Thursday, October 18, 2007

Operation Checkmate?

Reuters reports that Israeli PM Ehud Olmert is on his way to an emergency meeting with Vladimir Putin in Moscow to discuss, according an Israeli government statement, "a series of regional issues including the peace process with the Palestinians and Iran's threats and its attempt to equip itself with nuclear weapons."

This closely follows Vlad's visit to Tehran this week where he not only met crazy Ahmadinejad but also Iran's real leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The NYT reports that Ari Larijani, the Iranian nuclear negotiator, said Putin offered the Iranians "a special proposal," regarding presumably the whole nuclear issue.

Vlad has made it pretty clear where he stands on the bomb, bomb, Iran front and when it comes to the US plan for placing an anti missile system in Eastern Europe Putin told Condi and Bob Gates where to get off. Putin shocked the both of them by saying, "Of course we can sometime in the future decide that some anti-missile defense system should be established somewhere on the moon. But before we reach such arrangements we will lose the opportunity for fixing some particular arrangements between us." [MSNBC]

Oh that Vlad, he's a laugh riot!

Interestingly, despite the administration's stance up to this point that the missile system is non-negotiable, the NYT also reports today that postion might not be written in stone. The US is apparently willing to give up on the idea, "If Iran were to suspend uranium enrichment in its nuclear program, a senior State Department official said on Wednesday." According to an Agence France-Presse account picked up by the NYT: "Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried, said that United States officials had explained Washington’s stance to Russia in talks at NATO headquarters to help allay fears that the missile shield posed a threat to Russia. 'Our real concern is not Russia,' Mr. Fried told reporters in Brussels."

Very interesting.

The administration, or certain elements of the administration anyway, seem to be working overtime to avoid a confrontation with Iran. But Vlad going to Tehran must have been a real bummer for the anti- bomb, bomb, Iran crowd at Foggy Bottom. they're keeping their peckers up, though, and putting on a bold face. The NYT quotes on "American official"who says what Vlad said told the Iranians "once the cameras left was not bad. I cannot rule out that he delivered a message that we would like.”

Yeah right!

Vlad off the reservation and since W. decided to piss the Chinese off by meeting the Dalai Lama yesterday, I'd say the whole diplomacy thing is a dead letter.

And now for Operation Checkmate

The Sunday Times reported a while back that:

"THE United States Air Force has set up a highly confidential strategic planning group tasked with 'fighting the next war' as tensions rise with Iran. Project Checkmate, a successor to the group that planned the 1991 Gulf War’s air campaign, was quietly reestablished at the Pentagon in June. "

So it is bomb, bomb Iran after all!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Kaboom! The bombing will begin in five minutes.

AP reports today:

"ANKARA, Turkey - Parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a possible cross-border offensive against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, although the government appears willing to give diplomatic pressure on the U.S.-backed Iraqi administration more time to work."

Interestingly. . . "President Bush said the United States was making clear to Turkey it should not send a massive number of troops into Iraq. Bush said Turkey has had troops stationed in Iraq 'for quite a while. We don't think it's in their interest to send more troops in.'"

That's interesting, isn't it?

Turkey has troops stationed in Iraq? I've heard of Turkish incursions for months into Iraq on so-called "hot pursuit" raids, but W. says they're actually stationed there. He doesn't have a problem with that, apparently, but what do the Iraqi Kurds think about it?

In a bit of good news for W. & Co., all these worries about a new war breaking out in northern Iraq has caused the price of a barrel of oil to surge to $89. (Now that's that kind surge W. is talking about.) I'm sure W.'s good buddy Ray Hunt, of Hunt Oil, currently exploring for oil in Iraqi Kurdistan, must be kind of worried, but an $89 barrel of oil will take the sting out of any disruption of his investments in Iraq, I'm sure. Exxon/Mobil is probably already working on another blockbuster quarter.

And just when you thought a $100 barrel of oil was an impossibility, W. said today that he told "people" (the Russians, perhaps?), "If you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them [the Iranians] from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon."

Ouch! World War III?

Bush said this in reaction to Vlad "the Impaler" Putin's and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's little pow- wow yesterday in Tehran where Putin said the US should butt out of the Caspian region. Putin said, "Not only should we reject the use of force, but also the mention of force as a possibility.”

Well, so much for that. Bush just threatened WW III!

According to the ATimes today for Iran this summit with Putin was a . . ."Major achievement for Iran's diplomacy and particularly for Amadinejad's embattled foreign policy team, the 'good news' summit will likely serve as the hinge that opens new breathing space for Iran's diplomacy, and not just toward the Caspian, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. Iran's Persian Gulf policy is also bound to benefit from the improved image of Iran in the Middle East, making more attractive Iran's role as a corridor to Central Asia which the Arab world in general and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states in particular can take advantage of in their external trade and energy policies."

Looks like Put-Put isn't getting a Christmas card from the Bushes this year.
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