Iran jumped to the front burner today so if you need to catch up fast, here’s what’s been happing for the last few days:
IRAN, SYRIA MISSILES CAN TARGET U.S. INTERESTS
WASHINGTON [MENL] — Iran and Syria have acquired the missile capability to target U.S. interests in the Middle East.
A senior U.S. official said Iran and Syria have developed ballistic missiles that can destroy U.S. targets in Iraq as well as in nations aligned with Washington. The official said both countries have received significant assistance from North Korea, which has sought to sell complete missile systems to the Middle East.
The big news on all the cable News Stations is:
Syria and Iran Say Will Build ‘Common Front’
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran and Syria, both locked in rows with the United States, said on Wednesday they would form a common front to face challenges and threats.
“We are ready to help Syria on all grounds to confront threats,” Iranian Vice-President Mohammad Reza Aref said in Tehran after meeting Syrian Prime Minister Naji al-Otari.
Otari told reporters: “This meeting, which takes place at this sensitive time, is important, especially because Syria and Iran face several challenges and it is necessary to build a common front.”
Syria’s ambassador to the United States, asked by CNN what the common front with Iran entailed, stressed that it was not an anti-American alliance and said Syria was trying to improve its relations with Washington.
“Today we do not want to form a front against anybody, particularly not against the United States,” Imad Moustapha said.
“Syria is trying to engage constructively with the United States … We are not the enemies of the United States, and we do not want to be drawn into such an enmity,” he added.
There is no axis of evil, of course, that was just Bush hate-mongering.
Iran wants serious nuclear talks with EU
LUXEMBOURG – Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi says his country wants serious discussions with the European Union on Iran’s nuclear programme as well as its relations with the EU.
“We are optimistic,” the foreign minister said after talks with Luxembourg’s deputy foreign minister Nicolas Schmit on the current negotiations between the Islamic Republic and EU nations France, Germany and Britain.
The EU is seeking a binding pledge from Iran not to pursue a nuclear weapons programme in return for improved trade and political relations.
As for the US response, Condi says taking is fine, but the clock is still ticking:
Rice: Iran Can’t Delay Nuke Accountability
BRUSSELS, Belgium Feb 9, 2005 — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice put Iran and Europe on notice Wednesday that their negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program cannot go on forever.
Nearing the end of a fence-mending tour of European allies, Rice said the United States had set no deadline on the Iran talks, but she also said the Bush administration had not changed its view that the United Nations should step in to get tougher on Iran.
In Washington, President Bush said the Iranians needed to know that the free world was working together to send a clear message: Don’t develop a nuclear weapon.
“And the reason we’re sending that message is because Iran with a nuclear weapon would be a very destabilizing force in the world,” Bush said.
“I think the message is there,” Rice said at a news conference at NATO headquarters. “The Iranians need to get that message,” she said, adding that Tehran should know that “there are other steps” the international community can take.
The administration has long viewed the European process as futile and thinks Iran is stalling.
“They need to hear that the discussions that they are in with the Europeans are not going to be a kind of way station where they are allowed to continue their activities, that there’s going to be an end to this and that they are going to end up in the Security Council,” Rice said earlier Wednesday.
Those remarks, in an interview with Fox News, also urged Britain, France and Germany to put pressure on Iran. Rice has spoken in tough terms about Iran during this trip, but had been careful to leave any criticism of the Europeans unsaid.
As usual, the US wants actions and Europe is settling for appeasement.
Iran confirms the drone story form last week and kicks it up a notch:
Iran Threatens To Shoot Down U.S. Drones
TEHRAN, Iran Feb 16, 2005 — Iran’s intelligence chief on Wednesday accused the United States of flying spy drones over its nuclear sites and threatened to shoot down the unmanned surveillance crafts.
Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi comments backed a report in The Washington Post on Sunday that quoted unidentified U.S. officials as saying the drones have been flying over Iran for nearly a year to seek evidence of nuclear weapons programs.
“U.S. spying activities over Iranian airspace have been going since a long time ago,” Yunesi told reporters.
“Most of the shining objects that our people see in Iran’s airspace are American spying equipment used to spy on Iran’s nuclear and military facilities,” the minister told reporters.
He said they would not reveal anything the United States doesn’t already know.
“Our nuclear activities are open and very transparent. Our military activities are all legal,” Yunesi said. He spoke while visiting a prison for dissidents under the shah that has been turned into a museum.
In London, meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Iran will have the knowledge to build nuclear weapons within six months.
“This is not only Israel’s problem, but an international problem, as the long-range missiles can reach Europe,” Shalom said.
A nuke powered Iran with missiles to reach Europe can’t happen. As usual, the United States is more concerned about the future of Europe then they are themselves. — A phenomena we in the States don’t understand.
We’re facing another resolution 1441 type show down, wherein Bush is put in the, frankly bizarre, position of urging the Europeans denounce a nuclear Iran with missiles that can reach them… Logic would dictate that Europe should be asking us for help stopping Iran.. But who said the europeans were logical?
If Europe isn’t worried about these missiles, that’s their problem, not mine as a US taxpayer. And it shouldn’t be Bush’s either, who’s been elected and paid by US taxpayers to represent OUR interests.
And stopping Iran from nuking Europe is NOT in our interests?
With all this going down in the middle east, words cannot describe my elation that Al Gore was defeated in 2000 and that John Kerry bungled up what should have been a win for himself in 2004.
Can you honestly see us tackling this whole middle-east-with-nukes nuisance with a democrud as the leader of the free world?
Further, can you see us handling the middle east wanting us dead with Hillary Clinton as our president and commander-in-chief? Really the only benefit to a president hillary would be the leftist hippies not making a peep when she would have to go into Iran for war. Unfortunately, it’ll take another 9/11-scale tragedy to get democruds to realize it.
Until then, I’m OK with the nuisance of SF Bay Aryan protestors in the name of pre-emptive defense of our well-being and very existence.
If your next door neighbor is a problem it is YOUR job to deal with it. But most definitely it shouldn’t be mine as I live two blocks away. Now if we are friends and you ask me to help then I might oblige.
Bush’s problem is that he is sticking his nose (which happens to include mine) where it isn’t wanted.
This Iran deal is Iraq deja vous all over. More WMDs based upon the same faux intel that brought us into Iraq? IMO the loss of 2 young Americans isn’t worth giving 25 million Iraqis the right to vote. That’s their obligation to fight for it if they really want it, just as we did 200+ years ago.
Just a little perspective here, Thomas, but 200+ years ago we did get some help, from (gasp!) the French.
Thomas, I’m so glad you are on the other side, I don’t want anyone that stupid “helping” me.
Sorry to sharpshoot you, but you deserve it: it’s deja vu, you wacky francophile. Think “seeing again”.
And on the contrary, there are plenty of pairs of Americans who I wouldn’t mind sacrificing to ensure that Iraqis vote and secure democracy for themselves so they can ferret out terrorists and prevent them from doing things like blowing up innocent children. Unfortunately, the Americans I want to sacrifice are marching on the streets of san francisco holding signs that say “Free Palestine” while better Americans die for a nobler cause.
If somebody’s neighbor is about to inflict severe harm on that somebody, and I’m the only dude around who can do anything about it because the neighborhood watch is busy with their food-for-oil scandals and sex scandals, then yes, we have an obligation to secure the neighborhood. JJ
Thomas, I will go slowly, so pay attention. Israel has nukes. Iran knows this. Israel will NEVER allow another Holocaust. If Iran bombs Israel, say goodbye to Teheran, Damascus, Riyadh, and likely half-a-dozen other Arab capitals. Next, World War IV gets hot-hot-hot as the Muslims in the Phillipines, India and Pakistan go completely berserk.
This is what we are dealing with, and Eurabia is terrified. They lost millions of people in WWII, and they would much rather live on their knees than die on their feet…
The wild card in all of this is Israel. To allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons means Israel needs to evacuate and return to New York. Israel does not have the means (B-2 bombers) to deliver conventional bunker busters capable of reaching Iran’s facilities (35.000 lbs and heavier). Israel does have the means to deliver nuclear bombs which certainly will destroy Iran’s nuclear capability plus some.
It is guaranteed (with a money back warranty) that Israel will attack once it becomes certain Iran is close to arming itself with nuclear weapons.
It is in our interest to prevent a nuclear war. The only guarantee we can give Israel in order to prevent Israel from preemptively striking Iran with nukes is to draw Israel into a treaty relationship in which an attack on Israel is and attack on the United States and answered with our full nuclear might.
If we allow the euroweenies to screw this up an armagedon scenario is before us.
Syria got the message loud and clear from the SOTU. Now they are working with Iran to bring France in as an arbitrator. Killing the ex Jordan PM actually helps them by putting W on the spot/ calling his bluff.
To clarify my comment above. IMO no US gurantee will restrain Israel. The mere fact that their people will die like flys has never deterred the Mullahs before. Israel will attack.
– With rare exceptions, American administrations largely tend to let Israel take action as she see’s fit. Iran will play a deadly game if they go forth. But the Mullahs hear the rising voices of the Democratic activists in their citizenry knocking on the door, and no one can predict the perfidity of such a group of etremists. So it could all come to a boil eventually while the Euro’s sits around preying their plan of pascifism works….
– One thing almost everyone agree’s with is that Israel will never permit Iran to possess a viable nuclear arsenal….. We need to take the diplomatic lead on this but otherwise there’s not much we can do except arm the Israeli’s. No administration would ever sign a pact with Iran threatening Israel. Thats never going to happen….
– Now with the Syrian’s coming right out in the open and joining forces with Iran the battlelines are clearly drawn. The Jihadists see themselves up against the wall with the string of failures in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and even to some extent Palestine. They think they have to do something to stem the bleeding of their extremist ideology, and from their standpoint they would be right. But this approach, like so many others will possibly end up killing many more innocents and falling on its ass….
– The one thing you can take to the bank is whatever happens America will back the Israeli’s to the hilt with every resource at our disposal. The demise of the Israeli buffer state in the middle East would reverse every gain we’ve made since 1967. We won’t sit by and allow that to happen…..
In the language of Clark Gable (as Rhett Butler) ……Frankly Scarlet I don’t give a damn……about democracy in Iraq and I don’t give a damn about liberating their country, and especially when we have as many Iraqis shooting at us as we have shooting with us.
Neither would this country and neither would Bush’s Republican lackeys in Congress give a damn either had we and they been told the truth. Iraq was never an IMMINENT THREAT or have we forgotten.
I give a damn about this country, and its populace and its economy though, and that’s a motive I question from the many that are in power in DC.
Jihad says….Unfortunately, the Americans I want to sacrifice are marching on the streets of san francisco holding signs that say “Free Palestine” while better Americans die for a nobler cause.
Unfortunately the Americans I want to sacrifice are the chickenhawks who tout the need for war, and who have never had a uniform on, let alone seen combat. And if they are too freakin’ old then their children should be front and center.
I agree that Israel is a wild card in this, but that’s their business. Hopefully they will act responsibly as we have blessed them with nuke capability. I’m weary of the POTUS using my tax money to prop up the world when we’re up to our butts in debt and sinking.
OH YEAH…..Did I miss something on 1-22-05. Was Bush sworn in as policeman of the world?
Thomsas, Iran has been developing a NUclear Weapons program and had mass demonstrations AND meetings of their government which open ann close every time with the chant: “Death ot American, Death to Israel,” before Bush took office.
The mullahs in Iran NEED to create a crisis and fan nationalist fervor in order to deflect the growing popular resentment at living under the boot of fascist and currupt government.
Look at the Hersh article, he quotes Shahram Chubin whi is an Iranian at the leading Swiss international affiars thik tank. Chubin has been saying for years the Iraninas simply do not understand the doctrine of deterence deeply ingrained in US view of nuclear weapons.
The entire Iranian game has nothing to do with the US, there is no strategy whatsoever than anyone is even suggesting. Plain and simple they are deeply threatened by democratization, both the organic movement in Iran and what has happened in Iraq. It makes NO difference WHATSOEVER what the US and Europe do or don’t do vis a vis Iraq, their govenrment must engage in saber rattling, must create a foe and must stonjewall the EU negotiators (who are actually telling the US to keep hinting the military option is on the table).
I don’t think wee need to or will go for an all out attack. Much more likly is the scenario such as was used against Saddam. Put them in the box, and conduct small operations that let them know your the boss, and let them sweat it for a decade. Ove time just conduct precison attacks on their nuclear facilites to keep them off base.
Simon I was with you up until that last paragraph. The reform minded Iranians do not trust the mullahs, and will not buy into a created crisis. However, if we start bombing their country, we will create that crisis and the nationalistic fervor will overwhelm the country that has the best hope for lasting democracy in the region.
Well as a disabled veteran with alot of friends in Irag and Afghanistan, I don’t see the intelligent move of putting Iran and Syria in the corner. For all of you pro-war people out there, I recommend you go to either the USMC Times or Army Times and see why 3 and 4 star generals are saying this is a horrible strategic move. Furthermore, if you believe in military action against Iran, GRAB A FREAKIN RIFLE AND JOIN US. Quit sittin there like you are all knowing, and go find out why 18-22 year old boys are coming back to this country damaged goods. Go to your local VA and find out why this 3/4 countries homeless are veterans, even from the last Gulf War.