Shovel Ready in the Middle East

Its better to  let the Arabs hate us so long as they respect us.

Shovel ready? Obama can  use that shovel to bury his failed Mideast policies.

Bodyguard who killed Karzai’s brother was trusted CIA contact

By Julius Cavendish in Kabul

There has been a string of high-profile attacks by the Taliban against Afghan government officials, and a number of instances of agents infiltrating the Afghan security forces and killing Afghan or Nato troops.


Former Spanish PM: How not to have a Palestinian state

“Serious Palestinians know very well that they do not meet the internal and external requirements to become a viable state, much less to become a new UN member-state with all its attendant obligations.”

“How not to have a Palestinian state,” by José María Aznar for YNet News, July 16 via JW.

There will be war

Syria steps up flow of weapons to Hizballah, which “doesn’t know where to put it all”

That is, at least until it can put them to use against Israel. Hizballah, now a stronger armed force in Lebanon than the Lebanese Army, is the only group from the Lebanese civil war that failed to disarm. This activity yet again renders U.N. Resolution 1559, a 2004 document demanding the disarmament of all Lebanese militia groups including Hizballah, not worth the paper it was printed on until it is fully enforced.

The reward for Beirut’s longstanding inaction toward the parallel, parasitic pseudo-state growing within it is that Lebanon has become a hostage state in a Syrian-Iranian proxy jihad via Hizballah, and the hostage quite often seems to have Stockholm Syndrome.   “Syria steps up Hezbollah armament,” from YNet News, July 16

Al Qaeda, the Taliban & Hamas, our new friends:

Hillary Clinton’s announcement of the rebels’ formal diplomatic recognition means the U.S. will be able to route some $30 billion in Qadhafi funds currently frozen in American banks to the opposition forces. (Barenaked has some pretty graphic stuff here,  watch it anyhow…)


IAEA report: “you could only draw one conclusion — that Syria did have at Dair Alzour a clandestine nuclear plant”

China, an ally of Damascus, says it sees no point in pursuing this issue because the plant is not there anymore — only because Israel did the world a favor. Otherwise, theUN’s interaction with the Syrian nuclear program would be following the Iranian playbook to the letter: alternately paying lip service to cooperation and stonewalling outright, getting a scolding in a U.N. resolution and perhaps some incrementally more restrictive sanctions, and continuing to work on the bomb the entire time.

Even with the plant gone, some of those tactics appear in the report below. There are also at least three other facilities in Syria currently of interest to investigators. It would be dangerous to assume Assad put all his radioactive eggs in one basket at the now-destroyed plant.

An update on this story. “U.N. Nuclear Agency Brings Syria to Security Council,” by Patrick Warsnip and Megan Davies for Reuters, July 15:

(Reuters) — The U.N. nuclear watchdog brought allegations of covert atomic work by Syria before the Security Council on Thursday, but the 15-nation body took no immediate action amid divisions among key powers.

The International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors voted in June to report Syria to the council, rebuking it for stonewalling an agency probe into the Dair Alzour complex, bombed by Israel in 2007.

Western countries said Thursday’s closed-door briefing by Neville Whiting, head of the IAEA safeguards department dealing with Syria and Iran, had made clear that Syria had a secret nuclear plant. They said the council should pursue the issue, but suggested it might not discuss it again before September.

Russia and China, allies of Damascus who can veto any council action, queried whether the council should be involved, as the Syrian complex no longer exists.

U.S. intelligence reports have said the complex was a nascent, North Korean-designed reactor intended to produce plutonium for atomic weaponry, before Israeli warplanes reduced it to rubble. Syria has said it was a non-nuclear military facility.

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told reporters Whiting had given a “devastating briefing … from which you could only draw one conclusion — that Syria did have at Dair Alzour a clandestine nuclear plant.”

Damascus had “tried to conceal the purpose of that plant … misled theIAEA about what the purpose was and … failed to cooperate effectively with the IAEA in following up the questions that the IAEA put to them,” he said.

Key word: “effectively.”

Both Lyall Grant and German Ambassador Peter Wittig noted that the IAEA was due to produce a new report on Syria for its board of governors in September. “And then we take it from there,” Wittig said.

But Chinese envoy Wang Min said Beijing was “not very happy” about the council’s involvement. “We should not talk about something that does not exist. There are a lot of things that happened in the past — should we discuss all of them?” he asked.

After the discussion about Syria, there would be plenty to talk about regarding China at the Security Council.

Russian envoy Alexander Pankin, asked what he had learned from Thursday’s briefing, said “not much.”

Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said the meeting “didn’t come to any conclusion because the Security Council considers only matters related to threats to peace and security, not to prefabricated, unfounded accusations against a member state of the United Nations.”

“The point is that there is no case for the Security Council to consider in its deliberations,” he said.

Diplomats have said council members could strive for language urging Syria to cooperate with the IAEA but that Damascus is unlikely to face U.N. sanctions over the issue.

Syria pledged on May 26 to cooperate with the IAEA and provide access to sites and information related to the probe, but Lyall Grant quoted the nuclear watchdog as saying cooperation had not improved since then.

In a statement, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice called on Syria to fulfill its pledge and that Damascus’s “positive and prompt cooperation with the IAEA would be the best way to resolve outstanding questions about its nuclear program.”

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