Friday, September 12, 2008

Aside: the US versus More and More

Okay, so I'm drinking Christian Brothers and Glögg, and I'm reading the news. I see three major things happening, closely related to each other.

The US has frozen the bank accounts and assets of Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), accusing them of shipping contraband materials meant to enhance Iran's missile program, as well as supplying logistical services and military-related cargo to the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics. The US accuses IRISL of hiding its activity by falsifying documents and undertaking tricky "schemes."

IRISL denies these allegations. It says its cargo has been verified in all destination and departing ports, and all its paperwork is substantiated. Moreover, it says that because it is a stock-owned and not government-owned company, the US's actions are illegal.

Iran already has three sets of UN-imposed sanctions on it for refusing to suspend parts of its nuclear program, which Iran claims is peaceful and intended to produce energy (although it admits having bought materials from the black market network headed by Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan, which has also supplied Libya and North Korea with illicit nuclear technology). These sanctions seem to exempt the Bushehr nuclear plant.

And speaking of, Moscow has initiated talks with Iran to complete construction of the Bushehr nuclear plant. So the US is attempting to seize supplies intended for this Russian operation in Iran as retaliation for Russia's assault on pro-West Georgia. Bush has also announced halting talks of a US/Russia nuclear cooperation pact.

It looks like Bush's last hurrah is intended to rile Russia and Iran into such a frenzy that they're completely hostile to whoever takes the presidency after him.

Further, Moscow has also entertained talks with Syria about reopening a Soviet-era port in Tartus, the second largest port on the Syrian coast, just north of Lebanon. As for this... why? Why is it now important for Russia to step up access to a port directly between Turkey and Egypt, on the Syrian coast, with only Iraq between it and Iran? Is Israel planning to attack Lebanon, and Russia is increasing naval missions to defend it? How are Syria's talks with Moscow going to affect its relations with Israel?

Peripherally, Sarah "Shoots Wolves From Planes" Palin has stated that she thinks Israel should do whatever it takes to defend itself from Iran. Israel is planning a tactical strike against Iran's nuclear plants. It has also stated intention to kidnap President Ahmadinejad in New York, where he will attend a UN conference.

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