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


france is special and don't you forget it

1. Iraq to 'give preference' to French firms

France has "a special place" for Iraq, and French companies will get preference if they invest and do business in the country, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani told The Associated Press on Wednesday...."We are encouraging many countries in the world, from China to the United States of America to Brazil, but France has a special place," Talabani added.


He had encouraging words for French oil company Total, which is angling for rights to tap Iraq's hydrocarbon fields as part of an international auction system carried out by Baghdad. A second bidding round is slated for Dec. 11-12 for 15 oil fields in 10 projects.

"The system of auctions isn't solely based on figures. We might privilege a company even if the figures aren't as good as another because it comes from a country like France," Talabani said. "Don't be scared of auctions," he added, responding to a question from a Total executive. "We will always give preference to French companies ... we want to see Total work in our petroleum deposits."

The Iraqi leader met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Francois Fillon earlier in the four-day visit, and laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe. Iraqi foreign and defense ministers traveling in Talabani's delegation signed accords Monday on economic, cultural and defense affairs with their French counterparts. The visit ends Thursday.

read more @ taiwan news

2. Abdullah, Sarkozy discuss Mideast

RIYADH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah held wide-ranging talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy here on Tuesday. The talks, which took place at the king’s ranch in Janadriya, focused on a range of regional and international issues including the Middle East peace process, the latest developments in Lebanon, Iraq and Iran besides ways to boost ties between Riyadh and Paris.

...France is interested in Kingdom’s infrastructure projects, power plants, high-speed trains, aircraft and defense projects. It was not immediately known whether Sarkozy discussed the commercial issues during his first round of talks with the king on Tuesday night.

While Sarkozy was visiting the Kingdom, his Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner was in the Jordanian capital Amman on Tuesday for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Kouchner is expected to arrive in Israel on Wednesday as part of French efforts to revive the stalled peace talks.

Asked about the details of talks Sarkozy will hold in Saudi Arabia, the source said that an agreement on peaceful nuclear cooperation was also on the agenda.

“But, reviving Middle East peace talks is the priority and the present stalemate only serves extremists,” said the French president in remarks published on Tuesday before his visit to the Kingdom. “The absolute priority lies in relaunching the peace process as soon as possible. The current stalemate serves the interest of the extremists,” said Sarkozy.

Sarkozy, who met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, did not say what message he would have for Saudi Arabia on the issue of settlements.

According to an AFP report, no announcements are planned by either side following the summit-level talks in Riyadh, but “King Abdullah and Sarkozy are also expected to discuss French bids to sell helicopters, naval frigates and high-speed trains to the Kingdom,” said the report. “It is not big news,” said a Saudi government official, adding that “military equipment needs are generally discussed during such visits to identify particular requirements of any country or in this case Saudi Arabia.”

read more @ arab news

3. meanwhile, Saudi visit with Gates at Pentagon. hoping to expand the conflict with Yemen?

WASHINGTON - US Defense Secretary Robert Gates planned to host talks with the Saudi deputy defense minister on Tuesday, the Pentagon said, as Saudi forces kept up an offensive against rebels in Yemen.

Prince Khaled bin Sultan, Saudi deputy minister of defense and aviation, was scheduled to meet Gates in Washington to "discuss a range of bilateral defense and regional security issues," press secretary Geoff Morrell said.

...Saudi Arabia has reportedly considered ordering 72 F-15 jets to bolster its fighter fleet, according to DoD Buzz, an online defense publication. A defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Saudis had made no formal request for the F-15s.

Ali Larijani, the speaker of Iran's parliament, on Sunday accused Washington of masterminding Saudi Arabia's bombing of Shiite Yemeni rebels, parliament's website reported.

read more @ middle east online

4. Japanese engineer remains detained in Yemen

SANAA —The Japanese Embassy in Yemen was notified by Yemeni authorities Wednesday that a 63-year-old Japanese engineer kidnapped by armed tribesmen remained detained and negotiations for his release would resume soon, an embassy official said.

Yemeni authorities had informed the embassy Tuesday that the man was released, and the embassy wants to meet the man soon.

In Tokyo, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said Wednesday that the Japanese man, whose name has been withheld, has not been freed but his release could be near....The Japanese captive, who has been based in Sanaa for more than a year, has been working on a Japanese government-funded aid project to build schools in Yemen. He is an employee of a Tokyo-based consultancy.

?? o_O read more @ japan today

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