Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The heat is on the streets

Be careful out there...

Dozens of police officers conducting raids in Alameda County
Operation Clean Sweep aims to find crime suspects; parolees
Oakland Tribune
Posted: 04/27/2010 07:51:50 AM PDT
Updated: 04/27/2010 09:55:38 AM PDT

OAKLAND — Oakland police and more than 100 officers from Bay Area law enforcement agencies are conducting raids in cities throughout Alameda County this morning.

In the search, dubbed "Clean Sweep," state parole officers have teamed up with local police agencies to track down for suspects in violation of their parole or wanted for other crimes.

About 26 agencies are involved.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

About those missiles Russia sold to Iran…

It's official, Russia has sold its S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile defense system to Iran. The S-300, which Iran has been trying to buy since 2005, is considered to be one of the best SAM systems in the world, can hit a target at 100 miles, and will be delivered to Iran within months.
The sale is viewed as a massive blow to Israeli defense chiefs, who already fear Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is building up a nuclear capability to attack them.
Tensions couldn’t be higher in the region.
On April 14, Jordan’s King Abdullah II told members of the US Congress that a war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon is “imminent.” The next day, King Abdullah told the Chicago Tribune that, although most in the Middle East wanted peace, there was a “very good chance” that war could break out in the region in the coming months.

“If we hit the summer and there’s no active process, there’s a very good chance for conflict – and nobody wins when it comes to that.”

Considering that Iran, a potentially nuclear state, has been the main supporter of Hezbollah, and considering that in a nuclear conflict, it's all or nothing, there will be no winners indeed. It is true that Israel and Hezbollah have squared off without resorting to nukes in the recent past, but current events in the region are still quite unsettling.

Israel’s government has not helped ease tensions. They object to the US establishing diplomatic relations with Syria, even though this could result in further isolating Iran, and they object to any notion that the Palestinians are entitled to their own state. While President Obama has called Arab-Israeli strife “harmful” to US interests, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has compared the international community’s handling of a potential nuclear program in Iran to Europe’s failure to stop the Nazi war machine prior to World War II.

“Israel's hardline government is deeply worried that the U.S. will try to impose a Mideast peace deal, that the Palestinians might declare statehood unilaterally and that Washington could be moving to end tensions with Syria. These fears underscore how the current differences between the U.S. and Israel go far beyond a still unresolved diplomatic row over Israeli settlement building. Instead, there is a deepening chasm between the visions of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama, raising questions about the strength of the U.S.-Israeli alliance despite mutual pronouncements that the bond is unshakable.”
-CBS News

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has indeed floated the idea of unilaterally declaring statehood as early as next year, and his proposal led Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to threaten to annul past peace agreements and even annex parts of the West Bank. But disagreements in the Holy Land are not anything new.

Contrary to what the hawks in Israel are saying, there are also hawks in Washington. In response to Mr. Ahmadinejad taunting the US with a display of Iran’s already strong missile arsenal during its annual Army Day Parade, Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen let it be known that the Pentagon is already considering its options of last resort:

The Pentagon was ratcheting up pressure for military action against Iran last night as America’s top uniformed official said for the first time that a strike on nuclear targets would “go a long way” towards delaying Tehran’s uranium enrichment programme.
-The Times Online

Obama had already made it clear earlier this month that a nuclear attack on either North Korea or Iran would remain a policy option for his administration.
And it just so happens that Iran is holding war games exercises this week in the Gulf and Straight of Hormuz, a waterway crucial to world oil supplies. As if that weren't enough to heighten tensions, on April 20, Iran's Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, responded to the tough talk out of Washington by demanding that the international community not let Obama get away with nuclear threats.

"We will not allow America to renew its hellish dominance over Iran by using such threats."

In response, the next day, the Pentagon reiterated its hardline stance:

“We are not taking any options off the table as we pursue the pressure and engagement tracks,” Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said. “The president always has at his disposal a full array of options, including use of the military... It is clearly not our preferred course of action but it has never been, nor is it now, off the table.”
-The Jerusalem Post

Meanwhile, focusing on the more moderate voices in Washington, Israeli hardliners were concerned that the US would tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran, and debated the prospect of launching their own, unilateral military strike:

"The Israeli security establishment is divided over whether it needs Washington's blessing if Israel decides to attack Iran, Israeli officials say, as the U.S. campaign for sanctions drags on and Tehran steadily develops greater nuclear capability."
-The Wall Street Journal

Needless to say, we're following these developments closely.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

More on US/Russia tensions

On April 4, CNN reported explosions in Russia's North Caucasus:
An explosion that derailed a train in Russia's North Caucasus was being investigated as an act of terrorism, Russian media reported.

Then on April 7, The Kyrgyzstan government was overthrown:
Kyrgyz opposition leader Roza Otunbayeva said on Thursday she had taken over the government after violent protests forced the president of the Central Asian country to flee the capital.

Here is a video that makes it very clear what is happening in that country:
"The government is firing on it's own people."

Kyrgyzstan is home to a US airbase that is very very important to its Afghan operations. I wonder if the Kyrgyz opposition forces support that base...

No sooner had presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed an arms reduction pact in Prague as part of an effort to "reset" strained relations than a senior official in Medvedev's delegation urged Kyrgyzstan's new rulers to shut the base.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Speaking of war...

On March 28, Radio Free Europe reported that Russia was accusing the of U.S. aiding the Afghan Drug Trade.

The next day, on March 29, an alleged suicide bomber attacked the Moscow Metro during Monday morning rush hour, killing 38 and injuring at least 60.

Later on that week, Russia announced that it had signed arms deals with Bolivia, Venezuela, and China, and that it was finalizing a missile deal with Iran.

Setting up shop in America's backyard:
Russia has said that it will help Venezuela to set up its own space industry and develop nuclear energy, the Latin American country’s President announced yesterday. The two have also signed a new contract to exploit Venezuelan oil and are discussing a raft of further military and energy deals.

The deal will allow Moscow to entrench its foothold in Latin America through a deepening alliance with America’s main regional foe. As the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited Caracas, Venezuela’s vocal, anti-imperialist leader, President Chávez, said that the allies were building “a new, multipolar world”.

Selling missile defense systems to China and Iran:
China is a major buyer of Russian weapons, and the two countries say they are trying to forge a strategic partnership, though senior Russian officials are privately concerned about an increasingly assertive China.

I'm sure none of these news stories are related though, since no news networks are telling us they are connected.