Iran showcases homegrown arms in war games
Ali Akbar Dareini and Brian Murphy, AP – July 5, 2011
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s latest war games have featured the predictable blaze of missile tests and an unexpected peek at underground launch silos. There’s one bit of military showmanship, though, that ties it all together: Promoting the Made in Iran label.
Boasting about homegrown defense technology is growing louder as Iran claims U.N. sanctions cannot blunt efforts to keep pace with America’s Gulf allies — led by Saudi Arabia — that are awash in Pentagon weaponry and taking an increasingly tough line against Tehran.
Sens. Graham, Lieberman say Iran engaged in far-reaching push against democratic forces
AP – July 3, 2011
WASHINGTON — Sens. Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman are expressing concern that Iran is aggressively extending its support for anti-democracy forces wherever they appear. In appearances on “Fox News Sunday,” Graham, a Republican, says it is important for the United States to push back against Iran’s assistance to the Taliban in Afghanistan, opponents of the government in Iraq and protesters battling the Syrian regime. Lieberman says Iran has the blood of hundreds of American soldiers on its hands and that legislation in Congress would impose additional economic sanctions on an Iranian government that has murdered its own people.
Sean Cleary: How to engage Iran without forsaking collective security in the Gulf
Sean Cleary, Al Arabiyana – July 5, 2011
Iran’s potential emergence, in its current guise, as a nuclear arms state, is viewed not only as an existential threat by Israel, and a serious geopolitical risk by Washington, Europe, Russia and China, but with far deeper concern than the political establishment in Tehran or the theocracy in Qom may appreciate, by leading Arab states. Henry Kissinger, the protagonist of realism in US statecraft, posed the pertinent question. He asked if he had understood Dr. Rice to say that, if Iran were to act like a “state,” and not simply pursue a “cause” she would treat Tehran differently.
Iran Funnels New Weapons to Iraq and Afghanistan
Jay Solomon, Wall Street Journal – July 2, 2011
TEHRAN—Iran’s elite military unit, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has transferred lethal new munitions to its allies in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent months, according to senior U.S. officials, in a bid to accelerate the U.S. withdrawals from these countries. The Revolutionary Guard has smuggled rocket-assisted exploding projectiles to its militia allies in Iraq, weapons that have already resulted in the deaths of American troops, defense officials said.
Iran to prosecute 26 American officials, MP says
Shirzad Bozorgmehr, CNN – July 3, 2011
Tehran, Iran (CNN) — Iran plans to prosecute 26 current and former American officials, an Iranian lawmaker said Sunday, potentially escalating a tit-for-tat dispute between the two countries.Iran’s government-backed Press TV said in May that parliament planned sanctions on Americans including former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the current and former commanders of the Guantanamo Bay detention center.
European Union to Send Food Aid to North Korea
Stephen Castle and Mark McDonald, New York Times – July 4, 2011
BRUSSELS — Responding to the growing threat of a humanitarian crisis in North Korea, the European Union announced on Monday that it will provide about $14.5 million in emergency aid to feed more than some 650,000 North Koreans. The bloc’s executive body, the European Commission, said that after its experts witnessed evidence of a developing crisis last month during a mission to North Korea, it negotiated an agreement with the North Koreans about how to monitor the delivery of assistance.
AP bureau in Pyongyang
Korea Times – July 3, 2011
A series of agreements signed last week between the Associated Press (AP) and the North Korean state news agency are expected to allow the Western media easier access to the reclusive communist state. A key point of the accords is to allow AP to set up a comprehensive news bureau in Pyongyang. We hope that an AP bureau, if opened as planned, will serve as a conduit of providing the world with detailed information and vivid news about the North.
N.Korea closes universities, students pick up tools – diplomat
Jeremy Laurence, Reuters – July 1, 2011
North Korea has told university students to put their studies on hold for a year to join efforts to revitalise its broken economy ahead of its heralded emergence next year as a “great and prosperous nation”, a top diplomat and media reports said. The British ambassador to North Korea, Peter Hughes, said while there had been no official announcement from Pyongyang, students in the capital had been mobilised to work at nearby construction sites until April 2012.
Opposition leader to make China visit
Bae Hyun-jung, Korea Herald – July 3, 2011
Leader of the main opposition Democratic Party Sohn Hak?kyu is to set off for China on Monday to promote economic cooperation and ease political tensions in Northeast Asia, party officials said.After meeting with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Monday afternoon, Sohn will meet with vice foreign minister Zang Zhizun to stress China’s crucial role in chairing the six-nation talks to end North Korea’s nuclear programs.
Ex-NKorea envoy tapped for top US post
AFP – July 2, 2011
WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama on Friday named Wendy Sherman, a Democratic Party stalwart who led a drive to repair relations with North Korea, to be the number three at the State Department. Sherman, who is close to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, would serve as under secretary of state for political affairs, who is in charge of the day-to-day operations of US diplomacy. She needs approval by the Senate.
Let’s Not Linger in Afghanistan
Jeff Merkley, Rand Paul and Tom Udall, New York Times – July 4, 2011
Last month President Obama announced plans for withdrawing by next summer the approximately 30,000 American troops sent to Afghanistan as part of the 2009 surge. We commend the president for sticking to the July date he had outlined for beginning the withdrawal. However, his plan would not remove all regular combat troops until 2014. We believe the United States is capable of achieving this goal by the end of 2012.
Departing U.S. Envoy Sees Progress in Afghanistan, and Pitfalls Ahead
Alissa J. Rubin and Rod Nordland, New York Times – July 4, 2011
KABUL, Afghanistan — When Karl W. Eikenberry’s father knew he had only a few months left to live, he told his son his greatest regret was that he would not be around to see what happened next. That is how Mr. Eikenberry says he feels now, as he prepares to step down as the American ambassador to Afghanistan, after nearly a decade of working here, as a general during two tours, as a NATO official and for the past two and a half years as ambassador.
Russia Meets With NATO in New Push for Libyan Peace
Andrew E. Kramer, New York Times – July 4, 2011
MOSCOW — Russia stepped up its efforts on Monday to negotiate a resolution to the war in Libya, with officials here receiving the president of South Africa, who has offered his services as a mediator, and the secretary general of NATO. At the same time, the president of the World Chess Federation, who is acting as Moscow’s informal go-between with Libya’s embattled leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, made his second trip to Tripoli.