The Mounting World Tensions Thread

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by Drew Wilson, Jan 15, 2012.

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  1. Drew Wilson

    Drew Wilson AKA IceCube Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Someone I know pointed out that things are getting a little iffy around Iran again. Someone I know is thinking that this could all lead to WW3 the way things are going, but as of this post, I really don't have enough info to really have an opinion, so I decided to start this thread in hopes of understanding things better much like the Occupy Wall Street, NDAA and SOPA threads (among others of course).

    So, without further ado, here's the thread to discuss world tensions (doesn't necessarily have to revolve around Iran of course) occurring today.

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    Is America Helping Israel Kill Iranian Scientists? The View from Iran

    When, in the wake of last week's killing of an Iranian scientist, Iranian officials blamed Israel and America, I assumed they were just making up the part about America. Denials issued by Secretary of State Clinton and Defense Secretary Panetta were emphatic and convincing.

    But now Iran has gone beyond the usual vague references to a Zionist-American plot. Its foreign ministry has sent a letter to the U.S. claiming to have evidence of CIA involvement. Is it possible that the Iranians actually have such evidence?

    It's possible they have what they think is such evidence. That's the weird prospect raised by a much-discussed story published on Foreign Policy magazine's website Friday by Mark Perry.

    Perry's story is about Jundallah, a shadow group that is based in Pakistan but operates within Iran. Designated a terrorist group by the United States, Jundallah is thought to have killed hundreds of Iranians as part of what it says is a fight for the rights of Sunnis in Iran.

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  2. Drew Wilson

    Drew Wilson AKA IceCube Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Santorum: US should have 'kept mouth shut' on Iran scientist killing

    Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says the U.S. should not have condemned the killing of Iranian nuclear scientist Mustafa Ahmadi-Roshan.

    “As you know there was nuclear scientist in Iran this week who was car bombed who was killed. Our country condemned it. My feeling is we should have kept our mouth shut.”

    “If these are people who are developing a weapon to be used to either destroy the state of Israel or to spread terror--a reign of terror around the world, we shouldn't be sitting on the sidelines and letting it happen,” he told people packed at a breakfast diner in Greenville, South Carolina.

    “They cannot have a nuclear weapon, because you, in Greenville, will not be safe,” he claimed.

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  3. Drew Wilson

    Drew Wilson AKA IceCube Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Iran moves the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight

    EASTON, Md., January 16, 2012 — Tick tock, tick tock. Atomic scientists have moved the hands on the Doomsday Clock to five minutes before midnight, the witching hour. According to their calculations, we are only five minutes away from human extinction thanks to a looming global catastrophe coming in one form or another.

    And one of the biggest reasons the clock’s minute hand has been moved one minute closer to Doomsday is Iran. All of this was brought into sharp focus this past week by the assassination in broad daylight of Iranian nuclear scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan. Many see the killing of Roshan and his bodyguard by a magnetic car bomb as the latest attempt by unknown parties to thwart Iran’s march towards nuclear weapons. Iran blames Israel and America, both of whom have denied involvement.

    While the assassinations of key Iranian scientists and the computer virus, Stuxnet, have not stopped Iran from enriching uranium to higher levels of purity by running it through centrifuges, Iran has fallen behind schedule. "By their own measure, they should have been at 50,000 centrifuges operating, and there are about 8,000 installed. So that's dramatically short of where they would have been," Dennis Ross, who until recently was the Obama administration's point man on Iran, told CBS.

    That said, "By the end of this year they [Iran] are going to have about 250 kilos of this 20 percent enriched uranium, which is a matter of concern for the international community," said Olli Heinonen, who used to inspect Iran's centrifuges for the International Atomic Energy Agency.

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  4. Drew Wilson

    Drew Wilson AKA IceCube Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Iran threatens Arab neighbours over oil sanctions

    Iran warned Gulf Arab neighbours on Sunday they would suffer consequences if they raised oil output to replace Iranian crude facing an international ban.

    In signs of Tehran’s deepening isolation over its refusal to halt nuclear activity that could yield atomic bombs, China’s premier was in Saudi Arabia probing for greater access to its huge oil and gas reserves and Britain voiced confidence a once hesitant European Union would soon ban oil imports from Iran.

    Major importers of Iranian oil were long loath to embargo the lifeblood of Iran’s economy because of fears this would send oil prices rocketing at a time – amidst debt and deficit crises and high unemployment – when they could least afford it.

    But strong momentum for oil sanctions has been created by a U.N. watchdog report saying Iran appeared to have worked on designing an atom bomb.

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  5. Drew Wilson

    Drew Wilson AKA IceCube Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Middle East Trip Suggests Change in Policy by China

    BEIJING — Premier Wen Jiabao heads on Saturday to the oil-producing nations of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, a six-day tour of Iran’s Persian Gulf neighbors that is the first Saudi trip by a Chinese premier in two decades, and the first ever to the other two states.

    But some experts find the trip notable for a different reason: It comes as China’s strategic alliance with Iran is less certain than before.

    No one outside China’s leadership knows what Mr. Wen will discuss with leaders of the three oil-rich states he is visiting, but relations with Iran — deeply feared and resented by the Saudis, somewhat less so by the others — are certain to come up.

    For decades, Iran has offered China a generous supply of oil and a foothold in an American-dominated Middle East. In return it received a lucrative trade relationship and a powerful defender in the United Nations and other diplomatic circles. The latest Iranian crisis puts that comfortable arrangement under new strains, some analysts say.

    Foremost is the United States’ request that China slash its purchases of Iranian oil or, under legislation just signed by President Obama, potentially face the exclusion of many of its financial institutions from the American financial system. Although the White House has wide leeway in choosing targets for enforcement, the law is by far the toughest measure aimed at pressuring Iran over its nuclear program in recent times.

    The willingness of the European Union and others to consider aggressively cutting oil purchases puts the Chinese in the awkward position of bucking most of the West’s largest economies — to preserve its ties to Iran. And the history of the last year — in which seemingly secure Arab allies like Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya, another important supplier of oil, were swept out of power — throws a new element of uncertainty into China’s commitment.

    Chinese leaders who pored over the Soviet Union’s demise for clues to preserving their own hold on power are unlikely to ignore the lessons of the Arab Spring. The Chinese government may also be more cautious about the side it chooses, considering the embarrassment caused when the biggest state-owned arms company was found to have offered to sell weapons to Colonel Qaddafi to put down the uprising.

    “Their political influence has gone down a lot in the last year. Libya, Yemen, Syria — those are all states which had either good or very good relations with China,” said François Godement, a senior fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations in Paris. “In that mood, it’s quite possible that the Chinese would decide to hedge.”

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  6. Drew Wilson

    Drew Wilson AKA IceCube Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    China's Wen Presses Saudi Arabia For Oil Access

    Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in Saudi Arabia Saturday on the first leg of a diplomatic mission that will also take him to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

    China's official Xinhua news agency said that, in a meeting Saturday with Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz, Wen pressed Saudi Arabia to open its huge oil and gas resources to expanded Chinese investment.

    The kingdom's SPA news agency said Saudi state oil giant Aramco signed a deal Saturday with China's Sinopec to build an oil refinery in the Red Sea city of Yanbu that will process 400,000 barrels per day.

    Wen arrived in Riyadh after a short visit to Nepal on the same day.

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  7. Drew Wilson

    Drew Wilson AKA IceCube Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Spying mystery deepens with lack of information

    Two Russian Embassy staff in Ottawa have left Canada in the wake of spying allegations against a Canadian naval officer in Halifax, but there's little else that's clear about the murky espionage case.

    Intelligence experts and those in close contact with the embassy disagree on whether any Russian diplomats engage in spying, leaving Canadians to try to piece together what bits are public.

    Initial media reports said up to four Russian Embassy staff had been removed from a list of embassy and diplomatic staff recognized by Canada. CBC News has confirmed that two have had their credentials revoked since news broke of the naval officer's arrest, while two diplomats left the country a month or more before the arrest this week of Canadian Sub.-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle.

    Another report pointed to two other staff who are no longer accredited to be in Canada. It's not clear which of the staff have been expelled over the spying allegations.

    Konstantin Kolpakov, a former aide to the ambassador, was scheduled to leave Canada on Dec. 25 because his posting was over, and had a send-off attended by diplomats in Ottawa mid-month.

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  8. Drew Wilson

    Drew Wilson AKA IceCube Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Canada in 'Cold War lite' with Russia: experts

    Canada and Russia are waging a "Cold War lite" two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, experts say, following news that a Canadian naval officer was slapped with espionage charges and accused of selling top-secret information to a foreign entity.

    Professor Piotr Dutkiewicz, director of the Institute of European and Russian Studies at Carleton University, said the Harper government's thinking toward Russia is outmoded.

    "The Canadian government is stuck in a Cold-War mentality," he said. "We now have a Cold War lite."

    Although official diplomatic relations have proceeded steadily under the Harper government, there is a layer of frost on the relationship that is hampering closer ties and more trade, observers say.

    This, they say, is in large part due to confrontational and inflammatory political messages from the Harper government, rooted in a deep, emotional distrust of Russia.

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    I wonder just how much more damage Harper will inflict on Canada what with getting kicked out of the security council and alienating Canada from the rest of the world.
  9. Drew Wilson

    Drew Wilson AKA IceCube Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Iran rejects as 'baseless' Sarkozy nuclear claims

    TEHRAN — Claims by French President Nicolas Sarkozy that Iran is seeking to develop a nuclear weapon are "baseless and far from reality," Iranian foreign ministry's spokesman said on Saturday.

    "Apparently by making false claims, the French president wants to put pressure on Iran... (by forcing the imposition of) illegal and unfair sanctions," Ramin Mehmanparast said in a statement posted on the state broadcaster website.

    Mehmanparast said he was surprised at the "baseless and far from reality remarks that our country's nuclear activities are not peaceful."

    Sarkozy on Friday warned that stronger sanctions should be imposed on Iran by all countries to prevent a military attack against Iranian nuclear installations.

    "Time is limited. France will do everything to avoid military intervention, but there is only one way to avoid it: a much tougher, more decisive, sanctions regime," Sarkozy told an audience of diplomats in Paris.

    "Those who do not want to reinforce sanctions against a regime which is leading its country into disaster by seeking a nuclear weapon will bear responsibility for the risk of a military breakdown," he said.

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  10. moneoa

    moneoa Vita!!!!!!! Staff Member Moderator

    Good god...why is it every time someone makes an off handed comment or one of your sources says shits fucked up you post morose messages about how hopeless shit is.

    you are aware things haven't changed in the world for a very long time. Nothing going on right now is going to make the world end. I am sure if this was the 30's you would read about Hitler and mass exterminations and how as far as you are concerned the world is coming to an end. .....just seems a bit dramatic to me.

    Mounting world tensions? Drew....man....before the 20th century most of the world hated each other....lol still do..
  11. Drew Wilson

    Drew Wilson AKA IceCube Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    I am starting to think that this is starting to amount to nothing myself at this stage. Unless things start getting really interesting, this thread could eventually go by the way-side. It was only one suggestion someone passed along to me and not every suggestion turns out to be a great idea.

    If there's something else you'd like me to follow, I'm all ears. I do like chewing on topics I know a little less about, though topics I know plenty about already is always good too. I'm generally resourceful, just don't necessarily have every interest everyone else has in my peripheral view so to speak. The Police State one (NDAA) was a spectacular one to follow though. Enemy Expatriation Act thread is one of those topics where no one seems to be talking about it right now. I've noticed some rumblings about ACTA, not sure I'll be devoting a thread to it yet though. The oil pipeline stuff seems to be something you can flick on a TV and generally know what's going on in it (though if there's interest here, I could follow that story as well).
  12. moneoa

    moneoa Vita!!!!!!! Staff Member Moderator

    Was not an attack or trying to be a dink...was just curious as to why....its cause its not the first time you have raised the hells bells. :)
  13. Drew Wilson

    Drew Wilson AKA IceCube Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Heheh, well, to my credit, the previous times I've raised hells bells was with other people over the NDAA, the Enemy Expatriation Act, the SOPA/PIPA thread, and way back in 2008-2009, the stock market crash. Was actually kind of starting to agree with you in this thread. I should really be updating the OWS thread and finding the goofier news stories again. Those goofy ones were entertaining.
  14. Drew Wilson

    Drew Wilson AKA IceCube Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    EU adopts Iran oil embargo; China, Russia worried over US war threats

    BRUSSELS: The European Union formally adopted an oil embargo on Monday against Iran and a freeze of the assets of the country's central bank as part of sanctions meant to pressure the country to resume talks on its nuclear program.

    Diplomats said the measures, which were adopted in Brussels by the EU's 27 foreign ministers, include an immediate embargo on new contracts for crude oil and petroleum products, while existing contracts will be allowed to run until July.

    EU diplomats are calling the measure part of a twin track approach toward Iran: increase sanctions to discourage what they suspect is Iran pursuit of nuclear weapons but to emphasize at the same time the international community's willingness to talk. Iran says its nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.

    British foreign secretary William Hague called the embargo part of "an unprecedented set of sanctions."

    [...]

    China, Russia worried over US war threats

    A leading state-run Chinese daily warned on Monday that Moscow and Beijing were seriously concerned over US attempts to go to war with Iran, IANS reported from Beijing.

    After Iraq and Afghanistan, the US "is preparing for a potential confrontation with Iran, and appears confident of another successful air strike.

    "Such a demonstration of armed might makes powers like Russia and China increasingly nervous," the commentary in the English language Global Times said.

    It said that "mainstream forces in Washington are trying to sell a ludicrous standpoint to the American people: that it is worthwhile to bear financial costs and even lose some lives to confront lurking dangers to US security in the Middle East.

    "This is not a rational analysis, but rather a pious belief in US politics. With an appetite for national security causes, the US becomes increasingly meticulous in eliminating potential challenges."

    The daily, which reflects the thinking in Chinese leadership, warned that by stirring up other powers' sense of insecurity, the US was actually undermining its own interests.

    "If the West slides into a war with Iran, the damages will not be any lower than the potential threat of Iran's nuclear power.

    "Perhaps the US is used to resorting to war to solve geopolitical problems," it said.

    "Many worry that such a mentality will sooner or later lead to a US clash with Russia and China."

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    Damn... just when I'm thinking this is all becoming a non-story, this pops up.
  15. Drew Wilson

    Drew Wilson AKA IceCube Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Britain, US and France send warships through Strait of Hormuz

    Britain, America and France delivered a pointed signal to Iran, sending six warships led by a 100,000 ton aircraft carrier through the highly sensitive waters of the Strait of Hormuz.

    This deployment defied explicit Iranian threats to close the waterway. It coincided with an escalation in the West's confrontation with Iran over the country's nuclear ambitions.

    European Union foreign ministers are today expected to announce an embargo on Iranian oil exports, amounting to the most significant package of sanctions yet agreed. They are also likely to impose a partial freeze on assets held by the Iranian Central Bank in the EU.

    Tehran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation. Tankers carrying 17 million barrels of oil pass through this waterway every day, accounting for 35 per cent of the world's seaborne crude shipments. At its narrowest point, located between Iran and Oman, the Strait is only 21 miles wide.

    Last month, Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, commander of the Iranian navy, claimed that closing the Strait would be "easy," adding: "As Iranians say, it will be easier than drinking a glass of water."

    But USS Abraham Lincoln, a nuclear-powered carrier capable of embarking 90 aircraft, passed through this channel and entered the Gulf without incident yesterday. HMS Argyll, a Type 23 frigate from the Royal Navy, was one of the escort vessels making up the carrier battle-group. A guided missile cruiser and two destroyers from the US Navy completed the flotilla, along with one warship from the French navy.

    All three countries retain a permanent military presence in the Gulf, but a joint passage through the Strait of Hormuz by all of their respective navies is highly unusual. The flotilla will have passed within a few miles of the Iranian coastline.

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    Looks like this has escalated to more than just words at this point. O.O
  16. Drew Wilson

    Drew Wilson AKA IceCube Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Top US general in Israel to hammer out Iran strategy

    US Army General Martin Dempsey is currently visiting Israel amid heightened tensions with Iran. Israel is pushing for tougher measures, and the US fears the Jewish state may be considering military action.

    *This is General Dempsey’s first visit to the country since he was appointed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff four months ago. He is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, military chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and President Shimon Peres. The Iranian nuclear program is expected to be a top issue on the table, and Israeli officials involved in preparing for the meetings told AP they expected Dempsey to urge restraint as the US tries to rally additional international pressure on Iran.

    Both the US and Israel insist Iran is building nuclear weapons – and maintain that such a program threatens both of them. However, they differ on what actions should be taken to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

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  17. Drew Wilson

    Drew Wilson AKA IceCube Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Defiance: Russia to Reportedly Deliver Combat Jets to Syria

    MOSCOW (The Blaze/AP) — Russia has signed a contract to sell combat jets to Syria in a show of support for President Bashar Assad’s regime, a newspaper reported Monday.

    The business daily Kommersant said, citing an identified source close to Russia’s Rosoboronexport state arms trader, that the $550-million deal envisages the delivery of 36 Yak-130 aircraft. A spokesman for Rosoboronexport refused to comment on the report.

    If confirmed, the deal would mark an open defiance of international efforts to put pressure on Assad’s regime, which has faced broad condemnation for its brutal crackdown on an uprising. The U.N. says more than 5,400 people have died over 10 months. In recent months, the Blaze has covered the horrific reports coming out of the country.

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    Oh, this is going to end REAL well.
  18. Drew Wilson

    Drew Wilson AKA IceCube Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    China blasts EU sanctions on Iran

    BEIJING — China said Thursday EU sanctions on Iran announced earlier this week in response to Tehran's suspected nuclear drive were "not constructive", state media reported.

    "To blindly pressure and impose sanctions on Iran are not constructive approaches," the foreign ministry was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency, in response to a question on the EU measures announced Monday.

    The EU announced it would slap an embargo on Iranian oil just weeks after Washington imposed fresh sanctions against Tehran, bringing swift condemnation from the Islamic republic.

    Western powers believe Iran is inching closer and closer to building a nuclear bomb, but Tehran vehemently denies this, saying its atomic program is not for military purposes.

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  19. Drew Wilson

    Drew Wilson AKA IceCube Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    New U.N. showdown with Russia over Syria looms

    DAMASCUS (Reuters) - Britain and France joined forces with Arab allies on Wednesday to push the U.N. Security Council to back an Arab League call for Syrian President , Bashar al-Assad to step aside, setting the stage for a showdown with Syria's ally Russia.

    "The U.N. Security Council must support the Arab League's courageous decisions which are trying to end the repression and violence in Syria and find a solution to the political crisis," French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.

    The Security Council could vote as early as next week on a new draft resolution, which delegates from Britain and France are crafting in consultation with Qatar, Morocco, the United States, Germany and Portugalenvoys said. The new resolution replaces a Russian draft Western diplomats said was too weak.

    U.S. President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union address on Tuesday that Assad would "soon discover that the forces of change can't be reversed."

    It remains unclear whether Russia - which together with China vetoed a European-drafted resolution in October that condemned Syria and threatened it with sanctions over its 10-month crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators - is prepared to once again to block council action on Syria.

    "We hope Russia won't use its veto against the Arab League, which is what it would be this time," a U.N. envoy said. "They'll put up a fight. There will be negotiations. We'll see."

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  20. Drew Wilson

    Drew Wilson AKA IceCube Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    US to press Russia on reported Syria jet deal

    WASHINGTON — A senior US diplomat visiting Russia will press Moscow on a reported deal to sell Syria fighter jets, something Washington described as "quite concerning," the State Department said.

    Jeffrey Feltman, the top US diplomat for the Middle East, was in Moscow on Monday and Syria was "issue number one on his agenda," US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters in Washington.

    In Moscow, the Kommersant business daily reported that Syria had signed a $550-million (425-million-euro) contract to purchase 36 Yak-130 advanced training/light attack planes from Russia.

    "Every time we talk to the Russians about Syria, we make the point about how dangerous we think it is to be continuing to trade in weapons and encouraging them to do what they can to stop such trades," Nuland said.

    "So with regards to these new reports, they came up today. We've sent them on for Ambassador Feltman to raise with the Russians," Nuland added.

    "We've seen the same press reports that you've seen. Obviously, if it's accurate, it would be quite concerning."

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