia/20070927/81302492.html)


Title: Re: Russia in the news..........
Post by: Shammu on October 02, 2007, 08:49:30 PM
Russia sent technicians to Syria
JPost.com Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST    Oct. 2, 2007

Russia has sent technicians to upgrade Syria's air defense system, The Times reported Tuesday morning.

The British newspaper said that Moscow sent the team after Israel managed to foil Syria's air defenses using stealth technology, allowing Israeli jets to remain invisible during an IAF strike on September 6.

Foreign reports that have surfaced since the incident indicated that Israeli jets assisted by a unit of special operations ground troops bombed and totally destroyed a strategic site in eastern Syria built with North Korean help.

According to the Times report, the Israeli Air Force used a sophisticated electronic warfare system operated by F-15I jets and a fleet of specialist electronic warfare aircraft over the Mediterranean during the attack on a suspected nuclear facility near Dayr az-Zawr. They transmitted signals that jammed the Russian-made radar and the Syrian army's communications.

Syria has been veering from condemnation to denial since the alleged attack, and in the past few days has stuck to a strong denial of any nuclear activity and claimed that the IAF attack was aimed at a civilian agricultural research center.

The top-secret system used by Israel, the paper claimed, was being used for the first time. It is believed to have been designed in readiness for a possible attack on Iran's nuclear sites.

Russia sent technicians to Syria (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1191257209652&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter)


Title: Re: Russia in the news..........
Post by: Shammu on October 02, 2007, 08:57:52 PM
Quote
Israeli Air Force used a sophisticated electronic warfare system operated by F-15I jets and a fleet of specialist electronic warfare aircraft over the Mediterranean during the attack on a suspected nuclear facility near Dayr az-Zawr. They transmitted signals that jammed the Russian-made radar and the Syrian army's communications.

This is the same super advanced system that they sold the Iranians. The problem for the Russians is this..... American and Israeli air strike happened and they were invisible to the system. This means Iran is defenseless against air strikes!! :D

There is a BIG panic going on right now in Syria and Iran. They are both facing war with an enemy who can side step their defense systems, and its too late to back out.

As this story unfolds, it gets worse and worse......

1) Ground forces walk into a sensitive military base, and make off with sensitive material undetected.

2) The air strike totally wipes out a top secret military site and Syria only find out about it afterwards (not even during the strike!).
2A) Shortly afterwards Syria had the chemical weapon accident killing Syrian and Iranian technicians... a foiled retaliation??

3) This is what jumps out at me.... The day before (Sept 5th) is the day we heard about nukes loaded on board an airborne B52 by accident... Really? Or was that a message to the Russians to stay out?

What was out there in the desert is just rumor for now... but I think it was nuclear material. It looks like chemical weapons were going to be fired at Israel in retaliation and the war was going to start.


Title: Re: Russia in the news..........
Post by: Shammu on October 02, 2007, 09:19:01 PM
October 2, 2007
Vladimir Putin proposes job swap at top to tighten his grip on power

Tony Halpin, Moscow Correspondent

President Putin unveiled his plan yesterday for holding on to power indefinitely with a bombshell announcement that he will run for parliament.

Mr Putin said that he would head the electoral list for the United Russia party in December’s parliamentary elections, adding that it was “entirely realistic” that he would go on to become prime minister.

The decision solves the Kremlin’s “succession problem”, paving the way for a weak figurehead to replace Mr Putin as president next March while he continues to govern Russia as a powerful prime minister.

It also raises the likelihood that Viktor Zubkov, who was plucked from obscurity by Mr Putin to become Prime Minister last month, will be endorsed as his successor in the Kremlin.

Mr Putin, 56, is barred by the Constitution from seeking a third consecutive term. But there is nothing to stop him taking charge as prime minister for four years before returning for two more terms as president.

Mr Zubkov, who is 66, expressed an interest in standing for the presidency shortly after his appointment. His age and loyalty to Mr Putin would make him an ideal stop-gap candidate.

Any sudden illness that forced him to retire from the presidency would even allow Mr Putin to return to the Kremlin in an early election.

The manoeuvre dashes the ambitions of senior politicians seen as successors. In particular, it leaves Sergei Ivanov and Dmitry Medvedev, the two first deputy prime ministers, with no prospect of attaining the presidency unless they ran against Mr Putin’s nominated candidate.

Neither man is likely to opt for such a high-risk strategy. The anti-Putin opposition in The Other Russia, the coalition movement of the chess champion Garry Kasparov, has been banking on tensions to encourage a breakaway candidate.

Mr Putin’s announcement was clearly stage-managed but brought wild cheering at United Russia’s party congress. Asked to comment on a suggestion that he should head the party’s electoral list, he replied: “I gratefully accept your proposal.”

Mr Putin said that he was ready to lead the Government, but added: “It is still too early to think about it.” He continued: “Two conditions must be met first — United Russia must win the election and a decent, capable and modern person with whom I work as a team should be elected as president.”

Neither of those conditions is much of an obstacle. Mr Putin’s popularity almost ensures that United Russia will retain its two-thirds majority in the Duma, Russia’s parliament.

Whoever he endorses for president is equally certain of success in a campaign tightly controlled by the Kremlin, and with a pliant media.

Mr Putin is not obliged to take a seat in parliament under Russia’s electoral system. But analysts said that his decision to enter the race signalled a fundamental shift in the way Russia would be governed. They predicted that Russian politics would evolve into a system of parliamentary government with competing parties.

A White House spokesman said that Mr Putin’s decision was “ultimately a matter for the people of Russia”.

Financial markets reacted positively, believing Mr Putin had removed uncertainty surrounding the succession.

Vladimir Putin proposes job swap at top to tighten his grip on power (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article2569064.ece)


Title: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 11, 2007, 02:55:32 PM
Turks Angry Over House Armenian Genocide Vote

Published: October 12, 2007

ISTANBUL, Oct. 11 — Turkey reacted angrily today to a House committee vote in Washington on Wednesday that condemned the mass killings of Armenians in Turkey during World War I as an act of genocide, calling the decision “unacceptable.”

In a rare and uncharacteristically strong condemnation, President Abdullah Gul criticized the vote by the House Foreign Relations Committee and warned that the decision could work against the United States.

“Unfortunately, some politicians in the United States have once more dismissed calls for common sense, and made an attempt to sacrifice big issues for minor domestic political games,” Mr. Gul said in a statement to the semi-official Anatolian News Agency. “This is not a type of attitude that works to the benefit of, and suits, representatives of a great power like the Unites States of America. This unacceptable decision of the committee, like similar ones in the past, has no validity and is not worthy of the respect of the Turkish people.”

The House decision prompted reaction on the streets of Turkey’s capital, Ankara, where the youth branch of the extreme leftist Workers’ Party laid a black wreath at the entrance to the United States Embassy and spray-painted the Turkish flag onto an Embassy wall. The group held Turkish flags, posters of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, and banners reading, “Armenian genocide is an imperialistic lie,” the Anatolian News Agency reported. The protesters called for the closing of the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, which American troops use to supply the military in central Iraq. “The U.S. once more showed that it is not our strategic ally but an enemy,” the Workers’ Party branch said in a statement.

The Associated Press reported that Turkey today recalled its ambassador in Washington, Nabi Sensoy, for consultations about the issue. A Foreign Ministry spokesman, Levent Bilman, said the ambassador would stay in Turkey for about a week to 10 days. Ross Wilson, the American ambassador, tried to calm relations, issuing a statement today in which he said the partnership between Turkey and the United States was strong and would remain so and that he, President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice regretted the committee decision. Ms. Rice was expected to talk by telephone to Mr. Gul and the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, later today, a State Department spokesman said.

Nevertheless, the Turkish Foreign Ministry warned that relations with the United States will be made more complicated. “The committee’s approval of this resolution was an irresponsible move which, at a greatly sensitive time, will make relations with a friend and ally” more difficult, the Anatolian News Agency quoted a Foreign Ministry statement as saying.

The Associated Press reported that the Armenian president, Robert Kocharian, today welcomed the resolution but also urged Turkey to join in talks with Armenia to restore bilateral relations.

The House decision rebuffed an intense campaign by the White House and earlier warnings from Turkey’s government that the vote would gravely strain its relations with the United States.

The vote was nonbinding and so largely symbolic, but its consequences could reach far beyond bilateral relations and spill into the war in Iraq.

Turkish officials and lawmakers warned that if the resolution was approved by the full House, they would reconsider supporting the American war effort, which includes permission to ship essential supplies through Turkey and northern Iraq.

Mr. Erdogan, speaking on CNN Turk television station on Wednesday, refused to say immediately what effect the resolution might have on the Incirlik base, a major transit station for American troops in Iraq.

Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, said today that a vote could be put to the full House in the next few weeks, and in any case before the end of the current session on Nov. 16.

Before the Wednesday vote, President Bush appeared on the South Lawn of the White House and implored the House not to take up the issue, only to have a majority of the committee disregard his warning at the end of the day, by a vote of 27 to 21.

“We all deeply regret the tragic suffering of the Armenian people that began in 1915,” Mr. Bush said in remarks that, reflecting official American policy, carefully avoided the use of the word genocide. “This resolution is not the right response to these historic mass killings, and its passage would do great harm to our relations with a key ally in NATO and in the global war on terror.”

A total of 1.5 million Armenians were killed beginning in 1915 in a systematic campaign by the fraying Ottoman Empire to drive Armenians out of eastern Turkey. Turks acknowledge that hundreds of thousands of Armenians died but contend that the deaths, along with thousands of others, resulted from the war that ended with the creation of modern Turkey in 1923.

The House resolution was introduced early in the current session of Congress and has quietly moved forward over the last few weeks. But it provoked a fierce lobbying fight that pitted the politically influential Armenian-American population against the Turkish government, which hired equally influential former lawmakers like Robert L. Livingston, Republican of Louisiana, and Richard A. Gephardt, the former Democratic House majority leader, who backed a similar resolution when he was in Congress.

Backers of the resolution said Congressional action was overdue.

“Despite President George Bush twisting arms and making deals, justice prevailed,” said Representative Brad Sherman, a Democrat of California and a sponsor of the resolution. ”For if we hope to stop future genocides we need to admit to those horrific acts of the past.”

The issue of the Armenian genocide has perennially transfixed Congress and bedeviled presidents of both parties. Ronald Reagan was the only president publicly to call the killings genocide, but his successors have avoided the term.

cont's next post


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 11, 2007, 02:56:04 PM
When the issue last arose, in 2000, a similar resolution also won approval by a House committee, but President Clinton then succeeded in persuading a Republican speaker, J. Dennis Hastert, to withdraw the measure before the full House could vote. That time, too, Turkey had warned of canceling arms deals and withdrawing support for American air forces then patrolling northern Iraq under the auspices of the United Nations.

The new speaker, Nancy Pelosi, faced pressure from Democrats — especially colleagues in California, New Jersey and Michigan, with their large Armenian populations — to revive the resolution again after her party gained control of the House and Senate this year.

There is Democratic support for the resolution in the Senate, but it is unlikely to move in the months ahead because of Republican opposition and a shortage of time. Still, the Turkish government has made it clear that it would regard House passage alone as a harsh American indictment.

The sharply worded Turkish warnings against the resolution, especially the threats to cut off support for the American war in Iraq, seemed to embolden some of the resolution’s supporters. “If they use this to destabilize our solders in Iraq, well, then shame on them,” said Representative Joseph Crowley, a Democrat from New York who voted for it.

The Democratic leadership, however, appeared divided. Representative Rahm Emanuel, the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House, who worked in the Clinton White House when the issue came up in 2000, opposes the resolution.

In what appeared to be an effort to temper the anger caused by the issue, Democrats said they were considering a parallel resolution that would praise Turkey’s close relations with the United States even as the full House prepares to consider a resolution that blames the forerunner of modern Turkey for one of the worst crimes in history.

“Neither of these resolutions is necessary,” a White House spokesman, Gordon D. Johndroe, said Wednesday evening. He said that Mr. Bush was “very disappointed” with the vote.

Mr. Bush discussed the resolution in the White House on Wednesday with his senior national security aides. Speaking by secure video from Baghdad, the senior American officials in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, raised the resolution and warned that its passage could harm the war effort in Iraq, senior Bush aides said.

Appearing outside the West Wing after that meeting, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates noted that about 70 percent of all air cargo sent to Iraq passed through or came from Turkey, as did 30 percent of fuel and virtually all the new armored vehicles designed to withstand mines and bombs.

“They believe clearly that access to airfields and to the roads and so on in Turkey would be very much put at risk if this resolution passes and the Turks react as strongly as we believe they will,” Mr. Gates said, referring to the remarks of General Petraeus and Mr. Crocker.

Turkey severed military ties with France after its Parliament voted in 2006 to make the denial of the Armenian genocide a crime.

As the committee prepared to vote Wednesday, Mr. Bush, the American ambassador to Turkey, Ross Wilson, and other officials cajoled lawmakers by phone.

Representative Mike Pence, a conservative Republican from Indiana who has backed the resolution in the past, said Mr. Bush persuaded him to change his position and vote no. He described the decision as gut-wrenching, underscoring the emotions stirred in American politics by a 92-year-old question.

“While this is still the right position,” Mr. Pence said, referring to the use of the term genocide, “it is not the right time.”

The House Democratic leadership met Wednesday morning with Mr. Sensoy, Turkey’s ambassador to Washington, and other Turkish officials, who argued against moving ahead with a vote. But Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, who now holds Mr. Gephardt’s old job as majority leader, said he and Ms. Pelosi would bring the resolution to the floor before Congress adjourned this year.

In Turkey, a fresh wave of violence raised the specter of a Turkish raid into northern Iraq, something the United States is strongly urging against. A policeman was killed and six others were wounded in a bomb attack in the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey on Wednesday, the state-run Anatolian News Agency reported.

The Associated Press reported from the town of Sirnak that Turkish warplanes and helicopters were attacking positions along the southern border with Iraq that are suspected of belonging to Kurdish rebels who have been fighting Turkish forces for years.

The Turkish government continued to prepare to request Parliament’s permission for an offensive into Iraq, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggesting that a vote could be held after the end of Ramadan. Parliamentary approval would bring Turkey the closest it has been since 2003 to a full-scale military offensive into Iraq. Sadullah Ergin, a senior government official, said today that the request was likely to be brought to Parliament next week, possibly as early as Monday after a cabinet meeting that day, according to the Anatolian News Agency. Sedat Laciner, from the International Strategic Research Institution, said that the Turkish public felt betrayed by what was perceived as a lack of American support for Turkey in its battle against the Kurds.

“American officials could think that Turkish people would ultimately forget about the lack of U.S. support in this struggle,” Mr. Laciner said, using words that could apply equally to views about the Armenian genocide. “Memories of Turks, however, are not that easy to erase once it hits sensitive spots.”

Turks Angry Over House Armenian Genocide Vote (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/12/world/europe/12turkey.html?hp)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 11, 2007, 02:58:43 PM
Turkey recalls ambassador over genocide resolution
October 12, 2007

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Turkey has recalled its ambassador to the United States in response to a House resolution that would call the World War I massacre of Armenians by Turkish forces genocide, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

 The House Committee on Foreign Affairs passed the measure 27-21 Wednesday, even though President Bush and key administration figures lobbied hard against it. The full House is expected to vote on it, possibly Friday.

A top Turkish official warned Thursday that consequences "won't be pleasant" if the full House approves the resolution.

"Yesterday some in Congress wanted to play hardball," said Egemen Bagis, foreign policy adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "I can assure you Turkey knows how to play hardball."

Asked about Ambassador Nabi Sensoy's recall after the news broke, a State Department spokesman said he could not confirm it. "People are sometimes called back for consultation; sometimes they're called back for other reasons," said spokesman Tom Casey.

"If they wanted to bring their ambassador back for consultations or do something else, that is their decision. I certainly think that it will not do anything to limit our efforts to continue to reach out to Turkish officials, to explain our views, to engage them on this issue and again to make clear that we intend to work on this with Congress."

Casey and White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said they both would like to see the resolution withdrawn without a vote by the full House. However, Casey said, "I don't think anyone is expecting that to happen at this point."

Democratic leaders said earlier if the Foreign Affairs Committee passed the resolution, they intended to bring it to the House floor. Video Watch why the resolution stirs strong emotions »

The House was not in session Thursday because of the funeral of Rep. Jo Ann Davis of Virginia, who died Saturday. Members may vote on the resolution Friday.

Turkey, a NATO member, has been a key U.S. ally in the Middle East and a conduit for sending supplies into Iraq.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday that good relations with Turkey are vital because 70 percent of the air cargo intended for U.S. forces in Iraq and 30 percent of the fuel consumed by those forces fly through Turkey.

U.S. commanders "believe clearly that access to airfields and roads and so on in Turkey would very much be put at risk if this resolution passes and the Turks react as strongly as we believe they will," Gates said.

Bagis said no French planes have flown through Turkish airspace since a French Parliament committee passed a similar resolution last year.

He said the response to the U.S. might not be the same, but warned if the full House passes it that "we will do something, and I can promise you it won't be pleasant."

Bagis spoke to reporters while in Washington to attend a meeting of the Carnegie Endowment.

In a statement on his Web site, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said the resolution was "unacceptable" and "doesn't fit a major power like the United States."

In a letter to Bush, Gul warned that "in the case that Armenian allegations are accepted, there will be serious problems in the relations between the two countries."

"We still hope that common sense will prevail and that the House of Representatives will not move this resolution any further," the Turkish Foreign Ministry Web site said.

The vote was also strongly criticized by Turkish newspapers, The Associated Press reported. "Bill of Hatred," said Hurriyet's front page, while Vatan's headline read "27 Foolish Americans."

Casey said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice planned to speak with the Turkish foreign minister about the issue later Thursday and had requested calls with Erdogan and Gul.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack issued a statement expressing "regret" for the committee's action, warning the resolution "may do grave harm to U.S.-Turkish relations and to U.S. interests in Europe and the Middle East."

The nonbinding House resolution said the deportation of nearly 2 million Armenians from the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923, resulting in the deaths of 1.5 million of them, amounted to "genocide."

Turks strongly reject the genocide label, insisting there was no organized campaign against the Armenians and that many Turks also died in the chaos and violence of the period.

Sensoy said the resolution's passage would be a "very injurious move to the psyche of the Turkish people."

He predicted a backlash in the country, saying there would be setbacks on several fronts: Turkish-American relations, Turkish-Armenian relations and the normalization of relations between the nations of Turkey and Armenia.

The resolution's sponsor, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, said the measure already had 226 co-sponsors, more than enough votes to pass "and the most support an Armenian genocide resolution has ever received."

A similar resolution passed the committee by a 40-7 vote two years ago, but it never reached the full House floor.
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The resolution arrives at a particularly sensitive point in U.S.-Turkish relations. The United States has urged Turkey not to send its troops over the border into northern Iraq to fight Kurdish separatist rebels, who have launched some cross-border attacks against Turkish targets.

Observers of U.S.-Turkish relations have argued the House resolution could make Turkey less inclined to use restraint in dealing with its longstanding problems with the Kurdistan Workers Party.

 Turkey recalls ambassador over genocide resolution (http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/11/us.turkey.armenians/index.html)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 11, 2007, 03:01:27 PM
(Now this makes more sense, of the US warning. DW)

US Warns Turkey to Stay Out of Iraq
By Associated Press

Tue Oct 9, 10:59 AM

SIRNAK, Turkey - The United States has urged Turkey to refrain from a cross-border military operation to chase separatist Kurdish rebels who operate from bases in northern Iraq.

Meanwhile, the Kurdish regional government's spokesman Jamal Abdullah pleaded with Turkey to show restraint after Tuesday's statement.

"We call upon the Turkish government to exercise self-restraint and not to turn the region into an unstable one," he said. "Such attacks will threaten the stability not only in Iraq but the whole region."

One punitive measure at Turkey's disposal is to close the border with northern Iraq.

Iran had done the same to protest detention of an Iranian official, and reopened its border Monday. U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack warned against a unilateral move.

"If they have a problem, they need to work together to resolve it, and I'm not sure that unilateral incursions are the way to go," he said.

"We have counseled, both in public and private, for many, many months, the idea that it is important to work cooperatively to resolve this issue."

US Warns Turkey to Stay Out of Iraq (http://www.comcast.net/news/index.jsp?cat=GENERAL&fn=/2007/10/09/783620.html&cookieattempt=1)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 12, 2007, 03:01:26 PM
Turkey says it's ready for Iraq campaign

By SELCAN HACAOGLU, Associated Press Writer Fri Oct 12, 11:02 AM ET

ANKARA, Turkey - With Turkish-U.S. relations strained, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that Turkey would not be deterred by the diplomatic consequences if it decides to stage a cross-border offensive into Iraq against Kurdish rebels.

"If such an option is chosen, whatever its price, it will be paid," Erdogan told reporters in response to a question about the international repercussions of such a decision, which would strain ties with the United States and Iraq. "There could be pros and cons of such a decision, but what is important is our country's interests."

Erdogan also had harsh words for the United States, which opposes a Turkish incursion into northern Iraq — one of the country's few relatively stable areas.

"Did they seek permission from anyone when they came from a distance of 10,000 kilometers and hit Iraq?" he said. "We do not need anyone else's advice."

Analysts say Turkey could be less restrained about defying the United States because of a congressional committee's approval of a resolution labeling the mass killings of Armenians around the time of World War I as genocide.

"Democrats are harming the future of the United States and are encouraging anti-American sentiments," Erdogan said. Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives support the resolution.

Erdogan said Turkey was ready to sacrifice good ties with Washington if necessary.

"Let it snap from wherever it gets thin," Erdogan said, using a Turkish expression that means breaking ties with someone or something.

At issue in the resolution is the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks. Turkey denies that the deaths constituted genocide, saying the toll has been inflated, and those killed were victims of civil war and unrest that killed Muslims as well as the overwhelmingly Christian Armenians.

Turkey, a key supply route to U.S. troops in Iraq, recalled its ambassador to Washington for consultations and warned of serious repercussions if Congress passes the resolution.

"In the United States, there are several narrow-minded legislators who can't think of their own interests and who cannot understand the importance of Turkey," said Murat Mercan, head of the Turkish parliament's foreign relations committee.

Turkish authorities have refused to comment on whether Turkey might shut down Incirlik air base in southern Turkey, a major cargo hub for U.S. and allied military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Turkey's Mediterranean port of Iskenderun is also used to ferry goods to American troops.

The Yeni Safak newspaper, which is close to the Turkish government, said Friday that Incirlik and $15 billion worth of defense contracts, including purchase of warplanes, missile and radar systems, could be reviewed. Turkey could also prevent U.S. firms from taking part in new contracts, Yeni Safak said.

Erdogan said Turkey has long been seeking the cooperation of Iraq and the United States in its fight against Kurdish guerrillas, but there has been no crackdown on the rebel Kurdistan Workers Party, which has bases in Iraq. Erdogan said a recent anti-terrorism deal signed with Iraq was not valid since it had not been approved by Iraq's parliament yet.

The Turkish parliament was expected to approve a government request to authorize an Iraq campaign as early as next week, after a holiday ending the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

"We are making necessary preparations to be ready in case we decide on a cross-border operation since we don't have patience to lose more time," Erdogan said, adding that Turkey has lost 30 people in rebel attacks over the past two weeks.

A Turkish soldier was killed in a mine explosion on Thursday night on Mt. Gabar in southeastern Sirnak province, authorities said Friday.

Turkish army units, backed by helicopter gunships, were hunting rebels in the rugged border area.

Bahoz Erdal, a senior rebel commander, said the PKK fighters were moving further inside Turkey and taking new "positions" in the face of attacks from Turkey, pro-Kurdish Firat News Agency reported Friday. The agency is based in Belgium.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people since 1984.

Turkey says it's ready for Iraq campaign (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071012/ap_on_re_mi_ea/turkey;_ylt=Ahsv08COWuaznVsNB0Y4luBvaA8F)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 12, 2007, 03:03:12 PM
Turkey plans incursion, PKK says ready to attack

By Ferit Demir 1 hour, 10 minutes ago

TUNCELI, Turkey (Reuters) - Kurdish separatist rebels said on Friday they were crossing back into Turkey to target politicians and police after Ankara said it was preparing to attack them in the mountains of northern Iraq.

As regional tensions rose, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan cautioned that relations between Ankara and Washington were in danger over a U.S. congressional resolution branding as genocide massacres of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915.

Washington harbors growing concerns about the possibility of a major Turkish military incursion to crush Kurdish rebels seeking a homeland in eastern Turkey. U.S. officials fear such an action could destabilize a relatively peaceful area of Iraq.

Ankara recalled its ambassador from the United States for consultations after the U.S. vote, which was strongly condemned in predominantly Muslim but secular Turkey.

"We don't need anyone's advice on northern Iraq and the operation to be carried out there," Erdogan told a cheering crowd in Istanbul, after saying that the United States "came tens of thousands of kilometers and attacked Iraq without asking anyone's permission."

Referring to relations with the United States and the Armenian resolution, Erdogan, using a Turkish idiom usually employed to describe relations, said: "Where the rope is worn thin, may it break off." He did not elaborate.

"All prospects look bad ... and relations with the U.S. have already gone down the drain," Semih Idiz, a veteran Turkish commentator, told Reuters.

"If Turkey sets its mind on something, whether wrong or right it will do it. The invasion of Cyprus in 1974 is a good example," he said, referring to a Turkish invasion of northern Cyprus which drew U.S. condemnation and sanctions.

A statement by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) could increase domestic pressure on Ankara to launch a big offensive that Washington fears could have ramifications in the region.

The United States relies heavily on Turkish bases to supply its war effort in Iraq.

Erdogan said his government was ready for any world criticism if Turkey launched an attack against some 3,000 PKK rebels who use north Iraq as a base to attack Turkish targets.

Ankara blames the PKK for the deaths of more than 30,000 people since the group launched its armed struggle for an ethnic homeland in southeast Turkey in 1984.

Some analysts say an offensive became more likely after the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee approved the bill on Wednesday. Relations with Washington have hitherto been a strong restraining force on Turkey.

Turkey denies that genocide was committed but said many died in inter-ethnic fighting. It remains a sensitive issue, but many Turks are starting to more openly discuss such past taboos.

The PKK statement moved world oil prices back above $83 a barrel, traders said. The Kirkuk oil fields of northern Iraq feed export pipelines running north into Turkey.

ERDOGAN FACES MOUNTING PRESSURE

After a sharp escalation of attacks by Kurdish militants on Turkish troops, Erdogan's government, which faces pressure from the public and the army to act, has decided to seek approval from parliament next week for a major operation.

Erdogan said he wanted to secure approval now to avoid spending time later if and when an operation was warranted.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Erdogan on Thursday to express her disappointment at the U.S. Armenian bill, which the White House has tried to stop.

The non-binding Armenian resolution now goes to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Democrat leaders say there will be a vote next month. The resolution was proposed by a politician with many Armenian-Americans in his district.

Turkey has cautioned that the bill would have negative consequences for bilateral ties. Potential moves could include blocking U.S. access to the Incirlik air base, cancelling army contracts, downscaling bilateral visits, denying air space to U.S. aircraft, and halting joint exercises.

Iraqi Defence Minister Abdul-Qadir Mohammed Jasim held talks with Turkey's ambassador to Baghdad on Friday to seek ways to improve bilateral ties in fighting terrorism.

Erdogan said Turkey respected Iraq's unity but if it did

nothing to stop the PKK, considered a terrorist organization group by Washington, Ankara and the EU, then Ankara had to act.

Analysts and diplomats cast doubt on whether PKK rebels would leave their Iraqi hideouts for the southeast of Turkey where tens of thousands of heavily armed troops are positioned.

"The guerrillas are not moving to the south (northern Iraq); on the contrary they are moving to ... places in the north," the PKK said in a statement published on Firat news agency.

The PKK said its fighters planned to carry out attacks against the ruling AK Party, the main opposition CHP and the police unless certain conditions were met. It did not elaborate.

Turkey plans incursion, PKK says ready to attack (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071012/wl_nm/turkey_iraq_dc;_ylt=Ap9n8qr134xWs6h1tgqlmYAUewgF)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: nChrist on October 12, 2007, 03:10:39 PM
Pelosi and Democrats are INSANE! They have now provided proof that they are determined to see the Middle East BLOW UP! This will probably do it!


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Soldier4Christ on October 12, 2007, 04:07:32 PM
They are definitely working to bring the muslim nations together into one and against both Israel and America.



Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 13, 2007, 04:22:58 AM
They are definitely working to bring the muslim nations together into one and against both Israel and America.


I look more towards Israel, then the United States. Israel has always been hated by the mid-east. Where as America is seen as a land of opportunity, for the muslims.

Think about it brother, why else would CAIR be doing what they are doing......


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Soldier4Christ on October 13, 2007, 09:38:13 AM
I look more towards Israel, then the United States. Israel has always been hated by the mid-east. Where as America is seen as a land of opportunity, for the muslims.

Think about it brother, why else would CAIR be doing what they are doing......


I have thought about it a great deal and I still say the same thing.

Yes, it is a land of opportunity, the opportunity to take over the nation by any means possible. By taking us over they think that they will then be able to take over Israel as it is in their minds that we are the only thing standing in the way of their objective.

This is cairs objective and one they have already stated ...  they work to destroy the U.S. by any means they can, peaceful or violence.



Title: Putin told of plot to assassinate him during visit to Tehran
Post by: Shammu on October 14, 2007, 05:21:26 PM
Putin told of plot to assassinate him during visit to Tehran
The Associated Press
Published: October 14, 2007

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin has been told of a plot to assassinate him during a visit to Iran this week, a Kremlin spokeswoman said Sunday.

The spokeswoman, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity, refused further comment.

Interfax news agency, citing a source in Russia's special services, said suicide terrorists had been trained to carry out the assassination.

Putin is to travel to Tehran on Monday night from Germany after meetings with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

During his visit to Iran, Putin is to meet with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and attend Tuesday's summit of Caspian Sea nations. He is the first Kremlin leader to travel to Iran since Josef Stalin attended the 1943 wartime summit with Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In Tehran, a spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, Mohammad Ali Hosseini, denied any such plot had been uncovered and he characterized the news as disinformation spread by Iran's adversaries.

"These sort of reports are completely baseless and in direction with psychological operations of enemies of relations between Iran and Russia," Hosseini said in a statement.

Hosseini said, "Reporting of this type of sheer lie ... has no news value and cannot harm the planned schedule."

The official Islamic Republic News Agency called the reports part of a psychological war by the Western intelligence services aimed at forcing the cancellation of Putin's visit to Tehran.

Officials have reported uncovering at least two other plots to kill Putin on foreign trips since he became president in 2000.

Ukrainian security officials said they foiled an attempt to kill Putin during a summit in Yalta in August 2000.

In 2001, Russian security officials said a plot to assassinate Putin earlier that year in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, had been uncovered by the Azeri special services.

Russian officials linked both alleged plots to Chechen separatists. Putin had sent troops back into the southern Russian republic to crush resistance to Moscow's rule.

Putin told of plot to assassinate him during visit to Tehran (http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/10/14/europe/EU-GEN-Russia-Putin-Threat.php)


Title: Putin uses ballot rules to force foes from Russian Parliament
Post by: Shammu on October 14, 2007, 05:24:07 PM
Putin uses ballot rules to force foes from Russian Parliament
By Clifford J. Levy
Published: October 14, 2007

MOSCOW: Balloting for Parliament will be held across Russia in December, and this much is already clear: Vladimir Ryzhkov, who was first elected in the turbulent yet hopeful days after the Soviet Union's fall and then blossomed into a fervent advocate for democracy, will lose.

So will Viktor Pokhmelkin, who used his seat to crusade against corruption in the police and other law enforcement agencies. Swept away, too, will be Anatoly Yermolin, a KGB officer turned liberal stalwart who has been a lone voice in rebellion against President Vladimir Putin's expansive power.

Nearly eight years after Putin took office and began tightening his control over all aspects of the Russian government, he will almost certainly with this election succeed in extinguishing the last embers of opposition in Parliament.

Strict new election rules adopted under Putin, combined with the Kremlin's dominance over the news media and government agencies, are expected to propel the party that he created, United Russia, to a parliamentary majority even more overwhelming than its current one.

The system is so arrayed against all other parties that even some Putin allies have acknowledged that it harks back to the politics of the old days. Sergei Mironov, a staunch Putin supporter and the chairman of the upper house of Parliament, suggested recently that United Russia seemed to have been modeled on a certain forerunner.

"I think that the television broadcasts from the United Russia convention reminded a lot of people of long-forgotten pictures from the era of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union," said Mironov, leader of another pro-Putin party, Just Russia.

Putin's second presidential term expires next year, and under the Russian Constitution, he cannot run for a third consecutive term. At the lavishly choreographed convention of United Russia this month, he indicated that he would transfer his power base to the party and the Parliament and could become prime minister next year. The announcement raised the stakes for the December elections.

The president currently wields far more power than the prime minister, but that could change should Putin become prime minister.

Some analysts are speculating that Putin may try to create a parliamentary system with a strong prime minister and the presidency as a largely ceremonial post, akin to the arrangement in countries like Italy or Israel.

Putin has high approval ratings, and whatever the political climate, Russians today have far more economic and social freedoms than existed under Communism. Many people would like Putin to remain president, giving him credit for the strong economy and stability of recent years. Still, it appears that he is leaving little to chance in the parliamentary races.

"This is the first time in post-Soviet history when only the Kremlin decides who can participate and who can't," Ryzhkov said. "The Kremlin decides which party can exist and which party cannot.

"For the first time in post-Soviet history, a wide specter of political forces cannot participate in this election. I call it selection before election."

Ryzhkov's party, the Republican Party, one of the oldest in post-Soviet Russia, was disbanded by the government this year after it was accused of not having enough support under the new rules. Ryzhkov said his party easily met the standard but officials ignored the evidence in a sham proceeding.

First chosen in 1993, soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian Parliament in its early years was a raucous center of power that often challenged the president at the time, Boris Yeltsin. In Putin's first term, it sometimes retained that role, but Putin has steadily reined it in, and these days it is considered little more than a sidekick of the Kremlin.

Putin has said that the tougher election rules are in part intended to eliminate the fractious politics that he asserts are caused by a proliferation of small parties. In recent months, he has contended that he is a champion of multiparty democracy, though he has also said that the system needs time to develop.

"We cannot build Russia's future by tying its many millions of citizens to just one person or group of people," he said last month. "We will not be able to build anything lasting unless we put in place a real and effectively functioning multiparty system and develop a civil society that will protect society and the state from mistakes and wrong actions on the part of those in power."

In the parliamentary elections on Dec. 2, Russians will vote only for parties, not for candidates. What is more, parties now need 7 percent of the national vote to gain seats in Parliament, up from 5 percent. They also need to submit proof that they have at least 50,000 members to be recognized as official parties, up from 10,000.

It now seems possible that United Russia's advantages are so great that it will be the only party to surpass 7 percent. In that case, since the Constitution requires at least one other party in Parliament, some token seats would be allocated to the second most popular one.

Andrew Kuchins, director of the Russia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said the liberal opposition was vulnerable because its leaders had quarreled and failed to present a united front. He said Putin seemed to want to establish United Russia as a force that would long dominate Russia, akin to the governing parties in Japan or Mexico in the 20th century.

"Putin has methodically over the last seven years been reducing the power of any other locus in the system that is independent," Kuchins said. "This is the final nail in the coffin. And it doesn't look like that coffin is going to get opened anytime soon."

Putin's allies said United Russia was winning elections not because the rules were biased, but because the public approved of Putin and valued the nation's new strength. They said Russians looked askance at the example of Ukraine, the neighbor to the west, where three leading parties have been closely matched and have regularly feuded over the last three years.

"For Russians, the Ukrainian scenario is terrifying," said Igor Dyomin, a spokesman for United Russia in Parliament.

Pokhmelkin, the member from Perm who is almost certain to lose his seat, said he had been increasingly marginalized in recent years, and sometimes even barred by United Russia from making speeches in Parliament. He said that he tried to prod the Kremlin on issues like police corruption and the rights of motorists, but that it was largely futile.

"The Parliament has been brought down to the level of a servant, serving the ruling bureaucracy," he said. "And there cannot be any other assessment."
Putin to discuss arms in Iran

President Vladimir Putin will show his preference for dialogue with Iran when he visits Tehran on Tuesday, amid calls from the West for stronger pressure on Iran to curb suspected plans for a nuclear bomb, Reuters reported from Moscow.

Putin, the first Kremlin chief to visit Iran since the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin went in 1943, will formally be in Tehran for a summit of Caspian Sea states.

But a meeting with Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, could give the Kremlin leader a chance to seek a peaceful compromise over Tehran's nuclear program and to demonstrate his independence from Washington on Middle East issues.

"Putin is going to Iran to show the importance of continuing diplomacy," Kremlin deputy spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Putin will tell Ahmadinejad that Russia accepts Iran's right to use nuclear energy but wants it to open up its nuclear program to international inspectors to prove it is peaceful, Peskov added.

Putin uses ballot rules to force foes from Russian Parliament (http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/10/14/europe/russia.php)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 14, 2007, 05:34:59 PM
Turkish general warns US ties on ice

By C. ONUR ANT, Associated Press Writer 1 minute ago

ISTANBUL, Turkey - Turkey's top general warned that ties with the U.S., already strained by attacks from rebels hiding in Iraq, will be irreversibly damaged if Congress passes a resolution that labels the World War I-era killings of Armenians a genocide.

Turkey, which is a major cargo hub for U.S. and allied military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, has recalled its ambassador to Washington for consultations and warned that there might be a cut in the logistical support to the U.S. over the issue.

"If this resolution passed in the committee passes the House as well, our military ties with the U.S. will never be the same again," Gen. Yasar Buyukanit told the daily Milliyet newspaper.

Despite the general's strong words, it is not clear how far Turkey will go to express its dismay to Washington.

Turkey suspended its military ties with France last year after the French parliament's lower house adopted a bill that that would have made it a crime to deny that the Armenian killings constituted a genocide.

But there is more at stake for NATO's only Muslim member when it comes to its relations with the U.S. The Turkish military, and especially the air force, is heavily dependent on the American defense industry, experts say.

Still, when Washington imposed an arms embargo against Turkey in 1975 due to a dispute over Cyprus, Turkey ended all its logistical support to U.S. troops and sharing of intelligence until the embargo was lifted, said Onur Oymen, the country's former permanent representative to NATO.

President Bush has said the resolution is the wrong response to the Armenian deaths, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the measure's timing was important "because many of the survivors are very old."

In an interview broadcast Sunday with ABC's "This Week," Pelosi noted that the resolution would make the U.S. the 24th country to label the killings a genocide.

Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the measure was "irresponsible."

"Listen, there's no question that the suffering of the Armenian people some 90 years ago was extreme. But what happened 90 years ago ought to be a subject for historians to sort out, not politicians here in Washington," he told "Fox News Sunday."

About 70 percent of U.S. air cargo headed for Iraq goes through Turkey as does about one-third of the fuel used by the U.S. military there. Turkish truckers also carry water and other supplied to U.S. bases.

In addition, cargo planes fly supplies to U.S. soldiers in remote areas of Iraq from Incirlik, avoiding the use of Iraqi roads vulnerable to bomb attacks. U.S. officials say the arrangement helps reduce American casualties.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has "urged restraint" from Turkey and sent two officials to Ankara in an apparent attempt to ease fury over the measure, which could be voted on by the House by the end of the year.

At issue in the resolution is the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks. Many international historians contend the deaths amounted to genocide, but Turkey says the mass killings and deportations were not systematic and that many non-Kurds also died in the chaos of war.

The congressional resolution comes as the Turkish parliament debates authorizing a military campaign into northern Iraq to root out rebels who seek a unified, independent nation for Kurds in the region.

U.S. officials have urged Turkey not to send troops and appealed for a diplomatic solution with Iraq. The Kurdish region in northern Iraq is one of the country's few relatively stable areas, and the Kurds here are also a longtime U.S. ally.

A Kurdish rebel commander on Saturday said Turkey would face a long and bloody conflict if it launched a large-scale offensive in northern Iraq.

Speaking to The Associated Press deep in the Qandil mountains straddling the Iraq-Turkish border, some 94 miles from the northern Iraqi Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah, Murat Karayilan, head of the armed wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, warned that an eventual Turkish incursion would "make Turkey experience a Vietnam war."

The PKK has been fighting for autonomy in southeast Turkey since 1984. The conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives. Turkey says the rebels use Iraqi Kurdish territory as a safe haven. Iraqi and Kurdish authorities reject the claim.

Turkish general warns US ties on ice (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071014/ap_on_re_mi_ea/turkey_us;_ylt=AjIjHvnPYnsYLOWVMRvBTslvaA8F)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 17, 2007, 01:54:40 AM
Iran wins security pledge at Putin summit
October 16, 2007

Philippe Naughton, and agencies in Tehran

President Putin used an historic visit to Iran today to make the case against Western military action and help deliver a regional security guarantee for the Islamic republic.

Mr Putin ignored warnings of a possible suicide attack against him to become the first Kremlin chief to visit Tehran since Josef Stalin met other Allied leaders there at the height of the Second World War in 1943.

After initial talks with his host, President Ahmadinejad, Mr Putin joined the leaders of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan for a summit of Caspian Sea states - and quickly issued a barely-coded warning to the Azeris against military cooperation with the West.

Russian media have speculated that Washington might be trying to negotiate with Azerbaijan on the right to use military facilities in the Caucasus republic for a campaign against Iran, although Azeri officials have denied any such plans.

Today's summit did not reach agreement on their main objective - how to divide up the Caspian and its huge oil and gas reserves. But the five Caspian presidents did agree not to let a third country use their soil for an attack on any of the other coastal states.

The summit communique, handed to journalists in Tehran by Russian delegates before a televised signing ceremony, also stressed that "under no circumstances will they allow (the use of their) territories by third countries to launch aggression or other military action against any of the member states".

In another excerpt that will please Iran - already celebrating the propaganda value of Mr Putin's visit - the summit leaders said they acknowledged the rights of all signatories to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to develop peaceful atomic energy.

"The sides consider the Non-Proliferation Treaty ... one of the basic pillars of international security and stability," said the declaration, signed by the presidents of the five Caspian Sea states - Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

They "also acknowledge the rights of all states which are parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty to develop the research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes ... under the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) mechanism."

Mr Ahmadinejad described the declaration at a news conference as "very strong."

The Iranian President had welcomed Mr Putin and the other leaders with a call for closer co-operation on security issues and deeper economic ties.

"This cooperation - which is intended to prevent military competition in the sea and also warding off hostile forces and at the same time fighting organised crime - will require the establishment of a regional body in the near future," he said.

Mr Putin pushed ahead with the visit despite a warning from his own security service that he could be the target of a suicide bomb plot. Because of that threat - denied by Iran - security was tight, and Mr Putin arrived at Tehran airport at 0630BST today rather than last night, as was originally planned.

As well as meeting Mr Ahmadinejad, Mr Putin was expected to see Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader who has ultimate authority and the final say in all state matters such as nuclear policy.

His meetings with Iranian leaders could give Mr Putin a chance to seek a compromise on the nuclear issue that is souring international relations.

Iran is embroiled in a diplomatic standoff with Western nations over its nuclear programme, which it insists is needed to generate power but which its critics say is being used to develop atomic weapons. Washington has refused to rule out the use of military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the row.

Russia says that it sees no evidence that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, and is resisting efforts at the UN Security Council to step up sanctions over Iran's refusal to fall into line with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Security Council has imposed two rounds of limited sanctions on Iran, which were backed by Russia and five other world powers - the United States, France, Germany, Britain and China. Washington and Paris are trying to overcome Russian and Chinese resistance for a round of harsher, broader sanctions.

Mr Putin was also likely to discuss a dispute over Russian delays in building the Bushehr atomic power plant, Iran’s first. Russia says Iran is behind in its payments for the plant, which Tehran denies.

Iran wins security pledge at Putin summit (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article2669816.ece)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 17, 2007, 02:02:21 AM
Caspian states show united front on Putin's Iran visit
Oct 16, 2007

By Oleg Shchedrov and Parisa Hafezi

TEHRAN (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin made clear to Washington on Tuesday that Russia would not accept military action against Iran and he invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Moscow for talks.

Putin made the invitation to Ahmadinejad, shunned by the West which fears his nuclear program is a cover for building atomic weapons, after meeting him and leaders of other Caspian Sea states who ruled out any strikes on Iran from their region.

Dates for Ahmadinejad's visit would be arranged through diplomatic channels, RIA news agency quoted a statement by the two leaders as saying.

Earlier, in comments aimed at the United States, Putin said during his talks in Iran: "We should not even think of using force in this region."

"We need to agree that using the territory of one Caspian Sea (state) in the event of aggression against another is impossible," he told the presidents of Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan at a summit of Caspian Sea states.

Western nations accuse Tehran of seeking atomic weapons, a charge Tehran denies. Washington has refused to rule out the use of force if diplomacy fails to resolve the row.

Asked about Russia's invitation to Ahmadinejad, a U.S. State Department official said: "It's up to the Russians to determine how they want to manage their bilateral relations with Iran."

Putin's remarks about territory also appeared aimed at ex-Soviet Azerbaijan, where the U.S. military has inspected airfields. Russian media have suggested Washington might be trying to negotiate the right to use its military facilities. Baku denies this.

Russia is annoyed at what it sees as the West's attempts to end its influence in former Soviet states.

In a final declaration, the Caspian nations backed Putin's call, saying "under no circumstances will they allow (the use of their) territories by third countries to launch aggression or other military action against any of the member states".

The countries also backed the rights of signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty -- which includes Iran -- to develop peaceful nuclear energy.

Ahmadinejad, who says Tehran will not stop atomic work that he insists is peaceful, praised the Caspian declaration.

Putin's trip to Iran, the first made by a Kremlin leader since 1943, has been watched because of Russia's potential leverage, on behalf of fellow world powers, to rein in Iran using its trade and nuclear supply ties with Tehran.

PROGRESS ON BUSHEHR PLANT

Russia is building Iran's first atomic power plant in the port city of Bushehr. Russia says Iran is behind in payments for the plant, causing construction delays, but Iran says it is up to date and that Moscow is bowing to Western pressure.

Putin told Iranian media he could not provide guarantees for when fuel for the plant, also delayed, would be delivered. He said this would depend on discussions about the contract. The two sides agreed, Russian news agencies said, that Russia would complete work according to the "agreed timetable".

The timetable has regularly slipped and Putin's comments are likely to disappoint Iranian officials, who before his arrival, said they expected "good news" about Bushehr.

Putin turned up in Iran after shrugging off a Russian report about a plot to kill him during the trip. Russian officials had suggested he might change his plans. Iran dismissed the report.

Putin had bilateral talks with Ahmadinejad and also met Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds ultimate authority in Iran.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed two rounds of limited sanctions on Iran, which were backed by Russia and five other world powers -- the United States, France, Germany, Britain and China. Washington and Paris are pushing for tougher steps.

Moscow says it sees no evidence of a military program and is resisting Western calls for new sanctions. Russia has also been alarmed by talk in the West that the row could result in conflict. France has warned of a possible war.

But, in Washington, State Department spokesman Tom Casey was confident of Moscow's support as the U.S. and others push for more punitive action.

"We fully expect that we will have support from the Russian Government for our longstanding policy that has been crafted, not by the U.S. but by the members of the Security Council, starting with the P-5+1," he said, referring to the permanent five members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany.

Caspian states show united front on Putin's Iran visit (http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSL1572571220071016)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 17, 2007, 02:08:07 AM
The visit to Iran by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the first in over sixty years by a Russian leader, drew attention to the alliance that Russian and Iran have formed along with the former Soviet satellite nations that border the Caspian Sea. Vladimir Putin made this historic visit even as there was a threat of an assassination on the Russian leader and at the same time as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was saying that that the International Community must join forces to stop the radical theocracy that heads up the nation of Iran as they develop a Nuclear Weapon of Mass Destruction.

This report is evidence that the prophetic scenario, written 2,500 years ago by an ancient Jewish prophet, is coming better into focus. Ezekiel, that ancient Jewish prophet, wrote that Russia and Iran would be major partners in the End Times which would lead up to the invasion of Israel by not only Russia and Iran, but by a coalition of nations which would include the other Caspian Sea member-states as well.

Ezekiel 38:2, 5 Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of [a]Magog, the prince of Rosh, of Meshech, and of Tubal, and prophesy against him,  5 Persia, Cush, and Put or Libya with them, all of them with shield and helmet,

This landmark visit to Iran by Russian President Vladimir Putin does indeed set the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled.


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 17, 2007, 09:02:40 AM
U.S., Israel to study layered missile defenses

By Kristin Roberts and Dan Williams Tue Oct 16, 8:34 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and Israel agreed to work on a layered missile defense system to intercept ballistic missiles from Iran and Syria and smaller arms like those lobbed from Gaza and Lebanon, officials said on Tuesday.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in a meeting at the Pentagon, agreed to set up a joint committee to study how Washington might help the Jewish state produce the system, according to Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell.

An Israeli security source also said Barak and Gates talked about upgrading one of Israel's missile defense systems, Arrow II, designed to intercept missiles like those deployed by Iran and Syria.

"This proposal now has to go to the relevant work teams," that source said.

U.S. officials, however, have expressed skepticism about the ability of the Israeli systems to defeat shorter range missiles.

The Pentagon already is a partner on the Arrow II program. Israeli and U.S. engineers also are working on a parallel project, David's Sling, to defend against medium-range rockets like those fired by Hezbollah guerrillas during the 2006 Lebanon war.

Israel has been developing a third system called Iron Dome, which is meant to shoot down short-range Palestinian rockets.

Barak's visit to Washington is his first as defense minister. He and Gates, who worked together previously when both served in top intelligence positions, met on Tuesday first with their staff present and then privately for 35 minutes.

Israel's recent air strike on Syria was not discussed during the session that included staff, one official said.

Israel has failed to stem cross-border rocket attacks from Gaza, which it left in 2005 after 38 years of occupation. It fears a similar threat from the West Bank if troops depart.

Barak, a former prime minister who has made no secret of his hopes to retake the top office, recently said Israel should condition any handover of the West Bank to the Palestinians on a reliable anti-missile system first being in place.

But with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert set to attend a U.S.-sponsored peace summit with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as early as next month, Barak was less categorical during his Washington talks.

"The defense minister laid out Israel's security concerns regarding the missile threat," said Barak spokesman Ronen Moshe. "He did not come to set terms for a future territorial compromise."

U.S., Israel to study layered missile defenses (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071017/ts_nm/usa_israel_dc_1)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 17, 2007, 09:07:30 AM
Quote
The United States and Israel agreed to work on a layered missile defense system to intercept ballistic missiles from Iran and Syria and smaller arms like those lobbed from Gaza and Lebanon, officials said on Tuesday.

God will be the one stopping the attack on Israel, not man.

Ezekiel 39:11-16 And in that day, I will give to Gog a place for burial there in Israel, the valley of those who pass through on the east side in front of the [Dead] Sea [the highway between Syria, Petra, and Egypt], and it will delay and stop those who pass through. And there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude, and they shall call it the Valley of Hamon-gog [multitude of Gog]. 12 For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, that they may cleanse the land. 13 Yes, all the people of the land will bury them, and it shall bring them renown in the day that I shall be glorified, says the Lord God. 14 And they shall set apart men to work continually who shall pass through the land, men commissioned to bury, with the help of those who are passing by, those bodies that lie unburied on the face of the ground, in order to cleanse the land. After the end of seven months they shall make their search. 15 And when these pass through the land and anyone sees a human bone, he shall set up a marker by it as a sign to the buriers, until they have buried it in the Valley of Hamon-gog or of Gog's multitude. 16 And Hamonah [multitude] shall also be the name of the city [of the dead]. Thus shall they cleanse the land.


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 17, 2007, 09:19:32 AM
Turkish Parliament to OK Iraq Mission

Wednesday, October 17, 2007
By SUZAN FRASER, Associated Press Writer
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ANKARA, Turkey —
Syria's president said Wednesday that Turkey had a right to stage a cross-border incursion into northern Iraq to chase separatist Kurdish rebels as the Turkish parliament began debating the issue.

Turkish leaders have stressed that an offensive against the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, would not immediately follow the motion authorizing the incursion.

Hours before the vote, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called his Turkish counterpart asking that diplomacy be given a chance before Turkey sends troops across the border to pursue separatist Kurds in mountain hide-outs, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.

Al-Maliki said Iraq was "determined" to end PKK activities on its territory and had given "strict instructions" to the regional Iraqi Kurdish administration in Iraq's north on the issue, Anatolia said.

Al-Maliki asked that Iraq be given more time and said it he was sending a delegation to Turkey to discuss cooperation, Anatolia said.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded by saying Turkey could "not tolerate losing any more time," the agency reported.

Erdogan's aides were not immediately available to confirm the conversation.

Visiting Syrian President Bashar Assad said Turkey had a legitimate right to stage a cross-border offensive.

"We understand that such an operation would be aimed toward a certain group which attacks Turkish soldiers. We support decisions that Turkey has on its agenda, we are backing them," Assad told reporters. "We accept this as Turkey's legitimate right. As Syria, we are supporting all decisions by Turkey and we are standing behind them."

Iraq on Tuesday also dispatched one of its two vice presidents to Ankara who also called for diplomacy.

"Iraq must be given the chance to stop PKK rebels who cross the border before Turkey takes any step," Anatolia quoted Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi as saying before he left Ankara.

"I got what I wanted from our talks. There is a new atmosphere to stop the current crisis," he was also quoted as saying. Al-Hashimi met Tuesday with Erdogan and other Turkish officials.

On Wednesday, an alliance spokesman said NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has spoken to Turkey's president, adding his voice to international calls for restraint in the crisis with Iraq.

Turkey invited ambassadors from countries bordering Iraq and other Middle Eastern nations to the Foreign Ministry for a briefing on why it was passing the motion in parliament.

The motion, authorizing an attack into Iraq sometime in the next year, has the backing of all but one party in parliament. Only a small Kurdish party has said it would vote against it.

"The passage of the motion in parliament does not mean that an operation will be carried out at once," Erdogan said Tuesday. "Turkey will act with common sense and determination when necessary and when the time is ripe."

Public anger over attacks by Kurdish guerrillas is high but Turkish officials are mindful that two dozen Iraqi campaigns since the 1980s have failed to eradicate the PKK. A cross-border attack into northern Iraq could also strain ties with the United States, a NATO ally that opposes any disruption of its efforts to stabilize Iraq.

Kurdish rebels from the PKK have been fighting since 1984 for autonomy in Turkey's Kurdish-dominated southeast, a conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Turkey has complained about what it considers a lack of U.S. support in the fight against the PKK, a frustration with Washington intensified because of another sensitive issue: the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians in the final years of the Ottoman Empire.

A panel in the U.S. House approved a resolution last week labeling the killings genocide, an affront to Turks who deny there was any systematic campaign to eliminate Armenians. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she will schedule a vote soon on the resolution, which President Bush opposes.

Turkish Parliament to OK Iraq Mission (http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_wires/2007Oct17/0,4675,Turkey,00.html)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 18, 2007, 03:02:16 AM
Turkey Lawmakers OK Possible Iraq Attack
Oct 17, 11:09 PM (ET)

By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA

ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) - Parliament authorized the government Wednesday to send troops into northern Iraq to root out Kurdish rebels who've been conducting raids into Turkey. The vote removed the last legal obstacle to an offensive, but there was no sign of imminent action as the United States urged restraint.

Turkish leaders, under pressure from Washington and Baghdad, have signaled they would not immediately give the order to send in 60,000 soldiers, armor and attack helicopters into a region that has largely escaped the chaos of the Iraq war.

The crisis along the border, where the Turkish troops have massed since summer, has driven up oil prices along with tensions between Turkey and its longtime NATO ally, the United States.

President Bush said the U.S. was making clear to Turkey that it should not stage a major army operation in the Iraqi north, much of which has escaped the sustained violence and political discord common in the rest of Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Bush said Turkey has had troops stationed in northern Iraq "for quite a while," a reference to about 1,500 soldiers deployed for years to monitor the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, with the permission of Iraqi Kurd authorities.

"We don't think it's in their interest to send more troops in," he said.

While they now have the authority to strike at PKK bases used to stage attacks in Turkey, the country's leaders appear to be holding back in hopes the threat of an incursion will prod Iraq and the U.S. to move against the guerrillas.

The Turkish military, which had little success when it last carried out a major incursion into Iraq a decade ago with 50,000 soldiers, estimates 3,800 Turkish Kurd guerrillas operate from Iraq territory and 2,300 are inside Turkey.

As Parliament voted 507-19 to approve military operations against PKK fighters in northern Iraq over the next year, Turkey's government moved to explain its decision to its Arab neighbors, sending Foreign Minister Ali Babacan to both Egypt and Lebanon.

Oil prices surged briefly to a record $89 a barrel after the vote. Traders worry that any escalation in the conflict will cut oil supplies from northern Iraq.

Hours before the vote, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to say Iraq's government was determined to halt "terrorist activities" of the PKK on Iraqi territory, his office said.

A close aide to al-Maliki said later that the two leaders agreed the Iraqis should deal with PKK fighters based inside Iraq and the Turks would take care of guerrillas operating in Turkish territory.

But Erdogan warned that Iraq must rein in the guerrillas, the aide said. "If you don't solve the problem now, we will have no choice but to pursue the PKK inside Iraq," he quoted the Turkish leader as saying.

The aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the confidential conversation, added that there would be no joint operations involving Iraqi and Turkish troops. He said Iraq would not agree to more Turkish soldiers entering its territory.

Erdogan had suggested that Turkey, Iraq and the U.S. conduct a joint campaign against the PKK. But U.S. and Iraqi troops are hard pressed elsewhere, and Iraqi Kurds are reluctant to fight their ethnic brethren from Turkey.

A Kurdish lawmaker in Iraq warned an incursion would threaten the relative stability of the autonomous Kurdish region in the north and called on Turkey to deal with the issue "in a peaceful way."

gotcha98 al-Mufti, speaker of the regional parliament, also said he believed Turkey had ulterior motives aimed at upsetting the success of the Kurdish region in Iraq because it fears separatist sentiment within its own borders.

PKK fighters operating from bases in the mountains of northern Iraq periodically cross the border to stage attacks in their war to win autonomy for Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast. More than 30,000 people have died in fighting that began in 1984.

The authorization for an offensive inside Iraq had the backing of all of Turkey's parliamentary parties except a small Kurdish party. A single lawmaker from the opposition Republican People's Party voted against it.

"I am concerned that Turkey could be dragged into an Iraqi quagmire," said the lawmaker, Esref Erdem.

Turkish leaders have said publicly that they would prefer a solution to the guerrilla problem that avoids a cross-border offensive, but Erdogan has warned that Turkey will take whatever steps it must to defeat the PKK.

"What's important is the parliament's decision, not what people say," Erdogan said.

Public anger is high in Turkey over a recent spate of guerrilla attacks in the southeast as well as a perception that the United States has failed to back Turkey in its fight with the PKK, even though Washington lists the movement as a terrorist group.

Sam Brannen, an international security fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the U.S. had "underestimated the value of Turkey as a strategic ally" and created problems for itself by angering Turks with its failure to curb PKK activity in northern Iraq.

He said others in the region, such as Iran, Syria and al-Qaida in Iraq, could take advantage of strained Turkish-American relations and a destabilized northern Iraq.

"It's not happening in a vacuum. There are other state and non-state actors who would see some advantage in drawing Turkey into the conflict," Brannen said. "It's really hard to see what U.S. leverage will be in this situation."

At a White House news conference, Bush urged the Democratic-controlled Congress not to worsen tensions by approving a resolution labeling as genocide the World War I-era killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Turks as the Ottoman Empire crumbled.

Noting the number of domestic bills pending before Congress, Bush said, "One thing Congress should not be doing is sorting out the historical record of the Ottoman Empire."

Turkey, which argues the deaths came during civil unrest and not from a planned campaign to eradicate Armenians, is furious over the measure and has threatened repercussions if it is adopted. Turkey is a key route for moving supplies to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The House vote to label the bloodshed nearly a century ago as genocide was in jeopardy after several Democrats withdrew their support and sounded alarms it could cripple U.S.-Turkish relations.

Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said failure of the measure might lead Turkey's leaders to forgo military action in northern Iraq as a conciliatory gesture to Washington.

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell indicated U.S. military leaders felt Turkey was not committed to invading Iraq.

"It would have enormous implications, not just for us but for the Turks, and I don't think there is any rush to war on the part of the Turks," Morrell said.

But Cagaptay said another serious PKK attack would probably trump diplomatic gestures.

"If there's another massive PKK attack, killing a dozen civilians, you can expect they will go in within the next 24 hours," he said.

Turkey Lawmakers OK Possible Iraq Attack (http://apnews1.iwon.com//article/20071018/D8SBCTSG0.html)


Title: Israeli TV Stations Showing 'Gog and Magog' Charts
Post by: Shammu on October 18, 2007, 03:19:27 AM
Israeli TV Stations Showing 'Gog and Magog' Charts

(IsraelNN.com) Israeli evening newscasts prominently featured George W. Bush's comments regarding a possible breakout of World War Three Wednesday evening.

Both Channel 2 and Channel 10 showed the world map and sketched the basic alignment of the two opposing axes in the possible world war, in a way that is bound to evoke associations of the Gog and Magog prophecy for many viewers. On one side were Israel, the United States, Britain, France and Germany. On the other were Iran, Russia, China, Syria and North Korea.

The prophecy of Gog and Magog refers to a great world war centered on the Holy Land and Jerusalem and first appears in the book of Yechezkel (Ezekiel).

Israeli TV Stations Showing 'Gog and Magog' Charts (http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/134881)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You know, it is kind of scary when secular sources start connecting the dots. :o :o

KEEP LOOKING UP

Brothers and sisters!!


Title: Iran behind shipment of advanced bombs into Afghanistan
Post by: Shammu on October 18, 2007, 11:03:03 PM
Iran behind shipment of advanced bombs into Afghanistan
Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST    Oct. 18, 2007

The top NATO commander in Afghanistan said Thursday his troops intercepted a weapons convoy coming from Iran last month containing sophisticated explosive devices and blamed the Iranian military for involvement in its shipment.

US Army Gen. Dan McNeill, the commander of NATO's 40,000-strong International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, said the convoy contained "a number of advance technology improvised explosive devices" and was intercepted on Sept. 5th in western Afghanistan.

"This weapons convoy clearly, geographically, originated in Iran," McNeill told reporters in Kabul.

"It is difficult for me to conceive that this convoy could have originated in Iran and come to Afghanistan, without at least the knowledge of the Iranian military," McNeill said.

Iran behind shipment of advanced bombs into Afghanistan (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1192380589804&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter)


Title: Russia working on new nuclear weapons
Post by: Shammu on October 18, 2007, 11:10:43 PM
Russia working on new nuclear weapons

Russia's Putin takes on public's questions on US, Iran and country's nuclear capabilities in Moscow's sixth annual presidential-public meet

Dudi Cohen
Published: 10.18.07, 12:24
Israel News

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he believes a direct dialogue, rather than continuing Western sanctions, would be more effective in solving the crisis revolving around Iran's nuclear program.

Putin addressed the question in an annual event held in Moscow, the sixth of its kind so far, where he customarily answers the Russian people's questions regarding matters of State.

"A direct dialogue with the countries we have disagreements with is always a better, more effective way, to deal with differences than threatening sanctions, or use of force," said Putin. (like some of the attacks Russia has made, here of late.... DW)

Earlier Thursday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied reports claiming Putin and he discussed the Iranian nuclear program. Putin, said the Iranian president, "offered nothing but friendship and cooperation."

When asked of his opinions on US moves in Iraq, Putin suggested that the US military campaign in Iraq had turned into a campaign against the Iraqi people.

Putin was also asked whether or not he thought the US was eyeing Russia's resources: "I know that some politicians play with such ideas in their heads. This, in my view, is such political erotica that might satisfy a person but hardly leads to a positive result," said Putin.

"Russia, thank God, isn't Iraq," he added. "It has enough strength and power to defend itself and its interests, both on its territory and in other parts of the world."

Russia, said Putin, was working on new types of nuclear weapons: "We will develop missile technology including completely new strategic (nuclear) complexes… the work is continuing and continuing successfully."

Russia working on new nuclear weapons (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3461341,00.html)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 18, 2007, 11:13:34 PM
The arrogant are becoming more arrogant........ You see it in the Chinese, the leaders of 95% of the  muslim nations, and people like Chavez and Castro.............

Battle lines are being drawn more of late, then at almost any other time in history.


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 18, 2007, 11:36:14 PM
Putin calls for powerful Russia parliament

By Michael Stott Thu Oct 18, 10:22 AM ET

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Thursday for a powerful parliament and unchanged policies after he leaves the Kremlin, hinting he may go on to use a power base in parliament to dominate the country.

Putin's intentions after his second presidential term ends next year have attracted intense interest following his decision to head the candidates' list of United Russia, the biggest political party, and consider becoming a future prime minister.

"In 2007 and 2008 we have parliamentary and presidential elections and there will be a different person in the Kremlin," Putin said in a three-hour question-and-answer session with citizens televised live.

"In these conditions it is extremely important to preserve a stable path of development for our state and the continuity of decisions taken in the past few years... It is vital that parliament is effective."

Putin spent most of the session talking about domestic, bread-and-butter issues such as pensions, wages, schools, prices and investment in Russia's crumbling infrastructure.

With an eye on a parliamentary election in December, Putin repeatedly hailed Russia's high economic growth and improved living standards. He promised higher pensions to help fight runaway inflation, which is heading for double digits this year.

Speaking to soldiers at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia's far north who earlier on Thursday test-fired a ballistic missile, Putin promised new nuclear and conventional weapons as part of Moscow's military build-up.

He referred more than once to Iraq's experience, which he said showed the need for Russia to keep strong defenses to counter countries that might try to grab its energy resources.

"Thank God Russia is not Iraq," Putin told a questioner. "It is strong enough to protect its interests."

Putin told the United States to set a date for withdrawing all troops from Iraq and said it was "absolutely unacceptable to keep the occupation force in place ... for eternity.

CENTRE OF GRAVITY

An analyst said Putin's remarks about a strong parliament contained clues to how he will retain influence after 2008.

"One of the scenarios is that there will be a strong pro-Putin majority in parliament and the centre of gravity of political life will move towards that majority," independent analyst Dmitry Oreshkin told Reuters.

"Since parliament will in effect be controlled by Putin then correspondingly all policy in the country will be controlled by Putin."

On foreign policy, Putin warned Washington against striking Iran, whose nuclear program has been the subject of United Nations sanctions.

Touching on Washington's plans for a missile defense shield in Europe and Asia, which have angered Russia, Putin said the United States was trying to address Moscow's concerns.

But he said Russia may decide to re-deploy its weapons if its interests were not heeded.

Speaking in front of a studio backdrop decorated in Russia's national colors, the president congratulated troops on successfully test-firing a long-range missile, praised the national soccer team for beating England the previous day and pledged new and better weapons for the armed forces.

"We will develop missile technology including completely new strategic (nuclear) complexes, completely new," Putin said. "Work is continuing and continuing successfully."

"We will not only give attention to the whole nuclear triad -- strategic rocket forces, strategic aviation and the nuclear submarine fleet -- but also other types of weapons."

Putin has said he will lend his support to a preferred presidential candidate in the elections but gave no hint on Thursday of who that might be.

Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov was the only top official he praised by name. Putin extolled the virtues of Zubkov's fight against corruption in his previous role running a anti-money laundering watchdog.

Putin calls for powerful Russia parliament (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071018/wl_nm/russia_putin_dc;_ylt=AmSyjaJiyo_23ZVTFcpjeD50bBAF)


Title: Russia test-launches missile
Post by: Shammu on October 18, 2007, 11:37:49 PM
Russia test-launches missile

Thu Oct 18, 2:32 AM ET

MOSCOW - Russia on Thursday carried out a successful test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The Topol RS-12M rocket hit its intended target on Kamchatka near the Pacific Ocean, the Russian Strategic Missile Forces said in a statement. The launch, from the Plesetsk launch facility in northern Russia, was part of the country's plan to upgrade its ballistic missiles and extend the life of its Topol missiles.

The successful test will allow Russia to maintain the Topol rocket for 21 years, the statement said, significantly more than the original 10 years forecast.

"Extending the service life of the Topol missile class will allow for the replacement of rockets being phased out with a new generation of rocket without putting a burden on the military budget," the statement said.

Russia test-launches missile (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071018/ap_on_re_eu/russia_rocket_launch;_ylt=Ag2umj.NCgf041nD6PIaRKl0bBAF)


Title: Gorbachev founds new Russian political movement
Post by: Shammu on October 20, 2007, 02:12:42 PM
Gorbachev founds new Russian political movement
AFP
By Olga Nedbayeva AFP - Saturday, October 20 12:00 pm

MOSCOW (AFP) - Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev founded a new political movement on Saturday aimed at fighting democratic abuses in Russia, but not at challenging President Vladimir Putin's rule.

"We are putting our hopes in the efforts that Putin is making" to reform Russia, Gorbachev told some 200 delegates at the founding congress of the Union of Social-Democrats in central Moscow.

But Gorbachev, 76, who will lead the movement, also highlighted "negative tendencies," including a lack of real political debate, pressure being put on non-governmental groups and high levels of corruption.

"We are fighting for power, but only for power over people's minds," said Gorbachev.

His new movement is not a political party and will therefore not take part in parliamentary elections in December.

United Russia, the dominant party in the Russian parliament, is set for a landslide victory in the elections after Putin announced earlier this month that he would run as its top candidate.

The deadline for parties to register for the elections passed on October 17.

A statement issued by the movement said that "the potential for free democratic choice and political competition is being limited.... This is why social-democrats are uniting to fight for the values of freedom and fairness."

Gorbachev was the last general secretary of the Communist Party and is generally unpopular in Russia as he is associated with a period of political upheaval and economic collapse.

After his attempts at reforming Communism fell through and the Soviet Union broke apart in 1991, he became head of the Russian Social-Democratic Party, which failed to win any seats in the 2003 parliamentary elections.

He has received numerous awards in the West and is a frequent speaker at international events. He has a more visible public role in Russia as head of the Gorbachev Foundation, which funds charity and education.

In his speech on Thursday, Gorbachev praised Putin for not changing the country's constitution to allow himself to run for a third consecutive term, when his period in office runs out next year.

"The president was under pressure and the fact that he did not give in to it is important from the point of view of democracy," Gorbachev said, referring to calls for Putin to change the constitution.

Putin, who came to power in 2000, remains very popular in Russia as he is credited with the country's economic revival and with boosting Russia's role in world affairs.

Russians are to elect a new president in March 2008 but there is still uncertainty about what role Putin could play in Russia's political future and who his favoured successor might be.

Gorbachev founds new Russian political movement (http://uk.news.yahoo.com/afp/20071020/tpl-russia-politics-gorbachev-ee974b3_1.html)


Title: “Powerful Iran” war game to be held
Post by: Shammu on October 23, 2007, 03:57:26 PM
“Powerful Iran” war game to be held
Tehran Times Political Desk

TEHRAN, Oct. 20 (MNA) – A massive war game codenamed “powerful Iran” will be held near Qom on October 23-25, the Commander of Basij (volunteer) Forces in Ministries and Organizations Masoud Chinigar-Zadeh said on Saturday.

The maneuver in which ten thousand Basijs will participate is aimed at boosting the Basij forces’ defense capabilities, Chinigar-Zadeh insisted.

The commander said the main characteristic of this war game is that it will be held far from capital Tehran and in the vicinity of Qom.

Through maneuvers Basijs show that they are always prepared to protect the country’s borders against any possible invasion by the enemies, he pointed out

“Powerful Iran” war game to be held (http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=155352)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2007, 05:54:31 AM
Lebanon fires on IAF jets for first time since cease-fire
Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST    Oct. 25, 2007

Lebanese troops opened fire Thursday on IAF warplanes flying low over southern Lebanon, but no hits were reported, Lebanese officials said.

Lebanese soldiers opened up with machine guns and light anti-aircraft weapons mounted on armored vehicles at two planes that flew by just east of Marjayoun near the border at midmorning, a Lebanese security official said. A total of 150 rounds were fired, he added.

A senior military officer also said the army "confronted" the Israeli planes, but gave no details.

It was the first time Lebanese troops had opened fire on Israeli aircraft since the August 14, 2006 cease-fire that ended the Second Lebanon War.

It is also the first time since February that the Lebanese army, which deployed in the south after the fighting, has fired on the Israelis.

Since the cease-fire, the IAF has conducted regular low-altitude flyovers over southern Lebanon, a tactic that has sparked protests from Arab nations and the international community.

The UN has condemned Israel's flyovers. In November 2006, the UNIFIL peacekeeping force's chief liaison officer, Col. Alexan Lalan, told The Jerusalem Post that the daily IAF flyovers were strengthening Hizbullah and creating new militants for the Shi'ite group.

"The flyovers harm the credibility of UNIFIL, the credibility of the LAF and the credibility of the state of Lebanon," Lalan said in a phone interview from his office in the southern Lebanese town of Naqoura.

"Every flyover creates new Hizbullah militants and new sympathy for Hizbullah since it shows and demonstrates that UNIFIL and the LAF are not powerful and able to stop them," Lalan said.

Lebanon fires on IAF jets for first time since cease-fire (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1192380649533&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter)


Title: Re: Russia in the news..........
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2007, 06:04:19 AM
Putin assistant: Russia meets all its obligations on Bushehr power plant
Moscow, Oct 25, IRNA

Russia-Bushehr Power Plant-Iran
Russian President Assistant Sergei Perikhodkov underlined Russia would meet all its obligations for construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant and its fuel provision.

He told reporters here Wednesday, "Russia intends to honor all its obligations in the framework of contract with Iran to build Bushehr power plant and supply its fuel."

Responding to a question concerning a claim made by an Israeli daily that the Zionist regime Prime Minister Ehud Ulmert during his visit to Moscow urged Putin to promise not to deliver nuclear fuel to Iran, the Russian official said, "Bushehr nuclear power plant is totally under supervision of International Atomic Energy Agency and there is no contradiction with its regulations and approvals." After Putin returned from Iran, Ulmert went to Moscow and talked with the Russian president on Iran's nuclear program.

Putin assistant: Russia meets all its obligations on Bushehr power plant (http://www2.irna.ir/en/news/view/menu-234/0710256941001347.htm)


Title: Turkey: U.S. Won't Stop Iraq Invasion
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2007, 09:59:22 PM
Turkey: U.S. Won't Stop Iraq Invasion
Prime Minister Says American Objections Will Not Deter Fight Against Kurdish Rebels

ANKARA, Turkey, Oct. 25, 2007

(CBS/AP) Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that U.S. objections would not stop Turkey from crossing into Iraq to eliminate Kurdish rebels. The Turkish military said it had killed more than 30 insurgents who were poised to launch an attack on the border.

President Abdullah Gul said Turkey is running out of patience with the Kurdish separatist attacks. A steady stream of U.S.-made Turkish fighter jets roared into the skies near the Iraqi border, loaded with bombs.

The Turkish military said it had spotted a "group of terrorists" near a military outpost in the province of Semdinli close to the border with Iraq on Tuesday and fired on them with tanks, artillery and other heavy weaponry. It said the group had been preparing for an attack.

In a statement posted on its Web site, the military said the troops kept firing on the group as they escaped toward the Iraqi territory. The report increased the official number of alleged rebels killed since Sunday to at least 64.

The Bush administration is urging Turkey not to launch an incursion that would destabilize Iraq's autonomous Kurdish north, the country's most stable region. But Erdogan said the U.S. desire to protect the north would not hinder Turkey's fight against the rebels from the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, who use mountain bases to rest, train and get supplies in relative safety before returning to Turkey to carry out attacks against government forces in the heavily Kurdish southeast.

"They (the Bush administration) might wish that we do not carry out a cross-border offensive, but we make the decision on what we have to do," Erdogan said during a visit to Romania. "We have taken necessary steps in this struggle so far, and now we are forced to take this step and we will take it."

He said that the U.S. should repay Turkish assistance for the invasion of Afghanistan with support for Turkey's struggle against the Kurdish rebels, who want autonomy in the southeast.

"Right now, as a strategic ally, the USA is in a position to support us. We have supported them in Afghanistan," he said.

The leader of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region, used as a base by the PKK, spoke recently to CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer about the rapidly-building tension along the border with Turkey.

Massoud Barzani, seen at left, said there was no military solution to the decades-old conflict between the PKK and Turkey, and urged both sides to reach a political solution.

Barzani told Palmer that during the past three months, as Turkey stepped up its attacks on the rebels using artillery and airstrikes, "they haven't wounded any of the PKK fighters". The claim contradicted the Turkish military's purported count of 64 militants killed.

"If Turkey comes up with a peaceful solution, and the PKK refuses it, we are ready to do anything against the PKK. But if Turkey is using the PKK as an excuse to fight with us, we are ready to defend ourselves," Barzani said.

His comments revealed the deeply-rooted mistrust between Kurds and Turks that drives the simmering conflict in Kurdish Iraq. The stability of the region, which remains a bastion of relative peace and tranquility in Iraq, would be destroyed by an all-out battle between Turkish forces and the PKK. (Special Report)

Asked whether he would support U.S. military action to crackdown on the PKK, he again said it would bring no positive results. The border region is rugged and mountainous, and the militants know the area well.

"Even if all the U.S. Army goes in, they won't find one PKK guerilla," Barzani said.

An AP Television News cameraman saw two F-4 fighter jets flying low along the Iraqi border on an apparent reconnaissance mission, a day after warplanes reportedly pounded rebel positions along the border. Separately, at least five F-16 warplanes loaded with bombs were seen taking off from a base in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, local reporters said. A batch of F-16s had took off from the same base earlier Thursday as well.

"We are totally determined to take all the necessary steps to end this threat," Gul said in Ankara before a visit by a delegation of high-level Iraqi officials.

Turkey is "expecting them to come with concrete proposals - otherwise, the visit will have no meaning," Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said.

The delegation is headed by Iraqi Defense Minister Abdul-Qader al-Obeidi and will include Minister of State for National Security Sherwan al-Waili, said Yassin Majid, an adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

"The political choice will be the first solution to solve the crisis. The Iraqi government insists on dialogue and cooperation to solve the crisis," Majid said.

Iraq has promised to shut down offices used by rebel bases. But Turkey wants Iraq and U.S. forces to destroy the bases and extradite the rebel leadership to Turkey.

Turkey's top leadership has called for both an incursion and economic measures against northern Iraq if Turkey's demands are not met. The self-ruling Kurdish administration in Iraq's landlocked north relies heavily on Turkish investment and fuel imports.

Turkish troops have killed hundreds of Kurdish rebels since Jan. 1, the state-run Anatolia news agency said, citing military sources. It did not say how many Turkish soldiers have died, but about 30 troops have been killed this month alone.

On Sunday, a rebel ambush near the border killed 12 soldiers. Eight soldiers have been missing since then; the rebels say they are holding them hostage and have distributed photographs and video.

U.S., Turkish and Iraqi officials are working to free the hostages, Matthew Bryza, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, said at a meeting in Ankara of officials from Black Sea nations. He also said Washington has increased the level of cooperation in intelligence sharing with Turkey.

Turkey: U.S. Won't Stop Iraq Invasion (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/10/25/iraq/main3408593.shtml)


Title: Russian bombers neared NATO summit on unusual practice run
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2007, 10:04:25 PM
Russian bombers neared NATO summit on unusual practice run

Published: 10.25.07, 17:02
Israel News

Two Russian strategic bombers on an unusual practice run Thursday neared the Netherlands, where NATO defense ministers were meeting, the Norwegian military said.

Another set of bombers earlier Thursday flew unusually close to far northern Norwegian territory, but remained in international air space, military spokesman Lt. Col. John Espen Lien said. On both occasions, the flights started from the Russian Arctic.

Russian bombers neared NATO summit on unusual practice run (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3464120,00.html)


Title: Attack Iran and you attack Russia
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2007, 10:13:16 PM
Attack Iran and you attack Russia
By Pepe Escobar
Oct 26, 2007

The barely reported highlight of Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Tehran for the Caspian Sea summit last week was a key face-to-face meeting with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

A high-level diplomatic source in Tehran tells Asia Times Online that essentially Putin and the Supreme Leader have agreed on a plan to nullify the George W Bush administration's relentless drive towards launching a preemptive attack, perhaps a tactical nuclearstrike, against Iran. An American attack on Iran will be viewed by Moscow as an attack on Russia.

But then, as if this were not enough of a political bombshell, came the abrupt resignation of Ali Larijani as top Iranian nuclear negotiator. Early this week in Rome, Larijani told the IRNA news agency that "Iran's nuclear policies are stable and will not change with the replacement of the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council [SNSC]." Larijani will keep attending SNSC meetings, now as a representative of the Supreme Leader. He even took time to remind the West that in the Islamic Republic all key decisions regarding the civilian nuclear program are made by the Supreme Leader. Larijani actually went to Rome to meet with the European Union's Javier Solana alongside Iran's new negotiator, Saeed Jalili, a former member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), just like President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

In itself, the Putin-Khamenei meeting was extraordinary, because the Supreme Leader rarely receives foreign statesmen for closed talks, even one as crucial as Putin. The Russian president, according to the diplomatic source, told the Supreme Leader he may hold the ultimate solution regarding the endlessly controversial Iranian nuclear dossier. According to IRNA, the Supreme Leader, after stressing that the Iranian civilian nuclear program will continue unabated, said. "We will ponder your words and proposal."

Larijani himself had told the Iranian media that Putin had a "special plan" and the Supreme Leader observed that the plan was "ponderable".
The problem is that Ahmadinejad publicly denied the Russians had volunteered a new plan.

Iranian hawks close to Ahmadinejad are spinning that Putin's proposal involves Iran temporarily suspending uranium enrichment in exchange for no more United Nations sanctions. That's essentially what International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohammad ElBaradei has been working on all along. The key issue is what - in practical terms - will Iran get in return. Obviously it's not the EU's Solana who will have the answer. But as far as Russia is concerned, strategically nothing will appease it except a political/diplomatic solution for the Iranian nuclear dossier.

US Vice President Dick Cheney - who even Senator Hillary Clinton now refers to as Darth Vader - must be foaming at the mouth; but the fact is that after the Caspian summit, Iran and Russia are officially entangled in a strategic partnership. World War III, for them, is definitely not on the cards.

Let's read from the same script
The apparent internal controversy on how exactly Putin and the Supreme Leader are on the same wavelength belies a serious rift in the higher spheres of the Islamic Republic. The replacement of Larijani, a realist hawk, by Jalili, an unknown quantity with an even more hawkish background, might spell an Ahmadinejad victory. It's not that simple.

The powerful Ali Akbar Velayati, the diplomatic adviser to the Supreme Leader, said he didn't like the replacement one bit. Even worse: regarding the appalling record of the Ahmadinejad presidency when it comes to the economy, all-out criticism is now the norm. Another former nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rowhani, told the Etemad-e Melli newspaper, "The effects of the [UN] sanctions are visible. Our situation gets worse day by day."

Ahmadinejad for the past two months has been placing his former IRGC brothers-in-arms in key posts, like the presidency of the central bank and the Oil, Industry and Interior ministries. Internal repression is rife. On Sunday, hundreds of students protested at the Amir-Kabir University in Tehran, calling for "Death to the dictator".

The wily, ultimate pragmatist Hashemi Rafsanjani, now leader of the Council of Experts and in practice a much more powerful figure than Ahmadinejad, took no time to publicly reflect that "we can't bend people's thoughts with dictatorial regimes".

This week, the Supreme Leader himself intervened, saying, "I approve of this government, but this does not mean that I approve of everything they do." Under the currently explosive circumstances, this also amounts to a political bombshell.

As if anyone needed to be reminded, the buck - or rial - stops with the Supreme Leader, whose last wish on earth is to furnish a pretext for the Bush administration to launch World War III. If Ahmadinejad now deviates from a carefully crafted strategic script, the Supreme Leader may simply get rid of him.

Attack Iran and you attack Russia (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IJ26Ak06.html)


Title: Re: Attack Iran and you attack Russia
Post by: Shammu on October 25, 2007, 10:18:59 PM
Quote
Larijani himself had told the Iranian media that Putin had a "special plan" and the Supreme Leader observed that the plan was "ponderable".[/i][/size]

I think this special plan is what Ezekiel wrote down 2500 yrs ago.

Ezekiel 38:10 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "It will come about on that day, that thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil plan


Title: Putin: US plans reminiscent of Cuban missile crisis
Post by: Shammu on October 26, 2007, 03:03:01 PM
Putin: US plans reminiscent of Cuban missile crisis

Russian president draws parallel between US plans for missile shield in Europe, 1962 missile crisis; however, Putin says tensions much lower this time because US-Russia relations better today

Reuters and AP
Published: 10.26.07, 18:30
Israel News

Russia's President Vladimir Putin drew a parallel on Friday between US plans for a missile shield in Europe and the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, widely regarded as the closest the world came to nuclear war.

"I would remind you how relations were developing in an analogous situation in the middle of the 1960s," he said when asked at a news conference about Washington's plans to station elements of a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe.

"Analogous actions by the Soviet Union when it deployed rockets on Cuba provoked the Cuban missile crisis," Putin said after an EU-Russia summit in Portugal.

"For us, technologically, the situation is very similar. On our borders such threats to our country are being created," the Russian leader said.

However, Putin suggested the tension was much lower than during the Cuban missile crisis because Russian-US relations have moved on since the Cold War. He said he feels the United States is listening to Moscow's concerns about its missile plans and called US President George W. Bush a friend.

"Thank God, we do not have any Cuban missile crisis now and this is above all because of the fundamental way relations between Russia and the United States and Europe have changed," Putin said.

Speaking on another topic, the Russian leader said he would not assume presidential powers if he became prime minister after stepping down as Russian president in the spring.

"If someone thinks that I intend to move, let's say, into the government of the Russian Federation and transfer the fundamental powers there, that's not the case," he said at a news conference at the conclusion of an EU-Russian summit in Portugal.

"There will be no infringement on the powers of the president of the Russian Federation, at least while it depends on me."

Putin: US plans reminiscent of Cuban missile crisis (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3464425,00.html)


Title: Iran Warns: We're Ready for War
Post by: Shammu on October 26, 2007, 03:06:31 PM
Iran Warns: We're Ready for War

October 26, 2007
Telegraph
Duncan Hooper

The head of the Revolutionary Guards, singled out by Washington as a "supporter of terrorism", insisted that his troops are more than ever ready to defend the ideals of the revolution, according to the BBC.

Foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini declared: "The hostile American policies towards the respectable people of Iran and the country's legal institutions are contrary to international law, without value and - as in the past - doomed to failure."

The sanctions, the most severe action taken against Iran since the aftermath of 1979 revolution, are designed to cut international financial support to Teheran's theocratic regime and target the Revolutionary Guards in particular.

Announcing the decision, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice insisted that a "diplomatic solution" to the differences between Iran and the West was still possible but described the actions as part of a decision "to confront the threatening behaviour of the Iranians".

However, the move has deepened the rift within the international community over how to deal with Teheran.

Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated that the action was ill-thought out. "You can run around like mad people wielding razor blades," he said. "But it is not the best way to resolve the problem."

Growing frustration within the Bush administration at the blocking strategy of Moscow and Beijing against any United Nations measures on Iran is becoming increasingly evident.

Nicholas Burns, US Assistant Secretary of State, suggested that Russia and China are propping up President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime.

"The Russian government should stop selling arms to Iran and the Chinese government should stop investing in Iran," he told the BBC.

Iran Warns: We're Ready for War  (http://www.iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news.pl?l=en&y=2007&m=10&d=26&a=2)


Title: Re: Iran Warns: We're Ready for War
Post by: Shammu on October 26, 2007, 03:10:19 PM
FoxNews is calling the drill "provocative" on one of their "news alert".

FoxNews this morning, broadcasted videos of soldiers marching like High School Bands, to form the US Flag, Star of Israel, followed by a Cross turning into a sword, then piercing the Star of David and the US Flag. They also have a swatztika.


Title: Turkey were coming for the Kurds
Post by: Shammu on October 27, 2007, 03:09:09 PM
Turkey were coming for the Kurds

By DAVID RISING, AP
43 minutes ago

ANKARA, Turkey —

Turkey's top military commander promised Saturday to make Iraq-based Kurdish rebels "grieve with an intensity that they cannot imagine," while the prime minister said his nation would fight "when needed," regardless of international pressure.

The military chief, Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, said Friday that Turkey would wait until Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with President Bush in Washington on Nov. 5 before deciding on any cross-border offensive.

But Erdogan said his country could not be pinned down by dates in deciding whether to attack.

"We can't say when or how we will do it, we will just do it," he said.

Clashes between government forces and guerrilla fighters have been escalating since the rebels broke a cease-fire in 2004. Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, fighters have killed at least 42 people in the past month. Those casualties included some 30 Turkish soldiers in two ambushes that were the boldest attacks in years.

"We are determined to make those who cause this sadness grieve with an intensity that they cannot imagine," Buyukanit said.

The bellicose comments come amid an increasing nationalist fervor in Turkey, with the country's red flag with white crescent and star _ and images of modern Turkey's founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk _ draped over scores of balconies, displayed in the backs of cars, and sold by vendors walking the streets.

Thousands took to the streets of several Turkish cities, condemning the PKK and pushing for action.

Some 1,000 people chanted "down with the U.S.A., down with the PKK" outside the U.S. Embassy in Ankara and said they were ready to fight the Kurdish rebels, yelling "we're all soldiers."

Hundreds more people marched in Istanbul, while another 1,500 _ mostly children _ took to the streets of the predominantly Kurdish city of Sirnak, in southeastern Turkey near the Iraqi border.

Military helicopters shuttled more troops in to the mountains near Iraq, while patrols secured roads and checkpoints.

In a show-of-force exercise about 20 miles from the border, near the village of Ikizce, a group of Turkish tanks fired 10 rounds into the mountains toward Iraq.

Elsewhere, Turkish forces shelled two Iraqi areas along the western portion of the 205-mile border, Iraqi border guard officer Col. Hussein Tamr said.

Meanwhile, the PKK indicated it was considering the release of eight Turkish soldiers it captured in an operation on Oct. 21 in response to calls by a lawmaker.

Ahmet Turk, a Kurdish member of Turkey's Parliament, called Wednesday for the soldiers to be released unharmed.

Speaking in the northern Iraqi city of Sulaimaniyah, PKK spokesman Abdul-Rahman Al-Chaderchi said the group was working on a response.

"Within a short time we will end the issue of the captives," Al-Chaderchi told The Associated Press.

A military campaign in Iraq could derail one of the few stable areas in Iraq, and trap the United States in an awkward position between key allies: NATO-member Turkey, the Baghdad government and the self-governing Iraqi Kurds in the north.

But talks between Iraqi and Turkish official on Friday failed to produce any breakthroughs and the Iraqi delegation returned home on Saturday.

Turkey were coming for the Kurds (http://www6.comcast.net/news/articles/general/2007/10/24/Turkey.Iraq/)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 28, 2007, 04:33:49 PM
Olmert: I apologized to Turkish PM for any harm caused

Published: 10.28.07, 15:28
Israel News

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the cabinet ministers that he had apologized to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and to the Turkish people for any harm caused, in response to Ankara's claims that IAF aircraft violated Turkish airspace on the night Israel attacked an alleged Syrian nuclear reactor last month.

"If indeed Israeli aircraft entered Turkey's airspace, we did not mean to do so or to undermine the Turkish sovereignty in any way," the prime minister said.

Olmert: I apologized to Turkish PM for any harm caused (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3464926,00.html)


Title: 'Saudi Arabia is not a passageway for any force in the world'
Post by: Shammu on October 28, 2007, 05:23:39 PM
'Saudi Arabia is not a passageway for any force in the world'   
Kuwait News Agency - 27 October, 2007

Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud said Friday his nation would never become a passageway or shelter for any force in the world.

This came in a press statement after inaugurating his nation's new embassy building at Kuwait's embassies zone.

Asked if Saudi Arabia would allow the US to use any of the Gulf's military bases to attack Iran, Prince Sultan said his country was not "a crossing point or shelter for any force in the world." Commenting on Iran's declaration to attack the Gulf region if assaulted by the US, Prince Sultan said it was not in Iran's interest to harass any side.

As for the issue of the three United Arab Emirates (UAE) islands occupied by Iran, he said this was a complex issue and these islands were Arab no matter what claims were made by Iran or any other side.

He said the new embassy did not only belong to Saudi Arabia as it was both Arab and Islamic, adding that establishing it in Kuwait did not make it an embassy in the traditional sense, but rather an embodiment of Kuwaiti-Saudi diplomatic cooperation.

Regarding Kuwait's care for about 120,000 Saudi nationals residing in it, he believed they were lucky to be in this nation.

On his part, Kuwait's Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah said this building was not only an embassy, but it was also Saudi Arabia's house in Kuwait.

He hoped both nations would always be close through further mutual respect as part of their 200-year historical ties, noting that such relations could not be described with words.

Asked if Prince Sultan's visit included discussing matters such as oil and borders, Sheikh Mohammad said these issues had been taken care of a long time ago a they were jointly settled since 1965.

Regarding extraordinary measures in the face of potential Iranian threats in the region, he believed there were not any Iranian threats against Kuwait, noting that every nation in the world has the right to take self-protection measures.

As for Saudi Ambassador to Kuwait Dr. Abdul-Aziz Al-Fayez, he said the embassy's inauguration was a historical occasion, adding that Prince Sultan's patronage of this occasion came from his deep respect for Kuwait.

This embassy would handle administrative affairs that would be limited in light of distinguished Saudi-Kuwaiti ties and constant consultations between the two nations' leaderships, he said.

Al-Fayez said before heading to Kuwait that he had met with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Prince Sultan and Interior Minister Prince Naif who all stressed serving Saudi citizens residing or visiting Kuwait.

The embassy will do its best in serving all Saudi citizens in accordance with rules and regulations, said Al-Fayez.

The inauguration was also attended by Governor of Riyadh Prince Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, as well as head of the accompanying mission of honor and chairman of Kuwait's National Security Apparatus Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

'Saudi Arabia is not a passageway for any force in the world'     (http://www.gulfinthemedia.com/index.php?id=352889&news_type=Top%E2%8C%A9=en)


Title: Tehran - VP Pleased with Iran-Syria Excellent Ties
Post by: Shammu on October 28, 2007, 05:26:09 PM
VP Pleased with Iran-Syria Excellent Ties

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iran's first Vice-President Parviz Davoudi said his country's relations with Syria are at the highest levels possible, adding that Tehran has not set a limit on the expansion of its relations with Damascus.
   

Speaking during a meeting with Syrian Minister of Construction and Housing Hamud al-Husayn here in Tehran on Friday, Davoudi laid emphasis on the bolstering of joint cooperation by the two countries in the various grounds, specially in the housing sector.

He said Iran and Syria enjoy good potentials and capabilities for cooperating in the housing sector, adding that the two sides can embark on launching construction projects in the third countries through utilizing the said potentials.

Elsewhere, the vice-president noted the two countries' common stances on a large number of regional and international issues, and viewed cooperation among Muslim countries of the region, particularly Iran and Syria, as significant for the promotion of ties and friendly bonds among regional nations.

For his part, the Syrian minister reiterated the political resolve of Damascus to further enhance bilateral ties with Iran.

He also noted the two countries' growing and cordial ties, and stressed that the age-old and friendly relations between Iran and Syria serve the interests of the two nations.

Hamud al-Husayn further pointed to his visits to several construction projects in Tehran, and voiced his country's willingness to use Iran's experiences in the construction and development sector.

VP Pleased with Iran-Syria Excellent Ties (http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8608040398)


Title: Russia begins large-scale military exercises in Far East
Post by: Shammu on October 28, 2007, 05:31:34 PM
Russia begins large-scale military exercises in Far East
28/ 10/ 2007
   
KHABAROVSK, October 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russia began on Sunday large-scale military exercises in the Far East to practice interoperability between troops, the press office of the Far Eastern military district said.

"The strategic command-and-staff military exercises to practice control of force groupings in the Eastern region, East-2007, are being held in accordance with the training plans of the Russian Armed Forces. The exercises will be held from October 28 through November 3," the press office said.

The exercises will be supervised by Yuri Baluyevsky, chief of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff, and will aim to practice measures to localize internal armed conflicts, destroy illegal armed formations and terrorist groups, the press office said.

In addition, the exercises are intended to study the operation of the single system of troops' logistic and technical support in the Far Eastern region, the press office said.

Russia begins large-scale military exercises in Far East (http://en.rian.ru/russia/20071028/85709221.html)


Title: Iranian missiles threaten no country - defense minister
Post by: Shammu on October 28, 2007, 05:33:28 PM
Iranian missiles threaten no country - defense minister
27/ 10/ 2007

TEHRAN, October 27 (RIA Novosti) - Iranian missiles present no threat to any country, the Islamic Republic's defense minister said Saturday.

"Iran's missiles bear no threat to any states, but are designed exclusively for aggressors who violate the border of Iran," local media quoted Mostafa Mohammad Najar as saying.

Najar also said Iran's missile arsenal "serves peace and security in the region", calling "an exaggeration" U.S. administration representatives' statements that Iranian missiles would be able to reach Europe and America by 2015.

The U.S. plans to deploy missile defense elements in Poland and the Czech Republic, saying this is necessary to counter possible threats from "rogue states" such as Iran and North Korea.

Iranian missiles threaten no country - defense minister (http://en.rian.ru/world/20071027/85672129.html)


Title: Jordan's king says ties with China warmer, deeper
Post by: Shammu on October 29, 2007, 12:16:32 AM
Jordan's king says ties with China warmer, deeper
2007-10-28 23:35:30    

    AMMAN, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- Bilateral relations between Jordan and China have gained momentum in recent years, becoming warmer and deeper in almost every aspects, Jordanian King Abdullah II told Xinhua prior to his visit to China.

    In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, King Abdullah said "we in Jordan are very pleased that, in recent years especially, our (Jordan and China) ties have grown warmer and deeper in nearly every field," noting that China is one of Jordan's most important development partners.

    Abdullah will pay a state visit to China from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1,the fifth Beijing tour since he succeeded to the throne in 1999.

    "I think that this visit is going to result in a couple of new agreements that reflect the momentum in our relationship," he said, adding that the Jordan Investment Board and the China Development Bank will respectively open an office in Beijing and Jordan.

    "This reflects the scope of potential for cooperation in many fields, especially among our respective private sectors," he said.

    China and Jordan also share some fundamental values when it comes to issues of security, especially fighting terrorism and concerns about nuclear weapons proliferation, Abdullah said.

    "So I fundamentally believe that there are bridgeheads to a much more comprehensive relationship between Jordan and China and, in fact, a broader strategic relationship between the Arab world and China," he said.

    The king also expressed his appreciation to the changes and pace of progress China has experienced in recent years, saying that the "discipline and focus with which China has pursued development is very much admired in my part of the world."

    The king also disclosed that the two countries will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations during his visit to China, terming it "a milestone year" in the two countries' relationship.

    Commenting on the 2008 Olympic Games, the king said he always looks forward to every Olympic Games as a showcase of athletic excellence, noting that the Beijing Olympics would display more.

    "I believe millions of people everyday read about China's extraordinary growth and progress," he said, adding that "there is a lot of additional excitement around the world just because China is hosting the games."

    He said "for many people, the Olympics are going to be a window into China, its culture and its contemporary achievements in many areas," saying that "I have no doubt that China will make the upcoming games one of the most memorable in history."

    During the interview, the king also expressed his country's optimism towards a U.S.-proposed international conference on the Middle East peace slated for later this year in Annapolis, the United States.

    He said "what we've been hearing back from the U.S., the EU, the(Middle East) Quartet, has given us some reason for optimism."

    "This is especially important right now," he said, for "the peace meeting to be hosted by the U.S. provides an important opportunity" for resolving the chronic Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

    "The international community is working very hard to make sure this happens," Abdullah said, noting that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Quartet's envoy Tony Blair have visited the region respectively in efforts to narrow the differences.

    The king also voiced Jordan's hope that the international peace meeting will deliver concrete results, namely "an agreement in principle on the final status issues that will set the agenda for negotiations and a clear timeframe."

    "All of these will convince the people of the region that the parties are seriously committed to peace and that an end to this conflict is in sight," he said.

    Bilateral ties have been developing smoothly since China and Jordan established diplomatic relations in 1977 and the two sides have enjoyed fruitful cooperation in economy, trade, culture, and tourism.

    China is currently Jordan's third largest foreign trade partner, with bilateral business transactions reaching 1.031 billion U.S. dollars in 2006.

Jordan's king says ties with China warmer, deeper (http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-10/28/content_6967160.htm)


Title: Egypt to Build Nuclear Plants
Post by: Shammu on October 29, 2007, 06:36:55 PM
Egypt to Build Nuclear Plants

By SALLY BUZBEE – 3 hours ago

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) — Egypt's president announced plans Monday to build several nuclear power plants — the latest in a string of ambitious such proposals from moderate Arab countries. The United States immediately welcomed the plan, in a sharp contrast to what it called nuclear "cheating" by Iran.

President Hosni Mubarak said the aim was to diversify Egypt's energy resources and preserve its oil and gas reserves for future generations. In a televised speech, he pledged Egypt would work with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency at all times and would not seek a nuclear bomb.

But Mubarak also made clear there were strategic reasons for the program, calling secure sources of energy "an integral part of Egypt's national security system."

In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the U.S. would not object to the program as long as Egypt adhered to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and International Atomic Energy Agency guidelines.

"The problem has arisen, specifically in the case of Iran, where you have a country that has made certain commitments, and in our view and the shared view of many ... (is) cheating on those obligations," he said.

"For those states who want to pursue peaceful nuclear energy ... that's not a problem for us," McCormack said. "Those are countries that we can work with."

The United States accuses Iran of using the cover of a peaceful nuclear program to secretly work toward building a bomb, an allegation Iran denies. Iran asserts it has a right to peaceful nuclear power and needs it to meet its economy's voracious energy needs.

Iran's program has prompted a slew of Mideast countries to announce plans of their own — in part simply to blunt Tehran's rising regional influence.

"A lot of this is political and strategic," said Jon Wolfsthal, a nonproliferation expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Egypt is highly sensitive to the fact that Iran hopes to open its Bushehr nuclear plant next year, said Mohamed Abdel-Salam, director of the regional security program at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo.

"(Iran's) regional role, as well as Iran's political use of the nuclear issue, have added to Egypt's sensitivity," he said. Other Arab countries' recent nuclear announcements "added extra pressure on Egypt not to delay any more."

Jordan, Turkey and several Gulf Arab countries have announced in recent months that they are interested in developing nuclear power programs, and Yemen's government signed a deal with a U.S. company in September to build civilian nuclear plants over the next 10 years.

Algeria also signed a cooperation accord with the United States on civil nuclear energy in June, and Morocco announced a deal last week under which France will help develop nuclear reactors there.

Despite the declarations of peaceful intentions, there are worries the countries could be taking the first steps toward a dangerous proliferation in the volatile Mideast.

Such fears intensified when Israel launched a Sept. 6 airstrike against Syria, a country allied with Iran that the United States accuses of supporting terrorism.

U.S. officials have been quoted in news reports as saying the strike targeted a North Korean-style structure that could have been used for the start of a nuclear reactor.

Syria denies that it has a secret nuclear program, and says the building was an unused military facility.

Israel has not officially commented on the raid or acknowledged carrying it out.

But Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the U.N. watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, this weekend criticized Israel and the U.S. for failing to provide the IAEA with any evidence backing up the claim of a Syrian nuclear program.

Following a policy it calls "nuclear ambiguity," ;D  Israel has never confirmed nor denied having a nuclear weapons program itself.

Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician at an Israeli nuclear plant, spent 18 years in prison after giving details of the country's atomic program to a British newspaper in 1986. His information led many outside experts to conclude that Israel has the world's sixth-largest stockpile of nuclear weapons.

Egypt first announced a year ago that it was seeking to restart a nuclear program that was publicly shelved in the aftermath of the 1986 accident at the Soviet nuclear plant in Chernobyl.

Mubarak offered no timetable Monday, but a year ago, Hassan Yunis, the minister of electricity and energy, said Egypt could have an operational nuclear power plant within 10 years.

Egypt has conducted nuclear experiments for research purposes on a very small scale for the past four decades, at a reactor northeast of Cairo, but they have not included the key process of uranium enrichment, the IAEA says.

Abdel-Salam said Egypt has extensively studied a site for a plant, at El-Dabaa on the Mediterranean coast west of Alexandria, and predicted a facility could be built within three years.

Outside experts were more conservative, with Wolfsthal saying a decade or longer was more likely. Egypt will almost certainly have to rely on extensive foreign help to build a plant, he said.

Egypt to Build Nuclear Plants (http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jm4ZYXFCe0sYoGZHG1HODletwVvwD8SJ31Q02)


Title: Blotting out the Children of Israel from the Koran
Post by: Shammu on October 29, 2007, 06:41:39 PM
Blotting out the Children of Israel from the Koran

Saudi Arabia has launched a project to create the first official Hebrew edition of the Koran. But translators at the King Fahd Center in Riyadh plan to remove the words “Israelites” and “Children of Israel,” which appear in the original text of the Koran, from the Hebrew version.

The director of the center, Mohammed bin Salim al Awfi, told the London-based Arabic daily As-Sharq al-Awsat that his work often requires adjustments to the literal translation of the text in order to remain faithful to the true meaning of the Koran and to avoid propagating narratives that “cannot be confirmed.” Verses dealing with the “Children of Israel” (the Jews) pose a dilemma to the translators.

“The distortion of the meanings of the Holy Koran began many years ago,” al Awfi said. “The first such distortion took place under the auspices of Peter the Venerable in 1143. Since then, imprecise translations have continued [to be published] until now.”

He said distortions have resulted from ignorance of, hostility towards, and fear of Islam.

These so-called “distortions” amount to a contradiction of Islamic claims that the Koran is infallible. It appears to be a way of disclaiming passages such as the seventh Sura, in which the Holy Land east and west of the Jordan River was promised to the nation of Israel after their slavery in Egypt.

Blotting out the Children of Israel from the Koran (http://www.israeltoday.co.il/default.aspx?tabid=129&view=item&idx=1556)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 29, 2007, 06:44:55 PM
Quote
Blotting out the Children of Israel from the Koran

Anyone who has read the koran knows of it's lies and deceit. That will not change anything. We still know they are God's chosen people.

Quote
These so-called “distortions” amount to a contradiction of Islamic claims that the Koran is infallible. It appears to be a way of disclaiming passages such as the seventh Sura, in which the Holy Land east and west of the Jordan River was promised to the nation of Israel after their slavery in Egypt.

Even the koran says the land belongs to Israel, but they refuse to believe it.


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Soldier4Christ on October 29, 2007, 06:49:38 PM
They refuse to believe it because it is corrupt so they plan on making it even more corrupt in order to meet their agenda, just as the liberals are trying to do to the Constitution here in the U.S.

One imam called the koran a living book. That is the same terminology used by liberals on the Constitution. It simply means we can change it as we want to in order to meet our agenda.



Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 29, 2007, 07:06:32 PM
Quote
One imam called the koran a living book.

A living book........... fit for starting my winter fires............. ;D ;D ;D



Title: Sudan president says will export ethics and morals to Western countries
Post by: Shammu on October 29, 2007, 07:16:00 PM
Sudan president says will export ethics and morals to Western countries
Monday 29 October 2007.

By: Wasil Ali

October 28, 2007 (KHARTOUM) — The Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir lashed out at Western countries and accused them of “lacking ethics and morals”.

“Western nations have no ethics or morals and we will export it to them. These countries have the political, military and economic strength. We are strong with our values and we are waiting on Allah’s promise to obliterate them” Al-Bashir said while addressing crowds at the White Nile state capital.

The Sudanese president accused western countries of wanting to control the oil reserves in Darfur “just like they did in Iraq”.

“We are not afraid of sanctions and war if they are forced on us” he said.

Peace talks to end the 4 year conflict in Darfur has convened in Libya with the absence of the major rebel groups reducing hopes for an end to the fighting.

Al-Bashir sent a message to the rebel groups saying “they [Western countries] don’t like you and they will be of no good to you. They want us to fight each other and it is better that we come together”.

Sudan’s president said his government is prepared to go to war if necessary before saying “we don’t want war”.

Al-Bashir added that his government signed the peace agreement in the South while they were victorious.

“We were victorious [militarily] in Torit, Blue Nile and Nuba mountains” he said.

The southern ex-rebels Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) decided to suspend their participation in the national unity government because of what they describe as the NCP’s failure to fully implement crucial elements of the Comprehensive peace agreement (CPA).

The latest move by the SPLM raised concern that the CPA that ended two decades of civil war between the Arab and Muslim-dominated north and the mainly Christian and animist black southerners may unravel.

The 2005 peace agreement brokered by the US and other western countries ended two decades of civil war between the Arab and Muslim-dominated north and the mainly Christian and animist black southerners.

Sudan president says will export ethics and morals to Western countries (http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?page=imprimable&id_article=24488)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 29, 2007, 07:17:26 PM
Quote
Sudan president says will export ethics and morals to Western countries

I hope they don't hold there breath, waiting on that promise........ ;D ;D ;D ;D


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Soldier4Christ on October 29, 2007, 07:52:36 PM
They gotta have em before they can export em.



Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: HisDaughter on October 29, 2007, 08:02:29 PM
Sudan president says will export ethics and morals to Western countries
Monday 29 October 2007.

“We are strong with our values and we are waiting on Allah’s promise to obliterate them”

Sounds like a school yard fight.  Earlier whats his face was upset because Israel didn't report to him and now it's my dad is bigger than your dad.  Wait until they see just how big our DAD is!  Hallelujah!


Title: Jordan's king urges stronger role for China in Middle East peace process
Post by: Shammu on October 30, 2007, 09:18:23 PM
Jordan's king urges stronger role for China in Middle East peace process

The Associated Press
Monday, October 29, 2007

BEIJING: King Abdullah II of Jordan urged China on Tuesday to take a more active role in helping broker peace in the Middle East.

China's growing influence could speed up a resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict and other lingering regional tensions, Abdullah said at the start of a closed-door meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

He said he hoped for a stronger Chinese role because "you are always considered an honest broker and are very well-respected in our part of the world."

Abdullah's remarks echoed a speech he gave earlier in the day at the elite Peking University. He told students that "China's role is destined to increase in the future" because it is a permanent veto-holding member of the U.N. Security Council and has good relations with all parties in the Mideast.

Hu praised the China-Jordan relationship as being "in very good shape."

"I will be very happy to have an in-depth exchange of views with you on bilateral relations and regional and international issues of common interest," he said after a welcoming ceremony at the cavernous Great Hall of the People, the seat of China's legislature.

Following the meeting, Chinese and Jordanian officials signed agreements covering economic cooperation, affordable housing, nuclear energy, cultural exchanges, and investment. No details were given.

The visit from Abdullah marked the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the countries.

China maintains good relations with Israel and the Arab states, and in recent years has shown a willingness to get more involved in resolving regional conflicts. China's special envoy to the Middle East has made repeated trips for consultations with leaders in the region, but with little effect so far on events there.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said at a regular briefing Tuesday that China has a relationship of "friendly cooperation" with Jordan.

"We hope by this visit the cooperation ... can be enhanced," Liu said.

Abdullah has voiced support for a U.S.-sponsored peace conference scheduled for next month or December, maintaining that the only way for Israel to enjoy stability and security is to establish a Palestinian state living in peace alongside it.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has poured cold water on the proposed conference, however, saying that would not result in a final deal with the Palestinians and may not take place at all.

Abdullah, whose nation signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, was visiting Beijing at the same time as Israeli Foreign Ministry Tzipi Livni, although there were no indications that the two had met.

In a speech Monday, Livni pushed China to back new sanctions against Iran to convince its hardline Islamic regime to drop its nuclear program. She was due to hold talks with Premier Wen Jiabao and her Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi before meeting reporters later on Tuesday.

Israel maintains that Iran is a threat to its existence and has hinted it could strike militarily if the international community allows Iran to develop nuclear arms.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who insists his country's nuclear ambitions are peaceful, has repeatedly called for Israel's destruction.

China backed two rounds of U.N. sanctions, but has since joined fellow permanent Security Council member Russia, in opposing new measures.

Jordan's king urges stronger role for China in Middle East peace process (http://www.iht.com/bin/printfriendly.php?id=8107006)


Title: Russian envoy on surprise visit to Iran
Post by: Shammu on October 30, 2007, 09:21:15 PM
Russian envoy on surprise visit to Iran
By Nazila Fathi
Tuesday, October 30, 2007

TEHRAN: The Russian foreign minister will make a surprise visit to Iran Tuesday to meet with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and discuss Iran's nuclear program, Russian and Iranian news agencies reported.

Sergey Lavrov, who was on a visit in Kazakhstan in Central Asia, said he would make a working visit to Iran to meet Ahmadinejad in Tehran at 4 p.m. local time, the Interfax news agency reported.

In Moscow, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mikhail Kamynin, said Lavrov would discuss Iran's nuclear activities as well as bilateral ties, Interfax said.

"A number of issues connected to the situation around Iran's nuclear program and a number of questions of bilateral questions will be discussed," the news agency reported.

Lavrov's visit comes two weeks after the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, made a landmark trip to Iran, the first Kremlin leader to travel there since 1943. He has insisted on a diplomatic solution to the international standoff over Iran's nuclear program.

After Putin's visit, Iran's former chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, said the Russian president had delivered a proposal to Iran's supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the last word on state matters.

Neither the Iranians nor the Russians would disclose any details, but Larijani said it involved a new way to help resolve the nuclear standoff and the Iranian side was studying it.

State-run television and news agencies quoted Ayatollah Khamenei at the time as telling Putin, "We will think about what you said and about your proposal," even as he added that Iran was "determined to provide our country's need for nuclear energy."

Larijani resigned over differences with Ahmadinejad last week.

Since then, the United States announced new unilateral sanctions on Iran, accusing its Revolutionary Guards of illegally spreading weapons of mass destruction.

Putin criticized the move. "Why worsen the situation by threatening sanctions and bring it to a dead end?" he asked, news agencies quoted him a saying.

Russian envoy on surprise visit to Iran (http://www.iht.com/bin/printfriendly.php?id=8113321)


Title: Turkey pounds rebels, warns US over ties
Post by: Shammu on October 30, 2007, 09:28:39 PM
Turkey pounds rebels, warns US over ties

by Hande Culpan Tue Oct 30, 2:11 PM ET

SIRNAK, Turkey (AFP) - The Turkish army pounded Kurdish rebels near the Iraqi border Tuesday as Ankara warned that ties with Washington would suffer as long as the separatists in northern Iraq are not reined in.

Cobra helicopters fired missiles at rebel positions on the Cudi mountains in Sirnak province, which borders Iraq. Three soldiers have been killed in the clashes, officials said.

Smoke from artillery fire could be seen above the rugged hills while at least one Sikorsky transport helicopter dropped off troops and a convoy of military trucks headed for the Iraqi border.

Amid a mounting campaign, about 100 members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) were surrounded Monday in neighbouring Hakkari province after the army blocked their escape routes to Iraq.

One soldier was killed at the weekend during a crackdown on rebels in Tunceli province to the north. Unconfirmed media reports said 15 PKK militants were killed in the clashes.

In Ankara, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned the United States that its failure to help end the PKK safe haven in northern Iraq would harm the relationship between the two long-standing NATO allies.

Scheduled to meet US President George W. Bush at the White House on November 5, Erdogan called for "concrete, urgent steps" against the PKK, which Washington, like most of the international community, considers a terrorist group.

"The problem of the PKK terrorist organisation is a sincerity test for everybody," Erdogan said. "I will tell him (Bush) that this test carries great importance for the region and in determining the fate of our future relations."

He said he would discuss "the groups on which the terrorist organisation relies" -- an apparent reference to the Iraqi Kurds, who administer northern Iraq and are accused by Ankara of tolerating and even supporting the PKK.

"Our talks (with Bush) will make them better understand that Turkey's patience has run out and that we are determined to unhesitatingly take all the steps to finish off terrorism," he said.

In a separate diplomatic initiative, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced he would travel to Turkey this weekend to attend a ministerial meeting of countries neighboring Iraq. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is to attend the Istanbul meeting which is likely to be overshadowed by the Turkish threats of military action.

The Turkish army has reportedly massed about 100,000 troops along the Iraqi border after parliament gave approval for a military incursion into northern Iraq to root out the militants.

Tensions at the frontier increased after October 21 when PKK rebels, who Turkey says infiltrated from northern Iraq, ambushed a military unit and killed 12 soldiers. Eight troops were captured.

The army has confirmed killing 65 rebels since then.

The crisis will enter a crucial diplomatic stage Friday when Rice meets Turkish leaders in Ankara before Erdogan's Washington visit.

She will hold talks with Erdogan, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and President Abdullah Gul, a US embassy official said.

The State Department had initially said she would be in Ankara Thursday.

Rice will then participate in the conference on Iraq in Istanbul on Friday evening and Saturday, which Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari will also attend.

Washington, strongly opposed to Turkish military action in northern Iraq, is stuck in an awkward position between two key allies -- NATO member Turkey and the Iraqi Kurds.

Defying Turkish pressure, Massud Barzani, head of the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq, said he would take no "orders" from Ankara to crack down on the PKK bases.

"I am a friend of Turkey but I am not taking orders from Turkey or anyone else," Barzani told Turkey's Milliyet newspaper in an interview published Tuesday.

He urged the PKK to lay down arms and called on Turkey to consider a political solution to the Kurdish problem, including an amnesty for rebels.

Turkey pounds rebels, warns US over ties (http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071030/wl_afp/turkeykurdsunrest;_ylt=AmvY6LhZEf8BT02w64Di5bys0NUE)


Title: Turkey: Fighting with Kurds will surge
Post by: Shammu on October 30, 2007, 09:30:47 PM
Turkey: Fighting with Kurds will surge

By SUZAN FRASER, Associated Press Writer Tue Oct 30, 5:04 PM ET

ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey's prime minister said Tuesday increased military action against separatist Kurdish rebels was "unavoidable" and pressed the United States for a crackdown on guerrilla bases in northern Iraq.

Turkish helicopters pounded rebel positions near the border with rockets for a second day and Turkey brought in troops by the truckload in an operation against mountainside emplacements.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told members of his party in parliament "it is now unavoidable that Turkey will have to go through a more intensive military process."

But he also suggested he was not seeking an immediate cross-border offensive against the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, holed up in bases in northern Iraq. "The responsibility of leadership does not allow for narrow mindedness, haste or heroism," he said.

"We must remember that Turkey is part of this world and diplomacy has certain requirements," Erdogan added, suggesting the world expected Turkey to exhaust all nonmilitary options.

Erdogan flies to Washington on Nov. 5 for talks with President Bush that could be key to whether Turkey carries out its threat of a major military incursion. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is also expected in Turkey later this week.

"We will openly express that we expect urgent steps from the United States, which is our strategic partner and ally and has a special responsibility regarding Iraq," Erdogan said.

The United States, Iraq and other countries have been calling on Turkey to refrain from a cross-border campaign, which could throw one of the few stable areas in Iraq into chaos. A Turkish incursion would also put the United States in an awkward position with key allies: NATO-member Turkey, the Baghdad government and the self-governing Iraqi Kurds in the north.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said Bush's discussions with Erdogan would include "the fight against terrorism — in particular our joint efforts to counter the PKK."

Turkish Cobra attack helicopters blasted suspected PKK targets in the Mount Cudi area, near the southeastern border with Iraq for a second day, trying to hunt down some 100 rebels believed to be hiding in mountainside caves, the private Dogan news agency reported.

The fighting has claimed the lives of three Turkish soldiers and six guerrillas, local news reports said.

Transport helicopters flew in commando units to block possible rebel escape routes on Cudi, Dogan reported.

An AP Television News cameraman said attack helicopters escorted four Black Hawk helicopters on Cudi, as they airlifted soldiers to the mountain and picked others up. Smoke could be seen rising from areas that had been hit in the attacks.

Dogan reported a 100-vehicle military convoy traveling from Cizre toward the border.

A Kurdish political party warned that the fighting threatened to increase animosity between the Turkish and Kurdish populations in Turkey.

Turkey is "moving toward a dangerous war in our region which will seriously damage historical relations between Turks and Kurds," Nurettin Demirtas, a senior party official, told reporters.

Erdogan's Cabinet scheduled a meeting for Wednesday to discuss possible economic measures against groups supporting the Kurdish rebels.

Deputy Prime Minister Hayati Yazici said Turkey was considering a series of sanctions against the self-governing Kurdish administration in Iraq's north.

Yazici would not give any details, but the Iraqi region is heavily reliant on Turkish electricity and food imports, as well as Turkish investment in construction. There has been talk of shutting down the Habur border crossing — the only vehicular route into Iraq from Turkey.

Jamal Abdullah, a spokesman for the Iraqi Kurd regional government, complained that economic sanctions "would represent a collective punishment against Kurdistan's people."

He warned that Turkey and the U.S. Army also would suffer if the border crossing was closed. About 70 percent of U.S. air cargo headed for Iraq goes through Turkey, as does about one-third of the fuel used by the U.S. military there.

Massoud Barzani, the leader of Iraq's Kurdish region, called for a peaceful solution to the crisis.

"We believe that military action is not the solution. We are not part of this problem and we will not allow anyone to drag us into a war that is not our war," Barzani said at a news conference after a meeting of the regional parliament in Irbil.

At least 46 people have been killed by the PKK in Turkey over the past month, according to government and media reports. Those included at least 30 Turkish soldiers killed in two ambushes that were the boldest attacks in years and increased domestic pressure on Erdogan to act.

Turkey: Fighting with Kurds will surge (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071030/ap_on_re_mi_ea/turkey_iraq_91;_ylt=AkLfGq7OZY7JtDx_jH7t7cCROrgF)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 30, 2007, 09:32:01 PM
Some of these headlines are beginning to make me hungry.

Im waiting for an article that says "Turkey gobbles Kurds. Unbuttons Belt. Takes Nap" ;D ;D ;D


Title: Muslim Brotherhood Urges Jordan to Dissolve Treaty with Israel
Post by: Shammu on October 31, 2007, 01:54:58 PM
Muslim Brotherhood Urges Jordan to Dissolve Treaty with Israel
 
by Hana Levi Julian

(IsraelNN.com) The Islamist organization that is outlawed in Egypt but tolerated in Jordan has called for the dissolution of the treaty signed 13 years ago between the Hashemite Kingdom and Israel.

In a statement released Tuesday, the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood organization, blamed some of Jordan's problems on the October, 1994 peace agreement.

"Since the signing of the peace treaty with Israel, freedoms and the rights of citizens have retreated in an unprecedented way. Political and economic reforms have stopped," said the statement, according to the AFP news agency.

The group also urged the Jordanian government to boycott the upcoming U.S.-sponsored Middle East Summit, to be held before the end of the year in Annapolis, Maryland.

"We call on Jordan and other Arab and Muslim countries to boycott the autumn meeting and not be involved in a conspiracy of normalization [with Israel]," said the statement.

Islamist Extremist Group is Tolerated in Jordan
The Muslim Brotherhood is the largest political opposition organization in a number of Arab nations, including Egypt, where it has been outlawed and where its members are often arrested prior to elections. In Kuwait, the group opposes allowing women to vote.

The organization is tolerated in Jordan where the Islamic Action Front, which currently holds 17 of the 110 seats in the Jordanian parliament, plans to run 22 candidates in next month's elections. Five of its members were expelled for running in parliamentary elections as independents without the permission of the party.

Sayyid Qutb, the late ideological father of the Muslim Brotherhood, called for the worldwide re-establishment of Sharia (Islamic religious law) and the use of "physical power and Jihad to abolish the organizations and authorities of the Jahili (pagan) system." The group believes all Islamic governments must eventually be united under a global Caliphate.

Muslim Brotherhood Urges Jordan to Dissolve Treaty with Israel (http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/124089)


Title: Israel to UN: Hezbollah has tripled its land-to-sea missile arsenal
Post by: Shammu on October 31, 2007, 01:59:30 PM
Israel to UN: Hezbollah has tripled its land-to-sea missile arsenal
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent

Hezbollah has tripled its arsenal of C-802 land-to-sea missiles and has rehabilitated its military strength north of the Litani River, according to information handed over by Israel to the United Nations.

The information was included in a report compiled by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701, which brought the Second Lebanon War to an end.

During the war, a C-802 missile struck the INS Hanit off the Lebanese coast, killing four naval servicemen.

Ban said in the report that Israel had transferred a great deal of information demonstrating that Hezbollah has rehabilitated its military strength north of the Litani River.

The report states that, according to Israel, Hezbollah's long-range missile teams are deployed north of the river, and that "most of the new missiles include [the Iranian-made] Zelzal and Fajr missiles that have a range of over 250 kilometers and are capable of hitting areas south of Tel Aviv."

The report added that Israel says Hezbollah has established an anti-aircraft unit armed with surface-to-air missiles.

Ban said Israel has also informed the UN of an increase in Hezbollah activity south of the Litani, but stressed that Israel refused to provided intelligence information on the matter due to the sensitive nature of the sources.

The report stated that Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah's recent speeches lend credence to Israel's claims, but said senior Hezbollah officials have told the UN that "Nasrallah's comments were intended solely to deter possible aggression and not in order to threaten Israel."

The report was handed over to Security Council member states before being made public Wednesday.

According to the report, Israel and Lebanon have begun marking a 6-kilometer section of the "Blue Line" between Kibbutz Hanita and Alma ash-Shab with barrels, in a process mediated by the UN.

According to the report, the first barrel was placed on September 26, and the sides are conducting measurements in order to continue the process.

The Blue Line is the international border between Israel and Lebanon, determined following Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000.

The border fence, however, follows the "Purple Line," a short distance inside Israel, allowing the Israel Defense Forces to exercise operational control over both sides of the fence.

Ban reported, however, that there has been no progress regarding the divided Israeli Arab town of Ghajar, which straddles the border, and that talks on security arrangements in the area have reached a dead end.

In addition, Ban criticized Israel in the report for failing to provide complete information on the location of cluster bombs fired during the war, and has yet to end Israel Air Force overflights in Lebanese airspace.

The report also includes the previously unreleased findings of a UN mapping expert responsible for charging the disputed Shaba Farms area.

The Second Lebanon War erupted July 12, 2006 after Hezbollah abducted Israel Defense Forces soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev and killed three others in a cross-border raid.

Israel to UN: Hezbollah has tripled its land-to-sea missile arsenal (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/918937.html)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on October 31, 2007, 02:04:05 PM
Revealing such Intelligence Report to the UN is useless as they are impotent. Their own troops are NOT disarmining Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Through hezbollah, ayatollahist Iran has already invaded Lebanon. And Iran is doing the same thing in Hamastan and Fatahan. They have already dominated Shiitan in Iraq. Meanwhile, they are feverishly working on their nukes so that they think they can vaporize Israel and terrorize the world. Their aim is world domination through radicalization of the islamist-jihadists in the region and the world.


Title: IAF flyovers put Lebanon on high alert
Post by: Shammu on November 02, 2007, 10:56:21 AM
IAF flyovers put Lebanon on high alert
JPost.com Staff
THE JERUSALEM POST
Nov. 2, 2007

The Lebanese army has raised its level of alert over the past 24 hours due to abnormal IAF activity over its territory, Israel Radio quoted Arab media as saying Friday.

According to the reports, Israeli aircraft carried out dummy runs over southern Lebanon and the Lebanese army fired at them in response.

The reports further stated that the UN had reinforced peacekeeper forces along the border and had appealed to Israel for calm.

On Thursday, it was reported that Lebanon had accused Israel of repeatedly violating the terms of UN resolution 1701 - the cease-fire agreement put in place following last summer's Second Lebanon War.

In a document sent to the UN, the Lebanese government claimed that in the past four months the IAF had flown more than 290 flyovers across the Lebanese border, while IDF ground forces had committed 52 violations on land.

Israel has admitted to the flyover violations, but said their purpose was to prevent the smuggling of weapons to Hizbullah along the Syrian border - also a violation of 1701.

"Hizbullah's weapons kill, the flights don't kill anyone," an IDF official told Army Radio on Thursday.

In addition, Lebanon says that over one million cluster bombs fired by Israel during the war were still unexploded and were endangering human life. According to the document, the Lebanese government is demanding that Israel disclose - with maps - which areas where specifically targeted with cluster bombs.

Finally, Israel was accused of not making a full withdrawal from the northern section of the village of Ghajar. In June, The Jerusalem Post reported that the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) were supposed to arrange security in the northern side of the village - which was to allow for the final withdrawal of IDF troops from the village. According to senior defense officials, it was Lebanon's refusal to sign an agreement brokered by UNIFIL that delayed the final withdrawal of IDF troops, saying that days before the deal was supposed to be signed the LAF pulled out of the agreement.

Since the cease-fire that ended last summer's war went into effect, UNIFIL and the Lebanese government have repeatedly called for an Israeli withdrawal, claiming that the IDF presence in the Alawite Muslim village was a severe violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701. Some 400 families, all holders of Israeli blue identity cards, live in the northern section of the village.

IAF flyovers put Lebanon on high alert (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1192380718469&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter)


Title: Russia raps Saudi atomic fuel proposal for Iran
Post by: Shammu on November 02, 2007, 11:02:57 AM
Russia raps Saudi atomic fuel proposal for Iran
Fri Nov 2, 2007 8:35am EDT

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's nuclear chief on Friday said only full nuclear powers should create centers for enriching uranium, in a swipe at a Saudi proposal for Arab states to help supply Iran with enriched uranium.

U.S.-allied Gulf Arab states are ready to set up a body to provide enriched uranium to Iran in a bid to defuse Tehran's stand-off with the West over its nuclear plan, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister told a magazine this week.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries -- Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates -- have proposed creating a Middle East consortium for users of enriched uranium, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told the Middle East Economic Digest (MEED).

When asked about the report, Russia's nuclear energy agency chief Sergei Kiriyenko said Russia had received no official information about the proposal, RIA news agency reported.

"In our opinion there should be many such centers but it is obvious that such centers must be in countries which have the full technology for enrichment (of uranium) so that this technology doesn't spread around the world," Kiriyenko said.

Prince Saud said Iran was considering the offer. He said the enrichment plant should be in a neutral country, such as Switzerland.

In late 2005 Russia offered to create a joint centre with Iran to enrich uranium on Russian territory, but Iran sent conflicting signals about its intentions. Later, Tehran said it would produce nuclear fuel inside Iran.

The Kremlin says that Iran should not be pushed into a corner and opposes tougher sanctions but senior officials say Russia has no interest in seeing Iran get nuclear weapons.

Russia, which says there is no evidence that Tehran is trying to develop a nuclear bomb, fears that a U.S. invasion of Iran could provoke a wider conflict in the Middle East.

Russia raps Saudi atomic fuel proposal for Iran (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL0214924020071102)


Title: Iran warns Europe against sanctions
Post by: Shammu on November 02, 2007, 11:17:43 AM
Iran warns Europe against sanctions
Associated Press
THE JERUSALEM POST
Nov. 1, 2007

Hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday warned European countries not to follow the US lead in imposing unilateral sanctions against his country, state radio reported.

Ahmadinejad threatened unspecified retaliation by Iran if Europe followed in the footsteps of the United States, which last week announced sanctions against the Islamic state.

"If they plan to cooperate with the enemy of the Iranian nation, we cannot interpret this as a friendly behavior. We will show reaction," the radio quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

Meanwhile, US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns told reporters that Washington wants a third UN Security Council sanctions resolution passed as soon as possible.

He also said the US wants the European Union to push forward with further sanctions against Iran, and urged Iran's major trading partners to cut back business with Teheran to send a strong message.

"Our view is that all of that should happen as soon as possible so that Iran gets the message that as long as it's defying the Security Council, which it currently is, and not cooperating fully with the IAEA ... then there's going to be a price to what Iran does," he said. "And that price will be increased isolation and heightened sanctions."

The US measure bans dealings with a host of companies connected to Iran's Revolutionary Guards, an elite force that has extensive business holdings in oil, construction and other sectors.

It also prohibits American companies from working with the Guards-linked Iranian companies and puts pressure on international firms and banks not to deal with them as well.

Ahmadinejad spoke after a ceremony inaugurating a petrochemical complex in the southern port of Asalouyeh, some 1,500 kilometers south of the capital, Teheran.

"You, Europeans, know well what will happen in the economic sphere if Iran takes a serious move in this matter," the Iranian leader said.

IRNA, the state official news agency, also quoted Ahmdinejad as saying: "You, Europe, need us more" - a veiled reference to business ties between Teheran and European nations.

According to official statistics Europe is Iran's largest trading partner, with over 40 percent of Iran's imports coming from European Union countries. Also, many European energy companies have been working in Iran's attractive energy market, which is the second oil producer among OPEC countries.

Ahmadinejad also spoke against a new, third round of UN sanctions, saying that "enemies of Iran should know that the era of unanimous (UN) resolutions against the Iranian nation has passed."

Iran is counting on international support from Russia and China - permanent UN Security Council members - to prevent harsher UN sanctions. The UN has imposed two rounds of limited sanctions for Iran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, a process which can be used for both nuclear fuel for electricity power plant and weapon.

Russia and China have resisted a third round of sanctions.

IRNA said Ahmadinejad called sanctions against his country a "ridiculous story."

Burns noted that Iran did not accept an offer last week from EU's Javier Solana to negotiate, saying Teheran had "chosen the route of sanctions."

"We hope that Iran will reconsider, suspend its enrichment program and come to negotiations with the United States and with the other countries" on the Security Council, Burns said.

"That offer is on the table but Iran continues to refuse it," he said.

Burns, in Vienna for two days, is to meet Thursday with Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Burns said it was important for the UN Security Council and the Vienna-based IAEA to be "tied together."

"Dr. ElBaradei has made statements in the past that would seem to indicate that sanctions might not work or that enrichment is not going to be suspended and obviously as co-authors of Security Council resolutions, we take some issue with that," Burns said.

"I think the real problem here is not Dr. ElBaradei or the United States - it's Iran," Burns said.

Iran warns Europe against sanctions (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1192380710897&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter)


Title: Gulf Arabs To Offer Uranium To Iran
Post by: Shammu on November 02, 2007, 11:22:21 AM
Gulf Arabs To Offer Uranium To Iran

Gulf states are willing to set up a body to provide enriched uranium to Iran, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister is reported to have said.

Prince Saud al-Faisal told the Middle East Economic Digest (MEED) the plan could defuse Tehran's stand-off with the West over its nuclear programme.

The prince was quoted as saying that Iran was considering the Gulf states' offer, but the US was not involved.

The BBC's Paul Reynolds says it is doubtful the plan will go anywhere.

It is similar to one proposed by Russia in December 2005, which led to initially positive talks between Moscow and Tehran, but in the end led nowhere, says our world affairs correspondent.

'An interesting idea'

Prince Saud said the offer came from the six states that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

"We have proposed a solution, which is to create a consortium for all users of enriched uranium in the Middle East," he was quoted as saying.

"[We will] do it in a collective manner through a consortium that will distribute according to needs, give each plant its own necessary amount, and ensure no use of this enriched uranium for atomic weapons."

He outlined the plan in an interview for the MEED during Saudi King Abdullah's state visit to London.

Prince Saud said the GCC had developed the proposal to stave off a nuclear arms race in the Gulf.

Iran says its nuclear programme is for civilian energy purposes, but the US claims Tehran is developing nuclear weapons.

Prince Saud is reported to have said: "They [the Iranians] have responded that it is an interesting idea and they will come back to us.

"The US is not involved, but I don't think it would be hostile to this, and it would resolve a main area of tension between the West and Iran."

The UK foreign office said the five permanent UN Security Council members - the US, China, Russia, France and Britain - along with Germany would meet on Friday in London to discuss the next step on Iran's nuclear programme.

Gulf Arabs To offer Uranium To Iran (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7073699.stm)


Title: Re: Gulf Arabs To offer Uranium To Iran
Post by: Shammu on November 02, 2007, 11:24:47 AM
Quote
Gulf Arabs To offer Uranium To Iran

Well with friends like this, who needs enemies?? (http://bestsmileys.com/hitting/25.gif)


Title: Iran bank chief warns Ahmadinejad on money supply
Post by: Shammu on November 02, 2007, 11:35:57 AM
Iran bank chief warns Ahmadinejad on money supply
Thu. 01 Nov 2007

TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran's new central bank governor has warned the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over money supply growth, urging measures to prevent a further rise in inflation, the press reported Thursday.

"The government, the private sector and anyone who cares about the nation's economy should prevent the increase of liquidity," said Tahmasb Mazaheri, quoted by most moderate Iranian newspapers.

"It has an inflationary impact and it will lead to higher prices," said Mazaheri, who was appointed in September as part of a wide-ranging economic reshuffle by Ahmadinejad.

At the end of May 2007, the central bank said money supply had grown by a colossal year-on-year rate of 39.4 percent.

Mazaheri said money supply in Iran is currently running at the equivalent of 140 billion dollars, double the average for the year 2005-2006 which was 70 billion dollars.

He complained that the central bank in the past had dipped into its reserves to offer credit lines to Iranian banks -- causing liquidity to rocket higher -- and in future would be stricter with allocating loans.

"The banks should not rely on the central bank when it comes to handing out credits since last year it caused the increase in the liquidity."

Mazaheri also cautioned: "The decrease in the liquidity will not happen overnight."

The huge growth in money supply has added to fears over prices in the Islamic republic which have surged in recent weeks, especially for basic foodstuffs and services, hitting the poor hardest.

Iran's year-on-year inflation is currently 15.8 percent, according to the central bank. However, many economists dispute this and Iranian parliamentary research has estimated that inflation this year will be 22.4 percent.

Many economists in Iran have accused Ahmadinejad of stoking inflation problems by ploughing windfall revenues from high oil prices into local infrastructure projects promised on provincial visits.

But the government insists it is merely fulfilling Ahmadinejad's election promises of making ordinary people feel the benefits of oil wealth and has inflation under control.

Iran bank chief warns Ahmadinejad on money supply (http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=13005)


Title: Jordan's king holds Middle East talks with Pakistan
Post by: Shammu on November 02, 2007, 11:45:20 AM
Jordan's king holds Middle East talks with Pakistan

23 hours ago

ISLAMABAD (AFP) — Jordan's King Abdullah II and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf held talks on the situation in the Middle East, officials said Thursday.

The Jordanian monarch, who arrived here Thursday on a day-long visit from China, also discussed bilateral ties between the two Muslim countries, a foreign ministry statement said.

The two leaders "held in-depth discussions on the situation in the Middle East... including efforts to revive the Middle East peace process by the Arab League and Quartet members," the statement added.

The two sides expressed concern over the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, which is plagued by sectarian and ethnic divides and blighted by attacks on holy shrines.

"These have ominous implications for the long-term political and strategic security and stability of the country," the statement said.

Musharraf, a key US ally, also briefed Abdullah on Pakistan's efforts in the fight against terrorism and extremists.

Jordan's state-run Petra news agency quoted the king as telling Musharraf: "Jordan supports Pakistan's efforts to fight terror, which targets the country's security and stability."

In China, Abdullah urged Beijing to play a greater role in the Middle East and met President Hu Jintao.

Musharraf visited Jordan in January for talks with Abdullah on ways to bolster bilateral ties and to review efforts to restore peace and stability in the Middle East.

In July, Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood condemned the Pakistani army's siege and storming of the Al-Qaeda-linked Red Mosque in Islamabad, an operation that cost more than 100 lives.

Jordan's king holds Middle East talks with Pakistan (http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5h1Ynt8vlhW_VNVc8UXrlUz2Y0RCg)


Title: Abbas holds rare meeting with Hamas
Post by: Shammu on November 02, 2007, 11:55:40 AM
Abbas holds rare meeting with Hamas

By DALIA NAMMARI, Associated Press Writer 2 hours, 28 minutes ago

RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with members of Hamas on Friday for the first time since the militant group ousted his forces and took over the Gaza Strip in June.

Abbas' aides described the meeting with four West Bank-based Hamas members as an informal gathering after Friday prayers at Abbas' presidential compound, saying it was not an official contact between the two movements. Abbas has repeatedly said he would have no contact with Hamas until it cedes power in Gaza.

But one of the Hamas men, Hussein Abu Quaik, said Abbas invited them to prayers.

"Everybody in Hamas knew about this," Abu Quaik said. "This will contribute to strengthening our relationship, and lay the basis for national unity, God willing."

Nasser al-Shaer, who was deputy prime minister in the Hamas-led unity government that broke apart after the Gaza takeover, said the group discussed "internal affairs in an open atmosphere" with Abbas, but added that the visit was "not a meeting between Hamas and the President."

For the Hamas men, Friday's meeting appeared to be an attempt to distance themselves from their movement's members in Gaza, where a Hamas leader said this week that Abbas would soon be deposed and that the Islamic group would take over the West Bank as it did Gaza.

Israeli government spokesman David Baker said Israel objected to any contacts with Hamas.

"It's Israel's position that Hamas should be sidelined and kept out of the game until it accepts the conditions placed upon it by the international community," Baker said. Those conditions are recognizing Israel, renouncing violence, and agreeing to respect past peace agreements. Hamas has refused to meet any of the conditions.

Israel has said that if Abbas renews ties with the Islamic group — which remains openly committed to Israel's destruction — it will break off peace talks with the Palestinians.

Ahmed Abdel Rahman, an Abbas adviser, denied the Hamas men had been invited by Abbas, and reiterated that Abbas would resume contacts with Hamas only if it apologized for the Gaza takeover and withdrew from security installations there.

The Hamas men came to express their "rejection" of their counterparts in Gaza, Abdel Rahman said.

"The four members expressed their commitment to the legitimacy and the authority of Abbas ... and reiterated their respect for law and order," he said.

Hamas members in the West Bank have been increasingly cowed since their movement's June takeover in Gaza. After his forces were routed in Gaza, Abbas ordered a clampdown on Hamas in the West Bank, arresting hundreds of activists, closing Hamas-linked charities and issuing an anti-money laundering decree meant to dry up donations to the group.

Abbas holds rare meeting with Hamas (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071102/ap_on_re_mi_ea/palestinians_hamas)


Title: Why Turks no longer love the U.S.
Post by: Shammu on November 02, 2007, 11:59:16 AM
Why Turks no longer love the U.S.

By Yigal Schleifer Thu Nov 1, 4:00 AM ET

Istanbul, Turkey - The US has hailed Turkey as moderate Islamic democracy, the kind it would like to see develop elsewhere. It's a key NATO ally, with US aircraft stationed here.

Yet, as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrives in Ankara Friday to defuse tensions over Kurdish rebels operating in Iraq, she faces a nation that is now the most anti-American in the world, according to one survey. In the meetings with Ms. Rice, and next Monday in Washington with President Bush, Turkey's prime minister is expected to press the US to take steps against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels in Iraq.

That might help soften attitudes here toward the US. But given the depth of anti-American feeling that has developed in just the past few years, few expect Turkish public opinion to turn quickly.

In a recent global survey by the Pew Research Center, only 9 percent of Turks held a favorable view of the United States (down from 52 percent in 2000), a figure that placed Turkey at the rock bottom of the 46 countries surveyed.

"People have become accustomed to this plot line of America being a threat to Turkish national security. This was inconceivable five years ago, but now it has come to be the prevailing view," says Ihsan Dagi, a professor of international relations at Ankara's Middle East Technical University.

That perception has been reinforced in the past two years by some of Turkey's most popular books and films which portray the US and Turkey at odds – if not at war. Turkey's all-time box office champ, 2006's "Valley of the Wolves," saw a ragtag Turkish force square off heroically against a whole division of bloodthirsty American soldiers in northern Iraq.

"Metal Storm," a bestselling political fantasy book from the year before, went even further, describing an all out war between Ankara and Washington in the not so distant future (the year 2007, to be exact), in which Turkey ultimately prevails with the help of Russia and the European Union.

Analysts say the public's mood represents a trend that has worrying implications for the future health of the ties between the two NATO allies.

"The public is really convinced that the United States is no longer a friend and ally. That is really frustrating," says Professor Dagi.

Real life events have also done little to improve America's image in Turkey. The recent passage by a US congressional committee of a resolution recognizing the mass killing of Armenians in the final days of the Ottoman Empire as a genocide – something Turkey strongly rejects – set public opinion aflame.

At the same time, the renewed attacks on Turkish forces by PKK guerrillas have only strengthened the widespread belief that Washington is doing little to get rid of the PKK in northern Iraq. Ankara has been building up its troops on the Iraqi border and threatening an invasion, something Washington strongly opposes.

"The clearest fact is that the real threats against Turkey come not from its neighbors, but from its 'allies' and each new development brings Turkey face to face with its Western allies," Ali Bulac, a columnist for the liberal-Islamic Zaman newspaper, recently wrote. "The United States ... is taking its place on the stage as the force behind the PKK."

Says Gunduz Aktan, a former Turkish ambassador who is currently a parliamentarian with the right-wing Nationalist Action Party (MHP): "The entire Turkish public opinion now is one of frustration and exasperation and a kind of acute expectation of the US to do something meaningful and concrete [on the PKK issue] and to understand the problem that we have in Turkey."

But experts say Turkey's growing anti-Americanism also has a domestic element. The success of the Islamic-rooted ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has forced Turkey to confront the issue of how to reconcile secularism with Islam, while the renewal of PKK violence has again brought to the surface the decades-long struggle to square a strong national Turkish identity with the country's diverse ethnic identities.

"Turkey is caught right now between East and West, between Islam and secularism, between Kurdish and Turkish nationalism," says Omer Taspinar, director of the Turkey program at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. "Since the cold war ended, we are living in an era where all the problems that defined the Turkish Republic in the early years are back, and Turkey is blaming the West for this."

The Rice visit and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's trip to the White House on Nov. 5 are part of an effort to stave off any further deterioration in US-Turkish relations. "I will openly tell him [President George Bush] that we expect concrete, immediate steps against the terrorists," Mr. Erdogan recently told parliamentarians from his party. "The problem of the PKK terrorist organization is a test of sincerity for everybody," he said. "This test carries great importance for the region and in determining the fate of our future relations."

Observers inside and outside Turkey say Ankara could play a role in easing regional tensions by dropping its objections to speaking directly with the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq and its leader, Massoud Barzani.

But METU's Dagi says that without American action on the PKK front, there is little Ankara can do to defuse the public's growing dislike of the US.

"The government has somehow been taken hostage by this public mood," he says. "The first thing is to deal with this mood, and in that America has to contribute something."

Why Turks no longer love the U.S. (http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20071101/wl_csm/oturkus)


Title: Re: Why Turks no longer love the U.S.
Post by: Shammu on November 02, 2007, 12:01:26 PM
Quote
Why Turks no longer love the U.S.

They are muslim, nuft said.

It seems the alliances are being prepared for Gog/Magog.


Title: Bahrain accuses Iran of nuclear weapons lie
Post by: Shammu on November 02, 2007, 02:03:01 PM
Bahrain accuses Iran of nuclear weapons lie
November 2, 2007
Giles Whittell in Manama

A polished silver Spitfire on the desk of Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa recalls two centuries of close and cordial ties between Britain and Bahrain.

But even its most powerful friends cannot guarantee the security of this strategic island caught in the Gulf between worsening Iranian threats and “deadly serious” talk of a US military strike.

It is not a position from which to mince words. In an interview with The Times the Crown Prince has become the first Arab leader to jettison the language of diplomacy and directly accuse Tehran of seeking nuclear weapons.

“While they don’t have the bomb yet, they are developing it, or the capability for it,” he said – the first time one of Iran’s Gulf neighbours effectively has accused it of lying about its nuclear programme.

The Crown Prince also gave a blunt warning that “the whole region” would be drawn into any military conflict and called on India, as well as Russia, to help find a diplomatic solution. “There needs to be far more done on the diplomatic front,” he said. “There’s still time to talk.”

If there is a front line in the looming confrontation between Iran and the Arab world, Bahrain is on it.

The US Fifth Fleet is based here, its main carrier battle group tasked with securing the Strait of Hormuz. The King Fahd causeway to Khobar makes Bahrain a gateway to the richest oil reserves on Earth in eastern Saudi Arabia.

The Iranian coast is ten minutes away by fighter or medium-range missile. And this week a senior Iranian general said that suicide bombers were ready to strike at targets throughout the Gulf “if necessary”. Such rhetoric will focus minds in Qatar, Riyadh and the United Arab Emirates. But its effect is especially chilling in Bahrain as the only Sunni-led country with a Shia majority that is not at war or on the brink of war.

“We are a country like Iraq and Lebanon, and we are the only one that is functioning properly,” said Sheikh Khalid al-Khalifa, the Foreign Minister.

Bahrain’s Shias – and the carnage in Iraq to the north – make the kingdom a vital experiment in sectarian coexistence. So far the Shias have repaid the Royal Family’s efforts at political reform with consistent professions of loyalty. That could change overnight in the event of an attack on Iran.

Already, large-scale demonstrations are not unusual. When the Golden Mosque in Samarra was bombed by al-Qaeda in Iraq last year, and again when Israel invaded Lebanon, “Bahrain turned yellow with Hezbollah flags”, according to one Western diplomat.

Since then a reform process that started with the release of all political prisoners in 2000 has largely stalled and leading Shia figures have complained about “systematic discrimination” by the Sunni Establishment. A scandal over alleged plans to end the Shia majority by granting fast-track citizenship to tens of thousands of foreign-born Sunnis has proved so inflammatory that an otherwise relatively free press has been banned from covering it.

The Crown Prince rejected claims of discrimination but acknowledged that the broader sectarian issue had become “so politically charged that nobody is really willing to have a rational discussion about it”.

Iran has not helped. In a newspaper editorial this summer, a close associate of President Ahmadinejad rekindled an old claim on Bahrain as Iran’s 14th province, with echoes of Saddam Hussein’s designs on Kuwait in the late 1980s that were picked up from London to Washington. The claim “touched on the legitimacy of our country”, the Foreign Minister said.

There is no suggestion – yet – of an Iranian invasion of Bahrain. But even as the kingdom throws up skyscrapers to compete with Dubai and Abu Dhabi for regional financial dominance, its security forces are on high alert for evidence of Iranian-backed “sleeper cells” that could bring them all tumbling down.

Between Bahrain’s two tallest office towers three giant wind turbines are suspended in a brave vote of confidence in a future of eco-friendly peace and prosperity. Without a diplomatic end to the Iran crisis, that confidence may soon look misplaced. But the alternatives – a military strike on Iran and a regional nuclear arms race – are too bleak to contemplate.

Bahrain accuses Iran of nuclear weapons lie (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article2789056.ece)


Title: 'Iran trying to acquire nuclear weapons'
Post by: Shammu on November 02, 2007, 02:26:57 PM
'Iran trying to acquire nuclear weapons'
JPost.com Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST    Nov. 2, 2007

Bahrain's Crown Prince, Sheik Salman bin Isa al-Khalifa, said Friday that Iran is striving to acquire nuclear weaponry, Israel Radio reported.

Al Khalifa said that at the very least, Iran is attempting to gain the ability to produce nuclear weaponry.

The statement would make Bahrain the first Arab nation in the Persian Gulf to claim that Iran is attempting to deceive world leaders in relation to its nuclear aspirations.

Al Khalifa warned that the crisis could worsen and draw the region into military conflict. For this reason, he said, it must be resolved by diplomatic means.

Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Thursday tried dispelling fears that Germany is reluctant to back new sanctions against Iran because of its strong commercial ties with Teheran. Steinmeier made it clear that Germany is in sync with other Western powers.

Speaking at a news conference in Tel Aviv after talks with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Steinmeier stressed that Germany would not stand in the way of tougher sanctions.

"Germany's position does not differ from that of the United States or some other European countries. If Iran refuses to provide answers, we should think about the possibility of European sanctions," he said.

Asked if Germany would support further sanctions, he said, "Yes, if what we are trying now is not successful, then we must not only think about sanctions, but also decide on them."

'Iran trying to acquire nuclear weapons' (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1192380720002&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter)


Title: Re: 'Iran trying to acquire nuclear weapons'
Post by: Shammu on November 02, 2007, 02:41:25 PM
Quote
'Iran trying to acquire nuclear weapons'

Iran will not get any nukes, before God's appointed time. :D


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Def on November 02, 2007, 04:19:19 PM
Now you got that right
!Love in Jesus Def(';')


Title: Pakistan under martial law
Post by: Shammu on November 03, 2007, 03:12:59 PM
Pakistan under martial law

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Faced with increasing violence and unrest, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency Saturday, government sources told CNN.

 Musharraf issued an order proclaiming the emergency and suspending the nation's constitution, according to a statement read on state television, and declaring martial law.

Musharraf is scheduled to address the nation at 1800 GMT (2 p.m. ET) Saturday.

The Supreme Court declared the state of emergency illegal, claiming Musharraf had no power to suspend the constitution, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry told CNN.

A senior Pakistani official told CNN that the emergency declaration will be "short-lived," and will be followed by an interim government. Martial law is a way to restore law and order, he said.

Shortly afterward, Chaudhry was expelled as chief justice, his office told CNN. Troops came to Chaudhry's office to tell him.

The government appointed Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar as the new chief justice, according to state television.

It was the second time Chaudhry was removed from his post. His ousting by Musharraf in May prompted massive protests, and he was later reinstated.

 In Islamabad, troops entered the Supreme Court and were surrounding the judges' homes, according to CNN's Syed Mohsin Naqvi.

Supreme Court sources said some judges who were not in Islamabad were not at their homes, and it was not known whether they had been arrested.

Aitzaz Ahsan, a leading Pakistani attorney and president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, was arrested at his home. A former interior minister, Ahsan represented Chaudhry the first time he was forced to leave his post.

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who left Pakistan last week to visit her family in Dubai, arrived in Karachi on Saturday, according to her husband, Asif Ali Zardari. She returned to Pakistan last month, despite death threats, after several years in exile.

On October 18, upon her return, at least 130 people were killed when a suicide attacker tried to assassinate her. Bhutto was lightly wounded, but escaped largely unharmed.

Bhutto has pledged to help her party succeed in January's parliamentary elections. She hopes to gain a third term as prime minister, possibly under a power-sharing deal with Musharraf.

"The people of Pakistan will not accept it," Bhutto spokesman Farhatullah Babar said of the emergency declaration. "We condemn this move."

The declaration prompted a few hundred people to take to the streets in protest, but police and paramilitary groups blocked Islamabad's main roads and dispersed the crowds.

Earlier, private networks had reported the declaration was imminent as top officials huddled at Musharraf's residence in Rawalpindi. Shortly after that report, most media channels went off the air in an apparent blackout, although some flickered off and on.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is in Turkey for a conference with Iraq and neighboring nations, told CNN's Zain Verjee that anything that diverts Pakistan from the path to free and fair elections is "highly regrettable."

The United States, Rice said, doesn't support any extra-constitutional measures taken by Musharraf, and urged restraint so violence can be avoided. Nothing should jeopardize the transition to democracy, she said.

"President Musharraf has stated repeatedly that he will step down as chief of army staff before retaking the presidential oath of office and has promised to hold elections by January 15th," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack. "We expect him to uphold these commitments and urge him to do so immediately."

In Britain, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said in a statement, "We recognize the threat to peace and security faced by the country, but its future rests on harnessing the power of democracy and the rule of law to achieve the goals of stability, development and countering terrorism. I am gravely concerned by the measures adopted today, which will take Pakistan further from these goals."

The declaration could delay approaching parliamentary elections, according to CNN's Nic Robertson. It also could provide Musharraf with a reason to continue serving as the nation's military chief.

The nation's political atmosphere has been tense for months, with Pakistani leaders in August considering a state of emergency because of the growing security threats in the country's lawless tribal regions. But Musharraf, influenced in part by Rice, held off on the move.

Since that time, Musharraf has faced a flurry of criticism from the opposition, who demanded he abandon his military position before becoming eligible to seek a third presidential term. Musharraf garnered a vast majority of votes in presidential elections last month; however, those results have not been certified by the nation's high court.

For weeks, the country has been coasting in a state of political limbo while the Supreme Court works to tackle legal challenges filed by the opposition that call into question Musharraf's eligibility to hold office. Some have speculated that a declaration of emergency is tied to rumors the court is planning to rule against Musharraf.

Musharraf, who led the 1999 coup as Pakistan's army chief, has seen his power erode since the failed effort to oust Chaudhry. His administration is also struggling to contain a surge in Islamic militancy.

Pakistan under martial law (http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/11/03/pakistan.emergency/index.html)


Title: Re: Pakistan under martial law
Post by: Shammu on November 03, 2007, 03:16:49 PM
Well lets see, Iran is trying to get nuclear weapons. Iran is ruled by Islamic Fascists. Pakistan has the nuclear weapons. Pakistan has a cadre of Islamic Fascists who have been trying to get power away from Musharraf, who has been a moderating influence. Plus, Pakistan and India have been on the edge of war frequently. None of this is good.

Pakistan better be careful because, India will be watching........ closely.


Title: Darkness is falling in Vladimir Putin's Russia
Post by: Shammu on November 03, 2007, 04:13:53 PM
Darkness is falling in Vladimir Putin's Russia

By Con Coughlin
Last Updated: 3:07am GMT 03/11/2007

Soaring oil prices have made the country a power again - but its ruler's grip on politics, the media and economy has sinister implications for democracy.

Standing in the shadow of the Lubyanka, the notorious former KGB headquarters in central Moscow, a small group of elderly women are gathered around a large slab of granite that commemorates one of the darkest episodes in Russia's history.

The slab was taken from one of the Solovetsky punishment camps near Archangel on the White Sea, which formed what the Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn described as the Gulag Archipelago, where the victims of Stalin's terror were sent to their deaths in their tens of thousands.

It has been placed outside the Lubyanka as a memorial to the millions of victims of state persecution and repression during the Soviet era. A neighbouring monument to Feliks Dzerzhinsky, the Bolshevik founder of the KGB, was unceremoniously torn down by an angry crowd of Muscovites shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s: all that now remains is a well-cut grass mound.

Wearing faded headscarves and threadbare coats to protect themselves from the bitter cold, the frail old ladies - some of them in their nineties - quietly intone their prayers for the dead, before placing small, neatly bound clusters of flowers around the granite slab.

"I'm still trying to find out what really happened to my grandfather," says Lyudmila, an 82-year-old grandmother who has travelled 500 miles to Moscow to mark Russia's official Memorial Day for Political Prisoners.

"They wanted him to work for the KGB, but when he refused they sent him off to the Gulags. He died of starvation, but apart from that we know very little."

Russian experts estimate that seven million people perished in the Gulags, and ordinary families are still struggling to come to terms with the horrors they suffered under the Soviet era.

Even Russian president Vladimir Putin, a former senior KGB officer, appears to understand the necessity of acknowledging the appalling repression of the Soviet era. Later in the day he would make his first visit to a memorial and church built at a site on the outskirts of Moscow where thousands of people were executed by firing squad.

This year is the 70th anniversary of Stalin's Great Terror. It is also an election year in Moscow, and ever-eager to consolidate his popularity (Putin has an 80 per cent approval rating), the Russian leader paid a fulsome tribute to the millions of victims.

"As a rule these were people with their own opinions," said Putin. "These were people who were not afraid to speak their mind. They were the most capable people. They were the pride of the nation. And, of course, over many years we still remember this tragedy. We need to do a great deal to ensure that this is never forgotten."

The implication, of course, was that nothing like this could happen in Putin's Russia, a truly democratic state where the rule of law is supreme.

Well, tell that to Mikhail Khordokovsky, the former oil tycoon who only six years ago had a personal fortune worth an estimated $10 billion (£4.8 billion). But then he made the cardinal error of publicly criticising Putin's decidedly autocratic style of government.

He now spends his days breaking rocks at a remote Siberian penal colony, where he is halfway through an eight-year jail term on what many of his supporters believe are politically motivated fraud charges.

The notion that Russia under Putin could return to the worst excesses of Comrade Stalin is, of course, far-fetched.

For a start, the Communist ideology that inspired the Bolsheviks to launch their class war against the governing and professional classes lies buried under the rubble of the Iron Curtain, so much so that the Communists will hardly feature in next month's parliamentary elections, which will in turn set the tone for next year's presidential election.

These days, Russian politics is all about the exercise of raw power and the accumulation of vast wealth. For some, like the closely-knit group of former KGB officers around Putin - the siloviki - it is possible to acquire both.

Putin is claimed by some to have a personal fortune in offshore bank accounts in Liechtenstein and Luxembourg, while establishing an authoritarian regime that has established a stranglehold over all the key levers of power.

"To talk about democracy in Russia today is utterly ridiculous," explains Stanislav Belkovsky, a leading Kremlinologist whose new book, Putin's Business, provides a detailed breakdown of the Russian president's private wealth.

"Putin is one of the wealthiest men in Europe because his business partners are running a network of companies while he runs Russia. So many people want to get their hands on the country's wealth that they are prepared to do anything not to upset Putin. It's a very effective control mechanism."

The recent turnaround in the country's economic fortunes is almost entirely to do with spiralling oil prices, which have recently risen above $90 a barrel over fears that America is shaping up for a military confrontation with Iran, a conflict Russia is anxious to avoid. But if Moscow is unhappy with the Bush administration's warlike disposition, it is nevertheless happy to reap the riches brought by the rocketing price of oil.

It might seem hard to believe now, but when Putin came to power eight years ago, Russia was an economic basket case. Boris Yeltsin's chaotic presidency had left the country virtually bankrupt.

The debt default of 1998 had resulted in millions of Russians losing their jobs and savings, and pensioners, servicemen, teachers and scientists all went unpaid. This was a period when it was not uncommon to find that the bellhop at one of Moscow's new, Western-financed hotels had a PhD in nuclear physics.

Today, Russia has the world's third-largest currency reserves, standing at £200 billion, mainly as a result of Putin's brutal repossession of the country's main energy companies from the oligarchs who had bought them cheaply during the 1990s and made themselves vast personal fortunes.

That wealth is channelled into propping up Putin's regime, and while beyond Moscow there are still large swathes of the country where poverty is rife and the population survives on a subsistence diet, in the capital it is clear that life for Putin's supporters has never been better.

Moscow must rate as the world capital for conspicuous consumption. It is said there are more Bentleys per capita than anywhere else in the world, and boutique stores selling leading luxury brands, from Cartier to Chanel, struggle to meet the demand generated by the city's new super-rich.

Nor has the new oil wealth only been concentrated in the hands of the chosen few. There has been a tenfold increase in the national budget in the past seven years, and there is a palpable sense of prosperity and self-confidence running through the rapidly emerging professional classes.

But even if the economic feel-good factor is starting to trickle down from Putin's elite to other sectors of society, the Russian people have paid a heavy price for their new-found prosperity, both in terms of the erosion of their political rights and the effective suspension of the rule of law.

The parliamentary elections will take place on December 2, but the result is a foregone conclusion. Putin's United Russia party will win 80 per cent of the vote and form the a government for the next four years. It will then be for them to decide whether Putin should change the constitution to allow him to stand for a third term in next spring's presidential elections.

"It's a bit like going to a football match, and when you arrive at the stadium the score has already been decided without the teams even having to take to the pitch," explains Grigory Yavlinsky, the leader of Yabloko (Apple), one of the few truly independent political parties still participating in the election campaign.

cont'd next post


Title: Re: Darkness is falling in Vladimir Putin's Russia
Post by: Shammu on November 03, 2007, 04:14:35 PM
"Putin has the system so closely controlled that he is able to arrange the result of a so-called democratic election weeks before that election has even taken place."

Yavlinsky knows all about Putin's political skills, having stood against him in the last presidential election four years ago. Yavlinsky's small grass-roots organisation was no match for Putin's KGB organisational skills. The president's supporters ensured that Yavlinsky's party won less than five per cent of the national vote, which meant that it could not even be represented in the Duma.

"It was very strange how we would win thousands of votes in the provinces, but when they came to be counted in Moscow they had somehow been reduced to just a few hundred," says Yavlinsky. "No wonder no one stands a chance of defeating Putin in the coming elections."

Electoral fraud is allegedly just one of many ways the United Russia party keeps its stranglehold over the state. On election day there are an estimated 98,000 polling booths, and even though some are monitored by independent observers, it is impossible to keep a check on all the different votes, which are eventually sent to Moscow, where the electoral commission, supervised by political appointees, announces the result.

Another effective control mechanism is that the Kremlin dictates access to state funding for political parties, and also how much airtime they have on state-controlled television and coverage in the main state-controlled newspapers.

In order to get funds and media exposure, a party must give the Kremlin a firm assurance that it will not discuss controversial issues, such as state corruption, or the way the ruling elite uses the courts to intimidate its opponents. Once that assurance is forthcoming, the party will receive money for its campaign and its candidates will be allowed to appear on television.

But even then opposition parties are only allowed on television for the month-long election campaign. For the rest of the time, the Kremlin keeps a tight rein on who gets on television, with producers being given regularly updated lists of who can appear.

The result is that on most nights, the main news topic is a eulogistic account of Putin's latest activities, whether that be posing semi-naked on a fishing expedition or travelling to Teheran to lecture the Americans on the futility of launching military action against Iran. With coverage like this, it is hardly surprising that Putin's approval rating rarely dips below the 80 per cent mark.

As a former KGB officer under the Soviet system, Putin understands the value of propaganda in indoctrinating the populace, and the stranglehold he has over the media is equal to the control he exercises over the economy. Economic prosperity and rigorous media control are a potent mix when it comes to keeping a firm grip on power, and Putin has demonstrated an aptitude for maintaining both.

There is, though, a dark underbelly to this resurgent Russian bear which, despite the formidable powers at its disposal, remains highly sensitive to criticism, whether from home or abroad.

The BBC's Russian FM service recently disappeared from the airwaves after it ran a series of interviews with disaffected Russians who dared to voice their criticism's of Putin's Russia. And far worse fates have befallen those, such as the journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who have managed to evade the stranglehold the government has on media outlets to publish highly critical articles on the regime's conduct.

It is just over a year since Politkovskaya was found dead at the bottom of a Moscow lift shaft with three bullets pumped into her skull. The official investigation into her death - carried out by yet another Putin associate - has produced an interesting insight into how the regime's critics are silenced.

Politkovskaya was as much a critic of Putin's authoritarianism as she was of Moscow's disastrous involvement in Chechnya. Shortly before her death, she wrote of his regime: "The shroud of darkness from which we spent several Soviet decades trying to free ourselves is enveloping us again."

But it was her trenchant criticism of the conduct of Moscow's military campaign in Chechnya that provoked most controversy, and it now seems likely that a group of Chechen warlords loyal to the Kremlin contracted a gang of Moscow street criminals to murder her.

The poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in London last year was seen by many as another example of Moscow's heavy-handed response to high-profile critics. But the state repression is more reminiscent of the paranoia that characterised the Brezhnev era in the 1970s, when refuseniks were carted off to lunatic asylums, rather than the widespread killing during Stalin's Great Terror.

Indeed, there have recently been reports that some prominent critics of the regime have also found themselves being committed to the state's psychiatric care, although, to date, these have been rare instances and there is no evidence to suggest the practice is widespread.

What is not in any doubt, however, is that Putin is the undisputed master of all he surveys in Russia. The big question now is whether he can summon the courage to give up all the power he has so carefully accumulated over the past eight years.

Under the current constitution, Putin is obliged to leave office next spring after two full presidential terms. It has been suggested that he might be prepared to take the more junior position of prime minister in the Russian parliament, so long as he can manoeuvre one his key allies into the presidency.

Alternatively, he could get himself appointed to the energy giant Gazprom, and add to the considerable fortune he has accumulated as president.

But for these scenarios to work, Putin would ultimately have to answer to the new Russian president - and Putin has not been good at taking orders since he worked at the KGB.

Which is why most Russians believe that, once United Russia has secured its predicted two thirds parliamentary majority, it will move quickly to amend the constitution to allow their president to serve a third term. So far as Putin is concerned, when it comes to being President of Russia, you can't get enough of a good thing.

Darkness is falling in Vladimir Putin's Russia (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/11/03/wputin103.xml)


Title: Putin says Russia threatened by "Unipolar World"
Post by: Shammu on November 05, 2007, 05:27:13 PM
Putin says Russia threatened by "Unipolar World"
Sun Nov 4, 2007 3:19pm EST

By Chris Baldwin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - On a holiday created to unite his country, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a veiled warning that foreigners were seeking to split up the vast country and plunder its resource wealth.

"Some people are constantly insisting on the necessity to divide up our country and are trying to spread this theory," Putin told military cadets during a speech in Moscow on Sunday, Russian news agencies reported.

"There are those who would like to build a unipolar world, who would themselves like to rule all of humanity," Putin said, a phrase he has used over the past seven years of his administration to mean the United States.

Putin, who has a black belt in Judo, the Japanese martial art that stresses calm, emotionless and powerful shifts of an opponent's weight and balance against himself, also said Russia was well respected by admirers as a stabilizing world factor.

"Some minor countries, under pressure from larger ones, are having a hard time figuring out how to defend their own interests. And Russia has played and will continue to play a positive, stabilizing role in the world," he said.

NATIONAL UNITY

Sunday was National Unity Day, an Autumn holiday created by Putin's administration three years ago to replace October Revolution Day, formerly the most patriotic celebration in the Soviet Union, when tanks, missiles and troops filled Red Square.

Unity Day, according to Putin's own explanation of the holiday, is meant to show the power of the Russian people as a unified whole, rising up to meet the challenges of economic development and national defense.

A Levada Centre poll of adult Russians showed only a quarter of adults could correctly identify why they have Monday off from work.

A further 48 per cent had no idea whatsoever, while the remaining poll participants confused the holiday with the National Day of Reconciliation or Halloween.

To end this national confusion, this year's National Unity Day celebrations were heavily advertised on government television channels, and thousands of people across the country staged rallies, meetings and marches to show their patriotism.

"Some think we have too much resource wealth and should divide it," Putin told the cadets.

"They themselves have no wish to share their own riches, and we should take that into account."

Putin says Russia threatened by "Unipolar World" (http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL0449803320071104?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&rpc=22&sp=true)


Title: Hezbollah stages maneuvers
Post by: Shammu on November 05, 2007, 05:31:10 PM
Hezbollah stages maneuvers

By SAM F. GHATTAS, Associated Press Writer Mon Nov 5, 6:40 AM ET

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Thousands of Hezbollah guerrillas staged secret military maneuvers without weapons or uniforms near Israel's border in southern Lebanon, a pro-Hezbollah Lebanese newspaper reported Monday. The Lebanese government downplayed the report as probably just a simulation.

Al-Akhbar, a pro-Hezbollah newspaper, said Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah personally supervised the maneuvers, which it reported were carried out in the last three days and were the biggest ever staged on Israel's border by the Shiite Muslim militant group.

Monday's report marked the first time Hezbollah, with its highly secretive military wing, revealed such exercises through a newspaper. The maneuvers, if confirmed, could pose a major challenge to a U.N.-brokered cease-fire that ended last year's war with the Jewish state.

Hezbollah officials declined to comment. However, a Hezbollah legislator, Hassan Fadlallah, said it was only "natural" that the group be fully ready to confront any possible Israeli attack.

"Clearly, we will not let Israel carry out aggression against Lebanon and we sit still," he told Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. television, referring to the increased Israeli military flights over southern Lebanon in recent days.

Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, speaking to AP Television News at government headquarters, said authorities checked with military and police units as well as U.N. peacekeepers and "they confirmed nothing on the ground really happened."

"It was, let's say, a simulation probably, in an operation room, on the desk, probably they did such a thing," he said. "This has been confirmed by all the sources."

He noted there was no statement issued by Hezbollah confirming the reported maneuvers.

The alleged maneuvers came a few days after Israel held major military exercises in the north of the country near the Lebanese border. The Israeli action was interpreted by some Lebanese media as preparation by the Jewish state for a possible new war with Hezbollah.

Hezbollah's actions could be an attempt to counter the Israeli exercises.

Al-Akhbar said the Hezbollah maneuvers were carried out south of the Litani River in southern Lebanon and aimed at "deterring the enemy from carrying out any adventure in Lebanon." The zone has been controlled by a U.N. peacekeeping force and the Lebanese army since last year's war.

"A state of Israeli alertness is countered by extraordinary movement by the resistance (Hezbollah)," read a front-page headline Monday in As-Safir, another newspaper close to Hezbollah. It quoted witnesses in southern Lebanon as saying they observed "unusual movement" by Hezbollah for the first time since last year's war, but gave no further details.

There was no immediate comment from officials of the U.N. peacekeeping force, which has 13,500 soldiers who patrol a buffer zone near the border with Israel with the help of 15,000 Lebanese troops.

But As-Safir quoted Maj. Gen. Claudio Graziano, the commander of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon as warning Lebanese leaders he met in Beirut last week that the tension in the south and a deepening political crisis in the country might prompt European countries "to withdraw from UNIFIL within less than four months."

Italy, France, Spain and Germany form the bulk of the reinforced U.N. force that deployed in southern Lebanon after last year's war.

Commenting on the reported Hezbollah maneuvers, a Lebanese security official, speaking on customary condition of anonymity in line with government regulations, said Lebanese forces in south Lebanon "did not register any armed presence south of the Litani."

The official said troops are under orders to prevent any armed presence in accordance with a U.N. Security Council resolution that ended last year's fighting, but pointed out "that civilians have the right to freely move in their villages" and if they do not carry weapons, they are not breaking the law.

Al-Akhbar said Hezbollah's maneuvers were carried out all along the border with Israel "in extreme secrecy without any show of arms."

The newspaper quoted Nasrallah as telling the participants that the maneuvers were intended "for foe and friend to make them understand that the resistance (Hezbollah) is fully ready to confront any kinds of Israeli threats."

Nasrallah said last week his guerrilla group has grown stronger since last summer's war as Israel has weakened. He said his guerrillas did not want war but "will not allow anyone to attack our villages, people and country."

The Lebanese army command has in the last few days issued statements noting increased Israeli overflights in southern Lebanon in violation of the cease-fire resolution.

Since the fighting with Israel ended, Nasrallah has boasted that his guerrillas have replenished their rocket arsenal and were ready to fight Israel if attacked. The Hezbollah leader has said his group possesses more than 33,000 rockets.

Last week, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a new report that said Israel claims that Hezbollah has rearmed with new long-range rockets capable of hitting Tel Aviv. Ban's report said Israel claims Hezbollah has tripled its shore-to-sea C-802 missiles and has established an air defense unit armed with ground-to-air missiles.

Hezbollah stages maneuvers (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071105/ap_on_re_mi_ea/lebanon_hezbollah;_ylt=AvCDvKS6l5aWFu5x9czoLigLewgF)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: nChrist on November 05, 2007, 09:14:35 PM
Brothers and Sisters,

Israel has been punished greatly and suffered much because of their rejection of CHRIST about 2,000 years ago. However, their worst punishment and suffering is yet to come at GOD'S Appointed Time. This does not mean that GOD has stopped loving HIS chosen people. GOD will restore Israel at HIS Appointed time.

As Christians, we MUST stand and pray for Israel! Those who help and support Israel will be blessed. Those who harm or come against Israel will be damned. This is a very confusing subject for many people, including many Christians. The Bible tells us that GOD will punish Israel, so maybe we should help GOD. NO! - this is wrong! This is GOD'S business - not ours. Our business is to know that Israel belongs to GOD - the people and the land. We belong to GOD also - only because of HIS Matchless Love, Grace, and GIFT to us. As Christians, we should know that GOD has already rescued us from the curse of sin and death. We have a different set of promises than Israel, and we should all give thanks that JESUS CHRIST has already suffered the punishment we deserved in HIS Own Body on the CROSS. Israel also belongs to GOD, and GOD has promised that HE will rescue and restore Israel at HIS Appointed time. We MUST know the difference between ISRAEL and the CHURCH WHICH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST when we study GOD'S WORD or we will be terribly confused. However, both are possessions of GOD.

As Christians, our thoughts about Israel should be very simple. We should love and support them in any way that we can. That would include dying in the attempt to help Israel if we feel called to do so. Everything should simply be a matter of prayer, and we should never harbor any thoughts of harm or hate against Israel. We don't have to understand all of the details. The Promises of GOD are more than enough.


Quote
BEIRUT, Lebanon - Thousands of Hezbollah guerrillas staged secret military maneuvers without weapons or uniforms near Israel's border in southern Lebanon, a pro-Hezbollah Lebanese newspaper reported Monday. The Lebanese government downplayed the report as probably just a simulation.

Al-Akhbar, a pro-Hezbollah newspaper, said Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah personally supervised the maneuvers, which it reported were carried out in the last three days and were the biggest ever staged on Israel's border by the Shiite Muslim militant group.

Brothers and Sisters, this will be real one day, and it will be in greater and greater numbers. Eventually, the forces coming against Israel will be overwhelming, and those remaining will fear total annihilation from the face of the earth. They will cry out finally to their great KING and MESSIAH, and HE will hear them. The KING OF KINGS has not forgotten them, and HE HIMSELF will come to RESCUE them. HE is and always has been their Anointed KING and MESSIAH! HE set Israel aside and turned HIS FACE away from Israel because of disobedience and rejection. BUT, HIS Eternal Promises to Israel were NOT canceled. GOD will keep HIS Promises to Israel most perfectly at HIS Appointed Time.

Brothers and Sisters, Isaiah is also a beautiful Bible Study for this day and age. In fact, there are many beautiful portions of the Bible that tell us what is about to happen and why. Christians - remember that our hopes and Promises are not of this world.


Love In Christ,
Tom

Isaiah 59:20-21 NASB
"A Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob," declares the LORD. "As for Me, this is My covenant with them," says the LORD: "My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring's offspring," says the LORD, "from now and forever."


Title: Turkey seeks right to build monument in J'lem's Old City
Post by: Shammu on November 06, 2007, 07:05:29 AM
Turkey seeks right to build monument in J'lem's Old City
By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent
tags: Turkey, Israel, Temple Mount

Turkey would like to build a monument to those who died fighting for the Ottoman Empire at the foot of the Temple Mount's eastern wall, not far from the Golden Gate.

The proposal, which the Prime Minister's Office supports, was recently submitted to the Jerusalem Municipality for approval. The Waqf, or Islamic religious trust, which controls the Temple Mount, has already given Turkey land for the monument, which would be about three meters high and fly a Turkish flag.

While the municipality has not yet discussed the proposal, rightist councilmen have already expressed opposition. Councilman Yair Gabbay (National Religious Party) has asked the city's legal adviser to nix the project on the grounds that according to the city's master plan, all construction is forbidden within 70 meters of the Temple Mount. The plot the Waqf has allocated to Turkey is a mere five meters from the mount.

Sources in the Jerusalem Municipality said that the proposal would be examined according to the usual legal criteria, but the stance of the Prime Minister's Office and the diplomatic sensitivities entailed would be taken into consideration.

Turkey controlled this area until 1917, when it was ousted by the British during World War I. Today, it has good relations with Israel, but during the war, it deported many Jews because a Jewish group known as Nili had been providing intelligence to the British.

The last time a similar issue arose was immediately after the 1967 Six-Day War, when the Waqf and Arab residents of East Jerusalem sought permission to erect several monuments to soldiers of the Jordanian Legion who were killed in the battles for Jerusalem. Those proposals aroused fierce public debate, but eventually a compromise was reached, under which one central monument for all the battles was erected.

Turkey seeks right to build monument in J'lem's Old City (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/919865.html)


Title: Putin Warns Russia Has Enemies
Post by: Shammu on November 06, 2007, 07:14:54 AM
November 6, 2007. Issue 3779. Page 2.
Putin Warns Russia Has Enemies
By Anna Smolchenko
Staff Writer

President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that there were people in the world who wanted to split up Russia and, in a thinly veiled reference to the United States, were attempting "to rule over mankind."

Speaking to pro-Kremlin youth groups on People's Unity Day, Putin said Russia would continue to play an active role in world affairs and defend smaller nations but that some forces outside the country sought to plunder its wealth.

"There are people who have just lost it," Putin told members of the Nashi and Young Guard groups, as well as military cadets, apologizing for using the slang phrase. "Some say we have too many natural riches, that they have to be split up."

"They, themselves, have no wish to share their own, by the way," Putin added.

The reference to natural riches echoed comments Putin made in his annual call-in show in mid-October, when he labeled such notions "political erotica."

In one of the questions posed to Putin, an engineer from Siberia attributed the comment to former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

On Sunday, Putin reiterated criticism of the United States, which he has regularly accused of trying to build a unipolar world.

"That has yet to happen in the planet's history and I don't think it ever will," Putin said in remarks posted on the Kremlin web site.
   

He said, conversely, that the majority of the world thought positively of Russia and that "some even do so with hope, as they see Russia as a defender of their interests."

Putin's comments came after youth groups laid wreathes at the monument on Red Square to Prince Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin, who helped defeat Polish and Lithuanian forces in Moscow in 1612. People's Unity Day was instituted as a national holiday to mark the event in 2005, replacing the Nov. 7 holiday commemorating the Bolshevik Revolution.

The youth groups and cadets then attended a Kremlin reception. At the reception, Putin praised a new fund he established in June to promote Russian language and culture abroad and Russians involved in doing such work.

"It is comforting that they have new opportunities to expand and reinforce ties with Russia.

Putin also awarded the Pushkin Medal for promoting Russian culture abroad to a number of foreign academics. Past recipients of the award include Thomas Graham, a former senior official in the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush.

Putin Warns Russia Has Enemies (http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2007/11/06/017.html)


Title: Russian Nationalists March in Moscow
Post by: Shammu on November 06, 2007, 07:16:18 AM
Russian Nationalists March in Moscow

By MANSUR MIROVALEV – 1 day ago

MOSCOW (AP) — A white supremacist from Texas lifted his black cowboy hat into the air as he stepped forward to address thousands of Russian nationalists at a rally Sunday in Moscow.

"I'm taking my hat off as a sign of respect for your strong identity in ethnicity, nation and race," said Preston Wiginton, 43, exposing his close-cropped head to a freezing drizzle.

"Glory to Russia," he said in broken Russian, as the crowd of mostly young Russian men raised their right hands in a Nazi salute and chanted "white power!" in English.

About 5,000 nationalists turned out for the Russian March, held for the third year on National Unity Day, a holiday the Kremlin created in 2005 to replace the traditional Nov. 7 celebration of the 1917 Bolshevik rise to power.

The Kremlin has tried to give the holiday historical significance by tying it to the 1612 expulsion of Polish and Cossack troops who briefly seized Moscow at a time of political disarray.

But extreme nationalists have seized on the holiday, reflecting a rise in xenophobia. More than 50 people have been killed and 400 injured in ethnically motivated attacks this year, according to the Sova rights center.

Rights activists say the extreme nationalist sentiments are a natural outgrowth of the Kremlin's attempts to rebuild a strong Russian state.

President Vladimir Putin, who celebrated Sunday's holiday by laying flowers at the monument to Moscow's 17th century liberators, told the military cadets and pro-Kremlin youth group members who accompanied him that there are people in the world seeking to split Russia and divide up its natural resource wealth.

"Some believe that we are too lucky to possess so much natural wealth, which they say must be divided," Putin said, speaking near the monument on Red Square. "These people have lost their mind," he added with a smile.

Pro-Kremlin youth groups and the liberal Yabloko party also held rallies Sunday, in part to counter the nationalist march.

"This holiday is a gift for the most reactionary and dangerous group — the nationalists," Yabloko deputy chairman Sergei Mitrokhin told a crowd of about 1,500.

Thousands of pro-Kremlin youth activists marched through central Moscow and gathered near Red Square to sew together a "blanket of peace," symbolizing harmony among Russia's numerous ethnic groups.

The nationalists, who were kept away from the city center, marched along an embankment of the Moscow River to a small square, waving banners that read "Russians, stand up," "Russian order or war," and "Tolerance is AIDS."

What united the marchers was their opposition to nonwhite migrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia.

"Russia will be white," said Alexander Belov, leader of the Movement Against Illegal Migration. His last name, based on the Russian word for "white," is a nom de guerre.

"Our ultimate goal is our race and nation. Nation above all," he said, rephrasing the Nazi slogan "Germany above all."

A top immigration official down played the significance of the Russian Marches.

"This is just an outbreak of national identity feelings, which is noticeable worldwide, and it has affected Russia too," said Vyacheslav Postavnin, deputy director of the Federal Migration Service, the Interfax news agency reported.

In the first Russian March in 2005, thousands marched through central Moscow, some shouting "Heil Hitler." The march horrified many Muscovites, and the following year it was blocked by police.

"The first Russian March was unexpected good luck, the second one was about overcoming the resistance of the authorities, and the third one is already a new Russian tradition," said Konstantin Krylov of the nationalist Russian Social Movement.

City authorities approved Sunday's march but ordered it held on the river embankment away from the city center. Hundreds of police lined the route.

Nationalist marches also were held in other Russian cities.

In St. Petersburg, about 500 people rallied at Revolution Square in front of the Winter Palace. Police detained 12 men who attempted to break into a Chinese restaurant, the Regnum news agency reported.

Russian Nationalists March in Moscow (http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gWOiN2rjCIYv2yQ7SXPp2YhxLMSAD8SN4H1G1)


Title: Iran Proposes International Security Force to Take Over in Iraq
Post by: Shammu on November 06, 2007, 07:27:43 AM
Iran Proposes International Security Force to Take Over in Iraq

Voices of Iraq. Posted November 5, 2007.

An Iranian proposal for troops from Iran, Syria and other Arab states to replace U.S. forces in Iraq was swiftly rejected and ridiculed yesterday at a high-level gathering of Iraq's neighbors and world powers, the U.S. newspaper The Washington Times said in a report on Sunday.

"As top diplomats from two dozen countries and international organizations took turns to discuss how to improve Iraq's security, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki suggested that a coalition from neighboring Arab states take over from U.S. forces, conference participants said."

"The Iranian delegation distinguished itself again today with the most extraordinary proposal," said David Satterfield, the State Department's top coordinator on Iraq, who accompanied U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the Istanbul meeting.

Ryan C. Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, who also attended the session, said "Mr. Mottaki specifically identified Iran and Syria as potential troop contributors." Crocker called the Iranian idea a "fantasy" that should not be "dignified" with a response.

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal offered the most forceful rejection of Mottaki's proposal, saying it would do nothing to stabilize Iraq, diplomats said. They noted that no one voiced support for the idea, and it was not clear whether it had at least Syria's backing.

Rice met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem, but they spent most of their time discussing the upcoming presidential election in Lebanon, Satterfield said. He added that Rice warned Damascus to refrain from interfering in the vote.

Crocker said he expects to hold more talks on Iraq's security with Iranian diplomats in Baghdad in the near future, following two unproductive rounds earlier this year.

On the sidelines of yesterday's conference, Rice also acted as a mediator between Iraq and Turkey in search of a way to prevent attacks by the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, against Turkey.

During a three-way meeting, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd, promised "a number of visible measures implemented on the ground to show our seriousness" about hunting down and arresting PKK leaders.

He did not rule out joint military action with Turkey against the PKK.

Satterfield said the United States wants the Iraqi authorities and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq to "block" the movement of goods, supplies and people, as well as to disrupt logistics benefiting the PKK.

"They should apprehend PKK figures, deny any facilities and close all offices," he said.

In northern Iraq, a Kurdish official was quoted by wire reports as saying that the KRG had shut down the offices of the Kurdistan Democratic Solution Party, which sympathizes with the PKK.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met in Istanbul with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is scheduled to visit President Bush at the White House on Monday.

"The prime minister renewed the willingness of the Iraqi government to take steps to isolate the terrorist PKK, prevent any help reaching its members, chase and arrest them, and put them in front of the Iraqi judiciary because of their terrorist activities," Maliki's office said.

The Turkish parliament voted last week to authorize Turkish troops to cross the border into northern Iraq to root out an estimated 3,000 PKK guerrillas. Nearly 40,000 Turks have been killed since the PKK took up its armed struggle for Kurdish self-rule in southeast Turkey in 1984.

Iran Proposes International Security Force to Take Over in Iraq (http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/66993/)


Title: TIME Speculates Israel May Attack Hizbullah
Post by: Shammu on November 06, 2007, 07:29:12 AM
TIME Speculates Israel May Attack Hizbullah

(IsraelNN.com) TIME magazine has reported that signs point to Israel's preparing for an attack on Hizbullah terrorists in Lebanon. Journalist Nicholas Blanford, writing from Beirut, pointed out that the IDF last week carried out a large-exercise as Israeli jets staged mock raids in Lebanese airspace. The flights drew anti-aircraft retaliation from Lebanese armed forces, the first time the army has shot at the planes since the end of the Second Lebanon War.

Branford also pointed out that Israel has reported to the United Nations that Hizbullah has re-armed with long-range missiles capable of hitting Tel Aviv from north of the Litani River, outside the patrol area of U.N. Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

The TIME journalist also reported that Major General Moshe Kaplinsky, outgoing deputy IDF Chief of Staff, said at a recent panel that Israel should conduct pre-emptive strikes in Hizbullah. Referring to Defense Minister Ehud Barak's refusal of IDF advice to attack Hizbullah after its terrorists kidnapped three Israeli soldiers in 2000, when Barak was prime minister, the reporter concluded, "That restraint encouraged Hizbullah over the next six years to build up an impressive military infrastructure of secret bunkers and rocket firing positions in the hills and valleys of south Lebanon, which was put to good use in last year's war."

TIME Speculates Israel May Attack Hizbullah (http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/135888)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on November 06, 2007, 07:33:46 AM
Couple this with the reports that Israel is getting ready for a major operation in Gaza as well does not look good. Things look dark down the road for Israel, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, God will save them in the end, Glory to the Lamb of God.

I wonder what the comet looks like from the Israeli sky?? If the comet is indeed a sign, it would be very interesting to know what it looks like from Israel.

After reading all the news since 1:30 this morning. I have a crick in my neck from shaking my head so much this morning.

We need an shaking head smilie!!


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: nChrist on November 06, 2007, 08:43:15 AM
Couple this with the reports that Israel is getting ready for a major operation in Gaza as well does not look good. Things look dark down the road for Israel, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, God will save them in the end, Glory to the Lamb of God.

I wonder what the comet looks like from the Israeli sky?? If the comet is indeed a sign, it would be very interesting to know what it looks like from Israel.

After reading all the news since 1:30 this morning. I have a crick in my neck from shaking my head so much this morning.

We need an shaking head smilie!!

Hello Dreamweaver,

Thanks Brother! I'll look for a shaking head smilie for you.   ;D  I share many of your same thoughts. You've posted some news that I haven't heard about yet, but I had the same thoughts about the comet. It's a fascinating time that we live in. We have 1,000 percent agreement in Glory to the Lamb of God

Love In Christ,
Tom

Isaiah 13:9-13 NASB
Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, Cruel, with fury and burning anger, To make the land a desolation; And He will exterminate its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not flash forth their light; The sun will be dark when it rises And the moon will not shed its light. Thus I will punish the world for its evil And the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud And abase the haughtiness of the ruthless. I will make mortal man scarcer than pure gold And mankind than the gold of Ophir. Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, And the earth will be shaken from its place At the fury of the LORD of hosts In the day of His burning anger.


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: HisDaughter on November 06, 2007, 08:46:14 AM

We need an shaking head smilie!!

Here ya go Brother- (http://i166.photobucket.com/albums/u96/twinnmoon/monkey%20stuff/shakinghead.gif)


He did not rule out joint military action with Turkey against the PKK.


This is interesting considering that Turkey is itching to fight.  Just a small matter of time before they join this.


Title: Israel on offensive against IAEA over Iran
Post by: Shammu on November 06, 2007, 01:29:51 PM
Israel on offensive against IAEA over Iran

9 hours ago

JERUSALEM (AFP) — Campaigning for tougher sanctions on Tehran, Israel went on the offensive on Tuesday against the UN nuclear watchdog, accusing its chief Mohammed ElBaradei of playing into Iran's hands over its atomic drive.

The campaign comes with the International Atomic Energy Agency poised to publish a new report on Iran's nuclear ambitions, to serve as a key part of further discussions at the United Nations on whether to impose a third round of sanctions on Tehran.

"Unfortunately there are foreign officials playing the Iranians' game by contributing to the Iranian strategy of foot-dragging," Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Mark Regev told AFP.

"From this point of view the International (Atomic Energy) Agency and its leadership are guilty," Regev added.

"One could ask whether the agency agreed to fulfil the role the Iranians want it to play, to allow Tehran to implement its strategy," he said.

Permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany, are backing a third UN Security Council resolution and vote on Iran, unless upcoming IAEA and EU reports show "a positive outcome."

But China and Russia, which could in theory veto further sanctions, have yet to call publicly for more punishment against the Islamic republic.

"The ayatollahs hope the pace of diplomatic discussions under way is as slow as possible so they (the Iranians) can continue with their nuclear armaments programme at a faster pace," said Regev.

Israel and its chief ally the United States charge that Tehran is using its civilian nuclear programme as a cover to develop atomic weapons -- claims that Tehran flatly denies.

Senior Israeli army intelligence officer Yossi Beidetz told parliament's foreign affairs and defence ministry that Iran could acquire the bomb by 2009.

"Assuming Iran is not faced with difficulties, the most severe scenario is that Iran could have a nuclear bomb by the end of 2009," Beidetz was quoted by committee members as saying.

Israel, which belongs to the IAEA but has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, is widely considered to be the Middle East's sole -- if undeclared -- nuclear-armed nation.

It considers Iran its chief enemy after repeated statements by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Jewish state should be wiped off the map.

Last month, on a tour of UN Security Council members to push for tougher sanctions against Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also criticised the IAEA chief.

"If ElBaradei thinks that an Iranian bomb in three years time does not bother him, it certainly worries me, even extremely," Olmert said in France.

"It would be better if ElBaradei made an effort to prevent them from obtaining a bomb."

ElBaradei said in an interview with France's Le Monde newspaper that Iran would need "between three and eight years" to develop a nuclear bomb and that there were was no immediate threat.

"I want to get people away from the idea that Iran represents a clear and present danger and that we're now facing the decision whether to bombard Iran or let them have the bomb. We're not in that situation at all," he said.

Gerald Steinberg, political science professor at Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv, suggested that ElBaradei could either be anti-American or trying to avoid an attack on Iran at any price.

"What is certainly the case is that there is an increasingly flagrant contradiction between IAEA technical reports clearly showing Iran's intentions to build nuclear weapons and the mollifying conclusions of ElBaradei," he said.

In 1981, Israel bombed a nuclear reactor in Iraq, which under the rule of now executed dictator Saddam Hussein was its biggest enemy. The raid was heavily criticised by the United States and UN Security Council.

Israel on offensive against IAEA over Iran (http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5ipBrHkNFsmnN9cDHCwFhBewl4t_Q)


Title: Re: Israel on offensive against IAEA over Iran
Post by: Shammu on November 06, 2007, 01:36:24 PM
I know of at least 3 site that are in Iran, nuke program.

Natanz, this is the site, everyone knows about.

Arak, this is Iran's heavy water plant.

Esfahan, this is the bad boy of the bunch. Here it is estimated that plutonium can, and will be made here by (2008) by quite a few different world government agencies. Among them the governments of Israel, U.S.A., Canada, Saudi Arabia, and England.


Title: Saudi king to hold landmark meeting with pope
Post by: Shammu on November 06, 2007, 06:36:43 PM
Saudi king to hold landmark meeting with pope

Rome, 5 Nov.(AKI) - Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz Al Saud arrived in Italy late on Monday with a 22-member delegation for a two-day visit to the capital, Rome. During his stay he was due to meet Italy's president Georgio Napolitano, prime minister Romano Prodi and Pope Benedict XVI - for the first time.

Diplomatic sources told Adnkronos that the visit was taking place in the context of a consolidated relationship between Italy and Saudi Arabia. The leaders will sign on Tuesday sign several key accords in the areas of counter-terrorism, defence, higher education, professional training and health, the sources said.

Abdullah's talks with top government and institutional representatives are expected to centre on international politics, especially Lebanon, the Arab-Israeli peace process, Iraq and Iran's nuclear file.

Italian diplomats told Adnkronos they will be asking Abdullah and his delegation to elaborate on a recent Saudi proposal for a consortium of Gulf states to enrich uranium in a 'neutral country' as a way out of the international crisis over Iran's nuclear programme.

Abdullah's first official engagement was a dinner on Monday as Napolitano's guest at the Quirinale Palace - official residence of the Italian president.

The Saudi monarch is due on Tuesday to pay an historic visit the Vatican - a state with which Saudi Arabia does not have diplomatic relations - for an audience with Benedict XVI.

Custodian of the Mecca and Medina mosques in Saudia Arabia - two of the holiest Muslim sites - Abdullah is the first Saudi king to meet a pope.

Discussions between Abdullah - viewed as a moderate reformer - and Benedict XVI are expected to focus on increasing dialogue between Catholics and Muslims.

Although it does not have diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, the Vatican has ties with many other Islamic nations.

It is forbidden to practise Christianity inside Saudi Arabia and illegal to bring symbols from religions other than Islam into the country. Bibles and crucifixes must be left at the border.

The Vatican has stressed its demands for "reciprocity" meaning that countries such as Saudi Arabia should ease limits on worship by Christians and other non-Muslims.

Church relations with Muslims were badly strained last year after a speech by the pontiff in Germany linking Islam to violence. Benedict later said he regretted that Muslims were offended by his remarks, and the Vatican has since tried to improve relations with Muslims.

Abdullah will on Tuesday meet Rome's mayor and leader of the newly formed centre-left Democratic Party, Walter Veltroni. Also on Tuesday, he will meet Prodi during a meeting of the joint Italo-Saudi Business Council taking place at Rome's Excelsior Hotel.

Abdullah will later hold separate talks with Prodi and Italy's foreign minister Massimo D'Alema at the Renaissance Villa Madama, where he is staying during his visit.

Abdullah is on a 13-day European tour that has already taken in Britain and includes Germany and Turkey on the next leg of his journey.

Saudi king to hold landmark meeting with pope (http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Politics/?id=1.0.1516157744)


Title: Historic Saudi visit to Vatican
Post by: Shammu on November 06, 2007, 06:40:52 PM
Historic Saudi visit to Vatican
6 November 2007

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has met Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican - the first audience by the head of the Roman Catholic Church with a Saudi monarch.

The Vatican described the private meeting as "warm" and said the two men discussed the presence and hard work of Christians in Saudi Arabia.

An estimated 1.5m Christians live in Saudi Arabia but are not allowed to worship publicly.

The Vatican said Abdullah requested the audience as part of a European tour.

The two sides have no diplomatic ties, although when Abdullah was crown prince he met the late Pope John Paul II.

Correspondents say the visit comes as relations between the Vatican and the Muslim world are improving, more than a year after the crisis caused by a papal speech appearing to associate Islam with violence.

The 84-year-old Saudi monarch is on the third leg of his European tour after visiting the UK and Switzerland. He will travel next to Germany and Turkey.

Inter-faith dialogue

Pope Benedict warmly greeted King Abdullah at the Vatican on Tuesday, grasping both his hands before leading him to a library for their brief private meeting, which lasted only 30 minutes, with both leaders speaking through interpreters.

Afterwards, the king offered his host a gold sword encrusted with jewels. He was given a 16th Century engraving of the Vatican in return.

The Vatican said the talks allowed a wide discussion on the need for religious and cultural dialogue among Christians, Muslims and Jews "for the promotion of peace, justice and spiritual and moral values, especially in support of the family."

Both sides also emphasised the need for a "just solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Vatican said.

About a million Catholics, many of them migrant workers from the Philippines, live in the conservative desert kingdom, which is the home of Islam's holiest shrines.

They are allowed to worship in private, mostly in people's homes, but worship in public places and outward signs of faith, such as crucifixes, are forbidden.

Christians complain that rules are not clear and hardline Muslim authorities sometimes crack down on legitimate congregations.

"The most important thing is to get the possibility to gather in freedom and security for our worship, our masses and our activities," said Bishop Paul Hinder, responsible for Catholics in Arabia, in an interview with Reuters news agency.

The Saudi authorities cite a tradition of the Prophet Muhammad that only Islam can be practised in the Arabian Peninsula.

King Abdullah, who is styled the Custodian of the Two Sacred Mosques - in Mecca and Medina - is an advocate of cautious reform in Saudi Arabia, often against the wishes of the powerful conservative religious establishment.

The BBC's Frances Harrison in Rome says the symbolism of the meeting was huge for those who believe there should be more dialogue between Islam and Christianity, especially after the pontiff's controversial September 2006 speech at Regensburg University.

In it, he quoted Emperor Manuel II Paleologos of the Byzantine Empire, who said in the 14th Century that the Prophet Muhammad had brought only "evil and inhuman" things.

The pope later stressed that these had not been his own words and expressed regret for any offence they had caused.

Historic Saudi visit to Vatican (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7080327.stm)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on November 06, 2007, 06:45:36 PM
Some how that doesn't surprise me none. Dr. Joe VanKoervering has a book out for which he mentions that the RCC & Islam will eventually merge. They after all, have one common denominator who they worship. Can any of y'all guess who she is, that puts her on common ground with Islam?


Title: U.S. Navy starts exercises in Gulf waters
Post by: Shammu on November 06, 2007, 06:49:50 PM
U.S. Navy starts exercises in Gulf waters

MANAMA (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy began a series of exercises in the Gulf and wider Gulf waters on Friday involving a U.S aircraft carrier and two expeditionary assault ships.

The five-day crisis response exercise involved amphibious, air and medical forces, the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, headquartered in Bahrain, said in a statement.

"The scenario is challenging but prepares us for a real-world event," Commander Jay Chambers, of Combined Task Force 59, said.

The start of the exercises coincided with world powers agreeing at talks in London to push ahead with a third round of sanctions against Iran, unless reports indicate Tehran has tried to address their concerns about its nuclear programme.

Washington has not ruled out military action against Iran, which lies on the Gulf. Tehran denies it is seeking nuclear weapons.

Fifth Fleet spokesman Lieutenant John Gay said the exercises had been planned for months and were not related to specific events, instead outlining only humanitarian assistance and natural disaster scenarios for the manoeuvres.

"Our primary goal is to enforce maritime security including the free flow of commerce through the Gulf for all regional partners ... We are committed to keeping the Strait of Hormuz open to ensure that there is a free flow of commerce throughout the region," Gay said.

The United States has launched several war games at Iran's doorstep in recent years. In June, the largest U.S. military flotilla to enter the Gulf since the 2003 Iraq war wound up two weeks of war drills off Iran's coast and near the Strait of Hormuz, a major channel for oil shipments from the Gulf.

Iran has dismissed the U.S. naval war games near its waters as a morale boosting exercise for American forces.

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards naval commander suggested on Monday that Iran's Islamic militia forces would be capable of disrupting strategic Gulf oil shipping routes with a small operation if ever the need arose.

Chambers said the manoeuvres were designed to practise a coordinated response to a natural disaster or crisis in the region.

The navy said the exercise inside the Gulf was led by a task force that includes the Wasp, an amphibious assault ship. The vessel, which looks like a small aircraft carrier, carries Marine corps helicopters and landing craft.

The navy also said the aircraft carrier Enterprise and its strike group and the Kearsarge expeditionary strike group had begun training in wider Gulf waters.

The Kearsarge is another amphibious assault ship equipped with helicopters and landing craft. The U.S. Marine Corps operates from the ship, which is designed for rapid deployment.

"Multiple strike groups are capable of executing a broad range of operations," the U.S. Navy said.

U.S. Navy starts exercises in Gulf waters (http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=13023)


Title: Re: U.S. Navy starts exercises in Gulf waters
Post by: Shammu on November 06, 2007, 06:52:36 PM
Quote
The U.S. Navy began a series of exercises in the Gulf and wider Gulf waters on Friday involving a U.S aircraft carrier and two expeditionary assault ships.

The five-day crisis response exercise involved amphibious, air and medical forces, the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, headquartered in Bahrain, said in a statement.

Perhaps Pakistan could be the real reason why we're there. Keep a eye on the Nukes, and the Pakistan government.


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: HisDaughter on November 06, 2007, 06:54:21 PM
The Vatican said the talks allowed a wide discussion on the need for religious and cultural dialogue among Christians, Muslims and Jews "for the promotion of peace, justice and spiritual and moral values, especially in support of the family."

Historic Saudi visit to Vatican (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7080327.stm)

They accomplished all that in 30 minutes?  ;D


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 06, 2007, 07:19:44 PM
They accomplished all that in 30 minutes?  ;D

Yeah, it doesn't take long to say subjugate to islam and to get a response of ok even through interpreters.



Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on November 06, 2007, 07:23:05 PM
Yeah, it doesn't take long to say subjugate to islam and to get a response of ok even through interpreters.



Yup!!


Title: Iran says it reaches nuclear milestone
Post by: Littleboy on November 07, 2007, 01:03:42 PM
Iran says it reaches nuclear milestone By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 3 minutes ago
 


BIRJAND, Iran - Iran has reached a milestone in its nuclear program, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday, suggesting that the country now has 3,000 uranium-enriching centrifuges fully operating.


 
"We have now reached 3,000 machines," Ahmadinejad told thousands of Iranians gathered in Birjand, in eastern Iran, in a show of defiance of international demands to halt the program that the U.S. and its allies say masks the country's nuclear arms efforts.

Ahmadinejad has in the past claimed that Iran had succeeded in installing the 3,000 centrifuges at its uranium enrichment facility at Natanz.

But Wednesday's claim appeared to go further, with Ahmadinejad's words and the tone and setting of his Wednesday speech suggesting he meant all 3,000 were running.

An official with knowledge of Iran's nuclear activities said that Iran does now have nearly 3,000 centrifuges operating at Natanz. But that official said it would take years for all the centrifuges to run smoothly without frequent breakdowns.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the sensitive program.

The number 3,000 is the commonly accepted figure for a nuclear enrichment program that is past the experimental stage and can be used as a platform for a full industrial-scale program that could churn out enough enriched material for dozens of nuclear weapons, should Iran chose to go the route.

Experts have estimated Iran would need only 1,500 centrifuges to produce one such warhead.

In Washington, the State Department could not confirm the accuracy of Ahmadinejad's statement but said it was proof that that Iran was continuing to defy international demands.

"Generally, the Iranians have followed through on doing what they said they were going to do," spokesman Sean McCormack said. "That isn't to say that I am aware that they have reached the 3,000 centrifuge mark, but they have been very consistent in pushing toward the goals they have laid out for themselves.

"Whether it is 2,000 or 2,500 or 3,000 or 1,000 centrifuges, the irrefutable fact is that they are continuing to defy the international community, that they have refused the offers of negotiations and cooperation offered them," McCormack said.

A recent report by International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei that had put the number of centrifuges working in Natanz at close to 2,000, with another 650 being tested.

Officials from the Vienna-based agency could not be reached for immediate comment Wednesday.

Uranium gas, spun in linked centrifuges, can result in either low-enriched fuel suitable to generate power in a nuclear reactor, or the weapons-grade material that forms the fissile core of nuclear warheads.

Tehran denies that Iran is using its civilian nuclear program as a cover for weapons' development, insisting it is geared toward generating electricity.

Iran says it plans to expand its enrichment program to up to 54,000 centrifuges at Natanz in central Iran, and is fully within its rights to pursue the enrichment to produce fuel under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Two rounds of U.N. Security Council sanctions have failed to persuade Iran to halt the enrichment.

Ahmadinejad on Wednesday reiterated his rejection of any suspension of Iran's enrichment activities, or even a compromise over how Tehran will proceed beyond the 3,000 centrifuges.

"The world must know that this nation will not give up one iota of its nuclear rights," he said. "If they think they can get concessions from this nation, they are badly mistaken."

Here we go, man o man!



Title: Georgia blames Russian spies for inciting political dissent
Post by: Shammu on November 07, 2007, 03:32:40 PM
Georgia blames Russian spies for inciting political dissent

Staff and agencies
Wednesday November 7, 2007

Tension between Georgia and Russia worsened today as the Georgian president accused Russian spies of whipping-up unrest among the political opposition.

Mikhail Saakashvili said that several Russian diplomats had been asked to leave because they were involved in espionage activities.

"Russian special services have stepped up their activities in Georgia," Mr Saakashvili said in a televised address several hours after riot police using truncheons, water cannons and tear gas dispersed protesters calling for his resignation.

Mr Saakashvili said he regretted the use of force, but argued that it was necessary to prevent the country from sliding into chaos. He accused Russia of backing the opposition.

"A country which has a lot of money and expertise has engaged a machine of lies and a mechanism of provocations," he said, referring to Russia.

Shortly before his statement, Georgian television stations aired what they said was a taped conversation between opposition leaders and Russian embassy officials. The opposition has dismissed it as a fabrication.

Georgia also recalled its ambassador from Moscow for consultations and summoned Russia's envoy to Tbilisi for talks.

Georgia blames Russian spies for inciting political dissent (http://www.guardian.co.uk/georgia/story/0,,2206818,00.html)


Title: Last train from Russia’s military base in Georgia to leave Nov 8
Post by: Shammu on November 07, 2007, 03:34:31 PM
Last train from Russia’s military base in Georgia to leave Nov 8

07.11.2007, 19.54

MOSCOW, November 7 (Itar-Tass) --The last train with arms and property from Russia’s 12th military base in Batumi will leave Georgia for Russia on November 8, an aide to commander of the Russian Land Forces, Colonel Igor Konashenkov, said on Wednesday.

“We are finishing the preparation for the departure of the last military train with military hardware and property from the 12th Russian military base in Batumi,” he said.

“The train will leave for Russia on Thursday morning. It will take 12 vehicles and property of about 55 tonnes,” Konashenkov said.

“All hardware has already been loaded on the platforms and been examined by the Georgian side. This is the last train to leave Georgia for Russia with military hardware and property from the Russian military bases in Georgia,” he said.

Another train will leave Batumi in the middle of November to bring additional supplies for the 102nd Russian military base in Gyumri, Armenia. “That will complete the withdrawal of military property and hardware from the Russian military bases in Georgia to Russia,” Konashenkov said.

Russia has withdrawn over 500 pieces of military hardware (about 350 motor vehicles and over 150 armoured vehicles) and almost 2,000 tonnes of other property from the Russian military bases in Georgia in 2007.

Four trains were dispatched to Armenia for the 102nd military base in Gyumri.

Last train from Russia’s military base in Georgia to leave Nov 8 (http://itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=12046365&PageNum=0)


Title: Georgian FM names Russian diplomats declared personae non-gratae
Post by: Shammu on November 07, 2007, 03:37:26 PM
Georgian FM names Russian diplomats declared personae non-gratae

07.11.2007, 22.27

TBILISI, November 7 (Itar-Tass) -- The Georgian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday announced the names of three Russian diplomats who have been declared personae non-gratae and have to leave the country.

“The Russian embassy in Georgia has been given a note for transfer to the Russian Foreign Ministry,” the ministry said.

The note says that Russian Minister-Counsellor to Georgia Ivan Volynkin, adviser Pyotr Solomatin, and 3rd Secretary Alexander Kurenkov were declared personae non-gratae.

Under Clause 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, THE Georgian Foreign Ministry demanded that Russia recall these diplomats.

Earlier in the day, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said in a televised address to the nation that “several employees of the Russian embassy were engaged in subversive activities and espionage in Georgia. These employees of the Russian embassy will leave Georgia within days”.

Saakashvili accused Russian secret services of subversive actions against Georgia.

“All the mechanisms of lies and provocations on the part of the state which has much money and large experience have been activated,” he said.

“We have proof and we will make it public. We have recalled our ambassador [to Russia] and it’s not a theatrical gesture,” the president said.


Georgia recalled its Ambassador to Russia Irakly Chubinishvili “for consultations in Tbilisi,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.

“I have heard about an alternative government [Georgia] that was created in Moscow,” Saakashvili said.

He described as “unpleasant” Wednesday’s events in Tbilisi when commandoes dispersed an opposition rally and said this is how law enforcement agencies act in Europe and the United States.

Saakashvili said the leadership of the country “will do everything to prevent mass disturbances."

Authorities are prepared for a dialogue with the opposition. “There are many people among the opposition who truly care about the country. These people have a different vision of how problems should be solved, but a dialogued with them is possible. But there are also people among them who are controlled by outside forces, namely from Russia, and there will be no dialogue with them. We have concrete facts that these people maintained contact with Russian secret services,” the president said.

“No foreign force will take us back to the past,” he vowed.

Georgian FM names Russian diplomats declared personae non-gratae (http://itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=12046682&PageNum=0)


Title: Russia moves toward treaty suspension
Post by: Shammu on November 07, 2007, 03:43:23 PM
Russia moves toward treaty suspension
The Associated Press
Nov. 07, 2007

MOSCOW --
Russia's lower house of parliament voted unanimously Wednesday to suspend Moscow's participation in a key European arms control treaty, approving President Vladimir Putin's initiative in a widely expected show of defiance to the West.

In a 418-0 vote, lawmakers in the State Duma approved legislation under which Moscow would temporarily abandon its obligations under the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, a 1990 pact that has become one several issues straining Russia's relations with the United States and Europe.

The legislation still faces approval in the upper house, which is also a virtually certainty, before it goes to Putin for his signature. It would take effect Dec. 12.

Putin announced plans to suspend participation in the CFE treaty in July, amid increasing Russian anger over U.S. efforts to build a missile defense system in Eastern Europe and growing Western influence in the former Soviet Union.

The CFE treaty limits the number of tanks, aircraft and other conventional weapons in Europe. But Putin's decision to suspend participation is seen as being driven less by security concerns than by an increasingly confident Russia's desire to emphasize to the West that its interests cannot be ignored.

Russia moves toward treaty suspension (http://www.sunherald.com/311/story/182316.html)


Title: Turkish commandos drill near Iraqi border
Post by: Shammu on November 07, 2007, 03:50:53 PM
Turkish commandos drill near Iraqi border
Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST    Nov. 7, 2007

About 100 Turkish commandos scaled the slopes of a mountain near the Iraqi border in a mock exercise Wednesday, as Turkey's president called for "soldier-to-soldier" dialogue with US troops to coordinate a possible cross-border offensive against Kurdish rebels.

Tens of thousands of Turkish soldiers positioned along the rugged Iraqi border have increased anti-rebel operations in the area, after a spate of rebel attacks led Turkey to threaten an incursion to hit rebel bases in northern Iraq.

The United States and Iraq have been pressing Turkey, however, to avoid a major cross-border attack on the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, bases, in what has been one of the most stable areas in Iraq.

Turkish commandos drill near Iraqi border (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1192380758375&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter)


Title: Gulf States Preparing for U.S. Attack on Iran
Post by: Shammu on November 07, 2007, 03:56:25 PM
Gulf States Preparing for U.S. Attack on Iran

(IsraelNN.com) Armed forces of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are prepared for an American attack on Iran and an ensuing war, according to the French news agency AFP. Saudi Arabia's defense minister Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Aziz confirmed the defense readiness at a meeting of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign and defense ministers.

The GCC, an ally of the United States, includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Gulf States Preparing for U.S. Attack on Iran (http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/136041)


Title: Ahmadinejad: 3,000 centrifuges running
Post by: Shammu on November 07, 2007, 04:02:22 PM
Ahmadinejad: 3,000 centrifuges running
Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST    Nov. 7, 2007

Iran has achieved a landmark, with 3,000 centrifuges fully working in its controversial uranium enrichment program, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced Wednesday.

"We have now reached 3,000 machines," Ahmadinejad told thousands of Iranians gathered in Birjand, in eastern Iran, in a show of defiance of international demands to halt the program believed to be masking the country's nuclear arms efforts.

Ahmadinejad has in the past claimed that Iran succeeded in installing the 3,000 centrifuges at its uranium enrichment facility at Natanz. But Wednesday's claim was his first official statement that the plant is now fully operating all those centrifuges.

When Iran first announced launching the 3,000 centrifuges in April, the UN nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Teheran had only 328 centrifuges up and running at Natanz's underground facility.

In a recent report, drawn up by IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, the agency put the number of centrifuges working in Natanz at close to 2,000, with another 650 being tested.

Uranium gas, spun in linked centrifuges, can result in either low-enriched fuel suitable to generate power in a nuclear reactor, or the weapons-grade material that forms the fissile core of nuclear warheads.

The US and some of its Western allies believe Iran is using its civilian nuclear program as a cover for weapons' development. Teheran denies this, insisting its nuclear program is geared toward generating electricity, not a nuclear bomb.

US experts say 3,000 centrifuges are in theory enough to produce a nuclear weapon, perhaps as soon as within a year.

Iran says it plans to expand its enrichment program to up to 54,000 centrifuges at Natanz in central Iran - which would amount to the level of industrial-scale uranium enrichment.
Two rounds of UN Security Council sanctions have failed to persuade Iran to halt the enrichment.

Ahmadinejad on Wednesday reiterated his rejection of any suspension of Iran's enrichment activities, or even a compromise over how Teheran will proceed beyond the 3,000 centrifuges.

"They say they've swallowed (bitterly accepted) these 3,000 and want to reach an agreement with us on what to do, at what speed, how many (centrifuges) a day or week," Ahmadinejad said of latest Western pressures.

"Our response is: 'Who are you to make comments about the Iranian nation ... do we ask you how many machines you have,"' Ahmadinejad added.
He also said he had bluntly refused a recent offer to negotiate with the United States over Iran's nuclear activities.

"I, as your representative, told those who brought the message that we didn't ask for talks ... If talks are to be held, it is the Iranian nation that has to set conditions, not the arrogant and the criminals," Ahmadinejad said.

"The world must know that this nation will not give up one iota of its nuclear rights ... if they think they can get concessions from this nation, they are badly mistaken," he concluded.

Iran says it is fully within its rights to pursue the enrichment to produce fuel under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Ahmadinejad: 3,000 centrifuges running (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1192380756670&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter)


Title: Re: Ahmadinejad: 3,000 centrifuges running
Post by: Shammu on November 07, 2007, 04:04:48 PM
Quote
in a show of defiance of international demands to halt the program believed to be masking the country's nuclear arms efforts

That quote about sums it all up. The only thing better would have been a picture of Imanutjob, thumbing his nose at the UN.


Title: Strategic value key to Turkey's accession'
Post by: Shammu on November 07, 2007, 04:11:36 PM
Strategic value key to Turkey's accession'

CANSU ÇAMLIBEL
BRUSSELS - Turkish Daily News

  Since Turkey's accession talks have undergone hard times due to serious objections from some EU member states, in particular France, the European Commission has stepped up its advocating the importance of keeping Turkey on the path to Brussels. The Commission aims to remind EU countries of Turkey's strategic importance for the Union, an argument which had major influence after September 11 but has been scaled down recently.

  The Commission reflected its insistence on further negotiations with Ankara in its enlargement strategy paper due for publication Nov. 6 together with its progress report on Turkey. A draft of the strategy paper, obtained by the Turkish Daily News, contains an open call to member states to refrain from blocking negotiations for political reasons unrelated to substance. “It is essential that the European Union honor its commitments and keep the negotiation process on track and that chapters are opened as soon as technical conditions are met,” the paper said. The call came at a critical stage after France began silently blocking two chapters that are technically ready on trans-European Networks and protection of the consumer and health in anticipation of establishing a consultation committee of “wise men”.

  In order to demonstrate the strategic importance of accession negotiations, the European Commission listed a number of areas highlighting Turkey's vital role in preserving the interests of the Union.

Energy hub:

  Turkey has the potential to become a major energy hub between the EU and the world's biggest oil and gas sources, and thus a key actor for the security of Europe's energy supply. An impact study on energy supply in Turkey will be presented in 2008.

Peacekeeping missions:

  Turkey holds important security assets and has already provided them in an number of EU and NATO missions from the Western Balkans to the Democratic Republic of Congo and from Darfur to Afghanistan.

Migration control

  Turkey's alignment on EU policies will bring particular benefits in areas such as migration control and environment.

Bridge between the West and Muslim world

  Turkey's continued commitment to reforms holds major strategic importance for the EU's own security and stability. Turkey is a unique interface between the West and Muslim world. This has been clearly established by the Alliance of Civilizations initiative to foster dialogue under the auspices of the UN.

Efforts for Middle East peace

  Turkey's accession to the EU, based on profound democratic transformation, is followed with interest in the Middle East and the wider Muslim world. Turkey is also engaged in the Middle East peace process. In line with the position of Quartet, Turkey supported the formation of a National Unity Government.

Support for Iraq

  Turkey has continued to support efforts towards achieving Iraq's national reconciliation, security and peace. Turkey has offered to train Iraqi security forces. It has organized seminars for Iraqi political parties, diplomats, media representatives and health personnel. Turkey hosted an enlarged meeting of Iraq's neighboring countries aimed at achieving national reconciliation and stabilization in the country. However, due to Turkish concerns on lack of security at the border, relations with Iraq continues to present challenges.

Constructive contacts with Iran

  While remaining in dialogue with Iran on the nuclear issue, Turkey has also supported all statements by the EU related to Iran's nuclear program. In the context of the high-level talks with Iranian officials, Turkey encouraged compliance with international requirements. In April, Turkey hosted a meeting between High Representative Javier Solana and the Iranian Chief Negotiator. In July, a bilateral Memorandum on Understanding on energy was signed.

High level trade with EU

  Turkey consistently records high and steady economic growth and is among the EU's leading trade and investment partners.

  Despite the Commission's overall positive assessments on issues relating to Turkey's alignment with European common policy, Ankara was also criticized for dragging its feet on some international obligations considered to be areas of priority for the Union.

Non-compliance with additional protocol

  Turkey has not fully implemented the Additional Protocol to the Association Agreement and has not removed all obstacles to the free movement of goods, including restrictions on direct transport links with Cyprus.

Veto on EU-Nato cooperation

  Turkey's desire to increase its involvement in European Security and Defense Policy has been welcomed. However, Turkey objects to the inclusion of Cyprus and Malta in EU-NATO cooperation based on the “Berlin Plus” Agreement.

Casus belli

  Turkey and Greece have continued their efforts to improve bilateral relations. In November, the Turkish Chief of Staff visited Greece. On this occasion, the military-related aspects of the previously agreed confidence-building measures were reviewed and evaluated and further measures were agreed upon. However, the “casus belli” reference in relation to the possible extension of Greek territorial waters in the resolution adopted by the Turkish Parliament in 1995 remains unchanged.

Border with Armenia closed

  Meetings between high-level Turkish and Armenian officials have taken place. Furthermore, Turkey took the symbolic steps of inviting Armenian representatives to the funeral of assassinated Turkish journalist of Armenian origin Hrant Dink in January, and to the inauguration of the restored Armenian Church of the Holy Cross in Akdamar in March. However, there have been no substantial developments on improving relations. Turkey has kept its border with Armenia closed.

Strategic value key to Turkey's accession' (http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=87514)


Title: Turkey To Sign Documents With Arab League And Egypt
Post by: Shammu on November 07, 2007, 04:12:59 PM
Turkey To Sign Documents With Arab League And Egypt
Published: 11/4/2007

   
ANKARA - Turkey will sign two agreements with Arab League and Egypt within the scope of International Conference on Iraq scheduled to take place in Istanbul on November 2nd and 3rd.

Turkey and Arab League will sign, "Turkish-Arab Cooperation Forum Framework Agreement" on November 2nd.

The agreement envisages cooperation between Turkey and Arab League on politics and security, as well as economy, cultural and social development. The agreement also foresees joining forces to boost Alliance of Civilizations Initiative.

Turkish-Arab Cooperation Forum is expected to add a new momentum to the progress recorded between Turkey and Arab countries particularly in the recent period.

This new step between Turkey and Arab countries is also important to foster efforts to restore peace and stability in the region.

Turkish FM Babacan and Arab League SG Amr Moussa will be the signatories of the agreement.

-TURKEY-EGYPT

Another document to be signed within the framework of the Istanbul meeting will be, "Framework Agreement for Turkish- Egyptian Strategic Partnership".

The goal of the document will be to flourish bilateral relations between the two leading countries of the East Mediterranean --Turkey and Egypt, to the level of strategic partnership.

The document foresees establishment of consultation and cooperation mechanisms at the ministerial level in political, economic and cultural areas.

The document also envisages close cooperation between the two parties on bilateral matters as well as regional and international matters.

Babacan and Egyptian FM Ahmed Aboul Gheit will sign the document on November 3rd.

Turkey To Sign Documents With Arab League And Egypt (http://www.turkishpress.com/news.asp?id=200953&s=&i=&t=Turkey_To_Sign_Documents_With_Arab_League_And_Egypt)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on November 07, 2007, 04:18:14 PM
Turkey has started to turn from the West to the East now. This could help put the prophetic clock in motion for the Gog/Magog war of Ezekiel 38-39. We need to keep watching developments as they relate to Turkey, I myself see Turkey as one of the pivotal nations in Bible prophecy.


Title: Iran 'could have atom bomb in a year'
Post by: Shammu on November 07, 2007, 04:24:50 PM
Iran 'could have atom bomb in a year'
November 7, 2007

President Ahmadinejad of Iran claimed today that his country had developed 3,000 centrifuges for enriching uranium - a sufficient number, according to scientists to allow it to build an atomic bomb within a year.

In a defiant speech, Mr Ahmadinejad also vowed to continue ignoring UN Security Council resolutions to stop Iran's nuclear programme, claiming that "the Iranian nation could not care a less" about two rounds of sanctions that had been imposed.

"We have now reached 3,000 machines," the Iranian leader told a rally in the north eastern city of Birjand.

Enriched uranium can fuel power plants but also, if refined further, provide fissile material for bombs, although Iran says that its nuclear programme is for generating electricity.

Western experts say that, in ideal conditions, Iran's 3,000 centrifuges could enrich enough uranium within a year to make a nuclear warhead. The centrifuges are located at an underground nuclear facility at Natanz in central Iran.

Mr Ahmadeinjad said that he would not back down on uranium enrichment and UN sanctions programmes and resolutions were meaningless. "Some people say implement the resolutions, but we say the resolutions are based on a wrong report," he said.

"Iran will not give any credit to these resolutions. They should know that the Iranian nation could not care less about the sanctions."

He added that the Iranian people "will not retreat an iota from any of their rights, especially nuclear rights".

Rejecting Western pressures to halt the programme, he added: “Our response is: ’Who are you to make comments about the Iranian nation. Do we ask you how many machines you have?"

Two programmes of sanctions have now been imposed which target the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme and ballistic missile programme. In addition, the United States has imposed its own unilateral sanctions, including blacklisting the country's elite Revolutionary Guard corps and its Quds force, accused of arming and training insurgents in Iraq.

It has also blacklisted major Iranian banks and successfully encouraged virtually all major European banks into cutting business with the Islamic republic.

Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) agreed on a timetable in August for Tehran to provide answers to outstanding questions over its nuclear programme. In addition, the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana is due to publish a report by mid-November.

Iran 'could have atom bomb in a year' (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article2824127.ece)


Title: Re: Iran 'could have atom bomb in a year'
Post by: Shammu on November 07, 2007, 04:33:31 PM
The best guessed scenario for Iran to develop a Nuclear WMD had been that they would be ready to become a nuclear-powered state in 2010 or possibly 2011. Now, with this latest intelligence from the area of Iran and with the materials gathered from the Syrian nuclear facility, Israeli Intel says that Iran could have a Nuclear WMD by 2009. This information is key to stopping Iran as well as Syria from acquiring a Nuclear WMD for their military arsenals.

Jewish prophets pre-wrote this scenario for the Last Days.

Daniel and Ezekiel, contemporary prophets, both wrote of the Last Days when nations would move to destroy the Jewish state of Israel. Daniel, in Daniel 11:40-43, revealed that Syria would be the first state to make a move against Israel. Ezekiel in chapter 38:5, states that Persia, modern-day Iran, would also play a key role in the coalition of nations to come against Israel.

This latest intelligence information indicates that Bible prophecy may very well be close to fulfillment. :D :D


Title: 'US troops might become Iran's hostages'
Post by: Shammu on November 07, 2007, 09:39:31 PM
'US troops might become Iran's hostages'
Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST    Nov. 7, 2007

If a US attack against Iran occurs, American forces in Iraq could end up virtual "hostages in Iran's hands," Lebanon's most senior Shi'ite Muslim cleric has warned.

Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah - a former Hizbullah spiritual guide still widely respected by many militants - says US President George W. Bush's war on terror has encouraged extremists, not curbed them, and has deepened Arab animosity toward America.

"The American people must realize that their administration is not fighting terrorism but rather is causing it," Fadlallah told The Associated Press Tuesday.

Fadlallah spoke at a mosque in Haret Hreik where he leads noon prayers, not far from where his house and office, located in the Hizbullah stronghold of south Beirut, were leveled by Israeli warplanes during last year's summer war between Israel and Iranian-backed Hizbullah guerrillas.

He is the top religious authority for Lebanon's 1.2 million Shi'ites, believed to be the country's largest of 18 sects. The cleric - who often criticizes US polices in the Mideast - told the AP he thought a US attack on Iran was unlikely but he still had harsh words of warning.

"I believe that the conditions in the region, the failure facing President Bush's policies in the region, and fears by (Arab) Gulf states that a war on Iran will probably destroy sensitive areas - especially oil wealth sources - makes an attack on Iran highly unlikely," the black-turbaned, white-bearded cleric said.

But "in the event of a war on Iran, US soldiers in Iraq might become hostages in Iran's hands," he added.

There are increasing worries among some Arabs that the US or Israel plans to strike Iran. Though Washington has said it wants to solve its differences with Teheran diplomatically, it has said it's not ruling out any options.

The US and some of its Western allies believe Iran is using its civilian nuclear program as a cover for weapons development. Teheran denies this, insisting its nuclear program is for generating electricity, not developing a nuclear bomb.

Washington also accuses Shi'ite-majority Iran of supplying Shi'ite militants in Iraq with deadly roadside bombs that have killed American troops - a claim Tehran also denies.

In a show of defiance, Iran has staged large-scale military parades and made claims recently that its military would strike back if attacked.

Last month, Gen. Mahmoud Chaharbaghi, the missile commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, said the country was capable of firing 11,000 rockets into enemy bases within a minute of any attack. The US has tens of thousands troops in Iran's neighbors Iraq and Afghanistan as well across the Gulf and in Mideast waters.

Fadlallah, 72, has emerged over the years as a prominent figure in Lebanese and regional politics. Some visiting foreign dignitaries have called on him, including most recently British Mideast envoy Michael Williams.

He now lives in a renovated house adjacent to his destroyed residence amid rubble and shell-pocked buildings in Beirut's southern suburbs.

A Lebanese born in the Iraqi city of Najaf, the spiritual heart for Shi'ites, Fadlallah was spiritual mentor for Hizbullah during the 1980s, when militants linked to the group were blamed for kidnapping Westerners and bombing American embassies and the Marine base in Beirut, killing more than 260 Americans.

Hizbullah, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Washington, has denied involvement in the kidnappings or bombings.

Fadlallah also has denied links to the bombings, though Western intelligence officials in the 1980s claimed he blessed the suicide drivers whose bomb-laden vehicles destroyed the Marine base and French military headquarters in Beirut in 1983.

Fadlallah escaped a 1985 car bombing of his neighborhood that killed 75 people and wounded 256, an attack believed by many to have been masterminded by the CIA.

In 1995, former US President Bill Clinton issued an order to freeze the cleric's US assets as part of an anti-terror campaign.

Fadlallah has stopped being Hizbullah's spiritual guide about 20 years ago, and has regularly condemned terror attacks against civilians. He currently runs an Islamic charity with links to businesses such as schools, gas stations and a restaurant.

But his ties to Hizbullah are not completely severed. He recently met Hizbullah's leader Hassan Nasrallah.

"My relations with Hizbullah are good," he said Tuesday, without elaborating.

Fadlallah has followers among Shi'ites in Iraq, the Gulf, Pakistan and India. He has accused the US of engineering the sectarian strife in Iraq and decried Sunni-Shi'ite violence there.

'US troops might become Iran's hostages' (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1192380760950&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter)


Title: Re: 'US troops might become Iran's hostages'
Post by: Shammu on November 07, 2007, 09:42:37 PM
This is one fear I simply do not have. :D  Heaven help them if they think they can take over 100,000 of our soldiers and hold them "hostage" in Iraq and still have their home country be safe. ;D ;D


Title: Re: 'US troops might become Iran's hostages'
Post by: nChrist on November 07, 2007, 10:13:38 PM
This is one fear I simply do not have. :D  Heaven help them if they think they can take over 100,000 of our soldiers and hold them "hostage" in Iraq and still have their home country be safe. ;D ;D

 ;D

I'm beginning to wonder if ImANutJob is related to that fool in Baghdad who used to report that the forces of Iraq were winning on all fronts. Regardless, both of them are sad comedians, and they need to look for another line of work. Becoming a mime sounds good - just anything where we don't have to listen to them.   ;D


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: HisDaughter on November 07, 2007, 10:28:48 PM
;D

I'm beginning to wonder if ImANutJob is related to that fool in Baghdad who used to report that the forces of Iraq were winning on all fronts. Regardless, both of them are sad comedians, and they need to look for another line of work. Becoming a mime sounds good - just anything where we don't have to listen to them.   ;D

Good one Blackeye Bart!  ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D


Title: Iranian rep flees conference after being greeted by Israelis
Post by: Shammu on November 08, 2007, 12:06:04 PM
Iranian rep flees conference after being greeted by Israelis

Iran's representative to the annual gathering of the International Co-operative Alliance held in Singapore last week fled the conference and hurriedly returned to Tehran after coming in contact with the Israeli delegation.

One of 80 nations attending the conference, the Israelis saw the event as an opportunity to try to create dialogue and possible economic cooperation between the Jewish state and the Islamic Republic.

During the course of the opening event, Israeli representative Rami Mendel approached the Iranian and asked for material regarding cooperation with his country. As the two men sat down to a cup of coffee, Mendel revealed his nationality to the Iranian, who after several seconds of apparent shock and dismay hastily left the hall.

Participants at the conference said the Iranian never returned, even for the closing ceremony. It was later learned that he had returned to Tehran, fearing another encounter with the Israeli delegation.

Iranian rep flees conference after being greeted by Israelis (http://www.israeltoday.co.il/default.aspx?tabid=178&nid=14440)


Title: ImANutJob: Iran in pressing need of martyrdom culture
Post by: Shammu on November 08, 2007, 12:33:05 PM
Ahmadinejad: Iran in pressing need of martyrdom culture
Birjand, South Khorassan prov, Nov 7, IRNA

Iran-Martyrs-Ahmadinejad
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said here Wednesday that the country is more than ever in need of the culture of martyrdom, self-sacrifice and appreciation of martyrs, war veterans and the disabled.

Addressing a public gathering, President Ahmadinejad said culture of martyrdom and self-sacrifice would guarantee a bright prospect and prosperous life for the Iranian nation.

He said that the entire Iranian nation and mankind throughout history are indebted to martyrs, veterans and their bereaved families.

Elsewhere in his speech, Ahmadinejad said Iranian nation has today turned into a model for all the world nations and that's due to self-sacrifice and devotion of dear martyrs and war veterans.

Ahmadinejad: Iran in pressing need of martyrdom culture (http://www2.irna.ir/en/news/view/line-22/0711072585200105.htm)


Title: Iranian envoy says Iran playing key role in regional equations
Post by: Shammu on November 08, 2007, 12:36:07 PM
Iranian envoy says Iran playing key role in regional equations
Baghdad, Nov 8, IRNA

Iran-Turkey-Iraq
Iran's Ambassador to Baghdad Hassan Kazemi Qomi in an exclusive interview with IRNA on Thursday underlined that Iran's stands at Istanbul conference highlighted the country's vital role in regional equations.

Highlighting stance of Iran at Istanbul conference, he said Iran has adopted crystal clear and supportive stands in dealing with Iraq's neighbors but the latest proposal to save Iraq from current situation demonstrates Iran's significant role in regional equations.

Iran's stands at Istanbul conference focused on administration of Iraq's internal affairs by the Baghdad government, withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq, forging the country's national unity and solidarity, postponement of referendum on future of Kirkuk and campaign against terrorism, he said.

Iran also called on neighboring states to contribute to Iraq's reconstruction, play an active role in restoring security to the war-stricken country, reopen their embassies and help rehabilitate Iraqi army.

In the conference, Iran's humanitarian aid and assistance were outlined for the audience, Qomi pointed out.

"We are now trying to liberate Iranian diplomats kidnapped by US troops in Iraq," Qomi underlined.

The Iraqi president who is pursuing the case is very optimistic about settlement of the issue and release of the Iranian diplomats as soon as possible, he said.

Reliable resources declare that the kidnapped Iranian diplomats might be freed on Friday.

Iranian envoy says Iran playing key role in regional equations (http://www2.irna.ir/en/news/view/line-22/0711080733190153.htm)


Title: ImANutJob underlines role of clergy in society
Post by: Shammu on November 08, 2007, 12:38:48 PM
Ahmadinejad underlines role of clergy in society
Birjand, South Khorassan prov, Nov 8, IRNA

Iran-President-Birjand
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stressed Thursday morning the key role played by clerics in leading the society.

Addressing a meeting with local clerics in this eastern province, the president who is here on the fist tour of the second round of his provincial visits, said clerics should try to further relate people to religious teachings.

Later in the day, the president went to visit the poor in deprived suburbs of the provincial capital city of Birjand.

During his stay in the province, President Ahmadinejad and his accompanying cabinet members would follow up implementation of the projects approved during the first round of the president's visit to the province last year.

The president made the initiative to visit different provinces since he took office in 2005 in order to bring the government closer to the people.

Ahmadinejad underlines role of clergy in society (http://www2.irna.ir/en/news/view/line-22/0711086585190312.htm)


Title: Iran Chemical, Bio Weapons Threat Is Real
Post by: Shammu on November 08, 2007, 12:41:45 PM
Iran Chemical, Bio Weapons Threat Is Real

Wednesday, November 7, 2007 8:09 PM
By: Steven J. Allen

 An attack on Iran could trigger horrific retaliation against the U.S. and her allies in the Middle East with chemical and biological weapons including nerve gas, anthrax, and a germ similar to the devastating Ebola virus.

While the U.S. has not overtly threatened to bomb Iran’s burgeoning nuclear facilities, it has warned of using the “military option.” And Iran has countered if attacked it would retaliate.

Western intelligence experts doubt Iran has acquired a nuclear device and suggest she is several years from doing so.

But many agree that Iran has a program for chemical and biological weapons (CBWs) -- one more shrouded in secrecy than her nuclear program. Not only do analysts say the Islamic regime has stockpiles of CBWs, they also suggest that Iran also has the means to deliver the weapons to targets in Israel, Iraq and the United States.

“The threat of chemical and biological retaliatory attack by Iran is very real,” Dr. Dany Shoham, a chemical and biological weapons expert at the Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Studies in Israel, tells Newsmax. “Iran is prone to dare what Iraq did not, and has the needed operational capabilities.”

In response to a U.S. or Israeli attack, analysts maintain that Iran could strike U.S. forces in Iraq with artillery shells containing CBWs. Iran’s Shahab-3 missiles, with a range of up to 1,200 miles, could hit U.S. bases as far away as Oman, as well as Israeli targets in Haifa and Tel Aviv, experts say.

In addition to aerial bombardment, the Iranians could spray CBWs -- including anthrax -- from unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters or boats. Iran could also employ suicide attackers to drive trucks filled with CBWs into target areas, experts add.

Military experts also fear that Iran’s retaliation might not be limited to the Middle East. CBWs – especially biological weapons, which take up little space – could even be smuggled into the U.S.

A single gram of anthrax spores, the size of a packet of artificial sweetener, represents 5 million to 100 million lethal doses via inhalation. Once in the U.S., CBWs could be used in countless forms of attack, from direct attacks on civilians at shopping malls or schools, to infection of livestock, to poisoning of water supplies, experts say.

By whatever delivery method, the Iranians could release any combination of the chemical agents they are believed to posses, including:

# Blister agents that damage the skin, eyes, and lungs

# Nerve agents that kill by fixing the nerves in victims’ bodies in the “on” position, causing paralysis and asphyxiation

# “Blood agents” that interfere with the energy-producing function of cells in the body

# Choking agents that attack the tissues of the respiratory system, leading to slow suffocation.

Iran is also thought capable of employing powerful toxins – poisons made from living things – that cause bleeding, paralysis, diarrhea, and organ failure by interfering with the normal chemistry of the body. Toxins can also cause long-term effects such as liver cancer.

Such attacks would not only create casualties, but could force Iran’s enemies to abandon some areas altogether, military experts fear. For example, CBWs could render impassable the Strait of Hormuz, through which 20 percent of the world’s oil supply is shipped.

The extent of Iran’s CBWs is hard to determine because CBW programs are easy to hide, analysts note. It is difficult for observers to tell the difference between legitimate chemical or biotechnology facilities and those that produce weapons.

A 2006 staff report by a subcommittee of the House Intelligence Committee complained that intelligence regarding potential Iranian CBWs was “neither voluminous nor conclusive,” although U.S. intelligence agencies had concluded that “Iran likely is pursuing chemical and biological weapons.”

Justin Logan of the anti-war Cato Institute wrote in USA Today that “Iran’s strategy of defense against a U.S. attack could involve . . . possibly chemical or biological attacks against either U.S. personnel in the region or against Israel.”

Even conservative columnist Norman Podhoretz, a prominent advocate for an attack on Iran, writes in Commentary Magazine that it is “plausible” that Iran “would attack Israel with missiles armed with non-nuclear warheads but possibly containing biological and/or chemical weapons.”

A recent report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies noted allegations of CBW production at facilities in Damghan and near Tehran. The center cites “credible-but-unverified reports” suggesting Iran may be stockpiling anthrax and botulinum toxin near Tabriz.

With regard to mustard gas and nerve gas, the CSIS report concludes that Iran possesses the technology to mass-produce those chemicals and deliver them to targets in artillery shells and bombs.

The American Federation of Scientists, meanwhile, estimates that Iran has several thousand tons of various agents, including sulfur mustard, phosgene, and cyanide agents. The FAS pegs Iran’s CBW production capability at around 1,000 tons per year.

For clues into Iran’s secretive weapons programs, analysts consider that:

# Except for Pakistan, Iran is the most advanced nation in the Muslim world in the production and use of industrial chemicals and in biotechnology.

# Iran came under repeated CBW attack during its long war with Iraq, gaining an appreciation of the value of such weapons, knowledge as to their battlefield use, and the opportunity to reverse-engineer the weapons used by the Iraqis.

# As early as the 1980s, Iran was conducting extensive research on mycotoxins (fungal poisons).

# In 1998, The New York Times reported that Iran was recruiting scientists who had worked in the Soviet biological weapons program.

# In 2001, the Undersecretary of State for Arms Control said that Iran had produced biological weapons, and the Department of Defense declared that Iran had stockpiled blister, blood, and choking agents for use in shells, rockets, and aerial bombs.

# According to multiple, credible reports, Iran has had access to CBW technology from the former Soviet Union, China, North Korea, and Cuba.

Iran Chemical, Bio Weapons Threat Is Real (http://www.newsmax.com/headlines/Iran_Chemical,_Bio_Weapon/2007/11/07/47636.html)


Title: Russia confirms treaty suspension, weighs force deployments
Post by: Shammu on November 08, 2007, 12:45:06 PM
Russia confirms treaty suspension, weighs force deployments

by Christopher Boian Wed Nov 7, 2:59 PM ET

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia's parliament voted Wednesday to suspend compliance with a key Cold War treaty limiting conventional forces in Europe as Moscow signalled it was weighing new force deployments on its western flank.

NATO quickly responded to the move, calling it a "regrettable step."

The lower house of Russia's parliament, the State Duma, voted unanimously to approve a Kremlin decision to suspend compliance with the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty from December 12.

The CFE treaty "no longer responds to the security interests of the Russian Federation" in light of NATO expansion and other factors that have altered the European security landscape, according to the motion approved by the Duma.

The vote was confirmation of a decision announced by President Vladimir Putin last July. The upper house of parliament was expected to validate the Duma vote on November 16.

The 1990 pact, signed by the states of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, was modified in 1999 to take account of the breakup of the Soviet Union and the evolving security allegiances on the continent.

But Russia is the only party so far to have ratified the updated CFE pact. NATO members, led by the United States, have balked at ratifying the new deal until all Russian forces are out of ex-Soviet states Georgia and Moldova.

Russian officials insisted they had fully complied with the updated version and wanted the West to do the same.

"As far as the 1999 decision reached in Istanbul is concerned, Russia has fulfilled its obligations on all issues -- including the withdrawal of troops from Georgia and Moldova," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Shortly before the Duma vote, a senior Russian defence official said Russia was looking at options for bolstering conventional force deployments on its western flank with Europe in light of the CFE suspension.

"Work is being done on this issue," Russia's deputy defence minister, General Alexander Kolmakov, was quoted as saying by domestic news agencies, adding that no decision had yet been taken.

Russia's armed forces chief of staff, General Yury Baluyevsky, was quoted by Interfax news agency afterwards as saying that Russia was in no rush to deploy more forces in the west of the country but "must have the right" to do so.

Baluyevsky said that as a result of its enlargement to take in former states of the Soviet-run Warsaw Pact, NATO had already largely exceeded the conventional force deployment limits spelled out by the CFE treaty.

Specifically, he said NATO had surpassed those limits by nearly 6,000 tanks, 10,822 armoured fighting vehicles, 5,000 artillery pieces, nearly 1,500 military aircraft and more than 500 strike helicopters.

"The destruction of the CFE treaty will be a massive, painful loss for the states of Europe," Baluyevsky said.

In Brussels, NATO spokesman James Appathurai voiced the alliance's displeasure with the Russian move, saying "each step that Russia takes toward the withdrawal of the treaty is a regrettable step."

The Duma vote and reports that Moscow was reviewing its conventional force configuration in Europe were the latest in a series of assertive defence policy changes that have ratcheted up tensions between Russia and the West.

Putin and other top Russian officials this year have threatened to retarget nuclear missiles at European cities, renewed long-distance strategic bomber patrols and threatened to withdraw from other bedrock disarmament treaties.

Russia has been particularly upset by US plans to deploy elements of its new missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic, saying the plan in its current state would harm Russian security.

The United States has said the plan is designed to protect Europe from missiles launched by "rogue states" like Iran and has rejected the Russian complaints, though the two sides continue to discuss the issue.

Russia confirms treaty suspension, weighs force deployments (http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071107/wl_afp/russianatomilitarytreatycfe_071107195959;_ylt=AkzzLAiYTecteTYITJIbMR.QOrgF)


Title: King Abdullah Interviewed in Germany
Post by: Shammu on November 09, 2007, 02:45:03 PM
King Abdullah Interviewed in Germany

Berlin, November 8 , SPA -- The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has given a wide-ranging interview to the German newspaper "Frankfurter Allgemeine" dealing with Saudi-German relations, the international situation in the globalization era, the Middle East peace conference, the Saudi Arabia's efforts at the regional and international levels, international issues led by the situation in the Middle East region and Saudi Arabia's role at various levels.

Following is the text of the interview of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques:

Frankfurter Allgemeine: Beginning your journey to Germany, how do you view Germany and what do you expect from Germany politically and economically? Does the history of Germany constitute a burden on our (Germany's) image in the world?

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz: Germany is a country of an ancient history and human civilization and a minaret of intellect. Its people have the right to be proud of it. It is illogical to diminish the image of Germany and its history or to blame its people for the mistake of a dark era it had lived and the German people were its first victim as the whole world suffered form the crimes of that era. I think Germany managed to overcome this historical era to come back as a great country with its political and economic status and contribute with great efforts to the support of international security and peace and human development. This is what we have felt through its membership and recent chairmanship of the European Union. During this period, there have been constant coordination and consultation at the level of efforts to solve the crises in our region and to bolster economic and cultural cooperation between our two countries.

Frankfurter Allgemeine: In a world where the power influence is currently shifting from the Western Europe to Asia and it is expected that the 21st century will be the century of China, can it also be the century of Arabs?

Chancellor Angela Merkel hosts King Abdullah in Germany on November 7, 2007. (Photo: SPA)King Abdullah: I think that the globalization era we are currently living managed to cancel all political, economic and cultural borders among all countries of the world and as an international community, we have become to live in a world whose concepts transcend geographical borders and there is inter-action among its parts despite distances and various cultures. This requires from us to boost joint cooperation to achieve human development. With their civilization reservoir, deep-rooted culture and human and material capabilities, Arabs are no doubt qualified to tangibly, essentially and importantly contribute to and participate in the world of the 21st century.

Frankfurter Allgemeine: You have been calling for reaching a comprehensive and lasting solution for the Palestinian cause and you presented the peace initiative adopted by the Arab League. The conference which will be held next month in Annapolis as a new attempt to gather parties concerned with the cause, do you expect it to succeed?

King Abdullah: The US president's initiative calling for holding the Middle East peace conference has an important element which is to tackle the main issues of the conflict which are to end the occupation: establish the independent and parts-joined Palestinian state; deal with the problem of refugees and Alquds; improve the state of the Palestinians and other issues constituting the core of the conflict. These positive elements have enjoyed the welcome of the kingdom and the Arab League. We hope the conference will deal with these core issues and be comprehensive in solving at all tracks according to a specific time table ensuring the success of the conference after the trials have proved failure of partial solutions which dealt with the consequences of the conflict and not its core. This will ensure the success of the conference since the US State Secretary has said that failure should not be an alternative. I think that it is time to move from the phase of talking about peace as a process to establishing peace as a reality through real and tangible steps.

Frankfurter Allgemeine: At the end of last week, an international conference was held in Istanbul to discuss ways of helping the Iraqis to restore security and stability. Do you notice any progress in this field - as the Iraqi government claims - and do you think that efforts made until now to integrate the Sunnis into the political life in Iraq are enough?

Chancellor Angela Merkel hosts King Abdullah in Germany on November 7, 2007. (Photo: SPA)King Abdullah: There is a complete regional, Arab and international agreement on the goals of maintaining the security, stability and reconstruction of Iraq under the umbrella of its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. The only way to guarantee realizing this goal is to achieve concord and national reconciliation among all people of Iraq with all their political affiliations, religious and sectarian beliefs and ethnicities; equality among all of them with no exception in rights and duties; sharing of wealth and giving priority to the national interest regardless of narrow sectarian interests. We have the impression that this goal has not been achieved yet at the domestic front. Thus, the Iraqi government and people have a historic responsibility to double efforts to achieve national reconciliation. At the external front, the neighboring countries are required to promote these goals by not dealing with Iraq from a sectarian perspective and to help all Iraqis with no bias against any sect especially when it comes to providing financial and humanitarian help and other kinds of aid.

Frankfurter Allgemeine: Turkey is currently threatening to invade Iraq's north to chase and fight the Kurdish rebels. What is the reaction of Saudi Arabia in this case?

King Abdullah: We condemn all forms of terrorism regardless of its sources or justifications and any infiltration across borders. We hope there will be joint efforts between Iraq and Turkey to stop these acts.

cont'd next post


Title: Re: King Abdullah Interviewed in Germany
Post by: Shammu on November 09, 2007, 02:45:34 PM
Frankfurter Allgemeine: On behalf of Gulf Cooperation Council, Saudi Foreign Minister - Prince Saud Al Faisal - presented a proposal for a multi-lateral mechanism to provide Iran with enriched uranium which it needs for its nuclear reactor. Do you think that all diplomatic efforts and economic sanctions will fail and inevitably a war between the West and Iran will eventually take place? Is a nuclear Iran a threat to the region and the world?

King Abdullah: We are keen to make the Middle East free from nuclear arms and weapons of mass destruction. The world fears that Iran's nuclear program will lead to development of nuclear arms. Iran has announced that uses of its nuclear program are peaceful. If this is the case, we see no justification for the language of escalation, confrontation and challenge which only complicates matters more.

Therefore, we call for solving this crisis peacefully through dialogue among the parties to ensure Iran's and any other country's right in the peaceful use of nuclear energy according to standards of the International Atomic Energy Agency and under its supervision. These standards should be applied to all countries in the region with no exception.

German President Koehler hosts King Abdullah in Germany on November 7, 2007. (Photo: SPA)The proposal to build a complex for enriching uranium in a neutral country is part of our diplomatic efforts to solve this crisis peacefully. This proposal is also to ensure building the complex according to the highest standards of human and environmental safety under the supervision and control of the International Atomic Energy Agency. It also ensures supplying countries with enough enriched uranium for their peaceful uses.

Frankfurter Allgemeine: In view of Lebanon's failure to reach a solution for the presidency there, are you worried about the increased tension in Lebanon? What can Saudi Arabia provide for stability in Lebanon?

King Abdullah: The tension in Lebanon is a source of great concern for us all especially in view of the painful civil war which occurred there. Saudi Arabia is continuing its efforts at the bilateral level, through the Arab League and at the international level to solve the current disagreements and achieve national concord among the Lebanese. We hope the current efforts will solve the presidential election problem.

Frankfurter Allgemeine: Damascus has recently showed some positive signs with regard to Lebanon and Palestine. Do you actually see changes in Syria's behavior and policies ?

King Abdullah: We hope and look forward to the Syrian role to be as a peace-maker, a supporter of a solution and an assistant in achieving unity either in Lebanon or Palestine.

Frankfurter Allgemeine: Saudi Arabia has recently played the role of a leader in the Arab world, has this formed a burden on you?

King Abdullah: The Kingdom does not seek leadership, but it undoubtedly is keen on shouldering its responsibilities and confronting the challenges facing it as a homeland, Arab world, Islamic nation and world economy.

We do not see a burden in confronting the urgent issues threatening the security of the region and the world or in the search for ways and means to enable our people to enjoy freedom and stability and to contribute to the comprehensive development of their society. We believe that this explains the meaning of responsibility and gives it reason and logic existence.

Frankfurter Allgemeine: Saudi Arabia began following serious and ambitious steps of reform in various fields. What are the next steps in this framework and what are your recommendations and advice to others in the fight against terrorism, especially the Kingdom has largely and unexpectedly succeeded in the fight against terrorism?

King Abdullah: The reform project in the Kingdom began with the foundation of Saudi modern state by late King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman who laid the frameworks of the cotemporary state. His sons, the Kings, marched on this way after him. The reform project is based on the principles of the Islamic Sharia, laws, purposes and Arab inherited traditions. It also pursues the principle of knowing prevailing views and trends in society. It is characterized by causing gradual and incremental changes in the infrastructures and the structures of the state institutions and the civil society leading to the comprehensiveness in presentation, integration in the implementation, timely programming and simultaneous preservation of the identity of the Saudi society and its deep-rooted and old heritage.

During the last two decades, Saudi Arabia has witnessed a number of reform steps which resulted in expanding the national participation in many political, economic, social, legal, administrative, educational and other fields allowed by the regulations of basic government; bolstering the role of the Shoura Council; the election of municipal councils and the emergence of many civil society institutions which support decision making and effectively participate in performing vital roles that government agencies alone can not perform.

The kingdom will continue its reforms in cohesion with the nature of life and requirements of our times which require movement, change and renewal toward the best, God willing.

On terrorism, it remains the overwhelming danger threatening our security as an entire international community, aiming at destabilizing our peoples and countries regardless of gender, religion, ethnicity or culture. In the kingdom, we achieved major steps in confronting this phenomenon due to unity of the Saudi people in the face of this phenomenon which is alien to Islamic values and ethics. We will not stop until we uproot this malignant scourge.

On bolstering international efforts to confront the phenomenon of terrorism, the kingdom hosted an international conference on fighting terrorism. Many countries of the world participated in it at the level of experts and specialists in their security sectors. The conference made many important and practical recommendations to develop international cooperation in fighting terrorism. We hope these recommendations will be implemented especially the one concerning the establishment of an international center for fighting terrorism allowing us to speedily exchange information, expertise and experiments in this field.

King Abdullah Interviewed in Germany (http://www.saudi-us-relations.org/articles/2007/ioi/071108-germany-interview.html)


Title: Merkel Backs King’s Peace Initiatives
Post by: Shammu on November 09, 2007, 02:49:26 PM
Merkel Backs King’s Peace Initiatives
Khaled Almaeena

BERLIN, 8 November 2007 — Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah yesterday began a landmark state visit to Germany where Chancellor Angela Merkel offered her country’s full support to the king’s peace initiatives to resolve global conflicts.

“We know that you have dedicated your efforts to settle conflicts through peaceful means. We’ll cooperate with you in this area to solve all problems peacefully. This applies not only to your region but the whole world,” Merkel told the king.

King Abdullah’s talks with Merkel focused on the Middle East peace process and the Iran nuclear crisis. Merkel’s spokesman said that apart from bilateral issues and trade relations, the two leaders would discuss the Middle East conflict ahead of the peace conference called by US President George W. Bush later this month. The standoff over Iran’s nuclear enrichment program, the crisis in Pakistan and the situation in Afghanistan were other possible themes, he said.

Merkel was holding talks with the king in the chancellery ahead of a state banquet hosted by President Horst Koehler at his official Berlin residence, Schloss Bellevue. During the banquet, Koehler conferred on the king Germany’s highest medal while Abdullah gave the president the King Abdul Aziz Medallion of the First Order.

Abdullah will visit Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate and City Hall today before leaving the country tomorrow.

Merkel visited Riyadh in February, and Abdullah was last in Germany six years ago, as crown prince. Abdullah is on a European tour, his second after becoming king in August 2005. Previous stops on his current trip were London, Geneva and Rome, where he held a historic meeting with Pope Benedict XVI.

King Abdullah proposed the new Arab Peace Initiative, which was relaunched at the Arab summit in Riyadh in March, 2007. It offers Israel peace and normal ties if it withdraws from all land seized in the 1967 Six-Day War and allows for the creation of a Palestinian state and return of Palestinian refugees.

Merkel’s meeting with the Saudi monarch comes before leaving tomorrow for weekend talks with President Bush in Texas, which she says will focus on Iran’s nuclear program.

“I appreciate the great role being played by Germany at the European and international levels, and its contributions toward solving regional and global issues,” the king told Merkel while addressing a luncheon hosted by her at the chancellery.

Abdullah highlighted the problems facing the Middle East and sought Germany’s help to defuse the explosive situation in the region, remove weapons of mass destruction and enhance international cooperation to combat terrorism in order to reinforce peace and stability in the world.

“Germany with its strong economic and political position is qualified to play an effective role to establish peace in the world,” the king said. He also emphasized the Kingdom’s desire to strengthen cooperation with Germany. “I am confident that the future of Saudi-German relations will be bright,” he added.

On her part, Chancellor Merkel said the royal visit would take Saudi-German relations to new heights, not only in the economic sectors but also in areas of political, cultural and scientific importance.

Merkel commended the king for meeting Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on Tuesday during his visit to Italy. “We have been following up your meeting with the pope with great interest. It was a fruitful meeting and we know that you support interfaith dialogue to resolve all issues and problems,” she said. At the Vatican on Tuesday, Abdullah became the first Saudi king to have an audience with the pope.

Speaking to the Saudi Press Agency, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder expressed his appreciation of the great efforts being made by the king to promote the progress and prosperity of his people, and establish giant economic and scientific projects.

Schroeder said the king’s visit to Germany was highly important. Being an important country in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has contributed to solving many issues and conflicts in the Islamic world, he said.

He noted King Abdullah’s efforts to reconcile Palestinian groups by inviting them for a meeting in Makkah. “Germany intends to have a strong strategic partnership relation with Saudi Arabia, considering its vital position in the Arab and Islamic world and its economic weight.”

Saudi Ambassador to Berlin Dr. Osama Shubokshi said the royal visit would strengthen Saudi-German relations, which date back to more than 78 years. “King Abdullah’s visit has political, economic and cultural importance,” he added.

Shubokshi also spoke of the efforts to stop anti-Saudi smear campaigns in the Western press by removing misconceptions about the Saudi position on violence, extremism and terrorism. He said he refuted allegations against the Kingdom while taking part in a number of seminars.

Merkel Backs King’s Peace Initiatives (http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4&section=0&article=103298&d=8&m=11&y=2007)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on November 09, 2007, 02:51:54 PM
In reading King Abdullah's German interview, did you happen to notice his non-recognition of Israel, and that he only refers to her as 'Palestine'


Title: King Abdullah pays visit to Turkey
Post by: Shammu on November 09, 2007, 02:54:45 PM
King Abdullah pays visit to Turkey

11/09/2007 11:32    

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah arrived in Turkey for a visit. He discussed Iraq problems, Middle East peace and growing bilateral trade ties.

Abdullah's visit to Ankara is the last stop of a four-nation European tour, which included Britain, Italy and Germany. It is the king's second visit to Turkey in less than two years in a sign of Ankara's growing ties with the oil-rich kingdom.

Turkey has massed tens of thousands of its troops in the southeast of the country following a series of attacks by Iraq-based rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, that has left nearly 50 dead since September.

Turkey is facing international pressure to avoid a wide-scale cross border attack on PKK bases in northern Iraq, out of fear such an operation would destabilize what has been the calmest region in the country.

The Saudi king's visit is also taking place as Turkey is playing an increasing role in bringing together the sides in the Middle East conflict. Next week, Israeli President Simon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will both address Turkey's parliament.

Turkey is Israel's closest ally in the Islamic world and has been forging close ties with the Arab world over the past few years.

Last week, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan visited Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, for talks on the Middle East peace efforts and to explain his country's military planning for an incursion into northern Iraq.

Arab governments have been trying to strike a balance amid the mounting crisis between Iraq and Turkey, seeking to avoid openly criticizing Ankara and urged dialogue between the two sides, a reflection of Arab countries' fears of a widening of the Iraq conflict.

The king was schedueld to meet Gul at the presidential palace, where he will be received in a ceremony with military honors and also hold talks with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The king will be decorated with Turkey's highest state medal during his stay.

Abdullah last came to Turkey in August 2006. It was the first visit by a Saudi monarch in 40 years. Trade ties between the two countries have increased by threefold over the past five years, to reach US$3.3 billion, a statement from Gul's office said.

In Italy, Abdullah was received at the Vatican by Pope Benedict XVI in the first-ever meeting between a pontiff and reigning Saudi king, the protector of Islam's holiest sites. In Britain, the king discussed terrorism and the Middle East peace process with Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

King Abdullah pays visit to Turkey (http://newsfromrussia.com/news/world/09-11-2007/100594-Abdullah-0)


Title: Reforms Will Make Saudi Arabia A True Ally
Post by: Shammu on November 09, 2007, 02:58:09 PM
Reforms Will Make Saudi Arabia A True Ally
The New Republic: Regime's Current Policies Foster Terrorism, Islamic Extremism
Nov. 8, 2007

On October 19, in a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, President Bush declared, "I hereby certify that Saudi Arabia is cooperating with efforts to combat international terrorism and that the proposed assistance will help facilitate that effort." U.S. law requires this step to allow previously appropriated financial assistance to be delivered to Riyadh. But the President's certification comes amid debate over a much more consequential form of assistance to Saudi Arabia - a deal to sell $20 billion worth of arms to the kingdom and other Gulf states over ten years. First proposed in July and currently pending further action by the White House, the terms have met opposition in Congress, where concerns about the real level of Saudi commitment to fighting terrorism remain. A letter by Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY), signed by a bipartisan group of 114 members of Congress, argues, "Saudi Arabia has not behaved like an ally of the United States. They have exported fighters and suicide bombers to the war in Iraq. They have provided funding for terrorist activities throughout the world."

But this, and most other recent criticisms of Saudi Arabia, omits what may be the most troubling aspect of the country's behavior and the most threatening to long-term U.S. interests: The appalling state of human rights and the lack of meaningful political reform in the kingdom. The problem is not that the Saudi regime directly encourages terrorist activity, as Weiner's letter suggests, but rather that the political situation in the country provides the conditions that spur disenchanted Saudis to violence. Surprisingly few U.S. politicians - and none of the leading presidential candidates - have raised this concern in response to the arms deal, even though Saudi repression isn't exactly a secret.

Empirical studies increasingly point to the lack of democracy as a key cause of terrorism. Drawing on the findings of their important 2003 study of terrorist attacks, Princeton's Alan Krueger and Czech scholar Jitka Malecková noted that "the only variable that was consistently associated with the number of terrorists was the Freedom House index of political rights and civil liberties." Their conclusion is a troubling one, particularly in a region where our closest allies in the war on terror are among the most repressive: "Countries with more freedom were less likely to be the birthplace of international terrorists." In a 2006 paper, Harvard University's Alberto Abadie uses a different data set of terrorist incidents, but confirms Krueger and Jitka Malecková's findings, observing that "lack of political freedom is shown to explain terrorism ... Over most of the range of the political right index, lower levels of political rights are associated with higher levels of terrorism."

The data strongly supports what has long been an intuitive argument - when legitimate avenues for expressing grievances and influencing policy are unavailable, people are more likely to resort to radicalism and political violence. In this context, it is hardly surprising that Saudi Arabia has been a main source of international terrorism - not only were 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers Saudi, but, according to various reports, more suicide bombers and foreign fighters in Iraq are from Saudi Arabia than from any other country. The kingdom, a font of Wahhabi ideology and dominated by retrograde clerics, produces so many radicals that the regime has long followed a policy of funding militants to fight abroad rather than face their wrath at home. This practice dates to the early 1980s, when the royal family began issuing visas and providing other support to citizens willing to fight in Afghanistan, a strategy that diverted extremists away from the Arabian Peninsula.

The established link between tyranny and terror means that Saudi Arabia's internal political situation should be cause for much greater alarm. The country is among the world's most undemocratic, according to every respected independent assessment. Freedom House ranks the Saudi regime as one of the seventeen most repressive governments in the world. There is no "opposition" to speak of - political parties of any kind are banned. Human rights activists, and anyone else who publicly criticizes the regime, are routinely jailed, barred from foreign travel, and blacklisted in the press. Meanwhile, the notorious mutaww'in, or morality police, have broad discretion to harass anyone not meeting arbitrary standards of propriety. In one particularly tragic incident, the mutaww'in prevented rescuers from saving fifteen girls trapped in a burning school, because the students weren't wearing their headscarves. The introduction to a recent Amnesty International report states bluntly that "fear and secrecy permeate every aspect of the state in Saudi Arabia." It is a consistent, unambiguous picture drawn by nearly all international observers. Furthermore, most empirical studies show that it is political repression - not poverty or unemployment - that is most responsible for generating terrorism. In fact, many of those who have turned to extremism, including most of the 9/11 hijackers, have been relatively well-educated, and middle or upper-middle class.

That is not to say that there have been zero positive steps recently. The king has promised a huge increase in education spending and begun a review of textbooks to address concerns of fostering intolerance and extremism. And notably, the government recently announced a judicial reform plan which includes $2 billion for training judges and building new courts, as well as provisions for separate family, commercial, and criminal courts, and an appeals process. Perhaps most importantly, the reforms will create a Supreme Court which will be more independent from the religious establishment than its predecessor, the Supreme Judicial Council. The new Court will be staffed by the king rather than by ultraconservative clerics, and it may provide the first opportunity for reform-minded elites to influence the judiciary.

Despite these reforms, Saudi Arabia remains an absolute monarchy, in which the king is the highest judicial authority, able to rule by decree. Officially, the Koran is the Saudi constitution. A code of laws known as the "Basic Law" governs issues not discussed in the Koran, but its authority is subordinate to the monarchy and the religious establishment.

Other much-heralded reforms have been underwhelming. Even the 2005 municipal elections, lauded by the United States as a major step, saw little voter interest in an election for local councils with no real power. The move was a cosmetic gesture, meant to appease liberals and ease pressure for change. This is not a new story in the Middle East, where regimes have become increasingly adept at using piecemeal "reforms" to distract the international community and deflect citizen demands.

Yet policymakers should not mistake the difficulty of reform for the intractability of autocracy; America can leverage its support to shape Arab regimes' decisions on democratization. This is particularly true for the ruling al-Saud family, which is intimately tied to the U.S. and dependent on its military backing. The arms deal presents an opportunity for Washington to exert influence in Riyadh. This opening should be seized to push the Saudis along the path of reform, the only path that will lead to long-term security.

We have leverage, and we should use it. First, all arms sales should be contingent on the implementation of the promised educational and judicial reforms. Second, the United States should require progress on political reform, beginning with greater freedoms of press and assembly, and allowing public dissent on policy matters. Beyond this, deadlines should be set for long-awaited Shura (Consultative) Council elections, followed by benchmarks for the steady evolution of the council from an advisory role to a genuine legislative body. Third, transparency and fairness in the justice system, even when dealing with terror suspects, should be required. Such measures can be enforced much as Saudi cooperation on counterterrorism efforts is maintained today - through a certification process mandated by law.

Making assistance, and particularly large weapons deals, conditional upon clear, political reform benchmarks will not only offer hope for the beleaguered Saudi population, but also chip away at the repression that breeds the very terrorists whom we need the Saudis' help in fighting. Only then can Saudi Arabia be rightly considered a true ally in the fight against terror.

Reforms Will Make Saudi Arabia A True Ally (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/08/opinion/main3472820.shtml)


Title: Re: Reforms Will Make Saudi Arabia A True Ally
Post by: Shammu on November 09, 2007, 03:03:44 PM
I don't believe these reforms will make a difference.

1: They are a Islamic nation....We are a Christian nation
2: As an Islamic nation they automatic hate Israel...We support Israel
3: They have a dictator form of government....We are democratic
4: They don't have elections....We do
5: Women have no rights.........Here they do

Some of those changes would have a huge impact on their life style. I don't see that happening, those in power won't give up their control.


Title: King Abdullah of Jordan and Brown discuss Mideast, Iraq
Post by: Shammu on November 09, 2007, 03:06:23 PM
King Abdullah of Jordan and Brown discuss Mideast, Iraq

Nov 8, 2007, 13:00 GMT

London - King Abdullah II of Jordan and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown discussed the forthcoming US-sponsored Middle East peace conference and the conflict in Iraq during a meeting in London, officials said Thursday.

The talks, which were followed by a dinner banquet Wednesday evening, were the highlight of a three-day private visit by the King and his wife, Queen Rania Al Abdullah, to Britain.

A statement released by the Jordanian embassy said King Abdullah had stressed that the upcoming conference in Annapolis, Maryland, should be a real 'starting point for negotiations within a specified timeframe.'

The international meeting should address final status issues, which, once resolved, would end the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis and establish a viable independent Palestinian state living in peace and security alongside Israel, said the statement.

The two men also discussed ways to support the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and alleviate the 'difficult living conditions of the Palestinian people.'

In this regard, King Abdullah urged the international community to provide the support needed by the PNA to strengthen institutions and improve the services it provides to Palestinians.

The king emphasized the need to advance efforts to achieve national reconciliation in Iraq, adding that this process must be inclusive in order to succeed.

According to the statement, France will host a conference at the end of the year for donor countries to garner international political and financial support for the PNA.

Britain's former leader Tony Blair, who is now the special envoy of the so-called Middle East Quartet, is due to attend the conference.

King Abdullah also thanked Britain for its support of Jordanian efforts to ease its current external debt burden of more than 7 billion dollars, and urged the London government to back the 'establishment of an effective partnership between the G8 and G11 countries.'

King Abdullah of Jordan and Brown discuss Mideast, Iraq (http://news.monstersandcritics.com/middleeast/news/article_1372196.php/King_Abdullah_of_Jordan_and_Brown_discuss_Mideast_Iraq)


Title: 'Apocalyptic scenario' if Egypt, Saudi go nuclear: Israel minister
Post by: Shammu on November 09, 2007, 03:07:55 PM
'Apocalyptic scenario' if Egypt, Saudi go nuclear: Israel minister

7 hours ago

JERUSALEM (AFP) — Egyptian and Saudi nuclear ambitions, on top of Iran's atomic drive, will lead to an "apocalyptic scenario", a senior Israeli cabinet minister said in comments published on Friday.

"If Egypt and Saudi Arabia begin nuclear programmes, this can bring an apocalyptic scenario upon us," Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman told the English-language Jerusalem Post newspaper.

"Their intentions should be taken seriously and the declarations being made now are to prepare the world for when they decide to actually do it," said the minister, responsible for coordinating Israeli efforts against a nuclear Iran.

On October 29, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced a programme to build several nuclear power stations -- the country having abandoned an atomic energy programme in 1986 after the Chernobyl disaster.

Jordan, one of only two Arab countries with Egypt to have signed peace deals with Israel, as well as Algeria, Libya, Yemen and all six pro-Western Gulf states including Saudi Arabia have also announced peaceful nuclear ambitions.

Lieberman, who heads the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party, also told the Jerusalem Post that Pakistan could pose a major threat to Israel.

"If the Taliban or (Al-Qaeda leader Osama) bin Laden get control (of Pakistan), they will have nuclear weapons for terror use and they don't hide their opinions about Israel," he said.

Lieberman also joined the chorus of Israeli criticism against the head of the UN nuclear watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei, over comments from the Egyptian that Iran's nuclear acitivites pose no immediate danger.

"He is part of the problem, not part of the solution," said Lieberman, who is also a deputy prime minister.

Israel, which belongs to the UN nuclear watchdog but is not a signatory to its key Non-Proliferation Treaty, is widely considered to have the Middle East's sole -- if undeclared -- nuclear arsenal.

It considers Iran its chief enemy after repeated statements by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Jewish state should be wiped off the map.

Lieberman is known for extreme nationalist views.

He advocates a land swap in which Israel would annex its largest Jewish settlements built on occupied Palestinian land and transfer Israeli territory with a large Arab population to a future Palestinian state.

He also once sparked outrage by advocating the execution of Arab Israeli MPs who had dealings with Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which Israel considers a terrorist organisation but which controls the Gaza Strip.

'Apocalyptic scenario' if Egypt, Saudi go nuclear: Israel minister (http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5j9qYXMsHRbsLG0YMIUK9d-up9qvQ)


Title: US worries rise over Pakistan crackdown
Post by: Shammu on November 09, 2007, 09:18:20 PM
US worries rise over Pakistan crackdown

By MATTHEW ROSENBERG, Associated Press Writer 3 minutes ago

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistan quickly ended house arrest for opposition leader Benazir Bhutto on Friday as President Gen. Pervez Musharraf came under new U.S. pressure to end a crackdown that Washington fears is hurting the fight against Islamic extremism.

Earlier in the day, police threw up barbed wire around Bhutto's house to keep her from speaking at a rally to protest Musharraf's imposition of emergency rule, and security forces rounded up thousands of her supporters to block any mass demonstrations.

The action was a new blow to hopes the two U.S.-friendly leaders could form an alliance against militants — a rising threat underlined by a suicide bombing in northwest Pakistan that targeted the home of a Cabinet minister, who escaped without injury.

Bhutto twice tried to evade authorities in her car, telling police who surrounded her villa: "Do not raise hands on women. You are Muslims. This is un-Islamic." Officers blocked the former prime minister's way with an armored vehicle.

In Rawalpindi, the nearby garrison town where she had hoped to stage the rally, police fired tear gas at hundreds of Bhutto loyalists who staged wildcat protests and hurled stones. More than 100 were arrested.

The Bush administration called for the restrictions on Bhutto to be lifted, and Pakistan's government said late Friday that she was again free to move about, although police barriers remained outside her house. Her supporters said she would try to leave Saturday morning.

In Washington, where some lawmakers are calling for aid to Pakistan to be curtailed, U.S. officials again criticized Musharraf's crackdown.

"We remain concerned about the continued state of emergency and curtailment of basic freedoms, and urge Pakistani authorities to quickly return to constitutional order and democratic norms," Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said in a statement.

As Musharraf's chief international backer, the Bush administration is deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation of 160 million people that is on the front lines of the U.S.-led campaign against terrorist groups.

The suspension of the constitution last weekend has intensified the anger of moderate and secular Pakistanis who have become increasingly frustrated with military rule. At the same time, Islamic militants with ties to the Taliban and al-Qaida are stepping up violence, including suicide bombings and fighting in the northwest along the border with Afghanistan.

Musharraf cited the gains by extremists in the frontier region as one of the main reasons for his emergency decree, saying political unrest was undermining the fight against militants.

On Friday, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the home of Minister for Political Affairs Amir Muqam in the northwestern city of Peshawar. Muqam was unhurt but four people died.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the turmoil could undermine the battle against Pakistani insurgents.

"The concern I have is that the longer the internal problems continue, the more distracted the Pakistani army and security services will be in terms of the internal situation rather than focusing on the terrorist threat in the frontier area," Gates told reporters while flying home from a weeklong visit to Asia.

Despite the government's attempt to squelch Pakistani news coverage of the unrest, some independent TV channels are finding ways to broadcast reports. Geo TV, for instance, transmits by satellite from a backup facility in the Persian Gulf and it streams video on the Internet.

Most of the thousands of people rounded up this week have been moderates — lawyers and activists from secular opposition parties, such as Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party. The detentions have fueled popular suspicions the embattled Musharraf declared the emergency to maintain his grip on power, which he has held since leading a coup in 1999.

Bhutto's detention, if only for a day, showed Musharraf has no intention of easing the crackdown despite saying Thursday that parliamentary elections would be held by mid-February, just a month later than originally planned. The announcement came after intense pressure from the U.S.

The move against Bhutto further harmed prospects for a Bhutto-Musharraf alliance that Washington has been pushing for.

"I worked out a road map with Gen. Musharraf for a peaceful transition to democracy and I'm very disappointed that though there is a peaceful way, he chose the nonpolitical path," Bhutto told a few dozen supporters after her second foiled attempt to get out of her villa.

Police kept a wary eye on her supporters, who repeatedly tried to remove the barbed wire and steel and concrete barriers ringing Bhutto's house. At least 30 of her loyalists were arrested, including a woman carrying flowers.

Dressed in a blue tunic and her trademark white head scarf, Bhutto twice tried to leave for Rawalpindi inside a white Landcruiser with tinted windows, surrounded by about 50 supporters, including several lawmakers.

After being turned back the second time, her way blocked by an armored vehicle, she got out of the car and joined her supporters, who chanted "Go, Musharraf, go!"

"I want to tell you to have courage because this battle is against dictatorship and it will be won by the people," Bhutto said as police stood guard nearby.

Her supporters said they would only be further emboldened by Friday's clampdown.

"We will not go away. Our party activists have been mobilized to move out and take to the streets," said Abida Hussain, a former ambassador to the United States.

US worries rise over Pakistan crackdown (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071110/ap_on_re_as/pakistan)


Title: Hizbullah: We're preparing for upcoming war
Post by: Shammu on November 09, 2007, 09:34:44 PM
Hizbullah: We're preparing for upcoming war

Deputy of militant Shiite organization says Hizbullah training for future conflicts, just recently conducted major maneuver; Nasrallah's right-hand-man claims UNIFIL forces aware of drill
Ali Waked

Naim Kassem, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah's deputy, described a training exercise the group conducted at the beginning of this week as preparation for the next war with Israel.

In an interview with the Arab-Israeli paper Sawt el-Balad published Thursday, Kassem said that the Shiite organization's weapons arsenal can hit all parts of Israel. He described the maneuvers as "enormous and important and they were carried out as part of our deployment so that we won't be caught by surprise.

"Our exercise was unrestricted and was meant to cover all of the territory of the Israeli entity and not simply to strengthen our companies," he stated.

Kassem added that UNIFIL forces detected the increased Hizbullah activity but, since no militants were carrying weapons, he claimed they were acting in accordance with UN Security Resolution 1701.

"The drill was part of our obligation to make our presence and readiness known and (to show) that we act how we deem necessary," Hizbullah's number two said.

Nasrallah supervision

On Monday, the Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar reported that Hizbullah General-Secretary Hassan Nasrallah himself supervised the drill. He claimed the maneuvers were orchestrated in response to a "threatening Israeli reinforcements."

The drill included infantry, anti-tank missile crews, and anti-aircraft teams. Engineering units, search and rescue teams, military propagandists, and communication and logistics teams also took part.

Hizbullah: We're preparing for upcoming war (http://www.ynetnews.com/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/CdaArticlePrintPreview/1,2506,L-3469388,00.html)


Title: Diplomat denies Putin gave Iran secret message
Post by: Shammu on November 09, 2007, 09:37:46 PM
Diplomat denies Putin gave Iran secret message
Reuters
By Guy Faulconbridge Reuters - Wednesday, November 7 05:20 pm

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin gave Iran no secret messages about its disputed nuclear programme during a visit last month but pressed Tehran to resolve the issue through negotiations, a senior Russian diplomat said on Wednesday.

Ali Larijani, Iran's top nuclear negotiator at the time, was quoted by Iran's official news agency on October 17 as saying Putin gave Iranian leaders a "special message". He did not elaborate.

"There were no secret messages," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak said when asked by Reuters about Putin's talks.

He said Putin pushed to resolve the Iranian problem through negotiations that stuck to the positions of the six-power mediators on Iran, the U.N. Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"We are acting along with the common position of the six, common to the U.N. Security Council and common to the ruling council of the IAEA," Kislyak told reporters after a debate in the Russian parliament.

"Our position is to resolve all the problems through negotiations," he said, when asked about Russian policy on Iran.

Putin's visit to Tehran, the first trip to Iran by a Russian leader since Josef Stalin in 1943, raised speculation that Russia was seeking to find a compromise in the stand-off over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

The United States, Israel and leading European Union countries suspect Iran is seeking to build a nuclear bomb under cover of its civilian atomic programme. Iran denies such intent.

Russia, a veto-wielding member of the Security Council, says there is no evidence that Tehran is seeking nuclear weapons and has held up Western efforts to impose harsher sanctions on Iran. Tehran says it has a right to its own peaceful nuclear energy.

Iran pledged in August to clear up IAEA questions about the secret development of its programme but still refuses to halt enrichment as demanded by the Security Council. The IAEA will report in mid-November on how much Iran has cooperated.

FEARS OF WIDER CONFLICT

Russian and international media speculated that Putin might have told Iran that if, it gave up nuclear enrichment, the United States would open direct talks with Tehran.

The Kremlin fears that a U.S. military strike against Iran would spark a wider conflict close to its southern borders.

Russia is helping to build Iran's first nuclear power plant at Bushehr, although it has delayed providing nuclear fuel.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hinted during a visit to Tehran last month that Iran had so far failed to ease concerns in the IAEA about its nuclear programme.

Some analysts have speculated that Putin could be seeking to use Moscow's influence with Tehran to secure assurances from Washington over U.S. plans to deploy a missile defence shield in Europe and the future of Serbia's Kosovo province.

Kislyak dismissed suggestions of a wider deal. "...It is not very serious because, on every one of those problems, Russia has a independent and principled position, as presumably the American side also have," he said.

A diplomat close to the IAEA said its Director Mohamed ElBaradei had considered paying a visit to Tehran in the near future but decided the time was not right.

Diplomat denies Putin gave Iran secret message (http://uk.news.yahoo.com/rtrs/20071107/tpl-uk-nuclear-iran-russia-43a8d4f.html)


Title: MAD MULLAHS PUZZLED PUTIN
Post by: Shammu on November 09, 2007, 09:40:14 PM
MAD MULLAHS PUZZLED PUTIN

November 9, 2007 -- 'EDUCATIONAL": That's how President Vladimir Putin's entourage described the Russian's recent whirlwind trip to Tehran.

Islamic Republic President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hyped the 36-hour visit as a "historic event." Some Western commentators even suggested that Putin and Ahmadinejad planned to create an axis to counter Western influence in the Middle East.

In fact, the visit seems to have persuaded Putin and his closest advisers that the Tehran leadership is culturally and temperamentally incapable of playing the classical Cold War-style power games that the Russians are interested in.

"This was the first time that Putin was talking to senior Islamic Republic leaders in a substantive and focused way," says a senior Russian official familiar with what happened. "The president found his Iranian interlocutor weird, to say the least. The Iranians mouthed a lot of eschatological nonsense and came close to urging Putin to convert to Islam. It was clear they lived in a world of their own."

Russian sources say that both Ahmadinejad and "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenei gave the impression that they settle matters "in the metaphysical space" and with "the help of the Hidden Imam."

"The Iranians think they have already won," reports one Russian source who witnessed the visit. "So intoxicated they appeared with hubris that they did not even ask Putin to help them ward off further United Nations sanctions."

Ahmadinejad gave the impression he sought neither advice nor support from the Russians. All he wanted was to project the Islamic Republic as the regional superpower and invite Putin to acknowledge its new status. "It was as if Russia needed Iran, not the other way round," says the Russian source. "Putin was taken aback. He had not expected what he heard."

Putin had brought with him a compromise formula to defuse the crisis over Iran's nuclear program: Moscow and Tehran would set up a joint enterprise to enrich uranium both on Iranian and Russian territory. In exchange, Moscow would transfer to Tehran more advanced scientific and technological data and build up to 20 nuclear-power stations in Iran over two decades. But he decided to abandon his game plan: "When it became clear that we were talking to the wall, there was no point in attempts at creative diplomacy," says the Russian source.

But why is Putin's entourage leaking the information about his trip to Tehran?

Conspiracy theorists might claim that the Russian leader, ordered the leaks (via French, German and British journalists) to soothe European nerves frayed by what many saw as a Russian bid to bolster the Islamic Republic. Yet several factors suggest that the Russian claims are more than a cynical ploy.

To start with, Putin appears to have discussed his proposed compromise only with Khamenei and not with Ahmadinejad. Even then, the official accounts on both sides clearly indicate that there was no discussion. Putin just spelled out some "broad ideas," and Khamenei responded by saying that he would "think about what you have said." Ahmadinejad went further by announcing that Putin hadn't raised "any new ideas."

Then there's the fact that, only days after his Tehran visit, Putin instructed the Russian delegation at a session of the Five Plus One group (the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany) to agree to devise new sanctions against Iran.

Even more interesting are things that Putin did not do.

Ahmadinejad had announced that the Russian visitor would announce a clear date for the years-delayed completion of Iran's first, and so far only, nuclear plant, which is being built near Bushehr by a Russian company. But Putin refused to fix a new date, stating that inauguration would depend on "resolving other matters," code words for the dispute over Iran's uranium-enrichment program.

Putin also didn't give Iran the scientific code for the type of enriched uranium that the Bushehr plant would need as fuel. Iran says it's enriching uranium for a yet-to-be-completed plant without knowing exactly what type of fuel is required. The Russian refusal to provide the codes makes the Iranian claim sound more unconvincing.

And Putin refused to announce a long-promised scheme under which Russia would train hundreds of Iranian scientists and technicians, thus giving Iran access to all aspects of nuclear technology.

Another sign of Putin's disappointment: his last-minute decision not to issue an invitation to Ahmadinejad for a state visit to Moscow. The Iranians had worked hard to secure the invite and were visibly disappointed when it didn't materialize.

None of this means that Putin won't use the Islamic Republic in his power game against the Western democracies. But his trip may have helped him understand the limits of playing the Khomeinist card. A member of Putin's entourage sums up the Russian leader's visit to Tehran: "He came, he saw, he was dismayed!"

MAD MULLAHS PUZZLED PUTIN (http://www.nypost.com/seven/11092007/postopinion/opedcolumnists/mad_mullahs_puzzled_putin_198418.htm?page=0)


Title: Blair to convert to Catholicism 'within weeks'
Post by: Shammu on November 09, 2007, 09:42:03 PM
Blair to convert to Catholicism 'within weeks'
AFP
AFP - Friday, November 9 03:14 pm

LONDON (AFP) - Former prime minister Tony Blair is expected to be received into the Catholic Church within weeks, Catholic newspaper The Tablet will say in its Saturday edition.

The weekly said it understood that Blair, an Anglican, was to convert to the religion of his lawyer wife Cherie and their four children.

Blair is likely to be received into the Church by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster and the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, the newspaper said.

His acceptance into the faith would take place during a mass in the private chapel of Archbishop's House in Westminster, central London, it added.

However, Blair's spokesman said: "This is just the same old speculation that I'm not commenting on."

There were frequent rumours throughout Blair's 10-year premiership, which ended when he stepped down in June, that he would convert.

However, the Church of England is the state church in England and many pundits felt Blair might be putting off converting while in office due to the difficulties that becoming Britain's first Catholic premier might pose.

Blair, 54, is the envoy for the Middle East Quartet -- the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States -- working towards peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Blair regularly took communion at his local Catholic church when an opposition leader before being elected prime minister but was asked to desist by cardinal Basil Hume, then the archbishop of Westminster.

The Tablet said some Catholics might be upset by Blair's conversion, given that his parliamentary record showed he supported abortion.

Blair to convert to Catholicism 'within weeks' (http://uk.news.yahoo.com/afp/20071109/tpl-britain-politics-blair-people-cathol-5b839a9_1.html)


Title: Russia Reasserts Power with Thermobaric Weapons and Bomber Runs''
Post by: Shammu on November 09, 2007, 09:46:53 PM
Russia Reasserts Power with Thermobaric Weapons and Bomber Runs''
08 November 2007

During the past few months, the Russian Federation has implemented a new doctrine of increased military activity, as well as the development of new thermobaric bombs. There are a number of political implications for Russia's close neighbors and for the international community.

The renewed bomber runs, which have been a regular occurrence since June 2007, have skirted U.S., British, and Norwegian airspace. Besides their provocative nature, Russia has not violated any international laws since the bombers have never entered the airspace of another country. Instead, the bombers have remained in international airspace, and only come close to U.S., British, and Norwegian airspace.

Nevertheless, the bombers have caused sufficient concern, as has been seen by the scrambling of Norwegian, British, and U.S. interceptors to "escort" the Russian bombers back toward Russian airspace. The perception of these flights has been summed up by Gene Renuart, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (N.O.R.A.D.), who told the media last month that "any time you have an unidentified aircraft approaching sovereign airspace of the country there's some concern about the intentions of the airplane."

The statement from Renuart encompasses the concerns of the political and military elite in the West. The return of the bomber runs has many of the older members of the Western political and military elite reminiscing about the days of the Cold War. This unnerve in the West is exactly what the Russians want, as Moscow is using the bomber runs in order to extend their influence over their neighbors, and to achieve leverage from their political adversaries in the West.

Another change in the military spectrum of the Russian Federation is the recent development of the so called "Father of All Bombs," or F.O.A.B. Aside from the obvious play on words used on the U.S. military's "Mother of All Bombs" (M.O.A.B.; the acronym was originally derived from the technical name, Massive Ordinance Air Blast), the F.O.A.B. represents an explosive leap forward in non-nuclear weaponry, especially in the field of thermobaric weaponry. [See: "Keep a Watchful Eye on Russia's Military Technology"]

The F.O.A.B. is allegedly four times as powerful, and produces an explosion that is twice as hot, as the next most powerful thermobaric weapon, the aforementioned M.O.A.B. It is also interesting to note the rhetoric involved with the name of the new bomb; while the United States may have the Mother of All Bombs, the Russians want everyone to know that they have the Father of All Bombs.

Thermobaric weaponry is classified by the use of atmospheric oxygen, instead of carrying an oxidizer, like most conventional explosives. Thermobarics produce a far greater explosion, and therefore are more destructive than other conventional explosives, but are much less predictable. This flaw does not make them less desirable than more accurate weapons, for they are used when attacking certain stationary targets, such as airports and troop formations, where high levels of precision are not necessary.

Perhaps the greatest strength of the thermobaric weapon is its ability to create a large explosion that affects the surrounding area, making it the perfect weapon for massive bombing campaigns against strategic targets. Evidence of this can be found in the use of thermobarics by the United States in Afghanistan, and the Russian use of thermobarics against the Chechen capital of Grozny in the second Chechen War (some experts believe that the U.S. "Daisy Cutter" used in Vietnam was a thermobaric bomb, and there are also reports of Russian use during the Russian-Sino border conflict in 1969).

There are a number of interests driving Russia's redefined military doctrine.

First, the enlargement of N.A.T.O.'s power into the border countries surrounding Russia has stoked fears in the Russian military and political hierarchy, who feel the need to reassert their power in the region.

While N.A.T.O. is no longer seen as the "arch-enemy" that it represented to the Soviet Union, there is still residual unrest concerning N.A.T.O. and the United States in the Russian security apparatus, which still includes officers who were in positions of command in the Red Army while the Soviet Union was still in existence.

This fear has also been stoked after the U.S.-led N.A.T.O. intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is not difficult to imagine the Russian military and political elite being concerned after two powers, that had once so vigorously opposed it, took military action in a region considered to be within Russia's sphere of influence. It is possible that Russia has decided to "remind" the United States and N.A.T.O. that even though the Iron Curtain has fallen, the Russian Federation is still a power with which to be reckoned.

Second, the constant perceived threat in Chechnya most likely has some effect on the development of new weaponry, especially the new advances made in the form of the new thermobaric weaponry. Russia has illustrated that it has no reservations in using thermobarics, or using them against civilian targets, as was shown in the second Chechen war when they used the TOS-1 system in order to strike at the Chechen capital, Grozny.

Third, one theme that seems to tie together much of Russia's policies and actions is also involved in the renewal of bomber runs and the new technological advances. Russia is set upon a course of gaining an energy monopoly, and has already set up a very effective infrastructure for transporting oil and natural gas into the Eastern European energy market. The new military developments are a show of power, as the bombers demonstrate that Russia can extend its influence, and back it up with force if necessary.

The recent testing of the F.O.A.B. is a potent show of power by the Russian military. By making public the testing of the new weapon, which is four times as powerful as Washington's nearest non-nuclear weapon, the Russian Federation has displayed its preeminence in Eastern Europe. This showing of force encourages submission from Russia's neighboring states, especially from those that have shown friendship toward the United States, such as Georgia. It also demonstrates that it is in their best interests to work with Russia on building an energy monopoly in and around Eastern Europe.

The development of these weapons and the re-institution of strategic bomber runs may represent a new era for the Russian Federation, one where Moscow increasingly attempts to demonstrate that it has the military means to seize and hold what it perceives to be its vital interest at home and abroad.

Russia Reasserts Power with Thermobaric Weapons and Bomber Runs'' (http://www.pinr.com/report.php?ac=view_report&report_id=717&language_id=1)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: nChrist on November 09, 2007, 11:44:58 PM
In reading King Abdullah's German interview, did you happen to notice his non-recognition of Israel, and that he only refers to her as 'Palestine'

Hello Dreamweaver,

Brother Bob, I did notice this. When Israel is specifically mentioned by the Muslim world, it's usually with statements to wipe it from the face of the earth. We should know that they mean this language, and they will try it at GOD'S Appointed Time. I think that time is soon. I'll simply say that I anxiously await the Glorious Appearance of JESUS CHRIST to catch HIS CHURCH up to meet HIM in the clouds. I have no doubt that the times will get increasingly harder while we wait. Our part is to pray that GOD will use us however HE Will until the last moment.

Love In Christ,
Tom

Hebrews 10:19-23 NASB
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;


Title: Russia stresses Iran's right to access to peaceful nuclear technology
Post by: Shammu on November 09, 2007, 11:46:55 PM
Russia stresses Iran's right to access to peaceful nuclear technology
Moscow, Nov 9, IRNA

Russia-Iran-Nuclear
Head of Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency Sergei Kiriyenco here Friday supported Iran's absolute right to have access to full cycle of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

Kiriyenco made the comment at a press conference, stressing Moscow's opposition to world nations' access to nuclear power for military purposes, adding, "The IAEA members are obliged to support world nations' efforts aimed at expanding the dimensions of nuclear technology application in the world for peaceful purposes." Kiriyenco meanwhile welcomed EU Foreign policy Chief Javier Solana's proposal for giving Iran a chance to get access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes."
He added, "Today many world nations are counting on nuclear energy for their future development plans."
The head of Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency also referred to Solana's remarks on the need for expanding international nuclear facilities for peaceful purposes, arguing, "Russia had long ago proposed that such facilities need to be established."
He added, "Russia has already established an international uranium enrichment center at Angarsk, in far east parts of Russia." Kiriyenco had recently welcomed Iran's participation at that international nuclear center.

He had said, "Iran can be a shareholder at Angarsk uranium enrichment center, and not only be benefitted from the guaranteed fare price of its products, but also gain the benefits out of its investment and participation at nuclear fuel production.

Russia stresses Iran's right to access to peaceful nuclear technology (http://www2.irna.ir/en/news/view/menu-234/0711093845175521.htm)


Title: Israel fears European countries might 'downsize' from UNIFIL
Post by: Shammu on November 10, 2007, 12:02:33 AM
Israel fears European countries might 'downsize' from UNIFIL

Yaakov Katz
THE JERUSALEM POST
Nov. 8, 2007

Concerns are mounting in the Israeli defense establishment over the possibility that European countries which contribute military forces to UNIFIL might begin to gradually reduce their participation in the peacekeeping force over the coming year, defense officials have told The Jerusalem Post.

According to the officials, the political instability in Lebanon on the one hand, and the growing threats in southern Lebanon against the UN force by Hizbullah as well as al-Qaida elements on the other, could cause European countries to reconsider the extent of their participation in the peacekeeping force.

UNIFIL was significantly enlarged - from a force of 2,000 troops to over 13,000 - following the Second Lebanon War Israel fought against Hizbullah in the summer of 2006.

Germany, for example, is scheduled to concede command of the UNIFIL naval contingent in February. While Germany will continue to serve as a UNIFIL member, Israeli officials said they were concerned that the move was the first step in the country's plan to downsize its involvement.

Defense officials from a number of European countries confirmed that their governments were currently debating the issue and that it was possible that the UNIFIL force would not remain at its current strength in the years to come. Some officials went as far as to predict that if the political situation in Lebanon resolved itself and stabilized, there may "no longer be a need for UNIFIL at all."

The concern over the fate of UNIFIL was reportedly recently raised by the force commander Maj.-Gen. Claudio Graziano, who was quoted as warning Lebanese leaders he met in Beirut last week that the tension in the south and a deepening political crisis in the country might prompt European countries "to withdraw from UNIFIL within less than four months."

In addition to the concerns over the future of UNIFIL, the IDF has recently lodged informal complaints with several European countries over the fact that their forces are, according to Israel, involved more in protecting themselves from terror groups in southern Lebanon than in fulfilling their mission of preventing weapons smuggling and Hizbullah buildup.

On Tuesday, Brig.-Gen. Yossi Baidatz, head of Military Intelligence's research division, told a Knesset committee that Hizbullah was learning to adapt to the new reality in southern Lebanon where UNIFIL operates.

According to defense officials, since the deaths of six Spanish soldiers in a terror attack in June, UNIFIL has been investing most of its resources in self-protection at the expense of conducting its missions.

"Hizbullah is gaining from this situation," an official said.

Israel fears European countries might 'downsize' from UNIFIL (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1192380772139&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter)


Title: Uncertainty Over Putin Succession Fuels 'Siloviki War'
Post by: Shammu on November 10, 2007, 03:26:00 PM
Uncertainty Over Putin Succession Fuels 'Siloviki War'
By Brian Whitmore
Russia – Cityscape – Views of the Kremlin, Moscow, 5Jul2006
(ITAR-TASS)
November 9, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Konstantin Druzenko and Sergei Lomako were out last month for a long night of drinking at a St. Petersburg cafe. Early the next morning, their dead bodies were found in a ditch.

But these weren't ordinary drunks who passed out and died in the frigid Russian night. Druzenko was an officer with Russia's Federal Antinarcotics Service and Lomako a former colleague there. Police say both were poisoned.

Adding to the mystery, their October 27 deaths came in the midst of a nasty and protracted turf battle between rival clans of KGB and security-service veterans in Vladimir Putin's Kremlin. This "war of the siloviki" -- Russian slang for members or veterans of the security services -- pits a bureaucratic clique led by Federal Antinarcotics Service head Viktor Cherkesov, the two men's boss, against another led by Putin's powerful deputy chief of staff, Igor Sechin.

Police say they are still investigating the deaths, while insisting the poisonings were unconnected to the men's work. But some Kremlin-watchers, like Vladimir Pribylovsky, head of the Moscow-based Panorama think tank, believe otherwise.

"This is connected," Pribylovsky told RFE/RL. "I have few doubts that this happened in the context of the [siloviki] war. And I don't see peace breaking out."

Battle Of The Clans

Whether or not there is a connection -- and the evidence at this point is largely circumstantial -- speculation about the deaths highlights mounting concerns that the high-stakes battle for power and influence among the Kremlin's siloviki clans might be spinning out of control. The power struggle, analysts say, is largely being fueled by mounting uncertainty -- and growing apprehension -- over what will happen when Putin's term ends next year.

"The entire political system of Russia today is a struggle of various clans and groups fighting to see that Putin stays in power according to their scenario and not according to the scenario of their competitors," Mikhail Delyagin, who served as an economic adviser under former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, recently told the news weekly "Itogi."

In this atmosphere, Cherkesov and his ally Viktor Zolotov, the head of the presidential security service, are trying to increase their power in the Kremlin at the expense of Sechin and his ally, Federal Security Service (FSB) chief Nikolai Patrushev.

Related to this struggle for political power are the two sides' conflicting commercial interests as they vie for control of Russia's customs points. Such powers offer the possibility of collecting protection payments from firms engaged in smuggling and money laundering.

"Cherkesov's group is...the weakest among the siloviki," says Andrei Soldatov, editor in chief of the online magazine agentura.ru and an expert on the security services. "Therefore, Cherkesov is trying to change this situation."

Soldatov and other analysts say one way Cherkesov is seeking to turn the tables is by gaining control of the newly formed Investigative Committee -- a powerful law-enforcement agency that has assumed many of the functions of the Prosecutor-General's Office. The Investigative Committee is currently headed by Aleksandr Bastrykin, who is allied with Sechin and Patrushev.

Proposals are being floated to unify Russia's myriad security, intelligence, and law-enforcement services under the Investigative Committee -- making control of the agency a key asset at a time of increased political uncertainty.

"If Cherkesov gets control of this new agency, then [his group] will become much stronger. If not, then they become marginalized. This is what the fight is over," Soldatov says, adding that Cherkesov is also angling to be appointed Security Council secretary.

Airing Dirty Laundry

Such jockeying for advantage has always been a feature of Putin's Kremlin, but it was a relatively low-intensity contest hidden from public view.

That all changed in October, when FSB agents arrested General Aleksandr Bulbov, Cherkesov's right-hand man at the Federal Antinarcotics Agency, after a tense standoff at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport.

A former security-service official familiar with the situation told "The Moscow Times" that there was "nearly a fight" at the airport when heavily armed FSB and Investigative Committee officials attempted to arrest Bulbov, who was being protected by Federal Antinarcotics Service agents.

Bulbov has been charged with illegally tapping telephones and accepting protection money.

In late August, Cherkesov and Zolotov suffered another blow when police arrested St. Petersburg businessman Vladimir Barsukov, who is reputed to have ties to both men, on suspicion of organizing contract killings.

Barsukov -- previously known as Vladimir Kumarin -- is a former vice president of the Petersburg Fuel Company who was once alleged to be the leader of an infamous criminal gang known as the Tambov Gang. According to media reports, prosecutors are investigating Zolotov's ties to Barsukov.

Cherkesov responded to Bulbov's arrest by publishing an open letter warning that Kremlin rivalries were on the verge of breaking into open conflict that could threaten Russia's stability.

Putin chastised Cherkesov publicly for breaking one of the key tenets of his usually tight-lipped ruling elite -- never air dirty laundry in public. But in a move characteristic of Putin's tendency to try to keep a balance of power among the top elite, the president then boosted Cherkesov's status by putting him in charge of a newly formed intergovernmental commission to fight illegal drugs.

A group of retired security officials -- including Vladimir Kruchkov, the last Soviet KGB chief -- published their own open letter in the nationalist newspaper "Zavtra" in October, urging the two sides to stop fighting. "Trust us from our experience," they wrote. "There will be major troubles and this is unacceptable."

For his part, Bulbov denies the charges against him and calls his arrest revenge for his role in a high-profile investigation last year of the Tri Kita company -- a large Moscow furniture business that was allegedly paying the FSB to turn its back as vast quantities of goods were smuggled into Russia without being subjected to customs duties.

cont'd next post


Title: Re: Uncertainty Over Putin Succession Fuels 'Siloviki War'
Post by: Shammu on November 10, 2007, 03:26:49 PM
The case resulted in the resignation of several high-ranking FSB officials and that of Prosecutor-General Vladimir Ustinov, a close ally of Sechin, in June 2006.

Putin As Arbiter

The battle has intensified, analysts say, as uncertainty mounts over what will happen when Putin's second presidential term ends next year. Putin insists he will not change the constitution to allow him to serve a third term, but he is nevertheless widely expected to maintain power in some form.

"The presidential transition lacks a lot of clarity about the composition of authority in the future, the separation of powers, how power is transferred, about who the successor will be," said Andrei Ryabov, a political analyst at the Moscow Carnegie Center.

Over the past two months, the succession drama has indeed become increasingly muddled.

Initially, Putin was expected to anoint a loyal successor who would easily win the March 2008 presidential election. First Deputy Prime Ministers Sergei Ivanov and Dmitry Medvedev were considered the prime contenders for Putin's coveted blessing. But those assumptions changed dramatically on September 12, when Putin unexpectedly passed over both and instead named the obscure Viktor Zubkov as his prime minister -- a post widely viewed as a stepping stone to the presidency.

The shock appointment suggested that the heretofore unknown bureaucrat Zubkov might be Putin's handpicked successor, and led to widespread speculation about another scenario -- that the next president would be a weak caretaker who would resign after a respectable period. This, in turn, would provide Putin a legal avenue to return to the Kremlin by circumventing the constitutional restriction preventing presidents from serving more than two consecutive terms.

Those theories were weakened when the Russian president dropped another bombshell. On October 1, Putin announced that he not only planned to head the pro-Kremlin Unified Russia party's candidates list in the December State Duma elections, but that he would also consider serving as prime minister. This sparked a new wave of conjecture that real political power in Russia would be transferred to a "super premiership" -- while the presidential post would  become largely symbolic.

But just weeks later, on October 18, Putin diluted that scenario by saying he opposed increasing the government's powers or decreasing those of the president.

Given the uncertainty of their political security, key members of the Kremlin elite are fighting to ensure that their interests are protected.

"Their main interest is the future composition of the ruling elite," Ryabov said. "They depend on the president...and they need some kind of guarantee that their influence and positions will be maintained under the new president. And it is obvious that their interests conflict, which makes it hard to find consensus."

Ryabov added, however, that he believes that the top elite's "common interests" and "corporate camaraderie" will in the end prove stronger than their divisions -- as long Putin remains in charge to keep the peace.

"With such countervailing forces, the system cannot regulate itself," Ryabov said. "It cannot resolve these conflicts through two-sided negotiations. An arbiter is always necessary and this is the role Putin is playing. And this is the key role."

According to Ryabov, the elite views the various schemes that have been floated to keep Putin in power as too risky, making the idea of changing the constitution to allow for a third term look increasingly attractive -- despite the president's public protestations to the contrary.

Many cities, including Moscow, have held rallies and meetings over the past three weeks to form local chapters of a new organization called For Putin! to urge that he remain in power. The group, which many observers say is a Kremlin creation, plans to hold an All-Russian Forum in Tver on November 15, just two weeks before the State Duma elections.

"The idea of a third term has been pulled back out of the archives, where it was placed a few months ago, and has returned to the center of the agenda since the end of October. I think this is no accident," Ryabov said. "This idea is alive. This idea is interesting again."   

Uncertainty Over Putin Succession Fuels 'Siloviki War' (http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2007/11/b087e127-13c7-41fb-ac48-e1a89cd11b23.html)


Title: Lebanon again delays presidential vote
Post by: Shammu on November 10, 2007, 03:31:00 PM
Lebanon again delays presidential vote

Sat Nov 10, 10:26 AM ET

BEIRUT, Lebanon - With just two weeks left before the president has to step down, Lebanon's parliament speaker on Saturday postponed presidential elections for the third time to give deadlocked rival factions more time to find a compromise candidate.

The 128-seat Parliament, dominated by anti-Syrian legislators, was scheduled to meet Monday for another attempt to choose a successor to pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud, who steps down Nov. 24.

A September session failed to reach quorum because of an opposition boycott, and an October attempt was postponed as negotiators struggled to find a compromise candidate.

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, in a statement issued by the parliament's secretariat general, said he decided to postpone the election until Nov. 21 "to give more time for consultations to reach agreement on a president."

The decision followed a meeting last night between Berri, who is aligned with the Syria-backed, Hezbollah-led opposition, and legislator Saad Hariri, leader of the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority in Lebanon.

Lebanon again delays presidential vote (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071110/ap_on_re_mi_ea/lebanon_election;_ylt=Ajl41D80MdbtcWrjOTwSZ74LewgF)


Title: Georgian Parliament Confirms Emergency Rule
Post by: Shammu on November 10, 2007, 04:16:07 PM
Georgian Parliament Confirms Emergency Rule

MOSCOW, Saturday, Nov. 10 — The Georgian Parliament approved a state of emergency decree on Friday issued by President Mikheil Saakashvili on Wednesday, allowing emergency rule for as long as 15 days despite calls from inside and outside the country for the restoration of personal and political rights.

 The vote was 149 to 0 in a session of the 235-seat Parliament that the opposition boycotted.

The approval was a rebuff to international organizations that called for the decree to be lifted and to foreign governments, including the Bush administration, which until this week had championed Georgia as an example of a post-Soviet state undergoing bold democratic reforms.

The United States expressed swift dismay at the decision of Parliament, which is under Mr. Saakashvili’s control. A senior American diplomat said he was departing Washington this afternoon to fly to Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, to help mediate the crisis.

Matthew J. Bryza, deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, said by telephone that he would meet with Mr. Saakashvili on Saturday and deliver a clear message from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. “I plan to tell the government that it needs to lift the state of emergency immediately,” Mr. Bryza said. “It is a big disappointment.

“This is a very serious moment,” he added. “This is a moment of truth.”

Mr. Bryza said that he would also meet the opposition leaders and ask them to refrain from inflammatory language and to negotiate constructively. In a clear sign to Mr. Saakashvili and his government that the American support they have enjoyed since coming to power in 2003 is not unequivocal, Mr. Bryza added that he hoped to give a message to the Georgian people.

“We care about Georgia and Georgian democracy, and frankly I love that country,” he said. “But it is about democracy in Georgia that we care. ”

The Parliament met as the country’s prosecutors announced that they had opened a criminal investigation against Badri Patarkatsishvili, a wealthy Georgian who had pledged financial support to the opposition, on the ground that he had plotted to overthrow the state.

Mr. Patarkatsishvili, who has been in Israel this week, was on an airplane Friday and not immediately available for comment, a member of his staff said.

Mr. Saakashvili issued the emergency decree on Wednesday night after a police crackdown on an opposition demonstration sowed unrest in Tbilisi, the country’s capital, and led to demonstrations and clashes with the police later in the day. The West maintains that there is credible evidence, including photographs, video and eyewitness accounts, that the police used disproportionate force, and chased and beat many demonstrators who did not resist or had run away.

The presidential decree banned public assembly, limited political speech and banned independent news television broadcasts. The police also seized the offices and smashed broadcasting equipment at the country’s most popular station, the opposition Imedi-TV, which remained entirely off the air on Friday.

Giga Bokeria, a member of Parliament and a close ally to the president, said by telephone that the station was now also under criminal investigation, accused of collaborating with Mr. Patarkatsishvili and actively inciting unrest, and had little prospect of reopening. Even when the state of emergency ends, he said, the station would be under sanction. “Imedi is a separate issue,” he said by telephone.

Under Georgian law, the state of emergency decree required parliamentary approval within 48 hours. The vote on Friday, with only a few hours remaining, allowed the extension of emergency rule to Nov. 22, giving Mr. Saakashvili the option of exercising the full 15-day period allowed by the country’s laws.

The speaker of Parliament, Nino Burdjanadze, said the order could not yet be lifted because there had been a coup attempt and the state remained at risk.

“The threat that existed until now is still present despite the calm that has been restored,” she said, according to news agency reporters present at the session.

cont'd next post


Title: Re: Georgian Parliament Confirms Emergency Rule
Post by: Shammu on November 10, 2007, 04:16:57 PM
On Thursday, Mr. Saakashvili and other government officials had said that the state of emergency could end soon. Mr. Bokeria said Friday that the government would almost certainly revisit the decision before Nov. 22. “We are sure that it will be lifted sooner,” he said after the vote.

The government’s actions were denounced at home, and a news anchor who works at the closed Imedi-TV accused the government of deliberately destroying the station.

“We understand that the main aim of the government and the special forces was not to stop our broadcast but to crash and break everything inside our station and terrorize the staff,” said the anchorman, Giorgi Targamadze, by telephone. “If they wanted us to stop our broadcast, they could have given us one piece of paper about the emergency order. We are very loyal to the Constitution and we would have stopped broadcasting.”

Mr. Targamadze, who on Wednesday night had broadcast live briefly as the station was seized by the police, said the station’s archive was also destroyed or removed. He dismissed the government’s allegations that the station had called for illegal actions. “All the people in Georgia, even international organizations who are monitoring our broadcasts, know that is fully false information,” he said.

 In a bid to end the crisis and test his own standing, Mr. Saakashvili on Thursday had announced on national public television that new presidential elections would be held on Jan. 5, saying he needed a new mandate from Georgia’s people to continue to serve.

He also said that a national referendum would be held the same day to determine whether parliamentary elections should be held next spring or next fall. The opposition greeted the decision for snap elections as a sign that Mr. Saakashvili recognized that both the legitimacy of his government and the stability of Georgia were at stake, but also expressed worries about the potential for a fair and open vote.

The confirmation of the state of emergency was treated in Washington and in Tbilisi as a backward step. Mr. Bryza, the deputy assistant secretary of state, said that lifting the state of emergency immediately and restoring all independent television broadcasting was necessary for the legitimacy of the upcoming elections. “These steps are crucial for ensuring that the elections are free and fair,” he said.

He also said that he would urge the opposition, which has asked the United States to list the government as a terrorist organization, and carried signs of Mr. Saakashvili with a Hitler-style mustache, to negotiate civilly. “Dubbing a president a dictator or terrorist — that is not constructive,” he said.

Mr. Targamadze said Georgia’s citizens, who would have trouble hearing Mr. Bryza’s remarks because of the broadcasting restrictions, would welcome Washington’s position as word of it circulated through the country.

“It is very important for us,” he said. “The most important thing on our mind in Georgia, and I am very afraid, is that all of these bad things and crucial things that are happening in Georgia are associated with the United States. I know this is not true. But it is very hard for the people who are in Georgia to understand this because they see that the United States as Georgia’s main foreign partner.”

Until the government’s moves this week, Georgia had been embraced by Washington as a nation in difficult corner of the world that dared to pursue ambitious reforms. Mr. Saakashvili, who himself rose to power on peaceful demonstrations in 2003, known as the Rose Revolution, had led his government through an effort to gain entrance to NATO and the European Union, and had assumed the role of a champion of democracy and political freedom in the Caucasus.

He secured strong relations with the Bush administration in part by sending thousands of Georgian soldiers to the American-led coalition in Iraq, and has pledged to send a smaller contingent to Afghanistan next spring. Educated at Columbia University and fluent in several languages, including English, he has been a frequent contributor to editorial pages in Western newspapers, where he has written about democratic values and scolded corrupt and autocratic governments elsewhere.

President Bush visited the country in 2005, and addressed a massive crowd in the capital’s former Lenin Square, where he praised the country’s progress. It was the first visit by an American president to Georgia, and left a stamp of American approval on the Saakashvili government, which renamed a main road after Mr. Bush.

Mr. Bryza made clear that the enduring state of emergency in Tbilisi, and the suppression of the media, has called into question both Mr. Saakashvili’s credibility and Georgia’s standing on the Western stage. He said that Georgia a might yet recover its international standing as a state seeking reform and access to Western institutions, but that the government would have to act decisively and clearly.

“They have a chance to turn things around if there is absolute clarity that whatever vote there is free and fair, and they restore momentum on democratic reform,” he said. “Then one could make the case that Georgia had weathered a serious hiccup, and democracy is vibrant. But that is a big ‘if.’

“We are counting on President Saakashvili to show the same vision and leadership that he showed during the Rose Revolution,” Mr. Bryza added. “The country is anxious for that kind of leadership now.”

Tbilisi was calmer on Friday and the police presence much lighter than Thursday, when platoons roamed the streets. But resident complained of an absence of information because of the ban on independent media.

There was at least one sign of misgivings within Mr. Saakashvili’s government as well. Levan Mikeladze, the ambassador from Georgia to Switzerland and its head of mission to international organizations in Geneva, released a public letter announcing his resignation.

Georgian Parliament Confirms Emergency Rule (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/10/world/europe/10georgia.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin)


Title: Georgian Orthodox Patriarch Mediating Crisis
Post by: Shammu on November 10, 2007, 04:21:00 PM
Georgian Orthodox Patriarch Mediating Crisis
By Peter Fedynsky

09 November 2007

Fedynsky report - Download MP3 (677k) (http://www.voanews.com/mediaassets/english/2007_11/Audio/mp3/Fedynsky%20GEORGIA%20PATRIARCH_09Nov071.mp3)

The Parliament of Georgia has unanimously approved President Saakashvili's 15-day state of emergency following preliminary government and opposition reconciliation talks under the auspices of the country's Orthodox Patriarch. VOA Correspondent Peter Fedynsky has this report from Tbilisi.

Approval of the 15-day state of emergency was unanimous thanks to a boycott by 101 opposition lawmakers. This allowed the remaining 149 pro-government deputies to vote as one in favor of the controversial measure, which will keep independent news broadcasts off the air until the state of emergency is lifted. President Saakashvili has the option of ending it sooner.

The Georgian leader announced the state of emergency on Wednesday after riot troops used force to break up anti-government demonstrations in Tbilisi.

Also Friday, the Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Ilia II, held separate meetings in Tbilisi with representatives of the government and opposition in hopes of reconciling the two sides.

Pro-government lawmaker Khatuna Gogorishvili participated. In remarks to the VOA, she said the Patriarch is an individual that appeals to reason, not emotions.

Unfortunately, says Gogorishvili, some of our colleagues from the opposition understand the words dialogue and talks as ultimatum. To sit behind a table with them does not mean we agree with all of their demands.

Opposition members agree with Gogorishvili about the issue of consensus. But Goga Khaindrava, who met with the Patriarch as an opposition representative, told VOA that the government is standing in the way of a dialogue. Khaidrava was President Saakashvili's former Conflict Resolutions Minister.

Khaindrava says the president's words usually amount to public relations. He told the entire world he'll do this, that and the other, but repressions against our colleagues continue nevertheless.

The former presidential ally said the opposition will only talk with Saakashvili under the condition that the first meeting be held in the presence of Patriarch Ilia. Speaking to reporters after talks with both sides, the Church leader praised the decision to hold early presidential elections.

The president's smart decision to hold early elections relieves mounting tensions in Georgia. Ilia also called on Georgians to maintain the peace and to speak properly with one another.

The date of Georgia's presidential election was a major factor in six days of opposition protests in Tbilisi. The opposition wanted the date moved up from November to March. The president initially refused, but then went even further, setting the date for January 5. This gives the opposition little time to agree on a candidate and to mount a campaign. Some analysts say this will favor the president, but former minister Khaindrava says Mr. Saakashvili is so discredited that the opposition will win the election.

Georgian Orthodox Patriarch Mediating Crisis (http://www.voanews.com/english/2007-11-09-voa48.cfm)


Title: Israel training intensively for nuclear strike on Iranian nuclear plants
Post by: Shammu on November 10, 2007, 04:45:09 PM
Israel training intensively for nuclear strike on Iranian nuclear plants
By Reuven Koret  November 10, 2007

With no alternative but to fight fire with fire, the Israel Air Force is training for a tactical nuclear strike on Iranian nuclear production facilities. As hope fades for a diplomatic solution to Iran's development of enriched uranium for production of weapons with the primary purpose of destroying Israel, the IAF is practicing for a mission to destroy key Iranian facilities, at least one with low-yield nuclear munitions, the Times of London reported.

Citing "several Israeli sources," the Times said that two IAF squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using a combination of precision laser bombs and low-yield nuclear "bunker-busters". The Times report was supplemented by one from Fox News.

The attack would be the first with nuclear weapons since 1945, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Israeli weapons would each have a force equivalent to one-fifteenth of the Hiroshima bomb, the Times said.

Under the plans, the report said, conventional laser-guided bombs would open shafts into the targets. Then the "mini-nukes" would then be fired into a plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of radioactive fallout.

"As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished," said one of the sources.

Israeli intelligence recently announced that Iran is on the verge of producing enough enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons by 2009. Meir Dagan, head of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, told the Knesset, Israel's parliament, also believes that the Iranians will have a complete nuclear device by 2009.

Conventional strikes, IDF commanders believe, are insufficient to destroy the deeply buried enrichment facilities, which are reportedly built beneath at least 70 feet of concrete and rock and surrounded by dozens of Iranian anti-aircraft batteries.

Israel has identified three prime targets south of Tehran believed to be central to Iran's nuclear program, the Times reported:

Natanz, where thousands of centrifuges are being installed for uranium enrichment;

A uranium conversion facility near Isfahan where, according to a statement by an Iranian vice-president last week, 250 tons of gas for the enrichment process have been stored; because this is located near a city of 4.5 million people, Israeli may opt to use conventional munitions here.

A heavy water reactor at Arak, which may in future produce enough plutonium for a bomb.

Israeli officials believe that destroying all three sites would delay Iran's nuclear program for years and prevent the Jewish State from living in fear of a "second Holocaust," a mounting threat since Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has been declaring that "Israel must be wiped off the map" and promoting the desirability of "a world without Israel."

Dr. Ephraim Sneh, the former deputy Israeli defense minister, said last month: "The time is approaching when Israel and the international community will have to decide whether to take military action against Iran." But he lamented that "At the end of the day it is always down to the Jews to deal with the problem."

But the United States is believed to be backing away from military action in Iran, and the new US defense secretary, Robert Gates, has described a strike against Iranian targets as a "last resort", leading Israelis to believe that it will be left to the IAF to strike. Israeli sources do not believe that the US is likely to give explicit permission for Israel to use tactical nukes.

The Times, citing Israeli sources, said Israeli pilots have flown to Gibraltar in recent weeks to train for the 2,000-mile round trip to the Iranian targets.

The report said that the air force squadrons are based at Hatzerim in the Negev desert and Tel Nof, south of Tel Aviv, under the personal supervision of Major General Eliezer Shkedy, commander of the Israeli Air Force, training to use Israel's arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons on the mission.

The strike is expected to release nuclear material from the plants, rendering the facilities uninhabitable and crippling their reconstruction.

The Israelis believe that Iran's expected retaliation would be constrained by fear of an Israeli second strike.

The leak of a possible nuclear option by Israel may be intentional, US analysts have said. "In the cold war, we made it clear to the Russians that it was a virtual certainty that nukes would fly and fly early," said an American defense source. "Israel may be adopting the same tactics: 'You produce a weapon; you die'."

Israel training intensively for nuclear strike on Iranian nuclear plants (http://web.israelinsider.com/Articles/Security/12333.htm)


Title: Re: Israel training intensively for nuclear strike on Iranian nuclear plants
Post by: Shammu on November 10, 2007, 04:52:45 PM
We as Christians know this is going to happen. When all this hits the fan, the rest of the world is gonna freak.  :D :D

All this news today....... peace talks, Russian/muslim alliances, Syria saber rattling sure does give merit to the idea that they all sorta take place very closely together.

So make sure to help spread the Word today by (http://bestsmileys.com/religous/3.gif) And may (http://bestsmileys.com/religous/5.gif)



Title: Iran Makes Highly Advanced War Simulator
Post by: Shammu on November 10, 2007, 09:07:41 PM
Iran Makes Highly Advanced War Simulator

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iranian army succeeded in designing and producing the most advanced simulator of classic and modern wars.
   
The computer simulator which uses satellite connections to link 100 computer systems is used for practicing the latest methods of the deployment of troops, tactical structures and force buildup.

The system can be used in defense and offence arrangements and positions in both classic and modern wars.

Iran Makes Highly Advanced War Simulator (http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8608180322)


Title: Iran, Armenia Sign Defense Cooperation Memo
Post by: Shammu on November 10, 2007, 09:09:57 PM
Iran, Armenia Sign Defense Cooperation Memo

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- The defense chiefs of Armenia and Iran signed a memorandum on cooperation between the two countries' military departments in Yerevan on Thursday.
   
Armenia's Defense Minister Mikael Harutiunian and his Iranian counterpart Major General Mostafa Mohammad Najjar stressed the importance of the event for the two countries' future cooperation after signing the document.

"I find it necessary to mention once again that the consistent policy in this issue will be consolidated by the atmosphere of trust that has been formed over centuries and will serve as a ground for cooperation in the future for the benefit of the peaceful existence of the two friendly nations," Harutiunian said.

"At the same time, steps are being made to deepen cooperation in the area of supply of foodstuffs and items between the Etka and Zinar companies of the Defense Ministry of Iran and the Defense Ministry of Armenia, respectively," Harutiunian added.

Iranian Defense Minister Major-General Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, who has been on a three-day visit to Armenia since Tuesday, said that the relations between the relations between Armenia and Iran can serve as a good example of warm and friendly relations between two countries.

"Security and cooperation are needed for a stable economic development of the region's countries. Iran wants to have stable and firm relations with all its neighbors," the Iranian defense chief emphasized.

The delegation led by Mostafa Mohammad Najjar was also received by President Robert Kocharian.

According to Kocharian's press service, Minister Mohammad Najjar conveyed to the Armenian president warm greetings from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The sides reportedly stressed the high level of Armenian-Iranian relations, attaching importance to the agreements reached by the two countries' presidents in the matter of further developing this cooperation.

Iran, Armenia Sign Defense Cooperation Memo (http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8608180277)


Title: Lebanese Spiritual Leader Calls on Palestinians to Revive Intifada
Post by: Shammu on November 10, 2007, 09:13:01 PM
Lebanese Spiritual Leader Calls on Palestinians to Revive Intifada

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Lebanon's most senior Shiite Muslim cleric Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah called on the Palestinian nation to revive its popular uprising - the Intifada - against the Zionist regime.

Addressing Muslim worshippers in Beirut on Friday, Fadlallah blasted the US for its efforts to undermine the oppressed nations.

"While the United States claims that it is promoting freedom and democracy in different world countries, particularly in our Arab and Islamic region, a review of its political and security strategies shows that the US seeks to undermine the oppressed nations of the world in a bid to attain its interests and control the world economy, specially through dominating the Middle-East oil reserves," he said.

Beirut's Friday prayers leader further described the Zionist regime as an aggressor and enemy of Arabs, Muslims and Palestinian nation, and slammed the US and certain European states for praising Israel as the only democratic country in the region.

He also criticized Arab leaders for giving concessions to the Zionist regime and serving interests of the Tel Aviv as a result of US pressures.

"Following the US pressures, some of the leaders of the Arab states gave big concessions to the Zionist regime and regulated their plans and programs in line with the interests of the Zionist regime in such a way that the strategic Arab-Zionist regime issue has now been restricted to the Palestinian-Zionist regime conflict," Fadlallah said.

"The situation has grown so worse that some of the Arab officials describe the Zionist enemy as their friends and view the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance as the only impediment to their friendship," he added.

The Lebanese Shiite leader further called on the Palestinian nation to blow a new spirit into its Intifada in a bid to display that its resistance will continue until the attainment of final and complete victory.

Elsewhere, he pointed to the ongoing insecurities in Iraq, and took the United States' double-standards and dual policies as responsible for the cumbersome conditions of the Iraqi people, adding that the said policies have turned instability and insecurity into the main features of the Iraqi society today.

"The United States seeks to shrink from the heavy burden of its failure in Iraq through pressurizing Syria, sparking problems in Lebanon and posing frequent threats to Iran under the pretext of Tehran's nuclear activities," the Lebanese spiritual leader concluded.

Lebanese Spiritual Leader Calls on Palestinians to Revive Intifada (http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8608190626)


Title: Malaysia Pleased to Expand Iran Business
Post by: Shammu on November 10, 2007, 09:15:15 PM
Malaysia Pleased to Expand Iran Business

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- While Western businesses are warned by the US to keep away from Iran, Malaysian companies have taken up the slack.

Malaysia, a member of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), is to hold talks with Iran about strengthening ties.

The Malaysian government says it will work with its own private sector to explore possible ways to boost economic and trade cooperation with the Islamic Republic.

Malaysian government economists say Iran has a very strong reputation for prompt payments to contractors who have done business in the past.

Malaysia Pleased to Expand Iran Business (http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8608190359)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on November 10, 2007, 09:16:59 PM
Expansion of Iran-Malaysia Ties

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- First Vice-President Parviz Davoudi called on Iranian and Malaysian officials to utilize the existing potentials and possibilities to further expand ties between the two countries.

Davoudi made the remarks in a meeting with Malaysian Minister in charge of Investment Dao Norovavi here in Tehran on Saturday, where the Iranian vice-president appreciated Malaysia's principled stances in support of the Islamic Republic at international bodies, describing Kuala Lumpur as a Muslim friend which has always sided with Iran.

He further noted Malaysia's presidency in the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and called on Muslim countries to utilize their ample potentials and possibilities to serve the interests of their nations through boosting cooperation.

Davoudi also noted Iran's foreign investment possibilities, and voiced Tehran's preparedness to further deepen and develop mutual ties with Malaysia in different grounds, joint ventures, modern technologies, telecommunication and housing in particular.

For his part, the Malaysian minister voiced pleasure in the two countries' developing relations, and underlined that Kuala Lumpur has not set a limit on the expansion of its ties with Tehran.

He reiterated that Malaysia attaches much significance to the promotion of its relations with Muslim countries, specially Iran, and stated Kuala Lumpur's readiness to further deepen mutual ties with Tehran in all the different areas.

Expansion of Iran-Malaysia Ties (http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8608190643)


Title: Iranian, Pakistani Presidents to Sign IPI Pipeline Contract Next Month
Post by: Shammu on November 10, 2007, 09:18:27 PM
Iranian, Pakistani Presidents to Sign IPI Pipeline Contract Next Month

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iranian and Pakistani presidents are expected to sign by next month the final contract on a $7.4 bln pipeline project which would take Iran's gas to Pakistan and India, a senior Iranian oil ministry official said here on Saturday.

Head of Tehran's negotiating team in the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline talks, Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, said that the two sides had made the final revisions and agreed on the final version of the contract in their last round of talks in Tehran.

Meantime, Ghanimifard, who is also the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) director for international affairs, said that Iranian and Pakistani engineers are yet to work out an operation agreement which will be supplemented to the contract before it is signed by the two countries' presidents.

He said the supplementary document, which will certainly be prepared within the next 30 days, will include some remaining technical points like point of delivery and gas pressure at delivery point.

The official underlined that the project would yield much profit to both sides, reminding that Tehran and Pakistan have originally started negotiations due to the huge gains that they perceived the project would yield in future.

"In the last round of talks with Iranian negotiators, the Pakistani oil minister extended an obvious welcome to the export of Iran's gas to India and china via his country's territory," Ghanimifard said.

He said Iran should not merely focus on exporting gas to India as the present trend of consumption shows that Asia will have a growing market for gas supplies in the near future.

"Thus, we should pay attention to the regional market as well," the official added.

Iranian, Pakistani Presidents to Sign IPI Pipeline Contract Next Month (http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8608190498)


Title: Turkey approves building nuclear plants
Post by: Shammu on November 11, 2007, 06:46:25 AM
Turkey approves building nuclear plants

Fri Nov 9, 2:18 PM ET

ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey's parliament approved a bill Friday allowing for the construction of nuclear power plants in the country, despite opposition from environmental groups.
ADVERTISEMENT

Turkey first announced plans to build a reactor in 1996, but the project was put on hold because of financial problems, and the chosen location, near the Mediterranean coast, was near an earthquake-prone region.

No specific sites have been chosen, but in the past the Turkish government has approved building its first nuclear power plants in the Black Sea province of Sinop, on the northern tip of Turkey.

Local fishermen fear a plant at Sinop, with its cooling system, would raise water temperatures and harm the fish. Others were concerned that coastal residents already were affected by the nuclear accident at Chernobyl two decades ago.

Earlier this year, thousands protested in Sinop after the government announced the region was chosen as a location for the country's first nuclear reactor. Environmental groups are pressing the government to seek alternative energy sources.

The government has said it plans to build three nuclear power plants by 2015 to meet the country's growing energy needs. Turkey has limited energy resources, relying on natural gas supplies from Iran and Russia.

Turkey approves building nuclear plants (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071109/ap_on_re_mi_ea/turkey_nuclear_power;_ylt=Ai3.Zffvbo31gi4AsKJIwkYLewgF)


Title: Iranian Police hold 180 in Iran religious clash-report
Post by: Shammu on November 11, 2007, 08:29:26 PM
Iranian Police hold 180 in Iran religious clash-report
11 Nov 2007 15:09:01 GMT
Source: Reuters

TEHRAN, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Police detained 180 people in a western Iranian city after unrest involving Sufi Muslims, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported on Sunday.

Details about Saturday night's incident were unclear and could not be independently confirmed.

Sufi Muslims have in the past clashed with the authorities in predominantly Shi'ite Muslim Iran. Sufism, a form of mystical Islam, is tolerated in Iran but some of its religious leaders have called for a clampdown on the group.

Fars News Agency said the trouble began when Sufis attacked a mosque in Boroujerd, about 320 km (200 miles) southwest of Tehran, prompting scuffles between Sufis and their opponents.

"The region's security forces strove to prevent the tension from escalating and, to this end, 180 people were also detained and handed over to the judicial authorities," Fars reported, as monitored by the BBC.

It quoted a senior provincial governor as saying about 80 people were hurt but said most injuries were light.

Around 1,000 Sufis were arrested last year during clashes with authorities over the closure of a Sufi prayer house in the holy city of Qom. Fifty-two of them were sentenced to a year in jail, 74 lashes, and fines on various charges.

Although Sufis are tolerated, their belief in the mystical path to God through dance and music can rankle some within the religious establishment of the Islamic Republic. Some religious leaders have called Sufis a "danger to Islam".

Sufism is best known in the West for its "whirling dervish" dances and for the mystical poetry of 13th-century Persian poet Jalal ad-din Rumi whose works have been bestsellers in the United States.

Iranian Police hold 180 in Iran religious clash-report (http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/BLA152203.htm)


Title: Nasrallah: IDF border drills show Israel gearing up for new war
Post by: Shammu on November 11, 2007, 08:31:53 PM
Nasrallah: IDF border drills show Israel gearing up for new war
By The Associated Press
tags: Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah

The leader of the militant Hezbollah group said Sunday that the Israel Defense Forces' recent military exercises near the Lebanese border were intended to prepare for a new war on Lebanon.

"The enemy has been conducting military maneuvers for months. The latest maneuvers occurred a few weeks ago near the Lebanese border in which 50,000 Israeli officers and soldiers participated," Hassan Nasrallah told a Hezbollah rally in south Beirut. "These maneuvers are to prepare for an attack on Lebanon," he said.

He said Hezbollah's military maneuvers in southern Lebanon last week were carried out in response to the IDF drills and were designed to send out a clear message to Israel that his fighters were ready to defend Lebanon if it was attacked again by Israel.

"I tell the [Israeli] enemy that these maneuvers were real, serious and big. I am not going to give details. There is a great deal of readiness [by Hezbollah] which the enemy must understand," Nasrallah said in his speech Sunday.

"These maneuvers were intended to send out a clear message to the world which is besieging us and to this enemy that that the resistance in Lebanon possesses determination, men and the necessary and sufficient weapons to defend Lebanon," the black-turbaned cleric said, drawing cheers from the crowd.

Without elaborating, he added, "The resistance is ready to make a victory for Lebanon that will change the region's face."

The rally, attended by several thousand Hezbollah supporters waving the group's yellow banners and the Lebanese flag, was organized by the group to mark Lebanon's Martyr's Day.

Hezbollah's deputy leader Sheikh Naeem Kassem last week confirmed that the group had staged its largest-ever military maneuver near the border with Israel, claiming that the exercise was intended as preparations to counter Israeli plans for war.

Kassem told the Israeli Arab newspaper Sawat al-Balad that the maneuvers were "large and important parts of our preparation so that we won't be surprised." It was the first interview of the kind given since the maneuvers were first reported.

The pro-Hezbollah Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported last Monday that thousands of the group's guerrillas had staged the exercise near Israel's border in southern Lebanon, but Prime Minister Fuad Saniora later said the reported exercise was probably just a simulation.

Israel Air Force warplanes dropped flares over the southern Lebanon hours after Hezbollah officials confirmed the exercise.

Monday's report in marked the first time Hezbollah, with its highly secretive military wing, revealed such exercises through a close newspaper. The maneuvers, if confirmed, could pose a major challenge to a UN-brokered cease-fire that ended last year's war with Israel.

Nasrallah: IDF border drills show Israel gearing up for new war (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/922684.html)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on November 11, 2007, 08:37:14 PM
Quote
He said Hezbollah's military maneuvers in southern Lebanon last week were carried out in response to the IDF drills and were designed to send out a clear message to Israel that his fighters were ready to defend Lebanon if it was attacked again by Israel.

"I tell the [Israeli] enemy that these maneuvers were real, serious and big. I am not going to give details. There is a great deal of readiness [by Hezbollah] which the enemy must understand," Nasrallah said in his speech Sunday.

"These maneuvers were intended to send out a clear message to the world which is besieging us and to this enemy that that the resistance in Lebanon possesses determination, men and the necessary and sufficient weapons to defend Lebanon," the black-turbaned cleric said, drawing cheers from the crowd.

The UN raced to end the Israeli Lebanese conflict with pledges to disarm Hizbolla, and to hermetically seal the border with Syria as to stop the arms flow from both Syria and Iran.

Their failure to follow through with their commitments will probably mean that Israel will eventually have another war with Lebanon, to the detriment of Israel and more so the many good people of Lebanon who have no interest for conflict with Israel.

Where is the UN accountability? Why aren`t their fingers pointing at Syria and Iran? Nooooo, they are too busy making resolutions against Israel?

Quote
Without elaborating, he added, "The resistance is ready to make a victory for Lebanon that will change the region's face."

Want to bet....... The changes will be made to Lebanon and the whole mideast. I've read God's Word, God wins, we win in the end.


Title: Iranian FM: Israel is no military match for Tehran
Post by: Shammu on November 11, 2007, 08:38:51 PM
Iranian FM: Israel is no military match for Tehran
By The Associated Press
tags: Israel

Iran's Foreign Ministry said on Monday that Israel poses no military threat to Iran, adding that any aggression on Israel's part would spark retaliation and accusing Israel of trying to sabotage relations between Tehran and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"The Zionist regime [Israel] is less than nothing to pose any kind of threat to Iran," ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told reporters Sunday when questioned about recent comments on Tehran's nuclear program made by Israeli officials.

It was not clear what Israeli threat Hosseini was referring to, but his statement came as Iran continues to defy international demands that it suspends uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for a nuclear reactor or fissile material for a bomb.
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The United States has said it is pursuing diplomatic angles with Tehran for now, but has not ruled out military action as a way to halt Iran's nuclear enrichment, claiming it is using it as cover for weapons development, a charge Iranians deny.

Israel has said it views Iran as a strong threat, but most analysts think any Israeli military operation is unlikely at this point Hosseini warned Israel not to consider military action. In case it does, it will be faced with unprecedented response from Iran, Hosseini said, without elaborating.

He said Israeli threats were geared at preventing a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear standoff. Israelis many times have raised such things in order to undermine cooperation between Iran and the (UN) International Atomic Energy Agency, he said.

In 1981, Israel bombed a nuclear reactor in Iraq to prevent Saddam Hussein from developing nuclear weapons. While Israel neither acknowledges nor denies possessing nuclear arms, it is thought to have about 100-200 nuclear warheads, according to a 2006 report by the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Iran said Wednesday it has stepped up uranium enrichment activities by fully running 3,000 centrifuges at its nuclear plant in the central city of Natanz. It would take some 54,000 centrifuges to fuel a reactor.

Iranian FM: Israel is no military match for Tehran (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/922674.html)


Title: Egypt 'letting' Hamas build an army
Post by: Shammu on November 12, 2007, 01:22:24 AM
Egypt 'letting' Hamas build an army
Sheera Claire Frenkel , THE JERUSALEM POST    Nov. 12, 2007

Egypt effectively condoned Hamas's takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, and has since stood by and allowed Hamas to build an army, MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud) wrote in a letter to the US Senate on Sunday.

"Egypt's de facto behavior in the field supports Hamas," he said.

Steinitz wrote the letter at the request of Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), with whom he chairs a joint US-Israeli committee on defense and foreign policy.

"As long as Egypt is not required to pay a real price for this behavior, weapons and financial aid will continue to flow into the hands of Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza," he wrote.

Steinitz asked the Senate to approve a bill recently passed by the House of Representatives to freeze $200 million of the approximate $1.3 billion in annual US aid to Egypt each year until the Egyptian government changes it policy toward smuggling near and across its 14-kilometer border with the Gaza Strip.

According to the IDF, Hamas has smuggled 20,000 rifles, 6,000 antitank missiles and 100 tons of explosives into the Gaza Strip since last summer.

Steinitz said efforts by the Egyptians to stop the smuggling were ineffective and half-hearted.

"Egypt's claim that it is doing its best to end this situation by uncovering smuggling tunnels into Gaza is simply an insult to the intelligence... it is almost ridiculous for the Egyptians to focus on finding the tunnels, since it would be much easier for them to intercept the smugglers before they get anywhere near the border," he wrote.

Steinitz included a map of the Egypt-Gaza border in his letter.

"All they have to do is to erect a number of roadblocks along the very few roads that run from mainland Egypt to the Gaza region, in order to intercept heavily loaded trucks carrying hundreds of rifles and missiles from reaching the border," he wrote. "Alternatively, they can declare the border area a closed military zone, with a depth of two to three miles into the interior of Sinai, and prevent any movement in it."

Steinitz said both of those alternatives had been presented to Egyptian officials in the past, but the Egyptian army continued to focus on routing out tunnels.

"The only conclusion is that the Egyptians believe that it is in their interest to derail the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians and create an army in the Gaza Strip in order to try and weaken Israel," he wrote. "As long as Israel is getting weaker the Egyptians can get stronger."

Steinitz also accused the Egyptians of receiving aid, and possibly supplies, from Iran and Syria.

"There is always that argument - that the if the US cuts aid to Egypt they will just get more money from Iran and Syria," he wrote. "But it is impossible to continue in the current way."

The Egyptian government has called the accusations against them "baseless" and harmful to Egyptian-American relations.

Egypt 'letting' Hamas build an army (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1192380792234&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter)


Title: Saudi monarch woos Turkey's Islamists
Post by: Shammu on November 12, 2007, 03:22:59 PM
Saudi monarch woos Turkey's Islamists
By M K Bhadrakumar

When King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz visited Turkey in August last year, it was 40 years since a Saudi monarch had last visited. When the 83-year-old monarch arrived in Ankara on Saturday with an entourage of 11 planes for his second visit in a year, it was an extraordinary overture.

But it was comprehensible. Middle East politics have assumed an unprecedented level of criticality. The Saudis feel the need to visualize Turkey as a pillar of strength in the volatile regional environment.

Riyadh is signaling Turkey's strategic role. A historical paradox must be noted: Saudi Arabia was the cradle of the "Arab revolt" that sounded the death knell of the Ottoman Empire. It now solicits Turkey's regional role.

Turkey, too, is ready to return to the Muslim world after nearly a century's absence. Finding its European Union membership claims stalled, Turkey edges away from Europe.

Addressing the King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah in February 2006 in his capacity as deputy prime minister and foreign minister in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government at that time, now-president Abdullah Gul said unequivocally, "Turkey's foundations are in Europe and we have always been part of Europe. But Turkey is more than Europe! We are part of the Muslim world and we also belong to the revered traditions of the East. This unique position is our important asset, because it allows us to serve both worlds. Let no one be in doubt that we will fulfill this historic role and advance our common aspirations."

Gul was speaking hardly five months ahead of the path-breaking visit by the Saudi monarch to Turkey. Saudi Arabia and Turkey are both transforming. En route to Ankara last week, King Abdullah was received at the Vatican by Pope Benedict XVI in the first audience ever by a pontiff with a Saudi monarch.

Of course, change comes slowly. US columnist Thomas Friedman made an interesting point that King Abdullah could visit the Vatican, but the "pope can't visit the king of Saudi Arabia in the Vatican of Islam - Mecca", as non-Muslims aren't allowed there. Compared to Saudi Arabia, though, Turkey is transforming at a faster pace.

Religious bonds
A year ago, when King Abdullah arrived in Ankara, the head of protocol, Oya Turzcugolu, met him at the steps of the plane but the king refrained from shaking her hand. President Ahmet Necdet Sezer nonetheless served wine at the state banquet. Now, just a year later, Turkey is no longer fanatically wedded to militant secularism, and Gul doesn't serve wine.

In all of Turkey's history, though the Ottoman state directed the "emir ul Haj" (meaning they were the custodians over the pilgrimage), none of the Ottoman sultans ever performed the pilgrimage, except for Cem Sultan. The presidents of the Turkish republic also scrupulously followed the tradition. Gul will most certainly break that tradition.

Indeed, an agenda item for King Abdullah's parleys in Ankara related to the Turkish request for an increased quota for the haj pilgrimage. An estimated 120,000 Turks performed haj last year, whereas almost thrice that number had applied. Turkey's official pilgrim quota is only 70,000, though the Saudis are keen to accommodate an increased number. There is a strong demand in Turkey, a country that outright banned haj pilgrimages till 1947.

A growing mutual respect for the different interpretations of Islam partly explains the new proximity (Ottoman Turks used to execute Wahhabis). Saudi Arabia is pleased that observant Muslims are becoming assertive in Turkish society. The Saudi regime feels closeness to the government led by the Islamist AKP that it never could with Turkey's staunchly secularist establishment.

But the political establishments of the two countries have a lot of distance to cover. The AKP's decision to honor the visiting Saudi king with the state medal proved controversial. The Kemalist camp bristled. The opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Onur Oymen alleged the decision was a "clear indicator" of the AKP's intention to turn Turkey into an Islamic republic.

"Why should we honor Saudi Arabia? We don't harbor hostility toward that country, but we see no reason for showing sentimentality either," Oymen acidly remarked. He alleged the AKP was striving to bring Turkey "closer to the Islamic countries". Another prominent CHP leader, Inal Batu, a former diplomat, commented that "there are question marks hanging over this government's intention toward the secularist principles".

The antipathy toward Saudi Arabia is not confined to the political corridors. Despite 400 years of common history and religious and cultural links, Turkish civil society has remained coldly, disdainfully indifferent toward Saudi Arabia. It is in the Anatolian heartland of Turkey - among peasants, laborers, small traders and artisans - rather than in the cosmopolitan environs of Istanbul or Izmir that the gradual warming toward Saudi Arabia is palpable.

The Iran question
But King Abdullah's decision to visit Turkey for a second time was largely motivated by politics. The Iran question figures at the top. Riyadh is deeply disturbed by Iran's growing influence in the region. In the Saudi reading of the region's common history, Ottoman Turkey provided the bulwark against the ambitions of Persia's Safavi dynasty. Ideally, the Saudis would want history to repeat itself. But the Turkey-Iran relationship cannot be put back into a historical straightjacket. Turkish attitudes toward Iran have changed in the recent past.

The AKP government's leanings toward the Islamic world include Iran and a robust effort is on to build bilateral cooperation. Trade touching an all-time high level of US$7 billion may soon reach double digits. Ankara envisages a big role for Iran in its ambition to become the region's "energy hub". Disregarding US pressure, Ankara has pressed ahead with an agreement for the transit of Iranian gas to Europe.

Tehran for its part is thankful for Turkey's position that Iran's nuclear issue must be resolved through diplomatic means.

cont'd next post


Title: Re: Saudi monarch woos Turkey's Islamists
Post by: Shammu on November 12, 2007, 03:24:09 PM
Ankara even hosted a round of talks in April between the European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Iran's former chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani.

But what Riyadh must be viewing with a sense of disquiet is the emerging reality that Ankara and Tehran share common interests and concerns in the region's geopolitics. Ankara not only appreciates Tehran's support and understanding for the problems posed by PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) terrorism, but has lately begun flaunting its Iran connection. At the peak of the current crisis on Turkey's border with northern Iraq, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan visited Tehran on October 28.

He acknowledged that Turkey is seeking practical cooperation with Iran in tackling Kurdish militancy. Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad told Babacan, "The fate of regional nations is inter-linked and they should safeguard one another's interests." Ahmadinejad phoned Gul to stress that "Turkey's concerns are received with understanding" and "occupiers [United States] had covert agreements [with Kurds], have prepared the ground for disunity [among regional states] and are supporting terrorists through their double-standard policies".

Turkish-Iranian security cooperation has also shifted gear. It has become overt and sustained and it is deepening. Turkey made good use of its Iran card while appealing to the US on the PKK problem. Riyadh surely feels exasperated that President George W Bush's coddling of Kurdish separatism and terrorism is bringing Salafi Turks and Shi'ite Iranians closer together in an unprecedented bonding of the traditional rivals.

What alarms Riyadh is that Iran also took the initiative to evolve a common position with Syria in extending support to Turkey on the Kurdish problem. Following up on his talks with Babacan, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki visited Damascus on October 29, where he said, "Iran condemns the use of northern Iraqi territory as a launch pad for terrorist operations against Turkey and is fully prepared to combat terrorism at any price." In response, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem said, "Our brothers in Tehran are making efforts which are complementary to ours ... PKK's terrorist activities threaten Turkey as well as Iran and Syria."

Surprise move on Kirkuk
Any Turkish invasion of Iraq will trigger a massive shift in the region's balance of forces. Turkish columnist Hasan Kanbolat of the Islamist daily Zaman recently wrote, "The Arab countries are generally afraid that Turkey's operation may expand to include even Baghdad. Some governments worry that Turkey, having become a regional power, actually plans to permanently enter Iraq and the Arab world and strengthen its claims on the oil reserves of northern Iraq. They fear, in essence, that Turkey intends to use the PKK as an excuse to return to the Middle East with the spirit of the Ottoman Empire."

The Saudis fear that a Turkish incursion into northern Iraq would willy-nilly encourage the emergence of a Shi'ite state in southern Iraq bordering Saudi Arabia's volatile Shi'ite provinces. Besides, the Saudis are nervous that Turkish-Iranian-Syrian understanding could have implications for Lebanon.

Tehran of course has been playing its cards astutely. It incessantly envelops Riyadh in a friendly idiom. On Sunday, Ahmadinejad will undertake a second visit within the year to Riyadh.

Last week, Iran threw another trump card on the table by going on record that it opposed the implementation of Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution (worked out under American supervision), which calls for holding a referendum on the status of Kirkuk province to decide on its inclusion in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Mottaki told Iranian television, "There are differences of opinion about issues such as Kirkuk or the internal borders of provinces. We have suggested a moratorium so that decisions can be made about them."

The Iranian bombshell pleases Ankara immensely. To the contrary, the pro-American KRG leadership went ballistic. KRG president Massoud Barzani's office angrily reacted, "These [Iranian] proposals contradict the Iraqi constitution, and therefore we reject them. They constitute interference and will further complicate the situation." The KRG will be suspecting Iran-Turkey collusion. (The Iranian proposal was embedded deep in a package it submitted at the conference of Iraq's neighboring countries in Istanbul on November 3.)

The dilemma is acute for Saudi Arabia insofar as Iraq has also been the theater of a historical struggle between Shi'ite Iran and Sunni Anatolia. In the Iranian move on Kirkuk, Saudis see Tehran as lending a big helping hand to Ankara, which is bound to further consolidate the two countries' understanding over the Iraq situation. In intrinsic terms, though, the Iranian proposal ought to satisfy Iraqi Arabs as well as Arab countries. But what gives it a cutting edge is that it is not based on technical grounds but on manifestly political motivation. In fact, Tehran admits as much.

The Iranian proposal undercuts the "Sunni solidarity" that Saudis are seeking. For the secular Turkish establishment, though, there is no such contradiction since cooperation with Iran is very obviously for strategic reasons. Moments such as this bring out what strange bedfellows the Turks and the Saudis are.

'Green money'
All the same, King Abdullah's overture to Turkey has logic. He will know Turkey has always been enamored of petro-dollars. The Saudis can be trendsetters at a time when the oil-exporting countries of the Persian Gulf have huge surplus resources to invest. Turkey signaled its priorities when a double taxation avoidance agreement was signed during King Abdullah's visit.

An influx of what Turks call yesil sermaye or green money - from wealthy Islamist businessmen and oil-rich Arab countries - has quietly boosted the AKP's finances over the years. Turkey's Islamic business skyline has certainly changed beyond recognition during AKP rule in the party's strongholds like Kayseri and Konya in inner Anatolia.

Turkish economists estimate that infusion of green money into Turkey could be anywhere up to $12 billion. They speculate that Turkey could be a beneficiary of the Saudi and Persian Gulf countries' liquidation of their US holdings since September 11, 2001.

Some experts believe green money may already have begun influencing Turkish policies. To be sure, Saudi investors will take note that following the AKP's massive election victory in July, Turkey's political fulcrum has shifted. The newly elected president Gul fondly recalls his assignment as a specialist in the Islamist Development Bank in Jeddah for eight years from 1983 to 1991. Riyadh can claim a genuinely warm friend in Gul.

Limits of Saudi influence
King Abdullah's visit is a celebration of growing ties. It is an acknowledgement of Turkey's regional role, and a statement that Riyadh will go the extra yard to cement common approaches on regional problems with Turkey.

But how far can a Saudi-Turkish strategic partnership develop? The crunch will come over Iraq's future. Much will depend on how Bush makes good on the pledges he made to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during their talks in Washington on November 5 regarding PKK terrorism. Even as King Abdullah was visiting Ankara, Turkey's chief of general staff, General Yasar Buyukanit, repeated that an operation inside Iraq is in the pipeline awaiting government approval.

Buyukanit played down the Washington parleys. "We are a great state and we do not need approval from anyone," he said, adding Turkey only sought "coordination" with US forces in Iraq to avoid friendly fire.

The Saudis have no real means of influencing either developments on the Turkey-Iraq border that could trigger a chain reaction, or Bush's complicated thought processes over Iran that could dramatically alter the region's chessboard.

For the first time in decades, even though oil is selling for almost $100 a barrel, the Saudis will realize the limits of their capacity to influence the course of events in their region. They find non-Arab parties - the US, Israel, Iran, Turkey and even the Kurds - entirely managing the birth pangs of the new Middle East, while not a single Arab regime is directly involved. The Turks will know the Saudis are dealing from a weak hand.

Saudi monarch woos Turkey's Islamists (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/IK13Ag01.html)


Title: PM Singh set for key Russia talks
Post by: Shammu on November 12, 2007, 08:02:46 PM
PM Singh set for key Russia talks
12 November 2007

Indian PM Manmohan Singh is due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin for talks to boost economic and military ties between the two countries.

Mr Singh is in Moscow for a two-day visit, the latest in a series of yearly meetings between the leaders of the two traditional allies.

The two countries have had close links since Soviet times and India remains a leading buyer of Russian weaponry.

Russia is currently bidding to supply more than 120 fighter planes to Delhi.

"Russia occupies a special and unique place in the Indian foreign policy," Mr Singh was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

Ties between the two countries will rise "to new levels", he said.

The two sides are expected to sign an agreement under which Russia would build four nuclear reactors in India, according to reports. Russia is already building a civilian nuclear power plant in India.

Russia and India are discussing collaborating on the next generation of fighter jets and medium-range transport aircraft.

The two countries are also rapidly deepening co-operation in the energy sector.

Though ties between the two countries are strong, the relationship faces new challenges, including competition from the West and the growing economic and military might of China.

PM Singh set for key Russia talks (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7090094.stm)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on November 12, 2007, 08:04:36 PM
Russia sure has been making alot of friends lately. Course the Bible tells us, this will happen. Which is why the name of this thread is, what it is........


Title: Nukes must stay within national borders
Post by: Shammu on November 12, 2007, 09:04:28 PM
Nukes must stay within national borders
18:45    08/ 11/ 2007

MOSCOW, November 8 (RIA Novosti) - Any new Russia-U.S. agreement on strategic weapons reduction must eliminate the possibility that nuclear weapons could be stationed outside national borders, chief of the Russian General Staff said.

The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-I) was signed by the United States and the Soviet Union on July 31, 1991, five months before the union collapsed, and remains in force between the U.S., Russia, and three other ex-Soviet states.

Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine have since disposed of all their nuclear weapons or transferred them to Russia. And the U.S. and Russia have reduced the number of delivery vehicles to 1,600, with no more than 6,000 warheads. The treaty is due to expire on December 5, 2009.

"Russia deems it necessary to preserve certain provisions of the START treaty [in a new agreement]...especially those that limit the number of nuclear warheads and their delivery vehicles, and those that prohibit their deployment outside national borders," Gen. Yury Baluyevsky said in an interview with ATM, a Czech army journal, posted on the Defense Ministry's Web site.

The general said the new treaty should replace both the START treaty and the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), and ensure the future comparability and transparency of Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals.

He also said the new document should be legally binding and set up as an independent international legal act.

"The proposed approach would rule out agreements of a declarative nature and make the process of further limitations on strategic offensive weapons efficient and viable," Baluyevsky said.

Nukes must stay within national borders (http://en.rian.ru/russia/20071108/87220862.html)


Title: Saudi Prince Buying 'Flying Palace' Jet for More Than $320 Million
Post by: Shammu on November 13, 2007, 08:54:28 PM
Saudi Prince Buying 'Flying Palace' Jet for More Than $320 Million

Tuesday , November 13, 2007

AP
ADVERTISEMENT

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates —
In the annals of excess, it could be a new high: a more than $300 million dollar, super-sized luxury airplane, bought and outfitted solely for the private comfort of a Saudi Arabian billionaire.

Once done, the Airbus A380, the world's biggest passenger plane, will be a "flying palace" for Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the manufacturer announced Monday.

Airbus SAS would not give a specific price tag for the VIP double- decker jet, with its football field-length wings, saying only that it would cost more than the aircraft's list price of $320 million.

That doesn't even include the money the prince will spend to custom fit the nearly 6,000-square foot plane to include whatever he wants. The options include private bedrooms, a movie theater or even a gym with a jacuzzi. He'll also need a flight crew of about 15 to operate the luxury liner.

"Prince Alwaleed is the first, and so far the only customer of this aircraft," said David Velupillai, the spokesman of the Airbus, which announced the luxury order at the Dubai International Airshow.

It's all just spending cash for bin Talal—Citigroup Inc.'s biggest individual shareholder and the world's 13th richest person with assets around $20 billion.

As a member of the Saudi royal family, he benefits from the country's vast oil wealth. But much of bin Talal's huge fortune comes from his investment firm, the $25-billion Kingdom Holding Co., which has stakes in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., Fairmont Raffles Hotels International Inc., Time Warner Inc., Apple Inc., PepsiCo Inc., Walt Disney Co. to name a few major corporations.

The prince, who is in his early 50s, appears to have a taste for super-sized jumbo jets. He already is the only private owner of a Boeing 747-400, Airbus said.

"It's like buying a new car or a new TV," Velupillai told The Associated Press. "One wants something bigger and better."

Airbus would not release many details about bin Talal's VIP A380, which dwarfs the 747—formerly the world's most spacious plane. Staff who answered the phone at bin Talal's office on Monday in Saudi Arabia said he was unavailable to comment.

The commercial A380, which made its maiden voyage with Singapore Airlines last month, is as tall as a seven-story building with each wing big enough to hold 70 cars. It is capable of carrying 853 passengers in an all-economy class configuration.

Take out the seats, and the plane can be transformed into a flying mansion.

Germany's Lufthansa Technik, which declined to comment Monday on bin Talal's purchase, has created a general rendering of what a VIP A380 jumbo could include: spacious bedrooms on the plane's upper deck, separated by a reception area and a bar next to central stairway. The master bedroom could include an office, private dinning room, a gym featuring a steam bath and exercise machines.

The lower decks could feature a lounge-type quarters equipped with a conference area and dining room. A third level, normally used for cargo, could be transformed into another passenger space or cinema.

This type of custom design does not come cheap. Experts say it could rack the price up by another $50 million to $150 million.

Purchases of private airliners has mushroomed in recent years, but most orders are in the category of a Learjet or Gulfstream—small and cheap at $2 million to $5 million in comparison to the A380, said David Bain, editor of a British-based online wealth analysis service, wealth-bulletin.com.

"It seems the Saudis really like these huge planes, and they have the money to do it," said Bain, who believes about a dozen other individuals own commercial jets. "Very few people buy commercial planes. It's a bit over the top."

But he and Airbus expect that number to grow. The airline company said it expects at least six other A380 VIP jets to be sold to clients in the Middle East, and Central and South Asia.

"The amount of billionaires has sky rocketed in recent years, and the really rich ones are looking to buy a commercial airline rather than a Learjet," Bain said.

Saudi Prince Buying 'Flying Palace' Jet for More Than $320 Million (http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,311077,00.html)
~~~~~~~~~~

This does indeed remind one of the Left Behind scenario in the series of books about well you - know - who. :D :D


Title: Iran gives UN warhead blueprints
Post by: Shammu on November 13, 2007, 09:18:54 PM
Iran gives UN warhead blueprints
Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST    Nov. 13, 2007

After years of stonewalling, Iran has given the UN nuclear agency blueprints showing how to mold uranium metal into the shape of warheads, diplomats said Tuesday, in an apparent concession meant to head off the threat of new UN sanctions.

But the diplomats said Tehran has failed to meet other requests made by the International Atomic Energy Agency in its attempts to end nearly two decades of nuclear secrecy on the part of the Islamic Republic.

The diplomats spoke to The Associated Press as IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei put the finishing touches on his latest report to his agency's 35-nation board of governors, for consideration next week. While ElBaradei is expected to say that Iran has improved its cooperation with his agency's probe, the findings are unlikely to deter the United States, France and Britain from pushing for a third set of UN sanctions.

The agency has been seeking possession of the blueprints since 2005, when it stumbled upon them among a batch of other documents during its examination of suspect Iranian nuclear activities. While agency inspectors had been allowed to examine them in the country, Tehran had up to now refused to let the IAEA have a copy for closer perusal.

Diplomats accredited to the agency, who demanded anonymity for divulging confidential information, said the drawings were hand-carried by Mohammad Saeedi, deputy director of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization and handed over last week in Vienna to Oli Heinonen, an ElBaradei deputy in charge of the Iran investigations.

Iran maintains it was given the papers without asking for them during its black market purchases of nuclear equipment decades ago that now serve as the backbone of its program to enrich uranium - a process that can generate power or create the fissile core of nuclear warheads. Iran's refusal to suspend enrichment has been the main trigger for both existing UN sanctions and the threat of new ones.

Both the IAEA and other experts have categorized the instructions outlined in the blueprints as having no value outside of a nuclear weapons program.

While ElBaradei's report is likely to mention the Iranian concession on the drawings and other progress made in clearing up ambiguities in Iran's nuclear activities, it was unclear whether it would also detail examples of what the diplomats said was continued Iranian stonewalling.

Senior IAEA officials were refused interviews with at least two top Iranian nuclear officials suspected of possible involvement in a weapons program, they said. One was the leader of a physics laboratory at Lavizan, outside Tehran, which was razed before the agency had a chance to investigate activities there. The other was in charge of developing Iran's centrifuges, used to enrich uranium.

Iran gives UN warhead blueprints (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1192380808786&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on November 13, 2007, 09:20:37 PM
Don't worry y'all I'm pretty sure they went to the nearest copier, and made lots of copies!!


Title: OIC Sec-Gen: "We cannot afford to fail"
Post by: Shammu on November 13, 2007, 09:28:59 PM
OIC Sec-Gen: "We cannot afford to fail"
Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews   
Tuesday, 13 November 2007 15:51

JEDDAH, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (MindaNews/13 November) – “The attention of the whole world is focused on us … we cannot afford to fail,”  the secretary-general of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said Monday afternoon (evening in Manila)  at the end of the three-day Tripartite Meeting here with the Philippine government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

Ambassador Sayed Qassim Al-Masry, the OIC’s Special Envoy for Southern Philippines, told MindaNews that while no timetable has been set to compete the review of the 1996 “Final Peace Agreement,” he foresees “two or three more sessions.”

The parties in their two-page Communique set January 14, 2008 as the date for the next Tripartite Meeting, to discuss the progress reports from the five joint working groups they created.

The five joint working groups are on the Shari’ah and Judiciary; the Special Regional Security Force and the Unified Command for the Autonomous Region in Mindanao; Natural Resources and Economic Development issues; Political system and representation; and Education. These are the same issues that are listed in Phase 2 of the Agreement.

The working groups will have three members each from the Philippine government and the MNLF and their meetings will be attended by representatives of the OIC’s Peace Committee for Southern Philippines (PCSP).

The PCSP is an 11-nation expanded version of what used to be the Ministerial Committee of the Eight headed by Indonesia.  The Committee of the Eight had earlier been tasked by the OIC to chair the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the MNLF, which has been holding an observer status in the OIC since 1977.

In the early 1970s, the OIC tasked a Committee of the Four which was later expanded to Six – Libya, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Indonesia,  Senegal and Somalia and in 2000 was expanded to Eight with the inclusion of Malaysia and Brunei.

The PCSP now includes Egypt, Turkey and Pakistan as chair of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

Ihsanoglu said that when the Tripartite Meeting began Saturday afternoon, “I expressed the hope that it would build on the successes that had already been achieved in this endeavor. That hope has not been misplaced as we have been able to move forward with the establishment of a framework to rejuvenate the implementation of the Agreement.”

“I am confident that the days and months ahead will benefit from our concerted efforts and determination to succeed,” he said, adding, “I wish to conclude by reminding both sides that the attention of the whole world is focused on us and that we cannot afford to fail.”

The heads of delegation of both the Philippine government and the MNLF used the same word to describe the task ahead: “gargantuan.”

Peace Process Undersecretary Nabil Tan of Sulu, head of the Philippine delegation, said the road to peace “is never easy.”

“We encounter bumps, we detour, we make many turns but we still do not lose sight that the track to sustainable development is peace – peace is the way.”

“The gargantuan task of reviewing the implementation of the 1996 Peace Agreement and in arriving at a consensus by both parties has just begun,” Tan said.

The vice governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) from 1993 to 1996 and member of the government peace panel that negotiated with the MNLF during the same period, Tan noted that “perseverance, having an open mind and thinking out of the box including nourishing the partnership should be the prevailing atmosphere to attain the goals we have set in this meeting.”

“Behind the dark rain-laden cloud is the shining sun,” said lawyer Randolph Parcasio, MNLF head of delegation.

Parcasio, a member of the legal panel of the MNLF peace panel from 1992 to 1996 and executive secretary to MNLF chair Nur Misuari when the latter served as ARMM governor from 1996 to 2001,  said that while the three-day meeting ended on a positive note, “our gargantuan task now is to ensure that we will not lose the momentum that we have gained.”

He assured the MNLF “will do its duty and obligation to ensure that their respective representatives to these working groups will carry out their mandate effectively with honor, dignity, and dedication.”

“Back home, there is urgency in resolving the issues confronting us, because in the interregnum, underdevelopment, massive poverty and unemployment, injustice, lawlessness continues to confront the Bangsamoro People,” Parcasio said, citing the “lack of political and institutional empowerment in a genuine autonomous government for Southern Philippines in order to address these problems as envisioned in the 1996 Peace Agreement remains in suspended animation.”

“The wait was long, but at last, with the conclusion of this meeting, a faint light is now found at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

“Let us not waste this golden opportunity for us to act as one and united in bringing the peace dividends to our  ummah,” Tan urged his fellow Bangsamoro brothers in the MNLF.

“We all look forward to seeing a progressive and peaceful Mindanao, where socio-economic progress would replace conflict and discontent; where the rule of law would strive and deter and dissuade inhabitants from veering off the path of moderation and peace; where extremists and militant infiltrators would not be accepted by the community,” he said.

“Let me conclude by saying that if our ends are just and noble, success is inevitable,” Parcasio said.

OIC Sec-Gen: "We cannot afford to fail" (http://www.mindanews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3263&Itemid=191)


Title: Ahmadinejad strengthens his control over oil, industry ministries
Post by: Shammu on November 14, 2007, 01:43:37 PM
Ahmadinejad strengthens his control over oil, industry ministries
Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST    Nov. 14, 2007

Iran's conservative-dominated parliament approved President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's choices for the key oil and industry ministers, a move that will increase his control over the sectors supplying most of the country's revenues.

The parliament gave an overwhelming vote of confidence to new oil minister Gholam Hossein Nozari, a former head of the state-owned National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC). Ali Akbar Mehrabian was approved as industry minister by a slimmer margin.

Of 246 lawmakers attending the parliament's open session Wednesday, 217 voted for Nozari, 20 against him and nine abstained. Mehrabian obtained only 174 votes in his favor but was still enough to win the post.

The appointments came three months after Ahmadinejad replaced Iran's key oil and industry ministers in a major cabinet reshuffle widely seen as increasing his control over the two money-earning ministries.

Some 80 percent of Iran's public revenues come from oil exports.

Ahmadinejad strengthens his control over oil, industry ministries (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1195036605736&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/Printer)


Title: Iraq: Turkish gunships attack villages
Post by: Shammu on November 14, 2007, 01:48:56 PM
Iraq: Turkish gunships attack villages
Raid is first major action against Kurd rebels since Erdogan, Bush meeting

Associated Press Writer
updated 2:56 a.m. MT, Wed., Nov. 14, 2007

SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq - Turkish helicopters swooped into Iraqi territory Tuesday, Iraqi officials said, firing on villages in renewed pressure to dislodge Turkish Kurd guerrillas from bases in northern Iraq used to stage cross-border raids.

The helicopter attack was the first major Turkish action against the rebels since Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with President Bush in Washington on Nov. 5. Turkey has demanded that the U.S. and Iraq crack down on guerrillas operating from Iraqi territory and has massed tens of thousands of soldiers along the border with Iraq.

The United States and Iraq have urged Turkey, a NATO member, to avoid a large-scale attack on rebel bases in northern Iraq, fearing such an operation would destabilize what has been the calmest region in the country.
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A spokesman for the Iraqi Kurd regional administration, Jamal Abdullah, denied the helicopter attack report but said two Turkish warplanes dropped flares Monday in the mountains near the Iraqi town of Zakhu.

But Col. Hussein Tamir, an Iraqi army officer who supervises border guards, said the Turkish helicopters opened fire before dawn on abandoned villages northeast of Zakhu, an Iraqi Kurd town near the border with Turkey. There were no casualties, he said.

A Turkish government official confirmed the helicopter raids and said they were directed at suspected hideouts of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which has been fighting for autonomy for Turkish Kurds since 1984 in a conflict that has killed nearly 40,000 people.

The official said more raids could be expected within a few days. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

A PKK spokesman corroborated accounts of the airstrikes, and said sporadic clashes had been taking place inside Turkey since late Monday. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

Witnesses also said the Turkish bombing lasted a half hour in the villages, located northeast of Zakhu near the border.

"I was on the other side of the mountain when I heard huge explosions and could smell TNT powder all over the area," said shepherd Ibrahim Mazori, 53. He said he sometimes spends a night or two in the villages while tending his sheep.

All-out incursion?
An all-out cross-border incursion could be politically damaging for the Turks, who are also seeking membership in the European Union. But an upsurge of rebel attacks has outraged the Turkish public, increasing pressure on Erdogan to show resolve. Time for any possible ground incursion is running out, however, with the approach of the harsh winter in the border region.

More than 50 Turkish troops have been killed in a series of hit-and-run attacks by Kurdish rebels since late September. Turkey says it has killed dozens of rebels.

In the latest attack, four Turkish soldiers were killed Tuesday in a clash with rebels near the southeastern Turkish city of Sirnak, Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul said. The dead soldiers included a lieutenant and three privates, the governor's office in Sirnak said.

Turkey also fears its own Kurdish minority could become emboldened by the success of Iraqi Kurds in winning broad autonomy within Iraq.

Despite U.S. pressure against a ground incursion, American authorities have agreed to share intelligence with Turkey about Kurdish rebel positions, enabling the Turkish military to carry out limited assaults.

"The United States has declared the PKK as the common enemy. The struggle against this enemy will be maintained until it is eliminated," Erdogan told lawmakers in Parliament on Tuesday.

Air raids conducted with the help of newly provided U.S. intelligence could help Turkey chip away at rebel strength and show an angry public that it is taking strong measures to defeat the rebels.

For its part, Iraq's government is eager to avoid a confrontation with Turkey at a time when U.S. and Iraqi officials are claiming progress in the fight against Sunni and Shiite extremists.

3 U.S. soldiers killed
Meanwhile, three U.S. soldiers were killed in attacks north of the Iraqi capital, the military said Wednesday.

Two U.S. soldiers died Tuesday in an explosion in Diyala province, the U.S. military said in a statement. Another soldier was mortally wounded by gunfire Wednesday while providing security during a training mission for Iraqi police near Mosul.

Their deaths brought to at least 3,864 the number of U.S. military members who have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes eight civilians working for the military.
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Also Tuesday, the U.S. military said American and Iraqi troops killed 15 suspected al-Qaida in Iraq militants in a daylong battle the day before in Adwaniyah, about 12 miles south of Baghdad.

During the battle, American F-16 fighter jets dropped two 500-pound bombs on insurgent positions, the military said. It was unclear whether the 15 victims died in the gunbattle, or as a result of the U.S. bombing.

Elsewhere, at least 16 people were killed or found dead across the country Tuesday, according to police reports. Most of the deaths occurred outside of Baghdad.

Sunni, Shiite parties fail to work together
Improvements in security, however, have not produced power-sharing deals among Sunni and Shiite political parties. The U.S. believes such agreements are crucial to ensuring long-term stability.

On Tuesday, a key ally of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called for Iraq's parliament to be dissolved and new elections held immediately to break the political deadlock.

Bahaa al-Araji, a lawmaker from al-Sadr's 30-member bloc, told reporters in Baghdad that the parliament has "become a burden on the Iraqi people rather than an institution to solve their problems and offer services."

"The parliament has become a very weak institution because of the way the elections took place, especially in Anbar and Mosul and some other southern provinces. I call for revising the election law," al-Araji said.

He said he was expressing his own views, and not speaking for his parliamentary bloc.

The next parliamentary elections are currently scheduled for 2009.

Earlier this year, al-Sadr's followers pulled out of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Cabinet to protest the Iraqi leader's reluctance to call for a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country. Sadrists also withdrew from the legislature's largest Shiite political grouping, the United Iraqi Alliance, but retained their seats in parliament.

Iraq: Turkish gunships attack villages (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21783268/)


Title: Peres relays to Turkey secret info on Iran
Post by: Shammu on November 14, 2007, 02:01:45 PM
Peres relays to Turkey secret info on Iran

During Ankara visit, president delivers to his hosts intelligence on Tehran's terrorist activities and nuclear program, aimed at swaying Turkey into taking firmer stance against Islamic republic

Aviram Zino
Published:    11.14.07, 01:05 / Israel News

ISTANBUL – President Shimon Peres has relayed to Turkey confidential information about Iran's terrorist activities during his visit to Ankara, Ynet learned Tuesday.

Officials on Peres' delegation said that the intelligence given to Turkey included proof that Iran's long-range missiles have been designed for nuclear war purposes, as well as evidence indicating that Iran's nuclear program was not peaceful and documents related to terror funding by Iran.

The information, as well as recommendations for assistance in the war against terror, were delivered to the Turks by Peres' military secretary Brigadier-General Shimon Hefetz.

Sources on the delegation explained that the information was aimed at persuading Turkey to change its political stances on Iran. Currently, the volume of trade between the two countries stands at billions of dollars annually, and the two also share common problems of terror by Kurdish rebels.

These considerations limit Turkey's ability, or inclination, to join the nations denouncing the Islamic republic and take a firmer stance against it.

In his speeches during the visit, Peres has on a few occasions compared between Iran, which supports terror, and Turkey, which strives for peace. The two, Peres said, were Muslim countries with very different worldviews.

Peres also visited Istanbul, and was accompanied to his plane by his host, the Turkish defense minister.

The president arrived directly at the Neveh Shalom synagogue in Istanbul, which is located in the heart of a Muslim neighborhood. The synagogue is suffered a deadly terror attack several years ago, in which more than 40 Jews and Israelis lost their lives.

Peres was greeted at the synagogue by hundreds of the Jewish community members in Istanbul. He was welcomed with dancing and a lot of excitement.

Peres relays to Turkey secret info on Iran (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3471182,00.html)


Title: Israel braces for nuclear-armed Iran
Post by: Shammu on November 14, 2007, 02:27:57 PM
Israel braces for nuclear-armed Iran
Published: 11/13/2007

Israel is preparing for a nuclear-armed Iran.

Despite repeated public warnings that it will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, the Olmert government has recently instructed Israeli authorities to prepare for the eventuality of the Jewish state's arch-enemy attaining the bomb, political sources said Tuesday.

The preparations include proposals for revamping Israel's civil defense system and for countering any new emigration trends or drops in tourism caused by fear of an Iranian nuclear attack.

Jerusalem officials said only that Israel is preparing itself for a range of possible future threats.

According to Israel's military intelligence, Iran could have a nuclear bomb by 2009. But Prime Minister Ehud Olmert played down that prediction during a Knesset appearance Monday. He also voiced confidence that U.S.-led diplomatic pressure on Tehran will curb the Iranian nuclear program.

Israel braces for nuclear-armed Iran (http://www.jta.org/cgi-bin/iowa/breaking/105271.html)


Title: Re: Israel braces for nuclear-armed Iran
Post by: Shammu on November 14, 2007, 02:31:10 PM
I really would love to see Israel sneak in and out of there, like they did with Syria. That would make Iran look more like the bumbling big-mouth fools that they are.

The best thing is for ImAnutjob is a good dose of embarrassment in front of the world.


Title: Russia says it may deploy missiles to Belarus
Post by: Shammu on November 14, 2007, 02:33:36 PM
Russia says it may deploy missiles to Belarus
Move could be made in response to U.S. shield plans, general says

Nov. 14, 2007

MOSCOW - Russia may deploy its newest Iskander tactical missiles in neighboring Belarus in response to U.S. plans for a missile shield in eastern Europe, Russian media quoted a senior general as saying on Wednesday.

Asked if the missiles could be deployed in response to the U.S. shield, Major-General Vladimir Zaritsky, head of Russia’s artillery and missile forces, was quoted as saying by Itar-Tass news agency: “Why not? Under the right conditions and with the corresponding agreement of Belarus, it is possible.”

“Any action inevitably causes a reaction,” Zaritsky said. ”And this is just the case with the elements of U.S. air defense in the Czech Republic and Poland.”
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Washington plans to place 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic as part of a shield it says is designed to protect Europe from missile attacks by “rogue states” such as Iran and North Korea.

Russia has said this would upset the strategic balance and pose a threat to its security. In July, Moscow proposed the two countries use the Russian-operated early warning Qabala radar in Azerbaijan as an alternative to the U.S. missile shield.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said during a visit to Moscow last month the Qabala radar could not replace the U.S. missile shield.

The Iskander missile is able to deliver a 1,058 lb conventional payload within a range of up to 250 miles.

Zaritsky said Iskander missiles were now fully in line with the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

But he stressed: “Should Russia take a political decision to quit the INF treaty, we will boost the military capabilities of these missiles, including their range.”

Asked if Russia could eventually raise Iskander’s range to over 500 km, which is banned by the INF treaty, Zaritsky said: ”Who knows what the motherland may order?”

Russia says it may deploy missiles to Belarus (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21784174/)


Title: Re: Russia says it may deploy missiles to Belarus
Post by: Shammu on November 14, 2007, 02:39:16 PM
It's amazing how the world at large continues to ignore the growing threat of Russia. They seem to have passed from flourishing democratic nation on the rise to a flourishing dictatorship on the rise within a matter of a few years. Putin squashes media critics, destroys freedom and liberty, and not a peep from the Western media.

But if the Bush administration detains an al-Qaeda terrorist, they're in violation of the Geneva accords and Bush is evil. This shows how close we really are to going home.


Title: Iran and China vow to boost ties
Post by: Shammu on November 14, 2007, 02:41:11 PM
Iran and China vow to boost ties

By Fredrik Dahl Tue Nov 13, 3:15 PM ET

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran and China vowed on Tuesday to boost ties that Beijing believes will help preserve regional and international peace, official Iranian media reported.

The two countries' pledge to cooperate more closely is likely to irritate Western powers seeking tougher sanctions on oil-producing Iran over its disputed atomic ambitions.

Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi held talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose country has repeatedly refused to heed U.N. demands to halt nuclear activities which Washington suspects are aimed at making bombs.

China, which can veto further U.N. sanctions, gets about 12 percent of its oil imports from Iran and wants more.

"Enemies of the two nations must know that high-ranking Iranian and Chinese officials are determined to expand their bilateral ties," Ahmadinejad told Yang, Iran's official IRNA news agency said.

It quoted Yang as saying: "Expansion of ties with Iran has great importance for China's government ... Improving Iran's and China's relations could be helpful in protecting regional and international peace, stability and security."

In Beijing, China's Foreign Ministry said sanctions were not the way to resolve the international confrontation over Iran's nuclear work while also urging Tehran to be more flexible.

Yang described Iran's cooperation with the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency as positive, IRNA said.

He and Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili emphasized in talks the necessity of resolving the nuclear issue through diplomacy and peacefully, the ISNA news agency said.

SOARING TRADE

In Vienna, diplomats said the U.N. nuclear watchdog is likely to report this week that Iran has improved cooperation with an inquiry into shadowy atomic activity but that it remained unclear whether it was enough to resolve key questions.

The United States and its allies accuse Iran of seeking to develop atomic weapons but Tehran says its nuclear program is aimed at generating electricity so that it can export more oil.

Britain, France, Germany, the United States, Russia and China are expected to meet on November 19 to assess the report from IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei as well as one from the European Union's top diplomat, Javier Solana.

Iran is defying two U.N. Security Council resolutions since December which imposed mild sanctions.

Iranian analyst Saeed Laylaz said China's trade with Iran was set to soar to around $20 billion this year from just $200 million in the mid-1990s, partly due to U.S. sanctions which have prompted Iranians to turn from the West to Asia for trade.

"Never in the history of Iran have we had such an experience with another country," he said. Iran is selling oil to China while the communist country supplied vehicles and engineering goods to the Islamic state, he said.

Iran and China vow to boost ties  (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071113/wl_nm/iran_china_ties_dc;_ylt=Anyqpg.kkUgk0q1YPVpA71hm.3QA)


Title: Putin gives sign that he'll retain power
Post by: Shammu on November 14, 2007, 02:43:22 PM
Putin gives sign that he'll retain power

By STEVE GUTTERMAN, Associated Press Writer Tue Nov 13, 3:45 PM ET

KRASNOYARSK, Russia - President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that a big win for the dominant pro-Kremlin party in December parliamentary elections would give him the "moral right" to maintain influence in Russia after he steps down next year.

Putin's remarks on a campaign-style visit to Siberia were the clearest sign yet that he intends to retain power and keep Russia on the authoritarian, globally assertive course that he has set during eight years as president.

But Putin, a former KGB officer who uses secrecy and surprise as political tools, kept Russians guessing about just what role he might play after term limits force him from office in May.

Putin has long indicated that he hopes to remain influential after stepping down, and has not ruled out a bid to return to the Kremlin in 2012. He said last month that he might become prime minister. But there have been indications that he would choose an informal path, using an overwhelming electoral victory for United Russia as a mandate to maintain authority as the people's choice for a national leader.

He said last month that he will lead the United Russia party's ticket in the Dec. 2 elections to the State Duma, the lower house of parliament.

The people who lead party tickets do not always take seats in parliament, and the Kremlin has said Putin — who is not a United Russia member — has no intention of doing so. Instead, the party has cast the election as a referendum on the popular president and the course he has set for Russia.

The expected overwhelming victory for the party would give Putin a popular mandate and a loyal parliament to limit the clout of his successor — and possibly lay the groundwork for a return to the presidency in 2012 or sooner.

On his first major trip inside Russia since the parliamentary campaign began — and which the Kremlin says is likely to be his last before the vote — Putin drank tea with workers at a road construction site in Krasnoyarsk, a vast region that reaches beyond the Arctic Circle.

Putin went to the city of Krasnoyarsk — a chaotic sprawl of czarist-era wooden buildings, Soviet-style structures and new apartment towers — to head a meeting with governors and Cabinet ministers on the transport sector. But his remarks to the construction crew in a shed on the snowy steppe outside the city turned the visit into something of a campaign stop.

"If the people vote for United Russia, it means that a clear majority ... put their trust in me, and in turn that means I will have the moral right to hold those in the Duma and the Cabinet responsible for the implementation of the tasks that have been set as of today," Putin said.

"In what form I will do this, I cannot yet give a direct answer. But various possibilities exist," he said. "If the result is the one I am counting on, I will have this opportunity."

He traded a cold-weather coat and fur-fringed hood for a suit jacket to speak to university students and instructors, promising them more attention and cash for education.

Krasnoyarsk voters gave him and United Russia below-average support in the last national election.

With the regional governor and city mayor now United Russia members, a major push is under way to ensure high support in this election. Across the city, United Russia billboards reading "Putin's Plan is Russia's Victory" far outnumber other parties' ads, and smaller United Russia signs are affixed to lamppost after lamppost along the main avenue downtown.

Other parties say the authorities use their power to promote United Russia unfairly and prevent the opposition from getting its message out.

Vladislav Korolyov, the regional head of the liberal Union of Right Forces party, said the authorities have pressured managers of potential campaign event venues not to rent them to the opposition, and police have stopped the distribution of his party's newspaper.

"What kind of moral right can he talk about?" Korolyov said. He said Putin has stifled democracy while coasting on Russia's natural resource wealth, failing to push through economic reforms and lift millions out of poverty.

But Maria Nikitina, 18, an economics student walking downtown, said that Putin's rule has brought improvements and she plans to vote for United Russia in the hope that the trend will continue.

"Russia is rising, the country is moving forward," she said.

With Putin at the helm and the election process tightly controlled, the party should have little trouble maintaining its two-thirds majority in the Duma.

Under new election rules, voters will choose only among parties, not individual candidates. Seats are allocated proportionally to parties that receive at least 7 percent of the vote — and only one party other than United Russia, the Communist Party, appears certain to clear the barrier.

Russia under Putin has enjoyed oil-fueled economic growth and a restoration of its global clout. The president said Tuesday that United Russia was far from perfect, but he suggested that no other party could guarantee stability and continuity.

Yana Grinko, a 21-year-old university student who met with Putin, said she hopes he will not stay out of the Kremlin for good.

"I hope he returns to us in 2012," she said.

Putin gives sign that he'll retain power (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071113/ap_on_re_eu/russia_putin;_ylt=AvSEelNBwroL6_Mu4nuJPvRw24cA)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Littleboy on November 14, 2007, 02:49:35 PM
And, the fact that they are in Alliance with the Countries God said that they would be in Alliance with in the End of Day's.
I say,
Rejoice, The Day Draweth Nigh and is even at the Door,
So come, Come unto our Lord Jesus and find the Joy that comes in KNOWING that you SHALL be Saved from all the wrath that is too Come, Shortly...
YLBD
P.S
He's Putin-up his Dukes and gettin ready for a Fight! ;D ;D ;D


Title: Iran not in clear if U.N. report only partly good: U.S.
Post by: Shammu on November 14, 2007, 08:07:19 PM
Iran not in clear if U.N. report only partly good: U.S.
Wed Nov 14, 2007 3:37pm EST

By Mark Heinrich

VIENNA (Reuters) - The United States signaled on Wednesday that partial Iranian cooperation with U.N. nuclear investigators would not be enough to stall steps towards a third round of sanctions against Tehran.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is likely later this week to report some improvements in Iranian nuclear transparency in keeping with Tehran's pledge in August to defuse suspicions it has a covert atomic bomb program.

In a gesture aimed at slowing momentum towards sanctions, Iran has turned over a blueprint showing how to mould uranium metal into spheres to fit into nuclear warheads, fulfilling a key demand in a four-year-old IAEA inquiry, diplomats said.

But the blueprint alone does not resolve outstanding questions about the nature of Iran's program which Tehran says aims only to produce electricity not armaments.

Gregory Schulte, U.S. envoy to the IAEA, said the agency's 35-nation Board of Governors and Security Council members would not be content to "see a little bit more information here, a little more there" from Iran in the report.

"Selective cooperation is not good enough," he told reporters at the U.N. watchdog's Vienna headquarters.

"When we read this report and evaluate Iran's cooperation, the standard we will look for is full disclosure and also a full suspension of their proliferation-sensitive activities."

An IAEA board meeting next week will debate the report.

Iran apparently provided documentation to help explain its work to develop centrifuges that enrich uranium, diplomats said.

But it may not have granted IAEA access to workshops or key Iranian officials for interviews to verify the work did not have military ends, said diplomats monitoring the hush-hush inquiry.

"The operative word there is partial (cooperation). There is a long, long list of questions," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.

"Answering one question among several pages worth certainly doesn't, in my book, count as full cooperation which is what the IAEA board of governors said that it is looking for."

Six world powers agreed in September they would have the U.N. Security Council vote on wider sanctions unless reports by the IAEA and the EU's top diplomat showed Iran had come clean on its program and was moving to suspend it.

NO NUCLEAR SUSPENSION ON HORIZON

The European Union's Javier Solana is widely expected to confirm in his report on recent talks with Iran that it remains unwilling to consider a suspension.

Some diplomats said the IAEA report could cite just enough new examples of Iranian cooperation for Russia and China to argue for further deferral of sanctions to allow more time for the transparency process, which has no deadlines, to work.

"The IAEA report won't be too bad for the Iranians," said a European diplomat accredited to the IAEA.

"The end result will make it very difficult for the six (powers) to speak in one voice on the next steps, because the report may be enough to satisfy some, but not satisfy others."

Russia and China, both with Security Council vetoes, want to keep strong trade ties with Iran and say isolating the Islamic Republic could lead to wider Middle East conflict.

"The start of talks between Iran and IAEA is bringing some results," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference during a visit to Slovenia on Wednesday.

Referring to the imminent IAEA and EU reports, he said: "We all have to concentrate on a positive approach ... rather than on various announcements, prognoses, etc."

McCormack said movement towards a third round of sanctions was not moving as quickly as the United States would have hoped.

"I'm not going to make any secret of the fact that we would have wished that this process had moved forward and we would have already had the third resolution in our rear-view mirror at this point. We don't. We are making some progress," he said.

Iran not in clear if U.N. report only partly good: U.S. (http://www.reuters.com/articlePrint?articleId=USL1464950320071114)


Title: Re: Russia says it may deploy missiles to Belarus
Post by: nChrist on November 15, 2007, 08:24:59 AM
It's amazing how the world at large continues to ignore the growing threat of Russia. They seem to have passed from flourishing democratic nation on the rise to a flourishing dictatorship on the rise within a matter of a few years. Putin squashes media critics, destroys freedom and liberty, and not a peep from the Western media.

But if the Bush administration detains an al-Qaeda terrorist, they're in violation of the Geneva accords and Bush is evil. This shows how close we really are to going home.

AMEN BROTHER BOB!

The whole world is a powder keg and the fuse is lit. YES - I think that our time here is growing short.

Love In Christ,
Tom

KEEP LOOKING UP!!

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NASB
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 16, 2007, 10:23:23 PM
EU 'should expand beyond Europe'

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has suggested the European Union should work towards including Russia, Middle Eastern and North African countries.

He said enlargement was "our most powerful tool" for extending stability.

In his first major speech on the UK's relationship with Europe, he said the EU would not become a "superpower" but should be a "role model" for the world.

It could be a "model power of regional co-operation" dedicated to free trade, the environment and tackling extremism.

He said the EU must "keep our promises to Turkey", adding: "If we fail.... it will signal a deep and dangerous divide between east and west.

"Beyond that we must keep the door open, retaining the incentive for change and the prospect of membership provides."

Mr Miliband made his address at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium, where Baroness Thatcher delivered her famous warning against "some sort of identikit European personality" almost exactly two decades ago in September 1988.

US 'only superpower'

Mr Miliband said that speech had been "haunted by demons - a European superstate bringing in socialism by the back door".

But he said: "The truth is that the EU has enlarged, remodelled and opened up. It is not and is not going to become a superstate. But neither is it destined to become a superpower."

Instead he said the EU had the chance to be a "model power" which could develop shared values between countries.

"As a club that countries want to join, it can persuade countries to play by the rules, and set global standards. In the way it dispenses its responsibilities around the world, it can be a role model that others follow."

Extremism and insecurity

Mr Miliband said new threats, like protectionism, religious extremism, energy insecurity, rogue and failing states and climate change provided a new "raison d'etre" for the EU.

He outlined four principles for the "next generation" of Europe, for it to remain open to "trade, ideas and investment", to develop shared institutions to overcome religious and cultural divides, to prevent conflict by championing international law and human rights in and outside Europe, and to become a "low carbon power".

He said a successful EU must be prepared to "deploy soft and hard power to promote democracy and tackle conflict beyond its borders".

He said the goal "must be a multilateral free-trade zone around our periphery".

This would be a "version of the European Free Trade Association that could gradually bring the countries of the Mahgreb, the Middle East and Eastern Europe in line with the single market, not as an alternative to membership, but potentially as a step towards it".

And the EU should extend military support to places like Darfur, he argued, to help solve problems of unwanted migration.

'Embarrassing'

He also said European nations had to "improve their capabilities".

"It's frankly embarrassing that when European nations - with almost two million men and women under arms - are only able, at a stretch, to deploy around 100,000 at any one time," he said.

"European countries have around 1,200 transport helicopters, yet only 35 are deployed in Afghanistan. And EU member states haven't provided any helicopters in Darfur despite the desperate need there."

Long-term regulations were needed to phase out carbon emissions in key areas - by reducing vehicle emissions and work towards "a zero-emission vehicle standard across Europe".

He said that by 2020, all new coal-fired power stations must be fitted with "carbon capture and storage".

In a reference to the failed EU Constitution, he said: "The constitutional debate shows that people don't want major institutional upheaval. Unanimity is slow but it respects national identities."

But his Conservative counterpart William Hague said Mr Miliband and his colleagues were "ramming that constitution through under a new name and refusing to give voters a say at an election or a referendum" - a reference to the EU Reform treaty.

"The fact is that if the renamed constitution goes through we will have a more inward-looking Europe," said Mr Hague.

"The treaty's clauses will make the EU more protectionist and less competitive and give the EU more power to interfere with crucial areas like our criminal justice system."


Title: Pakistan's Musharraf warns on nuke weapons
Post by: Shammu on November 17, 2007, 01:01:19 PM
Pakistan's Musharraf warns on nuke weapons
President defends emergency rule, saying arms could fall into wrong hands

Nov. 17, 2007

LONDON - President Pervez Musharraf, defending his decision to declare emergency rule, has said Pakistan's nuclear weapons could fall into the wrong hands if elections led to disturbances.

The comments, in a BBC interview broadcast on Saturday, come as U.S. envoy John Negroponte visited Pakistan to put pressure on Musharraf to revoke the two-week-old emergency, make peace with opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and hold fair elections.

Musharraf said that if elections were held in a "disturbed environment," it could bring in dangerous elements who might pose a risk to control of Pakistan's nuclear weapons.
Story continues below ↓advertisement

"They cannot fall into the wrong hands, if we manage ourselves politically. The military is there -- as long as the military is there, nothing happens to the strategic assets, we are in charge and nobody does anything with them," he said.

Musharraf, who took power in a coup eight years ago, cited rising Islamist militancy and a hostile judiciary as reasons for declaring emergency rule. He has said a general election will be held before January 9 and he expects to step down as army chief and be sworn in as a civilian president beforehand.

Bhutto's chances of winning dismissed
In the interview conducted on Friday, Musharraf dismissed opposition leader Bhutto's chances of winning elections.

He blamed Bhutto, who has called for him to relinquish power, for ruining chances of a deal which would see her serving as prime minister under his presidency.

"She disturbed the entire environment. She comes on a total confrontationalist approach," Musharraf said of Bhutto, who returned from eight years of self exile last month to lead her Pakistan People's Party in elections.

Bhutto, who was freed after three days of house arrest shortly before Negroponte's arrival, has said she does not trust Musharraf to allow her party a clear run and wants the Election Commissioner replaced.

But Musharraf, who referred to Bhutto as "the darling of the West," said it was the opposition and judges who had been interfering with the democratic process.

"It is she actually who may not be wanting elections in Pakistan and it is she who may want to go on to the agitational mode because her party is not in a state to win at all," he said.

"Therefore I will certainly go for the election despite of any agitation by her."

He promised that political opponents would be released from house arrest "in a few days" but said he was considering all options regarding holding elections under emergency rule.

Pakistan's Musharraf warns on nuke weapons (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21844737/)


Title: Russia readies nuclear fuel bound for Iran
Post by: Shammu on November 17, 2007, 01:05:13 PM
Russia readies nuclear fuel bound for Iran

Moscow pushes ahead with plans to supply Tehran with uranium after release of IAEA report, Iran welcomes move, says Russian commitment to its nuclear program 'a matter of principle'

Reuters
Published:    11.16.07, 21:40 / Israel News

Russia on Friday gave the clearest indication yet that it was ready to send uranium to fuel Iran's first atomic power station, upping the stakes in a diplomatic crisis surrounding Tehran's nuclear program.

Russia's state-run nuclear fuel producer said inspectors from the United Nations' nuclear watchdog would later this month start sealing nuclear fuel bound for the Bushehr plant, a major step to shipping the fuel to the Bushehr plant in Iran.

In a report on Iran issued on Thursday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it had "made arrangements to verify and seal the fresh fuel foreseen (for Bushehr) on Nov. 26, before shipment of the fuel from Russia to Iran".

Russia has so far given no concrete date for when it will send the nuclear fuel to Bushehr, but says it would be sent six months before the plant's repeatedly delayed start-up.

According to Russian forecasts, the reactor at the plant could be started up in 2008 and nuclear fuel would have to arrive at the plant six months before that.

Iran: Russian approach encouraging

Iran's ambassador to Russia on Friday said nuclear fuel deliveries to the Islamic Republic were a "matter of principle", and hoped Moscow would send them soon.

"We hope that promises we have been receiving from official Russian representatives on such an important issue ... will soon be carried out and realized," Ambassador Gholamreza Ansari said.

The diplomat was speaking at a news conference held simultaneously with Russia's announcement on fuel inspections.

In Iran, nuclear officials welcomed the fuel delivery developments.

"Russia has formally informed (the IAEA) that it is ready for the Bushehr nuclear fuel in Russia to be checked and sealed on Nov. 26," IRNA quoted Mohammad Saeedi, deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, as saying.

"This means, from a technical and legal point of view, the fuel for the Bushehr nuclear power plant is ready for transfer to Iran," he said.

The United States, Israel and key European Union nations suspect Iran is trying to build nuclear bombs.

But Russia, a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, says there is no evidence Tehran is seeking atomic weapons.

"Those offers we hear about the Bushehr AES from our Russian friends are encouraging for us," Ambassador Ansari said in Moscow.

"The issue of construction at Bushehr between Russian and Iranian societies is a matter of principle," Ansari said.

Tehran says a report by the IAEA this week has vindicated its repeated statements that its nuclear
      
program was purely civilian and showed that there would be no basis for further discussion of it in the United Nations Security Council.

The IAEA report, released on Thursday, said Iran had made important strides toward transparency about its nuclear activity but had yet to resolve outstanding questions. It also said Iran had expanded uranium enrichment.

Russia readies nuclear fuel bound for Iran (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3472284,00.html)


Title: China deals blow to Western efforts to punish Iran
Post by: Shammu on November 17, 2007, 01:20:36 PM
China deals blow to Western efforts to punish Iran

By Sophie Walker Fri Nov 16, 6:10 PM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - China has dealt a blow to Western efforts to increase diplomatic pressure on Iran over its nuclear program by dropping out of a meeting to discuss tougher sanctions against Tehran.

Russia, which like China opposes further U.N. sanctions against Iran, added fuel to the fire by announcing on Friday that the U.N. nuclear watchdog would soon start inspecting and sealing atomic fuel bound for an Iranian reactor.

The West fears Iran wants to develop atomic weapons but Iran denies this. Tehran says it wants only to generate electricity.

Political directors from Britain, France, Germany, the United States, Russia and China were due to meet on November 19 to assess reports about Tehran's nuclear program from the United Nations and from EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

"I think it's partly related to genuine travel difficulties, but also linked to resistance on the broader question of sanctions from that quarter," a European diplomatic source said of China's decision.

Russian state-owned nuclear fuel producer TVEL said inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will begin preparatory work on November 26 until November 29 on a shipment of nuclear fuel bound for the Bushehr nuclear plant.

"We are ready to provide IAEA specialists with all the conditions they need to do their work," Konstantin Grabelnikov, deputy head of Russia's Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrate Plant, which is preparing the fuel, said in a statement.

Russia has given no specific date when it will send the nuclear fuel to Bushehr, but says it would be sent six months before the plant's start-up.

Because of payment delays, the plant's start-up has been put back to at least 2008, Russian officials have said.

EU SANCTIONS?

The United States said on Thursday it would work with its allies for a third round of U.N. sanctions after the IAEA reported Iran had made important strides towards clarifying past nuclear activities but also said major questions remained.

But some European diplomats say it may not be possible to persuade Russia and China -- both permanent veto-wielding members of the Security Council like France, Britain and the United States -- to support a third round.

As a result, France is pushing for the European Union to impose its own separate U.S.-style sanctions against Iran.

On Friday, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the report had done little to clarify matters. "There remain areas of darkness in the operations which for a very long time were hidden by the Iranians in their nuclear development program."

While Russia and China appear to breaking away from the United States, Britain and France, the sixth country involved in negotiations -- Germany -- appeared to take a harder line.

"The foreign minister has made clear that if this is the case we would take up this issue in Europe and consider together what steps could be taken by Europe," spokesman Martin Jaeger told a regular news conference when asked what Germany would do if the Security Council failed to approve tougher sanctions.

Iran called on its Western enemies to apologize because the IAEA report showed Iran had been telling the truth about its atomic plans.

"The latest IAEA report confirms that Iran's nuclear activities are civilian and peaceful so what is the motive behind imposing sanction?" President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Al Arabiya television.

"The Iranian nuclear file is just a pretext ... should the nuclear folder be folded, they would find another pretext."

The United States has not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to halt Iran's atomic work.

During a joint appearance with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, President George W. Bush said Washington could "never tolerate" Iran developing nuclear capability.

"They should not imagine that if they wage such a war that the region alone would be set ablaze," said Ahmadinejad. "The region will be exposed to serious dangers and the first whose interests will be harmed are the Americans."

Israel, which in 1981 bombed the Osirak nuclear power plant in Iraq to cripple Saddam Hussein's secret atomic arms program, urged world powers to be tough on Iran.

"Israel believes it is incumbent upon the international community to send a crystal clear message to the leadership in Tehran that their nuclear program is unacceptable and must cease immediately," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said.

China deals blow to Western efforts to punish Iran (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071116/wl_nm/iran_nuclear_dc)


Title: Ahmadinejad writes to French president
Post by: Shammu on November 17, 2007, 01:22:12 PM
Ahmadinejad writes to French president

1 hour, 53 minutes ago

TEHRAN (AFP) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has sent a letter to his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy following recent French criticism of Tehran's nuclear drive, a senior official said on Saturday.

"President Ahmadinejad's letter to President Nicolas Sarkozy concerns the current relations between Iran and France and their prospect," the state IRNA news agency quoted Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi as saying.

But Hashemi, a top presidential advisor, said Tehran took exception to what he described as "distorted" reports about the content of the letter.

"Most of the information published about this letter has been distorted," he said.

France's Le Monde newspaper, citing diplomatic sources, said the letter had an "acrimonious" tone and contained "veiled threats".

Ahmadinejad had offered to give advice to the French president whom he branded as a "young and inexperienced" leader, the report said.

"Ahmadinejad has hinted that France and Iran have 'historic ties' and 'common interests', most notably in Lebanon, which would be a pity to reduce to nothing," the French daily added.

Since Sarkozy's election, France has adopted a tougher line with Iran over its nuclear programme, which is feared by the West to cover an atomic weapons drive -- charges that Tehran vehemently denies.

Tehran has also been concerned about France's rapprochement with the United States, whish is leading international efforts to thwart Iran's atomic programme.

Since his June 2005 election, Ahmadinejad has written a succession of letters explaining his world view to world leaders including US President George W. Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Pope Benedict XVI.

Ahmadinejad writes to French president  (http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071117/wl_mideast_afp/irannuclearpoliticsfrance_071117162728;_ylt=Amn.nxKnZctLM6cUVwq.rGZn.3QA)


Title: Iran says ready to act if attacked
Post by: Shammu on November 17, 2007, 01:23:49 PM
 Iran says ready to act if attacked

2 hours, 8 minutes ago

MANAMA (Reuters) - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday Iran was ready to respond if attacked, but played down the prospect of war with the United States.

Ahmadinejad was speaking during a visit to Bahrain which came amid mounting concerns in the Gulf that the United States could launch military action against Iran, although Washington says it is committed to a diplomatic solution to a crisis over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

"We never want any war in this region, but from another front, we have made all preparations, and if there is any suspicion on this matter, then we are ready," said Ahmadinejad, speaking through an interpreter.

"I want to confirm again that we don't think there will be a war in the region," he told reporters, without giving reasons.

Ahmadinejad earlier told Al Arabiya television that the United States had no political, economic or military grounds for attack, and dismissed the U.S. military as "shabby."

The West accuses Iran of trying to build a nuclear bomb, but Iran says its nuclear ambitions are to generate electricity.

In a report on Thursday the U.N. nuclear watchdog said Iran had become more open in outlining its nuclear activities, but key questions remained unanswered. Washington says partial disclosure is not enough, and is pushing for sanctions.

Ahmadinejad challenged labeling the standoff a crisis, and said Iran had cooperated fully with the nuclear watchdog.

"We do not feel there is a crisis in this region ... or do countries in the region ... We think the crisis is in Washington," he said.

Ahmadinejad held talks on bilateral, regional and international issues with Bahraini royals and politicians, he said, but no new initiative to dampen tensions was announced. Bahrain's Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa called for more diplomacy.

Saudi Arabia this month proposed to set up a consortium that would provide Iran with enriched uranium for peaceful purposes, but Iran said it would not halt its own enrichment program.

Gulf Arab countries are among those with the most to lose in the event of a conflict between Iran and the West, and have consistently warned against any slide into war.

The Gulf is the world's top oil exporting region, and its economies are booming on a near five-fold increase in oil prices since 2002.

Ahmadinejad called for greater cooperation with Gulf states to work together against what he said were U.S. plans to foster tension in the region. He later left Bahrain to attend an OPEC heads of state summit in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

 Iran says ready to act if attacked (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071117/wl_nm/iran_usa_ahmadinejad_dc;_ylt=AsIDggzMuQ3yTR.ePMgLOBybOrgF)


Title: Inevitable Iran-Turkey-Syria-Russia Alliance
Post by: Shammu on November 17, 2007, 01:53:46 PM
Inevitable Iran-Turkey-Syria-Russia Alliance

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- The Middle East has acquired immense strategic value as one of the determining fulcrums in the global balance of power due to its being the world's largest known storehouse of low-cost energy supplies.
   
The region's geopolitical importance, the kaleidoscopic nature of politics among its states, the presence of volatile social and political forces within them and the interference of world superpowers all insure that the region will remain a potentially explosive source of tension for years.

Emboldened by its military strength after World War II, Moscow prepared to carve up its southern neighbors. It demanded territorial concessions and control of the Bosporus from Turkey and refused to withdraw from northern Iran, which it had occupied in 1941. Turkey and Iran rebuffed Soviet coercive diplomacy with the support of the United States and became key allies in the American effort to contain Soviet expansion.

The Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) was a defense alliance between Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Great Britain. Originally named the Baghdad Pact, the name was changed when the Iraqi revolution led Iraq to withdraw in 1959. The United States had observer status in the alliance but was not a party to the treaty. The fall of the shah removed the American shield from Iran, sounded the death knell for the anti-Soviet CENTO alliance and sailed Iran towards new horizons.

Now the same faith is on the road for Turkey. The measureless and injudicious backup given by the occupying power in Iraq -- the US government -- to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and to Massoud Barzani, the former tribal leader of the Iraqi Kurds and now the leader of the Iraqi Kurdish region.

Turkey, taking into consideration the ongoing assaults by the PKK terrorists in the southeastern regions and the measureless backup given by US government to Iraqi Kurds, has drawn up a new strategic alliance policy that weakens ties with the US and strengthens relations with Iran and Syria, its millennium-long neighbors.

The US has failed to keep its promise to Turkey to confront the PKK. Turkey now feels that it has no choice but to attack the PKK's sanctuaries in northern Iraq together with Iran.

Iran is also suffering from similar assaults originating from the same terrorist group located in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq under the name of Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK).

The US and Iran are increasingly at odds over a range of issues, and Turkey has stood nearby the US as an old and devoted ally for the past 57 years, but now the sympathy of Turkish people towards the US had fallen sharply over the past couple of years, and it will take decades for US to recover it.

It seems it is now mandatory for Turkey and Iran to form a common cooperative ground in regard to common problems and interests. New and stronger cooperative action in the economic field by Turkey and Iran will play a major role in the eradication of the political distrust and concerns between the two countries. The parties have announced an upcoming doubling of the volume of their trade.

Both countries have already agreed on the elimination of the main source of discord: support for each other's separatist and oppositional organizations. Iran has committed to adding the PKK to its list of "terrorist organizations." Turkey has done the same concerning the anti-Iran terrorist group "Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO)."

The second stage is the escalation of high-level cooperation between Turkey, Iran and Syria and this is moving forward, as well.

Aversion to American global policy, in particular to the actions of the US in Iraq, the common allies of Syria and Iran, and also shared economic interests, will lead to the merging of the political strategies of Russia and Turkey. Countries that were previously historical opponents will turn into partners in the creation of a new Eurasian coalition.

The final effect of the region's aversion to American policies will be the formation of the "union of four:" Russia, Turkey, Iran and Syria. Of course, this rapprochement between Ankara, Moscow, Damascus and Tehran will definitely affect Washington's position in the Middle East.

Inevitable Iran-Turkey-Syria-Russia Alliance (http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8608140338)


Title: Jihadists Gain Even More Ground in Pakistan
Post by: Shammu on November 18, 2007, 05:12:26 PM
Jihadists Gain Even More Ground in Pakistan
November 16, 2007

Although Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's forces continue to crack the skulls--quite literally--of the refomers and pro-democracy demonstrators that have taken to the streets since he declared a state of Emerrgency November 3rd, they may want rest their batons for a second and take a glance to the west. Because in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province, the Taliban and other assorted jihadists are gaining more and more ground--and the situation there may have reached the point of no return. From the New York Times:

Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president, says he instituted emergency rule for the extra powers it would give him to push back the militants who have carved out a mini-state in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

But in the last several days, the militants have extended their reach, capturing more territory in Pakistan’s settled areas and chasing away frightened policemen, local government officials said.

As inconspicuous as it might be in a nation of 160 million people, the takeover of the small Alpuri district headquarters this week was considered a particular embarrassment for General Musharraf. It showed how the militants could still thumb their noses at the Pakistani Army.

In fact, local officials and Western diplomats said, there is little evidence that the 12-day-old emergency decree has increased the government’s leverage in fighting the militants, or that General Musharraf has used the decree to take any extraordinary steps to combat them.

Instead, it has proved more of a distraction, they said, forcing General Musharraf to concentrate on his own political survival, even as the army starts its first offensive operation since the Nov. 3 decree.

The success of the militants in Swat has caused new concern in Washington about the ability and the will of Pakistani forces to fight the militants who are now training their sights directly on Pakistan’s government, not only on the NATO and American forces across the border in Afghanistan, Western officials said.

After several weeks of heavy clashes, the militants largely control Swat, the mountainous region that is the scenic jewel of Pakistan, and are pushing into Shangla, to the east. All of the sites lie deeper inside Pakistan than the tribal areas, on the Afghan border, where Al Qaeda, the Taliban and assorted foreign and local militants have expanded a stronghold in recent years. In Alpuri, the administrative headquarters of Shangla, a crowd of militants easily took over the police station, despite the emergency decree, Mayor Ibad Khan said.

“They came straight to the police station; it was empty,” he said in a telephone interview. The district police officer had run away. “I am still searching for him,” Mr. Khan said. Asked why the police station was empty, he said, “I am asking myself the same question.”

Jihadists Gain Even More Ground in Pakistan (http://www.cbn.com/CBNnews/271462.aspx)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Def on November 19, 2007, 04:35:56 PM
This is for my Brother Keifer.
Peace be with you.
    If we believe not, yet He abieth faithful:
    He cannot deny Himself.( 2 Timothy 2:13 KJV)
Good night Keifer.
   I will miss you.
 Divine Intervention .
Love in Jesus (+¸+) Def
Hidden with Christ in God.( Col 3:3 NKJ)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: nChrist on November 19, 2007, 09:00:52 PM
This is for my Brother Keifer.
Peace be with you.
    If we believe not, yet He abieth faithful:
    He cannot deny Himself.( 2 Timothy 2:13 KJV)
Good night Keifer.
   I will miss you.
 Divine Intervention .
Love in Jesus (+¸+) Def
Hidden with Christ in God.( Col 3:3 NKJ)

Hello Sister Def,

I don't think that Brother Keifer is going anywhere. As far as I know, he's about to start a third thread of Scripture. If you'll notice, there are two threads now of about the same size. They got very large and he asked that they be locked to start a new one. We "stickied" the threads to keep them near the top of the page.

Love In Christ,
Tom

Romans 4:1-6 NASB
What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS." Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:


Title: Putin warns NATO against border build-up
Post by: Shammu on November 20, 2007, 07:35:27 PM
Putin warns NATO against border build-up

11 hours ago

MOSCOW (AFP) — President Vladimir Putin warned NATO against "muscle-flexing" on Russia's border Tuesday and ordered top generals to raise the combat readiness of the country's nuclear missiles.

Meanwhile, the armed forces chief of staff, General Yury Baluyevsky, also confirmed that Russia would suspend adherence to a key Cold War arms treaty on December 12, news agencies reported.

"In violation of previous agreements, certain member countries of the NATO alliance are increasing their resources next to our borders," Putin told a meeting of defence chiefs in Moscow in comments broadcast on state television.

"Russia cannot remain indifferent to the clear muscle-flexing," he said.

The Kremlin leader, who earlier this year threatened to target nuclear missiles at Europe, said he wanted the atomic arsenal put on a higher level of readiness.

"One of the most important tasks remains raising the combat readiness of the strategic nuclear forces. They should be ready to deliver a quick and adequate reply to any aggressor," Interfax quoted him as saying.

Baluyevsky told the meeting of top brass that Russia would "certainly" suspend its participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty on December 12.

"We will certainly fulfil this ruling exactly on time," Baluyevsky was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying, following a vote in parliament to suspend application of the CFE.

However, Putin left the door open to Russia resuming participation, saying Moscow will "re-examine the possibility of renewing its obligations after our partners join the adapted treaty and, more importantly, implement it."

The 1990 CFE treaty places strict limitations on the deployment of tanks and other military hardware across Europe.

Russia says it cannot stick to the CFE rules until members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) ratify an updated version of the accord.

NATO has said it will do so only when Russia pulls its forces out of two ex-Soviet republics -- Georgia and Moldova.

The treaty's demise highlights deteriorating relations between Moscow and countries of the Atlantic alliance as Putin's administration pushes to reassert Russia on the international stage.

Putin ordered the CFE moratorium on July 13 amid a row over US plans to install an anti-missile shield in eastern Europe. Last Friday, the senate voted unanimous approval of the decree.

NATO criticised the decision as "regrettable."

Earlier this month, Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Kolmakov said that plans were being considered for boosting troop deployments on Russia's western flank, something impossible under the CFE.

Russia has also this year renewed long-distance strategic bomber patrols and to withdraw from other bedrock disarmament treaties dating from the Cold War.

Adding to the tension is the growing unease in the West with wide-ranging limitations imposed by Putin on democratic reforms and what critics call Russia's aggressive use of massive energy resources.

Moscow accuses Washington of interfering in Russia's backyard and attempting to rule the world as the sole superpower.

Putin warns NATO against border build-up (http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hvFYh6UrA3KiWQzWZJbt-334mKaw)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on November 20, 2007, 07:40:19 PM
These have been posted in here already. I figure it's time to answer some of them.

Quote
The Kremlin leader, who earlier this year threatened to target nuclear missiles at Europe, said he wanted the atomic arsenal put on a higher level of readiness.

"One of the most important tasks remains raising the combat readiness of the strategic nuclear forces. They should be ready to deliver a quick and adequate reply to any aggressor," Interfax quoted him as saying.

And they've been testing nerves by, taunting other nations with their planes, butting in over Iran.

Quote
Earlier this month, Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Kolmakov said that plans were being considered for boosting troop deployments on Russia's western flank, something impossible under the CFE.

Then they turn around and accuse the US.

Quote
Moscow accuses Washington of interfering in Russia's backyard and attempting to rule the world as the sole superpower

Moscow needs to look in the mirror first.


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: HisDaughter on November 20, 2007, 07:47:19 PM
It's seems every country right now has their feathers ruffled over something.  ;D  Bring it on already!  (http://i167.photobucket.com/albums/u136/amandaherring/RAPTUR18.gif)


Title: Russian Pilot Strays into IAF Airspace
Post by: Shammu on November 21, 2007, 02:06:28 AM
Russian Pilot Strays into IAF Airspace

(IsraelNN.com) A Russian pilot strayed into Israel Air Force airspace by accident Tuesday after taking off from Ben Gurion International Airport.

It is unclear why the Russian cargo plane flew into the airspace around the Tel Nof Air Force Base. The incident is under investigation by the Transportation Ministry.

Russian Pilot Strays into IAF Airspace (http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/136815)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I expect that they will start becoming more bold, because they are already showing their KGB colors again by their very speech and continued weapons deals with the rogue nations and by defending them. So am I surprised..... nope I'm not.

Just imagine if Israel had blown the plane out of the sky. :o

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v605/DreamWeaver000/Raptureani1.gif)


Title: Russia to provide Egypt with nuclear expertise
Post by: Shammu on November 21, 2007, 02:08:54 AM
Russia to provide Egypt with nuclear expertise
By Reuters

Russia has agreed to provide nuclear know-how and technical expertise to Egypt to help Cairo with plans to build civilian nuclear power stations to meet growing energy needs, Egyptian state media said on Tuesday.

State news agency MENA said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak had told Egypt that Moscow welcomed the planned resumption of Egypt's nuclear program.

"Moscow is ready to give nuclear knowledge and its technical expertise to the Egyptian side in light of Russia's large experience in building nuclear power stations," MENA said, quoting a foreign ministry spokesman.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said last month Egypt would build several nuclear power stations, a year after his politician son Gamal floated the idea of a civilian nuclear program, but did not indicate when the project would get under way.

Cairo suspended a peaceful nuclear program after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. The London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies said the first 1,000-megawatt reactor could be built at Dabaa on the Mediterranean in eight to 10 years if foreign investment was secured.

Washington has said it supports Egypt's plans to develop peaceful nuclear energy. In addition to Russia, China and Kazakhstan have offered cooperation.

Officials put Egypt's oil and gas reserves at 15.5 billion barrels of oil
equivalent, enough for 34 years at current production rates.

The elder Mubarak has said rising oil prices would nudge the government's energy subsidies to around 50 billion Egyptian pounds ($9 billion) in the current fiscal year starting in July from 43.8 billion pounds in the previous year.

Egypt ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1981 and has two research reactors. The UN International Atomic Energy Agency probed Egyptian "failures" in reporting nuclear research in 2004, but concluded that the experiments were not weapons-related.

Gamal Mubarak's initial proposal had been greeted with skepticism by opposition groups, which dismissed his announcement as a media stunt designed to bolster his credentials. The 79-year-old president, in power since 1981, is widely believed to be preparing Gamal, a senior ruling party official, to succeed him. Both father and son deny this.

Russia to provide Egypt with nuclear expertise (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/926208.html)


Title: Fatah Charter Calls to 'Eradicate' Israel
Post by: Shammu on November 21, 2007, 02:17:55 AM
Fatah Charter Calls to 'Eradicate' Israel
 
by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

(IsraelNN.com) The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is deliberating a proposed statement calling on Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to change the Fatah charter, which calls to "eradicate" Israel. US Congressmen have submitted a similar resolution in the House of Representatives.

The proposed statement details those clauses of the Fatah charter, drafted in 1964 and never repealed, that call for the "demolition" of the State of Israel, as well as "the eradication of the Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.”

Towards that goal, the charter endorses "armed struggle" as "a strategy and not a tactic, to uproot the Zionist existence." The Fatah organization, headed by Abbas, also calls on the world community "to prevent Jewish immigration" to Israel. Fatah, according to its charter, "opposes any political solution."

The statement on the Fatah charter, drafted and presented to the President's Conference by the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), calls on Abbas to rescind the anti-Israel, anti-Semitic and pro-terrorism clauses of the Fatah charter. "Rescinding these clauses," the statement reads, "would be an important confidence-building measure which would help to create a better environment to achieve progress in the peace talks."

Malcolm Hoenlein, Vice Chairman of the Presidents Conference, said there has been very limited opposition to the ZOA proposal. Approval by at least two-thirds of the Conference's 50 member organizations is needed in order to issue the statement.

Palestinian Authority officials identified with Abbas claim that Fatah decisions from 1989 allegedly recognizing Israel superseded the Fatah charter's call for Israel's violent demise. However, current Fatah websites carry the charter in its full, original and unaltered form, including the offending clauses. In addition, Abbas's chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, recently rejected recognition of any Jewish State whatsoever when pressed on the issue by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Call for Fatah Charter Revisions in US Congress
US House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) and US Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV) introduced a resolution (H. Res.758) earlier this month that urges Abbas to officially abrogate 10 articles in the Fatah charter that call for Israel's destruction and for the continuation of terrorism.

Introducing the resolution, Blunt said, "There can be no reasonable expectation of a broad-based, long-term reconciliation between the Israelis and Palestinians while one side's constituting document calls for the complete destruction of the other. I believe it's absolutely critical that the insidious nature of [this] be brought to light - and that those with a genuine interest in working toward peace insist its most unconstructive provisions be abrogated from the text.... As long as Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah Party continue to promote the wholesale destruction of Israel, there can be no possibility for peace – whether in our time, or any other."

In a joint letter to their colleagues, Berkley and Blunt wrote, "Since the electoral victory of Hamas, and its subsequent takeover of Gaza, the Fatah Party headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has gone out of its way to convince the international community that it represents the best hope for reconciliation and should be given additional resources to carry out its goals.... But what most people don't know is that the Fatah Party's constitution, or party platform, still contains no fewer than 10 clauses calling for the destruction of Israel and terrorism against Israel, as well as expressing opposition to any political solution...."

The Ten Clauses
The ten clauses of the Fatah charter singled out in the proposed House resolution and in the President's Conference proposed statement include:

Article 22: "Opposing any political solution offered as an alternative to demolishing the Zionist occupation in Palestine, as well as any project intended to liquidate the Palestinian cause or impose any international mandate on its people."

Article 12: "Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military, and cultural existence.

Article 19: "Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People's armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated."

Article 17: "Armed public revolution is the inevitable method to liberating Palestine."

Article 23: "Maintaining relations with Arab countries … with the provision that the armed struggle is not negatively affected."

Article 8: "The Israeli existence in Palestine is a Zionist invasion with a colonial expansive base, and it is a natural ally to colonialism and international imperialism."

Article 7: "The Zionist Movement is racial, colonial, and aggressive in ideology, goals, organization, and method."

Article 24: "Maintaining relations with all liberal forces supporting our just struggle in order to resist together Zionism and imperialism."

Article 4: "The Palestinian struggle is part and parcel of the world-wide struggle against Zionism, colonialism, and international imperialism."

Article 25: "Convincing concerned countries in the world to prevent Jewish immigration to Palestine as a method of solving the problem."


Fatah Charter Calls to 'Eradicate' Israel (http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/124315)


Title: Putin promises 'total renewal' of Russian leadership
Post by: Shammu on November 21, 2007, 08:14:21 PM
Putin promises 'total renewal' of Russian leadership
11.21.07, 8:25 AM ET

 MOSCOW (Thomson Financial) - Russian President Vladimir Putin promised on Wednesday a 'total renewal' of the country's leadership over the course of forthcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.

'In the months to come we will have a total renewal of the top leadership of the state,' he told a rally of several thousand supporters in Moscow, less than two weeks before parliamentary polls.

Recent weeks have seen growing calls by supporters for Putin to stay on in a leadership role, despite a constitutional bar on him holding the presidency more than twice in a row.

Putin is due to step down after a presidential poll in March, but is standing as the lead candidate of the United Russia party in parliamentary elections on Dec 2.

In his speech at a Western-style election rally at a Moscow sports stadium, Putin urged his supporters to work for victory in the parliamentary elections in order to ensure a smooth transition.

He also took a swipe at opponents who he likened to 'jackals', accusing them of seeking foreign funding to help undermine the country, and said Russia's tycoons were planning to regain power.

'Unfortunately in our country there are people who are like jackals outside the foreign embassies... They count on the support of foreign funds,' he said to cheers from the crowd.

Putin said that such people wanted 'a Russia that is weak and sick, a society that is disoriented and divided'.

'They want to go out into the streets, they've learnt from Western specialists. They've trained in neighbouring republics. Now they want to cause provocations,' he added.

Popular uprisings in neighbouring Ukraine and Georgia have brought down governments that have been replaced with more Western-friendly administrations.

The Kremlin leader hit out at powerful tycoons and their allies who held sway under former president Boris Yeltsin, warning: 'They want revenge, a return to power, a return to the spheres of influence and the restoration of an oligarchical regime based on corruption and lies.'

The event was organised by United Russia and the For Putin movement, formed one week ago to push for the president to remain as national leader.

Some analysts have speculated that he could step down for a brief period before coming back as president for another term or could take on some other role as a national father figure.

'It's painful to imagine life without Putin. We fear that without him it will be chaos,' said Kristina Rastvorova, a member of the youth group Nashi (Ours) who was among activists waving placards with names of their home towns.

Polls show Putin's United Russia party will pick up some 67 pct of votes in the parliamentary poll, making it by far the dominant force in the State Duma lower house.

Ten opposition parties are trying to mount a challenge to United Russia in the election campaign and have complained of unfair election rules that favour Putin's party.

Opposition leader Grigory Yavlinsky, whose liberal reform party Yabloko is not expected to win seats in the vote, lamented that Russia was heading toward Soviet-style single-party rule.

'The elections are the prologue of a transition from an authoritarian and totalitarian state to a semi-dictatorial state that aspires to become a system in which Putin becomes president for life,' he told a news conference.

Putin promises 'total renewal' of Russian leadership (http://www.forbes.com/afxnewslimited/feeds/afx/2007/11/21/afx4363287.html)


Title: Putin urges support for Kremlin-backed party, slams opponents
Post by: Shammu on November 22, 2007, 09:17:52 PM
Putin urges support for Kremlin-backed party, slams opponents
16:44    |    21/ 11/ 2007
   

MOSCOW, November 21 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that victory for the ruling United Russia party in December 2 parliamentary elections was crucial for the country's further development.

Speaking to thousands of supporters gathered in the stadium used for the 1980 Moscow Olympics opening and closing ceremonies, Vladimir Putin, who tops the party's election list, said: "In order for the future parliament and president to work efficiently, cooperating with each other for the benefit of people, we need victory."

Putin said it was vital to ensure the continuity of current policy through the parliamentary and presidential polls in December and March respectively.

"The current stability, economic growth, peace, and rising, albeit moderately, living standards are the result of the continuous political struggle at home and on the world scene," Putin said, warning that the West would prefer to see "a weak, ill Russia with a disorganized and split society."

He also said some political forces inside the country were seeking support from foreign governments and funds, rather than their own people. Criticizing Western-leaning opposition groups, he said they were attempting to restore an "oligarchic regime based on corruption and lies," referring to the turbulent 1990s which brought fortunes to a handful of Kremlin-connected tycoons while impoverishing millions of ordinary Russians.

"They are planning to take to the streets. They have been trained by Western experts, have gained some experience in neighboring [ex-Soviet] republics, and will now try their hand here," the president said, without specifying names or organizations.

While Putin heads the United Party candidate list, he is not a party member and may choose not to take a seat in the State Duma, the lower house of parliament. He has so far declined supporters' appeals to amend the Constitution and run for a third consecutive term, at the same time refusing to be drawn on his future plans.

Putin's move to head United Russia's candidate list has been seen as designed to secure a large parliamentary majority for the party and help the Kremlin further tighten its grip on the political system.

The latest opinion surveys put United Russia in the lead with a little under 60% of popular support, slightly down on previous weeks. The Communists and the nationalist Liberal Democrats are the only two other forces likely to overcome the 7% threshold for the State Duma.

Other parties, including the liberal Yabloko and Union of Right Forces - champions of western-style democracy and free market reforms in the 1990s - are likely to receive 1% of the vote in December's polls.

A number of opposition parties in the coalition The Other Russia movement, including chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov's United Civic Front, have been denied registration for the upcoming elections.

Putin urges support for Kremlin-backed party, slams opponents (http://en.rian.ru/russia/20071121/88967504)


Title: Russian opposition election candidate shot
Post by: Shammu on November 22, 2007, 09:18:32 PM
Russian opposition election candidate shot

Reuters
Wednesday, November 21, 2007; 3:56 PM

MOSCOW (Reuters) - An opposition politician running in Russian parliamentary elections was shot and seriously wounded on Wednesday as he entered his house in the southern Russian region of Dagestan, Russian media reported.

Farid Babayev, who will lead the regional list for the liberal anti-Kremlin Yabloko party was in a serious condition in hospital, RIA novosti news agency reported after an unidentified gunman fired on him in the regional capital Makhachkala.

"The incident occurred at about 10 p.m., not far from his home. Farid Babayev is now in hospital in a serious condition," said his party colleague and fellow electoral candidate, Ruslan Salahbekov, was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.

Dagestan is in the North Caucasus, next to Chechnya, and has been hit by an upsurge in separatist attacks in recent months and crime.

Babayev was not expected to win a seat in the December 2 parliamentary elections, since Yabloko is only receiving 1-2 percent in opinion polls, well below the 7 percent national threshold required to enter the lower house of parliament.


Title: Iran warns of domino effect of nuclear attack
Post by: Shammu on November 22, 2007, 09:34:49 PM
Iran warns of domino effect of nuclear attack

By Damien McElroy, Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Last Updated: 12:18pm GMT 22/11/2007

Iran warned today that an attack on its nuclear facilities would trigger a "domino" effect across the Middle East as deeply divided world powers met to review Teheran's co-operation with United Nations resolutions.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has endorsed Iranian promises that access to suspected nuclear facilities will increase in the months ahead.

At a meeting of the body's 35-country board of governors in Vienna today, battle lines were drawn both over Mr ElBaradei's faith in an Iranian blueprint and the text of the IAEA's latest report which said Iran had cleared up several key questions about its past research.

America and Britain are pushing for the UN to quickly impose a third round of sanctions on Iran to reinforce the drive to close the Islamic Republic's secret programme of atomic research, which appears to be slowly yielding the capability to make a nuclear weapon.

China and Russia, which have not yet swung behind new sanctions, appear poised to back Mr ElBaradei's calls for negotiators to be given more time.

"ElBaradei wants to get across that Iran has shown real willingness to co-operate and we are making important progress, so let's stick with it," said a Vienna-based diplomat.

His argument is unlikely to impress those nations alarmed by a line in his nine-page report - released last week - conceding the IAEA's knowledge of Teheran's current atomic activities was "diminishing".

The UN Security Council has adopted two rounds of sanctions resolutions against Teheran since last December.

Teheran has responded with a mixture of bluster and apparent readiness to negotiate.

Negotiations with the European Union's chief foreign policy official, Javier Solana, over a compensation package in return for Iran suspending all its efforts to enrich uranium are scheduled to take place in London next week.

Iran's newly installed chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili, said today that a slide to war would lead to a backlash against the West across the region, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, where American leads an international military coalition.

"Playing with security of Iran is like dominos," he said. "We believe the world powers are aware about Iran's effective role in the global security. Our role in Afghanistan and Iraq is in direction with peace, stability and improving governments there."

Iran warns of domino effect of nuclear attack (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/11/22/wiran122.xml)


Title: Venezuelans struggle to find food
Post by: Shammu on November 22, 2007, 09:40:56 PM
The reason I'm posting this here is because of Hugo's support of Iran.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Venezuelans struggle to find food

By IAN JAMES, Associated Press Writer Tue Nov 20, 4:09 PM ET

CARACAS, Venezuela - The lines formed at dawn and remained long throughout the day — hundreds upon hundreds of Venezuelans waiting to buy scarce milk, chicken and sugar at state-run outdoor markets staffed by soldiers in fatigues.

President Hugo Chavez's government is trying to cope with shortages of some foods, and the lines at state-run "Megamercal" street markets show many Venezuelans are willing to wait for hours to snap up a handful of products they seldom find in supermarkets.

"You have to get in line and you have to be lucky," said Maria Fernandez, a 64-year-old housewife who was trying to buy milk and chicken on Sunday.

The lines for basic foods at subsidized prices are paradoxical for an oil-rich nation that in many ways is a land of plenty. Shopping malls are bustling, new car sales are booming and privately owned supermarkets are stocked with American potato chips, French wines and Swiss Gruyere cheese.

Yet other foods covered by price controls — eggs, chicken — periodically are hard to find in supermarkets. Fresh milk has become a luxury, and even baby formula is scarcer nowadays.

The shortages are prompting some Venezuelans to question Chavez's economic policies while he campaigns for constitutional changes that, if approved in a Dec. 2 referendum, would let him run for re-election indefinitely.

Some government officials accuse producers of keeping basic goods off the market to profiteer or to sow discontent among Venezuela's poor, Chavez's core supporters.

Economists say the factors behind the shortages are numerous, including surging demand due to economic growth.

The government's price controls are also "totally divorced" from reality — in some cases below production costs — making it unprofitable for suppliers to sell their products at official prices, said economist Pedro Palma of the Caracas consulting firm MetroEconomica.

More investment is needed in agriculture, but the government's agrarian reform effort — assuming control of vast farmlands and offering them to poor farmers — has made traditional producers reluctant to invest, he said.

Importers also face hurdles. Currency exchange controls imposed in 2003 require state approval to obtain dollars at the official rate. Those without it turn to the black market, buying dollars for about three times the fixed rate.

To compound the problem, Palma said, some of the products Venezuela looks to import, such as milk and sugar, are scarce internationally.

Many Venezuelans in line at the Megamercal said they were grateful to Chavez for subsidized markets offering prices far cheaper than commercial supermarkets. But they also complained of struggling to find milk, chicken, sugar and cooking oil elsewhere at prices set by the government.

"I arrived at 6 in the morning to get in line," said Doris Bastida, 32, a mother of four who wheeled an infant son in a stroller. She had been waiting for about four hours when she reached the entrance.

"What am I going to do? I don't have anywhere else to go," she said. Powdered milk is sold by black market street vendors at $4.50 or more for a 16-ounce container — about twice the regulated price and four times the price offered by the state markets.

Bastida said she still believes in Chavez and plans to vote in favor of his reforms "so that things will get better." Plus, she said, if "everyone votes 'No,' they're going to take the Megamercal away from us."

Others, speaking in hushed tones, said they see Chavez's government as a failure and do not want him to run again in 2012.

"We have to vote 'No,'" said 50-year-old Fatima Rodriguez. "Do you think it's good to be here waiting in line?"

Chavez says he is aiming to boost agriculture with projects including state-supported sugar harvesting and a milk processing plant started with help from Iran. For now, Venezuela imports most of its food, and imports overall have more than doubled in the past three years.

Chavez's food minister, Gen. Rafael Oropeza, said the open-air markets were fully stocked across the country over the weekend, with a record 6,557 tons of food delivered for sale nationwide on Sunday. He said leg of pork was imported because local suppliers declined to participate.

"I'm putting out a call to businesses for them to raise production and respond to the demand," Oropeza said, according to the newspaper El Nacional. He suggested there were political motives behind the shortages.

"That's the objective, that the people reach the point of desperation," Oropeza said.

The Venezuelan Food Industry Chamber denied its members are to blame, saying they are working to satisfy rapidly growing consumer demand.

At one state market in Caracas, the line snaked around a block Sunday, while soldiers manned barricades at the entrance. A banner read, "Continue on with Chavez." Red campaign signs plastered on walls urged: "Yes, with Chavez."

Factory worker Eugenio Ruiz praised Chavez for the subsidized food and said he plans to vote "Yes."

"Look at all he's done for us," Ruiz said, explaining he thinks the situation would be worse without Chavez. "We have to stay with him, not abandon him."

Venezuelans struggle to find food (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071120/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/venezuela_shortages;_ylt=AsGQvx4K4vKpgndSy1ChRH.3IxIF)


Title: U.S. gives Russia new missile proposals
Post by: Shammu on November 22, 2007, 10:21:17 PM
U.S. gives Russia new missile proposals
Thu Nov 22, 2007 1:14pm EST

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The United States has formally made new proposals to Russia aimed at easing tension over its missile defense plans in Europe, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

Russia has denounced U.S. plans to deploy a radar in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland as a threat to its security. It offered building up a joint missile defense system instead but this idea has aroused little interest in Washington.

Washington promised to set out its latest proposals to Moscow in writing following talks between foreign and defense ministers last month.

"... the American side has finally, and late at night, passed to Russia written proposals regarding anti-missile defense systems. We are studying them," Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Krivtsov said.

He gave no details of the substance of the proposals.

Following discussions on October 11-12, U.S. officials said the suggestions included stationing Russian and American liaison officers at each other's missile defense facilities as part of a broader joint effort to protect against missile attacks.

In a bid to ease Russian concerns, Washington also said last month it had offered to delay activation of parts of its missile shield in Europe if Russia cooperated on the project.

Washington says it needs the European installations to avert potential missile attacks from Iran. Russia, which doubts Iran will have intercontinental missiles in the foreseeable future, has offered to share Qabala radar station it leases in Azerbaijan.

While Washington has made clear it was ready to cooperate with Russia, it said the Russian offer was an addition rather than a replacement for its missile shield plan.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also proposed setting up a joint missile defense system, which would include European countries.

Earlier this week Putin said Moscow would not remain indifferent to NATO's "muscle-flexing" and said Russia's nuclear forces would be ready for an adequate response to any aggressor.

U.S. gives Russia new missile proposals (http://www.reuters.com/articlePrint?articleId=USL2227108320071122)


Title: Rival factions return to arms as Lebanon stares into the abyss
Post by: Shammu on November 23, 2007, 01:25:54 PM
Rival factions return to arms as Lebanon stares into the abyss
November 23, 2007

Nicholas Blanford in Beirut

The centre of Beirut will be a sealed-off military zone today as MPs gather to elect a new president in a last-ditch attempt to prevent Lebanon from plunging into chaos and violence.

Émile Lahoud, the pro-Syrian head of state, leaves office at midnight today, but despite intense international mediation, no agreement appears to have been reached on a new president acceptable to the bitterly divided political camps.

The US-backed March 14 block, which holds a slim majority, has said that it will attend today’s session of parliament and threatened to elect a president from their own ranks if a consensus candidate is not found.

But the pro-Syrian Opposition, led by the powerful Shia Hezbollah party, says that it will boycott the election and has hinted it will respond by forming a rival government, a move that many Lebanese fear will lead to violence between heavily armed rival factions and tear the country apart.

That grim outlook appeared to draw closer last night with political sources saying that the continued lack of agreement could lead to the election being postponed, plunging Lebanon into constitutional limbo.

“Last day before zero hour: either a miracle or vacuum,” the An-Nahar daily headline said yesterday.

The foreign ministers of France, Spain and Italy are in Beirut shuttling between political leaders to push for agreement over the choice of president. In a further sign of international concern, President Sarkozy of France spoke by phone on Wednesday to Saad Hariri, head of the antiSyrian block, and Michel Aoun, the opposition candidate for president.

All three European countries contribute to a 13,300-strong United Nations peacekeeping force in south Lebanon and are aware that their soldiers would be at even greater risk if Lebanon fell apart.

Also at risk are MPs belonging to the March 14 block, more than 40 of whom have spent the past two months holed up in an annex of the five-star Phoenicia hotel in central Beirut. Four of their colleagues have been murdered since the June 2005 general election. Visitors pass through metal detectors and are escorted by bodyguards to meeting rooms.

The curtains are kept closed to avoid sniper fire. On the rare occasions MPs travel, they go in small unmarked cars and remove the chips from their mobile phones so that they cannot be tracked.

“The guys are all depressed staying here. It’s like a prison,” said Mosbah Ahdab, an MP from Tripoli, who moved into the hotel on Monday.

In an attempt to break the impasse last week, France persuaded Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, the patriarch of the Maronite church, to submit a list of candidates from which the rival factions could select a president. Lebanon’s sectarian power-sharing system decrees that the president must be a Maronite. But neither camp is showing any sign of flexibility.

With Lebanon’s political woes inextricably linked to broader tensions in the Middle East, few expect an imminent solution, further complicating international efforts to secure a peace agreement at a summit in Annapolis next week.

The Lebanese Government is supported by the United States, France and Saudi Arabia, which seek to disarm Hezbollah and keep Lebanon within a pro-Western orbit – free from Syrian influence and an obstacle to Iran’s regional ambitions.

The Lebanese Opposition prefers to keep Lebanon aligned with Iran and Syria, distrusting Washington’s interest in Lebanon, which it believes seeks only to weaken Hezbollah and protect Israel.

“Everyone in Lebanon is waiting for the balance of power in the region to clarify itself,” Paul Salem, director of the Carnegie Endowment’s Middle East Centre in Beirut, said.

The worsening crisis has resulted in a surge in black market arms sales as worried Lebanese protect themselves from an uncertain future. The weapon of choice is the AK47 assault rifle. A year ago the most popular version of this classic weapon, the 1977-vintage “circle 11” (named after the markings stamped into the rifle’s metal work), cost £250. Today it is worth about £450. “People are buying guns more than ever. They are expecting a war,” said Abu Jamil, an arms dealer.

The rise in arms sales has led to an increase in shooting practice in the Lebanese mountains, where the distant crackle of rifle fire is becoming common at weekends. The unrelenting political crisis and speculation that militias are being formed has left many Lebanese aghast at the thought that the country could be sliding into civil war once more.

“How can we even be thinking of war again? Have we learnt nothing?” Hadi Sfeir, 42, a shopkeeper, asked.

A civil rights group called Khalass – Arabic for Enough! - began a series of actions this week to highlight the disgust it feels toward the political class. “We are extremely frustrated. I don’t think the politicians care about what ordinary Lebanese care about like the economy and being able to live in peace with each other,” Carmen Jeha, an activist with Khalass, said.

Rival factions return to arms as Lebanon stares into the abyss (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article2926154.ece)


Title: A plan to attack Iran swiftly and from above
Post by: Shammu on November 23, 2007, 01:31:08 PM
A plan to attack Iran swiftly and from above

A bombing campaign has been in the works for months - a blistering air war that would last anywhere from one day to two weeks

PAUL KORING
November 22, 2007 at 5:11 AM EST

WASHINGTON — Massive, devastating air strikes, a full dose of "shock and awe" with hundreds of bunker-busting bombs slicing through concrete at more than a dozen nuclear sites across Iran is no longer just the idle musing of military planners and uber-hawks.

Although air strikes don't seem imminent as the U.S.-Iranian drama unfolds, planning for a bombing campaign and preparing for the geopolitical blowback has preoccupied military and political councils for months.

No one is predicting a full-blown ground war with Iran. The likeliest scenario, a blistering air war that could last as little as one night or as long as two weeks, would be designed to avoid the quagmire of invasion and regime change that now characterizes Iraq. But skepticism remains about whether any amount of bombing can substantially delay Iran's entry into the nuclear-weapons club.

Attacking Iran has gone far beyond the twilight musings of a lame-duck president. Almost all of those jockeying to succeed U.S. President George W. Bush are similarly bellicose. Both front-runners, Democrat Senator Hillary Clinton and Republican Rudy Giuliani, have said that Iran's ruling mullahs can't be allowed to go nuclear. "Iran would be very sure if I were president of the United States that I would not allow them to become nuclear," said Mr. Giuliani. Ms. Clinton is equally hard-line.

Nor does the threat come just from the United States. As hopes fade that sanctions and common sense might avert a military confrontation with Tehran - as they appear to have done with North Korea - other Western leaders are openly warning that bombing may be needed.

Unless Tehran scraps its clandestine and suspicious nuclear program and its quest for weapons-grade uranium (it already has the missiles capable of delivering an atomic warhead), the world will be "faced with an alternative that I call catastrophic: an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran," French President Nicolas Sarkozy has warned.

Bombing Iran would be relatively easy. Its antiquated air force and Russian air-defence missiles would be easy pickings for the U.S. warplanes.

But effectively destroying Iran's widely scattered and deeply buried nuclear facilities would be far harder, although achievable, according to air-power experts. But the fallout, especially the anger sown across much of the Muslim world by another U.S.-led attack in the Middle East, would be impossible to calculate.

Israel has twice launched pre-emptive air strikes ostensibly to cripple nuclear programs. In both instances, against Iraq in 1981 and Syria two months ago, the targeted regimes howled but did nothing.

The single-strike Israeli attacks would seem like pinpricks, compared with the rain of destruction U.S. warplanes would need to kneecap Iran's far larger nuclear network.

"American air strikes on Iran would vastly exceed the scope of the 1981 Israeli attack on the Osirak nuclear centre in Iraq, and would more resemble the opening days of the 2003 air campaign against Iraq," said John Pike, director at Globalsecurity.org, a leading defence and security group.

"Using the full force of operational B-2 stealth bombers, staging from Diego Garcia or flying direct from the United States," along with warplanes from land bases in the region and carriers at sea, at least two-dozen suspected nuclear sites would be targeted, he said.

Although U.S. ground forces are stretched thin with nearly 200,000 fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the firepower of the U.S. air force and the warplanes aboard aircraft carriers could easily overwhelm Iran's defences, leaving U.S. warplanes in complete command of the skies and free to pound targets at will.

With air bases close by in neighbouring Iraq and Afghanistan, including Kandahar, and naval-carrier battle groups in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean, hundreds of U.S. warplanes serviced by scores of airborne refuellers could deliver a near constant hail of high explosives.

Fighter-bombers and radar-jammers would spearhead any attack. B-2 bombers, each capable of delivering 20 four-tonne bunker-busting bombs, along with smaller stealth bombers and streams of F-18s from the carriers could maintain an open-ended bombing campaign.

"They could keep it up until the end of time, which might be hastened by the bombing," Mr. Pike said. "They could make the rubble jump; there's plenty of stuff to bomb," he added, a reference to the now famous line from former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld that Afghanistan was a "target-poor" country.

Mr. Pike believes it could all be over in a single night. Others predict days, or even weeks, of sustained bombing.

Unidentified Pentagon planners have been cited talking of "1,500 aim points." What is clear is that a score or more known nuclear sites would be destroyed. Some, in remote deserts, would present little risk of "collateral damage," military jargon for unintended civilian causalities. Others, like laboratories at the University of Tehran, in the heart of a teeming capital city, would be hard to destroy without killing innocent Iranians.

What would likely unfold would be weeks of escalating tension, following a breakdown of diplomatic efforts.

The next crisis point may come later this month if the UN Security Council becomes deadlocked over further sanctions.

"China and Russia are more concerned about the prospect of the U.S. bombing Iran than of Iran getting a nuclear bomb," says Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Tehran remains defiant. Our enemies "must know that Iran will not give the slightest concession ... to any power," Iran's fiery President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said yesterday. For his part, Mr. Bush has pointedly refused to rule out resorting to war. Last month, another U.S. naval battle group - including the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman with 100 warplanes on board and the Canadian frigate HMCS Charlottetown as one of its screen of smaller warships - left for the Persian Gulf. At least one, and often two, carrier battle groups are always in the region.

Whether even weeks of bombing would cripple Iran's nuclear program cannot be known. Mr. Pike believes it would set back, by a decade or more, the time Tehran needs to develop a nuclear warhead. But Iran's clandestine program - international inspectors were completely clueless as to the existence of several major sites until exiles ratted out the mullahs - may be so extensive that even the longest target list will miss some.

"It's not a question of whether we can do a strike or not and whether the strike could be effective," retired Marine general Anthony Zinni told Time magazine. "It certainly would be, to some degree. But are you prepared for all that follows?"

Attacked and humiliated, Iran might be tempted, as Mr. Ahmadinejad has suggested, to strike back, although Iran has limited military options.

At least some Sunni governments in the region, not least Saudi Arabia, would be secretly delighted to see the Shia mullahs in Tehran bloodied. But the grave risk of any military action spiralling into a regional war, especially if Mr. Ahmadinejad tried to make good on his threat to attack Israel, remains.

"Arab leaders would like to see Iran taken down a notch," said Steven Cook, an analyst specializing in the Arab world at the Council on Foreign Relations, "but their citizens will see this as what they perceive to be America's ongoing war on Islam."

cont'd next post


Title: Re: A plan to attack Iran swiftly and from above
Post by: Shammu on November 23, 2007, 01:31:40 PM
Building tension

The confrontation with Iran over its nuclear program has been simmering for more than five years. These are some of the key flashpoints.

August, 2002: Iranian exiles say that Tehran has built a vast uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy water plant at Arak without informing the United Nations.

December, 2002: The existence of the sites is confirmed by satellite photographs shown on U.S. television. The United States accuses Tehran of "across-the-board pursuit of weapons of mass destruction." Iran agrees to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

June, 2003: IAEA director Mohamed ElBaradei accuses Iran of not revealing the extent of its nuclear work and urges leaders to sign up for more intrusive inspections.

October, 2003: After meeting French, German and British foreign ministers, Tehran agrees to stop producing enriched uranium and formally decides to sign the Additional Protocol, a measure that extends the IAEA's ability to detect undeclared nuclear activities. No evidence is produced to confirm the end of enrichment.

November, 2003: Mr. ElBaradei says there is "no evidence" that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. The United States disagrees.

February, 2004: An IAEA report says Iran experimented with polonium-210, which can be used to trigger the chain reaction in a nuclear bomb. Iran did not explain the experiments. Iran again agrees to suspend enrichment, but again does not do so.

March, 2004: Iran is urged to reveal its entire nuclear program to the IAEA by June 1, 2004.

September, 2004: The IAEA orders Iran to stop preparations for large-scale uranium enrichment. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell labels Iran a growing danger and calls for the UN Security Council to impose sanctions.

August, 2005: Hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is installed as Iranian President as Tehran pledges an "irreversible" resumption of enrichment.

Jan. 10, 2006: Iran removes UN seals at the Natanz enrichment plant and resumes nuclear fuel research.

February, 2006: The IAEA votes to report Iran to the UN Security Council. Iran ends snap UN nuclear inspections the next day.

July 31, 2006: The UN Security Council demands that Iran suspend its nuclear activities by Aug. 31.

Aug. 31, 2006: The UN Security Council deadline for Iran to halt its work on nuclear fuel passes. IAEA says Tehran has failed to suspend the program.

Dec. 23, 2006: The 15-member UN Security Council unanimously adopts a binding resolution that imposes some sanctions and calls on Iran to suspend its uranium-enrichment activities and to comply with its IAEA obligations.

March 24, 2007: The Security Council unanimously approves a resolution broadening UN sanctions against Iran for its continuing failure to halt uranium enrichment. Iranian officials call the new measures "unnecessary and unjustified."

April 10, 2007: Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs says Iran will not accept any suspension of its uranium-enrichment activities and urges world powers to accept the "new reality" of the Islamic republic's nuclear program.

May 23, 2007: The IAEA says in a new report, issued to coincide with the expiration of a Security Council deadline for Tehran, that Iran continues to defy UN Security Council demands to halt uranium enrichment and has expanded such work. The report adds that the UN nuclear agency's ability to monitor nuclear activities in Iran has declined due to lack of access to sites.

Oct. 24, 2007: The United States imposes new sanctions on Iran and accuses the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps of spreading weapons of mass destruction.

A plan to attack Iran swiftly and from above (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071122.wiran22/BNStory/International/?pageRequested=all&print=true)


Title: Putin, Saudi Prince Sultan hold discussions in Moscow
Post by: Shammu on November 23, 2007, 02:21:31 PM
Putin, Saudi Prince Sultan hold discussions in Moscow
Politics    11/23/2007 4:09:00 PM

MOSCOW, Nov 23 (KUNA) -- Visiting Saudi Crown Prince and Defense Minister Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud lauded Friday relations with Russia at his meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

He indicated that relations were strong and ever-growing, thanking Russian officials for their hospitality.

On his part, Putin indicated that talks with Prince Sultan dealt with several important issues, affirming that bilateral relations were to be boosted in the future.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that opinions between both parties were similar, revealing that there was a Saudi-Russian agreement on taking vital steps to resolve the Mideast situation.

Prince Sultan previously met with first Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdiukov.

Putin, Saudi Prince Sultan hold discussions in Moscow (http://www.kuna.net.kw/NewsAgenciesPublicSite/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=1859746&Language=en)


Title: Saudi crown prince meets Putin, foresees arms deal
Post by: Shammu on November 23, 2007, 02:29:17 PM
Saudi crown prince meets Putin, foresees arms deal
Fri Nov 23, 8:09 AM

MOSCOW (AFP) - Saudi Arabia's Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz held talks here Friday with President Vladimir Putin expected to pave the way for the first purchase of Russian weapons by the kingdom, a close US ally.

Speaking as he met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov ahead of his talks with Putin, the crown prince -- who doubles as Saudi defence minister -- gave a nod of approval to Kremlin policy.

"We are satisfied with Russian policy and we hope that it will continue," the prince said.

Putin visited Saudi Arabia last February and Saudi officials said afterwards that the desert kingdom was in negotiations with Moscow over the purchase of Russian weapons systems.

Lavrov described Sultan's meeting with Putin as the "main point" of his visit to Moscow, which he said would focus on implementing agreements penned when Putin went to Riyadh.

"Both sides are satisfied," Lavrov said, adding that Russia-Saudi ties had entered a phase of "intense development."

Officials in Moscow would not provide further information on the agenda for Sultan's talks with Putin.

But a Russian diplomat in Riyadh, speaking earlier this week, said he expected the Moscow talks to produce a "framework agreement for military cooperation" that would open the way for Saudi Arabia to buy Russian arms.

Speaking after Putin's visit to Riyadh, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said the desert kingdom was in talks with Russia over the possible purchase of Russian weapons.

"On the armament front, there have been discussions between the two countries.

"They are taking place in accordance with the kingdom's requirements in terms of armament and with what Russia can provide of the kingdom's needs for such equipment," he said.

Saud did not give details, but a diplomatic source in Riyadh had earlier said Putin's talks during his Saudi visit were expected to lead to a "verbal understanding" on the sale of about 150 Russian T-90 battle tanks to the kingdom.

The source said tests were carried out on the T-90 in Saudi Arabia last year to determine the tank's suitability for harsh desert conditions, and Russia is also looking to sell Mi-17 helicopters.

Saudi crown prince meets Putin, foresees arms deal (http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/afp/071123/world/russia_saudi_defence_diplomacy)


Title: Police beat protesters in Russia
Post by: Shammu on November 26, 2007, 04:49:08 PM
Police beat protesters in Russia
Nearly 200 Putin critics detained
 By Denis Pinchuk
Reuters / November 26, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG - Russian riot police beat opposition activists yesterday and detained nearly 200 people at protest rallies against President Vladimir Putin a week before the country's parliamentary election.

Riot police in St. Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city and Putin's hometown, detained Boris Nemtsov and Nikita Belykh, leaders of the Union of Right Forces Party who are running in the Dec. 2 election. They were later released.

The protests were held a day after police detained opposition leader and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov in Moscow, a move the United States condemned yesterday as part of "aggressive tactics" by authorities.

"We are troubled that Garry Kasparov and other leaders of the opposition have been arrested and detained," said White House National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

Kasparov, leader of the Other Russia group, was among 60 detained in the 3,000-strong Moscow march, activists said.

In St. Petersburg, riot police were seen beating activists with batons and fists before forcing them into police buses.

Dozens more were detained outside the Winter Palace, the residence of the Tsars, and at another rally in the city center.

"They have forbidden us from discussing Putin," Nemtsov told the crowd. "But we have come here today to ask Mr. Putin and the authorities, why is there so much corruption in the country?"

He was promptly detained by five riot policemen as the crowd chanted "Russia without Putin."

Nemtsov told Reuters his detention was a breach of Russian law that forbids police from detaining candidates.

"Putin has total disregard for the country's constitution and laws," Nemtsov said. "He is afraid the people will find out the truth and so he hides behind the riot police."

About 500 activists made it to the marches but were vastly outnumbered by riot police. Most of those detained were later released, organizers said.

The city authorities had not given permission for the march and streets in the city center were blocked by riot police and snow-clearing trucks.

The "march of the discontented" brings together Putin's opponents into one movement which includes Other Russia, free-market parties such as Union of Right Forces and Yabloko, as well as anarchists and radical socialists.

Putin's opponents accuse the Kremlin chief of cracking down on the freedoms won after the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, and of creating what they say is an unstable political system dependent on Putin alone.

"They have started a war with the people," said Tamara, a 72-year-old who took part in the march.

"Putin is very bad - look at the poverty in the country. Pensioners are forced to rummage in the dustbins."

Kremlin officials say the opposition marches are aimed at attracting attention in the West and that the activists are a mixed bag of marginal politicians with little public support.

Putin, ranked by opinion polls as the most popular politician in Russia, is credited by supporters for cementing political stability and presiding over the longest economic boom for a generation.

The former KGB spy has vowed to step down as president next year after his second consecutive four-year term in office.

But he has said he will use the pro-Kremlin United Russia party to preserve influence after he steps down.

He is running as the party's top candidate in the December election.

"We are ruled by the United Russia gang. They have taken away the elections," said Lyubov Chilipenko at the march.

Police beat protesters in Russia (http://www.boston.com/news/world/europe/articles/2007/11/26/police_beat_protesters_in_russia/)


Title: Putin says US behind poll boycott
Post by: Shammu on November 26, 2007, 09:54:50 PM
Putin says US behind poll boycott

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of pushing Western observers into boycotting Russian elections.

Mr Putin said the goal was to discredit the parliamentary election to be held on 2 December.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has categorically rejected the allegations.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has expressed concern at the treatment of the opposition in Russia.

'Nonsense'

The OSCE's election monitoring unit announced earlier this month that it would not attend Russia's election, saying Moscow had refused to provide visas to its staff.

The OSCE later said it would send a delegation of European MPs - rather than a full OSCE team - to monitor the vote.

Mr Putin said the boycott decision "was taken on the recommendation of the American state department".

"The aim is to discredit the elections, but they won't achieve their goal," he said.

"We will certainly take this into account with our bilateral ties with this state," he added, referring to the US.

But a spokeswoman for the OSCE in Warsaw, Urdur Gunnarsdottir, called Mr Putin's allegations "nonsense".

"The decision was not made in consultation with any government. It was made on operational, not political grounds," Ms Gunnarsdottir told the BBC.

"Our decision did not have the aim to influence the election."

The OSCE unites 56 member countries from Europe, Central Asia, the US and Canada.

The organisation will be represented by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, which, together with the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, is sending about 100 MPs from member countries to Russia to observe the 2 December parliamentary poll.

EU worries

The head of the European Union's executive arm, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, has expressed worries about a weekend crackdown by Russian police on protests by opponents of President Vladimir Putin.

"I was very concerned to see reports of police harassment and arrests of politicians and peaceful demonstrators in Russia in the last two days," Mr Barroso said in a statement.

"The right to free speech and assembly are basic fundamental human rights and I very much regret that the authorities found it necessary to take such heavy-handed action."

Police broke up an opposition rally on Sunday, arresting 150 people in St Petersburg, including opposition leader Boris Nemtsov - who was later freed.

Another opposition figure, former chess champion Garry Kasparov, was arrested at a rally in Moscow on Saturday.

Putin says US behind poll boycott (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7112904.stm)


Title: Iran to launch homemade submarine
Post by: Shammu on November 26, 2007, 10:25:34 PM
Iran to launch homemade submarine
Yaakov Katz
THE JERUSALEM POST
Nov. 25, 2007

Days ahead of the Annapolis peace conference, Iran flexed its military muscles on Saturday, announcing plans to unveil a new homemade submarine and navy destroyer later this week.

Iranian Naval Commander Admiral Habib Sayyari said Saturday that the navy would launch a homemade destroyer called Jamaran and a submarine called Ghadir on November 28.

Ghadir is a religious holiday which marks the day Shi'ite Muslims believe the prophet Muhammad gave his last sermon and confirmed Ali ibn Abi Talib's appointment as his successor.

Sayyari told the Iranian Fars News Agency that Iran's military capabilities served as a deterrent, but: "If the enemy makes a mistake, he will receive such a powerful second strike that he won't be able to stand up."

Iran has boasted in the past that its new Ghadir-class submarine could not be detected and was capable of firing missiles and torpedoes simultaneously. According to Globalsecurity.org, Iran's Navy has at least three Russian-built SSK Kilo-class submarines.

In August, Iran test-fired a new submarine-to-surface missile during war games in the Persian Gulf. Iran's current arsenal includes several types of torpedoes, including the Hoot, Farsi for "whale," which was tested for the first time in April and is capable of moving at some 357 kph, up to four times faster than a normal torpedo.

Sayyari told the news agency that his troops were closely monitoring US maneuvers in the region. "No move in the Sea of Oman, the Persian Gulf or the Strait of Hormoz could remain hidden from our eyes. The naval force is in full control over the region and monitors all the military moves of the enemies in the region," he said.

Iran to launch homemade submarine (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1195546715393&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on November 26, 2007, 10:28:01 PM
I just don't think I would want to be a crewman on Iran's first sub during its first dive. I think I'd rather babysit a couple blocks of C4 than be on that dive.  ;D ;D ;D ;D


Title: First target for Iran: Qatar?
Post by: Shammu on November 26, 2007, 10:31:03 PM
First target for Iran: Qatar?

By OLIVIER GUITTA (Middle East Times)
Published: November 26, 2007

What would be the most logical target Iran would strike in case of a U.S. or Israeli attack on its nuclear sites?

Qatar.

In fact, Iranian Revolutionary guards have already threatened to attack Qatari oil and gas facilities (hence crippling the world economy by creating an oil and gas shock) by sea and air by using suicide boats and air missiles.

For Iran, it's a no-brainer: Qatar hosts the largest U.S. base in the Middle East (8,000 U.S. soldiers are stationed there) and is also viewed by some as being friendly with Israel.

What is Qatar doing about it?

First and foremost, Qatar has been heavily using the diplomatic weapon. Its strategy is to befriend everyone: from Israel to Hamas, from Syria to France.

Even though Qatar's deputy foreign minister Mohamed al-Ruhaimi firmly believes that "speaking to everyone allows us to have a dynamic and independent policy," it is a recipe for disaster. For instance, Qatar has not been terror-free: in fact, in March 2005, a suicide bomber (most likely linked or inspired by al-Qaida) killed one Briton and wounded 12 people in Doha in an attack at a theater frequented by Westerners.

Also, while Qatar is the only country with Iran, heavily investing in Syria, and thereby propping up the Assad regime, it does not seem to pay off. Quite the contrary. In June 2006 the Kuwaiti daily Al Seyassah reported that Qatar had foiled a destabilization plot against the regime and that Qatari authorities had arrested about 100 Syrian workers and five Syrian intelligence officers. This plot was reportedly conceived by Syrian President Bashar Assad's brother-in-law and chief of Syria's security services, Assef Shawkat, with the help of Hezbollah's mastermind, Imad Mugniyeh. They were to activate sleeping cells in the Gulf and target vital and strategic centers in Qatar. Syria wanted to take revenge on Qatar because of its vote at the United Nations for resolution 1680, which calls for a final drawing of the borders between Syria and Lebanon and the reestablishment of normal diplomatic relations between the two states.

On the diplomatic front, Qatar has been handling Iran carefully.

For proof, Qatar was the only country to reject a U.N. Security Council resolution against Tehran. Another reason for this policy is that according to a figure cited by the French daily, Le Figaro, 30 to 40 percent of Qatari citizens are of Iranian descent.

But appeasing Iran might not be enough to stave off a conflict with its powerful Shiite neighbor. Just a spark might ignite a fire: for example a major diplomatic incident broke out last year between the two countries when Qatar's emir called the Gulf "Arabian" and not "Persian."

Finally another potential source of conflict is the sharing of the enormous offshore gas reserve of the North Field (the largest natural gas reserve in the world with 25 trillion cubic meters) between the two nations, which is bound to ignite major tension, in particular as the Iranian economy worsens.

But Qatar has also a few fail-safe measures: one of them is obviously the U.S. military presence in the country. Another one is a military treaty with France obligating the latter to intervene militarily to defend the tiny Gulf state. France would be treaty bound to send troops to the region to retaliate against Iran. Recently, Qatari diplomats have been reminding France of its commitments.

Last but not least, since March 2006 Qatari refineries and vital oil installations have been protected by batteries of Patriot missiles.

An Iranian attack on Qatar might literally plunge the world into a new global war. Gulf and Western countries are taking this scenario seriously. That is why military activity in the Gulf has been increasing tremendously in the past few months. According to British sources, the stock of weapons, missiles, and combat planes in the six neighboring countries to Iran is now three times what it was at the onset of the Iraq war in 2003. The skies are getting darker once more in the Middle East.

First target for Iran: Qatar? (http://www.metimes.com/International/2007/11/26/first_target_for_iran_qatar/1356/)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 26, 2007, 11:19:10 PM
Qatar is not the only first level targets. Bahrain is also a strategic U.S. Military area and is the location of a British oil refinery. Both of these would be a major target.


Title: Russian workers told where, how to vote
Post by: Shammu on November 27, 2007, 03:51:56 PM
Russian workers told where, how to vote

By LYNN BERRY, Associated Press Writer Tue Nov 27, 12:33 PM ET

MOSCOW - With the Kremlin determined to see a high turnout in Sunday's election, many Russians say they are being pressured to vote at work under the watchful eyes of their bosses or risk losing their jobs.

They say they also are being told to provide lists of relatives and friends who will vote for United Russia, the party of President Vladimir Putin.

United Russia is expected to win handily. But Putin has turned the parliamentary elections into a plebiscite on his rule, and the Kremlin appears to be pushing for nothing short of a landslide.

The constitution requires Putin to step down as president in May, but with the support of the majority of Russians he could claim a popular mandate to retain power.

"The plebiscite will become a mockery if only slightly more than half of the people vote and if only 60 percent of those vote for United Russia," as the latest opinion polls predict, political analyst Alexei Makarkin said.

In the push to get out the vote, the absentee ballot has become a popular new tool.

A teacher in St. Petersburg said the school administration told staff members to get absentee ballots from their neighborhood polling stations ahead of the election. They are to vote together Sunday at a polling station at the school.

"They didn't tell us necessarily to vote for United Russia, but you can read between the lines," said the teacher, who was willing to give only her first name, Yelena, out of fear of being fired.

Similar accounts have been given by teachers, doctors, factory workers and others around the country. Some have said they were warned they would lose their jobs if they did not comply.

Hundreds of people have called an election hot line to complain about the use of absentee ballots, the Central Elections Commission said in a summary of the complaints posted on its Web site.

Some complaints came from hospital patients, who said they had been threatened with early discharge if they did not produce absentee ballots.

The commission's head, Vladimir Churov, said Tuesday that every effort would be made to prevent voting violations through the use of absentee ballots, but election officials have not discouraged voters from using them.

Non-governmental organizations and opposition political parties also have reported receiving many complaints.

"It is unbelievable. The use of bureaucracy is on an unprecedented scale," said Marina Dashenkova of Golos, an election-monitoring group. "People are complaining that their bosses are forcing them to take absentee ballots and vote for whom they say."

The use of absentee ballots in this way is new, she said, and kills two birds with one stone for the Kremlin: By getting absentee ballots, people are registered as voting even if the votes are never cast, boosting turnout; and when they vote under the supervision of bosses they are likely to vote "correctly."

People also have complained of being required to round up a certain number of votes for United Russia. Yelena, the St. Petersburg teacher, said she was told to compile a list of five relatives or friends.

Vladimir Ryzhkov, a parliament member whose liberal party was barred from the election, said he has received reports from his home district in Siberia that government agencies have been told to make sure all employees and their family members vote.

"They want to be legitimate in the public eye and that's why they are pressuring everyone to vote," Ryzhkov said on Ekho Moskvy radio. "Even if people come and vote for parties that are opposed to the ruling party, their votes will still raise the legitimacy of the elections."

Much of the pressure appears to be on teachers, doctors and others on the government payroll. But some company owners also have shown an eagerness to get out the vote.

A 23-year-old manager at the Moscow grocery store chain Sedmoi Kontinent said her company was putting strong pressure on her and colleagues to get absentee ballots and vote at company headquarters.

"It's pure pressure. They are saying, 'We are not forcing you, we are asking you, but if not, you will show your disloyalty to your company,'" said the woman, Anna, who declined to disclose her last name out of fear of being fired.

The pressure to get out the vote starts with Russia's more than 80 governors, most of whom are United Russia members. The orders, whether explicit or just implied, are then passed to government agencies, companies, hospitals and schools.

"For them to ensure a decent turnout and the necessary percentage of the right vote is not a referendum for or against the president but a question of either signing their own prison sentence or being able to continue to live peacefully and remain governor," the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta wrote.

Russian workers told where, how to vote (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071127/ap_on_re_eu/russia_election;_ylt=AqWWtiY0D_lmH6HIurE8dCIUewgF)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on November 27, 2007, 04:16:09 PM
Iranian missile threatens Moscow
jpost.com staff and ap , THE JERUSALEM POST    Nov. 27, 2007

Iran's new ballistic missile not only increases the threat against Israel, but against European cities as well, including Moscow, MK Ephraim Sneh (Labor) said on Tuesday.

"It is time the world opened its eyes," Army Radio quoted him as saying.

Iranian Defense Minister Gen. Mostafa Muhammad-Najjar announced on Tuesday that his country had developed a new ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers, capable of reaching Israel and US Army bases in the Middle East.

According to the country's IRNA news agency, Najjar said the missile was named the "Ashoura," meaning "the tenth day" in Farsi - a sacred reference among Shi'ite Muslims to the martyrdom of the third imam.

The Iranian defense minister said that "the production of the new missile was one of the Defense Ministry's greatest achievements."

Najjar did not specify how the Ashoura was different from the Shihab-3 missile, which is currently considered the country's longest-range missile.

The Ashoura was produced by factories affiliated with the ministry, according to IRNA. Najjar did not say whether Iran had test fired the missile or had plans to do so.

Analysts believe much of Iran's military production has benefited from assistance from Russia, China and other countries, but many of their weapons development claims have not been independently verified.

Iran launched an arms development program during its war with Iraq to compensate for a US weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has reportedly produced its own jets, torpedoes, radar-avoiding missiles, tanks and armored personnel carriers.

Recent weapons development has been motivated by Iran's standoff with the US over its controversial nuclear program.

The Shihab-3, which means "shooting star" in Farsi, has a range of at least 1,300 kilometers. In 2005, Iranian officials said they had improved the range of the Shihab-3 to 2,000 kilometers, equal to the new missile announced Tuesday.

Experts also believe Iran is developing the Shihab-4 missile, thought to have a range between 2,000 and 3,000 kilometers, that would enable it to hit much of Europe.

Iranian missile threatens Moscow (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1195546736219&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter)
~~~~~~~~~
According to the Bible that missle will not fly to Moscow, but Israel.


Title: 1,500 Saudi militants go free after 'repenting'
Post by: Shammu on November 27, 2007, 04:19:05 PM
1,500 Saudi militants go free after 'repenting'
By Agence France Presse (AFP)

Monday, November 26, 2007

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia, waging a crackdown on Islamist militants that has lasted for more than four years, has released some 1,500 jailed suspects after they "repented," a newspaper said on Sunday. The 1,500 were among about 3,200 militants with whom representatives of a government-appointed "advice committee" met around 5,000 times since it was formed three years ago, Al-Watan said, quoting committee member Mohammad al-Nujaimi.

The paper did not clarify if the remaining 1,700 detainees had refused to renounce the ideology of "taqfir" - branding other Muslims as apostates or infidels in order to legitimize violence against them.

The ideology is espoused by some militants who advocate the use of force to overthrow regimes deemed corrupt or unrepresentative and to establish a single Islamic state.

Nujaimi said the 1,500 militants who changed their views had renounced Saudi-born Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's call on his followers to "cleanse the Arabian Peninsula of polytheists."

The advice committee is comprised of more than 100 Islamic scholars, preachers and experts in Sharia law, in addition to 30 psychologists and social workers, the paper said.

Saudi Arabia has cracked down on suspected Al-Qaeda militants since they launched a series of deadly bombings and shootings in the oil-rich kingdom in May 2003.

1,500 Saudi militants go free after 'repenting' (http://dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&article_id=87028)


Title: Defense chiefs of Koreas begin talks
Post by: Shammu on November 27, 2007, 08:22:11 PM
Defense chiefs of Koreas begin talks

By HYUNG-JIN KIM, Associated Press Writer Tue Nov 27, 6:45 AM ET

SEOUL, South Korea - The defense chiefs of North and South Korea began a rare meeting Tuesday to discuss easing tension across their disputed sea border on a harmonious note, pledging to end the peninsula's division.

South Korean Defense Minister Kim Jang-soo arrived in Pyongyang Tuesday on a direct flight from Seoul for three days of talks with his North Korean counterpart Kim Il Chol — the first defense ministerial talks between the Koreas in seven years.

This week's talks are aimed at fleshing out agreements to foster peace and cooperation between the Koreas signed by South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il last month, at only the second-ever summit between the countries.

The Koreas remain technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.

The division of Korea "is a very important issue and is the matter that we have to resolve within our generation without further delay," the North's Kim said, according to pool reports. "I hope we will do something that goes down in history by advancing the unification."

The South's minister responded, "I think if we map out a stepping stone, the era that we want to have will come at an early date."

Earlier this month, the prime ministers of the two Koreas met and agreed to launch a cross-border train service and construction projects in the impoverished North, along with other reconciliation projects.

However, the defense talks were seen as crucial because the North's military has in the past put the brakes on burgeoning rapprochement because of security concerns.

The North's 1.1 million-strong army is the backbone of leader Kim's authoritarian rule of 23 million people. Soldiers get first pick of the country's scarce resources and are rewarded generously for their service as the vanguard against the outside world.

A plan to establish a joint fishing area in the West Sea and designate it as a "peace and cooperation zone" was expected to be a key issue at the defense talks.

The poorly marked western sea border was the scene of bloody naval skirmishes between the two Koreas in 1999 and 2002, and the North has long insisted the frontier be redrawn further south. The waters around the border are rich fishing grounds and boats from the two Koreas routinely jostle for position during the May-June crab-catching season.

Another issue that could be raised at the talks is Seoul's concern about more than 500 South Korean prisoners of war believed still alive in the North. The North insists there are no prisoners or abductees in the country, insisting any South Koreans there went voluntarily.

The defense talks come amid progress in international efforts to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons program, with Pyongyang beginning to disable facilities in its main nuclear complex this month in return for energy aid and other benefits.

A team of U.S. experts has been in North Korea since early this month to monitor the disablement process. Officials from South Korea, China, Japan and Russia will visit the North Korean nuclear complex this week to check on progress, South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Hee-yong said Monday.

The two Koreas held their first defense ministers' talks on the South Korean island of Jeju in September 2000, three months after the first-ever summit between the two countries.

Defense chiefs of Koreas begin talks  (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071127/ap_on_re_as/koreas_military_talks;_ylt=AuPtuWDesUMHfdET5ibtlyhw24cA)


Title: Iran to host militants for Mideast meet
Post by: Shammu on November 27, 2007, 08:29:16 PM
Iran to host militants for Mideast meet
Nov 27 12:37 PM US/Eastern

Iran said on Tuesday that it had invited Palestinian militant factions to a meeting in Tehran aimed at countering a US-hosted Middle East peace conference seeking to kickstart the peace process.

"These groups are planning to come to Tehran within the next week or two and they are all the Palestinian groups that are struggling for the freedom of their land," government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham told reporters.

Iran is one of the most vocal backers of Palestinian militant groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad and pledged millions of dollars in 2006 to the then Hamas government crippled by a Western aid cut.

The Islamic republic does not recognise Israel and its President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has provoked outrage by calling for the Jewish state to be wiped off the map.

Elham indicated the Tehran meeting would be a riposte to the conference bringing together Israeli and Palestinian leaders which started in Annapolis outside Washington on Tuesday.

"It means that the Annapolis conference is not representing the Palestinians and not talking on their behalf, but on the contrary is moving against their rights," he said.

More than a dozen Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and Iran's top regional ally Syria, have sent representatives, leaving Tehran conspicuously isolated.

On Monday Ahmadinejad told Saudi King Abdullah in a telephone call that he "wished" the kingdom was not taking part in the peace conference.

Tehran's arch foe Washington, which is hosting the meeting, dismissed the Iranian criticism as "not surprising," and charged that Tehran backs the extremists sidelined by the talks.

Iran to host militants for Mideast meet    (http://www.breitbart.com/print.php?id=071127163735.r6akzqgy&show_article=1)


Title: Olmert and Bush to Hold Private Meeting on Iran
Post by: Shammu on November 28, 2007, 03:10:18 PM
PM, Bush hold private meeting on Iran
jerusalem post correspondent
THE JERUSALEM POST
Nov. 28, 2007

Having depicted the wide Arab participation in Tuesday's Annapolis summit as a sort of victory for Middle East moderation over Iranian opposition, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert held his second private White House meeting of the week with President George Bush on Wednesday to try to translate the summit's momentum into a more effective effort to thwart Teheran's nuclear drive.

At a briefing prior to the Annapolis gathering, Olmert noted to The Jerusalem Post that the Iranians had made clear that they wanted their presumed allies to stay away and were "furious" about the high Arab turnout. Some 20 Arab and Muslim countries sent foreign ministers or other senior ministers to the gathering - including the Saudis and, most gallingly for Teheran, Syria, which dispatched its deputy foreign minister, Faysal Mekdad.

The Iranians wanted the Arab world to stay away, Olmert said, "and now see even the Syrians coming."

But Syria has stressed that it only came to Annapolis to ensure that its demand for the Golan Heights remained prominent on the Middle Eastern negotiating agenda. Damascus was testing "Washington's seriousness about working for peace this time. Its previous intentions have deluded us," according to the Syrian daily Teshreen.

And Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal told reporters on Monday that his country's presence had no connection to any American hope of galvanizing a post-Annapolis wider consensus against Iran's nuclear drive.

"We have to worry about Israel first," Faisal said, and deal first with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This was a separate priority, he said, from the question of "whether Iran is developing weapons of mass destruction or interfering in Iraq."

Olmert had been saying consistently up until the last few months that he was confident Bush would find the means to stop Iran before leaving office. In an interview with the Post in September 2006, for instance, asked whether he felt that Bush would, one way or another, stop Iran from going nuclear, Olmert replied succinctly, "I believe so."

He elaborated that Bush "has the courage. There is no one in the world today who has greater courage and determination, and a sense of mission about these issues."

At this week's briefing, however, Olmert was more circumspect, saying only that Bush was "doing a lot on the Iranian issue" and that he and the president had been discussing it "for a long time."

Iran used both private diplomacy and public rhetoric to try to dissuade Arab participation in Annapolis - both because of its opposition to any reconciliation with Israel, and out of concern that changing alliances might leave it more isolated and more vulnerable to pressure over its nuclear drive.

And having failed to deter the Arab delegations, it publicly expressed its dismay.

The official Iranian media quoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as having flatly told Saudi King Abdullah by phone over the weekend: "I wish the name of Saudi Arabia was not among those attending the Annapolis conference. Arab countries should be watchful in the face of the plots and deception of the Zionist enemy."

And in a similar phone conversation with Syrian President Bashar Assad, he was reported as saying that "only the true representatives of the Palestinian people can take decisions" on their future.

He was more bitter still in a speech to a gathering of Iran's Basij religious militia, declaring that "attending this conference shows a lack of political intelligence... The names of those who give concessions to the Zionist occupiers by attending will not be remembered for goodness."

Ahmadinejad's rhetoric was also echoed by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who predicted that Annapolis was "doomed to failure."

He told militia volunteers that "they hope the conference will help the usurping Zionist regime and save the honor of the Black House."

The Iranian-backed Hamas, presumably considered by Teheran to be among the "true representatives of the Palestinian people," also denounced the Annapolis gathering, as did the Iranian-backed Hizbullah in Lebanon.

And there were tellingly-timed new warnings from Hamas and from Iran itself about their development of new missile capabilities.

Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Muhammad-Najjar announced "a victory for the Defense Ministry" on Tuesday in its development of a 2,000-kilometer-range missile, the "Ashura," which would bring European targets into range.

And Hamas spokesman Ahmad Yousef declared on Sunday that Hamas could make deadlier Kassam rockets to fire into Israel. In Damascus, meanwhile, Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk warned of escalated violence after Annapolis "in all its forms and means."

Along with the Arab states, vital potential partners of the US and Israel in the bid to thwart Iran were notably present at Annapolis, with France, Britain, Germany, Italy, China and Russia all represented at the level of foreign minister. France and the UK are publicly committed to stepped-up sanctions aimed at persuading Teheran to change course.

Much of the international community is awaiting next month's United Nations Security Council discussion of new reports into Iran's nuclear program, including an assessment by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of its scope and of the degree of Iranian compliance with inspection requirements.

The two key holdouts against intensified sanctions, Russia and China, have said they would reassess their positions in light of the imminent new reports. And there has been some speculation here that the revived talk of Russia hosting post-Annapolis talks on multilateral Middle East peace tracks - an idea the Russians say the US is now supporting in principle - may be part of an effort to give Moscow a greater peacemaking role and deepen its partnership with other international players in seeking to deter Iran.

Olmert has stated in the past that "Israel can't accept the possibility of Iranians having nuclear weapons, and we will act together with the international forces, starting with America, in order to prevent it."

Israel's strong preference is still for sanctions to deter Iran, rather than any resort, by any player, to immensely complex military action with potentially significant repercussions.

Plainly, though, time is limited, as Iran maintains its nuclear program in defiance of international pressure, and as the Bush administration heads into its final year. After Wednesday, Bush and Olmert may not have too many more opportunities to forge a definite position on thwarting Iran one way or another.

PM, Bush hold private meeting on Iran (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1195546745789&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter)


Title: Iran's Ahmadinejad: Israel will not last
Post by: Shammu on November 28, 2007, 03:44:46 PM
Iran's Ahmadinejad: Israel will not last

9 hours ago

TEHRAN (AFP) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday predicted that Israel would not survive, as he lashed out at the US-hosted conference seeking to relaunch the Middle East peace process.

"It is impossible that the Zionist regime can last," state media quoted Ahmadinejad as saying in a cabinet meeting.

"Deterioration is in the nature of this regime as it has been built on aggression, lying, crime and wrongdoing," he added.

He said the meeting which united Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Annapolis, Maryland had "failed already and was stillborn. It lacked the cornerstones of effective political work."

The Islamic republic -- which has made non-recognition of Israel a cornerstone of its ideology -- was left isolated after its chief regional ally Syria and Saudi Arabia attended Tuesday's meeting.

"We regret that some people fell victim to the cursed Zionist regime and they are mistaken if they thought this meeting was an achievement for them or helps reinforce the Zionists," added the president.

Ahmadinejad has repeatedly courted controversy by predicting Israel is doomed to disappear, most notoriously calling in 2005 for the Jewish state to be "wiped off the map".

In an unusual diplomatic move, Ahmadinejad on Sunday chided Saudi King Abdullah in a telephone conversation for taking part in the Middle East peace meeting.

Despite sharing no borders, Israel and Iran are the region's two bitterest foes.

The tensions have intensified further over the Iranian nuclear programme, which Israel -- the region's sole if undeclared nuclear power -- charges is aimed at making an atomic bomb. Iran insists its atomic drive is peaceful.

Israel was an ally of the imperial regime of shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, developing close military and economic ties with Iran until the shah's overthrow in the Islamic revolution of 1979.

Iran's Ahmadinejad: Israel will not last (http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5g0-AQu-IiEP5RkC57afK-F3X_EGQ)


Title: Re: Iran's Ahmadinejad: Israel will not last
Post by: Shammu on November 28, 2007, 03:50:38 PM
ImaNutjob, is so delusional and warped, and he is livid about this peace summit. I think he is plotting to bring in the islamic mahdi. I also believe satan knows his time is growing short, and is gathering all of his end time arsenal.

It's so amazing to sit here and watch Biblical prophecy unfolding before our eyes!!


Title: Putin says will prevent foreign meddling
Post by: Shammu on November 28, 2007, 03:52:09 PM
Putin says will prevent foreign meddling

By Oleg Shchedrov Wed Nov 28, 11:27 AM ET

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin, who steps down next year, said on Wednesday he would not allow foreign powers to upset Russia's stability in the wake of two crucial polls, which will decide the country's future.

Anti-Western rhetoric has been a visible part of Putin's campaign ahead of December 2 parliamentary polls, in which he leads the United Russia party. Analysts expect a similar pattern in March 2 presidential polls to elect Putin's successor.

"We have done everything to safeguard Russia from internal disturbances and to put it firmly on the track of evolutionary development," Putin told diplomats and senior officials in a speech in the Kremlin.

"And I am forced to repeat myself -- we will not allow this process to be changed from outside," he said.

Allies credit Putin for presiding over an economic boom and for consolidating Russia. Critics say this has been done at the expense of democracy.

Putin is not allowed by Russia's constitution to run for a third term, but has said he wanted to maintain political influence after his departure to ensure his legacy survives.

His opponents blame the Kremlin for intimidating opposition figures ahead of the polls so United Russia can dominate the next parliament and a hand-picked ally takes over the Kremlin.

Putin rejected these suggestions.

"Our political course is clear and invariable," he said. "We follow the path of democratic development."

"We know the value of true democracy and want to conduct elections that are honest, as transparent as possible and open," said Putin. "We are sure this is the way these elections will be."

RHETORIC

Analysts say Putin, Russia's most popular politician, faces almost no risk in the transition of power.

But his prominent role in the polls and zero-tolerance of opponents will overshadow their outcome in foreign eyes.

Putin, a former KGB officer, has characterized Western fears as an attempt to impose alien standards and weaken Russia.

Last week, Putin accused his liberal opponents of being instruments of Western interference. Police have dispersed opposition rallies in Moscow and St Petersburg and arrested dozens of activists.

On Monday, Putin told the West not to poke their "snotty noses" in Russia. He blamed Washington for encouraging the election monitoring arm of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe not to send observers to the December 2 polls.

The OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has said its decision was a reaction to obstructions by the Russian authorities.

Putin's harsh election rhetoric reflected growing foreign policy rifts between the West and Russia, which seeks to develop an assertive, independent role in international relations.

In a keynote speech earlier this year, Putin accused the United States of seeking to dictate its will to the world.

Russia opposes U.S. plans to deploy elements of its missile defence system in Europe, tackle Iran's nuclear program and accept independence for Serbia's breakaway province of Kosovo.

On Wednesday, Putin made clear this course will not change.

"A moment of truth is coming in global politics. We need to give up the policy of dictatorship and deterrent," he said.

"We will move nowhere until we agree on new, clear and mutually acceptable rules for cooperation in international affairs."

Putin says will prevent foreign meddling (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071128/ts_nm/russia_vote_putin_dc)


Title: Iran to wave carrot in front of the EU
Post by: Shammu on November 29, 2007, 09:26:07 PM
Iran May Seek to Lure Europe with Gas

Iran wants to use its massive gas reserves to wield influence over Europe. But if offering to supply Europe with gas via a pipeline through Turkey doesn't work, then the Revolutionary Guards may resort to plan B.

Iran is planning to leverage its massive gas reserves to increase its influence in Western Europe -- by fair means or foul. If selling gas to Europe doesn't work, then Iran's Revolutionary Guards may resort to violence in the worst-case scenario.

According to intelligence sources in the Middle East, Iranian leaders are considering making an unusual offer to supply Europe with large quantities of natural gas. The gas would be supplied via the planned Nabucco pipeline, which will run from Azerbaijan to Austria via Turkey.

The offer would be attractive to European leaders as it would allow Europe to reduce its dependence on Russian natural gas. Germany currently gets about a third of its natural gas requirements from Russia, and demand is expected to increase in the coming years. There are major concerns in Europe about the continent relying too heavily on Russia for its natural gas, particularly after a series of recent disputes in which Russia cut off energy supplies to Ukraine and Belarus.

According to minutes of a meeting obtained by SPIEGEL, a representative of Iran's Revolutionary Guard presented the proposal to Iran's National Security Council. The order to prepare the plan apparently came directly from Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to the intelligence sources.

Construction work on the Nabucco pipeline is expected to begin in 2009 and to be finished by 2011. The pipeline, which is being built by a consortium headed by the Austrian company OMV, will have a total length of 3,300 kilometers and cost around €5 billion. However the pipeline is controversial within the European Union and Moscow has already made its opposition to the project clear.

The project only makes economic sense if the pipeline is used to full capacity -- and Azerbaijan's natural gas reserves are not sufficient to guarantee that. Hence Iran, which has the world's second largest natural gas reserves after Russia, is the obvious natural partner for the project.

Tehran has yet to make an official offer, however. And any overture could cause political friction between the US and Europe: The US government has demanded that Berlin and Paris take clear diplomatic and economic action against Tehran over its suspected nuclear weapons program. German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently assured US President George W. Bush that Germany would apply strong economic pressure on Tehran (more...). Increased sanctions could make Iran's economy vulnerable.

However if a carrot doesn't work, then Iran might resort to a stick. Other alternatives were apparently also discussed at the meeting in Tehran. Iran's elite Quds force, a branch of the Revolutionary Guards, are reported to be charged with looking into possible ways to disrupt Berlin's energy partnership with Russia -- for example through terrorist actions against the planned Baltic Sea pipeline (more...) between Russia and Germany.

Iran May Seek to Lure Europe with Gas (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,519697,00.html)


Title: Poland Now In Range Of Iran's Missiles?
Post by: Shammu on November 29, 2007, 09:34:07 PM
Poland Now In Range Of Iran's Missiles?

Warsaw, Poland - 29 November, 2007  As Poland's new Prime Minister is rethinking his country's participation in the US proposed missile defense shield, Iran has announced development of the "Ashoura" missile that, if the announcement is true, puts the Polish Capital City of Warsaw within range of a missile strike from Iran.

Not only is Warsaw is in range. The missile can also reach Moscow.

Development of a missile has been rumored for some time. And Iran has now confirmed the rumor.

"Iranian Defense Minister Gen. Mostafa Muhammad-Najjar announced on Tuesday that his country had developed a new ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers, capable of reaching Israel and US Army bases in the Middle East." See Iranian missile threatens Moscow

In the past many of Iran's weapons development claims have not been independently verified and the current claim falls into that class. Iran Says It's Produced New Missile.

In June, 2007, Doug Richardson, the editor of the London-based defense journal "Jane's Missiles And Rockets," commented on the state of Iran missile systems as it was known to exist at that time.

Quote
In order to get to Moscow you would have to get a missile of 2,000 kilometers range. We hear rumors of such developments from Iran but nothing very firm. We honestly don't have any real hard information on Iran's future missile plans, we've heard talk of something allegedly called the Shahab-3B; the story is rather vague. The reports talked about 2,000-2,500-kilometer range. There've been reports [about] Shahab-4 [but] the Iranians have said there is no such thing as Shahab-4. We have seen some pronouncement that there is a Shahab-4 but it's not a missile, it's going to be a satellite-launch vehicle. So there's just no hard information. We know they are doing a lot of rocket development work, 2,500 would not quite get you to Rome, it would probably get you to Zagreb, Budapest, you'd get most of Slovakia, it would get you a bit into the Czech Republic [and] up to Warsaw, Minsk, and not quite St. Petersburg. See Defense Expert Discusses Iran's Missile Capabilities

The new Ashoura missile is thought to have a range of 2000 to 2500 kilometers.

As Iran develops its missiles and nuclear capabilities of one sort or another, Europe has not done much to develop a defense.

The state of the placement of the missile shield in Poland is far from settled. The Tusk Government is going to be talking with the Russians and West Europeans before it makes a decision. And it wants to negotiate with the US for more benefits for allowing the base to be on Polish soil.

The Democrats in the US Government have cut funding for the proposed location in Poland. So even if Poland decides to go forward, there may not be money for either the base or more benefits.

Tusk wants to discuss the system with the Europeans because he sees NATO as very important. But NATO is little more than an augmented US force whose assets in Europe the interceptors are intended to defend. And NATO has already noted the importance of the missile shield but has taken the position that if the United States wants to pay for it, why should the Europeans? Poland's Choice On Missile Shield Is A Decision On Polish Defense

As Poland and Europe dither, Iran moves forward.

Russia, whose Government has been strenuously opposing the defense shield location in Poland is 2469 kilometers from Tehran. Now it is also within range of a missile attack by Iran.

If Iran has an effective delivery system, it is a matter of adding an appropriate payload that it might be able to buy. And it might not have to look far to get what it wants. The Israeli strike on the supposed nuclear weapons facility in Syria may have cut off one option. The Israeli "Nuclear Reactor Strike" and Syrian Weapons of Mass Destruction But with billions of dollars in oil money, Iran can well afford to get attention elsewhere.

Experts also believe Iran is developing the Shahab-4 missile, thought to have a range between 1,200 and 1,900 miles, that would enable it to hit much of Europe. And some sources claim that the Russians are helping a solid-fuel design team at the ubgone19 Bagheri Industrial Group in Teheran develop a 2,800-mile (4,505.2 kilometers) missile, capable of reaching London and Paris, and a 6,300-mile [10,000 km] range missile that could strike cities in the eastern United States. These reports are poorly documented

To Europe, Iran is like a thief with an empty gun. If the gun is pointed at you, do you assume it is loaded or not? And if the thief is as unstable as Iran's President seems to be, should you be more concerned? Should you even take him serious? And who should you depend on to protect you from him?

Russia and Poland now have to decide who and what is the bigger danger.

Russia will lose face and its domination of Poland with a US base on Polish soil. But it thinks that the US could eventually use the base against Russia.

If Poland agrees to the base it will have US backing against Russian domination and rogue missiles. But it will not make Russia happy.

The Iranian missiles may or may not be a clear and present danger. And Poland has to look after its own interests. The Polish Government has a tough decision to make in sorting out which are most important.

Iran has made its decision. It says that developing Iran's new missile is an important achievement.

Poland Now In Range Of Iran's Missiles (http://www.masterpage.com.pl/outlook/200711/iranmissile.html)


Title: Ukraine's Orange Revolution parties reach coalition deal
Post by: Shammu on November 29, 2007, 09:49:48 PM
Ukraine's Orange Revolution parties reach coalition deal

by Anya Tsukanova Thu Nov 29, 12:45 PM ET

KIEV (AFP) - The two parties that led Ukraine's Orange Revolution on Thursday reached a coalition deal, setting the stage for pro-Western Yulia Tymoshenko to return as prime minister.

The party of President Viktor Yushchenko and the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc signed an agreement on forming the new government, interim speaker Roman Zvarych told parliament.

Applause broke out in the parliament chamber and some deputies presented Tymoshenko with a large bouquet of blue and yellow flowers representing Ukraine's national colours.

"I believe that we will succeed in forming an effective government and provide hope for systematic and deep reforms in the country," said Tymoshenko.

With her characteristic blond braids, Tymoshenko was Yushchenko's ally in the Orange Revolution, when hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians took to the streets in November 2004 for 17 days to protest rigged elections that handed victory to a pro-Moscow candidate.

But relations between them broke down just months after Yushchenko come to power in 2005, and critics took her to task as prime minister for a series of populist economic measures.

Tymoshenko became Ukraine's first female prime minister in February 2005 but was sacked in September amid bitter rivalry with Yushchenko.

A total of 227 deputies in the 450-seat Rada, or parliament, signed the coalition deal, paving the way for the appointment of a prime minister at a parliament session set for Tuesday.

But a key member of Yushchenko's party, Ivan Plyushch, refused to endorse the accord, underscoring the fragility of the deal that was backed by a slim majority in parliament.

Communist official Petro Tsybenko commented that the coalition endorsed by only 227 deputies "will not be viable. Every vote will be difficult."

The appointment of 47-year-old Tymoshenko as prime minister provides a first test for the coalition, with lawmakers close to Yushchenko reportedly reluctant to endorse her candidacy.

Ukrainian media have reported that Yushchenko's allies fear that Tymoshenko's return as prime minister could bolster her already strong popularity and turn her into a potential rival for the presidency.

Some pro-Yushchenko lawmakers have said that Tymoshenko should pledge not to stand in the 2010 presidential vote as a condition for her nomination as prime minister.

"I do not exclude the fact that we could support a single candidate in the presidential campaign," said Olexandr Turchinov, an aide to Tymoshenko, suggesting that they would rally behind Yushchenko.

Since Yushchenko came to power in 2005, three governments have been in office, as the country's political elites are torn by infighting.

Viktor Yanukovych, a pro-Russian politician who was Yushchenko's rival in the Orange Revolution standoff, resigned as prime minister on Friday after 15 months in office.

The move followed elections in September that were called to resolve months of wrangling between Yushchenko, who supports Ukraine's full integration with the West, including the NATO military alliance, and Yanukovych.

Ukraine's Orange Revolution parties reach coalition deal (http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071129/wl_afp/ukrainepolitics_071129174502;_ylt=AoYxn_nIBSPjawcczAGlU_WQOrgF)


Title: Fraud, intimidation and bribery as Putin prepares for victory
Post by: Shammu on November 29, 2007, 09:53:26 PM
Fraud, intimidation and bribery as Putin prepares for victory

State workers forced to vote in effort to rig result for president

Luke Harding and Tom Parfitt in Moscow
Friday November 30, 2007

The Kremlin is planning to rig the results of Russia's parliamentary elections on Sunday by forcing millions of public sector workers across the country to vote, the Guardian has learned.

Local administration officials have called in thousands of staff on their day off in an attempt to engineer a massive and inflated victory for President Vladimir Putin and his United Russia party. Voters are being pressured to vote for United Russia or risk losing their jobs, their accommodation or bonuses, the Guardian has been told in numerous interviews with byudzhetniki (public sector workers), students and ordinary citizens.

Article continues
Doctors, teachers, university deans, students and even workers at psychiatric clinics have been warned they have to vote. Failure to do so will entail serious consequences, they have been told.

Analysts say the pressure is designed to ensure a resounding win for the United Russia party and for Putin, who heads its party list. The victory would give him a public mandate to maintain ultimate power in the country as "National Leader" despite being unable to stand for a third term as president in March.

In a televised speech yesterday Putin implored the nation to turn out and vote for United Russia, saying: "I count on your support." The president enjoys genuine popular backing but a spokeswoman for Golos, an independent organisation monitoring the elections, said "big pressure on voters across the country" was being used to balloon the result for United Russia.

"We are seeing a new phenomenon where voters are forced to get absentee ballots under threat of being sacked or being denied bonuses," she said. "People are then instructed to vote at their workplace where everything is tightly controlled." The spokesman said the pressure applied to private businesses as well as state-run enterprises.

Students have been told they risk the prospect of failing exams or being removed from courses if they do not vote for United Russia. Alexander, a journalism student at Oryol State University, said: "It's been made very clear that students who don't get absentee ballots and vote the right way could lose their place in the dormitory."

Anna, 31, a schoolteacher in Ulan Ude, said: "We were called to the staff room in my school about a month ago and asked to sign a formal declaration promising that we would vote for United Russia. I told them that I wanted to vote for another party, but they told me to sign it in such a manner that there was no way to refuse. They hinted I could lose my job."

A librarian in Buryatia region said she had been promised a premium on her salary if she voted for United Russia.

The Kremlin insists Sunday's elections will be free and fair, despite inviting only 400 international observers to monitor the poll, which is taking place in 95,784 polling stations across the world's biggest country. This month the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe's office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) cancelled its mission to Russia after Moscow refused to give its experts visas.

Asked whether the Kremlin was planning to manipulate Sunday's election Vladimir Churov, the head of Russia's central election commission, told the Guardian: "They will be the most free, most transparent, and most suitable elections for citizens."

However, while state television has made no mention of electoral violations, websites and independent newspapers outside state control are seething with reports of attempts to pressure voters to turn out for United Russia.

Bloggers on Russia's most popular social networking site, Livejournal, have posted numerous accounts of intimidation. One in Murmansk wrote that he was told that if he didn't vote for United Russia "the management would get it in the neck".

Another in Yekaterinburg wrote: "Today my wife came home in shock. As the boss of a state company she has been told that all her workers living in different parts of town must take absentee ballots and go to vote in Kirovsky district. She has to go and sit all day on December 2 and call round everyone in her collective. Then she has to provide a list of who has voted." She then received a directive warning her to add anybody who didn't vote for United Russia to a list, and later those people would be "called to the office" of the local administration.

The Kremlin has cast Sunday's State Duma vote as a referendum on Putin. Although Putin is obliged to step down as president next May, a landslide victory may be used to legitimise his return to power, possibly as early as the summer.

The president's personal popularity remains high. But support for United Russia is less solid. Independent experts say the party's true ratings are around 35% - well below the 55% figure suggested by state-controlled opinion polls.

In a leak to Russian media this week, one senior election official said that regional governors had been told to deliver at least 65% of the vote for Putin's party, an "unrealistically high" total that could be achieved only through electoral fraud and by compelling people to vote.

"The elections are going to be falsified," said Mikhail Delyagin, an economist and the director of Moscow's Institute on Globalisation Problems. "The elections that took place in the Soviet Union were less falsified than this one."

He added: "All those who depend on state salaries have been forced to go and vote. This means workers on all levels of state power working for local government, all the military, and those who are in prison or psychiatric hospitals. Of course people have the possibility to lie. But there is enormous psychological pressure."

Regional election workers would also stuff ballot boxes - as they had done on previous occasions - boosting United Russia's vote by about 20%, he estimated. These results could be refined still further by using the election commission's central computer. "You can falsify as much as you want. But the result must be truthful-looking," he said.

Putin's decision to associate himself with United Russia's election campaign - and to stand as a candidate at the top of the party's federal list - has contributed to the scale of the fraud, analysts said.

"The scale of pressure is due to nervousness within the Kremlin administration since it announced that this is no longer a parliamentary election but a referendum on Putin," Fyodor Lukyanov, editor-in-chief of the journal Russia in Global Affairs, said. Lukyanov said he believed the amount of fraud on polling day would be small. "This is normal in contemporary advanced authoritarian systems. They are smart enough to organise the vote in quite a proper and correct way," he said.

cont'd next post


Title: Fraud, intimidation and bribery as Putin prepares for victory pt 2
Post by: Shammu on November 29, 2007, 09:54:20 PM
Coercing people in advance was a more effective tactic, he added. "The consequences [of not voting for Putin] are not perhaps as bad as they promise. But there is psychological pressure, of course. I had thought Russian authoritarianism was much softer. We will see."

The squeeze on public sector workers follows numerous rule changes by the Kremlin to Russia's electoral system. Under a new law, all parties need 7% of the vote to enter parliament - up from 5% last time. Additionally, several democratic opposition parties have been banned from taking part. The Kremlin has also abolished constituency voting - in effect wiping out the last critics from the current Duma. It has also scrapped minimum turnout.

Critics allege that United Russia has received disproportionate media coverage on state-controlled TV while opposition figures have been blacklisted. Putin's speech at a US-style election rally in Moscow last week, in which he denounced Russia's opposition as "jackals", got 16 minutes on the main evening news.

"These elections are a farce," said Vladimir Ryzhkov, an independent MP banned from standing. The Kremlin liquidated his Republican party earlier this year, claiming it didn't have enough voters. "I call it a Kremlin biathlon. In a normal biathlon the sportsmen shoot at targets, but in the Kremlin biathlon, not only do the sportsmen shoot at their targets, but the judges shoot at the sportsmen," Ryzhkov said. "Half of Russia's politicians can't run. It's selection before election."

Yesterday the central election commission dismissed suggestions that public sector workers had been told they had to vote. Churov told the Guardian he regarded the allegation as a "provocation" put about by the opposition. "This is just propaganda," he said.

He also claimed it was "not possible" to manipulate results stored in the commission's central computer, nicknamed Elections. Voters could find out the result at their individual polling station by dialling 5503 on their mobile phones, he said.

It wasn't Russia's fault that the OSCE had cancelled its mission, he added. "I was waiting for the head of the ODIHR in Moscow. But instead he flew off to Washington," Churov complained.

Kremlin aides openly acknowledge that their aim is to push smaller parties out of parliament. "We have moved towards the purification of the legislature," said Putin's deputy spokesman, Dmitry Peskov.

Ivan, power station worker, Ufa
Every worker is being forced to take an absentee ballot and instructed to vote at one particular polling station with the rest of the workforce, all together for United Russia. It will be very easy for them to count who has turned up, who hasn't, and how they've voted. On every shift, in every department we are constantly being told that if you don't comply you'll get the sack.

Yelena, nurse, Ulan Ude
Every week we have a work briefing in our poliklinik [doctor's surgery]. They are always pressing on us to vote for United Russia. The head doctor ... says that if we don't vote for United Russia we won't get our Putin pribavki [federal funds added to nurses' salaries].

Dasha, 19, student, Moscow
I was hanging out with my friends in Novogireyevo [in Moscow] near the metro. There were six of us. We were approached by a car. A young man came out. He started talking to us about the elections and said if we wanted to vote for United Russia we could get 500 roubles. I didn't agree but four of my group did. They filled in some kind of form - name, surname and passport data. They were given the numbers of polling stations where they should go and vote and get the cash.

Anastasiya, 40, librarian, Buryatia
There was a meeting in the village where all doctors, teachers, nurses were gathered by the culture department of the local government ... The doors were closed and we were like hostages. We were told write a declaration saying "I, name and surname, pledge to vote for United Russia and these are my passport details ..." We were told that if United Russia got a high percentage in the village we would get a bonus on our salaries.

Natalia, 29, Novosibirsk
Some activists from United Russia came to my home. They asked if I was going to vote for their party. I said no because I don't agree with its ideology. And they replied, Well, look, there's blacklist of people who aren't voting for United Russia. We know where you live and we are going to add you to that list.

Masha, student, Vladimir
We were told - you study in a state university, so you should vote for the state party. I don't know what to do. I wanted to vote for another party. But it was so difficult to get into university, I don't want to be thrown out.

* Some names have been changed

Fraud, intimidation and bribery as Putin prepares for victory (http://www.guardian.co.uk/russia/article/0,,2219492,00.html)


Title: U.S. says has proof of N.Korea uranium program
Post by: Shammu on December 01, 2007, 02:06:30 PM
 U.S. says has proof of N.Korea uranium program

Sat Dec 1, 3:23 AM ET

SEOUL (Reuters) - The United States has evidence North Korea purchased equipment to enrich uranium, a key step in producing nuclear weapons, a U.S. envoy was quoted as saying on Saturday.
ADVERTISEMENT

The United States in 2002 first accused the North of running a covert nuclear program by enriching uranium, a charge that triggered the demise of a 1994 deal to disarm the North's nuclear arms program.

Despite North Korea's denial of the existence of a uranium enrichment program, there is "credible evidence" of its purchase of equipment and materials that could be used for just that, U.S. nuclear envoy Christopher Hill was quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency.

A U.S. embassy official in Seoul could not immediately confirm Hill's comments, which he said were made at a privately arranged function at a university.

Hill said he was confident the North would fully clear up the suspicion by the end of the year, including questions about how the centrifuges and aluminum tubes it had bought were used.

North Korea has an abundant supply of natural uranium but not all the equipment or even a reliable source of electricity to run a large-scale enrichment program, experts have said.

North Korea has agreed with regional powers to disable its plutonium-based nuclear facilities by the end of the year in exchange for aid and an end to its international ostracism.

It has also agreed to present an inventory of all its nuclear activities. Hill has previously said the North's declarations must come with no surprises or omissions.

Hill denied knowledge of North Korea's sale of uranium enrichment equipment to Syria, as reported by the Washington Times on Friday.

Hill is scheduled to make his second trip to the North this year on Monday, which would include his first visit to the North's Yongbyon nuclear complex.

 U.S. says has proof of N.Korea uranium program (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071201/ts_nm/korea_north_nuclear_dc)


Title: Iran's Revolutionary Guards patrol Persian Gulf, U.S. says
Post by: Shammu on December 01, 2007, 02:21:46 PM
Iran's Revolutionary Guards patrol Persian Gulf, U.S. says
Thu. 29 Nov 2007

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has taken command of Iranian naval operations in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. military has revealed.

That means U.S. naval forces are operating in the same waters as an organization the United States considers a major supporter of terrorist activity.

Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the disclosure Wednesday at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he was answering questions from military students.

Afterward, in a written statement, the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet in Bahrain said, "Based on activities observed in the Arabian Gulf over the past several months, it appears the Iranian navy has shifted its patrol areas to the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman -- leaving the IRGC navy to provide the primary Iranian naval presence in the Arabian Gulf."

The move is of concern to the U.S. Navy, which has long viewed the IRGC's forces as more antagonistic than Iran's regular navy.

Mullen said Iran made a "strategic decision" in recent months to "essentially give the entire Gulf to the IRGC over the next four or five years."

"That's a big deal, because I think part of the leading-edge challenge with Iran is the IRGC specifically," Mullen said.

For the past several months, IRGC forces have occupied a sunken barge and crane near Iraqi oil terminals at the northern end of the Persian Gulf. The IRGC is using the site as an observation post for the area, which is patrolled regularly by U.S. and coalition naval forces.

Mullen's comments reflect the chairman's concern about not just Iran's nuclear program, but also its arms shipments to Iraq and Afghanistan and statements against Israel, a senior U.S. Navy official said.

The United States has long said it believes the IRGC is behind those arms shipments, but it has stopped short of saying the central government of Iran is responsible for those actions.

IRGC forces earlier this year seized a group of British sailors at the northern end of the Gulf and held them for several days. The British had been conducting a boarding of a merchant vessel, as part of an approved coalition operation in the Gulf.

Since that incident, security measures for boarding parties have been stepped up, a senior U.S. Navy official said. New procedures during all boardings include flying an armed helicopter overhead and having an armed vessel close by.

A U.S. Navy official in the region said that operations in proximity to Iran's regular navy have been "formal and correct," but added that IRGC forces "rarely respond" to U.S. Navy attempts at ship-to-ship communications with them.

Several U.S. Navy officials said the move is militarily significant for the United States because of the IRGC's terrorist affiliation. U.S. Navy ships would not want IRGC vessels sailing too close to them because of that concern, they said.

One official said Iran's regular naval forces evoke less concern because they "represent a nation state."

The IRGC was formed in 1979. Under Iran's constitution, the corps' task is to protect the revolution, which generally means that it makes sure that domestic forces don't threaten the theocratic state, said analyst William Samii of the Center for Naval Analyses. The center is a government-funded think tank for the Department of the Navy in Alexandria, Virginia.

In contrast, the conventional forces are tasked with protecting the country's borders and guaranteeing its security.

The naval move "makes perfect sense," Samii said in a telephone interview.

In recent years, the Iranian military has recognized that, in a toe-to-toe fight with the U.S. military, "they'd get squashed," Samii said.

In response, it has been focusing more on alternative tactics, in which the Revolutionary Guards excel, such as setting mine fields and using large numbers of small boats either packed with explosives or manned by personnel carrying rocket-propelled grenade launchers. The thinking is that at least one would be able to get close enough to a large enemy military vessel to attack it, Samii said.

"Iran is trying to send a signal that it is ready for any military eventuality and that it is prepared to defend itself aggressively," he said.

But the move could backfire by driving Iran's Gulf neighbors into the arms of the United States, which has guaranteed the security of Arab states in the Gulf for decades, Samii said.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards patrol Persian Gulf, U.S. says (http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=13373)


Title: Future Russia-EU deal falters
Post by: Shammu on December 01, 2007, 02:49:41 PM
December 1, 2007, 20:00
Future Russia-EU deal falters
The Partnership Cooperation Agreement between Russia and the European Union has expired. It was signed ten years ago and will automatically be extended, but Russia says there is a need for a new long-term deal.

EU-Russia ties are facing critical challenges following a decade of global change.

“Today Russia is, of course, different from ten years ago and the EU today is absolutely not the same entity. Communication is bad - that’s why we need negotiations and that’s why we also need a new agreement,” notes Fyodor Lukyanov , Editor-in-Chief of the magazine 'Russia in Global Affairs'.

Since 1997 the EU has expanded and Russia's on the rise. Under these circumstances business seems to be catching up with the times. Currently Moscow and Brussels mediate through Partnership Cooperation Agreements: meetings, frameworks and objectives for contact. And business is booming through them.

According to President Putin European investment in Russia accounts for $US 43 BLN, while Russian investment in the EU is just one tenth of this at $US 4.3 BLN. However, profits could be bigger, relations more relaxed and processes more streamlined. So what’s the problem?

The reality is Russia's busy with elections and Europe is struggling to work out its future status after the failure of the EU constitution.

Marc Franco, head of EC delegation to Russia, says it's not an easy task to move forward. However, he believes, there light at the end of the tunnel, and ‘it’s not the train coming from the other side’.

Elsewhere, Poland blocked talks with Russia when Moscow imposed a meat ban after reports of unsanitary conditions. But with a change of government in Warsaw, tensions are easing.

So there is a certain hope a fresh partnership will be developing.

“It’s already clear that from the beginning of December both sides have come to the conclusion that the current agreement will be valid for another year automatically,” Presidential Special Envoy to EU, Sergey Yastrzhembsky, says.

It isn't the ten-year strategy both sides hoped for, but when new talks on the status of relations begin next year both Russia and Europe may be a little more prepared to work out future ties.

Future Russia-EU deal falters (http://www.russiatoday.ru/news/news/17832)


Title: Putin, Gul satisfied with Russia-Turkey relations
Post by: Shammu on December 01, 2007, 02:51:00 PM
Putin, Gul satisfied with Russia-Turkey relations
01.12.2007 14:09 GMT+04:00 Print version Send to mail  In Russian  In Armenian

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ November 30, Russian President Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of Turkey Abdullah Gul.

The two leaders exchanged views on the current state of Russian-Turkish cooperation and the development prospects for relations. The two Presidents said they were happy with the rapid development of bilateral ties, which in many areas can already be characterized as an advanced and multi-faceted partnership.

The leadership in both countries sees continued all-round development of cooperation between Russia and Turkey as an important factor in ensuring security and stability across the Eurasian region.

Mr Putin, who sent Mr Gul a telegram earlier in the day following the plane crash in Turkey, repeated his condolences during the telephone conversation.

The telephone conversation took place on Turkey’s initiative, the Kremlin’s press office said.

Putin, Gul satisfied with Russia-Turkey relations (http://www.panarmenian.net/news/eng/?nid=24250)


Title: December 12 Russia pulls out of arms treaty
Post by: Shammu on December 01, 2007, 02:55:42 PM
Russia pulls out of arms treaty

By Stephen Fidler and James Blitz in London
updated 7:41 p.m. MT, Fri., Nov. 30, 2007

President Vladimir Putin signed a law on Friday suspending Russia's participation in a key post-cold war arms treaty, triggering an angry reaction from the US, which declared the move a "mistake".

In a significant new indication of the worsening diplomatic relationship between Moscow and Washington, Mr Putin personally ratified a law that means Moscow will suspend the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty (CFE) in a little under two weeks.

Western military experts believe the CFE, first signed in 1990, is a significant treaty that limits the number of battle tanks, heavy artillery, combat aircraft and attack helicopters deployed and stored between the Atlantic and Russia's Ural mountains.

It also contains a significant array of confidence-building measures, requiring all signatories to give other states advance notice of troop movements and missile launches.

Senior officials from the US and other Nato states said Russia was now all but certain to suspend the treaty from December 12, a deadline it gave earlier this year unless an agreement could be forged with Nato ­countries. "Russia has made a mistake in this unilateral behaviour of walking out of a major arms control treaty in Europe," said Nicholas Burns, the US under­secretary of state for political affairs.

Senior officials from other Nato states said Washington and its allies now needed to decide when they would themselves suspend the treaty provisions.

"From December 12, Russia will not be giving notification of its troop movements or allow external inspections," said a senior official from a Nato ­government.

"We will therefore see a gradual degradation in the application of the treaty. By March or April of next year we will have to decide whether we start to suspend the application of the treaty to our own forces."

Russian and US negotiators met in Madrid on Thursday to discuss the CFE but no progress was made, US officials said.

A senior US official said Russia had demanded that so-called "flank limits" limiting the movement of Russian troops should be lifted in advance, while those restricting Nato troop movements should be left in force. "That is so one-sided it really isn't workable," he said.

Russia also demanded there should be a collective ceiling on Nato forces. But the US official said the purpose of the discussions had been to secure ratification of a previously negotiated adapted version of the CFE treaty - and the proposals relating to collective ceilings and flank limits would have required the adapted treaty to be renegotiated.

Differences remained also on the stationing of Russian troops in Moldova and ­Georgia. He said Mr Putin's move meant that prospects for the survival of the treaty had moved "close to vanishing point".

Russia pulls out of arms treaty (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22043711/)


Title: Voters weigh Chavez's bid for more power
Post by: Shammu on December 02, 2007, 03:57:54 PM
Voters weigh Chavez's bid for more power

by Marc Burleigh Sun Dec 2, 10:12 AM ET

CARACAS (AFP) - A referendum by President Hugo Chavez to change Venezuela's constitution went to the vote Sunday amid deep opposition to his ambitions to impose a socialist economy and rule for life.

The predicted closeness of the result raised the prospect of post-poll violence among supporters and opponents.

Chavez, a 53-year-old former paratrooper who is using his country's vast oil wealth to mount a leftist challenge to US influence in Latin America, has warned of a suspected CIA plot to stir up trouble over his reform.

He has vowed to cut oil supplies to the United States if unrest occurs.

"There will be no oil for anyone, and the price per barrel will go up to 200 dollars," he said Saturday.

On Friday, in his final campaign rally, the ally to Iran and Cuba said: "A vote 'yes' is a vote for Chavez -- a vote 'no' is a vote for (US President) George W. Bush."

Surveys released in the lead-up to the referendum showed the result too close to call, with many in Chavez's traditional powerbase -- the poor who make up 80 percent of the 27-million-strong population -- balking at the constitutional changes.

Measures Chavez is trying to usher in include allowing limitless re-election for the president, giving the government the right to gag the press in emergencies, and permitting the expropriation of property.

He is also seeking to cut the workweek from 40 hours to 36 and reinforce costly social programs improving literacy and health among the poor.

The president, who first came to power in 1999, has said he wants to remain in charge "until 2050," when he would be 95.

Tulio Hernandez, a professor at the Central University of Venezuela, said Chavez's undeniable charisma could play a crucial role in favor of the referendum.

"People have never voted to support his socialist projects," Hernandez told AFP. "But he is a living incarnation of the savior, which is a very Latin American tradition."

Voting, taking place under warm and sunny skies, was to end at 4:00 pm (2000 GMT), with official partial results expected three hours later.

There were long lines at polling stations in the capital.

"I admire Chavez for everything he's done for the poor," said a guard in one, Ruben Gonzalez, 43.

But Carlos Fuente, a 33-year-old bank employee, said that, while he had backed Chavez in the past, this time he voted 'no' because he did not want to see "power concentrated in the hands of one man."

In one polling station, a military officer at the door told AFP on condition of anonymity that he had orders to block access to journalists from CNN, which Chavez has repeatedly railed against for alleged bias.

Fears of fraud were voiced in some of the centers after the discovery that the ink used to color voters' thumbs as they arrived for their ballots was easily removed.

"It's a trick by Chavez supporters to rig the referendum," said a voter, Doris Gordonne, 47, after casting her ballot in the San Bernardino district.

Maria Di Benedetto, the head of the polling station, said she had delayed voting for 90 minutes to write up a report on the issue to electoral authorities.

But Vicente Diaz, a member of the National Electoral Council (NEC), dismissed the complaint, saying the ink had been approved by officials and the opposition before polling began.

"If there is a problem with the ink in one place, it must be an isolated incident," he told state VTV television.

Unlike in past elections, there were no EU or Organization of American States election monitors, only international observers invited by the government.

One of them, former Bolivian president Jorge Quiroga, was stripped of his accreditation after expressing opinions that were "very aggressive against the institutions of the state," another NEC member, Sandra Oblitas, said.

Voters weigh Chavez's bid for more power (http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071202/ts_afp/venezuelareferendum_071202150518;_ylt=AoFysKBtdlz0MW7jkc_FrCK9IxIF)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on December 02, 2007, 04:01:50 PM
Quote
A referendum by President Hugo Chavez to change Venezuela's constitution went to the vote Sunday amid deep opposition to his ambitions to impose a socialist economy and rule for life.

The alarming thing is that Chavez probably doesn't need to cheat. There's a very vocal minority that hates his crackdown on the media and other freedoms, but he has a large support among the impoverished masses.


Title: N. Korean reactor delayed until February
Post by: Shammu on December 02, 2007, 04:03:21 PM
N. Korean reactor delayed until February
Associated Press
THE JERUSALEM POST
Dec. 2, 2007

Rendering North Korea's sole nuclear reactor unusable will take at least until late February because of technical delays, a news report said Sunday.

US and South Korean officials had earlier expressed confidence that disabling the reactor in Yongbyon could be completed by the end of 2007 under an agreement between North Korea and five other nations.

But safety concerns over removing the fuel rods from the reactor have delayed the process, and disablement will take at least until late February, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported, citing unnamed people close to the process.

N. Korean reactor delayed until February (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1195546782415&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter)


Title: Kremlin hails Putin election win
Post by: Shammu on December 02, 2007, 04:06:22 PM
Kremlin hails Putin election win
From correspondents in Moscow
December 03, 2007 07:50am

PRESIDENT Vladimir Putin's party won a large majority in Russia's election today, but opposition parties cried foul and vowed to contest results which the Kremlin hailed as a big endorsement for Mr Putin.

First official results showed United Russia winning over 60 per cent of the vote - an outcome likely to be seen by the Kremlin as a strong mandate for Mr Putin to maintain a position of influence after his second presidential term ends next May.

"The overwhelming majority of Russian voters spoke in favour of United Russia, thus supporting President Putin's course, and spoke in favour of it being continued after the current president's second term ends," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said after early results came in.

But election monitors reported widespread cases of ballot fraud, and two parties, including the Communist Party which is likely to be the biggest opposition force in the next parliament, said they would contest the election in the courts.

"These results are not fair. We intend to challenge them in the Supreme Court but we need a week to gather all the evidence," Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov said.

The liberal SPS party later said it would take similar legal action over the election.

With 13.7 per cent of votes counted, United Russia had 63.3 per cent of the vote, with nearest rivals the Communists on 11.5 per cent, Central Election Commission Chairman Vladimir Churov said.

He did not immediately comment on accusations of foul play but United Russia party leader Boris Gryzlov said any violations would "in no way put in doubt" the final result.

Two other parties - both of which have a record of backing the Kremlin - passed the seven per cent hurdle required to qualify for seats in the State Duma or lower house of parliament.

An exit poll from state-owned pollster VTSIOM gave a similar picture, with Mr Putin's party on 61 per cent and the same four parties in parliament.

According to VTSIOM's calculations, that vote would give pro-Kremlin parties 348 seats in parliament - far more than the 301 needed to change the constitution. This was something analysts say was a key Kremlin target in the election.

This could allow Mr Putin to change the constitution to give himself a third straight term as president.

But the Kremlin chief has repeatedly said he will not do this. And though he has said he envisages retaining influence after he leaves the Kremlin, how he will do this remains one of Russia's best-kept secrets.

United Russia's vote - if it stands as the remainder of the voters are counted - will help Mr Putin entrench himself as a "national leader" able to mould policy even after he steps down from the presidency next year.

Chris Weafer, chief strategist at Uralsib investment bank in Moscow, said the results were "not spectacular but good enough to allow President Putin to call the shots after March".

"He now has the initiative in terms of what role he wants to stay on in," said Mr Weafer.

Even before polls closed, opposition parties cried foul, alleging that numerous instances of pressure on voters, a one-sided campaign and systematic electoral fraud undermined the legitimacy of the result.

The main source of complaints was Golos, Russia's only independent election observer. Deputy head Grigory Melkonyans said the election fraud was systematic.

"These are not isolated incidents. The complaints are from every corner of Russia," he said.

Former world chess champion and opposition icon Garry Kasparov, who intentionally spoiled his ballot paper at a Moscow polling station, said: "They are not just rigging the vote, they are raping the whole electoral system."

"There were no sensations. The results were planned by the Kremlin well in advance and were known two months ago," said Stanislav Belkovsky, a former pro-Kremlin analyst and now its critic, said.

Early results from votes counted in the Far East indicated Russia's liberal, pro-Western parties would not be represented at all in parliament.

"We voted for Putin because we like him," said pensioners Valentina Antonovna, 84, and Zinaida Stepanova, 85, in Moscow. "It's the first time in our lives that we encounter such a president. We love him. And we love his style."

A strong Kremlin push to ensure a high turnout among voters appeared to have succeeded. Central Election Commission officials predicted that more than 60 per cent of voters would take part, up from 56 per cent in the last elections in 2003.

The West's main election monitoring body, the ODIHR, did not monitor today's poll after a row with Moscow over delays in issuing visas for observers.

Kremlin hails Putin election win (http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22859819-1702,00.html?from=public_rss#)


Title: Jordan's king urges Israel to 'withdraw'
Post by: Shammu on December 02, 2007, 04:08:40 PM
Jordan's king urges Israel to 'withdraw'
Associated Press
THE JERUSALEM POST
Dec. 2, 2007

Jordan's King Abdullah II inaugurated a new parliament Sunday with a call on Israel to relinquish war-won Arab lands, saying that would help peace and security to prevail in the volatile Mideast.

The king also urged unity among feuding Palestinian factions, saying the time has come for statehood.

"We emphatically tell Israel that ending the occupation of Arab and Palestinian lands, withdrawing from there and implementing legitimate international resolutions are the only way to realize just, permanent and comprehensive peace," said the staunch US ally who maintains cordial relations with Israel under a 1994 peace treaty.

Abdullah said a peaceful Arab-Israeli settlement would "guarantee a safe future for the region's peoples and its coming generations."

"We also say to the Palestinians that strength is in unity and weakness in disunity; so, unite your ranks and seize the available opportunity to realize peace and establish your independent state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip," he said.

Abdullah spoke at the opening session of a newly elected parliament, where his loyalists handily defeated opposition in elections held two weeks ago.

The king, a fiery critic of militant Islam, vowed to continue fighting what he said was a "campaign of distortion being waged against our honorable religion by rejecting extremism, violence, and takfiri thought" - a reference to the extremist doctrine, which regards even non-militant Muslims as infidels.

Abdullah arrived to a lavish military ceremony outside the domed parliament chamber in the heart of Amman. The king, who holds the title of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, inspected an honor guard as 21 guns boomed in a traditional salute.

Abdullah, 45, wore a black and gold ceremonial military uniform as he delivered his "Speech from the Throne" - the constitutional opening of the annual legislative sessions.

The elected 110-seat Chamber of Deputies met jointly with the 55-member, royally appointed Senate to hear Abdullah outline his policy. Abdullah's Palestinian-born wife, Queen Rania, and other members of the Hashemite family were also present.

Domestically, the king vowed continued reforms to improve living conditions in his oil-poor nation, saddled by a multibillion foreign debt and soaring unemployment, poverty and inflation.

"Our vision for Jordan's future is clear and
ambitious; its pillar is comprehensive reform and modernization - political, economic and social - for the sake of attaining the ultimate goal: improving citizens' standard of living and providing the means for a decent life to every Jordanian family."

He outlined an ambitious economic agenda, which envisioned improved financial and monetary stability, reduced government expenditure, free health insurance and effective supervision of water and food quality following several recent poisoning incidents.

He urged legislation to enhance transparency and accountability, including laws for a national ombudsman, human rights, the rights of women and children and the protection of youth.

The Jordanian opposition accuses the government of slow strides toward political reform, thought to be slowed down by fears of the rising influence of militants in Gaza and chaos in Iraq and Lebanon.

Since his accession to the throne in 1999, Abdullah has given wider freedoms to women, endorsed several independent radio stations and, for the first time, allowed local elections of officials who used to be appointed by the government.

Jordan's king urges Israel to 'withdraw' (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1195546783746&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter)


Title: Re: Jordan's king urges Israel to 'withdraw'
Post by: Shammu on December 02, 2007, 04:12:25 PM
Why can't they see that peace will never "prevail" in the Middle East until Israel has been destroyed completely (and let's face it, not even then will it happen). The extremists don't understand peace. They will never accept peace. Israel is only an excuse to produce violence. If Israel disappeared tomorrow, the various islamic sects would be fighting each other.


Title: U.S. cruiser spots 2 Iranian subs in Gulf
Post by: Shammu on December 02, 2007, 04:15:53 PM
U.S. cruiser spots 2 Iranian subs in Gulf

By Zachary M. Peterson - Staff writer
Posted : Sunday Dec 2, 2007 12:10:27 EST

ABOARD THE CRUISER VICKSBURG IN THE PERSIAN GULF — Officials aboard the cruiser Vicksburg spotted and photographed two surfaced Iranian Kilo-class submarines in the Persian Gulf a few weeks ago, the ship’s skipper told Navy Secretary Donald Winter during a visit to the ship on Saturday.

The Russian-designed diesel-electric attack subs were tracked and photographed by sailors onboard the Mayport, Fla.-based ship, said Capt. Chip Swicker. Crew members showed Winter the photographs of the surfaced subs. The Vicksburg did not communicate with either of the subs, Swicker said.

“They watched us and we watched them,” he said.

Crew members aboard the cruiser didn’t consider the encounters hostile, although it wasn’t clear if the Iranian boats surfaced within view of the cruiser or if the U.S. warship happened to see the Iranian subs while they were already running on the surface. Iran has a fleet of three Kilo-class SSKs, according to Jane’s Fighting Ships.

Swicker indicated the Vicksburg was close enough to Iranian waters at the times of the encounters that crew members didn’t consider it out of the ordinary to see Iranian navy vessels. Winter, accompanied by a Navy Times reporter, was aboard the ship as part of a nine-day trip through Iraq, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf.

The Vicksburg crew told Winter about their encounters less than a week before Iran’s top navy commander claimed it was expanding its undersea fleet. On Wednesday, Iran said it was launching its own, new, home-built submarine, reportedly called the Ghadir. Iranian officials boasted that the small diesel-electric sub would “give a crushing answer to enemies when needed thanks to domestically-made equipment” and could fire missiles that could hit Israel.

The incidents recalled an encounter in October 2006 when a Chinese Song-class attack submarine surfaced near the carrier Kitty Hawk in the Western Pacific. Some analysts at the time called the act provocative, and pointed out the vulnerability of surface ships while they are shadowed by foreign submarines. It wasn’t clear whether Iranian sailors were attempting to send such a message to the Vicksburg.

The Vicksburg is wrapping up a six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf, where since August it has conducted maritime security operations. The ship is due back in Mayport in January.

Command Master Chief (SW) William Powell told Navy Times that the ship has spent much of its deployment patrolling the waters from the oil platforms in the northern Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman in the south. The ship has conducted several compliant boardings, but had not encountered any hostile ships during its time on the water, Powell said.

The Vicksburg is one of several ships from 20 different nations that patrol the waters of the Middle East, including the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea to the south.

“The amount of activity is increasing” in the waters surrounding the Middle East, including East Africa, said Capt. George Cox, chief of staff for Combined Maritime Forces in the region. Several other nations are considering participating in patrols in the Arabian Sea, he noted.

Legitimate fishing vessels populate the waters under Cox’s oversight, where coalition naval forces focus on protecting the flow of oil out of the Persian Gulf. Occasionally ships will catch small-time pirates stealing a fishing dhow’s Global Positioning System unit, he said.

“We always want more forces, but we have plenty to take care of the [oil platforms] and do some patrols of the waterways,” Cox explained.

The captain said the fishermen in the region “love us.” Fishing vessels follow naval ships around for protection, Cox said.

“I just wish they’d tell al-Jazeera,” he added, referring to the pan-Arab satellite news channel based in Qatar.

Another goal of foreign naval forces in the region is building indigenous coast guard capabilities, Cox said.

He cited progress made by Combined Task Force 150, which is responsible for the Arabian Sea, Red Sea and waters off the Horn of Africa, in training and working in collaboration with the Yemeni coast guard.

Yemen is particularly concerned with human trafficking. Boats full of refugees from Somalia and Ethiopia come across the Gulf of Aden into the desert nation on the southwestern Arabian peninsula. Warships in the region report the positions of suspected vessels carrying human cargo, then the Yemenis capture the ships when they arrive in port, Cox explained.

Further, the six or seven coalition ships that patrol the area work to show presence and deter pirates, he added. However, beyond responding to calls for help, it is a difficult to task to battle pirates who stay close to territorial waters on the Somali coastline, Cox said.

Lt. John Gay, a spokesman for 5th Fleet, said that searching for pirates in the Arabian Sea is like “trying to find a needle in a haystack” and added that piracy is primarily a “law enforcement issue.”

U.S. cruiser spots 2 Iranian subs in Gulf (http://www.navytimes.com/news/2007/11/navy_iran_subs_071129w/)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on December 02, 2007, 04:17:36 PM
Quote
The captain said the fishermen in the region “love us.” Fishing vessels follow naval ships around for protection, Cox said.

Bet you it won't stand a chance against a Seawolf or a Virginia Class attack sub. (http://smilies.zx6r.info/lachen/567.gif)


Title: Putin's future uncertain after election
Post by: Shammu on December 02, 2007, 07:27:54 PM
Putin's future uncertain after election

By DOUGLAS BIRCH, Associated Press Writer 2 hours, 42 minutes ago

MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin seems certain to claim Sunday's election triumph by his political party as a mandate to lead the country even after his term ends in May.

Now the main question is what specific job Putin might take to retain control — and who will be his choice for the next president.

Putin is widely credited here with leading his country out of the social and political wilderness of the 1990s when the collapse of Soviet power nearly led to the disintegration of Russian society.

"I voted for our United Russia because life has become better now under Putin, and we don't want any changes or revolutions," said Alla Kosaryeva, a 70-year-old retiree who lives in St. Petersburg.

There is little incentive for Putin to relinquish power over Russia, which is flush with revenue from oil and natural gas and where his power arguably rivals that of many of his Soviet and czarist predecessors.

Candidates for president may register until Dec. 23. Many are expected to do so, but only Putin's hand-picked successor seems to have a real chance of winning.

Whoever is chosen is likely to be a figurehead, or could even step aside early to allow Putin to recapture the presidential office. Currently the constitution prohibits a president from running for a third consecutive term.

Two-thirds of Russians polled by the respected Levada Center recently said they would support Putin serving another term. But Putin has repeatedly promised not to run, and a reversal would be out of character for the stern, tough-talking former KGB spy.

Olga Kryshtanovskaya, a sociologist and political analyst, believes that Putin will become United Russia's party chief and that the future president would follow his orders — recreating to some extent the Soviet-era model in which the government was subservient to the Communist Party.

"A president will be nominated by United Russia, and he will obey party discipline," she commented recently.

Sunday's election, meanwhile, eliminated all of Putin's liberal opponents from parliament. Amended election rules barred individual races that in the past allowed mavericks to win seats.

"We will continue our fight for democracy and liberal values," retiring deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov told the Associated Press in an interview Friday. "Not in the parliament, but in society. It's like in Soviet times, we are becoming dissidents because there are no legal ways to be in the opposition."

Many both here and abroad would interpret any maneuver to keep Putin in power as a major milestone in Russia's long retreat from the democratic reforms of the 1990s.

Putin's Russia is not a totalitarian state, and the current rift with the West is not yet a new Cold War. There is no gulag filled with political prisoners, no official censorship, no proxy wars being fought in the Third World.

But under Putin, the Kremlin has taken control of crucial industries. It has extended its control to Russia's far-flung provinces. Nominally independent institutions, including the courts, the media and parliament, have been brought to heel.

Abroad, Putin has challenged Western policies, accusing Washington of using "diktat" in its foreign policy. The Kremlin, in turn, has been accused by its enemies of waging a covert cyber war against Estonia, of helping rig Ukraine's 2004 elections and of ordering the killing of a former KGB officer in London using a radioactive poison — allegations Russian officials have strenuously denied.

By choosing to make the Kremlin once again Russia's sole center of power, analysts say, Putin has also resurrected some of the weaknesses that plagued the czarist and Communist systems.

Those familiar with Kremlin politics say Putin sometimes issues orders that, filtered through Russia's numerous layers of bureaucracy, are never executed.

A topdown system of government which tries to control the media and local elections, critics point out, may find itself pursuing disastrous or unpopular policies.

Russia's past absolutist governments were also faced with periodic succession crises, which sometimes led to bloodshed. So far there's no evidence that Putin's departure would lead to violence.

But Moscow's decision to use the parliamentary and presidential elections to ratify the Kremlin's choice of leadership, rather than permit a more open competition, has created a political crisis rare for Western democracies.

Putin is not just the leader of the Russian state, he is the arbiter of disputes among different Kremlin cliques and divides the corporate and political spoils. Without him, the Kremlin might split over such issues as how far Russia should go in confronting the West and consolidating state control of Russia's major industries.

If Putin were to step down, many analysts say, Russia could go through a period of accelerated redistribution of assets reminiscent of the case of the one-time billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former chief of Yukos Oil Co., whose company was broken up and sold for alleged back taxes following his 2003 arrest.

If Putin remains in office, though, some think he will inevitably become Russia's leader for life. The pressures on him to stay would grow with each passing year, as his presence was increasingly needed to maintain a balance among bitterly divided factions.

"Putin understands very well the pitiless laws of the system he has built up step by step over the past seven years," political analyst Andrei Piontkovsky wrote earlier this year. "If he takes that final step of agreeing to a third term, he is accepting a life sentence. ... The darkness at noon of the Kremlin will engulf him forever."

Putin's future uncertain after election (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071202/ap_on_re_eu/russia_putin_s_future;_ylt=AigMGpnqNX4HqXuYeXZQqesUewgF)


Title: Iran's enemies cannot break our ties with Syria
Post by: Shammu on December 02, 2007, 07:29:59 PM
Iran's enemies cannot break our ties with Syria
By The Associated Press

Iran's adversaries cannot harm the strong and durable ties between Tehran and Damascus, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday during a meeting with a top Syrian diplomat, state media reported.

The meeting between Ahmadinejad and Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Mekdad came less than a week after Mekdad traveled to the United States to participate in Mideast summit.

During the trip, the Syrian delegation shook hands with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice - indicating a slight thaw in the diplomatic chill between Washington and Damascus.

Though Iran never directly criticized its ally, Syria, for attending the
summit in Annapolis, Maryland, Ahmadinejad and other top officials denounced the summit, saying it was doomed to fail, and scolded Arab nations for going. Tehran was not invited to the meeting.

But Syria's attendance and Iran's harsh criticism of the summit appeared to indicate at least some tension between the two allies - a rare event between the two countries in the past decades.

During his meeting Sunday with Ahmadinejad, Mekdad gave the Iranian president a written message from Syrian President Bashar Assad and underlined the strategic relationship between the two countries, Iran's official news agency, IRNA, reported.

Both Ahmadinejad and Mekdad said Iran-Syrian ties remained strong.

Enemies cannot damage real and firm Tehran-Damascus relations, state-run TV quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.Mekdad also said Syrian would never let anyone harm the friendly ties between Iran and Syria, IRNA reported.

Ahmadinejad thanked Mekdad for giving him Assad's message - which state media didn't provide details about - and described the Syrian president as a prominent figure in the Arab and Islamic world.

The hardline Iranian leader also repeated his criticism of the Annapolis
summit and warned Middle East countries to avoid allowing the U.S. to take advantage of them in favor of its ally, Israel.

"All should be highly watchful that (U.S. President) George Bush will not be able to take another concession from Palestine in the latter parts of his governing term," state-run TV quoted Ahmadinejad as saying during his meeting with Mekdad.

Syria said it decided to send Mekdad to the summit only after the issue of the Golan Heights was added to the agenda.

U.S. officials hoped the Annapolis meeting could mark a start to moving Syria out of its alliance with Iran and Hamas and Hezbollah, both of which are Iranian-backed militant groups.

Iran's enemies cannot break our ties with Syria (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/930244.html)


Title: U.S., Israel should begin planning strike on Iran nuclear sites
Post by: Shammu on December 02, 2007, 07:31:51 PM
U.S., Israel should begin planning strike on Iran nuclear sites
By Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondent

Israel and the United States should begin an intense dialogue on ways to deal with Iran's nuclear plans and should examine ways to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, according to a new study published by an influential Washington think tank.

The report, by a former deputy head of the National Security Council, Chuck Freilich, says Israel and the U.S. should discuss nuclear-crisis scenarios between Israel and Iran. The report, entitled "Speaking About the Unspeakable," was released over the weekend by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Freilich assumes that detailed talks between the U.S. and Israel on Iran do not extend beyond exchanges of intelligence, coordination of diplomatic moves and the supply of sophisticated weapons to Israel.

According to Freilich, a lack of symmetry exists between the U.S. and Israel on the Iranian threat, although both use similar rhetoric toward it. From Israel's perspective, Iran presents a potential existential threat, so its nuclear plans must be stopped at almost any price. In contrast, the U.S. is disturbed by the implications of nuclear weapons in Iran but does not see it as an existential threat.

In Freilich's view, this difference in evaluations dictates the nature of the dialogue. The U.S. is leery about talks with Israel on military action against Iran, and Israel is concerned about talks on security alternatives if Iran's nuclear status is accepted.

Freilich lists the alternatives; he believes that diplomacy and sanctions have a slim chance of success. He mentions a quasi-military alternative such as a naval blockade or secret sabotage action, an Israeli or American military action, or coming to terms with a nuclear Iran, with the U.S. giving security assurances to Israel. He opposes the proposal that Israel move to an open nuclear policy to deter Iran.

Freilich says Israel would prefer that the U.S. attack Iran. He notes that if Israel believes it can successfully attack Iran, Israel fears that the U.S. would veto the plan, so Israel would not unveil the scheme ahead of time. The U.S. would also keep secret from Israel any intention of attacking Iran.

Freilich believes that despite these mutual reservations, detailed discussions between the U.S. and Israel should be held on possible military action against Iran because of the need to separate forces if Israel attacks Iran and U.S. forces are in the way. In addition, Iran in any case would see the U.S. and Israel as cooperating and would respond against both.

Freilich proposes a dialogue on Iran's possible responses, on terror attacks and the disruption of oil shipments from the Gulf to the West. But he also seeks a dialogue on how to live with a nuclear Iran.

U.S., Israel should begin planning strike on Iran nuclear sites (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/930162.html)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Soldier4Christ on December 03, 2007, 07:13:52 AM
Putin's party wins Russian election

MOSCOW- European election monitors said Monday that Russia's parliamentary ballot was unfair, hours after President Vladimir Putin's party swept 70 percent of the seats in the new legislature.

The victory paves the way for Putin to remain Russia's de facto leader even after he leaves office next spring.

Sunday's vote followed a tense Kremlin campaign that relied on a combination of persuasion and intimidation to ensure victory for the United Russia party and for Putin, who has used a flood of oil revenues to move his country into a more assertive position on the global stage.

Luc van den Brande, who headed the delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe said that officials had brought the "overwhelming influence of the president's office and the president" to bear on the campaign, and that "administrative resources" had been used to influence the outcome.

Goran Lennmarker, president of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's parliamentary assembly, said it was "not a fair election."

The Kremlin and its allies hailed the vote as an overwhelming endorsement of Putin and his policies.

"The vote affirmed the main idea: that Vladimir Putin is the national leader, that the people support his course, and this course will continue," party leader and parliament speaker Boris Gryzlov said after exit polls were announced.

The Bush administration called for a probe into voting irregularities. Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov called the election "the most irresponsible and dirty" in the post-Soviet era and party officials vowed to challenge the results.

Kimmo Kiljunen, vice president of the Office of Security and Cooperation in Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, called the elections "strange" and "problematic" because of reports of harassment of parties and confiscation of election materials.

"There was the strange situation that the executive branch almost chose the legislative branch," Kiljunen said. "It is supposed to be the other way round."

With ballots from nearly 98 percent of precincts counted, United Russia was leading with 64.1 percent, while the Communists trailed with 11.6 percent, the Central Election Commission said.

Turnout was about 63 percent, up from 56 percent in the last parliamentary elections four years ago.

United Russia's victory would give it 315 seats, or 70 percent of the seats in Russia's 450-seat State Duma, the Central Election Commission said. The Communists would have just over 50 seats.

The Kremlin portrayed the election as a plebiscite on Putin's nearly eight years as president _ with the promise that a major victory would allow him somehow to remain leader after his second term ends next year.

Putin is constitutionally prohibited from running for a third consecutive term, but he clearly wants to remain in power even though he has ruled out changing the constitution to allow him to run for another term as president. A movement has sprung up in recent weeks to urge him to become a "national leader," though it's not clear what that would mean.

Two other pro-Kremlin parties _ the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party and populist Just Russia _ also appeared to have made it into parliament, with 8.2 percent and 7.6 percent of the vote, respectively.

Andrei Lugovoi, a former KGB officer and chief suspect in the poisoning death of Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko in London last year, will serve as deputy from the Liberal Democratic Party. Russia has refused to hand Lugovoi over to Britain, and the Duma seat provides him with immunity from prosecution.

No other parties passed the 7 percent threshold for gaining seats in the legislature. Both opposition liberal parties were shut out, expected to win no more than 2 or 3 percent of the vote each.

Many Russians complained Sunday about being pressured to cast their ballots, with teachers, doctors and others saying they had been ordered by their bosses to vote.

"People are being forced and threatened to vote; otherwise they won't get their salaries or pensions," said Boris Nemtsov, leader of the liberal Union of Right Forces party.

Dozens of voters reported being paid to cast ballots for United Russia, said Alexander Kynev, a political expert with election monitoring group Golos. In the town of Pestovo in the western Novgorod region, voters complained they were given ballots already filled out for United Russia, he said.

In Chechnya, where turnout was over 99 percent, witnesses reported seeing election authorities filling out and casting voter ballots in the suburbs of the regional capital, Grozny.

There was a tense, subdued mood at some polling stations. Yelena, a 32-year-old manager in St. Petersburg, refused to give her last name out of fear of official retaliation for voting for the liberal Yabloko party.

"We live in a country with an absence of democracy and freedom of speech," she said.

The Kremlin appeared determined to engineer a resounding victory. But Putin, credited with rebuilding Russia after the poverty and uncertainty of the 1990s, has support from many Russians.

"Today everything is clear and stable in life. The president's words always coincide with what he does. As for the other candidates we don't know yet where they would take us to," said Raisa Tretyakova, a 61-year-old pensioner in St. Petersburg.

The Bush administration called on Russia to investigate claims the vote was manipulated.

"In the run-up to election day, we expressed our concern regarding the use of state administrative resources in support of United Russia, the bias of the state-owned or -influenced media in favor of United Russia, intimidation of political opposition, and the lack of equal opportunity encountered by opposition candidates and parties," said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the National Security Council.

The election monitoring arm of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, regarded in the West as the most authoritative election monitor, canceled plans to send observers.


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on December 04, 2007, 12:35:19 AM
As the world watched the Russian Parliamentary elections they saw President Vladimir Putin's leadership become stronger, a precursor to the scenario that can be found in Bible prophecy for a Russian leader of the future.

In the last several months Russian watchers have been amazed by the outspoken Russian President Vladimir Putin as he has maneuvered himself into a position to lead Russia into the future in what many are calling a return to the old Soviet Union days.

Russia, and thus, Vladimir Putin's relation with Iran and it's nuclear program, plus other partnerships with Middle Eastern, Arab and Islamic states has many prophecy students thinking that the prophetic scenario of Ezekiel 38 is about to be fulfilled.

Ezekiel, wrote that Magog, which is modern-day Russia, that Magog would lead the coalition of nations, against Israel, in the last days, Ezekiel 38:2. The leader of that alignment of nations, mentioned in Ezekiel, is Gog, which is all we know about this personality.

I am not saying that Vladimir Putin is Gog of Ezekiel 38:2, but indeed he certainly is a prototype of that coming leader. These recent Russian elections do indeed set the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled.


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Soldier4Christ on December 04, 2007, 06:23:44 PM
Ahmadinejad Proposes Worldwide Islamic Court...

Sharia for all


At a meeting of judiciary leaders from Islamic countries in Tehran, Iranian President Amedinejhad proposed formation of an international Islamic court. According to Maniacal Mahmoud, it would "prosecute international criminals, war criminals" and worst of all, "those who fearlessly violate others rights and bring threats & bitterness to their lives." 

With a straight face he stated that "respecting justice is the basis in all judicial affairs."

Thomas Lifson adds:

By their own lights, this all makes sense. There is only one legitimate law for mankind, and that is Sharia. The global caliphate remains the final goal, and everything else is just a tactic to get there.


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: nChrist on December 04, 2007, 08:20:35 PM
Ahmadinejad Proposes Worldwide Islamic Court...

Sharia for all


At a meeting of judiciary leaders from Islamic countries in Tehran, Iranian President Amedinejhad proposed formation of an international Islamic court. According to Maniacal Mahmoud, it would "prosecute international criminals, war criminals" and worst of all, "those who fearlessly violate others rights and bring threats & bitterness to their lives." 

With a straight face he stated that "respecting justice is the basis in all judicial affairs."

Thomas Lifson adds:

By their own lights, this all makes sense. There is only one legitimate law for mankind, and that is Sharia. The global caliphate remains the final goal, and everything else is just a tactic to get there.

 ;D   ;D   ;D    ROFL!

This sounds like the ingredients of a very bad movie. ImANutJob would be the first person TRIED by this international court. We could get him a dream team of lawyers, maybe someone like the Three Stooges or the Marx Brothers. Who would we get for a judge? How about someone like Don Rickles? On top of everything else, we could make it a musical. Now all we need is a name for the BIG SHOW.   ;D


Title: Third term for Putin would not faze most Russians
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2007, 04:40:48 PM
Third term for Putin would not faze most Russians
Wed Dec 5, 2007 12:35pm EST

By Oleg Shchedrov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Most Russians would not think worse of President Vladimir Putin if he breached the constitution and ran for a third term in March presidential elections, according to an opinion poll published on Wednesday.

Putin, whose approval ratings top 70 percent, has promised to respect the constitution, which bans him running for a third consecutive four-year term. His popularity has prompted a wave of calls by political allies for him to change his mind.

A poll by the independent Levada Centre showed 55 percent would not change their view of Putin if he decided to run again, while another 22 percent said it would improve their opinion.

Putin has already said he wants to keep political influence after leaving the Kremlin but he has not explained how.

Demands to formalise Putin's future role have topped the agenda of his United Russia party, which won a landslide victory in a parliamentary election last Sunday.

"Putin is our national leader and he will remain the national leader whatever job he takes after the presidential election," United Russia chief Boris Gryzlov has said.

Kremlin officials say Sunday's election result, with a combined 72 percent of votes won by pro-Kremlin parties, is a demonstration of public support for Putin to maintain power. But it remains unclear what the role of "national leader" might be.

CONFUSION

When asked how they would view Putin becoming a "national leader", only 17 percent said they fully supported the idea. Another 27 percent said they would back it if the new title were approved through a referendum or constitutional changes.

Thirty percent of respondents opposed the idea.

The most radical Putin supporters have suggested a post of national leader with sweeping powers should be instituted at a specially convened Congress, which they compare with the one that installed the Romanov family as Russian tsars in 1613.

State-owned pollster VTsIOM said its own poll on the issue showed 52 percent of respondents found it difficult to say what "national leader" would mean in practice. Only 2 percent of them said a national leader "should be like Putin".

Third term for Putin would not faze most Russians (http://www.reuters.com/articlePrint?articleId=USL0529664120071205)


Title: Peres warns: One morning we'll wake to a nuclear Iran
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2007, 04:45:02 PM
Peres warns: One morning we'll wake to a nuclear Iran

Israeli President Peres meets with former American Secretary of State, exhorting world not to compromise with Iran over nukes

Roni Sofer
Published: 12.05.07, 16:49
Israel News

According to President Shimon Peres, historically, intelligence reports sometimes turn out to be inaccurate, but on the Iranian issue the international community must eschew compromise and focus on a few clear warning signs.

Peres thus spoke during a meeting with former American Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who is visiting Israel. He warned that whenever Iran develops a successful civilian nuclear energy program, the transition to developing nuclear weapons will be quick and easy.

Furthermore, Peres warned that it was impossible for any intelligence agency to know the exact nature and scope of the technological knowledge purchased from North Korea and Russia at high prices. "We are likely to wake up one morning and discover that comprehensive nuclear technology was passed on without interruption and is close to implementation," he said.

The President spoke with Albright regarding Israeli fears of Iranian investment in developing long-range ballistic missiles capable of hitting targets in Europe. Peres said that Iran has no justification for building these conventional missiles, hides its intentions and activities, and feeds the international community nothing more that crumbs of information.

Peres indicated that he was concerned by remarks made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, pointing to the extremist leader's declared intention to destroy Israel and sow destruction upon the democratic world. The President concluded by saying that the international community must not cease its efforts against Ahmadinejad and the Iranian nuclear weapons program.

Livni: World can't afford Iran as nuclear superpower

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni reiterated Wednesday that sanctions must be tightened. "As we speak," Livni said to Slovenia's President Danilo Türk during a meeting in Ljubljana, "Iran continues to work towards nuclear capabilities. It is clear the world can not afford that."

Livni emphasized that Iran repeatedly defied the UN Security Council's decisions and praised the reactions in Washington and Europe to the report "that show they understand Iran must be prevented from becoming a nuclear superpower."

NIE and the intelligence u-turn

The American National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) — a report representing the collective views of all 16 US intelligence agencies — which was published Monday, asserted that Iran froze its nuclear weapons program as far back as 2003, and that the country no longer works toward developing the technology apart from uranium enrichment. The estimate contradicts the picture accepted by western intelligence agencies over the past two years, according to which Iran was zealously working to build a nuclear weapon.

Ahmadinejad responded to the NIE Wednesday morning by declaring that Iran has no intention of forfeiting its plans for a civilian nuclear program and called the American report a "declaration of victory" for the Iranian Nuclear Program. "Today, the Iranian nation is victorious but you (the US) came out empty handed…. The report declares the victory of the Iranian nation on the nuclear issue over the international community."

Peres warns: One morning we'll wake to a nuclear Iran (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3479328,00.html)


Title: Rise of India and China will lead to a new world order
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2007, 04:48:16 PM
Rise of India and China will lead to a new world order
Jonathan Manthorpe, Vancouver Sun
Published: Monday, December 03, 2007

In the deal between Washington and New Delhi under which India is forgiven for having ignored every treaty in the book on nuclear power we have been given a glimpse into the future.

And the future is going to be a difficult place for countries like Canada.

The rule-based international system that we and like-minded countries have spent so much effort putting in place for the last century or so is not going to survive the rise to superpower status of India and China.

They will make their own rules and impose their own values.

In an unusual moment of realism, the administration of president George W. Bush recognized this when it decided it was better to be India's nuclear partner than to continue berating New Delhi for having shot the carefully constructed nuclear management regime full of holes.

Canada, still smoldering with resentment that it was a Candu reactor that India used in the early 1970s to provide the makings for its first nuclear weapon, has yet to make the same leap.

But, as C. Raja Mohan, a former member of India's National Security Advisory Board, said here last week, Canada and similar small but wealthy western countries should take a cool, hard-nosed look into the future and decide where their best interests lie.

Speaking in a lecture series sponsored by the BMO Financial Group and the Canadian Institute for International Affairs, Mohan said he does not think the western world has grasped the full implications of the rise of Asia, especially India and China.

Both, he said, will match or overtake the superpower status of the United States within 30 years. And with combined populations of about 2.5 billion people the demands India and China are going to make on world resources once they begin to achieve real prosperity is almost beyond imagination.

A major challenge for both countries will be to avoid their contest to control resources leading to military confrontations.

But Mohan said he expects both countries to continue the already evident contest for access to resources, especially energy.

Neither country fully accepts the Western belief that they should trust the marketplace to provide the resources they need to develop. They want control.

So it would be a big mistake for western countries, Mohan said, to imagine that China and India as superpowers will slot into the template for international behaviour that has been created by the nations of the North Atlantic basin.

It is in the nature of superpowers throughout history that they fashion the international system to meet their own interests, and China and India will be no different, he said.

Mohan pointed out that although India is the world's largest democracy, it does not automatically support other democratic countries rather than authoritarian regimes. In its support for the regimes in Sudan and Burma (Myanmar), for example, New Delhi has made a classic trade-off between its values and its national interest in securing access to the resources of those two countries.

Despite that, Mohan said, India's political and social attitudes stem from the West. Indeed, "India is the most important place outside the West that is built on the values of the Enlightenment. We may well become the leader of the West in the future."

But as the experience of New Delhi's refusal to go along with the rules of the international nuclear club has shown, India is going to be a revisionist power, Mohan said.

"The issue for countries like Canada is if India and China have the power to change the rules, you are going to have to deal with it. You can have as many international norms as you like, but if India and China have the power to ignore them, you are going to have deal with it," he said.

"If India and China decide to melt the ice cap, you are going to have to deal with it."

ON THE SHELF

The implications of China's return to superpower status after a centuries on the sidelines are difficult enough to grasp. For us in Canada there is the added perplexity of trying to work out what the dominant attitude is in the U.S. The picture south of the border is usually of a clash between extreme optimists and pessimists. Former Beijing bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, James Mann has come to our aid with a neat little volume examining American attitudes towards China. The China fantasy: How Our Leaders Explain Away

Chinese Repression is a series of essays perfect for keeping in a pocket for reading on the commuter bus or train. Mann is of the view that the frequently voiced American opinion that China will adopt western liberal democratic values is dangerous wishful thinking. Much more likely, he thinks, is a China governed by "authoritarian capitalism," a phrase synonymous with fascism.

Rise of India and China will lead to a new world order (http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=5093aa13-eba8-415f-9d12-d9084a41360d)


Title: Russian navy to start sorties in northern Atlantic
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2007, 04:50:09 PM
Russian navy to start sorties in northern Atlantic
Wed Dec 5, 2007 4:16pm EST

By Guy Faulconbridge

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Wednesday it would start the first major navy sortie into the Mediterranean since Soviet times, the latest move by an increasingly assertive Moscow to demonstrate its military might.

"The aim of the sorties is to ensure a naval presence in tactically important regions of the world ocean," Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov told President Vladimir Putin, who wished the sailors well. The rest of the meeting was closed.

Serdyukov said 11 ships, including an aircraft carrier, would take part in the sortie and be backed up by 47 aircraft -- including strategic bombers.

Buoyed by huge oil revenues, Russia under Putin has been boosting military spending while at the same time using diplomacy to broaden Moscow's influence.

Earlier this year Putin announced that long-range strategic bombers would resume patrols around the world and Russia's long-range nuclear forces have test-fired new missiles.

But analysts say the navy, once the focus of national pride and symbol of the Soviet Union's military might, is still reeling from more than a decade of underfunding.

A series of accidents -- such as the sinking of the Kursk nuclear submarine in 2000 -- have hurt the Russian navy's reputation at home and abroad.

Serdyukov said the navy's flagship aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, and anti-submarine ships had set out for the Mediterranean on Wednesday from the Northern Fleet's base in Severomorsk, in the Arctic Circle.

Black Sea fleet ships and aircraft support would meet them in the Mediterranean. He said military exercises would be held during the sorties and that the group would visit six foreign states. He did not name them.

He also said Northern Fleet would make sorties into the northern Atlantic.

Russia has long been talking about reviving a permanent naval base in the Mediterranean. During the Cold War, the Soviet navy had a permanent presence on the Mediterranean, using the Syrian port of Tartus as a supply point.

Russian navy to start sorties in northern Atlantic (http://www.reuters.com/articlePrint?articleId=USL0518563620071205)


Title: Gulf states urge peace with Iran
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2007, 10:31:37 PM
Gulf states urge peace with Iran
4 December 2007

Gulf leaders have ended their summit in Qatar reiterating their desire for a peaceful solution to the conflict over Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The Gulf Co-operation Council's final communique said the body would examine the Iranian president's offer of closer security and economic ties.

It did not mention the US intelligence assessment that said Iran had halted its nuclear arms programme.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the first Iran president to attend a GCC summit.

The final GCC communique also said members would form a common market in 2008 and remained committed to a target date of 2010 for the achievement of monetary union.

"The Gulf common market aims to create one market... raising production efficiency and optimum usage of available resources and improving the six countries' negotiating position among international economic forums," said the final declaration.

Citizens of the six Gulf states will have equal rights to carry out business in any GCC country and equal residency rights.

 But BBC economics correspondent Andrew Walker says the most interesting issue for international financial markets was not mentioned - the question of whether Gulf states would stop linking their currencies to the US dollar.

After the meeting, Qatar's prime minister said the policy was for now to stick with the dollar link.

Such policies can help maintain financial stability, our correspondent says, but the recent decline of the dollar in the currency markets has created problems for the Gulf states.

'Mutual respect'

Summit host Qatar welcomed Mr Ahmadinejad's proposals on security and forming an organisation to improve economic co-operation.

"They will be examined by the GCC in a way to reinforce the relations of good neighbourhood and mutual respect... and to contribute to strengthening security and stability in the region," a statement said.

Correspondents say, however, that Mr Ahmadinejad's speech was received coolly by some national delegations and one official was quoted complaining that he had referred to the stretch of water separating Iran and the Arab Gulf states as the "Persian Gulf".

The council, made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates was founded in 1980 to strengthen Arab Gulf States after the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war.

Gulf states urge peace with Iran (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7127451.stm)


Title: More on ImaNutjobs proposing for formation of Int'l Islamic Criminal Court
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2007, 10:36:32 PM
President proposes formation of Int'l Islamic Criminal Court
Tehran, Dec 4, IRNA

Iran-Judiciary-Court
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proposed on Tuesday an International Islamic court be formed to prosecute international criminals.

He made the suggestion in his opening speech at the first meeting of judiciary heads of the Islamic states, started in Tehran this morning.

"An international Islamic court should be established to prosecute international criminals, war criminals and those who fearlessly violate others' rights and bring threats and bitterness to their lives," said the president.

Addressing judiciary heads of 57 Islamic states from Asia, Africa and Central Asia, President Ahmadinejad stressed that formation of the international Islamic court "is a must."

"This will present to the world a pattern of justice-based judgment and free the Islamic states from referring to others," the president stressed.

He also urged Muslim scholars in the field of Islamic laws "to formulate a plan for holding permanent consultations to review ways of prosecution."

President Ahmadinejad also called for establishment of a judiciary union by Islamic states for following up suggestions discussed during the three-day meeting of the Islamic states judiciary heads.

Respecting justice is the basis in all judiciary affairs, stressed the president.

President proposes formation of Int'l Islamic Criminal Court (http://www2.irna.ir/en/news/view/line-17/0712049774122004.htm)


Title: Lebanese minister praises Iran's new interaction with regional countries
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2007, 10:38:08 PM
Lebanese minister praises Iran's new interaction with regional countries
Beirut, Dec 5, IRNA

Lebanon-Minister-Iran
Lebanese Labor Minister Trad Hamadeh praised Iran's new interaction with regional countries, which started by President Ahmadinejad's speech in the 28th Summit meeting of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council in Doha, and called it in benefit of the whole region.

In an interview with IRNA on Wednesday, Hamadeh said, "Participation of Iran's president in the meeting removed Arabs' concerns and opened a new chapter for cooperation between Arab countries with a big power like Iran."
He called leaders of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council member states to strengthen ties with Iran and continue consultations and visits with Iranian officials.

Hamadeh added, "Visits between Iranian leaders and littoral states of Persian Gulf and dialogue about regional issues can strengthen public security in the region and create confidence for expansion of bilateral or multilateral cooperation among them."

He expressed hope that President Ahmadinejad's proposals in the Doha meeting can be put in practice, because they come from regional countries's beliefs and not dictated by aliens.

The Lebanese official continued, "Now, everybody has realized the danger of unilateral policy of the USA in support of Israel."

Lebanese minister praises Iran's new interaction with regional countries (http://www2.irna.ir/en/news/view/line-17/0712059157230116.htm)


Title: German Christian Democrats Oppose Turkey's EU Bid
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2007, 10:50:06 PM
German Christian Democrats Oppose Turkey's EU Bid

By Andreas Cremer

Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her Christian Democratic Union opposes Turkey's bid to become a full member of the European Union, the first time she has articulated outright opposition to Turkish EU membership.

``We are, have been and will remain in favor of a privileged partnership with Turkey, but we're against full membership in the European Union,'' Merkel said in a speech to the Christian Democrats' annual convention in Hanover today.

Merkel's CDU party has until now said that accession talks between the EU and Turkey mustn't rob Turkey of the eventual possibility of becoming a full member. The CDU is now ``right to clarify'' its opposition, Merkel said.

Turkey has made little headway toward joining the EU since it started membership talks in October 2005. Rising European opposition to admitting the predominantly Muslim nation has triggered a backlash against the 27-nation EU in Turkey. Sixty- eight percent of Germans oppose Turkey's EU entry, according to a Forsa poll on Aug. 10.

German Christian Democrats Oppose Turkey's EU Bid  (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601100&sid=aYrC029nzqko&refer=germany)


Title: Re: German Christian Democrats Oppose Turkey's EU Bid
Post by: Shammu on December 05, 2007, 10:56:43 PM
Germany has quite a sizable Turkish immigrant population, and there has been a lot of tension built up over it.

Now I bet your wondering why, I put this here, instead of in the "Revived Roman Empire News - the E.U." Just what part does Turkey play in the end times you may be wondering.............

It's allied to Magog  in Ezekiel 38 and 39, Beth-togarmah. Meshech and Tubal were also tribes located in Asia Minor in ancient times although they may have migrated to become Moscow and Tobolsk in Russia. Based up that prophecy and the fact that the rest of the allies named are muslim I would expect. Turkey to be continually rejected by the EU and for Turkey to become increasingly radicalized and throw in with the rest of the Middle East.

But these are just my thoughts on this.


Title: Iran, Lebanon, Russia, and India—It is about Power and Oil
Post by: Shammu on December 06, 2007, 04:44:23 PM
Iran, Lebanon, Russia, and India—It is about Power and Oil
By David J. Jonsson

For Muslims, three cities of the Christian faith have particular significance: Jerusalem, Constantinople and Rome. The fall of Constantinople is described in detail in my earlier book, The Clash of Ideologies--The Making of the Christian and Islamic Worlds. Iran with its relations and support of Hamas and Hezbollah now has access to the Mediterranean and is the neighbor of Jerusalem. Italy was the first country from which Iran withdrew is funds. In my new book, Islamic Economics and the Final Jihad – The Muslim Brotherhood to the Leftist/Marxist – Islamist Alliance, I discuss how this Alliance is coalescing on a global scale through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and Mercosur in South America. Although, the world is focused on the potential for destruction by Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), the real potential for an economic holocaust exists as discussed in the book: Islamic Economics and the Final Jihad. The asymmetric War being waged is occurring simultaneously through terrorism, military action and economic means. The conflicts in the Middle East can not resolved leading to sustainable peace until the U.S. and the West develop a strategy for energy security and self-sufficiency. Implementing a strategy for self-sufficiency will needless to say be expensive and require sacrifice. Continued military action and endless conferences will not resolve the issues. The unacceptable alternate option is to accept totalitarian rule and elimination of our freedom and liberty.

# Similarities to Events Leading up to WW1
# The Rise of Shiite Power in the Gulf
# The Three Factions in the Struggle for World Domination
# The Rome Conference, the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973-4 and the Euro-Arab Dialog (EAD)
# The Taef Accord of 1989
# The Arc of Shiite Control vs. the Sunni Pan-Islam
# The Roles of Hezbollah and Al Qaeda
# Russia and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)
# Venezuela and Mecosur Flame the Fires of Conflict
# Venezuela and Egypt to Gain Seats on the United Nations Security Council
# Russia and Iran Challenge OPEC – Russia Leaves the West?
# The Role of the Petroleum Commons
# Sunni Terrorism Spreads East
# The Apocalyptic Teaching of Islam
# Conclusion

Similarities to Events Leading up to WW1

Recent events in Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt make it imperative that we pay heed to the apocalyptic teachings of Islam—both Shia and Sunni. Then you must also recall the events of 1914 leading up to WW1. One should also consider that following WW1 and the fall of Ottoman Empire’ the secular government of Ataturk in Turkey was formed and also that following these events the Muslim Brotherhood was formed. Today, Turkey is again an Islamic state.

The assassination of the Austrian archduke by a Serbian nationalist terrorist provided the senescent Austro-Hungarian Empire the excuse it had been looking for to wipe out the Serbian nationalists, which provoked the pan-Slavic nationalists at work for the czar to threaten the Austro-Hungarians with destruction, which led Germany's Kaiser to pledge retaliatory war against Russia, which prompted the French, who had an anti-German alliance with Russia, to begin mobilization. . . . Nobody wanted global conflagration, yet nobody knew how to stop it, and the American president (Woodrow Wilson, who was not yet a Wilsonian) did nothing to help avert the coming war. Within a month, the war came, and it took the remainder of the 20th century for the world to fully recover.

The Leftist activists of the world are decrying the “lack of proportionality” in Israel’s response to the unprovoked attack on its military personnel and civilians within the State of Israel, it would be important to recall a similar episode in United States history.

In a personal communication from Dr. Steve Carol Senior Fellow Center for Advanced Middle East Studies he recalled the situation on March 6, 1916, where a group of 360 Villistas (followers of Pancho Villa) crossed the international border between the United States and Mexico and attacked the town of Columbus, New Mexico. Their immediate goal was to obtain weapons from the nearby headquarters of the U.S. 13th Cavalry. 18 Americans were killed and additional 9 were killed in pursuit of the attackers back to the border. German agents directed by Luther Wertz, a key German operative in Mexico, led the raid. Germany wanted to keep the United States out of World War I, which was then raging, and sought to divert U.S. attention from Europe to south of the border.

The unprovoked attack on the United States triggered demands for retaliation and punishment of the raiders. There was no talk of “proportional” response.

As a result, President Woodrow Wilson ordered General John J. “Blackjack” Pershing and 6,000 American troops on a “Punitive Expedition” into Mexico. The force crossed into Mexico some two weeks after the initial attack and would penetrate some 300 miles into Mexico. During its nine-month stay in Mexico, U.S. forces would clash with Villistas as well as with Mexican Federal troops.

The Villistas again attacked the United States on May 5, 1916, raiding Glen Springs and Borquilla, Texas. This prompted President Wilson to send an additional force of 8,000 troops into Mexico. On June 18th he additionally called up the Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona National Guard and sent 150,000 men to patrol the U.S. border. Wilson also placed an arms embargo on Mexico, which included food and even horses.

On June 24th there was a clash between U.S. and Mexican forces at Carrizal, with 84 U.S. soldiers being surrounded by superior Mexican forces. Over half escaped but 14 were killed and 24 U.S. servicemen were taken prisoner.

Wilson’s reaction was immediate. The next day he demanded the released of the captured soldiers and to back up his demands he mobilized the entire U.S. National Guard and incorporated it into the regular army. He dispatched American warships to patrol and enforce a blockade on Mexican ports on both its east and west coasts. All the American prisoners were released five days later on June 30th. There was no talk of a “lack of proportionality.”

U.S. forces while in Mexico, did not catch Pancho Villa, but they crippled his ability to strike at the United States and inflicted heavy casualties on his forces.

The American force was withdrawn, unexpectedly, on January 25, 1917, not due to any Mexican or international pressure, but rather because the U.S. had obtained information that Germany intended to resume unrestricted submarine warfare, a step that would bring the U.S. into World War I. Additionally the U.S. had obtained proof, via the Zimmermann Telegram that Germany was seeking an anti-U.S. alliance with both Mexico and Japan. Thus the U.S. force was withdrawn so as not to give Mexico additional cause for considering such an alliance.

I review this familiar history for those of us (myself included) who've been wondering how the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers (and the killing of eight others in the Hezbollah raid) has escalated in less than a week to what may be the brink of a cataclysmic regional war with ghastly global implications. The two crises and the sets of conflicting forces are by no means parallel, but in each the power of nationalism, the sense of national victimization, the need for revenge, the opportunity for miscalculation, the illusion of attainable victory, and all-around fear and rage loom large.

If you thought that the latest Middle East crisis is just another in the endless war of Arabs and Jews killing each other, you’re wrong. There is a telltale sign that there is a major new development underlying this bloodshed and mayhem.

That sign: the world's Arab powers have not launched their customary tirades against Israel. Indeed, astonishingly, the collective voice of the Arab world, the 22-nation Arab League, has criticized the Hezbollah, the Iranian Shiite Muslim sponsored terrorist group that is attacking Israel from Lebanese territory. This should not be interpreted, as some have described, as a moderation of their anti-Semitic position toward Israel. The Arab League blamed Hezbollah for “unexpected, inappropriate and irresponsible acts” in kidnapping two Israeli soldiers and launching missiles at Israel. It is the first time that the Arab League has criticized any Muslim force engaged in a war against Israel. Thus, setting the stage for the renewed conflict between Shia and Sunni on a world scale.

cont'd next post!!


Title: Re: Iran, Lebanon, Russia, and India—It is about Power and Oil
Post by: Shammu on December 06, 2007, 04:46:14 PM
The Rise of Shiite Power in the Gulf

Although there is no such thing as pan-Shiism, or even a unified leadership of the community, the Shiites share a coherent religious view since splitting off from the Sunnis in the seventh century over who was the legitimate successor that was to lead the Muslims. As described in Islamic Economics and the Final Jihad, the lack of a unified leadership does not preclude their desire to form the Ummah (Islamic community) among all Shiites. The Shia have developed their own concept of jurisprudence (Shariah – Islamic Law) and practice. The separate schools of jurisprudence do in fact complicate Islamic financial transactions.

The sheer size of the Shia population today makes them a powerful constituency. Shiite population accounts for 90 percent of Iranians, the majority in Iraq, some 75 percent in Bahrain and 45 percent of Lebanon. Some 70 percent of the people living in the Gulf region are Shiites.

Why is Hezbollah making provocative attacks on Israel? Iran sees itself as the region's great power. Iran is feeling under threat, and, at the same time, feeling a surge in its own potential power. It feels under threat because the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have brought American forces onto its frontiers. However the Shiites seek to cooperate in a limited fashion with the U.S. in Iraq, maintaining a measured degree of instability to keep the pressure on the Sunnis until they have accomplished their goal of total control. Keeping the U.S. bogged down in Iraq, opening the new front in Lebanon reduces the pressure on Iran and their nuclear ambitions and prevents attention to potential near conflicts in Latin America as we discuss below.

This role of the U.S. in Iraq emboldened the rise of Shiism throughout the region. The Middle East that will emerge from the crucible of the Iraq War may not be more democratic, but it will be more Shiite and it will be more fractious. Such actions will lead to the desire of both Shia and Sunnis to increase armaments of WMDs including nuclear capability and likelihood of further armed conflict. It should be remembered that far more people have been killed in the conflicts between Sunni and Shiites than between the Arabs and Israel.

And it is this sense of vulnerability that is helping stir the thrill of its own potential power. Yes, the invasion of Iraq did bring the U.S. uncomfortably close to Iran, but it also removed the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, a trenchant enemy.

The invasion of Iraq also gave new urgency to the Iranian project to acquire the nuclear bomb, an act of insurance lest the U.S. decides to move against another of the “axis of evil” states. In the interim, however, the chaos in Iraq and America's apparent helplessness has tempted Iran to think of the U.S. as being weak.

And the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as President has reinvigorated the revolutionary fervor and apocalyptic teaching in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq on July 19 forcefully denounced the Israeli attacks on Lebanon, marking a sharp break with President Bush's position and highlighting the growing power of a Shiite Muslim identity across the Middle East.

The comments by al-Maliki, a Shiite Arab whose party has close ties to Iran, were noticeably stronger than those made by Sunni Arab governments in recent days. Those governments have refused to take an unequivocal stand on Lebanon, reflecting their concern about the growing influence of Iran, which has a Shiite majority and has been accused by Israel of providing weapons to Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militant group.

A growing number of Iraqi officials have stepped forward in recent days to condemn Israel. Their stance also calls into question one of the rationales for the U.S. invasion of Iraq - that a U.S.-backed democratic state here would become an ally of Israel and catalyze a change of attitude across the rest of the Arab world.

Saudi Arabia is also upset by the possibility of Iran developing nuclear capability and hence will probably not standby without developing their nuclear capability, which in all likelihood is underway.


The Three Factions in the Struggle for World Domination

The recent world events lead one to the conclusion that there are three principle players in this current struggle—the Shia faction represented by Iran and their surrogate pawns represented by the Hezbollah or Hizbollah/Hizbullah or Hezb'Allah (meaning Party of God) in Lebanon and Syria, Hamas in Palestine, the Sunni faction including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other predominant Sunni countries and the Israel aligned with the United States. However as reported by Lydia Georgi - RIYADH in Middle East Online it should be noted that Saudi Arabia, has indirectly blamed the Iranian-backed Hezbollah for Israel's onslaught against Lebanon, is wary of Tehran using Arab states to pursue its own agenda, experts said July 18, 2006. The oil-rich kingdom last week accused the Shiite militant movement, without naming it, of “adventurism” that put all Arab countries at risk by capturing two Israeli soldiers and triggering Israel's offensive.

“It is necessary to make a distinction between legitimate resistance and uncalculated adventurism by certain elements,” an official source said.

“The kingdom is not concerned by the extension of Iran's influence per se but by the fact that it uses Arab countries such as Syria, Lebanon and Iraq to pursue its political interests,” commentator Qenan al-Ghamdi a columnist for the Saudi Al-Watan daily, said.

“When these countries land in trouble, it is Saudi Arabia that bears the consequences, as happened in Lebanon in the past and will happen again now” after the devastation caused by Israel's attacks, he said.

Some will recall that back in 2000, Hezbollah was held up by fellow Shiites as well as Sunnis and some Christians as a model for resisting Israel. The division today springs from the reality that did not exist six years ago—the rise to power of the Shiites in Iraq and the recurrence of increasing tensions between the Shiites and Sunni.

The withholding of condemnation of Israel by Saudi Arabia did not last long. In a report by Aljazeera on July 25, 2006, the Saudi king Abdullah has warned that war could break out in the Middle East if attempts to broker peace in the region fail. In a statement read out on state television on Tuesday, King Abdullah said, "If the option of peace fails as a result of Israeli arrogance, then the only option remaining will be war, and God alone knows what the region would witness in a conflict that would spare no one."

His remarks were unusually forthright for the world's top oil exporter, which has called for ceasefire but blamed Lebanon's Hizbollah guerrilla group for the crisis that has so far killed at least 413 people in Lebanon and 42 Israelis.

The comments also appeared to be aimed at the United States, Israel's ally that has resisted calls for an immediate ceasefire.

Saudi Arabia pledged $500 million to rebuild Lebanon and $250 million for the Palestinians. The kingdom will also transfer $1 billion to Lebanon's central bank to help its economy.

The diplomat said the financial support was a sign of a tussle for influence once the fighting stops in Lebanon between Iran, backing Hizbollah, and Arab states, behind the government.


The Rome Conference, the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973-4 and the Euro-Arab Dialog (EAD)

The Rome Conference on Lebanon takes place on July 26. Among those expected at the Rome conference are: the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the World Bank, the United Nations and the European Union.

The recent events are a reminder of the events leading to the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973-74, which then led to the Euro-Arab Dialog (EAD) that pitted European countries against the U.S. in need to gain access to oil. It was also the EAD that led to the beginning of the Islamization of Europe. The events surrounding the Embargo and the EAD are documented in Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis by Bat Ye’Or and Islamic Economics and the Final Jihad.

Senator Richard Lugar, a Republican from Indiana who is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a speech this year, “No one who is honestly assessing the decline of U.S. leverage around the world due to our energy dependence can fail to see that energy is the albatross of U.S. national security.”


The Taef Accord of 1989

Saudi Arabia sponsored and hosted the Taef accord of 1989 which ended Lebanon's 15-year civil war in 1990 and has since helped fund its reconstruction. In the current crisis, it has offered 50 million dollars in immediate aid.

The Taif accords transferred power away from the Lebanese presidency, traditionally given to Maronites, and invested it in a cabinet divided equally between Muslims and Christians. The Taif accords also declared the intention of extending Lebanese government sovereignty over southern Lebanon. Though Israel eventually withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000, armed Hizbollah militia remained in control of the area, apparently maintaining a tacit arrangement whereby Hezbollah could harass Israel within limits, but not so seriously that it would provoke a massive retaliation. The Hezbollah essentially created a separate state within Lebanon. A state that did not benefit from the economic gains in the Lebanon reconstruction after the civil war.

Even if Syria, which is an ally of Shiite Iran and likewise a supporter of Hezbollah, were attacked by Israel, Saudi Arabia would also end up footing the bill.

A member of the appointed Shura (consultative) Council, who asked not to be named, said Saudi Arabia could not sit back and watch Lebanon being used “as an arena for settling scores or waging proxy wars”.

cont'd next post!!


Title: Re: Iran, Lebanon, Russia, and India—It is about Power and Oil
Post by: Shammu on December 06, 2007, 04:48:09 PM
The Arc of Shiite Control vs. the Sunni Pan-Islam

At the same time the Shia faction has built up their alliance of countries stretching from Iran to the Mediterranean—including Iraq, Syria and recently Lebanon and Palestine. It has been the long-term goal of the Sunnis to build a Pan-Arabic Ummah stretching from Indonesia to Andalusia (Spain). The only country blocking total access is Israel. A result of the Iraq war was to oust control by the Sunnis from Iraq and replace it with a Shia dominated government. In many respects this has placed the U.S. military in the crosshairs of the Sunni faction. According to report in the Financial Times on July 20, 2006, to appease the Sunnis, the U.S. yesterday said it had decided not to impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia over its policies towards religious practices and minorities following commitments by the kingdom to halt the dissemination of extremist ideology and to promote tolerance of non-Muslims.

John Hanford, ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, was due to explain to Congress why the State Department would issue a waiver for Saudi Arabia under the Religious Freedom Act. Saudi Arabia was designated a “country of particular concern” under the act in 2004.

The Roles of Hezbollah and Al Qaeda

Hezbollah and al Qaeda are known to have cooperated in the past, but it doesn't appear they have worked together closely. The main reason for this is sectarian. Al-Qaeda is mostly made up of Sunni Muslims and Hezbollah is mostly Shiite Muslims. However, in spite of comments above, there is a recent trend for Sunnis and Shiites to cooperate against a common enemy, i.e., the United States and Israel, so don't be surprised if something more turns up. Hezbollah is trying to both destabilize Lebanon's anti-Syrian government and promote itself as a powerful, regional, revolutionary group. Hezbollah seeks influence beyond Lebanon.

According to Daniel Byman director of Georgetown University's Center for Peace and Security Studies writing in Foreign Affairs in the November/December 2003 issue: “In the U.S. demonology of terrorism, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda are relative newcomers. For most of the past two decades, Hezbollah has claimed pride of place as the top concern of U.S. counter terrorism officials. It was Hezbollah that pioneered the use of suicide bombing, and its record of attacks on the United States and its allies would make even bin Laden proud: the bombing of the U.S. marine barracks in Beirut in 1983 and the U.S. embassy there in 1983 and 1984; the hijacking of TWA flight 847 and murder of U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem in 1985; a series of lethal attacks on Israeli targets in Lebanon; the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Argentina in 1992 and of a Buenos Aires Jewish community center in 1994. More recently, Hezbollah operatives have plotted to blow up the Israeli embassy in Thailand, and a Lebanese member of Hezbollah was indicted for helping to design the truck bomb that flattened the Khobar Towers U.S. military base in Saudi Arabia in 1996. As CIA director George Tenet testified earlier this year, “Hezbollah, as an organization with capability and worldwide presence, is [al Qaeda's] equal, if not a far more capable organization. I actually think they're a notch above in many respects.”“

Aside from al Qaeda, no terrorist group has killed more Americans than Hezbollah, which is bankrolled by Iran to the tune of at least $100 million a year. Hezbollah's main theaters of operation are Lebanon, its home country (where it killed hundreds of Americans during the 1980s), and the West Bank and Gaza, where it helps Palestinian rejectionists target Israel. But the group is active in the United States as well. Hezbollah is believed to have cells in at least 10 U.S. cities, according to an article in the Washington Times on May 24, 2005. It is interesting to note that Hezbollah operatives have sneeked into the U.S from Mexico. In March 2005, Mahmoud Kourani of Dearborn pleaded guilty to providing material support for Hezbollah. He will be sentenced next month. Kourani (whose brother is Hezbollah's chief of military security in southern Lebanon) is an illegal alien who sneaked into the United States from Mexico in February 2001. Federal authorities have repeatedly arrested suspected Hezbollah operatives for attempting to smuggle night-vision goggles and other military equipment to the organization. One suspect, arrested in 1998, skipped bail and fled to Lebanon before returning to the United States last year to face federal charges. In 2003, a federal court convicted a Hezbollah cell based in Charlotte, N.C., on charges of aiding Hezbollah by operating a cigarette-smuggling ring. The leader of that group, Mohammed Hammoud, received 155 years in prison.


Russia and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

Russia also has a stake in this conflict. Russia brought Iran into the SCO and was rewarded by being admitted as an observer into the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). Iran is also a major market for Russia and China—both members of the SCO. Both Russia and China are active in investment and weapon supply to Venezuela—a leading member of Mercosur. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said on July 14 that U.S. backing of Israel is responsible for flaming tensions in the Middle East and putting the world on course toward another “Holocaust.”

cont'd next post!!


Title: Re: Iran, Lebanon, Russia, and India—It is about Power and Oil
Post by: Shammu on December 06, 2007, 04:50:18 PM
Venezuela and Mecosur Flame the Fires of Conflict

“The fundamental blame falls again on the U.S. empire. It's the empire that armed and supported the abuses of the Israeli elite, which has invaded, abused and defied the United Nations for a long time,” Chávez said in a speech during a military act in Caracas.

It should be noted that Venezuela is a major oil suppler to the U.S. and through their Citgo, which is wholly-owned by Petróleos de Venezuela. On July 12, Venezuela's state-owned oil refining subsidiary in the U.S. is to halt petrol distribution to about 1,900 filling stations in the U.S., although the company denied on Wednesday the decision was motivated by tensions between Caracas and Washington.

Latin America accounts for 8.4 per cent of daily world oil output, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, but energy supplies from the region make up 30 per cent of U.S. energy imports, or about 4m barrels a day.

According to an article in the Financial Times on June 25, future supplies of oil from Latin America are at risk because of the spread of resource nationalism [The doctrine of the Petroleum Commons.], a study by the U.S. military that reflects growing concerns in the U.S. administration over energy security has found.

An internal report prepared by the U.S. military’s Southern Command and obtained by the Financial Times follows a recent U.S. congressional investigation that warned of the U.S.’s vulnerability to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s repeated threats to “cut off” oil shipments to the U.S.

In an article in the Financial Times on July 24, Andy Webb-Vidal in Caracas reported that: Richard Lugar, chairman of the US Senate foreign relations committee, has urged the Bush administration to adopt specific “contingency plans” for a potential disruption to oil supplies from Venezuela.

In a letter sent to Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state, last Friday, a copy of which has been obtained by the Financial Times, Mr Lugar warned the US that it needed to “abandon” reliance on a “passive approach” to energy diplomacy.

Mr Lugar's warning follows the release last month of an investigation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) which found that the US was ill-prepared for an oil embargo by Venezuela, the world's fifth largest exporter. President Hugo Chávez, whose government has been emboldened by a torrent of oil revenues, has several times warned that he would “cut off” oil supplies to the US if Washington persisted in allegedly plotting his overthrow.

“Venezuela's leverage over global oil prices and its direct supply lines and refining capacity in the US give Venezuela undue ability to impact US security and our economy,” Mr Lugar wrote in his letter to Ms Rice.

The GAO study, commissioned by Mr Lugar, a Republican, estimated that a Venezuelan oil boycott would raise oil prices by $11 (€9, £6) per barrel over a six-month period and reduce US economic output by $23bn.

Bernardo Alvarez, Venezuela's ambassador to the US, dismissed as “absurd” the GAO study's premise that Mr Chávez would purposefully shut off oil supplies, citing the economic impact it would have on his own country. Venezuela ships two-thirds of its oil to the US, or about 1.5m b/d and oil accounts for about 80 per cent of export revenue and half of fiscal revenue.

However it should be noted that Venezuela is currently constructing super tankers to move its oil to China.

Hugo Chávez, a cast of thousands of demonstrators and a guest appearance by Cuba's Fidel Castro made the July 20, 2006 summit of Mercosur, the South American trade pact, very different from those of the past. Normally a humdrum affair, full of dull deliberations about trade technicalities and pious hopes for a brighter, more integrated future, the presence of Venezuela's always-controversial leader in particular livened up proceedings.

Having dropped the suit and tie sported at the Mercosur presidential summit earlier on Friday in favour of his customary olive-green fatigues, the Cuban leader's anti-US rhetoric was rivalled - if not in length - by a fiery warm-up address from his admirer, Hugo Chávez of Venezuela.

Following formal accession this month, Venezuela is one of five full members of Mercosur, along with Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. The bloc's area of influence now stretches from the Caribbean in the north to Patagonia in the south.

Indeed, both Argentina and Brazil formally encouraged Bolivia to become the sixth full member of the group, while Mexico's foreign minister, Ernesto Derbez, said he hoped Mexico would become an associate member of the group - along with Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru - before Vicente Fox's presidency comes to an end in December.

On paper at least, Venezuelan membership ought to be good news, but for the U.S and the West, is it?

Together, the pact's five countries constitute what should become a single market of 250m people. Intra-regional trade, already recovering strongly from the financial crises of 1999 and 2001-2002, should get a fresh boost from Venezuela's vast oil wealth - and Mr. Chávez.

Venezuela, for example with Argentina, have also unveiled plans to jointly raise money on international markets, with a bond deal that Néstor Kirchner, Argentina's president, said could be “the first step in the construction of a multinational development bank, a financial space in the South”. See: Venezuela to put pep into Mercosur summit. One target of such a bank is to attack the hegemony of the U.S. dollar.

Hugo Chávez's appearance at the Mercosur summit in the Argentine city of Córdoba will be just the first stage of his most extensive global tour to date.

Over the next two weeks, the Venezuelan president will visit at least seven countries, mostly in Asia, plus, as he put it before his departure, “perhaps some in the Middle East and a few in Africa on the way”.

Officially, the former army officer says his oil-financed mission is to deliver a “message of peace” and to “save the world”.

But his journey will also entail a serious lobbying effort to secure diplomatic support for Venezuela's bid to secure a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council that will be available soon.

cont'd next post!!


Title: Re: Iran, Lebanon, Russia, and India—It is about Power and Oil
Post by: Shammu on December 06, 2007, 04:51:34 PM
Venezuela and Egypt to Gain Seats on the United Nations Security Council

According to a report on Venezuela Analysis.com on July 19, 2006, Venezuela is being granted observer member status in the Arab League, which is also expected to support Venezuela’s bid for a UN Security Council seat. These two announcements coincide with the second Arab-South American Summit, which took place the week of July 19 in Caracas. These events of the recent weeks give further credibility of the Leftist/Marxist – Islamist Alliance and their control of world oil and other natural resources.

Under the shadow of an escalating war in the Middle East, the second Arab-South American Summit got underway in Caracas. Building on the first ever meeting a year ago in Brazil, delegations from fifteen Arab countries and twelve South American nations are gathering for two days to assess the progress of political, economics, cultural, environmental, and technological agreements reached in 2005. In addition, leaders attending the summit focused attention on the host country’s admission into the Arab league, the UN Security Council bids of Venezuela and Egypt, and the current crisis engulfing the Middle East.

In the first order of business, Venezuela was granted observer status in the Arab league. Membership will be formalized in September, when Venezuela joins its neighbor Brazil and several OPEC partners in the 22-nation group. More than 10 million people of Arab descent live in South America, most of them in Brazil.

President Chávez also secured Arab League support for Venezuela’s UN Security Council bid. “We expect 22 countries to support the (Venezuela) candidacy.” Stated Ahmed Benhelli, Secretary General of the Arab League of Nations. With Arab League assistance, Foreign Affairs Minister Alí Rodríguez Araque on Tuesday guaranteed Venezuela has obtained more than the 128 votes necessary to win a non-permanent seat at the Security Council, as a number of international organizations have already agreed to support Caracas, including the Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom) and the Common Market of the South (Mercosur). In return for Arab league backing, Egypt is seeking South American support in its Security Council bid.

This development comes on the heels of President Chávez’s harsh condemnation of recent Israeli attacks against Lebanon. On Sunday President Chávez bashed the “elite” in Israel, whom he accused of being aggressive at the behest of the United States. The incursions into Lebanon and Gaza were labeled “madness” by the President, as he went on to note Israel has nuclear weapons of mass destruction, “but nobody says anything because behind it is the empire” – a reference to the Bush Administration.

The official position of the Venezuelan government was released the day before when the Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a press release that stated, “The Bush Administration veto to impede the consideration of this crisis within the framework of the U.N. Security Council is unacceptable. The hegemony exercised over this body is the clearest denial of said organization as a space for reasonable settlement of conflicts. This is the reason why our country keeps firmly upholding the necessity of democratizing this body, and therefore endeavors for a seat on the Security Council.”

It should be noted that Russia as a result of control of large hydrocarbon reserves is a major economic power to contend with. Europe is beholden to gas supplies from Russia. Russia supports Iran—both in support of the Hezbollah and the nuclear program and as a weapon supplier to Latin America-Venezuela and Africa. Russia and China are the leading members of the SCO with Iran in an observer status. Russia also holds observer status in the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).

Russia and Iran Challenge OPEC – Russia Leaves the West?

Russia on the one hand is challenging OPEC for oil dominance and simultaneously challenging the hegemony of the U.S. dollar through the oil weapon. These actions merge in the form of Leftist/Marxist – Islamist Alliance. From the Russian perspective, the Saudi role and OPEC model have benefited the United States, which can pressure Saudi Arabia into opening the spigot to deal with supply emergencies; the U.S. also pressures other oil producers, such as Libya, Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, and Indonesia, by military methods, diplomacy, and economic sanctions. In the Russian alternative, the U.S. will be far less influential, and have fewer levers, commercial or military, to effect pressure on the energy suppliers. Russian arms and defense-industry partnerships are on offer to relatively weak, intervention-prone energy producers in Africa and Latin America to offset U.S. pressure.

A global movement toward the Russian model would greatly increase the impact of the oil weapon.

In the OPEC model, the benchmark is Brent crude, priced in U.S. dollars. In the Russian model, the discount and disadvantage between the Brent and Urals benchmarks will be reduced, and pricing will evolve toward a currency basket, including the ruble. According to the Moscow Times on May 16, a senior economic official said Monday that Russia would have a domestic petroleum exchange—an idea backed by President Vladimir Putin last week—up and running by year's end, but experts doubted whether oil would trade internationally in rubles anytime soon.

Deputy Economic Development and Trade Minister Kirill Androsov, who is also a Rosneft board director, said a domestic exchange for oil products would begin trading by the end of 2006 and an international exchange that would sell crude oil sometime in 2007, RIA-Novosti reported.

According to Iran News and Iranian Culture Journal of July 6, Iran will start the initial phase of its planned Iranian oil bourse at the end of September. An oil ministry official told that his ministry had already presented the relevant documents to the economic and finance ministry and the bourse organization. See also: Structural Changes – Destruction Of The U.S. Dollar.

In the OPEC model, suppliers hold much of their cash and government securities in U.S.-controlled institutions. In the Russian model, cash is held in the form of a currency basket; conversion from cash is sought into non-U.S. assets, particularly in the European market. In the Iran Oil Bourse oil trade would be Euro initally.

In the OPEC model, investment in new energy reserves should be open to, and may be controlled by, U.S. corporations and foreign government national oil companies. However, in most Islamic countries, private and foreign ownership is governed by Islamic Law (Shariah) laws.

According to the Topic Report: Access to Global Oil & Gas Reserves by Britt Dearman published January 23, 2006 Dearman is the originator and editor of Weekly Energy Perspective; IOC’s can participate to some extent in the upstream business in these countries, the bulk of the reserves ownership is dominated by countries with national oil companies (NOC’s). An estimated two-thirds of all global oil reserves are controlled by NOC’s. A large number of countries require that IOC’s partner with NOC’s in upstream developments or they allow IOC’s to provide only services. An internal Apache study estimates that IOC’s have full access to less than 10% of all of the world’s reserves.

IOC’s generally have strict investment guidelines. Limited access to upstream investment opportunities tends to increase competition among IOC’s, which reduces the return for the eventual winners. In addition, countries are extracting more from IOC’s and/or changing the rules. For example, Russia and Venezuela have collected back taxes from companies because of new tax law interpretations. They have also used the state’s power to acquire assets or to force more favorable terms for upstream activity.

The extraction of more money from oil companies is not limited to Russia and Venezuela. The U.K. raised the corporate tax rate on oil companies and some politicians in the U.S. are considering a windfall profits tax again. The timing for the U.K is remarkable because they became net importers of gas last year, thus making them partially dependent on Russian gas supply and are expected to become a net oil importer this year. The U.K. is taking away from oil company’s funds that could be reinvested to increase production and energy security in the country. Countries including Ecuador and Bolivia have also imposed new restrictions or nationalized the assets of the IOC’s.

Even the Democrat controlled State Legislature in California is attempting to pass laws that are hostile to the IOCs, including a plan to tax windfall profits and a proposal to regulate refineries as public utilities.

Some countries with NOC’s have different incentives than IOC’s such as security of supply. They have more at stake (e.g. - growing an entire economy) than earning a rate of return on its investment. NOC’s are also in a position to make different types of offers that IOC’s cannot match. For example, China NOC’s can work in countries that are off-limits to U.S. companies. China can also offer trade agreements and potential political support.

cont'd next post!!


Title: Re: Iran, Lebanon, Russia, and India—It is about Power and Oil
Post by: Shammu on December 06, 2007, 04:53:30 PM
The Role of the Petroleum Commons

IOC’s have the technology, the capital and the expertise needed to increase global production. The political actions of countries, state legislatures and potentially the actions of the Global Compact within the framework of the United Nations have done more to limit the availability of oil than any other factor.

Demand for natural gas is rising rapidly. Russia and Iran control 50 per cent of global reserves. For a comprehensive analysis of the role of Petroleum Commons influence on the International Oil Companies (IOCs) see: Islamic Economics and the Final Jihad – The Muslim Brotherhood to the Leftist/Marxist – Islamist Alliance. In the Russian model, national companies, state-controlled champions, or joint ventures in which Russian interests are in the majority should control strategic reserves. According to MOSCOW Reuters on July 16, Russian state oil firm Rosneft, which last week raised $10.4 billion (5.7 billion pounds) in the country's largest-ever IPO, said on Monday the government would control around 85 percent of its stock after the flotation.

Rosneft said in its final IPO prospectus the share of the Russian Federation would be 85.2 percent if the IPO's global coordinators do not exercise the over-allotment option, and 84.8 percent if they exercise it in full.

According to John Helmer writing in the Asia Times on July 18, in the U.S.-backed OPEC model, national suppliers depend on U.S.-controlled market intermediaries, traders, pipeline and shipping companies, and retail distributors for access to markets and point of sale. In the Russian model, in exchange for access to Russian energy supplies, there will be Russian state-controlled champions in energy transportation. Russian state-controlled corporations will also have investments and influence over trade and market retail networks.

The Russian model also extends to energy-convertible coal, uranium, and other mineral resources. Through negotiations for Russian accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the U.S., Australia, Canada and other resource-exporting states have sought to gain unlimited access to search and development of Russian mineable resources. The Russian model rejects this, and instead assigns priority and equity control of domestic resources to national resource companies. The model proposes tradeoffs and partnerships in resource exploitation in third countries, especially the developing states.

The U.S.-backed OPEC model assigns international priority to the Arab states. The Russian model assigns priority to the Central Asian alliance, including China, India, and Iran—all members of the SCO; secondarily to Latin America (Venezuela, Brazil—Mercosur); and ultimately Africa.

On this fundamental choice between the Russian and OPEC models, Russia is waiting to hear where South Africa stands. One thing is clear - South Africa's dependence on OPEC for its crude-oil imports has been growing. In 1996, 75% of South Africa's oil imports came from the Persian Gulf states, led by Iran. In 2003 - the latest year for which figures are available - this had grown to 78%. Saudi Arabia has also jumped ahead of Iran as the leading supplier. Nigeria is the leading African supplier of oil to South Africa, with 16% of total in 2003. Imports from Russia are possible, but have been negligible so far.


Sunni Terrorism Spreads East

The Sunnis are active in the terrorism war with bomb attacks on transportation infrastructure in London, Spain, and India. The Bangalesh and Pakistan links are also connected to the terrorist acts in India. Since the last few years, it came to light that ISI and various militant organizations based in Pakistan are using Bangladesh as a transit point for pushing terrorists into India. Indian security agencies have flight details and details of armed training camps in the neighboring country. With the tightening of security on the Pakistan border, export of terror from Bangladesh has become a reality, and the extension of the terror network to other parts of the country is a potential threat to India’s security.

The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) www.persecution.org has learned that Bangladesh's ruling party (the BNP) is becoming ideologically allied with fundamentalist Islamic elements within the country and is maneuvering to steal the upcoming election. If this effort succeeds it will have disastrous results for democracy and for Christians alike.

ICC is especially concerned that the inclusion of Islamic fundamentalist parties in the government threatens to undermine this country's democratic process and commitment to human rights, especially religious freedom. It is extremely disconcerting that the current ruling party's senior joint secretary-general recently proclaimed at a Jamaat meeting that, “We are members of the same family.”

If the BNP is truly in bed with Islamic fundamentalists, it is no wonder that Islamic militants have been so successful in carrying out terrorist attacks in recent months. Within the past year more than 30 have died and 150 have been wounded in terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists, including two Christian health workers who were hacked to death on July 29, 2005.


The Apocalyptic Teaching of Islam

The totalitarian temptation remains powerfully in place. Muslims across the world are drawn by the apocalyptic teachings of Islam with its slogan “Islam is the solution.” That was the case from Iran in 1979 to Algeria in 1992 to Turkey in 2002, to the Paris riots in 2005 to the actions of the Hezbollah and Hamas in recent weeks.


Conclusion

The world stands today at the precipice dividing the eras of the post-Cold War which we have know since 1989–one of expanding democracy and free markets–and a new world order which is unknown and certainly a much less prosperous and friendly place. The Leftist/Marxist - Islamist Alliance through joining together a global cabal of nations for the control of the world’s energy infrastructure, finance, media and transportation assets present a real and current danger to the West. The cost of defending a policy of Energy Interdependence as a cornerstone of foreign policy is huge in terms of potential loss of lives and impact on our economy. The West and particularly America cannot maintain our economy by assuming that the developing world along with the “recycle” of oil wealth will continue to provide a market for debt and our energy resources without extracting the huge price of our security, freedom and liberty. Spreading democracy requires us to take responsibility for our financing and energy needs. A program leading to Energy Independence is both feasible and desirable. The risk is failing to act now to make the world a safer and environmentally sustainable place for our children to grow up.

Iran, Lebanon, Russia, and India—It is about Power and Oil (http://globalpolitician.com/articles.asp?ID=1981&print=true)


Title: Cold War deja vu in Kosovo
Post by: Shammu on December 06, 2007, 05:07:16 PM
Cold War deja vu in Kosovo

Russia and the U.S. are on opposing sides of the dispute between Serbs and ethnic Albanians.

By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 6, 2007

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, SERBIA -- Stand on the blue neon bridge over the Ibar River here and straddle the frontline of today's Cold War.

To the south is Kosovo, an ethnic Albanian province propped up and championed by the United States. To the north is Serbia, a state that looks solidly to Russia for support and protection.

Kosovo's quest for independence from Serbia is one of several issues (Iran is another) that have brought the U.S. and Russia into opposition in ways not seen for many years. And so far, Moscow has managed to seize the initiative here and thwart Washington's plans.

Nine months ago, Kosovo's independence seemed inevitable and imminent. Instead, talks dragged on until last week, and the breakaway republic's status remains unsettled, its resolution delayed at least until next year. The deadlock threatens regional stability, many officials warn.

That Russia has been able to undermine U.S. intentions owes to the rising influence of President Vladimir V. Putin and the reluctance of numerous European governments, dependent on Russian oil and gas, to challenge Moscow, analysts say.

Russian support has emboldened the Serbian government in a manner that could hinder democratic reforms.

Russia and Serbia have been allies for generations, thanks in part to their common history, Slavic language and Orthodox Christian faith. But that alliance, in the Serbian government's view, often was more lip-service than real support. Russia, for example, did not block United Nations sanctions imposed in 1992 on what was then Yugoslavia as it suppressed rebellions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.

Kosovo, with its ethnic Albanian majority, has proved a different cause, however.

"Today, when Serbia is at a certain crossroads, she certainly counts on Russia understanding her position," Serbian President Boris Tadic said as his nation began lobbying for Moscow's support on Kosovo several months ago. "Russia is one of the pillars of our foreign policy."

In 1999, to a weakened Russia's chagrin, U.S.-led forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization bombed Serbian troops out of Kosovo. The province has been governed by the United Nations since, with the West supporting its bid for statehood.

Moscow says it is especially concerned about Kosovo because of the precedent it says independence would set for separatist movements closer to home, such as in the Russian republic of Chechnya. Maintaining territorial integrity, along with strengthening the state, have been cornerstones of the Putin administration.

The fervor of Russia's support surprised even some Serbian officials and has pushed the government in Belgrade to harden its positions, making compromise virtually impossible. This week, for the first time a member of Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica's inner circle, Aleksandar Simic, raised the prospect of warfare as a legitimate option to be considered by the government.

With U.S. encouragement, the Kosovo Albanians long ago hardened their bottom line. But they were willing to accept a U.N. plan of "supervised independence." Belgrade rejected the proposal, saying independence was like pregnancy: either you are or you're not.

So instead of agreement, it now seems probable that the Kosovo Albanian government will at some point in the next few months declare independence unilaterally, having been assured that key states, starting with the United States, will quickly recognize its new status.

If that happened, Belgrade probably would argue that such independence is illegal and not permanent, since it does not bear the imprimatur of the U.N. Security Council. And Putin's intervention has seen to it that the matter would not go before the council because of Russia's veto power.

Backing Belgrade and undercutting the West has allowed Moscow to reassert its regional authority and regain much of the influence it lost with the humiliating NATO intervention in Kosovo, especially in Europe, analysts say. Weakening transatlantic solidarity was a time-honored Cold War-era strategy.

For Serbia's leaders, Russian support is good for domestic consumption, especially before the presidential election to be held in the first part of next year.

"It's safe politics for them," said Cedomir Antic, a historian with the Institute for Balkan Studies in Belgrade. "They are trying to stay in power, be on good terms with world powers, and protect the interests of the Serbian nation."

Among Kosovo's Albanians, there is a sense that they should have moved to independence a year or two ago, before Putin had a chance to seize the issue.

"Maybe our mistake was not settling this earlier," said Shpend Ahmeti of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Pristina, the Albanian-controlled capital of Kosovo.

This Russian-American Cold War-redux is etched on the ground here.

On one side, few places on Earth are more pro-United States than Kosovo. A boulevard in Pristina is named after Bill Clinton, a larger-than-life poster of him waving to passersby. Pictures of President Bush graced campaign promos in this month's provincial election. U.S. flags flutter everywhere.

Stepping right over the border, however, it all changes. And here in Kosovska Mitrovica, the dividing line is several miles inside Kosovo because the northern half of the city is still controlled by Serbs, which will further complicate any separation.

An enormous monument at the Ibar River bridge, staring from the Serb-controlled side to the Albanian-controlled part of the province, pays tribute to the Serbs killed by NATO bombings and the Albanian "terrorists and criminals" of Kosovo.

Cold War deja vu in Kosovo (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-coldwar6dec06,1,2253829.story?coll=la-headlines-world&ctrack=1&cset=true)


Title: Israel nixes Turkey's request to open Turkish Cypriot rep office
Post by: Shammu on December 06, 2007, 09:32:47 PM
Israel nixes Turkey's request to open Turkish Cypriot rep office
By Adar Primor, Haaretz Correspondent
03:53 07/12/2007

Israel told a visiting Cypriot minister that it has decided to reject Turkey's request to open a Turkish Cypriot representative office in Tel Aviv.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul had asked President Shimon Peres for approval for such an office during Peres' visit to Ankara last month.

Gul and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also asked Peres to examine the possibility of operating air and sea traffic between Israel and Famagusta in North Cyprus.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, who visited Israel this week, told Haaretz that Peres and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told her Israel would reject Turkey's requests. (Full interview on Sunday.)

Israeli officials confirmed this. "We are aware of the sensitivities and have no intention of deviating from the accepted UN position," an official said.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when the Greek military junta then ruling in Athens supported a coup against the democratic Cypriot government. Turkey then invaded Cyprus and occupied the northern half of the Island. In 1983 the Turkish minority (Turkish Republic of North Cyprus - TRNC) declared independence, but the world, apart from Turkey, does not recognize it and sees the area as occupied territory of sovereign Cyprus.

Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis officially visited Israel to be briefed on developments in the peace process and to explore bilateral relations. Unofficially, according to sources involved in her visit, she also wanted to ensure Cyprus was not harmed by the warming relations between Israel and Turkey.

Israel nixes Turkey's request to open Turkish Cypriot rep office (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/932160.html)


Title: Did Russia Fool U.S. Intelligence on Iraq, Iran and Syrian WMD?
Post by: Shammu on December 08, 2007, 10:49:56 AM
Now I don't know much about this site........
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Did Russia Fool U.S. Intelligence on Iraq, Iran and Syrian WMD?

According to the Intelligence Summit, Saddam's secret archives prove he really did have WMD and the Russians helped him hide them in Syria. The Russian cover-up is beginning to collapse, the group says. Israel bombed Saddam's WMD storehouse in Syria on Sept. 6, 2007. The Intelligence Summit, a non patisan NGO, details the deadly documents that Saddam and the Russians tried to hide.

Washington, DC (PRWEB) December 7, 2007 -- On Wednesday evening, Dec.12, 2007, John Loftus, President of the non-partisan Intelligence Summit, will address the McLendon Group of the National Press Club in Washington DC. Loftus will review documents recently discovered in Saddam's secret archives as well as satellite photos that may resolve (or at least reopen) the debate about missing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in the Middle East. An Executive Summary at www.IntelligenceSummit.org explains how the Iraqi archives consistently document that Saddam really did have WMD projects (including A-bomb research) late into 2002. According to the Intelligence Summit, on the eve of war in 2003, Russian Special Forces evacuated Saddam's WMD material across the border to a secret storage area in Dayr as Zorr (Deir al Zour), Syria.

It is no coincidence, Loftus says, that on September 6, 2007, this same area, Dayr as Zorr, Syria, was bombed by the Israel Defense Forces. A detailed research paper at www.LoftusReport.com, argues that it was not a Syrian nuclear reactor that was destroyed, but a radiological weapons factory built on the same site as Saddam's secret storehouse for WMD. Israeli sources allege that the North Koreans were helping Syria mix highly enriched uranium (HEU) from Iraq with North Korean plutonium to make super-toxic dirty bombs. Given Syria's close alliance with Iran, it seems quite plausible that Syria has served as a secret nuclear weapons storage site for both Iraq and Iran, says Loftus. It is possible, indeed likely, that the recent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran was tainted by the same Russian disinformation that successfully concealed the Iraqi WMD from discovery for so long, he said

Loftus says confirmation of a massive disinformation campaign has come from an unlikely source: retired agents of the Russian Military Intelligence service, the GRU. He says Russian smear propaganda specifically targeted Michael Cherney, an Israeli billionaire who was the largest single financial supporter of the Summit's WMD research into Iraq, Iran and Syria. Loftus said the National Director of Intelligence (NDI) blacklisted the Intelligence Summit from receiving federal funding because it accepted donations from Michael Cherney, whom the NDI allegedly falsely accused of being "a leader of the Russian Mafia under active investigation for money laundering."

To the chagrin of the NDI, Israeli police have just arrested four people, who were caught with documents and emails proving that they were hired to bribe journalists and politicians into making false accusations against Michael Cherney, says Loftus. The effect of this Russian smear campaign was to trick the NDI into discrediting Michael Cherney, the Intelligence Summit and all of its WMD research into Iraq, Iran and Syria. Loftus says that hiding these interconnected WMD programs may have been the most effective disinformation operation conducted in modern times. The Russian government denies any official connection, and says these retired agents were rogue operatives on the payroll of a business competitor who was trying to get out of paying a five billion dollar debt to Cherney, and were not working for the GRU.

Did Russia Fool U.S. Intelligence on Iraq, Iran and Syrian WMD? (http://www.prweb.com/releases/2007/12/prweb575010.htm)


Title: A union between Russia and Belarus in works?
Post by: Shammu on December 08, 2007, 10:52:38 AM
A union between Russia and Belarus in works?
December 07, 2007

President Vladimir Putin will travel to Minsk next week hoping to finalise a deal that would unite Belarus and Russia into a single state and, perhaps, give Putin a new lease on power as head of the new country.

"This is a very serious development," says Sergei Markov, a Kremlin-connected analyst. "Majorities in both countries want this reunification, and it makes a lot of sense from the security and economic viewpoints."

The Kremlin has announced that Putin and Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko will meet next Thursday in Minsk to discuss the terms of the proposed new state's Constitution.

Experts say the arrangements are not yet finalized, but could involve the smaller Belarus amalgamating with huge, oil-rich Russia in much the same way Hong Kong was recently restored to Chinese sovereignty.

Belarus, with about 10-million people, is giant Russia's closest ally in the former Soviet Union and has long been dependent upon Moscow for energy supplies, security assistance and economic subsidies.

The two countries have been discussing the possibility of re-unifying for years, though talks have always stalled in the past over government structure, division of powers and the degree of sovereignty that Belarus would retain.

"The biggest obstacle to reunification is Lukashenko, who fears he'd lose power in a big Russia-Belarus union," says Markov. "They haven't come to a solution yet, but it could be close."

A new Russia-Belarus state, with a new Constitution, might enable Putin to set aside the previous Russian Constitution that limited him to two terms in office in order to become leader of the new super-state.

A union between Russia and Belarus in works? (http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print.aspx?Id=42e2eea6-6e52-4492-a765-87677a9d3178)


Title: Russian Warships To Dock In Syria
Post by: Shammu on December 08, 2007, 11:57:45 AM
Russian Warships To Dock In Syria
Middle-East

In an effort to expand its military presence in the international arena and reestablish a naval presence in the Middle East, Russia has dispatched a naval fleet to the region, including a guided missile cruiser, two anti submarine ships and 47 fighter planes. The fleet will dock at the Syrian port of Tartus where Russia maintains a technical base. At the same port, Iranian ships are also docked.

Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov told reporters that the expedition "is aimed at ensuring a naval presence and establishing conditions to secure Russian navigations." Serdyukov added that the fleet will conduct tactical exercises with real and simulated launches of sea and air based missiles and intends to call at a number of different ports in the region.

In the past, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that Russia would respond in the event Iran was attacked by a foreign power. Boosting Russia's naval presence in the area could well be an attempt to signal to Israel and possibly America that if Iran is attacked, Russia will strike back.

The Russian President has stressed on numerous occasions that he strives to become more involved in the Middle East, including the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

Whether such a large Russian presence docked at the Syrian port, will hamper Israeli navy operations or intelligence gathering missions remains to be seen.12/.06/07

Russian Warships To Dock In Syria (http://www.infolive.tv/en/infolive.tv-15118-israelnews-russian-warships-dock-syria)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I can't even imagine what the IDF thinks of this today.

Gog is getting more aggressive everyday, she certainly is flexing its muscles!! With the reports coming out daily, war exercises, flying into airspace, the so called elections, supporting and helping Iran and now this. So much for people thinking Russia isn't a threat.

Matthew 24:6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened or troubled, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.

Ezekiel 38:18 But in that day when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, says the Lord God, My wrath shall come up into My nostrils.


Title: Iran accuses US of nuclear espionage, demands explanation
Post by: Shammu on December 08, 2007, 04:43:17 PM
Iran accuses US of nuclear espionage, demands explanation
Associated Press
THE JERUSALEM POST
Dec. 8, 2007

Iran has sent a formal protest note to Washington for "spying" on Iran's nuclear activities, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Saturday in the wake of the latest US report on the alleged Iranian weapons program.

Mottaki said the American report earlier this week concluding that Teheran halted atomic weapons development in 2003 and hasn't resumed it since indicated US intelligence agencies based their findings on "satellite and espionage activities," according to official IRNA news agency.

IRNA said the note was handed over to the Swiss Embassy in Teheran, which looks after US interests in Iran in the absence of diplomatic relations between Teheran and Washington.

"The day the report was issued, the Foreign Ministry submitted a formal note of protest to the Swiss Embassy and demanded explanations over (America's) espionage activities taking place (on Iran's nuclear program)," Mottaki was quoted as saying.

The US report, released Monday, was a sharp turnaround from a previous intelligence assessment in 2005.

Iran has touted the report as a vindication of its claim that its nuclear program is only peaceful. Iranian officials insist Washington should take a less hawkish stance and drop attempts to impose new UN sanctions in light of the report's conclusions.

Mottaki said 70 percent of the US report was "true and positive," but denied its allegations of Iran having had a nuclear weapons program before 2003, according to footage provided by AP Television News.

"The remaining 30%, in which they claim that Iran had a nuclear weapons program before 2003 is wrong," Mottaki said. "They refused to confess about this thirty percent because they did not want to lose all their reputation."

Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the UN nuclear watchdog agency, called the report a "sigh of relief" because its conclusions also jibe with his agency's own findings.

The United States and some of its allies accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons - a claim denied by Iran, which says its nuclear program aims only to generate electricity.

Iran has already been slapped with two rounds UN Security Council sanctions over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, a process that can produce either fuel for a reactor or a nuclear warhead.

Mottaki said the US intelligence report contained both "correct and incorrect" information.

He didn't elaborate which parts of the report were in his perception wrong, but claimed it was prepared in early 2007, only to be blocked from release earlier by political bickering in the United States.

"The US intelligence agencies report had been prepared at the beginning of the year, but political disputes between the warmongering faction and their opponents delayed its release," Mottaki said.

Mottaki was also quoted Saturday as saying US President George W. Bush was "lying" when he said he was informed of the report recently.

"Remarks by Bush that he was informed of the report recently shows that he is lying and has a short memory," Mottaki said.

Mottaki added that in the wake of the report, Iran rules out any US military action against Iran for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment is ruled out.

"We rule out the option of military strike against Iran after the release of this report," the minister was quoted as saying.

Iran accuses US of nuclear espionage, demands explanation (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1196847282808&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter)


Title: Re: Iran accuses US of nuclear espionage, demands explanation
Post by: Shammu on December 08, 2007, 04:45:45 PM
If they aren't developing nuclear weapons, they should be thanking American intelligence for averting war. The one reason I don't trust the NIE, is that they can't agree on what they think.


Title: Russia reportedly test-fires ballistic missile
Post by: Shammu on December 08, 2007, 04:54:15 PM
Russia reportedly test-fires ballistic missile
Sat 8 Dec 2007, 18:16 GMT

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia on Saturday test-fired a inter-continental missile with new equipment able to pierce anti-missile shields, state news agency RIA said, underscoring Moscow's determination to assert its military might.

The RS-12M Topol ballistic missile, called the SS-25 Sickle by NATO, was successfully launched at 17:43 p.m. (2:43 p.m. British time) from Kapustin Yar firing range in southern Russia, RIA said, citing a spokesman for rocket forces.

"The launch was carried out with the aim of confirming the stability of the fundamental flying and technical characteristics of this class of missile," Rocket Forces spokesman Alexander Vovk told RIA.

He said the test was part of a trial of unspecified new equipment that could pierce anti-missile shields. Russian generals say the country is working on weapons that would pierce any shield the United States could make.

Saturday's launch of the revamped missile comes amid U.S. plans for a missile defence shield in Europe, which Russian President Vladimir Putin has said would threaten Russian interests.

Putin signed a law last week suspending Russia's participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty in a step which could allow it to deploy more forces close to western Europe. The move comes into force on December 12-13.

As configured in 1985, the Topol has a maximum range of 10,000 km (6,215 miles), and can carry one 550-kiloton nuclear warhead. The 20.5 metre (67 ft) long missile was designed in the 1970s and made its first flights in 1982.

The last launch of a Topol missile took place on October 18.

Buoyed by huge oil revenues, Russia under Putin has been boosting military spending while at the same time using diplomacy to broaden Moscow's influence.

This week, Russia said it would start the first major navy sortie into the Mediterranean since Soviet times. Eleven ships, including an aircraft carrier, will take part in the sortie and be backed up by 47 aircraft -- including strategic bombers.

Russia reportedly test-fires ballistic missile (http://africa.reuters.com/world/news/usnL0894291.html)


Title: Gulf States Accept U.S. Defense from Iran
Post by: Shammu on December 09, 2007, 08:29:43 PM
Gulf States Accept U.S. Defense from Iran
December 08 2007

(IsraelNN.com) The small Gulf states are afraid of Iran and have agreed to let the United States place Patriot air-defense missiles on their territory, according to Channel 10 TV news.

The channel's Arab affairs reporter said the situation in the Gulf has become very tense recently.

Gulf States Accept U.S. Defense from Iran (http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/137840)
~~~~~~~~~~~

Gates calls for air and missile defense umbrella in Gulf     
Dec 7 04:44 PM US/Eastern

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates Friday called for an "air and missile defense umbrella" over the Gulf region to deter missile attacks by Iran.

Gates told Al Hurra television -- a US funded Arabic language satellite television network -- that Iran could resume its nuclear weapons program "at a whim or a moment's notice" despite a new intelligence finding that Tehran halted a secret program in 2003.

"So I think it's very important to keep the pressure on and get Tehran to abjure a nuclear weapon in the future, and to bring their enrichment program under control," Gates said, according to a transcript of the interview.

Gates, who is in Bahrain for a regional security conference, said the United States enjoyed strong military relations with most of the Gulf states.

He said they should "cooperate multilaterally in establishing an air and missile defense umbrella over this region that would deter a country like Iran from threatening to use missiles."

The United States has begun discussions with countries in the region "about things such as a shared early warning, maritime surveillance, and things like that," he said.

The Pentagon this week announced proposed sales of Patriot missile defense and early warning systems to the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait worth more than 10 billion dollars.

On Friday, it notified Congress of a possible sale to Saudi Arabia of upgraded AWACS airborne early warning systems worth another 400 million dollars.

Gates calls for air and missile defense umbrella in Gulf (http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=071207214411.obh7pb1g&show_article=1&catnum=3)


Title: Putin's power raises alarm bells
Post by: Shammu on December 09, 2007, 08:51:34 PM
Putin's power raises alarm bells
Sat, December 8, 2007
By ED FEUER

In parliamentary elections widely described as neither free, fair nor democratic, it's clear Russian President Vladimir Putin is rapidly taking his country backward.

George Bush said he looked into Putin's eyes and saw his soul but John McCain's take is more accurate: "When I look into his eyes, I see three letters: KGB." His alarming suppression of dissent and control of the media fuels his growing authoritarian rule.

Although Putin faces a constitutional ban on three consecutive presidential terms, the personality cult being promoted shows he won't be soon following Mikhail Gorbachev on the Western lecture circuit. He will undoubtedly find some way to continue his rule in some form.

High-priced oil and gas exports have freed Putin from the need for good behaviour to impress foreign investors and the International Monetary Fund. And Putin, unfortunately, seems to think Russia cannot be a great nation unless it makes great mischief.

He has picked fights with the Americans and the West including such issues as Kosovo, suspending a treaty on conventional forces in Europe, the missile shield against rogue states, selling arms to Iran and Syria and blocking tough action against Sudan's murderous policies in Darfur.

Hypocritically professing disdain for effective sanctions in favour of diplomacy to thwart Iran's nuclear program, Putin applies trade and energy sanctions against tiny Georgia with which he has disputes.

And his assertion of claims to the oil and mineral-rich Arctic Ocean are of particular concern to Canada.

Eastern European nations, whose freedom was so applauded by Canada, are justifiably worried. Their departure from the Russian empire and the example of genuine democracy they provide Russians are anathema to Putin.

But the law of unintended consequences comes into play. When Europe thought the Soviet threat had evaporated and the American umbrella was no longer needed, some ugly anti-Americanism crawled out of the woodwork. With Russia reverting to Soviet type, many Europeans are rediscovering the U.S.A. isn't so bad after all.

That awareness should help keep Putin and company in check.

Putin's power raises alarm bells (http://winnipegsun.com/Comment/Editorial/2007/12/08/4713852.html)


Title: China-Russia military cooperation
Post by: Shammu on December 09, 2007, 09:00:19 PM
China-Russia military cooperation
December 6, 2007

After the fall of the erstwhile Soviet Union, U.S.A emerged as the sole superpower of the world. With depleted economic and military power, Russia was not in a position to challenge the newly acquired supremacy of America. Like any other prudent and ambitious superpower, America took the advantage of imbalance of power in the international arena and made elaborate plan to make foray into the news areas of interest and consolidate the existing strongholds to expand its sphere of influence. It focused on East European nations and the former Soviet Republics. Though much smaller and weaker in size and power, Russia was still a significant country having the power to alter the balance of power in the region. Knowing this fact, America moved quickly to forge deep economic and military relations with the former WARSAW pact nations and Soviet Republics. Another objective of America's quick move to forge strategic level relations with the former Soviet satellite nations was to de-nuclearise them and utilize the enormous energy reserve of the central Asian nations.

Russia, in the mean time, was trying to cope with the new situation emerged due to adopting capitalism and democracy as the system of government. But the strategic thinkers of the country were aware of the American strategic game plan near the Russian border and East Europe. They soon advanced to China for help. China, on the other hand, with over 1 billion people was finding avenues to elevate itself to the level of a superpower. So, the Chinese leaders viewed the Russian offer for deeper military and economic relations favourably. The two countries signed various economic and military agreements in the meantime. Russia found a willing partner, which was also looking for gaining power to offset the American influence in East Europe, and particularly in central Asia, Korean peninsula, and China Sea. The cooperation between the two giants commenced in a majestic fashion to counter, according to them, American hegemony.

China needed new and more modern training and technology to upgrade various units of its military. Observing closely the gulf war, China realized the need for a smaller, faster and more flexible military to win a regional war. So, they sought to replace the old military thinking with a new and more sophisticated one. They proceeded to buy modern jet fighters from the Russian air force to replace its ageing fleets of F-7s and A-5s. With a view to modernize the air force they procured SU-27, SU-30, and ordered for SU-34 ground attack bombers from Russia. It won't be irrelevant to mention that Russia needed these big-ticket orders to sustain its own military industry. So, the agreements were signed pretty quickly. China got these planes along with production facilities. The Russian experts trained the Chinese technicians and pilots to operate these highly sophisticated jet fighters.

China and Russia expanded their cooperation in naval sector too. Chinese dilapidated Luhu and Jiangwei class frigates were completely unsuitable for a navy that aspired to be a blue water navy within a few decades. So, they ordered for highly advanced nuclear missile guided Sovremenny class destroyers. They bought a few units to bolster its navy. The area of naval cooperation was further expanded to modernize Chinese antiquated submarine fleets. China procured quite a few Kilo class diesel electric submarines armed with lethal torpedoes. They also proceeded to upgrade the existing Song and Ming class submarines with borrowed French electronic equipments and combat management systems.

Due to geo-strategic reasons, China could hardly overlook the need of the ground forces. They advanced to the Russians for modern technologies to produce better APCs(Armoured Personnel Carriers), Tanks, MBRLs(Multi barrel Rocket Launchers), IFVs(Infantry Fighting Vehicles), and air defense systems. Russia proved to be a willing partner up to this point and did not hesitate to sell military hardware as per Chinese demand.

But historically, the relationship between China and Russia saw many ups and downs. The erstwhile Soviet Union forcefully occupied millions of kilometers of land from China in the past. They fought a bitter division level war in 1969 over disputed land along the Sino-Soviet borders. Though they have signed border agreements in 1991 and 2004 to resolve the land disputes amicably, a sizeable portion of the border is still not properly demarcated. Keeping in view of this fact, the Russians are not interested to see a China powerful enough to alter the balance of power in the region. The recent anti satellite missile test by China rang an alarm bell in Russia too. America was pretty vocal against such missile test, Russia, on the other hand, doubted the intention of the Chinese military modernization. The Russian strategic planners want a submissive partner in the strategic game against America that they will be able to use as a pawn to counter America. China, on the other hand, wants to emerge as an independent superpower to grab its share in the international political arena. A clear conflict of interest has surfaced that may impede the ongoing military cooperation between the two giant neighbours. Besides, Russia also has to take into account the concerns of America. In the recent time, the American policymakers have adopted an aggressive strategic policy to calm down Russia, which is selling arms to anti-American nations to expand its sphere of influence and make healthy profit to sustain and modernize its defense industry.

It can be noted that the Bush administration has taken a bold strategic initiative to install missile defense systems in some European and central Asian countries. The Russian military experts view this move as detrimental to the nation's security and an element with potential to alter the balance of power in the world.

Due to the above reasons, we have seen reluctance in the Russia government to provide more modern military hardware to China. One more thing that needs attention is that, China is aggressively pursuing its own plan to build a modern self-reliant defense industry that requires technology from a trusted source. It just doesn't want to be a mere purchaser of high tech military weapons any more. It wants unprecedented level of access to Russian most modern military technology. But how far the Russians will be willing to entertain Chinese wishes will remain to be seen.

China-Russia military cooperation (http://nation.ittefaq.com/issues/2007/12/06/news0909.htm)


Title: Putin Reportedly Supporting First Deputy PM Medvedev as Presidential Candidate
Post by: Shammu on December 10, 2007, 03:15:39 PM
Putin Reportedly Supporting First Deputy PM Medvedev as Presidential Candidate

Monday , December 10, 2007

MOSCOW —
President Vladimir Putin on Monday expressed support for First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to run for president, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

There have been months of intense speculation on whom Putin saw as his likely successor in the March 2 voting, along with the wider question of what Putin himself will do once he steps down.

Putin's popularity and steely control is so strong that most observers expect that whomever he supports would be a shoo-in.

Putin had long been seen as trying to choose between Medvedev, a business-friendly lawyer and board chairman of state natural gas giant Gazprom, and Sergei Ivanov, another first deputy premier who built up a stern and hawkish reputation while defense minister.

Although Putin is banned by the constitution from seeking a third consecutive term in office, he has indicated a strong desire to remain a significant power figure. He has raised the prospect of becoming prime minister, and his supporters have called for him to become a "national leader" with unspecified authority.

Putin made the statement in a meeting with representatives of the United Russia party — which is his power base and dominates parliament — and of three other parties. The parties told Putin they all supported Medvedev.

"I completely and fully support this proposal," Putin said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.

The Russian stock market surged on the news, led not only by Gazprom shares but also apparently boosted by the end of long uncertainty over whom Putin would designate as successor.

Putin Reportedly Supporting First Deputy PM Medvedev as Presidential Candidate (http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,316291,00.html)


Title: Moscow pushing for follow-up Mideast peace summit in April
Post by: Shammu on December 11, 2007, 12:35:39 PM
Moscow pushing for follow-up Mideast peace summit in April
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent
11/12/2007     

The United States supports the holding of a second peace conference in Moscow that would address Israel's conflicts with Syria and Lebanon as well as the Palestinian issue, according to information obtained by the Foreign Ministry from Russian sources in recent days.

Nevertheless, government sources in Jerusalem said they have some doubts about the Russian claim, as they have received contradictory reports from Washington. They added that they expect the situation to become clearer at next week's meeting of donor nations to the Palestinian Authority, as representatives of the Quartet of Middle East peacemakers - the U.S., European Union, United Nations and Russia - will meet on the sidelines to discuss whether to hold a Moscow conference and if so, when and in what format.

According to the Foreign Ministry's information, obtained from conversations with Russian diplomats in both Moscow and UN headquarters in New York, the conference would probably take place in April 2008 and would be at the level of foreign ministers.

Last month's Middle East peace summit, held in Annapolis, Maryland, focused almost exclusively on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Russia had expressed interest in hosting a follow-up event that would broaden the agenda. Thus far, no member of the Quartet has publicly voiced opposition to Russia's proposal.

The Russian diplomats assured their Israeli counterparts that the proposed Moscow event, like Annapolis, would be billed as a "meeting" rather than a "conference." They also said that its purpose would not be to finalize agreements, but merely to move the Middle East peace process forward.

According to the information reaching Jerusalem, the Russians would like to divide the event into two sessions. The first would be devoted to assessing the progress of bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, while the second would deal with the issue of a comprehensive regional peace, with particular emphasis on resumption of negotiations between Israel and Syria, and the launching of Israeli-Lebanese talks.

According to the Russians, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice approves of both the proposed Moscow meeting and the idea of restarting Israeli-Syrian talks.

Jerusalem also supports plan

The Russians' impression is that Israel, too, looks favorably on both the meeting and the Syrian focus. Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the two discussed the idea.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who heads the Israeli team negotiating with the PA, met with her Palestinian counterpart, Ahmed Qureia, on Monday in order to finalize the agenda for a meeting of the full negotiating teams, which is slated to take place Tuesday in Jerusalem. "The first meeting of the negotiating teams will deal mainly with procedure and technical arrangements," said an Israeli government source.

PA threatens to boycott

But Palestinian sources threatened Monday that the PA would boycott the session if Israel did not stop construction of 307 apartments in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa.

In addition, the diplomatic-security cabinet will meet tomorrow to discuss the situation in the Gaza Strip. Various defense agencies will present reviews of the situation, and a senior government official said the main focus will be on the defense establishment's views about launching a major military operation against Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza.

"The last [security] cabinet meeting dealt with civilian sanctions, because then, the defense establishment said that it did not support a large military operation in Gaza," the official said. "Since then, there has been a shift in its position, and therefore, cabinet ministers need to hear about this first-hand."

Moscow pushing for follow-up Mideast peace summit in April (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/933221.html)


Title: Medvedev: Putin should be prime minister
Post by: Shammu on December 11, 2007, 12:38:15 PM
Medvedev: Putin should be prime minister

By MIKE ECKEL, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 20 minutes ago

MOSCOW - The man tapped by President Vladimir Putin as his successor called Tuesday for the popular president to return as prime minister after the March 2 election — a shuffling of Kremlin duties that would keep the main levers of power in Putin's hands.

The brief announcement by Dmitry Medvedev, almost certainly approved in advance by Putin, was the second major development from the Kremlin in as many days. On Monday, Putin endorsed Medvedev for president.

In this way, Putin and his longtime aide appear to answer a question that has long been the subject of conjecture and anxiety: whether the two-term president would relinquish power, and if so to whom.

The emerging scenario — one that Putin himself hinted at months ago — would see the popular president wielding considerable and possibly ultimate power from a beefed-up prime minister's position. Putin, who took over from Boris Yeltsin about eight years ago, is barred by the constitution from a third consecutive term.

In a three-minute televised speech, Medvedev said Putin "prevented the collapse of the economy and social sphere in our country, a course that prevented civil war."

It was vital to retain Putin's team, he said.

"Therefore, I think that is principally important for our country that we keep in the most important post in government — the position of chairman of the Russian government — Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin," he said.

"Having expressed my readiness to run for president of Russia, I appeal to him with a request to give his principal agreement to head the Russian government after the election of the new president of our country," Medvedev said.

Putin clearly wants to retain a powerful role once he steps down. Medvedev's proposal would provide such a role, especially if the constitution is amended to increase the prime minister's powers — which could be done readily with the new parliament dominated by pro-Putin politicians.

Putin's support virtually ensures that Medvedev would win the presidency, and Putin's enormous influence with parliament, where his party controls 70 percent of the seats, ensures he could become prime minister if he chose.

At a Kremlin meeting with Yevgeny Primakov, an influential Yeltsin-era prime minister who now heads the Russian Chamber of Commerce, Putin made no reference to his anointed successor or the possibility of becoming prime minister.

Medvedev's announcement suggested that he would essentially serve as a figurehead controlled by Putin.

The 42-year-old lawyer from St. Petersburg projects a milder and more sympathetic image than the steely and occasionally bitingly sarcastic Putin. Medvedev's comments Tuesday, though, echoed Putin's often-expressed national pride and distrust of the West.

"The world's attitudes toward Russia have been changed," Medvedev said. "They don't lecture us like schoolchildren. They respect us and they reckon with us. Russia has been returned to its overpowering position in the world community."

Medvedev, currently a first deputy prime minister, also praised efforts under Putin to restore Russia's armed forces after years of post-Soviet neglect and underfunding.

"Our military defense and security have been increased," he said.

Unlike some of his powerful colleagues in the Kremlin, Medvedev is not a veteran of the KGB or other Russian security services. He has never run for elected office, and has spent most of his working life as Putin's aide.

While the Kremlin has packaged Medvedev as a liberal, giving him responsibility for social programs, Medvedev's political views are unknown. He is best known as a technocrat proficient at finding creative ways to implement Putin's policies.

As president, Medvedev's duties would include directing the work of the chiefs of the Federal Security Service, and the Federal Drug Control Service. But both agencies are headed by powerful KGB veterans — Nikolai Patrushev and Viktor Cherkesov, respectively — with close ties to Putin.

With no power base of his own, Medvedev could have found it difficult to direct these figures. Putin will have no such problem.

Medvedev: Putin should be prime minister (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071211/ap_on_re_eu/russia_putin;_ylt=Ai83c6618BZP5B7iTmmI6Ius0NUE)


Title: Pakistan test-fires medium-range missile
Post by: Shammu on December 11, 2007, 12:42:20 PM
Pakistan test-fires medium-range missile

Tue Dec 11, 1:22 AM ET

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistan's military said Tuesday it had successfully test-fired a medium-range cruise missile capable of delivering nuclear warheads.

The launch of a new version of the Hatf-VII or Babur missile, which has a range of 435 miles, was "part of a continuous process of validating the design parameters set for this weapon system," an army statement said.

It didn't disclose the site of the missile test, but said it will "consolidate Pakistan's strategic capability and strengthen national security."

The Babur missile was first test-fired in 2005, and it can hit targets deep inside India, the main rival of this Islamic nation.

Tuesday's test was witnessed by the Gen. Tariq Majid, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Committee, senior military officers, scientists and engineers.

President Pervez Musharraf congratulated the scientists and engineers and "assured them of their complete support in the development plans of all strategic projects," the statement said.

Pakistan and India — who have a history of hostile relations and have fought three wars after gaining independence from Britain in 1947 — routinely tests their short, medium and long-range missiles.

However, relations between them have improved since 2004 when they began peace talks to normalize relations and resolve their dispute over Kashmir, the main cause of bitterness between them.

Pakistan test-fires medium-range missile  (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071211/ap_on_re_as/pakistan_missile_test;_ylt=AuZo2LcH5yqDhiWNFP.D_RsBxg8F)


Title: Putin urged to lead government after Kremlin
Post by: Shammu on December 11, 2007, 12:43:48 PM
Putin urged to lead government after Kremlin

by Sebastian Smith 1 hour, 20 minutes ago

MOSCOW (AFP) - Months of uncertainty over Russia's future power structure ended Tuesday when President Vladimir's handpicked successor, Dmitry Medvedev, said Putin should become prime minister on quitting the Kremlin.

Medvedev, the soft-spoken technocrat endorsed by Putin to succeed him as Russian president, said Putin, 55, should switch to become head of the government after stepping down.

"I consider it of utmost importance for our country to keep Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin in the highest post of executive power, the post of head of government of the Russian Federation," Medvedev said in an address on national television.

The stunning statement meant that Russia in the space of 24 hours appeared to have resolved the two biggest questions facing the country: who will win the March 2 presidential election to replace Putin, and what Putin will do on leaving office.

Putin's endorsement on Monday makes Medvedev, a 42-year-old trained lawyer and first deputy premier, all but certain to win an election in which there are no other heavyweight candidates.

Medvedev's call means Putin -- who has long said he wanted to retain an important role after leaving the Kremlin -- will likely from next year become a powerful premier.

Putin did not give his immediate reaction and no timeframe was suggested for the switch.

However the speech, in which Medvedev wore a blue suit and sat flanked by the Russian tricolor flag and an ornamental Russian crest, was clearly meant to imply that the proposal was official policy.

"If Medvedev announced it, then the likelihood is that it will take place," Kremlin-connected analyst Vyacheslav Nikonov told the Interfax news agency.

The world has been kept waiting for months to know who will replace Putin at the head of the nuclear missile power and world's biggest energy exporter.

No major political figures have expressed an ambition to run for president in 2008. Even Medvedev had been silent on the issue until his surprise endorsement on Monday.

The sudden rise of Medvedev, seen as a relative liberal in the hawkish Kremlin, was welcomed by Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel.

She told Putin by phone that "Medvedev brings experience in government and business and that she assumes she would be able to work well with him if he is elected," a spokeswoman for Merkel said.

Medvedev emphasised that the goal was to maintain "continuity" to the policies of Putin, who is required by the constitution to step down at the end of his second four-year term.

Few analysts believe that Putin, who has steadily concentrated power in his hands during his eight years in the Kremlin, is ready to retire.

Earlier this month his United Russia party won a landslide victory in parliamentary elections framed here as a referendum on Putin's rule, and criticised in the West as rigged.

"Everyone understands perfectly well that Putin wants to remain in power," said Yevgeny Volk, political analyst at the Moscow office of the conservative US think-tank Heritage Foundation.

It remains unclear how much authority Putin could exercise as prime minister, which under the constitution is a markedly lower rank than president.

But analysts describe Medvedev as a politically weak figure with unswerving loyalty to Putin.

As first deputy prime minister, Medvedev has for the past two years been in charge of national social projects to improve agriculture, education, health and housing.

He has had little say in foreign policy, an area Putin clearly relishes, but is not traditionally dealt with by the prime minister.

Russian newspapers said Tuesday that Medvedev's lack of a power base among the security forces faction could make him easier for Putin to control.

Putin "will be an executive adviser for the future president on an unlimited range of issues", Vremya Novostei quoted a senior official as saying.

Another Kremlin-connected analyst, Sergei Markov, told Interfax that Putin would use United Russia's huge parliamentary majority to bolster his standing as premier.

Putin and Medvedev "will de facto be a pair in which the real leader will be Putin, since the country knows Vladimir Putin better", Markov said. "Putin will control not only the parliament majority but also the security faction."

Putin urged to lead government after Kremlin (http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071211/wl_afp/russiavote_14;_ylt=AsFH1njWQ70E8KgNq6ngpDhbbBAF)


Title: Russia treaty freeze a warning to NATO
Post by: Shammu on December 11, 2007, 12:45:35 PM
Russia treaty freeze a warning to NATO

By Christian Lowe Tue Dec 11, 9:33 AM ET

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will not start a new arms race when it freezes compliance with a Cold War arms treaty on Wednesday but it does want to send a clear message it is not happy about NATO's eastward expansion.

Russia will suspend its participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, a pact that limits weapons levels on either side of the old Iron Curtain and, according to Moscow, now gives NATO free rein to beef up its forces.

"There is no threat from Moscow. No one in Berlin would think that Russian tanks could move on Germany," said Anatoly Antonov, head of the foreign ministry's security and disarmament department.

But Russia's concerns about the CFE treaty "were not listened to and we are forced to take such a serious decision," he told reporters last week.

Western capitals regard Russia's move as another sign of the assertive approach to foreign policy under President Vladimir Putin. Moscow has also taken a tough stance against Washington's plans for a missile shield in Europe.

Russia's military says the only practical implication from the suspension, which comes into force at 0001 Moscow time on Wednesday, will be that it will stop exchanging data on troops levels and halt inspections.

But a senior lawmaker with Kremlin ties said last week Moscow would not rule out increasing its troops levels later if NATO ramps up its forces in eastern Europe.

RUSSIAN UNEASE

Russia's biggest grievance with the CFE treaty is that it restricts Moscow's freedom to deploy troops and weapons west of the Ural mountains, but it does not cap armaments in new NATO members in eastern Europe.

Russia has watched NATO's eastward expansion with unease and its concern has heightened as Washington prepares to open bases in new alliance members Bulgaria and Romania.

Policymakers in Moscow also fear NATO forces could be deployed in one of the ex-Soviet Baltic states, within striking distance of Russia's second city, St Petersburg.

"The hypothetical transfer of NATO forces into the Baltics is a real military threat," said Alexei Arbatov, an arms control expert at the Carnegie Moscow Center, an independent think-tank.

"This (freezing CFE compliance) is a signal that this does not suit us."

Western governments say they regret Russia's move on the treaty although they are not sounding the alarm.

"It's not a new Cold War or a new arms race -- there will be no material impact on security," said one Western diplomat. "But there will be a lack of transparency because the verification regime won't operate."

The CFE treaty has a long and tangled history. Signed in 1990 at the end of the Cold War, it secured the reduction or destruction of about 60,000 pieces of equipment and set limits on the conventional forces that remained.

New NATO members in the Baltics are not covered by the treaty. Others that are took with them into NATO their old Warsaw Pact weapons quotas, Russian officials say.

The treaty was revised in 1999 to take account of the changes but Western states have refused to ratify it, arguing that Moscow had not fulfilled a commitment to withdraw its forces from ex-Soviet Moldova and Georgia.

Russia disputes this and says the only troops it has left in the two countries are peacekeepers.

Foreign ministry official Antonov said Russia was still committed to negotiating a solution on the treaty.

"The moratorium is not an aim in itself. It is a way of attracting the attention of our partners," he said. "We are open to dialogue even after December 12."

Russia treaty freeze a warning to NATO  (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071211/wl_nm/russia_treaty_dc;_ylt=Ah194fwTwlYva416lBnb7w5vaA8F)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Soldier4Christ on December 14, 2007, 12:41:19 PM
 A number of Middle East countries are speeding up their Middle East development projects

In recent months, a number of Arab countries have boosted their nuclear programs in what experts believe to be a response to Iran's aggressive drive to acquire nuclear weapons with these Arab nations saying they are simply developing nuclear technology for peaceful means.

Analysts however, point out that most of the nations in question are in possession of huge oil reserves or they have access to natural resources which can easily be used to produce the needed power thereby eliminating the need for the costly development of nuclear facilities. Experts argue that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Libya and Turkey are speeding up their nuclear development due to the interest of global powers competing to sell their nuclear technology.

The nuclear surge in the Middle East should alarm the world and help us to realize the geopolitical ramifications of these developments especially in light of Biblical prophecy.

The world has been focused on Iran's nuclear development program that experts claim has positioned Iran to have a Nuclear Weapon of Mass Destruction (NWMD) within a short period of time, maybe within the next one or two years. Now, there is a growing concern with the nuclear surge in the Middle East as a number of nations rush to develop their own nuclear capabilities. Experts are particularly curious as to the nuclear programs in a region which holds approximately 25% of the Earth's oil resources.

Some experts stress that peaceful nuclear technology can easily be converted to serve a nuclear weapons program. The list of nations who are developing these nuclear programs are the same countries on the list of nations that align themselves for an attack on the Jewish state of Israel in the Last Days.

The ancient Jewish prophets Daniel and Ezekiel and the Psalmist list the nations that will be included in this coalition of enemies against Israel, Daniel 11, Ezekiel 38 and Psalm 83. Under the guise of fear of the Iranian nuclear threat these Middle East nations are developing an arsenal that could be used against Israel.


Title: Nasrallah replaced as head of Hizbullah military wing
Post by: Shammu on December 15, 2007, 11:15:44 PM
Nasrallah replaced as head of Hizbullah military wing

According to London-based newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, has ordered Hizbullah Secretary-General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah to hand over control of Hizbullah’s military wing to deputy chief Sheikh Naim Qasim

Roee Nahmias
Published: 12.13.07, 23:31
Israel News

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, has ordered Hizbullah Secretary-General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah to relinquish control of Hizbullah’s military wing to his deputy, Sheikh Naim Qasim, the London-based newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat reported Thursday.

These reports, based upon “sources within the liaison and recruitment office of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards based in Lebanon,” serve to confirm earlier reports in various media regarding this transfer of power from Nasrallah to Qasim.

Sources within the Revolutionary Guards operating in Lebanon, report that there have been marked differences of opinion between Nasrallah and Qasim as of late regarding key issues facing Hizbullah’s military wing. This ultimately led Khamenei to restructure Hizbullah’s chain of command, and transfer power to Qasim.

Nasrallah will continue to reign as Hizbullah secretary-general, as well as heading the organization’s intelligence unit. Imad Mornia, Hizbullah’s chief of operations, will continue to act as liaison between Hizbullah, the Palestinians, Iranian intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards.

Hizbullah was quick to deny these reports of turmoil facing its military wing. “These reports are utterly unfounded, groundless and lack all basis in objective fact,” said Hizbullah sources.

“These reports of turmoil in Hizbullah’s leadership stem from the world’s distress at the support the organization enjoys, the lofty status that its leader Sheik Nasaralla enjoys within the Arab world, and the resolve that Hizbullah’s warriors show in face of Israeli occupation.”

Nasrallah replaced as head of Hizbullah military wing (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3482538,00.html)


Title: Israel: US report on Iran may spark war
Post by: Shammu on December 15, 2007, 11:18:09 PM
Israel: US report on Iran may spark war

By LAURIE COPANS, Associated Press Writer Sat Dec 15, 11:35 AM ET

JERUSALEM - Israel's public security minister warned Saturday that a U.S. intelligence report that said Iran is no longer developing nuclear arms could lead to a regional war that would threaten the Jewish state.

In his remarks — Israel's harshest criticism yet of the U.S. report — Avi Dichter said the assessment also cast doubt on American intelligence in general, including information about Palestinian security forces' crackdown on militant groups. The Palestinian action is required as part of a U.S.-backed renewal of peace talks with Israel this month.

Dichter cautioned that a refusal to recognize Iran's intentions to build weapons of mass destruction could lead to armed conflict in the Middle East.

He compared the possibility of such fighting to a surprise attack on Israel in 1973 by its Arab neighbors, which came to be known in Israel for the Yom Kippur Jewish holy day on which it began.

"The American misconception concerning Iran's nuclear weapons is liable to lead to a regional Yom Kippur where Israel will be among the countries that are threatened," Dichter said in a speech in a suburb south of Tel Aviv, according to his spokesman, Mati Gil. "Something went wrong in the American blueprint for analyzing the severity of the Iranian nuclear threat."

Dichter didn't elaborate on the potential scenario but seemed to imply that a world that let its guard down regarding Iran would be more vulnerable to attack by the Islamic regime.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had disputed the U.S. intelligence assessment this month, saying that Iran continues its efforts to obtain components necessary to produce nuclear weapons. Tehran still poses a major threat to the West and the world must stop it, Olmert said.

Israel has for years been warning that Iran is working on nuclear weapons and backed the United States in its international efforts to exert pressure on Iran to stop the program. Israel considers Iran a significant threat because of its nuclear ambitions, its long-range missile program and repeated calls by its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for the disappearance of Israel.

Iran says its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes.

Israel will work to change the American intelligence agencies' view of Iran, said Dichter, a former chief of Israel's Shin Bet secret service agency.

"A misconception by the world's leading superpower is not just an internal American occurrence," Dichter said.

Any future faulty U.S. intelligence on the actions of Palestinian security forces could damage peace efforts, Dichter said.

"Those same (intelligence) arms in the U.S. are apt to make a mistake and declare that the Palestinians have fulfilled their commitments, which would carry with it very serious consequences from Israel's vantage point," Dichter said.

Israel: US report on Iran may spark war (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071215/ap_on_re_mi_ea/israel_us_iran)


Title: Azerbaijan: Western secrets sent to Iran
Post by: Shammu on December 15, 2007, 11:20:14 PM
Azerbaijan: Western secrets sent to Iran
36 minutes ago

BAKU, Azerbaijan - Azerbaijan's security agency said Saturday that 15 people convicted this week of treason had passed information on U.S., British and Israeli activities in the ex-Soviet republic to Iranian intelligence.

The National Security Ministry gave new details about the group, which allegedly passed to Iranian agents details on Western embassies, companies, pipeline operations and employees operating in Azerbaijan from 2005 to 2006.

The Court for Grave Crimes on Monday sentenced the 15 to lengthy prison sentences in a case that highlighted Azerbaijan's concern over the influence of neighboring Iran.

The 15 were arrested in January on suspicion of crimes including plotting to forcefully seize power, treason, organizing a criminal group, possession of weapons and drugs, and counterfeiting.

Two members of the group allegedly met repeatedly with intelligence agents in Iran, where they received training, equipment, maps and more than $10,000 in funding, the ministry said.

Said Dadashbeyli, the alleged leader who worked at a U.S.-Azerbaijani drilling company, sought Iranian support for a plot to seize power in Azerbaijan and establish Islamic law in the oil-rich country. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison, along with two other group members. The others received sentences ranging from two years to 13, the court said.

Dadashbeyli's lawyer said the charges were unfounded.

Predominantly Muslim Azerbaijan has increasingly been caught in a tug-of-war for influence between the secular, democratic West and its large southern neighbor.

Rumblings of Shiite political Islam have been particularly noticeable in the more conservative regions that border Iran, and the secular government has displayed concern over Iranian influence and Islamic extremism.

Azerbaijan: Western secrets sent to Iran  (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071216/ap_on_re_as/azerbaijan_iran_trial_1;_ylt=AvwPuDyqtkRV_gwVyK3qnrsUewgF)


Title: Putin Orders ‘First Strike’ Against US Forces Over Kosovo
Post by: Shammu on December 15, 2007, 11:47:45 PM
Putin Orders ‘First Strike’ Against US Forces Over Kosovo

by Robert Jones

In reading the latest Military and Intelligence reports circulating in the Kremlin today one cannot help but have the feeling that our World has entered into a Time Warp and instead of this being 2007, we have been plunged back 93 years to 1914.

In 1914, after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Austro-Hungarian Empire issued an ultimatum to the Russian backed Serbian government, and who instead of bending to the Western Powers mobilized for war.  The resulting aftermath of the First World War left over 40 million dead with an additional 50 million human beings killed by the Spanish Flu Epidemic spread around the World by Western military forces returning from war in 1918.

Here in 2007, we, again, have the specter of World War looming over us as Serbia, once again backed by Russia, is mobilizing for war due to the Western Powers intention to acknowledge the independence of the Serbian province of Kosovo, and which Russia has vowed will not be allowed to stand.

This is coupled with China announcing the possible beginning of human-to-human Bird Flu transmission and Russia reporting another outbreak of this deadly disease and which the World Health Organization has warned will turn into a catastrophic pandemic.

In response to the latest war provocations by the Western Powers, President Putin today ordered the ‘official’ ending of the arms control treaty with the NATO Nations.  Putin has further ordered Russia ’s Naval Forces back on World-Wide patrol status, with particular focus being on the Russian Navy’s ability to confront NATO Forces in the Mediterranean Sea , and which controls the sea access to the Balkans.

Particular ominous in these new reports is that Putin has reportedly ordered Russian Military Forces to ‘First Strike’ capability against any NATO force that may seek to block Russia’s sea access to the Balkans and relief to the Serbs upon the outbreak of war.

Though being kept from the American people themselves, and as the former Soviet Leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, has warned, the United States Military Leaders aggressive moves in the Balkans and the Middle East are designed to confront Russia, and not Iran as these peoples are being led to believe.

It is more than a coincidence, too, that the United States is, once again, leading the World towards another depression by their insane monetary polices as they did in the aftermath of the World War I and which led to the Great Depression.

World War, Catastrophic Flu Pandemic and World Economic Collapse have long been the Western Powers ‘master plan’ goal to accelerate their main objective of One World Government upon our World, and which only Russia and China have the ability to prevent.

What is most extraordinary about the horrific plans of the Western Powers against our human race, however, is not their stated goals, but that so many of the Western peoples still fail to see that their lives are about to be destroyed, exactly like those of their ancestors from last century.

As the American people alone face the crushing burdens of accelerating oil prices, the collapse of their stock market, the World-Wide collapse of the US dollar, and the catastrophic collapse of their housing market, it is, perhaps, instructive for them to know what their War Leaders know, and which is:

Putin Orders ‘First Strike’ Against US Forces Over Kosovo (http://www.nworeport.com/orders12.htm)


Title: Russia orders new strategic nukes
Post by: Shammu on December 16, 2007, 05:32:17 PM
Russia orders new strategic nukes
Posted 7h 30m ago

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's military has commissioned another batch of new intercontinental ballistic missiles — nuclear weapons officials boast can penetrate any prospective missile shield, reports said Sunday.

The announcement comes amid tensions between Moscow and Washington over U.S. plans for missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The three new Topol-M missiles are capable of hitting targets more than 6,000 miles away and, mounted on a heavy off-road vehicle, are harder for an enemy to track it down, officials said.

The Topol-M missiles, which had been deployed only in silos before December 2006, are stationed near the town of Teikovo, Russia's Strategic Missile Forces said in a statement carried by the ITAR-Tass and RIA Novosti news agencies.

The same unit commissioned the first batch of such truck-mounted missiles a year ago.

The Topol-M's chief designer, Yuri Solomonov, has said the missile drops its engines at a significantly lower altitude than earlier designs, making it hard for an enemy's early warning system to detect the launch.

He said the missiles' warhead and decoys closely resembled one another in flight, making it extremely difficult for a foe to select the real target from a multitude of false ones.

Windfall oil revenues in recent years have allowed the Kremlin buy weapons and fund the development of new missiles. The deployment of Topol-Ms, however, has proceeded slowly and Soviet-built ballistic missiles have remained the backbone of the nation's nuclear forces.

Teikovo, a small town in the Ivanovo region, is located about about 150 miles northeast of Moscow.

Russia orders new strategic nukes (http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2007-12-16-russiamissiles_N.htm?csp=34)


Title: Polish PM Tusk rejects Russian ballistic threat
Post by: Shammu on December 16, 2007, 06:05:18 PM
Polish PM Tusk rejects Russian ballistic threat
Sun Dec 16, 2007 12:07pm EST

WARSAW (Reuters) - Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk dismissed on Sunday a Russian warning that the positioning of a U.S. anti-missile base in Poland could trigger a Russian ballistic missile attack.

He was replying to a Russian warning that the firing of a weapon from a U.S. anti-missile system in Poland could be misread by Moscow's automated defences, triggering the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile in return.

"When I hear the words of a Russian general about an automatic reaction, that recalled the worst of times to me," said Tusk, whose country was an unwilling member of the Soviet bloc from 1944 to 1989.

"Remarks of that type are impermissible, because no Russian general is going to influence Polish-U.S. negotiations on the question."

Defense minister Radoslaw Sikorski had said earlier Poland would listen to Russia's arguments but would take its own decision on the missile shield.

Sikorski, who is due to meet Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak shortly, said: "We have not yet reached a conclusion as to whether the anti-missile shield is necessary."

On Saturday, army Chief of Staff Yuri Baluyevsky told a news conference in Moscow: "The firing of an anti-missile rocket from Poland could be seen by Russia's automated system as the launch of a ballistic missile, which could provoke a responsive strike."

Poland has asked the United States for Patriot missiles or similar air protection to defend its cities if it is to host the anti-missile shield on its territory.

Russia is opposed to the U.S. plan to site up to 10 ground-based interceptor missiles in northern Poland and a radar facility in the Czech Republic to protect against attacks from what it calls "rogue states" such as Iran and North Korea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the plan could unleash a new arms race and might force Moscow to take retaliatory measures.

Polish PM Tusk rejects Russian ballistic threat (http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSL1657140720071216?sp=true)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Soldier4Christ on December 17, 2007, 04:02:33 PM
Islam's world takeover -- two different approaches

Israel author and lecturer Avi Lipkin believes the civilized world will eventually be compelled to take out the radical Iranian regime to prevent it from plunging the world into economic chaos.

Lipkin, who used to serve as a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces, says there are clearly two divergent camps in the Islamic world as to how to take down the West and convert the entire world to Islam. Lipkin says the Sunnis, led by Saudi Arabia, prefer what he calls "the more peaceful approach."

"The Sunnis do not want to destroy the Christian economy," he explains. "What they want to do is ... buy it out -- buy out your banks and your real estate, your corporations, the media, etcetera." That approach, he continues, "basically says we want to preserve America so that we can buy it out and turn America into an Islamic nation and conquer the world for Allah through the petro dollars."

But according to Lipkin, the Shiites -- led by Iran -- have a far different approach. "[They say] we've got to destroy America, destroy the European economies, destroy the world economy, bring everything down, create a complete chaos and anarchy, and then Allah wins. And of course Allah is the devil," he adds.

Lipkin believes that much of the civilized world will unite to bring down the Iranian regime before it is able bring about the collapse of the global economy.


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Soldier4Christ on December 17, 2007, 04:37:28 PM
 The Israeli Air Force is now training outside of Israel, preparing for the real thing, an Iranian strike

According to a senior Israeli Defense Force officer, the Israeli Air Force has been conducting an increasing number of training missions outside of Israel, over the Mediterranean, in the United States, Canada and other countries.

The announcement of the new Israeli Air Force training policy comes as Israeli Public Security Minister Avi Dichter said that something went wrong in the software the Americans use to analyze the severity of the threat of a nuclear Iran, not only to Israel but the whole region including northern Africa and Europe.

As the Israeli Air Force trains for the real thing, an attack from Iran or other distant threat, Bible prophecy predicting just such an attack comes better into focus.

The statement by the Israeli Public Security Minister Avi Dichter that the intelligence estimate made by the United State was not reality. He said that Iran is a major threat for the entire Middle East region and all of the countries of Europe as well which has caused the Israeli Air Force to begin preparing for the real thing.

The real thing defined militarily is the attack on Israel by her number one enemy, Iran, but also includes the multiple attacks that could well take place at the same time.

The Israeli's realize that they live in a tough neighborhood and they must be prepared to defend themselves, thus the new training policy for the Israeli Air Force holding exercises outside of Israel.

This report is evidence that the prophetic passages penned by Daniel, Ezekiel and the Psalmist seem to be moving closer to fulfillment. Ezekiel 38:5 mentions Persia which is modern day Iran, as one of an alignment of nations that will attack Israel in the last days.

Iran is only one of over ten nations that will join in the attacks on the Jewish state itself. Nations like Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Lebanon and others as foretold in Daniel 11 and Psalm 83.

The reality that the Israeli Air Force is preparing now for the real thing is indeed evidence that Bible prophecy will be fulfilled. And maybe in the very near future.


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Soldier4Christ on December 17, 2007, 04:39:29 PM
IAF: Training Abroad for the 'Real Thing'


Israel Air Force has been conducting an increasing number of training missions outside of Israel, over the Mediterranean, in the United States, Canada, Italy and other countries.

According to a senior IAF officer who spoke to Maariv/NRG this week, one of the reasons for this training policy is the Iranian threat: "The IAF's fighter jets need to train for missions against very distant targets, like Iran, and they therefore require long operational ranges," the officer explained. In addition, he said, the IAF fighters use long range radar guided missiles, and therefore need to practice over larger areas, such as the sea.

There are other considerations for conducting training abroad, as well, he said: Israel's skies are cluttered with civilian traffic; there are experiments by security industries which hamper flight, and environmental factors, among others.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert scolded cabinet ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday for making statements about a US intelligence report released last week that said Iran had ceased its nuclear weapons development in 2003.

"I ask the ministers to stop making statements about Iran and the American Intelligence Estimate," he said. "I wish to remind you that the cabinet discussed the matter and stated the Israeli position on the Iranian issue."

Olmert's remarks were seen as a specific rebuke in response to Public Security Minister and former General Security Service (Shin Bet) chief Avi Dichter's blunt criticism of the Americans' intelligence assessment of the Iranian threat, which he called a "misconception."

Speaking at an event Saturday in Holon, Dichter said, "Something went wrong in the 'software' the Americans used to analyze the severity of the threat of a nuclear Iran. Let us hope the United States knows how to fix that."

The Public Security Minister said part of the blame fell on Israel as well. "We did not succeed in convincing the US about how real and close the Iranian nuclear threat is. The size of the region that is threatened by Iran is [determined by] the range of its missiles," he said. "That includes all of the countries of Europe and North Africa."

Dichter added, "A mistaken conception by the world's leading power is not just an internal American issue. It has to alarm Israel and many other countries."

Olmert made it clear at Sunday's meeting that no further statements on the Iranian threat, the American understanding of that threat and its scope should be made.

"There is no place for private announcements by every single minister on this sensitive and complex subject," said the Prime Minister.  "These statements do not help us manage the struggle against the Iranian nuclear project and do not improve our relationship with the US. This matter needs to be handled with great care. I request ministers not to make statements on the subject if it is not within their ministry's purview."


Title: Russia test-fires intercontinental missile
Post by: Shammu on December 19, 2007, 05:03:40 PM
Russia test-fires intercontinental missile
Mon Dec 17, 2007 12:47pm IST


MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia successfully conducted a test launch on Monday of a new intercontinental ballistic missile, the navy said.

A statement said the missile was launched from the Tula nuclear powered submarine in the Barents Sea in the Arctic and hit a designated area in the Kura testing ground on the Kamchatka Peninsula on Russia's Pacific coast.

"The launch was conducted from an underwater position as a part of training to test the readiness of the marine strategic nuclear forces," the statement said.

A navy spokesman would not say what type of missile was tested. Itar-Tass news agency said the Tula submarine carried Sineva missiles commissioned by a decree from President Vladimir Putin in July.

Missile tests have become regular occurrences in the Russian armed forces in the past few years. They are viewed by Russia's political and military leadership as evidence that they are reviving the country's military might.

Russia test-fires intercontinental missile (http://in.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idINIndia-31016720071217?sp=true)


Title: Russia, Iran Tighten Military Ties
Post by: Shammu on December 19, 2007, 05:45:12 PM
Russia, Iran Tighten Military Ties
December 19, '07

(IsraelNN.com) Following a meeting between Iran's Defense minister, Mustafa Najar, and a top Russian security official, Mikhail Dmitriev, Najar said the countries shared "common strategic interests" and would widen their military cooperation.

The Iranian said the cooperation between the countries was mostly technical and defensive, with the aim of "maintaining security and stability in the region."

Two days ago, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it had transferred a shipment of nuclear fuel to Iran.

Russia, Iran Tighten Military Ties (http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/138411)


Title: Israel, Russia on collision course after Moscow fuels Iranian nuclear plant?
Post by: Shammu on December 19, 2007, 05:46:56 PM
Israel, Russia on collision course after Moscow fuels Iranian nuclear plant?

By Stan Goodenough
Dec 18, 2007

When, in an effort to stop Iran from reaching the status of nuclear military power, Israel attacks the sites housing that country's nuclear program, it could find itself on a collision course with Russia.

This possibility emerged Monday amid reports that Russia had delivered what an unnamed Iranian official called a "first batch" of 82 tons of nuclear fuel to the Iranian plant at Bushehr.

According to the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, Russia announced its intention to supply the fuel just days after the publication of a US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) which concluded that Iran had stopped trying to build a nuclear bomb four years ago.

Hailed as a victory by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the NIE report led to an immediate evaporation of the international pressure on Iran to end its quest for nuclear arms, leaving Israel standing alone against the threat.

In a statement that might return to haunt him, US President George W. Bush said he supported Russia's supplying of the nuclear fuel because it removed any reason the Iranians might have for continuing to enrich its own uranium.

But Israeli officials are deeply concerned.

Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Liberman told the Knesset Monday afternoon that Iran needed only a few months to make the transition "from a civilian nuclear energy track to a military one."

A day earlier, Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter had warned that the NIE report could pave the way for "another Yom Kippiur War."

And Ynet quoted an unnamed senior political-defense source as saying that "Iran will do anything to continue (developing nuclear technology) while attempting to confound the Western World."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has strategically aligned his country with Iran, resisting US requests to join an international embargo against the Islamic Republic and instead entering into a historic covenantal relationship with it.

This deepening relationship will only complicate any plans Israel has to strike Iran's facilities.

When Israel took out the French-sponsored Iraqi nuclear reactor called Osirak in 1981, it triggered a crisis with President Francois Mitterrand, who immediately vowed to rebuild the plant. Although he never kept his word, France did supply Iraq with five highly sophisticated fighter bombers armed with Exocet missiles.

Before Osirak, Israel's relations with France were seldom more than cordial. By contrast, its often tense relations with Soviet Russia have brought the Middle East to the brink of nuclear war on at least one occasion.

While the USSR is no more, analysts believe Putin seeks to re-establish the level of influence in the Middle East once enjoyed by the Soviet Empire.

Israel, Russia on collision course after Moscow fuels Iranian nuclear plant? (http://www.jnewswire.com/article/2270)


Title: Russian sect prays to Putin icons, claims he is the 'chosen one'
Post by: Shammu on December 19, 2007, 05:50:46 PM
Russian sect prays to Putin icons, claims he is the 'chosen one'
11/ 12/ 2007
   
MOSCOW, December 11 (RIA Novosti) - Vladimir Putin may be popular in Russia for saving the nation from the chaos of the 1990s, but a sect in the country has taken its devotion a step further by praying to 'presidential icons.'

The Bolshaya Elnya village in the Nizhny Novgorod Region is home to the "Rus' Resurrecting" sect, a group of local residents who believe that President Putin was both the Apostle Paul and King Solomon in previous lives.

Rus' is the term used for the medieval East Slavic nation that gave its name to modern Russia.

"We didn't choose Putin," Mother Fontinya told the Moskovsky Komsomolets paper, expounding on the first time she laid eyes on the "holy one."

"It was when Yeltsin was naming him as his successor [during a live New Year's Eve TV broadcast in 1999]. My soul exploded with joy! 'An ubermensch! God himself has chosen him!'" I cried.

"Yeltsin was the destroyer, and God replaced him with his creation," claimed Fontinya.

The sect possesses a President Putin icon that Fontinya claims miraculously appeared one day.

"He has given us everything," she said, pointing to the sky.

A special newspaper published by the sect - 'The Temple of Light' - features interviews with long-dead religious figures, including the Apostle Paul. The sect members are also convinced that President Putin knows about and supports the actions of their 'Mother Superior.'

Russian Christian sects have long been known for their unusual choices of icons, some of them praying to portraits of such well-known 'holy men' as Stalin and Ivan the Terrible.

Another Russian sect is currently holed up in an underground shelter in the country's central Penza Region and has threatened to commit mass suicide if any attempt is made to bring them to the surface.

Religion was tightly controlled in the U.S.S.R. and the collapse of the Soviet Union saw an explosion in sects and cults, as well as interest in New Age philosophies and beliefs. The back pages of many Russian tabloid newspapers are full of advertisements for 'healers' and 'magicians' who promise to bring happiness in love, success in business, as well as a range of other services.

One of the most well-known sects in Russia has its base near the southern Siberian town of Abakan, where thousands of people, both Russian and foreign, worship a former provincial traffic policeman, Sergei Torop, as the second coming of Christ.

There are currently believed to be around 500-700 such sects in Russia, containing some 600,000-800,000 people.

Russian sect prays to Putin icons, claims he is the 'chosen one' (http://en.rian.ru/russia/20071211/91857622.html)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on December 19, 2007, 05:52:16 PM
Quote
Russian sect prays to Putin icons, claims he is the 'chosen one'

Actually, he might be the chosen one. The chosen one called Gog, but only God knows for sure.


Title: Russia threatens to target US missile shield
Post by: Shammu on December 19, 2007, 05:55:04 PM
Russia threatens to target US missile shield

By Harry de Quetteville and Isambard Wilkinson
Last Updated: 3:05am GMT 19/12/2007

Russia has threatened to target two proposed American bases in Europe with its nuclear missiles if the Pentagon pressed ahead with its plans for a missile defence shield.

In an escalation of the Cold War-style threats favoured by President Vladimir Putin, the general in charge of Russia's ballistic arsenal said that he could target the bases in Poland and the Czech Republic that will host the missile-interceptor shield if America insists on building them.

"I do not exclude the missile-defence shield sites in Poland and the Czech Republic being chosen as targets for some of our intercontinental ballistic missiles," said Gen Nikolai Solovtsov.

America insists that its new shield will carry only a few missiles, designed to intercept warheads fired from rogue states, such as Iran.

But Gen Solovtsov dismissed that concept as a lie, claiming that America was determined to surround Russia with its military might.

"If the Americans signed a treaty with us that they would only deploy 10 anti-missile rockets in Poland and one radar in the Czech Republic and will never put anything else there, then we could deal with this," he said. "However they won't sign, they just tell us verbally, 'We won't threaten you'."

He said that believing such verbal assurances in the past had seen Russia encircled by the Western military alliance, Nato.

"Verbally they already told us that when we re-unite Germany there won't be one Nato soldier there. Now where are they?," he said. "They already cheated Russia once."

Gen Solovtsov's remarks follow a year of increasingly bombastic comments about the proposed missile shield.

Moscow separately said that a shipment of Russian nuclear fuel had arrived in Iran, which the Bush administration suspects is seeking to develop an atomic weapons programme under the cover of civilian energy production.

The delivery of enriched uranium was made to Bushehr power station, which is being built by a Russian company and is expected to start producing electricity within six months.

President George W Bush said that "if the Iranians accept uranium for a civilian nuclear power plant, then there's no need for them to learn how to enrich".

Any suggestion that Iran is attempting to further enrich the uranium it has received in order to make it weapons-grade could trigger a military response from the US or Israel.

America and Britain are already pushing for a new round of sanctions against Teheran at the United Nations Security Council, despite a recent US intelligence report that suggested that Iran's nuclear weapons research might have been mothballed.

The heightened tensions between Washington and Moscow looked unlikely to subside soon as Mr Putin said that he was ready to become prime minister when he steps down as president ahead of elections in March.

The job will allow him to continue exerting enormous public influence under the rule of his near-certain successor, Dmitry Medvedev. It would also give him the platform to run as president again in 2012.

"If the citizens of Russia trust Dmitry Medvedev and elect him the country's president I will be ready to chair the government," Mr Putin said at a conference of the ruling United Russia party.

In two terms as president Mr Putin has led a resource-rich Russia from post-communist weakness back to the heart of global affairs through a sometimes confrontational approach.

Russia threatens to target US missile shield (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/12/18/wrussia118.xml)
~~~~~~~

Here we go again.............


Title: Vladimir Putin seeks to keep power by creating new, larger Russia
Post by: Shammu on December 19, 2007, 06:59:40 PM
Vladimir Putin seeks to keep power by creating new, larger Russia
Mark Franchetti in Moscow

PRESIDENT Vladimir Putin could remain in power for at least another five years as leader of a new state born of a union between Russia and Belarus, the former Soviet republic.

A merger between the two neighbours was the main topic of discussion last week during Putin’s first official state visit to Belarus since 2003. Coming only three months before he is due to step down in accordance with the Russian constitution, which bars presidents from serving more than two consecutive terms, the visit has been described by Kremlin sources as “extremely significant”.

Insiders said the real purpose of the trip to see Alexander Lukashenko, the dictatorial president of Belarus, was to try to hammer out a unification treaty and agree on who would lead the new state as president.

A draft constitution would give the leader of a single Russian-Belarussian state power over both national governments for at least one term of five or seven years. If agreed, it would be put to voters in both countries. Putin could then become president of the new state and Lukashenko his vice-president.

In the event of such an agreement, Putin, 55, is unlikely to make an announcement about his future until after Russia’s presidential elections in March. Last week he threw his weight behind Dmitry Medvedev, a deputy prime minister and chairman of the energy giant Gazprom, as his successor.

A day later Medvedev, 42, who has worked alongside Putin for 17 years, returned the favour by proposing that if he were elected president, his mentor should be prime minister.

Kremlin sources said Putin might still accept the Russian prime ministership but was taken with the idea of becoming president of a new Russian-Belarussian state.

“Becoming prime minister after having been president for eight years is a bit humiliating,” said a Kremlin aide. “No matter how much power Putin would wield, it would still be seen as a step backwards in his eyes.”

Russia and Belarus agreed to boost ties in 1997 in the days of Boris Yeltsin, Putin’s predecessor, but attempts to form a union have so far failed. The main stumbling block has been Lukashenko, an erratic figure whom Putin is said to dislike and mistrust.

Relations between the neighbouring states have been tense lately. Earlier this year the Kremlin threatened to cut off gas supplies to Belarus, prompting Lukashenko to warn that he “would never kneel down” before Moscow.

If the two presidents fail to reach an agreement, Putin could accept the job of prime minister and make a series of constitutional changes to increase the powers of that office.

Earlier this month United Russia, Putin’s party, won an overwhelming majority in parliamentary elections. Its dominance of the Duma, the lower house, means that a vote on changes to the constitution supported by Putin would pass without opposition.

“Make no mistake, Medvedev may be different from his master but the real power in the Kremlin after the March elections will be with Putin,” said Alexei Venediktov, Russia’s most respected opposition journalist. “Whether as president of a new state or as a powerful prime minister, Putin will be the one calling the shots.”

Vladimir Putin seeks to keep power by creating new, larger Russia (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article3056685.ece?print=yes&randnum=1197977040156)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on December 19, 2007, 07:01:12 PM
 Russians 'absolutely, definitely' commit to 2008 Iran reactor startup
MOSCOW — Officials said Iran and Russia have agreed on a timetable for the completion of the nuclear reactor at Bushehr.

Officials said Atomstroiexport was prepared to launch full operations of the 1,000 megawatt reactor by October 2008.

"We have resolved all the problems with the Iranians," said Sergei Shmatko, president of Russia's state-owned Atomstroiexport, the prime contractor of Bushehr. "We have agreed with our Iranian colleagues a time frame for completing the plant and we will make an announcement at the end of December."

"We absolutely, definitely intend to build the Bushehr atomic power station and intend definitely to deliver the fuel to the plant," Shmatko said.

"The first nuclear fuel shipment for the Bushehr atomic power plant arrived in Iran Monday," the Iranian news agency quoted Iranian Vice President Gholam Reza Aghazadeh as saying.

Shmatko said Iran and Russia could form a joint venture to operate the $1 billion Bushehr reactor. He did not elaborate.

In November, the Interfax news agency reported, Putin decided to send the first nuclear shipment to Bushehr. The Moscow-based agency did not say whether the Russian president has set a date for the nuclear shipment.

Russians 'absolutely, definitely' commit to 2008 Iran reactor startup (http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2007/eu_russia_12_17.asp)


Title: Israel, Russia reach agreement eliminating visa requirement
Post by: Shammu on December 19, 2007, 08:01:16 PM
Israel, Russia reach agreement eliminating visa requirement
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent
19/12/2007

Israelis and Russians will soon stop needing visas to visit each other's countries, under a new agreement reached by representatives of both foreign ministries in Moscow last week.

Government sources said the Russian government is expected to approve the new consular agreement soon after Christmas. Once the agreement is approved, the visa requirement should be eliminated within 90 days, they added.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, initialed a memorandum of understanding on eliminating the visa requirement in September, when they met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. However, further talks were needed to translate this memorandum into a detailed agreement.

In Israel, the main push for eliminating the visa requirement came from the Tourism Ministry, which estimates that abolishing visas would increase Russian tourism to Israel by about 100,000 people a year. The Public Security Ministry, in contrast, opposed the move, fearing that eliminating visas would make it too easy for Russian criminals to enter Israel.

In the end, the cabinet sided with the Tourism Ministry, but decided that the visa requirement should be waived only if Russia would in turn waive its visa requirement for Israelis. Russia accepted this proposal in September, setting the stage for last week's agreement.

Israel, Russia reach agreement eliminating visa requirement (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/936212.html)


Title: China, India building trust in first joint military exercises
Post by: Shammu on December 20, 2007, 10:05:38 PM
China, India building trust in first joint military exercises

15 hours ago

BEIJING (AFP) — China said its first-ever joint military exercises with India that began this week were aimed at building trust between the neighbours, which still have rival claims to Himalayan territory.

The nine-day military exercises in southwest China, which involve around 100 troops from each side, began on Wednesday, foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular press briefing.

"The aim of the training is to enhance mutual understanding and mutual trust between the Chinese and Indian militaries," Qin said.

A Chinese defence ministry spokesman was quoted earlier on the official Xinhua news agency as saying that the training, in Yunnan province, would focus on counter-terrorism exercises.

The historic manoeuvres were announced after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met his Chinese counterpart, Wen Jiabao, on the sidelines of an ASEAN summit in Singapore last month.

China and India have a history of rocky relations, and they have yet to resolve a border row that triggered a brief but a bitter war in 1962.

India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometres (14,670 square miles) of its territory, while Beijing claims the whole of the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which is 90,000 square kilometres.

However ties between the regional rivals have thawed since the 1990s, and trade between the two has flourished in recent years.

Qin played down the effects of the lingering border dispute, emphasising the world's two biggest developing countries had much in common on international issues.

"In fact, it's very natural and normal for two countries to have differences," he said.

A second military drill is scheduled to take place in 2008 in India, an Indian defence ministry spokesman said earlier.

China, India building trust in first joint military exercises (http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jpAuTQsMfgyBy2uewsyU56YKLzdA)
~~~~~~~~~~

And the gathering is coming together, just as the Bible says. :D


Title: North Korea resists Dec 31 declaration deadline
Post by: Shammu on December 20, 2007, 10:23:43 PM
North Korea resists Dec 31 declaration deadline
Thu Dec 20, 2007 5:04pm EST

By Arshad Mohammed and Sue Pleming

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is still struggling to get North Korea to disclose its nuclear programs, a challenge in a society so tight-lipped that it would keep even clothing sizes secret, a U.S. official said on Thursday.

North Korea has promised to make a declaration by December 31 as part of a wider deal to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons in exchange for economic and diplomatic benefits from the United States and others.

The senior official told Reuters that reflexively secretive North Korea was reluctant to detail its nuclear proliferation activities -- which it has steadfastly denied -- as well as what it regards as military secrets in its declaration.

"They have real weapons and so they should tell us what the weapons program looks like," said the official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

"That is where you get into military secrets and, in a country that would keep a sweater size secret, you can imagine the difficulty in revealing military secrets," he added.

North Korea has published no economic statistics in the past several decades and severely limits its citizens' travel and contact with the outside world. Its leader, Kim Jong-il, has uttered only several words in public in his long career.

Sung Kim, a U.S. State Department official who is in Pyongyang to discuss North Korea's nuclear declaration, has reported progress in some areas but sticking points in others, the official said.

"It was a very mixed picture because we are not there yet with the declaration after one day. We made some progress but there are some sticking points remaining," the official said of Kim's first day of talks with officials from North Korea's General Directorate of Atomic Energy and its foreign ministry.

Kim has two more working days in North Korea to pursue the issue, which is widely seen in Washington as a key indicator of whether or not North Korea is committed to abandoning its nuclear weapons under a September 2005 multilateral deal.

Washington has already signaled that North Korea might not make the December 31 deadline for the declaration.

The official was upbeat about North Korea's work to disable its Yongbyon nuclear facility, also due by December 31, although he said this could slide into February for technical reasons. The foreign officials overseeing the disablement have chosen to go slowly on removing fuel rods for safety reasons.

"The disabling of the facilities is going ahead well. They have five of 11 tasks fully done and the others are under way. I think everyone involved with the disablement process is very satisfied," he said.

'NO ONE TURNS INTO A PUMPKIN'

The official showed Reuters before-and-after photographs of the disablement. One depicted a "fuel rod machine lathe" -- a piece of equipment that shapes plutonium fuel rods -- first with the machinery intact and then taken apart and removed.

"The timeline, of course, of December 31 is notional. No one turns into a pumpkin on December 31, but obviously we would like to get these 'phase two' tasks done at or around December 31 so that we can move on to the next phase, which would be dismantlement and abandonment of the fissile material," he added.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Thursday a lot was at stake and she wanted a "complete and accurate" declaration from North Korea.

"This is now a crucial step, because if we are to move forward ... on all of the benefits that would come to North Korea through the successful completion of this second phase, we really must have an accurate declaration," she said.

If North Korea provides the declaration and dismantles Yongbyon, the United States has dangled the possibility of removing it from the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list.

The official said he expected Pyongyang to be taken off the list before U.S. President George W. Bush steps down in January 2009, assuming it qualified under U.S. law and met its denuclearization commitments.

North Korea resists Dec 31 declaration deadline (http://www.reuters.com/articlePrint?articleId=USN2020365420071220)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Soldier4Christ on December 21, 2007, 12:00:18 PM
Ex-CIA official: Israel will attack Iran 
Adviser to 3 presidents became convinced after November trip

Bruce Riedel, a former career CIA official and senior adviser to three US presidents, including Bush, tells Newsweek he came back from trip to Israel in November convinced that Jewish state would attack Iran. 'Israel is not going to allow its nuclear monopoly to be threatened,' he says

"I came back from a trip to Israel in November convinced that Israel would attack Iran," Bruce Riedel, a former career CIA official and senior adviser to three US presidents - including George W. Bush - on Middle East and South Asian issues, told Newsweek Thursday, citing conversations he had with Mossad and Israeli defense officials.

"And that was before the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE). This makes it even more likely. Israel is not going to allow its nuclear monopoly to be threatened," the American magazine quoted Riedel as saying in an article titled, "What will Israel do?".

Published in early December, the American NIE determined that Iran  had shelved its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

According to Newsweek, "a rising tide of opinion in Israel's intelligence and national-security circles believes that the NIE does signal American retreat-and, more profoundly, renewed Israeli isolation over what is deemed an existential threat out of Tehran."

'Israel has gotten away with it'

The magazine quoted Knesset Member Ephraim Sneh, a former deputy defense minister who has "warned for years that Israel would eventually have to confront Iran alone," as saying that "today we are closer to this situation than we were three weeks ago ... we have to be prepared to forestall this threat on our own."

David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington told Newsweek that Israel was likely encouraged by the non-reaction to their September air strike on a reported Syrian nuclear facility, "which may have been a test run for Iran, or at least a warning directed at Tehran".

"Israel has gotten away with it in a sense," Albright was quoted as saying. He suggested that any Israeli pre-emptive action might not be a "traditional strike" but could involve more "sabotage of equipment".

Newsweek said Israel also knows that the Arab states are "terrified of an Iranian nuclear power, possibly to the point of looking the other way at another such strike".

The magazine said one reason for Bush's abruptly announced nine-day visit to the Middle East in mid-January was "to deal with the fallout from the NIE, which includes not only the possibility that Israel will act unilaterally but also that Bush's prized Annapolis peace process will stall.

"The Bush trip is, in part, an implicit concession to US hawks that the NIE went too far in absolving Iran. It is also a conscious effort to reassure both Israel and the Arab states that Washington will stand up to Iran's increasing intrusiveness and hegemonic tendencies," Newsweek said in its report.


Title: Think tank sees Israel, not Iran, surviving a Mideast nuclear war
Post by: Shammu on December 21, 2007, 01:57:05 PM
Think tank sees Israel, not Iran, surviving a Mideast nuclear war
December 20, 2007

WASHINGTON — Iran could sustain up to 28 million and Israel 800,000 casualties in a nuclear war between the two countries.

A report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies envisioned a nuclear missile war between Iran and Israel that would last 21 days. Authored by former Defense Department strategist Anthony Cordesman, the report said Israel could conceivably survive a nuclear war, but Iran would not.

"Iranian recovery is not possible in the normal sense of the term," the report, entitled "Iran, Israel and Nuclear War," said. "Israeli recovery [is] theoretically possible in population and economic terms."

The report was released on Nov. 19 amid Iranian threats to destroy the Jewish state. Cordesman said Israel could cause tremendous damage to Iran because of its much more powerful nuclear weapons.

"Israel and U.S. capability to preempt is factor, but main issue may be Israel's ability to clearly develop mutual assured destruction and U.S. capability to deploy credible level of extended deterrence," the report said.

Israel has produced nuclear weapons with a yield of one megaton, the report said. In contrast, Iran would be unable to assemble a weapon of more than 100 kilotons.

A megaton weapon could inflict third-degree burns at three times the radius, and radiation fallout could kill others at a distance of 130 kilometers. A 100 kiloton bomb could result in casualties within a radius of 13 kilometers.

The report expressed confidence in Israeli missile defense capabilities. Cordesman said most Iranian nuclear missiles could be intercepted by the Israeli-origin Arrow-2 missile defense system, bolstered by the U.S-origin PAC-2 Guided Enhanced Missile Plus.

The report envisions a war between 2010 and 2020, when Iran was expected to acquire an arsenal of up to 30 nuclear warheads. Cordesman expected Israel to have more than 200 nuclear warheads, launched by ground- and sea-based systems.

"Prevention [of Iran's nuclear weapons] may stimulate massive covert, dispersed effort," the report said. "Preemption becomes radically different once Iran has nuclear armed force."

Cordesman expects Syria, albeit without nuclear weapons, to join any war. The report envisions Syria firing chemical and other nonconventional weapons that could kill up to 800,000 Israelis. For its part, Syria could lose 18 million in an Israeli nuclear retaliation.

Egypt could also join an Iranian war against Israel. The report expected Israel to retaliate by firing nuclear missiles toward Alexandria, Aswan, Cairo and other cities. Cordesman said Egypt's Suez Canal and Aswan Dam would be destroyed.

"Rational actors do not fight nuclear wars, but history is not written about rational actors behaving in a rational manner," the report said.

Think tank sees Israel, not Iran, surviving a Mideast nuclear war (http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2007/me_nuclear_12_20.asp)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on December 21, 2007, 02:26:53 PM
Somebody in this think tank knows Biblical prophecy, this is just a quick run down.....

Gog and Magog first appear in Ezekiel 38-39.  In light of recent events in the world today, this prophecy has received more attention.  There are of course no guarantees, but some people, myself included, believe that this could occur at literally any time.

Ezekiel 38-39 are next in the time line as chapter 40 begins the description of the Millennial Kingdom.  This does not mean that these events are imminent, as there is a time span of 1900 years between chapters 36 and 37, but it is next in line by Ezekiel’s timeline. This does also not mean that other things described in other prophecies will not happen before the battle of Gog and Magog. It is quite possible that the rapture occurs before this battle, but we have no guarantee. But at the same time, Isaiah 17 can happen, that is the destruction of Damascus.

Ezekiel 39:9 begins the description of the aftermath.  It is gruesome but also amazing in its detail when looked at in comparison to today.  “Then those who live in the towns of Israel will go out and use the weapons for fuel and burn them up, the small and large shields, the bows and arrows, the war clubs and spears.  For seven years they will use them for fuel. 

However, this event cannot happen at the beginning of the tribulation because the tribulation begins with the antichrist signing a peace treaty with Israel. This means that this battle occurs before the tribulation.  While it is purely speculation on my part, I believe that this is the final straw that leaves everyone crying out for peace and the perfect setting for the antichrist to step in and give it to the nations.

I believe (and these are my own thoughts maybe not yours) that we will be taken before the tribulation.  However, even if I’m correct, we have no assurance how long before the tribulation we’ll be taken.  The rapture may occur and then this horrific battle takes place.  Or we may be witness to it.  If we are, let the readers (guests) know that the prophetic calendar is being fulfilled in our presence.

The reason for all of this destruction is for God to be glorified.  In verses 21-22 he says, “I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay upon them.  From that day forward the house of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God.”

Israel has nothing to fear from their enemies though, because they are protected by the Lord of Hosts. Another words, Israel will NOT be harmed in Ezekiel 38-39.


Title: S.Korea's Lee seeks joint project with N.Korea, Russia
Post by: Shammu on December 22, 2007, 09:04:14 PM
S.Korea's Lee seeks joint project with N.Korea, Russia
Fri Dec 21, 2007 3:37pm IST

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's president-elect Lee Myung-bak on Friday proposed a landmark project to exploit natural resources in the Russian Far East using North Korean labour, saying it would benefit all three countries.

Lee, who two days ago became the first former CEO to win South Korea's presidency, made the proposal in a meeting with Russia's ambassador.

"He has been interested for years in linking Korean technology with Russia's resources," said Yim Songbin, an adviser to the Lee camp on international relations.

Lee, who will be the first businessman to run South Korea, struck deals in parts of the Soviet Union when he was CEO of Hyundai construction.

The president-elect will push to implement the resource development project when he takes office in late February, Yim said.

The cooperation with North Korea, which has a border with Russia, would provide the destitute state cash for its workers and fees for the use of its land for transporting materials back to the South, Yim explained.

In his first news conference as president-elect, Lee said he would review the way South Korea has been handing over aid to its prickly neighbour and tie it more closely to specific actions from the North, such as scrapping its nuclear arms programme.

Lee stormed to victory on Wednesday with pledges to find practical solutions that breathe new life into the world's 13th largest economy.

Despite his popularity, Lee has been dogged by allegations of involvement in a securities fraud, a problem that flared up again just before the election when a liberal-dominated parliament agreed a special investigator should look into the accusations.

Outgoing President Roh Moo-hyun plans to approve the special counsel despite calls from Lee's conservative Grand National Party to veto the measure for the sake of national unity, local media reported on Friday.

S.Korea's Lee seeks joint project with N.Korea, Russia (http://in.reuters.com/articlePrint?articleId=INIndia-31080120071221)


Title: Russian military to get new missile, tank
Post by: Shammu on December 22, 2007, 09:06:28 PM
Russian military to get new missile, tank
Sat Dec 22, 2007 11:25pm IST

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Russian armed forces will receive a new submarine-based intercontinental ballistic missile in 2008 and a new type of tank in 2009, local news agencies quoted a top Russian general as saying on Saturday.

Deputy Defence Minister Nikolai Makarov was quoted as saying the nuclear submarine Yuri Dolgoruky, equipped with the Bulava missile, will become part of the Russian navy next year.

Makarov was quoted as saying tests of the missile were almost completed and "we will get it in 2008".

The Bulava is a flagship project that President Vladimir Putin has said can pierce any anti-missile shield.

The armed forces have carried out regular missile tests in the past few years. They are viewed by the political and military leadership as evidence of a revival of Russia's military might.

Buoyed by huge oil revenues, Russia under Putin has been boosting military spending while at the same time using diplomacy to increase its influence as it seeks to counter U.S. plans for a missile defence shield in Europe.

The Bulava missile is designed for Russia's new Borei (Arctic Wind) class nuclear submarines. The first, long-delayed submarine of the class was launched last April.

Makarov said that in 2009 the army would also receive a new type of tank "with an entirely new chassis, weapons, target recognition and fire control systems." Russian ground forces are currently equipped with T-90, T-72 and T-80 tanks.

"Now we are carrying out tests, which we plan to complete next year, and in 2009 the new tank will go into production," he said.

Russia currently has two tanks in the works -- the "Black Eagle", created in the 1990s by the Omsk tank design bureau and first shown to public in 2004, and the T-95, created by Uralvagonzavod. Few details on the T-95 are publicly available.

Putin signed a law suspending Russia's participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty in a step which could allow it to deploy more forces close to western Europe. Russia declared 5,063 tanks deployed in the European area in 2007.

Russian military to get new missile, tank (http://in.reuters.com/articlePrint?articleId=INIndia-31091620071222)


Title: Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan sign Caspian gas pipeline deal
Post by: Shammu on December 22, 2007, 09:25:27 PM
Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan sign Caspian gas pipeline deal

Moscow (AP): Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan signed a landmark agreement on Thursday to build a natural gas pipeline along the Caspian Sea coast that would strengthen Moscow's monopoly on energy exports from the resource-rich region.

The deal, which follows a preliminary agreement reached in May, ended months of tense arguments over the price of gas supplies. It reaffirms Russia's monopoly on gas supplies from Central Asia and deals a strong blow to Western hopes of securing alternate energy export routes.

``We have just signed an extremely important agreement between Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan on building the Caspian pipeline,'' President Vladimir Putin said. ``It will become a new important contribution of our nations into strengthening the European energy security.''

Late last month, Russia's state-controlled monopoly OAO Gazprom gave in to Turkmen price demands and agreed to pay US$130 (euro90) per 1,000 cubic meters of natural gas in the first half of 2008 and US$150 (euro104) in the second half.

The agreement will likely disappoint the United States and the European Union, which have been lobbying for a rival pipeline to be built under the Caspian Sea, bypassing Russia.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Turkmen President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov have expressed interest in undersea pipelines and voiced support for multiple export routes.

However, prospects for pipelines under the Caspian have been clouded by high costs, environmental concerns and disputes over ownership of the sea resources.

Russia controls existing export pipeline for gas from Turkmenistan, which has the largest reserves in the former Soviet Union after Russia. The pipeline has an annual capacity of 50 billion cubic meters.

The new pipeline would have an initial annual capacity of 20 billion cubic meters, and it could grow significantly in the future.

Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko said the new pipeline would be built by 2010.

Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan sign Caspian gas pipeline deal (http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/003200712201860.htm)


Title: Putin congratulates the military
Post by: Shammu on December 26, 2007, 10:56:31 PM
Putin congratulates the military
Thu, 27 Dec 2007 07:08:53

Russia's President Vladimir Putin congratulates the military on the successful test launching of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The military test-fired the experimental RS-24 missile with multiple warheads from the northern Plesetsk launch pad Tuesday, and also conducted a test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile from a Northern Fleet nuclear submarine in the Barents Sea, AP reported.

Defense Minister, Anatoly Serdyukov reported on the launches to Putin on Wednesday, saying that all of the test warheads had hit their designated targets on the Kura testing range on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Putin hailed the launches as: "beautiful holiday fireworks behind which was big work by military experts and civilian engineers. ... Please congratulate them all, it was a serious step in strengthening Russia's defense capability.''

Serdyukov meanwhile, referred to the new missiles as a "modernized Topol-M", saying for the first time that it carried three test warheads during Tuesday's launch.

This is while the US-Soviet 1991 START I arms treaty specifically bans the fitting of multiple warheads to existing types of missiles. However, the treaty expires in December 2009, before the new missile is expected to enter service.

Putin congratulates the military (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=36487&sectionid=351020602)


Title: Afghanistan rejects Canada claim
Post by: Shammu on December 26, 2007, 10:59:03 PM
Afghanistan rejects Canada claim
Thu, 27 Dec 2007 05:24:57

Afghanistan has rejected claims by Canada that explosive devices being used in anti-NATO attacks in the country are coming from Iran.

There is no proof from where the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) actually come from and who brought them into Afghanistan, Afghanistan's Ambassador to Canada Omar Samad told CTV Newsnet on Wednesday.

"Iran is a neighbor and we have good relations," he said, adding that one million Afghan refugees are living in the neighboring country which shares a 1,000-kilometre border with Afghanistan.

Canada's Defense Minister Peter MacKay claimed on Tuesday that many IEDs in Afghanistan have come from Iran.

Before blaming any states, the top diplomat said, more investigation is needed to determine whether certain groups in other countries are involved in sending weapons to Afghanistan.

Relations between Tehran and Ottawa have been difficult since 2003.

Afghanistan rejects Canada claim (http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=36478&sectionid=351020101)


Title: Russia seeking to improve ties with Libya to restore influence
Post by: Shammu on December 26, 2007, 11:14:56 PM
Russia seeking to improve ties with Libya to restore influence
2007-12-25 23:35:42

    TUNIS, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's visit to Libya has been widely regarded as one of Moscow's important steps to catch up with the West in efforts to restore its influence in the North African country.

    Lavrov's two-day trip that ended Monday seeks to make arrangements for a possible visit to Libya by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    In a letter extended to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Putin expressed his willingness to visit the country, saying that Moscow is ready to enhance bilateral cooperation in various fields. Tripoli welcomed the letter and expects Putin's visit.

    The move is widely believed to be a signal of Russia's efforts to warm up its cooled ties with Libya in a bid to regain its influence in the country.

    After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia lost its past glories overnight, resulting in a severe deterioration of its ties with Libya, which was an important ally of the former Soviet Union and a traditional buyer of its arms.

    Lavrov admitted that bilateral ties have been in stagnation for some time and said the current level of bilateral ties is incompatible with their cooperative traditions.

    Libya, long accused by the West of backing terrorism, has been trying to rebuild normal relations with western countries after renouncing terrorism and nuclear weapons.

    The West also intends to resume ties with Libya, eyeing its abundant oil reserves and potential as a market.

    Furthermore, Libya's role in Africa and the Middle East has improved since the United Nations lifted sanctions against it, and its role will be further enhanced after Jan. 1, 2008, when it becomes a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

    Lavrov pinned great hopes on his visit, saying both countries have the sincere wish to promote bilateral ties.

    Both the Russian and Libyan governments are hoping to upgrade relations and are willing to devote themselves to enhancing cooperation in various fields, he told reporters on Monday.

    Lavrov said both sides expect to sign cooperation agreements in military techniques, investment protection and avoidance of dual taxation.

    According to sources from the Russian delegation, Russia has agreed to provide help to Libya in its pursuit of civilian nuclear development and both sides hope to sign such an agreement.

    Analysts said Russia will comprehensively resume its ties with Libya if Putin succeeds in setting foot in the country.

    What follows, they said, will be fierce contention between Russia and the West in Libya and the region at large.

Russia seeking to improve ties with Libya to restore influence (http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-12/25/content_7312617.htm)


Title: Re: Russia seeking to improve ties with Libya to restore influence
Post by: Shammu on December 26, 2007, 11:16:38 PM
Yup...... Libya is mentioned in Gog/Magog, so this is just another confirmation of the the allies cementing their relationships before their fatal mistake in Ezekiel 38-39.


Title: Barakei: Gov't favors blood over talks
Post by: Shammu on December 26, 2007, 11:18:52 PM
Barakei: Gov't favors blood over talks
JPost.com Staff
THE JERUSALEM POST
Dec. 26, 2007

Israel's plan to build a new neighborhood near the Atarot Airport in northeastern Jerusalem reveals the government's true face as a "government of war and occupation" that is guilty of warmongering against the Palestinians and the Arab world, according to Hadash chairman MK Muhammad Barakei.

Barakei, in an interview with the Palestinian Quds Press agency Wednesday, also claimed that the Olmert administration differed from its predecessors in its intention to fan the flames of war in the region by starving the Palestinian people and bringing the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to the brink of explosion.

Meanwhile, Barakie said, "The government continued to unveil its plans to expand settlements in the West Bank, in Jerusalem and on the Golan Heights." This proved, he claimed, that it was "not interested in pursuing negotiations but rather in spilling blood, and dancing in the blood and destruction as it has been doing in recent days in the Gaza Strip."

The MK predicted that the building was an insidious "terrorist" ploy that would "spark the next regional war." Israel, he said, had a vested interest in upholding a state of war in the region; "a war crime against humanity and future generations."

Israel's treatment of Israeli Arabs is fundamentally "racist", he said, and alleged that the "Israeli occupation" was stealing Bedouin lands in the Negev.

"Anyone dreaming of a transfer of Arab Israelis can dream on till his dying day, because Arab citizens will never budge an inch from their homeland and their homes," Barakei said, and appealed to "peaceable elements" within Israeli society to influence the public.

Barakei: Gov't favors blood over talks (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1198517212546&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter)


Title: Jordan supports the settlement of Nagorno-Garabagh conflict on basis of territor
Post by: Shammu on December 27, 2007, 08:49:42 PM
Jordan supports the settlement of Nagorno-Garabagh conflict on basis of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan
26 December 2007

Azerbaijan's Defense Minister Safar Abiyev received special envoy of Jordan King for Middle Asia and Azerbaijan Abdulla Vureykat.

According to the press service for Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry, the meeting participants discussed relations between the two countries.

The special envoy of the Jordan king announced that his country supports the settlement of Nagorno-Garabagh conflict on basis of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

The sides also discussed current military and political situation in the region and prospects of military cooperation between Azerbaijan and Jordan.

Jordan supports the settlement of Nagorno-Garabagh conflict on basis of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan (http://www.today.az/news/politics/42055.html)
~~~~~~~~~

For those of you who don't know.........

The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR)  commonly called Nagorno-Karabakh, is a de facto independent republic located in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of South Caucasus, which is officially part of Azerbaijan, about 270 kilometers (170 miles) west of the Azerbaijani capital of Baku and very close to the border with Armenia.

The predominantly Armenian-populated region became a source of dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan when both countries gained independence from the Russian Empire in 1918. After the Soviet Union expanded into the area, it established the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) within the Azerbaijan SSR in 1923. On December 10, 1991, as the Soviet Union was collapsing, a referendum held in the NKAO and the neighboring Shahumian region resulted in a declaration of independence from Azerbaijan as the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which remains unrecognized by any international organization or country, including Armenia.

In the final years before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the region re-emerged as a source of dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, culminating in the Nagorno-Karabakh War from 1988 to 1994. Since the ceasefire in 1994, most of Nagorno-Karabakh and several regions of Azerbaijan around it remain under joint Armenian and Nagorno-Karabakh military control. The parties have since been holding peace talks mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagorno-Karabakh_Republic


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on December 27, 2007, 08:59:11 PM
Putin tells Russia's government to prepare for his becoming prime minister

10 hours ago

MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin is urging the Russian government to work harder than ever as he prepares to take over as prime minister after March presidential elections.

Putin told a cabinet meeting Thursday that ahead of the election the whole state machine, and primarily the government, must work dependably and steadily.

Putin has said he would accept the prime minister's post if his protege, Dmitry Medvedev, is elected president in March.

Medvedev, 42, a first deputy prime minister, appears certain to win the March 2 election, given Putin's support and the Kremlin's control over the political landscape and national television.

Putin has pledged not to undermine his successor by weakening Russia's strong presidential system and transferring powers to the prime minister's office.

But many believe Putin will remain the real leader of Russia, at least in the short term.

During the cabinet meeting, the last of the year, Putin reeled off a string of statistics showing strong economic growth in 2007.

Gross domestic product will have grown by 7.6 per cent this year, he said, adding that the government's budget surplus would amount to 3.6 per cent of GDP.

Putin said the country's growing financial strength has led to a reduction in the number of Russians living below the poverty line to between 12 and 13 per cent, down from 15 per cent in 2006.

The Russian economy has seen steady growth during Putin's eight years in office thanks to high prices for oil, the main export commodity.

Putin tells Russia's government to prepare for his becoming prime minister (http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5iLXybOBG0kVy8XIqnvjkcP8za_Zg)


Title: Re: Putin tells Russia's government to prepare for his becoming prime minister
Post by: Shammu on December 27, 2007, 09:00:16 PM
Well this not surprising, Gog is in place, the hook securely fastened and is being reeled in.


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Soldier4Christ on December 28, 2007, 11:32:51 AM
 Benazir Bhutto, a politcal leader in Pakistan, has been assassinated

As the former Pakistani PM Benazir Bhutto concluded addressing a political rally in Pakistan, the leader of the opposition was shot in the neck by a gunman who then set off a bomb killing himself and a number of Bhutto supporters.

President Mushaaraf and his government have called on the Pakistani people to remain calm so that the terrorists can be defeated and order returned to the country. Bhutto had twice been the country's PM and had been campaigning ahead of the election due to be held in January. This was the second suicide attack against Ms. Bhutto in recent months and came amid a wave of bombings targeting security and government officials.

The assassination of a political leader in the only nuclear-powered Islamic state has significance geopolitically and prophetically according to Bible prophecy.

Under threat of assassination, Benazir Bhutto, former PM of Pakistan, was openly campaigning to return to power in a state that is violent due to the militant Islamic element in the country. Warned of the possibility of being killed, Bhutto went ahead in her effort to return to power and deal with the terrorists in her nation. The truth behind the assassination of Ms. Bhutto will ultimately come out but until then, chaos is the term best used to describe the situation in Pakistan. The Islamic militant element in Pakistan has been the major force behind the conflict and seems to be positioning itself in to take control of the nuclear facility of Pakistan, the only such nuclear WMD in the Islamic world.

This would empower the radical Islamic groups to facilitate the prophetic scenario that is found in Joel 2:2-3 which speaks of a mighty Moslem militia formed in the Last Days to attack Israel. The nations involved in that attack, listed in Daniel 11, Ezekiel 38 and Psalm 83, all are aligned under the Islamic banner.

Benazir Bhutto's assassination does indeed help to set the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled.


Title: Pilgrims stranded in standoff with Egypt
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2007, 07:13:25 PM
Pilgrims stranded in standoff with Egypt
JPost staff and AP , THE JERUSALEM POST    Dec. 29, 2007

Nearly two thousand Palestinian pilgrims returning from Mecca were stranded in the Red Sea on Saturday after refusing to sign an agreement with Egyptian authorities to re-enter the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom Crossing.

Among the pilgrims were senior Hamas operatives, several of whom are wanted by Israel, Israel Radio reported. Fearing arrest once they arrived at the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom Crossing, the Hamas members insisted on returning to Gaza via Rafah Crossing, which is not under Israel's control.

The pilgrims had sailed to the port city of Nuweiba on the Sinai Peninsula from Jordan's Aqaba Port but the Egyptians were stopping them from disembarking.

Hamas said there were a total of 1,900 pilgrims who had been waiting since Friday in the Red Sea.

The Palestinians were refusing to accept food or medicines until they received permission to use Rafah and some even threatened to set the ferries on fire.

Israel filed a complaint with Cairo after Egypt allowed the Palestinians to pass through Rafah on their way to Mecca and after Defense Minister Ehud Barak's recent visit to Egypt, Israeli officials said the Egyptians agreed to have the pilgrims use Kerem Shalom Crossing on there way back to Gaza.

IDF intelligence estimates released on December 5 indicated that up to a couple of dozen Hamas terrorists were among the so-called pilgrims Egypt allowed out of the Gaza Strip. In recent years, hundreds of Hamas terrorists have traveled abroad to Iran and Lebanon for military training, and officials said it was possible that these terrorists would do the same.

The IDF also fears that if the pilgrims are allowed to return to Gaza through Rafah they might smuggle millions of dollars to Hamas.

Senior Palestinian officials dismissed Israel's concerns, saying the Egyptians could search the pilgrims for smuggled cash.

"Israelis raise trivial issues and complicate things to cover up criticism over continued construction of settlements," said Mohammed Sobeih, the Arab League's undersecretary general.

The standoff angered Hamas, who said Egypt has a responsibility to bring the pilgrims back to Gaza as quickly as possible.

Some 5,000 people waving Palestinian and Hamas flags gathered on the Gaza side of the border with Egypt on Saturday and demanded the pilgrims be allowed to enter.

"We won't accept any excuse for preventing the pilgrims from returning," read a banner carried by one of the protesters.

Egyptian riot police arrived and mounted a machine gun on a building overlooking the corridor separating Egypt from Gaza. Hamas security positioned themselves between the protesters and the border gate.

In Gaza late Friday, angry Hamas loyalists fired their guns in the air and lobbed sound bombs in protest of Egypt's actions. The rioting was quickly quelled by Hamas security.

Hamas government spokesman Taher Nunu said Saturday that 1,900 pilgrims are caught in limbo at sea and urged Egypt "to urgently end their plight."

"We in the government and the people refuse to use (the Israeli) crossing. The pilgrims have the right to return the same way they exited," he said.

Hamas lawmaker Yehia Moussa said Egypt has a moral obligation to bring the pilgrims back home.

"We demand an immediate end to the situation before we get to popular reactions with undesired consequences," he said.

Moussa said it was not a threat, but "the public has the right to protest and revolt against the closure."

Pilgrims stranded in standoff with Egypt (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1198517236823&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter)


Title: Hamas urges Egypt to open Gaza border to pilgrims
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2007, 07:14:54 PM
Hamas urges Egypt to open Gaza border to pilgrims

Fearing Israel will arrest wanted militants making their way through with Muslim pilgrims returning from Mecca, Hamas demands more than 2,000 stranded Palestinians be allowed to return to Gaza through Rafah crossing

News Agencies
Published: 12.29.07, 17:44
Israel News

Hamas Islamists called on Egypt on Saturday to open its shuttered border crossing with the Gaza Strip to let more than 2,000 Palestinians return to their Gaza homes from the annual haj pilgrimage in Mecca.

Hamas, which controls Gaza, is demanding that Egypt reopen the Rafah crossing to allow the pilgrims to pass directly into the coastal territory rather than force them to pass through Israeli border posts first.

Hamas fears Israel will arrest wanted militants among the pilgrims.

Hamas officials estimated that 2,200 Gaza pilgrims were stranded on ships at an Egyptian port on the Red Sea.

Israel believes some of the militants may be carrying money for Hamas and other groups.

"We are aware of the Israeli and American pressures on Egypt, and we urge Egypt to reject these pressures and to allow the pilgrims a safe return through Rafah," Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told a news conference.

Hamas said a 62-year-old woman who fell ill died aboard one of the ships, which have been stranded for a second day.

Abu Zuhri said the Gaza pilgrims have rejected Egyptian demands that they agree to return through Israeli-controlled crossings.

Egyptian officials had no immediate comment.

Israel and the United States are pressing Egypt to do more to prevent the smuggling of guns, explosives and funds into the Gaza Strip.

Egypt has rejected Israeli complaints about the smuggling, accusing Israel of trying to distract attention from settlement.

In mid-December, Israel allowed hundreds of Palestinians from Gaza to cross Israeli territory on their way to the annual haj pilgrimage.

Earlier in the month, about 2,200 pilgrims heading for Mecca crossed from Gaza into Egypt through Rafah.

Hamas urges Egypt to open Gaza border to pilgrims (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3487969,00.html)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2007, 07:16:11 PM
 (http://Pilgrims stranded in standoff with Egypt)
Quote
Hamas urges Egypt to open Gaza border to pilgrims


If they're waiting for their god allah to part the sea, I'm afraid they have a long wait............... ;D ;D ;D


Title: Russia Plans Increased Arms Exports to Iran, Others
Post by: Shammu on December 29, 2007, 08:14:10 PM
Russia Plans Increased Arms Exports to Iran, Others
By Sergei Blagov
CNSNews.com Correspondent
December 28, 2007

Moscow (CNSNews.com) - In the latest sign that Moscow is keen to expand its arms exports to Iran despite Western objections, Russia reportedly has agreed to supply the Islamic republic with air defense systems.

Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Najjar said on Wednesday that Russia would sell Iran the S300 missile system, but he did not disclose a delivery date.

On Friday, the Russian agency that oversees Russia's military exports issued a statement denying that any such sale would take place.

"The question of deliveries of S-300 systems to Iran, which has now arisen in the mass media, is not currently taking place, is not being considered and is not being discussed at this time with the Iranian side," the agency said.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said the administration had "ongoing concerns about the prospective sale of such weapons to Iran and other countries of concern."

According to Russian missile makers, the S300 can shoot down combat aircraft as well as cruise and ballistic missiles.

The S300 PMU1 system can engage targets flying as low as 10 meters off the ground at a range of up to 150 kilometers, while the PMU2 variant has a range of 200 kilometers.

The S300 is a continuation of the earlier generation S75 surface-to-air (SAM) missile. Between 1965 and 1972, the Soviet Union supplied nearly 8,000 SAMs to North Vietnam.

Washington repeatedly has urged Moscow to cut military sales to Iran, to little avail. Earlier this year, Russia delivered 29 TOR-M1 air defense missile systems worth $700 million. The S300's capability is considered to be far superior to that of the TOR-M1 system.

Among post-Soviet countries, only Belarus and Kazakhstan (aside from Russia) have the S300 systems. Moscow also has sold them to China as well as to Vietnam and Cyprus.

The Kremlin has been prioritizing arms exports as both a foreign policy tool and for economic benefit. China, India, Venezuela and Iran are among Moscow's top clients.

On Monday, leading presidential election candidate Dmitry Medvedev announced that the country's arms exports were estimated to exceed $7 billion this year, up from $6.5 billion in 2006.

Russia is currently reported to be haggling with both China and India - its top military hardware buyers - over prices.

China and India have threatened to stop purchases if Russia does not stop raising prices on already-signed arms contracts.

New Delhi is also unhappy about Russia's sale of jet engines for Chinese-made fighters to be sold to Pakistan, India's long-standing rival.

Russia Plans Increased Arms Exports to Iran, Others (http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewForeignBureaus.asp?Page=/ForeignBureaus/archive/200712/INT20071228f.html)


Title: N Korea failed to tell all on nuclear program
Post by: Shammu on December 31, 2007, 04:30:33 PM
N Korea failed to tell all on nuclear program

Posted 10 hours 25 minutes ago

The US says North Korea has failed to provide all the information about its nuclear program it had promised in return for international aid.

A US State Department spokesman says it is unfortunate North Korea has not yet met its commitments and is slowing down the process of disablement.

Pyongyang agreed in October to declare its nuclear activities and disable the facilities at Yongbyon by the end of the year.

US State Department spokesman Tom Casey said it was unfortunate that North Korea had so far failed to provide a complete declaration of its nuclear programs and urged the Government there to deliver a correct statement of all its weapons and proliferation activities.

The US and South Korea have said they particularly want to know how much plutonium has been produced and to see evidence that there is no secret program for uranium enrichment for weapons purposes.

N Korea failed to tell all on nuclear program (http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/12/31/2129613.htm)


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: nChrist on January 06, 2008, 03:31:58 AM
 ;D   ;D   ;D   ;D

Can you believe that Congress or any other entity believes these folks?

It's more logical to go in the other direction and seriously doubt every word that comes out of their mouths. After all, does North Korea, Russia, China, Syria, Iran, Iraq, and others have any track history of telling the truth? NO!

In fact, I'm shocked when they tell the truth on anything!


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 08, 2008, 09:54:24 AM
Russian, Libyan navies resume contacts

The Russian and Libyan navies have resumed contacts after a long hiatus when a Russian Navy vessel made a port call at Tripoli, an aide to the Russian Navy commander said on Saturday.

The Ivan Bubnov tanker will stay at the Libyan capital until January 7. It is participating in a two-month patrol mission in the northeast Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Russia's first in the past three years, which began on December 5.

"The visit by the Russian vessel to Libya could be seen as a revival of contacts with the country's navy in the interest of strengthening mutual understanding and building trust in the Mediterranean region," Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said.

Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said previously that a total of four warships and seven other vessels of Russia's Northern, Black Sea and Baltic Fleets, as well as 47 airplanes and 10 helicopters, would take part in the 12,000-mile cruise.

"The mission is aimed at ensuring a naval presence and establishing conditions for secure Russian navigation," Serdyukov told the Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting in the Kremlin.

Libya's leader Colonel Muammar Qaddafi met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on December 24 in Tripoli to discuss bilateral relations and international issues.

After the meeting the foreign minister said that the two countries are preparing Putin's visit to Libya.

Lavrov also said Libya's Soviet-era debt to Russia, which stands at around $3.5 billion, including interest, would be a key issue on the visit's agenda.

In mid-August, Putin announced the resumption of strategic patrol flights, saying that although the country halted long-distance strategic flights to remote regions in 1992 with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the ensuing economic and political chaos, other nations had continued the practice, compromising Russian national security.


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 09, 2008, 06:23:09 PM
 Russia is worried that its Muslim community is on track to account for more than half its population

Low domestic birthrates coupled with ever-increasing immigration from the former Soviet Republics is producing explosive growth in Russia's Muslim community which is on track to account for more than half its population by mid-century.

Russia's national fertility rate is 1.28 children per woman, far below what is needed to maintain the country's population of nearly 143 million, while the average fertility rate for Russian Muslims is six children per woman.

Russia's Muslim population has increased by 40% since 1989 and by 2015, Muslims will make up a majority of Russia's military, figures that have Slavic Russians concerned about becoming a minority in their own country.

The ever-increasing Muslim population in Russia is setting the stage for the prophetic scenario found in Bible prophecy for the Last Days.

The former superpower nation of Russia has in recent years been moving to reestablish itself as a major player on the world scene. Russian President Vladimir Putin, a major force in Russian politics, has emerged as a key player in world affairs and looks to continue to impact Russia, Europe, and in fact the world.

However, there are concerns that the explosive birth rate and immigration of Muslims in Russia could also have an impact on world affairs in the very near future. This is a scenario that is found in Bible prophecy for the Last Days as it pertains to Russia.

Ezekiel, the ancient Jewish prophet some 2,500 years ago pre-wrote history with his prophecy that the geographical location known then as Magog, modern-day Russia, would lead a coalition of nations to destroy Israel, that's Ezekiel 38:2. All the other nations in that coalition would be of Islamic or Arabic background, that's Ezekiel 38:2-6.

Russia's ever-increasing Muslim population is indeed setting the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled.


Title: Re: News items that look towards Ezekiel 38 & 39
Post by: nChrist on January 09, 2008, 11:05:04 PM
It's breathtaking to realize how ACCURATE AND TRUE THE HOLY BIBLE IS! It has proven itself countless times in past history, so what more is required for mankind to believe that IT IS THE WORD OF GOD!

We can count the staggering number of Bible Prophecies that have already been fulfilled PERFECTLY AND ON TIME - GOD'S TIME! There are many Bible Prophecies yet to be fulfilled because it isn't GOD'S TIME YET, but those times appear to be growing near. We can read about what is DEFINITELY GOING TO HAPPEN in the future from the HOLY PAGES OF GOD'S WORD! Almost countless things have already been proven to be 100 PERCENT ACCURATE, so why doesn't mankind pay attention to the rest that is SURE TO HAPPEN AT GOD'S APPOINTED TIME?

For many men, I somewhat understand why they reject the Holy Bible. They don't want to acknowledge ALMIGHTY GOD - THE CREATOR! However, they will bow before HIM one day to hear their punishment pronounced. It will be too late, and the consequences are ETERNAL!


Love In Christ,
Tom

Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable GIFT, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour Forever!


Title: Ban Ki-moon slams Katyusha attack on Shlomi
Post by: Shammu on January 12, 2008, 04:45:49 PM
Ban Ki-moon slams Katyusha attack on Shlomi
JPost.com Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST    Jan. 12, 2008

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday condemned the firing of rockets from southern Lebanon toward the northern village of Shlomi.

"If the rockets were launched from Lebanese territory as is likely, the incident would constitute a serious violation of UNSC Resolution 1