Iran-US getting all ‘chatty’.

It’s difficult not to be fascinated by these developments. Over the past several years, there have been two distinct camps.

First there are the “We must talk to our enemies” people. Then there are the “We don’t negotiate with terrorists” people.

Certainly, there are a few who have held the middle ground. But it’s a precious few.

I’d be interested to hear from representatives of the two camps, now that the actions that have been so hotly contested are coming to pass.

BAGHDAD: Iran, Iraq and the United States have agreed to set up a security subcommittee to carry forward their talks on restoring stability in Iraq, the American ambassador said Tuesday at the end of a second round of groundbreaking talks in the Iraqi capital with his Iranian counterpart.

“We discussed ways forward and one of the issues we discussed was the formation of a security subcommittee that would address at a expert or technical level some issues relating to security, be that support for violent militias, Al Qaeda or border security,” the U.S. ambassador, Ryan Crocker, said after the meeting. The Iraqi foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, said officials would meet as early as Wednesday to work out how the panel will operate.

“We hope that the next round of talks will be on a higher level if progress is made,” Zebari said.

But underscoring the tensions between the two foes, Crocker reiterated Washington’s accusations that Iran is fueling violence in Iraq by arming and training Shiite militias. He warned that no progress could be made until Tehran changed its ways.

“The fact is, as we made very clear in today’s talks, that over the roughly two months since our last meeting we’ve actually seen militia-related activity that could be attributed to Iranian support go up and not down,” Crocker said, citing testimony from prisoners and weapons and ammunition confiscated in Iraq as evidence.

The Iranian ambassador, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, countered that Tehran was helping Iraq deal with the security situation but that Iraqis were “victimized by terror and the presence of foreign forces” on their territory.

He said his delegation also demanded the release of five Iranians detained by U.S. forces in Iraq. The United States has said the five were linked to the Quds Force, an elite arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. It has accused the force of arming and training Iraqi militants. Iran says the five are diplomats who were legally in Iraq.

The meeting was opened by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, who appealed for help to stabilize Iraq and warned that militants from Al Qaeda and other terror groups were now fleeing and finding refuge elsewhere.

An Iraqi official who was present at the meeting said Crocker and Qomi engaged in a heated exchange early in the talks. It began when Crocker confronted the Iranian with charges that Tehran was supporting Shiite militiamen who were killing U.S. troops, providing them with weapons and training. Qomi dismissed the allegations, saying the Americans had no proof, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Full Story

A case for attacking Iran

Here is a nice piece from the Christian Science Monitor regarding Iran.  It has some great links to further information for those of you who like to keep abreast of these developments.
By Jesse Nunes | csmonitor.com

Statements by US and Israeli officials in recent days on the possibility of attacking Iran have been met with increased posturing on both sides, warnings of retaliation from Tehran, and worries by the head of the international nuclear watchdog of a “brewing confrontation.”

Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I) of Connecticut suggested that the US should consider attacking Iran to keep them from training and supplying insurgents and foreign fighters in Iraq, as well as to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

“I think we’ve got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq…. And to me, that would include a strike into… over the border into Iran, where we have good evidence that they have a base at which they are training these people coming back into Iraq to kill our soldiers.”

Senator Lieberman, a former Democrat who lost his party’s support before regaining his seat in Congress as an Independent, also said that if the US fails to take action against Iran, “they’ll take that as a sign of weakness on our part and we will pay for it in Iraq and throughout the region and ultimately right here at home.”

“We can tell them we want them to stop that, but if there’s any hope of the Iranians living according to the international rule of law and stopping, for instance, their nuclear weapons development, we can’t just talk to them…. If they don’t play by the rules, we’ve got to use our force, and to me that would include taking military action to stop them from doing what they’re doing.”

The Financial Times notes that Lieberman appears to be the first high-ranking US politician to openly suggest attacking Iran. A White House statement addressing Lieberman’s remarks said that the US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker gave Iran a “strong message” to play a constructive role in the region during meetings last month on Iraq, and that President Bush “has made it clear we want to do everything to protect our troops,” according to the Financial Times.

In an interview with the Center For American Progress, a progressive think tank, Senator Harry Reid (D) of Nevada said of Lieberman’s comments, “I know Joe means well, but I don’t agree with him.” Reid suggested the US should listen to the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group and pursue diplomacy with Iraq, adding that “the invasion of [Iran] is only going to destabilize that part of the world more.”

Reuters writes that Lieberman’s comments are seen by analysts as an “escalation of official US rhetoric.”

“This takes it across the border,” said Ray Takeyh, an Iran expert at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“But it would not be a surgical limited strike. It could potentially escalate into a much more serious confrontation between the two countries, and if that’s the direction Lieberman wants to go, he has to be very honest about the potential pitfalls.”

Over the weekend, Israel officials indicated that a strike against Iran was an option being considered if diplomacy fails. The Associated Press reports that Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz said the US and Israel would review the effectiveness of sanctions against Iran at the end of the year, and that the two allies share a strategy on dealing with Tehran.

“The strategy shared by the U.S. and Israel has three elements,” Mofaz told Israel Radio. “One is a united international front against the Iranian nuclear program. Secondly, at this time, sanctions are the best way to act against the aspirations of Iran.”

He said the third element is “a very, very clear signal and a clear statement that all options are on the table.” Mofaz added: “I never said there is no military option, and the military option is included in all the options that are on the table, but at this time it’s right to use the path of sanctions, and to intensify them.”

Ynetnews reports that Iran filed a complaint to the UN Security Council of Mofaz’s remarks, as well as similar remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in which he said “it would take 10 days and 1,000 Tomahawk cruise missiles” to critically damage Iran’s nuclear program.

According to the Jerusalem Post, unnamed “senior American military officers” told the paper that they support military action against Iran to prevent the country from becoming a nuclear power, and that the US Navy and Air Force “would play the primary roles in any military action.”

A high-ranking American military officer told the Post that senior officers in the US armed forces had thrown their support behind Bush and believed that additional steps needed to be taken to stop Iran.

Predictions within the US military are that Bush will do what is needed to stop Teheran before he leaves office in 2009, including possibly launching a military strike against its nuclear facilities.

Meanwhile, Iran has not let the increasingly hostile posturing by Israel and the US go unnoticed. Agence France-Presse reports that Gholam Ali Hadad Adel, a member of Iran’s parliament, told reporters during a visit to Kuwait on Sunday that Iran would attack US military bases in the Gulf if they were used to stage an attack on the country. Mr. Haddad Adel added that Iran’s neighbors in the Gulf had “learned many lessons from the US invasion of Iraq,” and that “officials in the region are not likely to link their fate with US mistakes” by allowing them to stage attacks in their countries. In a report on Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency, Haddad Adel, after returning to Iran, added that “it is unlikely that US will try its chance in the region for the third time after its defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

AFP also reports that Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah, the interior and defense minister of Kuwait, a US ally, said his country would not allow the US to launch an attack on Iran from Kuwaiti territory..

The US journal Defense News reported that former Iranian defense minister Adm. Ali Shamkhani indicated that Iran would target any Gulf states that help US in such a way.

“Allegations by some Arab gulf states that the Iranian nuclear program poses an environmental threat to the area and that it would spark a nuclear arms race are aimed at helping the U.S. establish legitimacy for its anticipated aggression against Iran,” Shamkhani said.

U.S. military action threatens Iran’s existence, he said, “but most of those who speak about the war option are well aware that Iran has the capability to face this choice.”

However, in a report by the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA), Mr. Shamkhani said that he never gave an interview with Defense News, and that “the news is fake and unreal .”

Finally, Bloomberg reports that IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said on Monday that he is “increasingly disturbed by the current stalemate and the brewing confrontation” between Iran and the West over its nuclear program, adding the situation “urgently needs to be broken” and “must be diffused.”

Bush authorizes covert ops against Iran.

US is beginning to rachet up the pressure on our buddy Pres. ImANutJob.  With violence erupting once again in Lebanon, now is the time to keep Iran in check.


Well played!!!

Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran

May 22, 2007 6:29 PM

Brian Ross and Richard Esposito Report:

Bush_authorizes_mnThe
CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert “black”
operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former
officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com.

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the
sensitive nature of the subject, say President Bush has signed a
“nonlethal presidential finding” that puts into motion a CIA plan that
reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda,
disinformation and manipulation of Iran’s currency and international
financial transactions.

“I can’t confirm or deny whether such a program exists or whether
the president signed it, but it would be consistent with an overall
American approach trying to find ways to put pressure on the regime,”
said Bruce Riedel, a recently retired CIA senior official who dealt
with Iran and other countries in the region. 

Click Here to See Photos of the Players in Another Iran Operation — the Iran-Contra Affair: Where Are They Now?

A National Security Council spokesperson, Gordon Johndroe, said,
“The White House does not comment on intelligence matters.” A CIA
spokesperson said, “As a matter of course, we do not comment on
allegations of covert activity.”

The sources say the CIA developed the covert plan over the last year
and received approval from White House officials and other officials in
the intelligence community.

Officials say the covert plan is designed to pressure Iran to stop
its nuclear enrichment program and end aid to insurgents in Iraq.

“There are some channels where the United States government may want
to do things without its hand showing, and legally, therefore, the
administration would, if it’s doing that, need an intelligence finding
and would need to tell the Congress,” said ABC News consultant Richard
Clarke, a former White House counterterrorism official.

Current and former intelligence officials say the approval of the
covert action means the Bush administration, for the time being, has
decided not to pursue a military option against Iran.

Full Story.

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Iran defiant in facew of more sanctions.

Oh that’s nice.  An emerging nuclear power declaring enemies.

Tehran, Iran (AHN) – Notwithstanding the
prospectus of a third round U.N. sanctions, Iran Thursday reiterated
its decision to continue with the nuclear program which would help it
become a world power.

Addressing group of Revolutionary Guards,
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, “The enemy wants Iran to
surrender so it won’t have any say in the world. If we stop for a
while, they will achieve their goals.”

Ahmadinejad said by
thwarting his country’s exploitation of “peaceful nuclear technology,”
the enemies try to strike at the source of “Iran’s progress.”

Ahmadinejad
statement comes at a time when the U.S. and its allies are mounting
pressure on the U.N. Security Council to impose tougher sanctions on
Iran in the wake of the U.N. nuclear watchdog report earlier this week
that Iran has made significant progress in its uranium enrichment
program.

Though Iran insists the enrichment is for power
generation, the scale of the program has cast suspicion among Western
countries that it could lead to produce weapon-grade material.

Iran has already come under two rounds of sanctions by the U.N. for defying its order that Iran halt its enrichment program.

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Change of Plans for “The Surge”.

Short-Term “Surge” May Be Long-Term, Pentagon Said To Prepare Extended U.S. Troop Buildup, Unless Iraqi Leaders Fail To Meet Security Targets – CBS News
(CBS/AP) The Pentagon is laying the groundwork to extend the U.S. troop buildup in Iraq. At the same time, the administration is warning Iraqi leaders that the boost in forces could be reversed if political reconciliation is not evident by summer.

This approach underscores the central difficulty facing President Bush. If political progress is not possible in the relatively short term, then the justification for sending thousands more U.S. troops to Baghdad — and accepting the rising U.S. combat death toll that has resulted — will disappear. That in turn would put even more pressure on Bush to yield to the Democratic-led push to wind down the war in coming months.

If the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki does manage to achieve the political milestones demanded by Washington, then the U.S. military probably will be told to sustain the troop buildup much longer than originally foreseen — possibly well into 2008. Thus the early planning for keeping it up beyond late summer.

More than half of the extra 21,500 combat troops designated for Baghdad duty have arrived; the rest are due by June. Already it is evident that putting them in the most hotly contested parts of the capital is taking a toll. An average of 22 U.S. troops have died per week in April, the highest rate so far this year.

“This is certainly a price that we’re paying for this increased security,” Adm. William Fallon, the senior U.S. commander in the Middle East, told a House committee Wednesday. He also said the United States does not have “a ghost of a chance” of success in Iraq unless it can create “stability and security.”

The idea of the troop increase, originally billed by the administration as a temporary “surge,” is not to defeat the insurgency. That is not thought possible in the near-term. The purpose is to contain the violence — in particular, the sect-on-sect killings in Baghdad — long enough to create an environment in which Iraqi political leaders can move toward conciliation and ordinary Iraqis are persuaded of a viable future.

So far the results are mixed, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates said this week during a visit to Iraq that he wants to see faster political progress by the Iraqis. “The clock is ticking,” he said, referring to the limited time the administration can pursue its strategy before the American public demands an end to the war.

Gates also said he told al-Maliki that the United States will not keep fighting indefinitely.

Iran to build 2 nuclear power plants

More developments in the Iranian Nuclear program.

Iran to build 2 nuclear power plants – Yahoo! News

 

TEHRAN, Iran –

Iran

said Sunday it is seeking bids for the building of two more nuclear power plants, despite international pressures to curb its controversial program.

Ahmad Fayyazbakhsh, the deputy head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization in charge of power plants, said the plants would be light-water reactors, each with the capacity to generate up to 1,600 megawatts of electricity.

Each plant would cost up to $1.7 billion and take up to 11 years to construct, he told reporters during a news conference at his office.

The country has been locked in a bitter funding dispute with Russia, which is building Iran’s first nuclear power plant near the southern city of Bushehr.

Russia delayed the launch of the plant, which had been set for September, and refused to ship uranium fuel for the reactor last month as earlier planned, citing Iran’s payment arrears. Iranian officials denied any payment delays under the $1 billion contract, and accused Russia of caving in to Western pressure.

Iran is already building a 40-megawatt heavy water reactor in Arak, central Iran, based on domestic technology. It is also preparing to build a 360-megawatt nuclear power plant in Darkhovin, in southwestern Iran.

Fayyazbakhsh said the two new plants would be built near Bushehr. He also said he planned to travel to Russia next week to try to ease tensions and get the first Bushehr plant back on track.

The bids for the two plants, which will expire in early August, have been published on the nuclear organization’s Web site. Iran has already negotiated with several foreign companies that have expressed interest in the new project, Fayyazbakhsh said. He declined to name the companies.

U.S. Won’t Release 5 Iranians Held in Iraq

A nice update from the fellas at ‘The Muslim Question‘. Thanks guys!

U.S. Won’t Release 5 Iranians Held in Iraq « tmq2

 

In a move likely to irritate Tehran [like we give a shit], the government has decided not to release five Iranians captured in Iraq, a newspaper reported on Friday.

The Washington Post said that after intense internal debate, the Bush administration had decided to keep the Iranians in custody and make them go through a periodic six-month review process used for the other 250 foreign detainees held in Iraq.

The next review is not expected until July, the newspaper quoted U.S. officials as saying.

Washington says the five, seized in a January 11 raid by U.S. forces in the Kurdish city of Arbil, are linked with Iranian Revolutionary Guard networks involved in providing explosive devices used to attack U.S. troops in Iraq. Iran says they are diplomats and has demanded their release.

Iran may be helping Iraqis build bombs

Building the case against Iran. 

Iran may be helping Iraqis build bombs – Yahoo! News

BAGHDAD – Iranian intelligence operatives have been training Iraqi fighters inside

Iran on how to use and assemble deadly roadside bombs known as EFPs, the U.S. military spokesman said Wednesday.

Commanders of a splinter group inside the Shiite Mahdi Army militia have told The Associated Press that there are as many as 4,000 members of their organization that were trained in Iran and that they have stockpiles of EFPs, a weapon that causes great uneasiness among U.S. forces here because they penetrate heavily armored vehicles.U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell would not say how many militia fighters had been trained in Iran but said that questioning of fighters captured as recently as this month confirmed many had been in Iranian training camps.

“We know that they are being in fact manufactured and smuggled into this country, and we know that training does go on in Iran for people to learn how to assemble them and how to employ them. We know that training has gone on as recently as this past month from detainees debriefs,” Caldwell said at a weekly briefing.

EFP stands for explosively formed penetrator, deadly roadside bombs that hurl a fist-size lump of molten copper capable of piercing armor.

In January, U.S. officials said at least 170 U.S. soldiers had been killed by EFPs.

Caldwell also said the U.S. military had evidence that Iranian intelligence agents were active in

Iraq in funding, training and arming Shiite militia fighters.

“We also know that training still is being conducted in Iran for insurgent elements from Iraq. We know that as recent as last week from debriefing personnel,” he said.

“The do receive training on how to assemble and employ EFPs,” Caldwell said, adding that fighters also were trained in how to carry out complex attacks that used explosives followed by assaults with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms.

“There has been training on specialized weapons that are used here in Iraq. And then we do know they receive also training on general tactics in terms of how to take and employ and work what we call a more complex kind of attack where we see multiple types of engagements being used from an explosion to small arms fire to being done in multiple places,” he said.

The general would not say specifically which arm of the Iranian government was doing the training but called the trainers “surrogates” of Iran’s intelligence agency.

Caldwell opened the briefing by showing photographs of what he said were Iranian-made mortar rounds, RPG rounds and rockets that were found in Iraq.

The U.S. military also announced two more soldier deaths: One soldier was killed and two were wounded by a roadside bomb Wednesday in an eastern section of the capital, and another soldier died a day earlier in an attack in southern Baghdad. One soldier was wounded in that incident.

At least 3,287 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the war in 2003, according to an AP count. The figure includes seven military civilians.

Also Wednesday, Iraqi Cabinet ministers allied to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr threatened to quit the government to protest the prime minister’s lack of support for a timetable for U.S. withdrawal.

Such a pullout by the very bloc that put Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in office could collapse his already perilously weak government. The threat comes two months into a U.S. effort to pacify Baghdad in order to give al-Maliki’s government room to function.

Meanwhile, bodies lay scattered across two central Baghdad neighborhoods after a raging battle left 20 suspected insurgents and four Iraqi soldiers dead, and 16 U.S. soldiers wounded, witnesses and officials said.

The fighting Tuesday in Fadhil and Sheik Omar, two Sunni enclaves, was the most intense since a massive push to pacify the capital began two months ago.

Al-Sadr’s political committee issued a statement a day after al-Maliki rejected an immediate U.S. troop withdrawal.

“We see no need for a withdrawal timetable. We are working as fast as we can,” al-Maliki said on his four-day trip to Japan, where he signed loan agreements for redevelopment projects in Iraq.

“To demand the departure of the troops is a democratic right and a right we respect. What governs the departure at the end of the day is how confident we are in the handover process,” he said, adding that “achievements on the ground” would dictate how long American troops remain.

Al-Maliki spoke a day after tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets of two Shiite holy cities, on al-Sadr’s orders, to protest the U.S. presence in their country. The rally marked the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad at the hands of American forces.

“The Sadrist movement strongly rejects the statements of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, in which he stood by the continued presence of occupation forces despite the will of the Iraqi people,” said the statement, a copy of which was obtained by the AP. “The Sadrist movement is studying the option of withdrawing from the Iraqi government — a government that has not fulfilled its promises to the people,” it said.

“We are serious about withdrawing,” it added.

It would not be the first time the Sadrists, who hold six seats in the Cabinet, left al-Maliki’s government.

Al-Sadr’s ministers and 30 legislators boycotted the government and parliament for nearly two months to protest a November meeting between al-Maliki and

President Bush in Jordan.

The statement expressed anger over the Baghdad security plan launched Feb. 14, calling it “unfair.” Iraqi and U.S. troops have been targeting members of al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia, which has been blamed for sectarian killings.

Later in the day, the head of al-Sadr’s bloc in parliament, Nassar al-Rubaie, said U.S. troops had taken over al-Sadr’s office in the city of Diwaniyah, the scene of weekend clashes between U.S. and Iraqi troops and al-Sadr’s militiamen.

“We say that this matter is very dangerous and we put the blame on the Iraqi government for the American destruction of the country,” he said. “We have thought before that sovereignty in Iraq is incomplete, but now we say that sovereignty doesn’t exist in Iraq,” al-Rubaie said.

Caldwell said he has no information about the alleged takeover of the office.

Iraqi soldiers held a security cordon around Fadhil, and residents hid frightened in their homes, a witness told the AP by telephone, on condition of anonymity out of fear for his safety.

The Muslim Scholars Association, a Sunni group, issued a statement quoting witnesses as saying Tuesday’s battle began after Iraqi troops entered a mosque and executed two young men in front of other worshippers. Ground forces used tear gas on civilians, it said.

“The association condemns this horrible crime carried out by occupiers and the government,” the statement said.

But the witness in Fadhil said the two men were executed in an outdoor vegetable market, not in the mosque. The Iraqi military was not immediately available to comment on the claim.

The U.S. military said the battle began after American and Iraqi troops came under fire around 7 a.m. during a routine search operation. Helicopter gunships then swooped in, engaging insurgents with machine gun fire, the military said.

Some Arab TV stations reported a U.S. helicopter was shot down in the fight, and showed video of a charred piece of mechanical wreckage that was impossible to identify. Caldwell said four helicopters sustained minor damage but were able to return to base. He confirmed that one Apache gunship had dropped a missile pod as it left the area.

Caldwell said 13 of the 16 wounded Americans had returned to duty and that 20 suspected insurgents were killed and 30 wounded, he said.

___

Associated Press writers Lauren Frayer and Hamid Ahmed contributed to this report.

Russia points it’s crooked finger at US/Israel, while Nancy shakes it’s hand.

The Russian pot stirring continues with respect to US involvement in the Middle East. It should be obvious at this point that Russian motivation revolves around garnering favor and peddling influence. And that is to be expected given the new US presence in the oil rich region. But let’s not take the Russian rhetoric too seriously. It’s quite easy to win friends by pointing fingers. A trick the Russians have picked up from the Democrats.

The concern should be that radical elements would seize on this fantasy as cause for a ‘pre-emptive’ strike of their own. Certainly, the Syrians have now been emboldened to take a harder line with Israel, thanks Ms. Speaker. So, all eyes should be watching that theater for a potential “Arch Duke Ferdinand” event. While it’s highly doubtful the U.S. will do more than sabre rattle of the Iranian coast, any small event involving Israel may be enough to cause either side to jump. Iranian President ‘ImANutJob’ is already unabashedly anti-Israel. Any statements he makes that could be construed as hinting Iranian involvement in action against Israel may be enough to tie the ‘Nuke’ to ‘Threat’ knot for the Bush administration.

Interfax > Politics

Russian general says U.S. continues preparations for military action against Iran

MOSCOW. April 8 (Interfax-AVN) – The release of the 15 British sailors and marines captured by Iran has robbed the U.S. of a pretext to attack Iran, but the U.S. has not given up plans to attack Iran militarily, said Col. Gen. Leonid Ivashov, president of the Academy for Geopolitical Problems, a Russian think tank.

“Preparations to strike Iran’s strategic facilities continue. Three major groups of U.S. forces are still in the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf. Altogether, they have up to 450 cruise missiles on alert,” the general told Interfax-AVN.

“Military operations against Tehran will begin with the launch of at least two unexpected strikes using Tomahawk cruise missiles and air power in order to disable Iran’s air defense capabilities,” he said.

“According to our data, up to 150 aircraft are to be involved in each strike on Iran. Land-based air defense systems will be disabled in the first place, then mobile short-range systems, which Tehran has (including some 30 new systems),” he said.

Primary targets will include command centers, air defense installations, the navy, airfields, ports and docking facilities, the general said.

“Nuclear facilities may be secondary targets. According to expert assessments, at least 20 such facilities need to be destroyed in order to stop Iran’s nuclear program,” Ivashov said.

Ivashov did not rule out that nuclear weapons may be used against Iran.

“Combat nuclear weapons may be used for bombing. This will result in radioactive contamination of the Iranian territory, which could possibly spread to neighboring countries,” he said.

“If Iran strikes back at Israel with missiles, Tel-Aviv is likely to use nuclear weapons on Iran,” Ivashov said, adding that such a “development of the situation would undermine stability not only in the Middle East, but also in the entire world.”

Adding fuel to the fire is this story.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to announce on Monday the installation of 3,000 centrifuges for uranium enrichment in the Natanz nuclear facility, the official Iranian news agency reported.

The announcement will be made as part of the Islamic Republic’s “National Nuclear Day” celebrations. (Dudi Cohen).

So now we can throw the word ‘imminent’ into the equation.

These combined events further raise my ire at the callousness and temerity with which Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Hoyer and other in congress display by anointing themselves de facto foreign policy makers for the Office of the President. Like so may school children, Pelosi and her ilk now run to every despot, dictator and terror sponsor with a message of “play with me and I’ll share my candy”. Foreign policy is not your personal political plaything Madame Speaker. Reign yourself and your little clan of miscreants in before you cause irreparable harm to my country.

EFPs discovered in Iraq

It appears thhe terrorists are re-arming. I wonder where they are getting those new EFPs. Well, not really.

Gulf Times – Qatar’s top-selling English daily newspaper – Iraq

Iraqi, US forces sweep through volatile city, fight Sadr backers

Published: Saturday, 7 April, 2007, 08:50 AM Doha Time

An Iraqi military vehicle patrols a road in Diwaniya yesterday

DIWANIYA, Iraq: Iraqi and US forces clashed with Shia militia loyal to the radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr yesterday in a dawn operation aimed at returning the volatile city of Diwaniya to government control. In Ramadi, west of Baghdad, a truck bomb killed at least 10 people and wounded 24 in the latest in a string of attacks that have spewed poisonous chlorine gas into the air, three Iraqi police officers said. A fourth officer put the toll at 35 dead.
The Iraqi government said this week it was extending a seven-week-old US-Iraqi security crackdown in Baghdad to other cities as it seeks to halt the slide to sectarian civil war.
While the crackdown has succeeded in reducing the murder rate in Baghdad, the government says militants forced out of the capital have turned other areas into new “killing fields”.
Iraqi and US troops fought militiamen in southeast Diwaniya, a stronghold of Sadr’s Mehdi Army, which the Pentagon says poses the greatest threat to peace in Iraq. The head of Sadr’s office in the city blamed rogue gunmen.
Pamphlets dropped by US helicopters warned police, who are suspected of being infiltrated by the militia, to stay off the streets. Any found carrying weapons would be shot.
A US military spokesman said three to six “enemy fighters” were killed, five wounded and 17 captured. US and Iraqi forces suffered no fatalities, Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Bleichwehl said.
A Mehdi Army leader said six women and children were wounded when a US helicopter fired on a hostel in the city. Bleichwehl said the report was untrue. The militia leader also said four men on motorbikes were shot dead by US and Iraqi troops.
Resident Qassim Abid said he saw two armoured vehicles damaged by roadside bombs and a third by rocket-propelled grenades. There was no independent confirmation.
The director of Diwaniya’s health directorate, Hameed Jaati, said the local hospital had received one body and 15 wounded.
“Iraqi army soldiers swept into the city of Diwaniya early this morning to disrupt militia activity and return security and stability of the volatile city back to the government of Iraq,” the US military said in a statement.
Bleichwehl said troops, facing scattered resistance, discovered a factory that produced “explosively formed penetrators” (EFPs), a particularly deadly type of explosive that can destroy a main battle tank and several weapons caches.
Residents said a curfew had been imposed as troops blocked streets and conducted house-to-house searches.
“It is good they have started this operation because we have been living in fear recently,” said Ali Hassan, 45, a worker with seven children. “We could not go out after dark or allow our children to go outside on their own.”
In Ramadi, capital of western Anbar province that is the heartland of the Sunni Arab insurgency, police colonel Tareq al-Dulaimi said the chlorine truck bomb targeted a police patrol, killing 35 people and wounding at least 45 more.
But Captain Louay al-Dulaimi and two colleagues from a police station near the explosion put the death toll at 10.
There has been a spate of chlorine truck bomb attacks, mainly in Anbar. US commanders and Iraqi police have blamed Al Qaeda militants for several of the attacks.
Police in Basra indicated an explosion that destroyed a British armoured fighting vehicle, killing four soldiers and a translator on Thursday, was caused by a new type of bomb.
“We found two bombs … that were similar to the bomb that exploded targeting the British troops,” Major General Mohamed Moussawi said. “These are new bombs that haven’t been used and do not have a precedent in southern Iraq.”
The bomb blast left a crater several metres across and a metre deep in the road.
US and British forces have accused neighbouring Shia Iran of supplying Shia militias with EFPs, which are normally placed on the side of the road and fire a metal projectile embedded in the device into the target at high speed.
But a Western explosives expert in Iraq said it appeared from photographs of the crater that the blast had been caused by a commercial landmine buried in the road, not by an EFP. – Reuters