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Osama bin Laden fatwas.
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Definition of fatwa (fatwah)
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August 1996

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The Romance of Anais, an Arthurian-style tale written 1996 describing how Bush got us in the mess in Iraq with a short commentary on the
Chang-an cheat

Duty & Profit, Nov. 1994
Against Leviathan, Jan. 1993
Immoral Coercion, Dec. 1994
Philistia Triumph thou
because of me
, Dec. 1993

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News Headlines & Trends

2.14.05 Bomb leaves Makati financial district in Philippines in chaos

Manila, Philippines, Feb. 14 (AFP) – The mangled and burnt bodies of three passengers lay uncollected and smouldering in the Philippines' smart financial district of Makati on Monday in the wake of a Valentine's Day bomb attack blamed on Muslim militants. Grey smoke and the smell of explosives hung thick in the humid air, as wailing police and rescue trucks struggled to get through a huge crowd of shoppers scrambling to escape after a bomb ripped through a packed bus.

Red roses mixed with thousands of shattered glass fragments were scattered on the ground and the bus was reduced to a heap of twisted metal. Two other buses waiting for passengers on the kerb were burnt. "There was a huge explosion, people were caught unawares. There was screaming everywhere," said off-duty soldier Ding Siugan, after picking up a woman with blood oozing from her forehead and leaving her some distance away.

Ordnance experts with bomb-sniffing dogs and Special Action Force policemen armed with automatic rifles marched in column to seal off the area. The body of one passenger lay untouched on a stretcher some meters away, while two mangled bodies hung on a rectangular metal awning. A stream of ambulances carried up to 60 bloodied passengers, including women and children, to various hospitals around the capital.

2.14.05 25 killed, 194 trapped in coal mine explosion in China

BEIJING: At least 25 miners were killed and nearly 200 others trapped underground after a coal mine gas explosion Monday in northeast China, said sources. []

Editorial note: There have been several coal mine explosions in China during the past six months. Some explosions have been attributed to small independent coal miners that do not meet government regulations. [See via Maravot News Trends]

2.14.05 Ex-Lebanaese PM Hariri killed in Beirut motorcade blast

Former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri was killed Monday when a massive explosion targeted his motorcade as it traveled through Beirut. Initial reports suggested that he had been wounded in the blast. His death was later confirmed by the Al-Mustaqbal television station, which Hariri owned. At least nine other people were killed in the blast along the city's famed sea front boulevard. Those killed included at least one of his bodyguards, witnesses said.

Lebanon's official news agency, quoting a statement from American University Hospital in Beirut, said that Hariri arrived dead at the hospital, his body mutilated in the massive explosion. One possibility is that sources close to Syria, which has at least 14,000 soldiers stationed in Lebanon, were responsible for the blast. Hariri, a self-made billionaire, led Lebanon for most of the period since the 1975-1990 civil war ended. Since leaving office in October, he was considered to be in opposition - in large part because of a dispute concerning Syria's controversial role in Lebanon. Hariri had rejected a Syrian-backed insistence that rival politician President Emile Lahoud remain in office for a longer period.
[More>>; see also; see also Al-Jezeera, "Chronology of assassinations in Lebanon."

2.14.05 Syrian military intelligence eliminates Hariri and reform hopes for Lebanon

Feb. 14 (Debkafile) – Rafiq Hariri, five times Lebanese prime minister, multi billionaire, builder of a country devastated by 15 years of civil war, was assassinated by a huge car bomb that ravaged the Lebanese capitalıs sea front. Two ministers in his party and 6 of his bodyguards, including its chief Yahya Al Arb, were among the dead. Efforts to save his life at the American Hospital to which he was carried in critical condition were unavailing. The attack is described as the most brutal since the civil conflict ended in 1991.

Last year, Hariri stepped down in protest against the extension of pro-Syrian president Emile Lahoudıs presidency and was about to take the lead of the opposition. A towering figure in Lebanese politics, Hariri was expected to fight the election due to take place in April or May.

The Lebanese hammer blow that came down on the Bush administration from Beirut set back its plans to bring democratic reforms to the Middle East. US officials were still digesting the import of Iraqıs general election the day after its results were released in Baghdad. They were also still waiting for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to come up to scratch in fighting terrorism. Its impact will be regional in magnitude, affecting the next stage of Iraqi insurgency and the chances of a Palestinian-Israeli accommodation.

According to DEBKAfileıs intelligence sources, the assassination was staged by Syrian military intelligence headed by General Rostum Ghazala. It capped two years of attempts by the Bush administration to engage Assad by diplomacy. On February 14, the confrontation between Washington and Bashar Assadıs regime abruptly shot up to a new level: the Syrian president had decided to resort to the vicious tactics of Iraq and Lebanonıs ugly past, finally impelled by a circumstance that DEBKA-Net-Weekly 193 revealed on February 1: For the first time in the annals of the Arab-Israeli dispute, Lebanonıs senior opposition politicians are pressing for the government in Beirut to recognize Israel and sign a separate peace treaty with the Jewish state - without reference to Damascus.

... The demand for Lebanonıs divorce from Syria for the purpose of making peace with Israel is the direct consequence of the January 29 UN Security Council resolution drafted by France and adopted by all 15 Council members, which ruled that the controversial Shabaa Farms along Israelıs northern border was part of Syrian Golan prior to the 1967 War – not Lebanon.

That resolution was supported by Washington to knock the stuffing out of the Shiite terrorist group Hizballahıs main justification for attacking Israel and to free Lebanese leaders to start talks with Israel. With that issue out of the way, the Lebanese trio maintained that Beirut has no further territorial or border quarrel with Israel and had nothing to do with the Syrian-Israel dispute or the Golan issue. There was no bar therefore to the two neighbors establishing normal peace and economic relations.

2.14.05 Missile defense test fails

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 (AP) – A test of the national missile defense system (search) failed Monday when an interceptor missile did not launch from its island base in the Pacific Ocean, the military said. It was the second failure in months for the experimental program. A statement from the Missile Defense Agency (search) said the cause of the failure was under investigation. A spokesman for the agency, Rick Lehner, said the early indications was that there was a malfunction with the ground support equipment at the test range on Kwajalein Island (search), not with the interceptor missile itself. [More>> via]

2.14.05 Iran welcomes Indian firms in developing South Pars field

NEW DELHI, Feb. 14 (PTI) – Iran is open to partnering Indian oil firms in development of offshore gas field in southern Iran which will export gas to India through an on land pipeline passing through Pakistan. "We very much welcome Indian companies to participate in the development" of one of the phases of gigantic South Pars gas field that will export natural gas to India through a 2775-km long pipeline, National Iranian Gas Export Company chairman M. H. Rahbari said on sidelines of the 3rd Asia Gas Buyers' Summit here. Tehran had previously expressed willingness to take Indian firms on board in the development of one of the phases of South Pars gas field, which will export 7.5 million tons of liquefied natural gas to India beginning 2009. [More>> Press Trust of India]

Editorial note: The pipeline will pass through Pakistan – who has been an advocate of the project – because it will also benefit both from the energy from Iran but also will receive a transit fee between 12-15 percent of the total gas value passing through its boundaries. [More details>>]

2.14.05 Bush and bin Laden use similar language: Khatami

KERMANSHAH, Kermanshah Province, Feb. 13 (MNA) – President Mohammad Khatami said here on Sunday that U.S. President George W. Bush and Al-Qaeda terrorist network leader Osama bin Laden use very similar language. ³The words and deeds of Bush and Bin Laden are alike, producing the sound of violence and waging war against the world. In fact, the words used by Bush and Bin Laden are almost exactly the same,² Khatami said during a meeting with a group of Kermanshah Province academics.

Referring to the U.S. animosity toward Iran over the past 26 years, the president noted that Washington supports the most Neanderthal governments in the world for the sake of its own interests, adding, ³So how can it establish democracy and freedom in a country like Iran?² It is foolish for the enemies of the Islamic Republic to place hope in a country like the United States, which intends to devour the world and establish puppet regimes, he said.

2.14.05 Sudan opposition pushes for war trials abroad

KHARTOUM, Feb. 14 (AFP) – Sudanese opposition parties from across the political spectrum pressed for Darfur war crimes suspects to stand trial abroad, backing the international community against the Khartoum regime. Groups ranging from the Communist Party to the Islamist Popular Congress told the independent daily Al-Ayam that the 51 suspects named by a UN commission of inquiry should be tried abroad as they included senior officials.

They warned the government of the dire consequences of opposing a UN Security Council resolution ordering foreign trials. Ali Mahmoud Hassanain, deputy chairman of the Democratic Unionist Party, one of Sudan's oldest factions, said he could not conceive of the world body endorsing trials inside Sudan and urged the government to be realistic.

2.14.05 India chooses Russian planes

Feb. 14 – Yesterday, the aviation show Aero India came to the end. The negotiations between Russian firms and Indian Armed Forces authorities, that happened during the exhibition, proved that Russia has good outlooks in this country. But they won't be monopolists in the Indian sky for Delhi is interested in the technology acquisition. The tender of providing the Indian Air Forces with 126 multifunctional fighters was the major topic discussed on the exhibition. The price is some $4.5 billion. The tender winner will provide the majority of the planes; the rest will be assembled on the Indian factories. [More>>]

2.13.05 China, US agree on early resumption of 6-way talks: Xinhua

BEIJING, Feb. 13, (Kyodo) – China and the United States on Saturday agreed to seek an early resumption of six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear program, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The accord was reached when Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice over the telephone Saturday night, Xinhua said.

Rice was quoted as expressing concerns about Pyongyang's announcement Thursday that it has nuclear weapons and is backing out of the six-party talks indefinitely. She also stressed Washington's hope for the reopening of the multilateral talks, which also involve Japan, Russia and South Korea, the report said.
[More>>; see also "China will stay in touch with all relevant parties and strive to make the situation develop in a positive direction so that the six-party talks could be resumed as soon as possible," a Foreign Ministry statement quoted Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing as telling Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice by telephone."

2.13.05 Shiites win resounding victory in Iraq's landmark election

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Feb. 13 – Iraq's long-oppressed Shiite majority scored a resounding victory in the first vote since Saddam Hussein's downfall, setting the stage for the first Shiite government in an Arab state in 1,000 years. Although it mustered less than half of the votes, the counting method laid out by the country's electoral law means the main Shiite list backed by powerful spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is on track for an absolute majority in parliament.

The Kurdish alliance was poised to become the country's second political force, while the list of incumbent Prime Minister Iyad Allawi was a distant third...The Alliance won 48.1 percent of the vote and based on the complex counting system should have 140 out of the National Assembly's 275 seats. This would give it the majority necessary to form a government and legitimacy to demand top jobs. But political entities also could change this by challenging the results within the next three days, election officials said. If there are no challenges, the results will be declared definitive.

The second powerful ticket, that grouping the two main Kurdish parties, took some 25.7 percent of the vote and should have 75 seats, making Kurds well-placed to become kingmakers of Iraqi politics after decades of struggle against successive Sunni regimes.

But the list put together by Allawi – interim prime minister since the US occupiers handed power to Iraqis in June last year – managed only a distant third with 13.8 percent and some 40 seats.

2.13.05 Fire consumes Madrid skyscraper

MADRID, Spain, Feb. 13 – Firefighters shot jets of water on one of Madrid's tallest office buildings for a second day today, fighting to control a fiery orange blaze that began the night before and threatened to collapse the 32-story skyscraper. The morning light exposed the damage from the spectacular fire that lit up the night and attracted thousands of onlookers. The top floors were little more than charred steel twisted into destroyed shapes. Everything else was burned away.

"We are battling Madrid's most important fire in its history," said mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, speaking from the scene this morning. "The situation right now is still of high risk. It will take hours until this fire is declared under control."

A filmy soot covered nearby sidewalks and buildings, and the smell of burnt metal hung in the air. At its peak, temperatures reached 1,440 degrees Fahrenheit, said Javier Sanz, chief of Madrid's firefighters. Three firefighters suffered smoke inhalation and exhaustion. No other injuries were reported.

2.13.05 Syria calls for comprehensive peace in Mideast

Feb. 13 – Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Al-Shara has reasserted the importance to realize a just and comprehensive peace on all tracks in the Middle East in efforts to achieve security and stability in the region. During talks with his visiting Canadian counterpart Pierre Pettigrew on Saturday, Al-Shara stressed the importance of reviving the Arab peace initiative, which was endorsed at Arab summit in Beirut in 2002. In this regard, Pettigrew voiced his country's support to the Palestinian refugees' right to return home in accordance with UN resolution 194.

On the issue of Iraq, both sides shared similar views over the significance of completing the political process after the elections in a way that secures a full participation of the Iraqi people.

Syria is the last stop of Pettigrew's six-day Mideast tour, which had taken him to Jordan, Israel, Palestine and Lebanon. [
More>>CRI online]

2.13.05 Omar Bashir named world's worst dictator

Feb. 13 – Parade magazine's yearly list of the planet's 10 worst living dictators has named Sudan's Omar Bashir as the head of world's most ignominious class. Although last year Bashir ranked a mere seventh among the 10 worst dictators, this year's list has him as the worst of the worst because of the 70,000 people who have been killed in Sudan's Darfur region and 6 million internally displaced as a result of Khartoum's ethnic cleansing, contributing editor David Wallechinsky wrote in Sunday's edition of Parade. Among his signature forms of abuse: slave trading and aerial bombing of women's and children's refugee camps.

Following Bashir are, in order: Kim Jong Il (North Korea), Than Shwe (Myanmar, formerly Burma), Hu Jintao (China), Crown Prince Abdullah (Saudi Arabia), Muammar al-Qadafi (Libya), Pervez Musharraf (Pakistan), Saparmurat Niyazov (Turkmenistan), Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe) and Teodoro Obiang Nguema (Equatorial Guinea).

Receiving dishonorable mentions are King Mswati III (Swaziland), Aleksander Lukashenko (Belarus) and Fidel Castro (Cuba), the world's longest-reigning – and in Latin America an almost beloved – dictator.
[Parade Magazine>> via bignewsnetwork]

2.13.05 India textile industry to phase out ozone depleting substance

COIMBATORE, India, Feb. 13 – Awareness over ozone-depletion is gearing up fast as various nations are recognizing the importance of environment conservation. "India is steadily moving towards phasing out ozone depleting substances," said Markus Wypior, the program manager of GTZ, a German development agency, which is supporting India in controlling the level of substances causing damage to the ozone layer. "India is well on track with regard to phasing out CFC (Chloro- Fluro Carbon) and CTC (Carbon Tetrachloride), and this is something we should be aware of that India is not keeping behind rather it is the other way around and India is well on track...Carbon Tetrachloride (CTC) is one of the chief ozone depleting substances and is widely used as a degreasing and cleaning agent in the dry-cleaning and textile industries.

It is the most dangerous ozone depleting substance that destroys the ozone layer, allowing harmful ultra-violet radiation to reach the earth's surface.

2.13.05 Seoul to press on with North Korea aid despite new nuclear flareup

Feb. 13 – Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon and US Vice President Dick Cheney agreed on pushing for a peaceful solution of the North Korean nuclear standoff but may have differed over whether to keep pouring aid into the communist state following last week's surprise developments. During a meeting with Ban in Washington on Saturday Korean time, Cheney was reported to have suggested South Korea suspend fertilizer aid to North Korea following Pyongyang's announcement it has made nuclear weapons and will indefinitely boycott six-way talks on nuclear arms issue.

Cheney also said Seoul should stop economic rewards to Pyongyang through trade, prompting speculation that Washington may be considering fresh economic sanctions against the North, the New York Times reported. But Ban, who will meet Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday, reiterated after the Times report appeared that the South Korean government will continue to provide humanitarian aid to North Korea, as well as its development of a joint industrial park at Gaeseong in the North just above the Demilitarized Zone.

2.13.05 A representative office of UN High Commissioner on Human Rights to be opened in Russia

MOSCOW, Feb. 13 (RIA Novosti) – A representative office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will be opened in Russia, announced UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour during a press conference in Moscow on Sunday. According to Ms. Arbour, the representation will conduct its activities in the framework of existing organizations representing the UN in Moscow. "We will develop a series of concrete programs that must ensure the improvement of human rights situation in Russia," Ms. Arbour stated... In particular, she believes that the reform of social benefits split the Russian society. "There must be no discrimination in the sphere of distribution of the material wealth," Ms. Arbour emphasized. [More>>]

2.13.05 Russian army to adopt new nuclear missile complexes

MUNICH, Feb. 13 (RIA Novosti) – Russia's armed forces might soon adopt a new type of nuclear missile complexes developed by Russian military scientists, announced Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov at a press conference in Munich. "We have enough evidence to assume that it will be a unique weapons system that does not have analogues in other countries," Mr. Ivanov underlined. Mr. Ivanov refused, though, to disclose technical specifications of the new missile system. He said that Russia had been actively conducting modernization of its nuclear triad "focusing on the quality of weapons rather than its numbers."

"Russia does not need a large amount of missiles that the Soviet Union used to have. We do not intend to threaten anybody, but Russia will continue to remain a strong nuclear power," the Russian defense minister stressed.

2.13.05Cold spell leaves several dozen Afghans dead- most of the victims children

KABUL, Feb. 12 (AFP) – At least 67 Afghans, mainly children, have died from freezing conditions as the war-battered country faces its coldest winter after years of droughts, an official said Friday. Most of the victims are children in rural areas as well as refugee camps in the capital Kabul, Public Health Minister Mohammed Amin Fatemi said. "We have two types of reports - unconfirmed reports from the local authorities which are quite large - up to hundreds," he said. "And we have confirmed reports - 67 children and mothers have died of cold weather."

The minister said that 39 of the casualties were reported from the Karwar district in Logar Province, south of Kabul, while others were in remote villages in northern and central Afghanistan. Authorities in Kabul had earlier said that at least six people had died of cold in a refugee camp near the capital, where the temperature has dropped to minus 18 degrees Celsius during the nights.
[More>>; see also Indo-Asian News Service reports of 2,000+ people being rescued from blocked road in Kashmir: Jammu, Feb. 13 (IANS) Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters have begun airlifting over 2,000 people stranded along a key highway in Jammu and Kashmir that remains blocked due to landslides and avalanches.]

2.13.05 Incessant rain, floods claim more than 400 lives in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Feb. 13 (PTI) – More than 400 people have been killed and thousands are missing in Pakistan due to incessant rains and flash floods even as rescue and relief operations in the affected areas were stepped up, officials said today. The death toll in the rain and snow related incidents in provinces like Balochistan and North West Frontier Province have gone up to over 400, the officials here said. In Balochistan alone the death toll touched 300 following the bursting of a 'check dam' near Pasni town, they said. "We have reports that over 1,000 are still missing. We fear that the death toll may rise to 500 or 600. But do not have confirmed reports as yet," Sana Ullah Baloch, a Senator of the Balochistan National Party, (BNP) told PTI here. [More>>Press Trust of India]

2.13.05 Pakistan will be failed state by 2015, US intelligence agencies say

NEW DELHI, Feb. 13 (PTI) – Pakistan will be a "failed" state by 2015 as it would be affected by civil war, complete Talibanisation and struggle for control of its nuclear weapons, premier US intelligence agencies have said in an assessment report. Forecasting a "Yugoslavia-like fate" for Pakistan, the US National Intelligence Council (NIC) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in a jointly prepared Global Futures Assessment Report have said "by year 2015 Pakistan would be a failed state, ripe with civil war, bloodshed, inter-provincial rivalries and a struggle for control of its nuclear weapons and complete Talibanisation".

"Pakistan will not recover easily from decades of political and economic mismanagement, divisive policies, lawlessness, corruption and ethnic friction," said the report quoted by former Pakistan High Commissioner to United Kingdom Wajid Shamsul Hasan in an article in the 'South Asia Tribune.'
[More>>Press Trust International]

2.13.05 Two strong aftershocks jolt tsunami-ravaged Aceh

BANDA ACEH, Aceh (AFP) Feb. 13 – Two strong aftershocks less than an hour apart hit Indonesia's tsunami-devastated Aceh early on Sunday, prompting some panic in the provincial capital, witnesses said. Seismologists in Jakarta said the first quake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale struck at 8:22 a.m. (1:22 a.m. GMT), followed by another tremor 40 minutes later at a slightly lower magnitude of 5.4. Both the aftershocks were centered some 30 kilometers under the ocean floor around 88 kilometers southwest of the ravaged provincial capital Banda Aceh, they said. [More>>]

2.13.05 UK charity group accused of aiding bin Laden

LONDON, Feb. 13 (PTI) – A Birmingham-based British charity has been accused by the American government of financing Osama Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, a media report said on Sunday. The Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA), which provides aid for orphanages and water wells in countries such as Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan, has been designated by the US treasury as being part of a network of "terrorist" charities that have allegedly "provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to Osama bin Laden," it said.

The US treasury has frozen the assets of the American branch of the Islamic African Relief Agency (IARA), precursor of ISRA, making it a criminal offence for anyone to supply money to any of its offices, and is attempting to persuade other governments to do likewise with the branches in their countries, The Sunday Telegraph said. "Information available to the US indicates that international offices of the Islamic African Relief Agency provided direct financial support for Osama bin Laden," the US treasury department said in a statement.
[more>>Press Trust of India via]

2.13.05 Pakistan army admits paying Al Qaeda over a half million dollars

PESHAWAR, Feb.10 – The Pakistan Army has publicly admitted paying Al Qaeda over half a million dollars in the most bizarre deal it has ever made with militant Waziristan fighters, battling the Army and the US forces in the rugged terrain bordering Afghanistan for months. The announcement of the payment was made in Peshawar by none other than the Corps Commander of Peshawar Corps, the man in charge of military operations in Waziristan, Lt. Gen. Safdar Hussain, who said Rs32 million ($540,000) had been paid to help four former wanted tribal militants in South Waziristan "to settle debts with al-Qaeda."

General Hussain said the payments were part of a peace deal signed on Monday with tribesmen, but the public admission that money had been paid to be transferred to Al Qaeda stunned analysts and diplomatic observers in Islamabad...According to The Daily Times, which the deal with Baitullah Mehsud was negotiated by anti-US religious political leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman of JUI-MMA who had been a stronger sponsor and supporter of the Taliban. The "peace deal" ceremony ended with shouts of ³Death to America," The Daily Times reported.

According to the BBC Gen. Hussain said four former wanted militants had insisted they needed the money to pay back huge sums to al-Qaeda. Haji Sharif and Maulvi Abbas received Rs15 million each, while Maulvi Javed and Haji Mohammad Omar were each paid one million rupees.

2.13.05 US digs in deeper in Afghanistan

KARACHI, Feb. 9 – After Afghanistan and Iraq, a new phase in the United States' "war on terror" is under preparation in which the military-minded decision-makers in Washington have short-listed various possible targets, including Iran and Syria. In this scenario, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will play a role, as will Pakistan...Well-placed sources in Brussels have told Asia Times Online that as a result, a strong NATO base will be established in the Afghan province of Herat, bordering Iran, and a logistics hub for NATO might be established in Pakistan's southern port of Karachi.

Construction work has already begun on the NATO base in Herat, under the surveillance of Italian troops stationed there as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force contingent of peacekeepers in the country. Currently, about 8,000 of these soldiers from 36 countries serve in Kabul and nine provinces north of the capital. The new base in Herat is expected to be big enough for about 10,000 troops, will feature a military air base, and will act as NATO's headquarters in the country. There are also about 18,000 US troops in Afghanistan. A request for a NATO logistics hub in Karachi has already been conveyed to Pakistan.
[More>> via]

2.13.05 Iran rejects European demand to give up heavy water plant

TEHERAN, Iran (AP) Feb. 13 – Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi rejected a European demand to stop building a heavy water nuclear reactor in return for a light-water reactor, hardening Iran's position on a key part of its nuclear facilities that critics claim is part of a weapons program. Iran had indicated in the past that its suspension of uranium enrichment activities won't include construction of a heavy water reactor but Sunday's announcement is its clearest statement so far of its nuclear program plans. The statement indicates the unresolved differences between Iranian and European negotiators, who continue their talks on Iran's nuclear program as the United States escalates its criticism of Iran. [More>>]

2.13.05 'Only America unhappy with Iran: official

LONDON, Feb. 13 (IranMania) – The United States is the only country not convinced by repeated inspections that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons, Iran's deputy Foreign Minister for international and legal affairs told an international security conference. Gholamali Khoshroo said an "unprecedented" number of international inspections in Iran had shown that the country only had peaceful objectives in its atomic programme. "The more they have searched, the more they have found that Iran has done nothing forbidden," Khoshroo said. "Sometimes I am saying that maybe America is the only country that is unhappy that these results have come out and that Iran is not looking for weapons.

"Iran is not looking for weapons of mass destruction, why is America not happy?"

2.13.05 Fighting resumes in Philippines

Feb. 13 – At least three soldiers were killed when fresh fighting broke out on the southern Philippine island of Jolo, on the seventh day of a massive military offensive. According to a military report, another 16 Philippine soldiers were wounded when they came under fire from rebels on Sunday. The report said the attack took place in Maimbung town on Jolo island, 1000km south of Manila, but did not say when the incident happened. "There's heavy fighting going on in Panamao and Luuk areas," Lieutenant-General Alberto Braganza, the most senior commander in the southern Philippines, said. "They are taking a last stand in the mountains." The military said more than 50 rebels had been killed in the clashes, but so far less than 10 bodies had been recovered. [More..Al Jezeera; see also DAVAO CITY – The military continues to rain down bombs on Muslim separatist Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) gunmen now holed up between Panamao and Maimbung towns in Sulu province. Lieutenant Colonel Restituto Padilla, Air Force spokesperson, said there were no immediate reports of any casualties on the rebels' side. The military's casualty figure stands at three soldiers killed and 13 others wounded, including Major Emmanuel Sison, the new commander of the 53rd Infantry Battalion. Padilla said on Sunday afternoon that an OV-10 bomber plane, dropped another 260-pound bomb bringing to three the total number of bombs dropped on Sunday. Aside from the aerial bombing, the military also continues to pound the rebels' position with howitzer and mortar fire, he said.
(Inquirer Mindanao Bureau)]


2.11.05 Barnier calls for US confidence in EU diplomacy

LONDON, Feb. 11 (IranMania) – French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said on Thursday that diplomacy was the best option for solving the crisis over Iran's nuclear programme and urged Washington to have confidence in the European nuclear talks. "We have favoured the diplomatic option and we want it to succeed for the benefit of everyone," Michel Barnier said at a press conference at the University of Vilnius during his one-day visit to Lithuania. "These negotiations are difficult and fragile", and "we really need the confidence and support of the United States to help us to succeed," Barnier said, according to AFP.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had urged European negotiators to take a tough line with Iran. [

Editorial note:
Bush & Rice affects upon Iran's liaisons: it's all about oil and gas

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice apparently has little knowledge of the region or why Turkey is important to the EU and why it is in Iran's economic interest to forge strong ties with the EU, Russia and Turkey / Armenia.

Satellite view of the Black Sea -Caspian Trans-Caucasia area. Click on image for larger view. The penninsula in the Caspian Sea is Baku, Azerbaijan. The lake in the bottom is Lake Van, Turkey. Directly east of Lake Van is the Iranian city of Tabriz. The smaller lake to the northeast of Lake Van is Lake Sevan, Armenia. Just north of Lake Sevan is T'bilisi, the capital of Georgia. The Russian border is on the northern face of the Caucasian mountain range (covered with snow).

The modern roads through this mountainous region mark the ancient routes used thousands of years ago, according to Burney and Lang. At Baku, for instance, is a narrow defile called the Iron Gate – where the Russian-Dagestan city of Derbent is – through which the Persians and Romans and modern armies had to pass to reach the northern region of the Black Sea and the Crimea. The Scythians held off the Persian army of Darius near Baku, but got bored and according to tradition went off chasing a rabbit. Herodotus gives us a good account on these people and their encounter with the Persians. Because of their past behavior no doubt the Bush administration is salivating to conquer and ruin this region as well where ancient roads and modern pipelines pass.
Mel Copeland

Rice will advocate the invasion of Iran hoping to control its oil for the Bush consortium, in my opinion, as is the on-going issue with Iraq. It's all about oil and gas. By mauling Iran, Rice is, as it were, threatening to cut off the planned oil and gas supply to both the West and the East (India and China who are also relying upon gas and oil pipelines from the Caspian Sea and Iran). The junction of this development effort is an area called Trans-Caucasia, which involves an area whose civilizations and cities were linked together as far back as 7,000 - 6,000 B.C. The nations stretch from Georgia (Ancient Colchis was the site of the Golden Fleece in the story of Jason and the Argonauts) to Hattusas, the capital of the Hittites, and Çatal Huyük to Carchemish, Nineveh and the Araxes river basin in what is presently Azerbaijan (site of the early Caspian oil fields). Archeology buffs might enjoy a book on this area: "The people of the Hills," Ancient Ararat and Caucasus, Charles Burney and David Marshall Lang, Phoenix Press, London, 1971.
Mel Copeland

2.11.05 Iran, Armenia expands bilateral energy ties

TEHRAN, Feb. 11 (MNA) – Iranian and Armenian ministers of energy met here to negotiate ways of expansion of bilateral ties in the energy sector. In this meeting, the Iranian minister asked to jointly carry out an expert-level study in order to clarify the details of the contract before coming up to a final agreement. Iran had earlier agreed to import power from Armenia and export gas to that country after a 160 km gas pipeline is constructed between the two countries. Armenia has stored 600 million KWH power this year and is keen to export it to Iran. [More>>]

2.11.05 Iran starts exporting gas to Turkey

TEHRAN, Feb. 11 (MNA) – After a short halt, Iran has started exporting 100,000 cubic meters of gas per hour to Turkey, that is one fifth of the amount agreed between the tow sides, Reuters quoted a Turkish energy official as saying. The Turkish officials had earlier announced that the import of gas from Iran was halted due to the freezing weather of the borders and the increasing gas consumption in Iran. Turkey is the biggest importer of Iranıs gas at present and has a contract to import 500,000 cubic meters of gas per hour. However, due to several reasons the amount has been reduced from time to time. [More>>]

2.10.05 North Korea: we have nukes

Feb. 11 – NORTH Korea has for the first time unambiguously declared that it has nuclear weapons, and says it has quit international talks aimed at resolving the nuclear stand-off. The announcement late yesterday sent shockwaves through neighbouring capitals, where governments have been trying to coax one of the world's most isolated and unpredictable regimes back to the negotiating table.

A North Korean Foreign Ministry official said in a statement carried by a regime mouthpiece, the Korean Central News Agency: "We have manufactured nukes for self-defence to cope with the Bush administration's evermore undisguised policy to isolate and stifle the Democratic People's Republic of Korea." Yesterday, even before the statement, top US arms control official John Bolton admitted "time is not on our side" to curb the menace from North Korea – which might have as many as 10 nuclear weapons.

"To whatever extent the North Koreans are proceeding with their program, and we believe they are, the absence of progress in six-party talks means they are making further progress toward their increased capability," Mr Bolton, the State Department's under-secretary for arms control, told reporters in Tokyo...Mr Downer has already said he believes North Korea could have as many as three nuclear warheads and is developing the missile capability to reach Australia with its weapons...
[More>>; see also for China's take on the threat and more details.

Editorial note: "Has America been turned into a 'War-keeping nation?'" While Australia may be concerned about having North Korean weapons landing on its cities, the same concern applies for the US west coast and British Columbia. Rice seems to have been taught that rattling sabers, scaring people, and attacking without a foundation is diplomacy. She may have learned this from George H. W. Bush, who attacked Panama, violating UN covenants. In times past the US was criticized for being too reticent in engaging in war (re: WWII). President Bush has demonstrated that he looks for opportunities to go to war. When he referred to himself on several occasions that he "is a War President," he was not kidding. I suspect that the American people may not agree with that persona – as a profile of their mission. I know California Senator Diane Feinstein may have mixed emotions on the issue, since her husband's company has profiteered quite well from the war in Iraq, according to the sources listed in About Maravot News. While it is apparent that Feinstein may enjoy her life of luxury and fine dining thanks to the dead souls in Iraq, I suspect she might be a bit harsher towards spreading war if San Francisco were to suddenly disappear because of a North Korean missile. In any event, I hope that the former mayor of San Francisco will vociferously draw a battle line with the war mongers and save the world from the Bush administration's hostility.
Mel Copeland
Berkeley, CA


12.23.04 US is losing war of ideas
12.21.04 United States attacking itself from behind


(2) The name, Allah, in Arabic is an expression of surprise. It is not unusual for the God of the Bible to be known by many names . Jewish Midrash quotes passages in the Old Testament (Torah) that cite as many as seventy names of God (and more). But they can all be reduced down to one name.

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