Thursday, July 24, 2008

Time for a break

I'll Be Back on August 9!

Israel: Iran will make A-bomb by 2010

Thu, 24 Jul 2008

Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert claims that Iran has gathered all the necessary equipment and technical knowledge to build an atomic bomb. Olmert, at a meeting with US democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, warned against a nuclear Iran and called for measures to halt Iran's nuclear activities, QANA reported. the Israeli prime minister claimed that the Islamic Republic would produce its first nuclear bomb by next year, unless world powers stop the country's nuclear program. (Press tv)

Russian S-300 missiles 'would ensure Venezuela's oil security'

Hugo Chavez sigue gastando más de lo que tiene...!

MOSCOW, July 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russian S-300 air-defense missile systems would enable Venezuela to fully ensure the security of its hydrocarbon resources, a Russian military expert said Thursday.
"Needless to say, should S-300s be delivered to Venezuela, they would effectively strengthen its defense capability, and it would not be easy for its possible adversaries to punish the country by striking at its oil fields," former Air Force commander Gen. Anatoly Kornukov said.
He added that as an oil-rich country Venezuela had to protect its natural resources.
"It is difficult to say how many air-defense systems Venezuela would need, since it has to protect not separate sites, but its entire territory," he said, adding that 10 S-300 battalions, each comprising six launchers, "should be enough."
The Venezuelan government on Wednesday accused international and domestic media of deliberately misinterpreting information on President Hugo Chavez's recent visit to Russia.
Some media reports said Chavez offered to host Russian military bases in Venezuela and to buy $30 billion worth of Russian weaponry in the next four years.
Venezuela's 1999 Constitution prohibits the hosting of foreign military bases in the country.
In 2005-2006, Venezuela bought more than 50 combat helicopters, 24 Su-30MK2 fighters, 12 Tor-M1 air defense missile systems and 100,000 AK-103 assault rifles from Russia. Current contracts are worth about $4 billion, according to various sources.
Future deliveries may include Amur-class diesel submarines, Il-76MD military transport planes, Il-78 aerial tankers and air-defense missile systems.

Russia could place bombers in Latin America, N. Africa - paper

Хочется верить, что Россия и Америка не начнут снова действовать по "карибскому" сценарию (плакат: Юрий Кершин, Самарий Гурарий. 1963 год) Link to pic

MOSCOW, July 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russian strategic bombers may soon be deployed at airbases in Cuba, Venezuela and Algeria as a response to the U.S. missile shield in Europe and NATO's expansion, Russian daily Izvestia said on Thursday.
Moscow has strongly opposed the possible deployment by the U.S. of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and an accompanying tracking radar in the Czech Republic as a threat to its national security. Washington says the defenses are needed to deter a possible strike from Iran, or other "rogue" states.
Moscow has also expressed concern over NATO's expansion to Russia's borders and pledged to take "appropriate measures" to counter the U.S. and NATO moves.
Izvestia cited sources in the Russian Defense Ministry as saying that crews of Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95MS Bear strategic bombers recently visited Cuba and conducted an inspection of a site and facilities for a possible forward landing airfield that could be used as a refueling stopover for Russian strategic bombers.
Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans last August, following an order signed by former president Vladimir Putin.
At present the Russian military is considering the possibility of establishing so-called "jump-up" bases in various regions of the world to provide refueling and maintenance support for the patrolling bombers.
"The flight to the U.S. [from southern Russia where the bombers are based] takes about 10 hours and even with two mid-air refuellings the aircraft can spend only 1.5 hours near the U.S. coast," said Gen. of the Army Pyotr Deinekin, former commander of the Russian Air Force.
The use of forward landing airfields in Latin America would practically erase the time constraints for the Russian bombers and make their presence near the U.S. borders almost permanent, the general said.
If a political decision is made, Cuba will most likely host Russian Il-78 aerial tankers, which will provide nuclear-capable strategic bombers with mid-air refueling, sources in the Defense Ministry told Izvestia.
Both Tu-160 and Tu-95MS bombers have been recently modernized and fitted with new X-555 cruise missiles with a range of over 3,500 km (2,200 miles). Therefore, the bombers do not have to be permanently based near the U.S. borders to hit any target on U.S. territory in case of a potential conflict. (Image Gallery)
In the meantime, the bombers may be primarily used to spy on the United States using electronic means, much like the former Russian SIGINT station at Lourdes near Havana, which was closed in 2002.
However, another Russian publication, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, said on Thursday that the ambitious plans of Russian politicians and some military commanders may be nothing more than "saber-rattling in empty air."
The prospect of maintaining refueling posts for Russian bombers all over the world would require an enormous amount of investment in construction of infrastructure, fuel supplies and re-supplies.
The Russian defense budget simply does not have sufficient resources to ensure the implementation of these plans, the newspaper said.
Russian bombers with nuclear missiles on board policing the globe would only harm Russia's image in the international arena, and it is unlikely that their presence near the U.S. borders will scare the Americans.
The U.S. military consider long-range bombers an obsolete and highly vulnerable component of the nuclear triad. The Pentagon stopped strategic bomber patrols almost two decades ago.

Israel: Block Iranian aggression

And yet... no mention of Abu Musa and the two Tunb islands, illegally occupied by Iran!

Thu, 24 Jul 2008

It is crucial for world powers to block the 'Iranian aggression' in the Middle East, says Israeli army chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi.

Ashkenazi, on his first visit to Washington as the army chief of staff, accused Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons and spreading aggression in the region. In a brief speech on Wednesday, he also claimed that radical elements were attempting to disturb the regional balance, as part of an imminent paradigm shift in the Middle East. At the center of this radical axis is Iran, who seeks to achieve its regional aspiration of hegemony by upsetting the existing power balance, he alleged. Ashkenazi accused Iran of backing terror organizations and radical groups, pursuing nuclear arms, and projecting power within the region and beyond. He summed up by saying believes it is crucial that 'the Iranian aggression' be blocked, which might in turn weaken the regional radicalization process being observed in such places as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon as well as the Palestinian territories. Press TV

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Iran summons Italian ambassador

Thu, 24 Jul 2008

Iran summons the Italian ambassador to protest a meeting between a Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO) leader and Italian lawmakers. The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned Ambassador Roberto Toscano on Wednesday to demand explanation about a meeting between leader of the MKO Masoud Rajavi's wife and some Italian parliament members in Rome. During the meeting, Mostafa Dolatyar, a senior foreign ministry official, condemned the move and described it as an act in violation of a decision by the European Union to put the group on the list of terrorist organizations. The Italian diplomat was also briefed on the terrorist activities of the organization. The Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (known in Iran as Monafeqin or the hypocritical) is blacklisted as a terrorist group by Iran, Iraq, Canada, the United States, and the European Union. The group has so far claimed responsibility for several terrorist attacks inside Iran and it cooperated with former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in the massacre of Iraqi civilians. PRESS TV

Read also MKO leader's wife in Italy

Iran: Americans, Brits, Canadians and Israelis not allowed to drive

Iran: driving license of 5 non-members of Vienna Convention invalid

The driving licence of Foreign nationals issued in the United States, Britain, Canada, the Emirates and the Zionist regime is not valid in Iran, it was reported on Wednesday.
Senior police officer in charge of issuing driving licences, Colonel Hassan Rezaei-Majd, said that all members of the 1968 Vienna Convention are permitted to drive in Iran for six months.
"Foreign nationals with international driving licences can drive in Iran for six months provided that their licences were issued by members of the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic," the colonel said. The Convention is an international treaty designated to facilitate international road traffic and increase road safety by standardizing the uniform traffic laws among the contracting parties. Colonel Rezaei-Majd added that Iranian nationals visiting member states of the 1968 Vienna Convention, are also allowed to use their international driving licences for the same period. --IRNA

Lukashenko to Chavez: "Tell us what we need to do, and we will do it"

Hay gente que se muere de hambre en Venezuela, Hugo, y tu vas gastando millones de dólares así...
Que tristeza...

Lukashenko pledges to resolve 'any problem' for Venezuela

MINSK, July 23 (RIA Novosti) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko assured his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez on Wednesday that he could find a solution to any problem facing Caracas.
Chavez arrived in Minsk after a visit to Moscow on Tuesday. The next countries on Chavez's itinerary are Portugal and Spain.
Lukashenko said that apart from economic ties between the two countries, Minsk and Caracas enjoyed "real friendship," and that Belarus was "ready to find a friendly, brotherly solution to any problem for Venezuela."
"Tell us what we need to do, and we will do it," the Belarusian leader added.
"It would have been unthinkable for us not to pay a visit to Minsk on our tour to confirm the deep feelings of friendship we have toward the Belarusian people," the Venezuelan leader said in response.
Bilateral trade between Belarus and Venezuela increased 268% in the first five months of 2008 year-on-year to almost $50 million.
Belarus exports potash fertilizers, trucks, special purpose vehicles, agricultural machinery, powdered milk and tires to Venezuela. The two countries are also involved in joint projects in oil production and refining, seismic survey, gas supplies, construction, industrial production and agriculture.
Both Belarus and Venezuela are also strongly critical of U.S. foreign policy.

Venezuela may spend $5 bln on Russian arms in next decade

MOSCOW, July 23 (RIA Novosti) - Venezuela may purchase weaponry from Russia worth $5 billion over the next 10 years, a Russian political analyst said on Wednesday.
During his official visit to Russia on Tuesday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the Russian leadership reaffirmed their mutual drive to strengthen bilateral defense cooperation.
"Regardless of the situation on global arms markets, Venezuela under Hugo Chavez will continue to buy Russian weaponry, and may spend $5 billion or more over the next 10 years on imports of Russian military equipment," said Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.
In 2005-2006, Venezuela bought over 50 combat helicopters, 24 Su-30MK2 fighters, 12 Tor-M1 air defense missile systems and 100,000 AK-103 rifles from Russia. Current contracts are worth about $4 billion, according to various sources.

Pukhov said Russia is the only country supplying a wide range of weaponry to Venezuela.
"The European market is inaccessible to Caracas because of its high prices, and restrictions imposed by the U.S. on arms exports to Venezuela," he said.
He also said future contracts to buy arms from Russia may be concluded on the basis of loans rather than direct payments.
"It is clear that cash payments for Russian weaponry sales to Venezuela are a thing of the past. Future purchases will be made through transfers, and production licenses," Pukhov said.

Future deliveries may include Amur-class diesel submarines, Il-76MD military transport planes, Il-78 aerial tankers and air defense missile systems.
Chavez dismissed on Tuesday rumors that Venezuela may spend up to $30 billion on purchases of Russian weaponry in the next four years.
"I do not know where these figures are coming from: $30 billion in four years? The amounts [in contracts] differ, it is a dynamic process," he told a news conference in Moscow.

Russia and Venezuela: closer military ties

Putin wants closer military ties with Venezuela

22/ 07/ 2008

NOVO-OGARYOVO, July 22 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday that he hopes military ties between the countries will strengthen.
Chavez, who is currently on an official visit to Russia, discussed political, economic and defense cooperation with the premier at Putin's residence near Moscow.
"We have recently been strengthening the legal base for our cooperation, searching for ways to diversify our relations through new cooperation areas, namely transport, space, high-tech production, and of course military and technical cooperation," Putin said.
During the meeting, Putin accepted an invitation from Chavez to visit Venezuela.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met with Chavez earlier in the day for talks focusing on arms and energy deals.
On arriving in Moscow, Chavez called for Russia and Venezuela to become strategic partners in oil and defense, something he said would "guarantee Venezuela's sovereignty, which is currently being threatened by the United States."
Venezuela has bought over 50 combat helicopters, 24 Su-30MK2 fighters, and 100,000 AK-103 rifles from Russia, and also holds a license for their production. The current contracts are worth about $4 billion.

Moscow plans to start supplying Venezuela with at least ten Mi-28N helicopters in the second half of 2009.
The two countries have also negotiated the delivery of three Russian Project 636 Kilo-class diesel submarines and at least 20 Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Caracas. Contracts for these two deals, if signed, may be worth another $1 billion.
In line with the state program for the modernization of the armed forces until 2012, Venezuela is planning to spend about $30 billion in the next four years on the purchase of weaponry abroad.

Read it also on today's Izvestia

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mossad is looking for you, brother...

Lebanese Elnashra reports today that according to Israeli sources Mossad is looking for a possible way to strike Hizbullah top echelons.

Le "Mossad" préparerait des tentatives d'assassinat de dirigeants du "Hezbollah" à la suite de l'opération de l'échange, selon des rapports israéliens.

22 Juillet 2008
Le service de renseignements israéliens "Mossad" se préparent à mener des opérations d'assassinat contre les dirigeants du "Hezbollah" . Ces opérations seraient en réponse au coup adressé par le "Hezbollah" à l'état hébreu du fait de l'opération d'échange, selon des rapports de renseignements et de médias israéliens.
Les services de renseignements israéliens et américains coopèrent en totale discrétion afin d'exécuter ces opérations.

West to flex military muscles against Iran

Amethyste class Submarine

Press TV-Tue, 22 Jul 2008 12:31:30

The United States is set to lead a joint military exercise in the Atlantic Ocean to show off its combat capabilities as a warning to Iran. The Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 08-4 'Operation Brimstone' will take place on July 21-31 in North Carolina and off the eastern US coast from Virginia to Florida, involving France, Britain and Brazil. More than a dozen ships, including the US carrier strike group Theodore Roosevelt and expeditionary strike group Iwo Jima, the French submarine Amethyste, and the British HMS Illustrious Carrier Strike Group, as well as a Brazilian frigate will take part in the 10-day exercise. Six vessels from the US Norfolk Naval State will play enemy at the exercise. The drill is aimed at training for operation in shallow coastal waters such as the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

Ahmadinejad: Iran can rank 1st in world economy in a short term

Tuesday July 22, 2008 IRNA

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that Iran could rank first in economy in a short time relying on national will and potentials.
Addressing a meeting with senior economic officials from private sector as well as other economic bodies, the president said negative words had no impact on the strong will of the Iranian nation to reach economic progress.
"The words 'we cannot' and 'it is not possible' are meaningless vis-a-vis the strong will of the Iranian nation. We can quickly rank first at the world economy," stressed the president.
The President met the economic officials to brief them on a plan which aims to pay subsidies directly to the people.
"The plan is based on seven key points" which would guarantee removing the existing problems on the way of the country's economic development, added the president.
He noted that his government was committed to remove "heavy bureaucratic procedures" from the way of those active in producing sector.
President Ahmadinejad stressed that success of any plan "requires collective support and cooperation" of all nation.
Referring to the public support for government's economic, political and cultural plans the president stressed, "No measure would reach a successful end without people's cooperation." He also stressed that "some domestic and external pressures could not block government and nation's move towards progress.

In the meantime, read also Iran inflation tops 26 per cent

Young people in Israel fall asleep as Gordon Brown gives speech

22/07/2008 Daily Mirror

Gordon Brown called on youngsters to volunteer to work on a kibbutz during a speech to the Israeli parliament yesterday.
But they all looked like they were going to sleep on his, er, obviously thrilling suggestion.
The PM said he wanted the "spirit" of the kibbutz - farms which provide free food and lodging for voluntary work - to spread across the globe to create a "global army" of volunteers to help in areas hit by natural disasters, war or famine.
Going by the reaction, it may take time...