Monday, July 12, 2004

Middle America: Bush's pre-emption policy is softened for Iran and North Korea

Middle America: "Bush's pre-emption policy is softened for Iran and North Korea: 'Bush's pre-emption policy is softened for Iran and North Korea
David E. Sanger NYT
Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Even as President George W. Bush turns his doctrine of pre-emptive action against powers threatening the United States into a campaign theme, Washington is using a far more subdued, take-it-slowly approach to the dangers of unconventional weapons in Iran and North Korea. There are many reasons for the yawning gap between Bush's campaign language and the reality. One of the most important is woven throughout the searing 511-page critique of the intelligence that led America to war last year, released Friday by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The report details, in one painful anecdote after another, misjudgments that the CIA and other intelligence agencies made as they put together what the committee called an 'assumption train' about Iraq's nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programs. That same train powered Bush's own justification for a pre-emptive strike against Saddam Hussein, down to his now-discredited argument that the Iraqi leader was developing unmanned aerial vehicles capable of dropping biological weapons on American troops in the Middle East, or perhaps even in the United States itself."

Are Iran and Al Qaeda vying for influence in Yemen? |

Are Iran and Al Qaeda vying for influence in Yemen? | "Al Qaeda despises the Shiite branch of Islam as much as it hates the US. Therefore, analysts say, Iran may back Shiite groups to counter the spread of Al Qaeda's influence in Yemen, which would threaten the country's traditionally moderate Zaidi Shiite population.
'I don't think Iran will allow Al Qaeda to set up a base in Yemen which could threaten the Zaidi Shiites,' says Nizar Hamzeh, professor of politics at the American University of Beirut.
On July 1, the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigade, an Al Qaeda affiliate, released a statement vowing 'to drag the United States into a third quagmire, that is after Iraq and Afghanistan, and let it be Yemen, God willing.' The brigade has previously claimed responsibility for the March 11 rail bombings in Madrid as well as numerous attacks in Turkey and Iraq.
With the US military presence in Yemen minimal it seems unlikely that Yemen would become a venue for the war on terror. However, Yemen is the most populated and poorest country in the Arabian peninsula, with unemployment as high as 40 percent, making it fertile recruiting ground for Al Qaeda."

Iran ready to supply fertiliser to Sri Lanka

Online edition of Daily News - News: "Iran ready to supply fertiliser to Lanka
by Uditha Kumarasinghe
Iran has pledged to sign an agreement with Sri Lanka to provide fertiliser at concessionary rates.
This firm assurance was made by Iranian Ambassador Begnam Bearous who called on Agriculture, Livestock and Lands Minister Anura Kumara Dissanayake at his Ministry.
The ambassador pointed out to the Minister that both countries could reach an agreement on fertiliser. He also pledged to provide Iranian technical expertise and agriculture equipment to the Government.
'There are more similarities between Sri Lanka and Iran rather than differences. I have engaged in my mission as a friendly diplomat in the region,' the Iranian Ambassador told the Minister. "

In foreign-policy battles, are neocons losing their hold? |

In foreign-policy battles, are neocons losing their hold? | "In foreign-policy battles, are neocons losing their hold?

By Howard LaFranchi | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

WASHINGTON � Secretary of State Colin Powell is on a roll. In a kind of nose-thumbing at neoconservatives' 'America first and alone' ideology, the Bush administration's leading protagonist of multilateralism is displaying the power of diplomacy over confrontation.
There he is in Sudan with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, urging the Sudanese government to rein in militias and end a humanitarian crisis. Next, he's in Asia, conducting the highest-level meeting that's been held in two years with a North Korean official.

Such initiatives - following President Bush's own 'month of summits' in June - have some observers speculating that the 'neocons' and their black-and-white views of the world are on the outs in the White House."

Middle America: Quiet revolution as Iran widens arsenal in war on drugs

Middle America: Quiet revolution as Iran widens arsenal in war on drugs: "TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran has tried almost everything in its war on drugs: digging huge trenches along its porous borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan (news - web sites) and even using helicopter gunships and tanks against well-armed traffickers.

On the Islamic republic's television screens, Iranians are bombarded with campaigns highlighting the ills of addiction, dealers are executed and anyone even caught consuming drugs risks imprisonment, lashings and heavy fines.

'The anti-drugs war carried out by the Iranian police is unique,' boasted counter-narcotics tsar Mehdi Abuie as he poured out the latest figures on seizures, arrests and killings near Iran's long borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan. "

Middle America: Singapore's PM Goh's visit to Iran a fresh beginning

Middle America: PM Goh's visit to Iran a fresh beginning: "While Mr Goh said here that his current visit is not one in which he is looking at business opportunities, officials suggest it could be a catalyst and generate greater interest among the business community in Singapore.

The Prime Minister had a busy schedule yesterday, including calls on Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, laying a wreath at the shrine of the late Iman Khomeini, and talks with Commerce Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari and Foreign Affairs Minister Kamal Kharrazi."

Yahoo! News - Iran Rules Out Direct Nuclear Talks with U.S.

Yahoo! News - Iran Rules Out Direct Nuclear Talks with U.S.: "Iran Rules Out Direct Nuclear Talks with U.S.

Mon Jul 12, 5:18 AM ETAdd World - Reuters to My Yahoo!

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran ruled out on Monday holding direct talks with the United States on its nuclear program.

'There is no justification for accepting suggestions to hold negotiations with a country which adopts a bullying attitude toward others,' Hassan Rohani, secretary-general of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, told state television.
Washington accuses Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran says its ambitions are limited to generating electricity from nuclear reactors. "