Iran installing advanced nuclear machines for testing
Fredrik Dahl, Reuters – July 15, 2011
VIENNA, July 15 (Reuters) – Iran is stepping up centrifuge development work aimed at making its nuclear enrichment more efficient, diplomats say, signalling a possible advance in the Islamic Republic’s disputed atomic programme. Two newer and more advanced models of the breakdown-prone machine that Iran now operates to refine uranium are being installed for large-scale testing at a research site near the central town of Natanz, the diplomats told Reuters this week.
Israel and the futility of attacking Iran
Kourosh Ziabari, Foreign Policy Journal, July 18, 2011
Kourosh Ziabari: The past decade has been witness to unending and unremitting clash between Iran and the West over Tehran’s nuclear program. The West has constantly accused Iran of trying to build nuclear bombs while Tehran has persistently denied the allegation. What do you think about the nature of Iran’s nuclear program? Why has it become so controversial and contentious?
Iran attacks Kurdish fighters’ camp
Aljazeera – July 17, 2011
A raid by Iranian troops on a Kurdish fighters’ camp along the border with Iraq has killed at least two fighters and one member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, the two sides say. Iran’s official news agency IRNA said the operation began Saturday night and ended early Sunday near the largely Kurdish town of Sardasht in the mountains of northwestern Iran. The fighting came less than a week after Iran warned that it reserved the right to attack the bases of the PJAK, or the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan, in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.
Nuclear components quietly disassembled in NH
Boston Globe – July 17, 2011
PORTSMOUTH, N.H.—Nuclear plant components that were once destined for North Korea have been quietly disassembled in New Hampshire’s Pease International Tradeport.Spokesman Scott Shaw of the Nuclear Power Plants division at Westinghouse Electric Co. says the project involved the reactor components being scrapped. Shaw says the reactor parts, which were not radioactive and never used, were owned by the Korea Electric Power Corp.
N.Korea foreign minister, Clinton to attend meet in Bali
Olivia Rondonuwu, Reuters – July 14, 2011
Reclusive North Korea will make a rare appearance on the international stage next week as Foreign Minister Pak Ui-Chun attends a regional security conference along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali. Indonesian officials said on Thursday that foreign ministers from all 27 members of the ASEAN Regional Forum, except for Thailand, would attend.
Time for U.S. to decide on N. Korea food aid: expert
Lee Chi-dong, Yonhap – July 17, 2011
WASHINGTON, July 17 (Yonhap) — Dragging its feet on food aid for North Korea, the United States is sending the wrong signal to the international community that the communist nation is not in urgent need of food handouts, an expert said. “Taking no decision is really a decision,” Roberta Cohen, human rights specialist at the Washington-based Brookings Institution, said in a recent report. She said that a delay in the U.S. decision gives the impression that there may be no urgent or extensive food crisis in North Korea requiring immediate action.
A ‘Kim Jong Il-ian’ Slip on Food Policy?
Evan Ramstad, Wall Street Journal – July 18, 2011
Two weeks ago, North Korea’s authoritarian government staged a series of rallies in various cities that its media portrayed as protests against South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and his refusal to treat the North the same way that the South’s two previous presidents did, with few-questions-asked humanitarian aid and financial payoffs. Now, government analysts in the South say they noticed in a radio broadcast tied to one of those protests something could be called a glimpse of candor about the North’s drive for food or, less charitably, a gotcha moment.
Gen. David H. Petraeus ends his command in Afghanistan
Joshua Partlow, Washington Post – July 28, 2011
KABUL — Gen. David H. Petraeus relinquished his command of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan on Monday, handing the reins to Marine Gen. John Allen as the United States and its allies begin to withdraw troops from the country where they have waged war for nearly a decade. Petraeus ends his tour in Afghanistan without conclusive signs that the counter-insurgency strategy he helped design has turned the tide in the war against the Taliban.
Gunmen kill adviser to Afghan president in another strike at leader’s inner circle
Amir Shah and Patrick Quinn, Associated Press – July 17, 2011
KABUL, Afghanistan — Gunmen strapped with explosives killed a close adviser to President Hamid Karzai and a member of parliament on Sunday in another insurgent strike against the Afghan leader’s inner circle. Jan Mohammed Khan was an adviser to Karzai on tribal issues and was close to the president, a fellow Pashtun. His killing, which the Taliban claimed responsibility for, came less than a week after the assassination of Ahmed Wali Karzai, the president’s half brother and one of the most powerful men in southern Afghanistan.
The Haqqani network: Al-Qaeda’s dangerous patron
Jason Ukman, Washington Post – July 18, 2011
Across Afghanistan’s eastern border, in Pakistan’s tribal areas, lies one of the most formidable obstacles to the success of the U.S. strategy in the region: the Haqqani network. The insurgent group was part of the CIA- and Pakistan-backed mujaheddin alliance that fought against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, and its founder, Jalaluddin Haqqani, served as a minister in the Taliban government before its fall in 2001.
The Downward Spiral
H.D.S. Greenway, New York Times – July 15, 2011
It would be hard to imagine a more self-defeating gesture than cutting a third of America’s aid to Pakistan, but that’s what the Obama administration appears to be doing. The reason: to punish Pakistan for expelling American military trainers, and to force the Pakistani Army to be more effective in fighting Islamic militants. One can understand America’s frustration.
India-Pakistan relations after Mumbai bombings
International Herald Tribune – July 16, 2011
Three bomb blasts took place in Mumbai on July 13, killing 21, but so far the India-Pakistan equation has not derailed. The recent trend of improving relations was positive for a change, and so it was feared that someone might try to ruin it by striking again in Mumbai. (We know that the last Mumbai attack was carried out to bring the two states to ‘border alert’, with the possibility of war.) This time, the post-attack symptoms are different.