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


defense spending

1. China wary of Russian naval repairs

Hong Kong, China — China has procured from Russia 12 Kilo class submarines and four 956E/EM DDGs, or guided missile destroyers, since 1993. The first two Vasayanka-class Kilo submarines were exported to China in 1993, and the second two Kilo 636 submarines were delivered in 1996. The first two 956E DDGs were delivered in 1996 and 1999 respectively.

These battleships are now all due for overhaul or technical upgrading. But there are differences between China and Russia as to how this is to be done. Simply, China does not wish to trust its naval equipment to Russian technical experts.

A senior authoritative source from the Russian military industry said that for submarines, maintenance is more important that building the vessels themselves. Maintenance was not a major topic of discussion when the submarines were purchased, he said, but with the PLA Navy submarines due for overhaul, Russia and China have been involved in long drawn-out discussions.

In fact, the discussions have been under way for four years, the source said, adding that providing overhaul services was not necessarily included in the permit to export submarines.

read more @ upi asia

2. US senators oppose French warship sale to Russia

Six U.S. senators have warned France against the planned sale of a powerful warship to Russia, saying the move has unsettled NATO allies and Moscow's neighbors and risks upsetting regional stability.

"We fear this sale sends Russia the message that France acquiesces to its increasingly bellicose and lawless behavior," the senators, all Republicans, said in a letter dated Friday to French ambassador Pierre Vimont in Washington.

The group included Senators Jon Kyl, the number two Republican; John McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee; Sam Brownback; James Risch; Roger Wicker; and Tom Coburn.

The letter, first reported by Foreign Policy magazine on its website, came after members of the U.S. House of Representatives also expressed concerns about the planned sale of a Mistral-class warship to Russia.

The vessel is a 21,000-ton, 200-meter amphibious assault ship that can carry heavy-lift helicopters, landing craft, tanks and up to 900 commandos. It is the second largest ship in the French fleet.

The senators underlined a Russian Navy commander's recent statement that the ship would have allowed Russian forces battling Georgia's military in August 2008 to land troops ashore in 40 minutes, against the 26 hours it took them to do so in last year's war.

In late November, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said it should be sold to Moscow "with precautions" and that Paris should stand with Georgia.

The sale, estimated at 600-750 million dollars, would be the first time a NATO nation has provided such advanced technology to Russia.

The senators said two treaties aimed at curbing proliferation of sensitive military hardware ought to halt the sale and underlined that Russia was in violation of the ceasefire accord that ended the war with Georgia.(AFP)

source: naharnet

3. Lockheed Martin wins mega Morocco F16 contract

WASHINGTON - US defense manufacturer Lockheed Martin is being awarded an 841.9 million dollar contract to produce 24 F-16 aircraft for Morocco, which ordered the jets in 2008, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Lockheed also won contracts to supply the Pentagon with "advanced counter measure system electronic warfare system, along with associated support equipment, alternate mission equipment and support elements," the Pentagon said in a statement.

The total value of the contract between the United States and Morocco is estimated at around 2.4 billion dollars, not all of which will be handled by Lockheed.

Other firms that manufacture or supply parts and equipment or can train technicians will share in the contract.

The Rafale jet produced by France's Dassault was among those that competed for the Moroccan contract.

Dassault has yet to sell any of the aircraft abroad, but French Defense Minister Herve Morin said last week he remained "resolutely optimistic" about the possibilities of exporting Rafale, Dassault Aviation's "multirole" combat jet.

"We are having advanced discussion with the United Arab Emirates, Brazil and also other partners," Morin told France's La Tribune newspaper.

source: middle east online

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