cue the lightning bolts

the only question that matters: is it true?

Iran has signed the NPT. As a signatory to the NPT, Iran may rightfully, legally, use nuclear technology for peaceful energy purposes. Iran has submitted to and passed repeated IAEA inspections. The US intelligence community (NIE) does not consider Iran a nuclear threat. Israel refuses to sign the NPT. Israel has an estimated several hundred undeclared nuclear weapons. Russia and China have warned that an attack on Iran will have global consequences. That's the situation in a nutshell. Where to next, people? Where to?

Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? - Galatians 4:16


al CIAda still so busy

1. Afghan war ready for expansion??

The worsening Afghan war has brought some good news for Uzbekistan. On Tuesday, the European Union announced it was lifting a four-year old arms embargo against Uzbekistan. The EU imposed wide-ranging sanctions in 2005 after Uzbek troops fired on civilians during an uprising in the city of Andizhan in Ferghana Valley, and Tashkent rejected calls by Western countries for an international inquiry into those killings.

Tuesday's decision completes an incremental process stretched over the past year or so on the EU's part to kiss and make up with Tashkent. The EU officials justified their decision with Tashkent's recently release of some political prisoners and abolishment of the death penalty. Amnesty International has promptly contradicted the claim with facts and figures.

Aside from the veracity of the EU claim, the reality is that Europe not only blinked first, it also bent its knees while doing so. Brussels kept a straight face, though, assuring the world audience that it would "closely and continuously observe the human-rights situation in Uzbekistan … [and] assess progress made by the Uzbek authorities."

...The EU decision comes at a time when alarm bells are beginning to ring in the Central Asian capitals regarding the spillover of the Afghan war to the region, which seems all but certain. The Taliban are strengthening their presence in northern Afghanistan and it is a matter of time before they threaten the Central Asian countries with retaliatory action for the latter's association with the US in Afghanistan.

read more @ asia times

2. /snark on/ amazing coincidence - security concerns confirmed as terrorists attack almost as if on cue. how on earth do they get such timing hmm it's like they know like there's a mole or something in the State Department? /o_O snark off/

WASHINGTON - United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Pakistan to meet with government officials, civic leaders, businesspeople, and even leaders of the political opposition.

For security reasons, the State Department isn't giving details of Clinton's visit - not even a timetable, let alone the topics she's expected to discuss with Pakistan's civilian and military leaders.

The security concerns proved correct, as Clinton's arrival in the country coincided with a car bomb that tore through a market in the northwest Pakistani city of Peshawar early on October 28. At least 105 people were killed and more than 200 wounded.

Clinton was three hours' drive away in the capital, Islamabad, when the blast took place. In remarks carried live on Pakistani news channels, she said, "I want you to know that this fight is not Pakistan's alone. This is our struggle as well."

yes, i think we got that part. read more @ asia times

3. African impasse: terrorists or pirates, either way

MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti military commentator Ilya Kramnik) - Pirates near the Somali coast and several other African countries are possibly one of the key news items these days.

However, piracy is only the tip of the African iceberg: The developments in Africa, which affect all states in the region, including Somalia, are fraught with a far more serious threat than piracy.

The United States has recently expressed concern over this threat once again. During his visit to Algeria, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey D. Feltman said that Washington is concerned over the problem of terrorism in the Sahel countries (one of the poorest regions in the world, the Sahel Belt includes Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, and Eritrea).

Feltman noted that the U.S. is not going to substitute for African governments in their efforts to counter terrorism in the region, although it can provide them assistance.

Terrorist activity in the region started to surge after Al-Qaeda "branches" popped up in Africa. In January 2007, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) announced its existence, launching terrorist attacks against African countries' government agencies and armed forces, including the Algerian army, as well as against representatives of other countries, including Russia.

...It is unclear how the situation will develop, but it appears that in the media, the pirates near the African coast can be replaced by local terrorists only. [natch]

read more @ ria novosti

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