Personal Reasons?

via Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Nicholas Burns, the U.S. pointman on Iran and India and the number three U.S. diplomat, is expected to step down for personal reasons in an announcement to be made on Friday, a U.S. official said.

Nicholas Burns was the key-player in negotiating sactions against Iran, due to their alleged nuclear weapons program. He will likely be succeeded by the ambassador to Moscow, William Burns. Condoleeza Rice will announce this shortly.

Given the situation in the Gulf and the apparent efforts of the neocon faction in the Bush Administration to get their war with Iran, one can’t but wonder what the “personal reasons” are supposed to be.

Meanwhile the violence in the Middle East increases again. Israel in it’s neverending push for Peace with the Palestinians has launched another attack against Gaza and the Hamas and has flattened the interior ministry of Hamas.

In the Middle East, an ongoing crisis deepens

Before Mr Bush and Mr Cheney embark on bringing democracy to Iran, the ongoing wars in the Middle East merit taking a closer look:

This blog has featured  a story about Afghanistan threatening to fall back into the hands of the Taliban in 2008. The story was called “Kabul likely lost in 2008”.  The “Reuters” story we linked 57 days ago said:

 “It is a sad indictment of the current state of Afghanistan that the question now appears to be not if the Taliban will return to Kabul, but when,” the report said.

The year 2008 is fourteen days old today and here are the Taliban! A Kabul luxury hotel, mostly used by foreign journalists and diplomats was attacked by the resurgent Taliban, Norway’s Foreign Minister survived the attack in the cellar of the building. Six people died.

In Iraq things allegedly go better. Still the US forces deem it necessary to launch an offensive and bomb the southern outskirts of Baghdad. In Iraq the killing doesn’t end, only the reporting on the killing did. 19 US soldiers lost their lives since the beginning of the year.

In Pakistan the bloodshed doesn’t end. The suicide bombing in Lahore four days ago killed 22 human beings mostly policemen. Today 8 died and 40 people were wounded in Karachi. The US has boots on the ground there, much to the dismay of the Pakistani government. It may indeed be necessary, because there is still a chance that Pakistan may fall to chaos and the control over the nuclear arsenal is lost.

In case someone hasn’t noticed the Palestine peace process is negotiated by Palestinian leaders who do not represent the Gaza strip which is only nominally under control of the Palestinian National Authority. The Palestinians are in a de facto civil war and thus make a poor party to peace negotiations. But are the negotiations anything else but window dressing anyway?

The Lebanon? No government to speak of and fighting factions, always on the brink of a civil war. Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, dictatorships, which face increasing internal pressure. All those ingredients don’t make the cocktail named Middle East any less explosive.

Any of the current involvements of the United States in the Middle East, military and political, is a failure and an attack on Iran would shatter what little stability there still is.

Mr Bush, Mr Cheney why don’t you just go to Crawford or to your undisclosed location, sit still and wait for your term to end? You proved a failure for seven long years, please just play dead for the remaining 371 days!

The next step in the American primary season is nearing and Michigan, Nevada and of course Super Tuesday, will push the Middle East to the backpages of the news again. But it should be kept at least in our minds, the danger is not over until the Bush Administration’s term is over. If then.

“Europeanview” wishes you all a healthy and happy day. Hug a dear one and take care!

UPDATE: You find some new developments here.

Photo Activists for Peace

Photo Activists For Peace is a photo-sharing network of activists dedicated to stopping the United States from starting a war with Iran. Our mission is to counter the lies and distortions of the Bush Administration and the mainstream media by giving the American people a real picture of Iran..

Explore our site. See if you’re surprised by our photo galleries and essays. Send in photos of your own of Iran. Or ones you’ve found on the web. Invite your friends, acquaintances and organizations to visit the site. That’s what being a photo activist is all about. It’s fighting for peace by letting Americans see the real Iran for themselves. Together we can create a virtual rally for peace right here on this site.

Bush isn’t interested in peace. No sooner did Iran help us overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan and create a new republic there than Bush turned around and labeled Iran part of his “Axis of Evil” in his State of the Union address in 2002. He rejected a peace offer from Iran in 2003. Bush’s real agenda is to destroy Iran’s economy, topple its elected government, and grab its gas and oil-even though war will kill countless Iranians, endanger American troops and civilians throughout the region, send gas prices through the ceiling, and spread radiation from Iran’s vaporized nuclear sites around the world. Bush has to be stopped.

Visit the Photo Activists for Peace website, and view their photo albums.

1 + 1 + 1= War? – An attempt at analysis

The election season and the primaries, along with all the polling and speculation have taken some of the spotlight from a development which may lead to another military engagement. For the first time in his Presidency George W. Bush has visited Israel and some things he said there are worth listening to.

In Ramallah on Thursday Bush has promised support for the Palestinians and announced a peace treaty within a year from now, a Palestinian state would indeed be possible. He bolstered this with his assertion that the US are increasingly critical of the Israeli settlements politics and see the settlements as a crucial obstacle to said peace treaty.

Israel is historically security-conscious to say the least. Being peppered by rockets from neighboring countries on an almost daily basis and the rethoric of extremist politicians like the Iranian president Ahmadinejad don’t help to allay their fears. The Israeli settlements as well as the fence are part of a national security policy, or are at least called such.

So, in order to change the US position on the settlements, the United States will have to offer something in exchange, to up the security issue for Israel. The Israelis deal with Syria by themselves as proven by the still somewhat mysterious air strikes last fall. Israel, will not or cannot, deal with Iran by itself, to get Israel’s concessions on the settlements, the US will have to give them – Iran? Continue reading

Gulf of Tonkin? No, just the Straits of Hormuz!

For once an incident has removed “ObamaHillaryJohnMittMike” from the European headlines. The Iranian vessels threatening US Navy ships have made it to the front page of most European newspaper websites. Is this the run-up to the Gulf of Tonkin moment, that some in Washington obviously still desire and most of us fear?

Here are the facts:

Five small speed-boats probably manned by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have cruised close to three US navy vessels:

(…) the U.S. ships involved in the incident were the USS Port Royal, a cruiser; the USS Hopper, a destroyer; and the USS Ingraham, a frigate. They were sailing into the Gulf through the Strait at the time of the incident (…)

According to the Pentagon the Iranian boats were maneuvering in a hostile and aggressive manner and at one point threatened:

“I’m coming at you and you will blow up in a couple of minutes.”

The US ships came close to firing.

Even after the NIE, stating that the Iranian nuclear weapons program may have been suspended as early as 2003, there were still threats against Iran. As those threats explicitly named the Straits of Hormuz as strategically essential, yesterday’s incident gives reason to worry.

Iran’s politics in the region, however, have turned from purely confrontational to cooperative, so that the neighbors in the Middle East don’t chime in on the “isolate Iran” mantra of the US, anymore. The US strategy on Iran is crumbling.

“Everywhere you turn, it is the policy of Iran to foment instability and chaos,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned Gulf dignitaries in Bahrain last month. But in reality, everywhere you turn, from Qatar to Saudi Arabia to Egypt, you now see Iranian leaders shattering longstanding taboos by meeting cordially with their Arab counterparts.

(…)

Gulf states see Iran as a challenge that they have been dealing with for decades, not an urgent or existential threat. The shifting Arab approach may leave the US with little choice but to do the same. Just as America’s containment of Iraq began to collapse in the late 1990s when its Arab neighbors lost faith in the value of sanctions, the new Gulf attitudes will probably now shape what the US can do with Iran.

Accordingly, a military intervention against Iran will not only be without reason, it will not meet with the support of the other Gulf states, that Washington would need. But there is no accounting for neo-con dreams. For more information and an extensive collection of links on the US-Iran relations see here.

Meanwhile “The Independent” asks: “Remember him?” Two words as brutal as the words “lame duck” and it gets worse:

He is the forgotten leader, scorned by his people, disowned by his party. This week George Bush has a last chance to undo the damage done by his presidency as he begins a Middle East tour

This man’s time is definitely over, however, there are still 378 days left for him. 378 days too many for many Americans, but not enough by far to even begin to “undo the damage”, as if he could.

“Europeanview” has taken a welcome break from the election coverage and wishes you all a bright and sunny, healthy and happy day. Take Care!

Hello from Europe – 407 Days still

The Sunday papers, namely the Sunday Times are normally full of useful information to blog on a sunday morning. Now, look what “The Times” is doing to us here and here! Are we really that interested in Dana Perino’s visits to Lancashire pubs, to merit a front page? And they’d better leave Al Gore alone, he’s obviously smarter than the lot of such “journalists” combined!

There is one topic, however, that still haunts all the newspapers. The NIE. John Bolton is foaming at the mouth, Dick Cheney obviously had a “pretty vivid exchange” read: hissy fit and “The Guardian” tells it like it is:

But beyond his basic allergy to the truth, what the spin surrounding the NIE reveals is the extent to which President Bush holds the American people in contempt. Throughout his time in office, President Bush has simplified his arguments for the American people, claimed exclusive rights over private (but worrisome) knowledge and treated Americans like errant children who must be kept from the truth. He scares, cajoles and threatens them, secure in his own mind that he is doing it for their own good, but he does not treat them like adults who can make a reasonable judgment about serious issues or about the behaviour of their government. Only a public report – described by some as a rebellion by the intelligence community – stands in the way of his fear-mongering. Underlying Bush’s reckless behaviour this fall is the belief that the American people are not sufficiently informed to penalise him when engages in spin and half-truths.

While VP Cheney is mourning the opportunity to wage yet another war, there are two such wars going on. In Afghanistan, coalition troops are fighting to “reliberate” a town, that was retaken by the Taliban after it’s initial liberation from the Taliban in 2002. A to and fro that brings up memories from WWI, when every inch of soil captured in the evening was reclaimed by the respective enemy the very next morning. A situation colloquially called a quagmire.

But Iraq is much better, isn’t it? Read the reports on this website carefully and learn more.

“Europeanview” wishes you all a peaceful and healthy day, wherever you are, whatever you do, stay safe and take care.

They don’t give up easily

The NIE says the nuclear program is suspended for almost four years now. So let’s go for another scenario?

The commander of U.S. naval forces in the Gulf region called Iranian threats over the Strait “coercive” and said any attempt to close the Strait by placing mines in international waters could be considered an act of war.

“It’s intended to intimidate not only the regional nations – ‘look at us we can damage your prosperity’ – but it’s intended to intimidate the global market,” Vice Adm. Kevin Cosgriff said on Friday of threats from Iranian military officials to close the strait.

“We intend to keep it open,” he said.

So blow up a tanker and off we go?

The Secret War in Iran

Now that the NIE on Iran has hit the headlines and media and viewers-readers alike indulge in speculation about who knew what and when (and did the President lie?) a massive covert intervention is ongoing on Iranian soil, while you are reading this. In April a presidential “finding” has been issued to formally enhance covert action in Iran:

 Covert action to undermine the Tehran regime has already been under way intermittently for the past decade. Until now, however, the CIA has operated without a finding (authorisation for covert action) by using proxies. Pakistan and Israel, for example, provide weapons and money to insurgent groups in southeast and northwest Iran, where the Baluch and Kurdish ethnic minorities, both Sunni Muslim, have long fought against the repression of Shia-dominated Persian regimes. Continue reading

Stubbed Toe Award — Hillary Clinton!

This week’s Stubbed Toe Award goes to:

Hillary Clinton for her efforts to be as hawkish as the next Republican and getting her sweet behind fried by Obama’s people now because of her Iran assessment. Senator Clinton definitely backed the wrong propaganda horse! Does America need a Presidential Candidate, let alone another President with such poor judgment?

Does America need a President with Botox in her face? Does America need a President who conducts foreign diplomacy in a similar manner to the current train wreck administration? No, we do not.

No video? Here’s the link!

Opinion: No Wriggling Out Of This!

There is not a single newspaper in Europe, I’ve read, or a main paper in the US, which doesn’t cover the Iran assessment, mostly on their front pages.

All 16 US intelligence agencies, a mind-boggling number by the way, agree: Iran has stopped it’s nuclear weapons program as early as 2003.

Although Israel doubts these assessments and relies on the US to keep up efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions this result will severely hamper neo-con plans to attack Iran. Shy of a self staged major terror attack there will not be a chance to fulfil the neocon dreams of yet another war. Given the mistrust, the Bush Administration has earned itself, among Americans and worldwide, with doctoring evidence for the Iraq invasion any military action on Iran will amount to a coup under the circumstances.

There is indeed hope now, that a war with Iran will not take place in the near future. This in turn will give the faint hope that some kind of peace in the Middle East will be possible.

Moreover, the assessment of the intelligence community should shame all those who were again prepared to pick up neo-con talking points to paint themselves experienced and realistic in foreign policy matters, mature politicians and stateswomen indeed, Senator Clinton!

The following newspapers, among many others, cover the intelligence report:

“The Times” “The Independent”  “The Guardian”  “Der Spiegel” “Sueddeutsche Zeitung” “Tagesanzeiger” “NZZ” “Washington Post” “New York Times” “Le Monde” “La Repubblica”

Good Morning from Europe – 418 Days to Go

This Morning’s news round-up turned almost into a Middle East Special. General Musharraf’s resignation as army chief is today’s news. The wrap-up to yesterdays Annapolis Declaration is covered broadly in the media and unsurprisingly the scepticism has returned after yesterday’s reveling in celebration of impending peace. Analysis sheds a dark light on the situation of the broader Middle East and the prospect of an attack on Iran. Iraqi refugees suffer the consequences of US and Iraqi government propaganda and are returning to Iraq in greater numbers, not always out of their own free will. France has suffered renewed violence and in Germany a landlord had his very own domestic surveillance program. For more detailed information on all of these topics, see the post below the fold. “Europeanview” wishes you all a happy, healthy day. Take care!

Continue reading

Hello From Europe – 430 Days to Go

Castelluccio – Italy 

The Guantanamo Bay Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedures have been leaked to the press. The link leads you to the complete manual (pdf-document). The procedures are chillingly specific down to such details as to who is getting a small soap bar, who is entitled to a standard soap bar, or how a muslim burial site is structured. The volume of the guards’ tv sets and the phrasing of themes to cover media interest. Of course access of the icrc is restricted or even impossible for some detainees.

Southern company, which has helped George W. Bush to become sworn in as President and contributed $ 217’047 to his campaign and $ 6.2m for Republican campaigns since 1990 is named one of the world’s greatest polluters.

A single Southern Company plant in Juliette, Georgia already emits more carbon dioxide annually that Brazil’s entire power sector. The company is in the top two of America’s dirtiest utility polluters and sixth worst in the world.

The IAEA report on Iran is in. While Iran asks the West to apologize, some take it as proof that Iran will be able to build the bomb within a year. However, China will not participate in stepping up sanctions, The US, France, Britain and possibly Germany will have to go it alone.

 Bronwen Maddox, Chief Foreign Commentator of The Times, said that the cancellation would make it more likely that a group of Western nations, likely to be the US, Britain, France and possibly Germany, would push ahead to develop unilateral sanctions against President Ahmadinejad’s regime, and give up on the UN route.

This makes it improbable for the US to reach any UN legitimation for a possible attack on Iran.

When it comes to hold on to the death penalty, the United States are in full agreement with rogue states like Syria and Iran. Strange bedfellows, indeed.

And finally: First class passengers on the new Airbus 380 are provided with all luxury, even a double bed. Applicants for the Mile-High-Club are asked to restrain from their inauguration rites, however. In smaller airplanes such activities may lead to an unscheduled stopover, and in an interview with Stephen Colbert the topic is best avoided or will lead to certain embarassment.

 This is “Europeanview’s” take of the world today. You all stay safe and take care!

Good Afternoon from Europe – 432 Days to Go

 Swing at the “Tenuta Le Piane”

Who wants to rule France? “Le Petit Nicholas” will have to try and overcome the French’s resilience, when it comes to giving up their cherished vested rights. Sarkozy will find out presently, whether his plans to cut pensioner’ rights, social security and many other long-fought-for privileges, will stand a chance against the rebelliousness of his people.

If all else fails, the French still have their wine and even find an upside to global warming.

A German saying goes: “Ein Affe, ohne zweiten, kann nicht streiten!”  (One monkey, without another one, can’t get into a fight). Apt, when one considers the USA-Iran conflict. Whenever the Bush Administration is toning down the language even one tiny bit or remains silent for a change, rest assured, Ahmadinejad will step up the warmongering rethoric. Now, to keep the tempers up, there is infighting in Tehran, seasoned with a slight against Britain.

The well informed neo-con elite knows, that Iran is not a nuclear power, but claims it’s plenty dangerous. Pakistan, however, has nukes. And Pakistan is in political turmoil. Worrying, isn’t it?

Well, no, not really says the Pentagon:

 “At this point, we have no concerns,” said Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell. “We believe that they are under the appropriate control.”

Ohokay…

And finally a ray of hope.

 Michael Mukasey, who was sworn in Tuesday, has reopened a dormant inquiry into the US government’s warrantless wiretapping programme which was effectively blocked by the president 18 months ago.

 “Europeanview” will go to sleep now and hopefully wake up to a better world tomorrow morning. You all stay safe and take care!

Good Morning from Europe – Remembrance Day and 435 Days to Go

Remembrance Day

 “If any question why we died,
Tell them, because our fathers lied.”

(Rudyard Kipling)

It’s  Remembrance Day today. Time to look at how the young men and women who are fighting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and getting maimed in the process are doing. Not too good, as it turns out not quite unexpectedly. Injured soldiers’ families are accusing the British government of hiding away the unpleasant realities. The forces fighting in Afghanistan are streched to the limit.  The British troops, still serving in Iraq are feeling the lack of interest in their plight. And, maybe worst of all, the ones sending them in harms way are incompetent or uncaring.  And, while we are remembering the fallen, the next war is in the making. Continue reading

Good Morning from Europe – 439 Days to Go

Chestnut Tree – Le Piane – Italy

Gold, Oil and the Euro: Amidst fears, that the latest rate cut by the Federal Reserve will still not be enough to curb the financial markets crisis, the Dollar lost again to the Euro. Gold reached an all time high and oil hit $97. And for those who think this is restricted to the housing and financial markets, think againAnd again!

Pakistan will return to pre emergency rule status in 2-3 weeks – or rather not? Meanwhile, Islamists have taken over yet another of its provinces. Is this the west’s fault really?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet President Bush by the end of this week. She signalled Germany’s will to heighten sanctions against Iran, but will insist on a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

No news today on the bold move of Dennis Kucinich to impeach Vice-President Cheney in European newspapers.

The Washington Post reports on it, however, and  chances are, that the Democrats again will shoot themselves into their collective foot over this.

And finally: A veto can be overridden! Now Democrats, try again and end this war!

This is how “Europeanview” saw the headlines today. Have a nice Day, Everybody!

Europe calling – Monday

 

(Castelluccio, Italy)

Is war with Iran really inevitable? Yesterday’s Guardian tries to make a case for ways to avoid it, but doesn’t sound very optimistic about it really. (Impeachment proceedings against Vice-President Cheney may be the ticket to keep him focused away from Iran.)

Most headlines in Europe deal, of course, with Pakistan and Musharrafs attempt to stay in power at all costs. Journalists and lawyers are among the first to bear the brunt of the State of Emergency, while Islamists are not easily deterred and fuel the crisis. There were even rumours that Musharraf himself has been arrested by his second in command. This, however has been promptly denied. The latest developments indicate, that elections will be held in January, this seems to be mainly due to pressure from the US, who can ill afford such an outcome to their Democratization of the Middle East.

“What if Iraq hadn’t happened?” asks Tim Watkin in “The Guardian” and triggers a lively discussion. It has happened, however, so the exchange of thoughts may be considered moot by some.

The Dollar has lost 34% against the Euro since 2001, mainly due to the spending frenzy during the Bush administration. Small wonder, that celebrities like Gisele Bundchen insist on getting paid in Euros.

Banks all over the world are getting a thrashing at the stock markets for their continued gambling in the global credit casino for the last years. UBS, Barclays and Citi are among the more prominent victims of asset backed securities that turned into half-assed securities.

Despite all the woes of the world, I wish you all a good start into the week!

Good Morning from Europe – Monday, DST is finally over Edition

(San Benedetto del Tronto, Art on the Seaside)

Good Morning Everybody! Daylight Saving Time has finally seen it’s last day for the year for us and all, who are sleep deprived since it started, are rejoicing the fact.

Iraq: Yesterday the military was celebrating the successes in Iraq’s Anbar province and today, sadly, the news is back to gruesome. Ten Iraqi sheiks have been abducted, coming from a meeting with the government to discuss actions to pacify Diyala province. A suicide bombing in Baquba, Diyala province cost the lives of at least 24 police recruits. In Kirkuk and Baghdad car bombs exploded yesterday and cost six and two lives respectively. Meanwhile, the US army has handed over Karbala to the Iraqis

Some more trouble is at hand in the north of Iraq. The Kurds have categorically told Turkey, that they would not suffer an intrusion into their territory. Military action would be taken. This is not deterring Turkey from planning a crackdown on the PKK on Iraqi soil.

Meanwhile the UK has an illustrious guest. King Abdullah is on a state visit to Great Britain. While some point out the many shortcomings of the Saudi regime, the King himself started his visit by criticizing his hosts for failing to act on 7/7 intelligence. Unlike the UK, the US are in fact tackling terrorism thoroughly, indeed.

The Iran sanctions, mentioned in this blog yesterday, are not likely to have an effect, says the Washington Post. Meanwhile, an attack on the country will be more and more likely.

For Sale: Whenever we see pictures of babies and small children in refugee camps in Darfur our hearts go out for them. International aid workers are doing their best to help under dire circumstances. There are exceptions to the rule, however, and this is simply outrageous.

And finally: A First Lady turned President – fast forward that to 2008, November 4th.

A good start into to the week to everybody and take care!

Good Morning from Europe – The Sunday Papers Edition

(San Benedetto del Tronto, Art on the Seaside)

The California wildfires have finally subsided and the newspapers turn back to politics, where they find another red hot issue: Iran.

While many tabloids were busy to mourn the danger to beachfront celebrity homes, the Washington Ultras have not rested their feet. The sanctions on Iran have been stepped up, but there are doubts about their effectivity, given that the sanctions are unilateral and won’t make much of a dent in the Iranian economy. So are the sanctions a diplomatic fig leaf ? Probably, says “The Times”. There are more than enough indicators which are pointing towards military action will be taken before the Bush presidency is over. Will Bush really bomb Iran? No doubt he will, or rather Dick Cheney has decided that Bush will, says Maureen Dowd.

Is Afghanistan going downhill in a hurry? Despite claims that another 80 insurgents have been killed today, the prospects are not good at all. Things are much more complicated than people are led to believe, so who are the insurgents? 

Are we allowed to know and decide on what we eat in the future? On what will be introduced into nature without any idea of the consequences? Certainly not, it’s the corporations’ planet, not ours! It’s big business and the politicians are extremely helpful, as usual! 

Turkey has put the military option back on the table again. While the US military is celebrating it’s success in Anbar province, there is a new battlefield on the horizon. A crisis that was predictable and predicted and is, of course, a direct result of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Back to the California wildfires on a more serious note. The environmental impact of the fires is far from over. There are huge amounts of noxious particles in the air and the consequences of heavy rainfall, if it should come, on the barren landscape remains to be seen.

The battlefields at home: Is a schoolteacher entitled “to pack” in school ? Shirley Katz says yes, and goes to court for her right to carry a weapon in class. 

Trendy clothing comes for a price, a price other people’s children have to pay.

And finally: This is the kind of story fit to glue me to the news channels – Which member of the Royal Family are they talking about ?? – Bets are on, it’s our ‘Arry.

…Europeanview

Here’s why it will happen!

 
(picture via factsofisrael.com)

Two stories in the Washington Post today highlight the lull in public outrage against the war in Iraq and the prospects of war with Iran.

The Administration in cooperation with the media are claiming successes in Iraq. The number of US and coalition casualties have gone down in September, so did the number of civilian deaths from sectarian violence, the Washington Post reports. While there is no disputing the numbers, the perspective is totally awry.

In September 64 American troops died in Iraq. This was the lowest monthly toll since July 2006, but on the whole it was one of the bloodier months for the US military.

Civilian casualties and sectarian violence are down, too. 844 civilians and 78 Iraqi police and military lost their lives in September. Sadly still a high number but a significant decrease to levels seen in 2005.

Currently there are some 168’000 US troops deployed in Iraq, a country that is every bit as volatile as it used to be with the 2005 level of 161’000 troops.

In 2005 the kind of stability was reached, that made it possible to reduce the number of soldiers deployed to about 130’000, which led to more violence, so there was the surge to pre-post-surge-levels.

Success anyone?

The only decrease measurable and undisputed is, the decrease in numbers at protest rallies.

Are there any incentives for the Bush Administration to show restraint towards Iran? 

Protests ? Not so many.

Impeachment ? Off the table.

Re-election ? Not possible.

Restraint ?

Let’s face it – Iran is next

 (picture via wikimedia.org)

While Seymour Hersh has a very interesting point about the marketing of an attack on Iran, there are some more signs, that there are massive attempts to get an attack going soon. Neo con guru Podhoretz freely admits he is pushing action in his talks with President Bush about Iran and John Bolton is working the British Tories. Meanwhile Iran has been given a new deadline, which ends by end of November.

Seymour Hersh – Interview with “Der Spiegel”

Seymour Hersh is a habitual teller of the truth as he sees it, which happens, habitually too, to hit the nail on the head accurately.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Where does this feeling of urgency that the US has with Iran come from?

Hersh: Pressure from the White House. That’s just their game.

Read the complete interview, here.

Out goes the Poodle, in comes the French Bulldog!

President Bush’s pose as statesman this morning in his speech at the UN general assembly was, what could be called a nice try. He stressed liberties as the main focus and showed concern for the oppressed in Myanmar and elsewhere. No mention of Iran, or God forbid, war with Iran.

Shortly thereafter, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said what the Bush Administration really had in mind. He lambasted Iran and categorically made clear that Iran faces war, if they continued to push for nuclear weapons.

Add today’s Lieberman/Kyl amendment to the equation.

Drums beating.

Sunday Morning in Europe – News

 (Swiss Steam Engine) 

Good Morning on a slow news morning in Europe. Slow? Depends on how we view it. Actual lack of breaking news of the “Britney-faces-jail” variety makes one concentrate on the real important stories.

And, as on most Sundays, “The Sunday Times” is a bonanza of information. Israel claims it has seized nuclear material from a Syrian site before the site was attacked in an air-raid. When reading this article, don’t omit reading the comments that come with it. And, surprisingly, there is no mention of Iran. The Israeli military mission was met with determined support from Washington, whereas an Israeli invitation to Syria to talk and lower tensions  met with a “studied lack of interest” from the US. (Honi soit qui mal y pense!)

At least no lack of interest here: The planning for airstrikes and a war with Iran, get their own article in “The Times” today. “Project Checkmate” has been resurrected. And intense planning is under way for military action against Iran. However, can the following be counted as a small flicker of hope?

The US president faces strong opposition to military action, however, within his own joint chiefs of staff. “None of them think it is a good idea, but they will do it if they are told to,” said a senior defence source.

Hardly. So the drumbeats keep accelerating.

“The Guardian” is doing well, too. Why is the UN trying to bring an effectual newcomer into the position of top prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia?

The mercenary armies in Iraq have been warned in May (!) about a deteriorating security situation, due to growing tensions between American security contractors and Iraqis. Blackwater didn’t heed the warning and fulfilled the prophecy.

In Myanmar, the Buddhist monks, and now the nuns, too, are busily trying to bring the military junta to their knees. All it takes is taking to the streets.

Italians are anxious to learn about the fate of two of their soldiers who disappeared in Herat province. They are feared to  have been abducted along with two Afghan interpreters.

In France M. Sarkozy and M.Fillon are losing voter confidence. Maybe war drums are not so popular in France, the social reforms planned by the duo will most certainly cause hackles to rise.

While German Chancellor Angela Merkel is meeting the Dalai Lama in Berlin, the Chinese are showing their discontent. They are giving their blogging community enough slack, so they can voice their fury. But honestly, being called a “witch” by Chinese bloggers won’t impress her that much.

And last:

Sadly, the French mime artist Marcel Marceau passed away yesterday. You can find more on this unusual man here.