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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2012 at 11:09:48 AM EST
BBC News - Hague fears Iran could start 'new Cold War'

Iran's nuclear ambitions could plunge the Middle East into "a new Cold War", the UK foreign secretary has warned.

William Hague told the Daily Telegraph other nations in the region would want to develop nuclear weapons if Iran did.

Without "the safety mechanisms" of the US-USSR rivalry, Mr Hague said it would be "a disaster in world affairs".

But ex-UK diplomat Sir Richard Dalton said Iran was not "rushing towards a nuclear weapon". Tehran insists its programme is for energy purposes.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2012 at 03:01:13 PM EST
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U.S.: Amid Escalating Israel-Iran Tensions, a Glimmer of Hope? - IPS ipsnews.net
WASHINGTON, Feb 17, 2012 (IPS) - After weeks of rapidly escalating tensions, particularly between Israel and Iran, signs emerged this week both here and in Tehran that serious negotiations over Tehran's controversial nuclear programme may soon get underway.

The most concrete step was a long-awaited positive RSVP from Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalali, to an invitation extended last October by European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to meet with the P5+1 (the U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia, and Germany) for a new round of talks.

"We voice our readiness for dialogue on a spectrum of various issues, which can provide grounds for constructive and forward-looking co- operation," Jalali wrote in his letter.

In response, both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Ashton herself emerged from a meeting here Friday expressing cautious optimism about prospects for a resumption of negotiations, which have been effectively suspended for more than a year.

"...(W)e think this is an important step and we welcome the letter," Clinton told reporters, adding that Jalili's letter "appeared to acknowledge and accept" a Western condition that Iran has previously resisted: that any talks "begin with a discussion of (Iran's) nuclear programme".
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2012 at 03:07:09 PM EST
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Iranian warships enter Mediterranean - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Iranian warships have entered the Mediterranean Sea after crossing through the Suez Canal to show Tehran's "might" to regional states, the country's navy commander has said.

Reacting to the news on Saturday, Israeli foreign ministry denounced the deployment as a "provocation" and a "power play." Israel said it will be watching the ship's movements closely to ensure they do not approach its coast.

"The strategic navy of the Islamic Republic of Iran has passed through the Suez Canal for the second time since the [1979] Islamic Revolution," Admiral  Habibollah Sayari said in remarks quoted by the official IRNA news agency.

Sayari did not say how many vessels had crossed the canal or what missions they were planning to carry out in the Mediterranean, but said the flotilla had previously docked in the Saudi port city of Jeddah.

Two Iranian ships, the destroyer Shahid Qandi and supply vessel Kharg, had docked in the Red Sea port on February 4, according to Iranian media.

Sayari said the naval deployment to the Mediterranean would carry a "message of peace" and but also put on display "the might" of Iran's military.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2012 at 03:12:37 PM EST
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Rights Groups Warn Against Diluted Arms Trade Treaty - IPS ipsnews.net
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 18, 2012 (IPS) - After a week of tense negotiations, a United Nations preparatory committee concluded a final round of talks on Friday to define the rules of procedure for a global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which is expected to be finalised in July this year.

The ratification of the report by committee chair Ambassador Roberto Moritan of Argentina closed the last of four prepcoms held since 2010 to lay the groundwork for the ATT negotiations.

The report includes a "non-paper" by Moritan that will be the basis of this summer's talks.

Human rights groups expressed cautious optimism about the outcome.

"This document fits 70 percent of our recommendations," Aymeric Elluin of Amnesty International told IPS.

But the agreement on a vote by consensus, meaning that every state has veto power, may deeply compromise the adoption of a comprehensive treaty, he warned.

"There is a real risk for the final text of ATT not to be adopted in July," he added. "Negotiations on the content will be extremely difficult."
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2012 at 03:09:25 PM EST
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Has the U.N. Reached a Dead End in Syrian Crisis? - IPS ipsnews.net
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 17, 2012 (IPS) - When the 193-member General Assembly adopted a resolution against Syria by an overwhelming majority Thursday, the U.N.'s highest policy making body was conscious of the fact that its rulings - unlike the dictates of the 15-member Security Council - are politically impotent because they have no enforcement power.

The vote was 137 in favour to 12 against (including China and Russia, the two big powers who are allies of Syrian President Basher al- Assad), with 17 abstentions.

With Russia and China using their vetoes to block punitive action against Syria in the Security Council last week, the United Nations may have hit a virtual dead end in trying to help resolve the 11- month-old crisis.

The uprising has claimed the lives of more than 5,400 people, mostly civilians and members of the security forces.

But Jose Luis Diaz, head of the Amnesty International office at the United Nations, does not think the United Nations is in a no-win situation.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2012 at 03:10:32 PM EST
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Syrian troops 'open fire' on Damascus funeral - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Syrian security forces have fired live ammunition and tear gas to break up a protest against President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, injuring several people, activists have said.

The shooting in the Mazzeh neighbourhood on Saturday broke out at the funerals of three youths killed in a protest a day earlier.

Saturday's demonstration, which activists said had thousands of participants as snow fell, was one of the biggest seen in and around the capital in months.

The Local Co-ordination Committees (LCC) said two people had been killed, but the report could not be verified. The activist network said 12 others were killed elsewhere in the country.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2012 at 03:11:51 PM EST
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NY Times: The End of American Intervention
For proof, you need look no further than the Pentagon's new "strategic guidance" document, issued last month in the wake of Mr. Obama's pledge to cut $485 billion from the defense budget over the coming decade. It repeats many of the core objectives of recent American national security strategy: defeat Al Qaeda, deter traditional aggressors, counter the threat from unconventional weapons.

But it also states, "In the aftermath of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States will emphasize nonmilitary means and military-to-military cooperation to address instability and reduce the demand for significant U.S. force commitments to stability operations." It goes on to note that "U.S. forces will no longer be sized to conduct large-scale, prolonged stability operations."

With this paragraph military planners signaled an abrupt end to the post-9/11 era of intervention. Only a few years ago the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- wars of occupation, nation-building and counterinsurgency -- looked like the face of modern conflict. Now they don't. Americans don't believe in them and can't afford them anymore.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 03:09:45 AM EST
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I want to see what the sizes of the "private" forces will be, since they've grown so much in the last few decades.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher
by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 04:13:37 AM EST
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I remember seeing a couple of days ago that US Contractor casualties are outpacing Army casualties in Afghanistan

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 09:47:35 AM EST
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I'm sure there will also be increased reliance on remote (drone-based) warfare.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 01:36:54 PM EST
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