As speculation continues over possibilities of a unilateral attack by Israel on Iran’s nuclear program, the Obama administration is sending a clear signal that it is prepared to work with the victorious factions arising through the Middle East in the aftermath of the Arab Spring — including self-avowed “Islamists.” In the words of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “what parties call themselves is less important to us than what they actually do.”
According to a story from the Associated Press, the Obama administration is now openly embracing the Islamist shift which is taking place as a result of the past year’s series of revolutions that have swept through a series of Islam-dominated countries. Speaking to the National Democratic Institute, Clinton made it clear that a profound shift is taking place in American foreign policy. In the words of the AP story:
Clinton offered a forthright embrace of the democratic changes enveloping North Africa and the Middle East at a time when the euphoria of the successful revolutions from Egypt to Libya is giving way to the hard and unprecedented work of creating stable democracies.
After decades of partnering dictators throughout the region, her message was that the U.S. would approach the new political landscape with an open mind and the understanding that long-term support for democracy trumps any short-term advantages through alliances with authoritarian regimes.
On Monday, a number of media outlets predicted that the International Atomic Energy Agency’s next quarterly report on Iran's nuclear potential (set to come out this week) would set the stage for a preemptive attack on that country. Experts indicated that the document would reveal the so-called “smoking gun” that would justify a war against Iran. Leaked portions of the report, however, reveal no such information, instead focusing on seemingly idle observations and speculation.
According to American intelligence sources, senior Israeli ministers who once opposed a military strike against Iran are now indicating support for such an endeavor. Those sources indicate that Israeli officials have been swayed by updates on the progress Iran has made toward building a nuclear program, believing that the next round of sanctions will not be tough enough. Israeli President Shimon Peres has warned that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly imminent, prompting U.S. officials to voice concerns that Israel may attack Iran without any warning for the United States.
Last week, the Israeli military launched a “ballistic missile” test, in addition to a large-scale civil defense drill. Though Israeli officials indicate that the drills were planned long ago, some believe the tests reveal a potential drive toward Israeli military action against Iran.
Sources indicate that information about how Israel would like to proceed with Iran will likely appear in the next International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran, expected on November 8. Members of the Obama administration claim that the change of heart is based on the notion that Iran may already possess a nuclear weapon.
Rosen Plevneliev managed a narrow victory in Bulgaria's recent presidential elections on a reform platform pledging to clean up the country's corruption-plagued government, one of the most notorious in Europe. On November 3, Plevneliev was certified as the official winner in Bulgaria’s presidential race. The President-elect immediately declared that the first thing he plans to do after assuming office is fire all Bulgarian diplomats abroad who have been exposed as former agents of the communist Committee of State Security (CSS).
On Wednesday, prosecutors for the United States government argued that regardless of whether the man accused of bombing the USS Cole is acquitted of those charges by a military tribunal, the feds have the authority to imprison him at the Guantanamo Bay facility until the “War on Terror” is over. While refueling in the Yemeni port of Aden on October 12, 2000, the USS Cole was attacked by terrorists claiming to be members of al-Qaeda. As a result of the bombing, 17 American sailors were killed and 39 others were wounded.
Saudi-born Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri is alleged to have been the mastermind of that deadly attack, as well as that carried out on the the French civilian oil tanker MV Limburg, and the attempted attack on the USS The Sullivans earlier in 2000.
In November 2002, al-Nashiri was captured in the United Arab Emirates by the Central Intelligence Agency’s Special Activities Division. After being held and interrogated at one of the CIA’s infamous rendition facilities (where he was waterboarded and questioned at gunpoint and threatened with a power drill), al-Nashiri was transferred to the Guantanamo Bay prison, where he remains to this day.
Documents obtained as result of a Freedom of Information Act request made by the American Civil Liberties Union indicate that while in the custody of the CIA (which reportedly included time in a “black site” prison north of Warsaw, Poland), al-Nashiri was subject to inhuman torture tactics that led him to sign a confession admitting to having participated in the planning of the attack on the USS Cole.
Colombian government officials claim that the leader of that nation’s most prominent rebel group was killed Friday in an operation carried out by the Colombian military.
Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón said FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — People’s Army) leader Alfonso Cano was killed in a raid on a town in the Cauca department of Colombia, having been chased months ago out of a FARC stronghold in the mountains in the southwest area of the country.
Pinzón declared that Cano had been pursued relentlessly by armed forces in the southwestern Colombian state and was killed just hours after several of his lieutenants were killed in a bombing raid in Suarez, a rural town in Cauca.
The Colombian army may have been aided in its efforts to locate Cano (real name: Guillermo Saenz) by locals motivated to cooperate with the government by the offer of a reward of $3.7 million for information that led to his capture.
Cano, for decades the ideological polestar of the leftist movement, was known to be an intellectual and a hardliner with his eyes firmly fixed on a final triumph over the forces of the government of Colombia. He took command of FARC in March 2008 upon the death of Manuel Marulanda Velez (A.K.A. “Tiro Fijo”).
On Wednesday, November 2, Viktor Bout, the former Soviet military intelligence officer and international arms dealer on trial for attempting to sell weapons to communist FARC terrorists, was found guilty in the Federal District Court in lower Manhattan.
The verdict and possible life sentence, expected to be announced in February 2012, brings an end to the three-week-long trial that may perhaps go down as the of the most important case in years, highlighting the link between Moscow and international terrorism under the covert guise of spreading communism.
“Viktor Bout is key in all this,” says "Jimmy from Brooklyn," frequent radio caller in the New York area and renowned expert on communism and the USSR. “Bout connects Russia to Marxist and Muslim terrorism,” Jimmy said.
“How does a Soviet military officer go from being a military intelligence officer to becoming in charge of an international air freight company selling arms over night, unless he was working for the Russian government?” Jimmy asked rhetorically when interviewed by The New American magazine.
Egypt’s ruling military junta is positioning itself to keep the reins of power even after elections take place, prompting outrage and criticism among Egyptians of all political persuasions. Critics, meanwhile, are being silenced by the regime. And talk of a “second revolution” is becoming more widespread.
Among the most contentious issues is a proposal by the Egyptian cabinet — hand picked by the military — to ensure that civilian government cannot meddle in the affairs of the armed forces. Because the military regime would be recognized as the guarantor of “constitutional legitimacy,” analysts said the junta would in effect continue to rule without any limits to its power. Even its budget would be secret.
The scheme would also give the military the ability to virtually exclude elected representatives from the process of drafting a new constitution, with 80 percent of the delegates being selected by the generals. And all it takes for the proposal to become binding is approval from the two dozen generals on the “Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.”
NATO forces and Libyan rebels associated with the National Transitional Council are being investigated for alleged war crimes committed during the Western-backed overthrow of strongman Col. Muammar Gadhafi, the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court told the United Nations. A probe of crimes attributed to forces loyal to the late despot is also ongoing.
“There are allegations of crimes committed by NATO forces, allegations of crimes committed by NTC-related forces, including the alleged detention of civilians suspected to be mercenaries and the alleged killing of detained combatants, as well as allegations of additional crimes committed by pro-Gadhafi forces,” ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the UN Security Council in New York on November 2. “These allegations will be examined impartially and independently by the Office [sic].”
The self-styled world prosecutor did not offer details about what war crimes Western forces may have committed, but the well-documented slaughter of dozens of civilians in the town of Zlitan is thought to be on the list. Alliance targeting of crucial non-military infrastructure including a television station accused of spreading propaganda and key water facilities will also likely be among the accusations being investigated.