Iran’s president calls for post-Soviet security alliance to unite in alliance against West
Washington Post – June 15, 2011
ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Wednesday for a security alliance of several former Soviet nations and China to form a united front against the West. Ahmadinejad’s address to fellow heads of state at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Kazakhstan will likely deepen suspicions that the bloc is intended as a counterweight to the United States across the region. In a summit declaration signed by all the member states, the organization also attacked missile defense programs in another apparent dig at the United States.
Clinton accuses Iran of role in Syrian crackdown
Associated Press – June 14, 2011
WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is accusing Iran of supporting its ally Syria in a brutal military crackdown on political opponents. Clinton said Tuesday in a statement issued in Washington that Iran’s complicity in abuses is coinciding with the two-year anniversary of its crackdown on citizens who protested after the contested election that handed another term to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Iran: Timetable Set for Americans’ Trial
Associated Press – June 14, 2011
Iran expects to make a final decision by late August in the case of three Americans charged with espionage, the official news agency IRNA said on Tuesday. The three Americans — Shane M. Bauer, Josh F. Fattal and Sarah E. Shourd — were detained in July 2009 along the Iran-Iraq border.
Myanmar nukes? Defector’s tale stokes suspicions
Matthew Pennington, Associated Press – June 15, 2011
WASHINGTON (AP) — Among the hundreds of thousands who have fled Myanmar and its tyrannical rulers over the years is a military insider who claims he carried a big secret with him: evidence of a hidden nuclear weapons program. Defector Sai Thein Win’s account of his three years working in two clandestine factories, even with the trove of photos he brought with him, is no smoking gun. It has deepened suspicions, however, that Myanmar’s xenophobic military leaders hanker for an atomic deterrent.
Official: 9 North Koreans defected by boat to South _ likely to complicate nations’ relations
Hyung-Jin Kim, Associated Press – June 15, 2011
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Nine North Koreans defected by sea to South Korea over the weekend, an official said Wednesday, in a development expected to complicate already-tense relations between the nations. The North Koreans on a small boat crossed into South Korean waters off the peninsula’s disputed western sea border on Saturday, the South Korean official said, requesting anonymity because Seoul wasn’t officially confirming the defections. The North Koreans – three men, two women and four children – said they want to resettle in South Korea, the official said.
S. Korea vows strong response if N. Korea attacks
AFP – June 15, 2011
SEOUL — South Korea’s military must retaliate “strongly and thoroughly” if North Korea attacks again, President Lee Myung-Bak said on Wednesday. He made the remarks in a speech read out on his behalf at the inauguration of a new military command, created to bolster defences on islands near the disputed Yellow Sea border.
U.S. ‘Wants to Avoid Mistakes with N.Korea’
Chosunilbo – June 15, 2011
A top U.S. diplomat says the United States is prepared to resume talks with North Korea, but it wants to avoid the mistakes made in previous negotiations with the communist nation. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg told Foreign Policy magazine in an interview published Tuesday that no policy is the right policy forever. On North Korea, he said that the U.S. government’s basic conviction has been a preparedness to engage in negotiations, but also a desire to avoid the mistakes of the past.
Czech Republic pulls out of US missile shield plan
Karel Janicek, Associated Press – June 15, 2011
PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech Republic is withdrawing from U.S. missile defense plans out of frustration at its diminished role in a new U.S. plan, the Czech defense minister told The Associated Press Wednesday. The Bush administration first proposed stationing 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and an advanced radar in the Czech Republic, saying the system was aimed at blunting future missile threats from Iran. But Russia angrily objected and warned that it would station its own missiles close to Poland if the plan went through. In September 2009, the Obama administration shelved that plan and offered a new, reconfigured phased program with a smaller role for the Czechs . . .
Pakistan Arrests C.I.A. Informants in Bin Laden Raid
Kuni Takahashi, New York Times – June 14, 2011
WASHINGTON — Pakistan’s top military spy agency has arrested some of the Pakistani informants who fed information to the Central Intelligence Agency in the months leading up to the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden, according to American officials. A casualty of the recent tension between the countries is an ambitious Pentagon program to train Pakistani paramilitary troops to fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the northwestern tribal areas.
Gates says US, European allies are ‘slowly growing apart,’ but final NATO split not imminent
Associated Press – June 15, 2011
Gates made a splash with a scathing speech last week in Brussels, home of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, in which he said the 62-year-old alliance faces a “dim, if not dismal” future. He was not disowning NATO but warning that a years-long fraying of trans-Atlantic ties could eventually break the bond.