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


oil for security? it's just like the civil rights for security deal. they get the oil and your rights, but you never get the security.

1. ISI, CIA ran over 60 joint operations against al Qaeda commanders hiding in FATA

A senior Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan's main spy agency, official has revealed that the Central Investigation Agency (CIA) and the ISI together have run over 60 operations against Al-Qaeda and other key extremists commanders hiding in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Balochistan.

The official said the missions included "snatch and grabs", the abduction of important militants, as well as efforts to kill extremist leaders, The New York Times reports.

The operations were carried out on the basis of intelligence inputs provided by both the US and the Pakistani agencies, the official said, on conditions of anonymity.

The Obama administration has been pressing Pakistan to take action against the Haqqani group, which is controlled by one of Al-Qaeda's top commanders, Sirajuddin Haqqani.

The US believes that the Haqqani network is using Pakistan's lawless border areas to carry out attacks in Kabul and important locations in Afghanistan.

US troops, stationed in Afghanistan, have intensified their commando operations against the Haqqani network in Afghanistan and have gained substantial success.

Although President Obama and his top aides have never discussed these highly classified missions in public, such counterterrorism operations are expected to increase, along with the deployment of 30,000 more US forces in the next year, as part of the revamped strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

US Central Command Chairman General David Petraeus has also made it clear that following the surge there would be more focus on the counterterrorism operations.

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, earlier this month, General Petraeus had said that more such commando offensive against hard-core Al-Qaeda and Taliban extremists could be seen in the near future.

"We actually will be increasing our counterterrorist component of the overall strategy," General Petraeus had told the Senators.

"There's no question you've got to kill or capture those bad guys that are not reconcilable.

And we are intending to do that, and we will have additional national mission force elements to do that when the spring rolls around," he added. (ANI)


2. 2006: The geopolitics of weapons procurement in the gulf states

Par Nadim Hasbani
jeudi 22 juin 2006.


The Gulf region currently remains the largest defence procurement market in the world. With tens of billions of dollars spent annually on highly lethal and technological weapons, it is a very high value-added market for Western defence industries.

The Middle East, which extends from the Maghreb, through the Mashrek to the Persian (Arabian) Gulf, is far from being homogenous, particularly in terms of its armaments market. However, a distinction must be made between the weight and the characteristics of the major defence markets in North Africa, the Near East and the rest of the Middle East.

Traditionally, Russia has had the monopoly on major Algerian Defence contracts. With the end of the arms embargo, a new Libyan defence market is emerging, but has yet to come into its own. Israel and Egypt are in a league of their own, because of massive US military aid received following the signing of the 1979 peace accords : approximately US$2.3 billion for the former and US$1.3 - US$1.8 billion for the latter . Jordan, since signing a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, is in a similar position. Syria finds itself virtually excluded from the international procurement market, with the exception of the sale of Russian ground-to-air missiles following Bashar el Assad’s visit to Moscow in January 2005. Conventional Syrian weapons are nearly exclusively Soviet, dating from the first half of the 1980s.

The oil monarchies of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) - make up the core of the Middle East defence market, with just under 40 percent of the world’s total weapons sales during the 1990s. Combined, its ratio of military spending to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the highest in the world and, on average, is above 6 per cent. This ratio is two times greater than in industrialised countries, where the average is closer to 2.4 per cent.

There are, of course, a number of reasons for these levels of expenditure. Ethnic and community fractures crisscross the Gulf’s geopolitical space. They are exacerbated by the region’s wealth in hydrocarbons, its specific geographic configuration, and large-scale foreign intervention. The region is also a stage for internally destabilising factors, such as radical Islamist movements and demands for social, economic and political reform.

Due to its wealth and geo-strategic importance, the Arab-Persian Gulf has witnessed three major international wars over the past 25 years : the Iran-Iraq war, the first Gulf War and the War against Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein. The “manna” of oil in the Gulf - almost one out of two barrels comes from this region and it has 70 percent of known world reserves - coupled with the strategic stakes and risks of military confrontation have transformed the Gulf into the principal weapons market for Western Defence industries.

Nevertheless, owning these large amounts of highly technological weapons has not allowed the Gulf states to take independent control of their own security. External threats still extend beyond their political, military and human capacities, and it is for this reason that an “oil for security” pact has remained for a long time the principal motivation for the large weapons orders in the region.

The decision-making process that precedes the signing of major defence contracts, which can some years amount to a total of US$50 billion, takes into account the political-security guarantee that these contracts offer, the technological quality of the equipment itself, the industrial marketing campaigns, and the quality and financial arrangements associated with competing offers. Other factors of varying importance also play a role, including the influence of the different members of the ruling families and the degree of power and influence of indigenous tribes. Moreover, a decision-making rationale is evolving and other factors are also being taken into account. Today, procurement policies are being devised more and more on “Western-style” geo-political grounds, where military, defence and security strategy dictates future equipment needs.

Finally, the influence of domestic threats on defence and military procurement policies, such as militant Islam and internal upheavals, is growing. These internal threats have become major decision-making factors since 11 September 2001 and following the various attacks - both successful and thwarted - in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the region.

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