Archive for the ‘uranium’ Category

Losing Terror War? Al Qaeda, Afghanistan, Iran

March 11, 2009
Defense Intelligence Agency chief Army Lt. Gen. Michael Maples tells senators during a Capitol Hill hearing that Al Qaeda has resurfaced in a country it was forced to flee seven years ago.
By Greg Miller
Los Angeles Times
March 11, 2009
Reporting from Washington — Al Qaeda has expanded its presence in Afghanistan, taking advantage of the sinking security situation to resurface in the country it was forced to flee seven years ago, the top U.S. military intelligence official testified Tuesday.

Army Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, described Al Qaeda’s efforts as one of the reasons for the Obama administration’s decision last month to order additional troops to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is no longer the haven for Al Qaeda that it was before the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States. But in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Maples said, “I believe Al Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan is more significant, although still at a relatively minor scale, than we have seen in the past.”

Maples also cited intelligence indicating that Iran is playing a more active role in supporting a militant group based in Pakistan that is launching attacks against U.S. and Afghan forces.

Read the rest:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworl
d/world/la-fg-intel11-2009mar11,0,421
8559.story

Intelligence Officials Testify On National Security Threats 
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Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair, left, and Defense Intelligence Agency chief Army Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples testify on Capitol Hill at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Maples said Al Qaeda has resurfaced in Afghanistan in a way not seen since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. Blair said the U.S. intelligence assessment is that Iran does not have any highly enriched uranium.  Alex Wong / Getty Images

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A progressive Presidency is a terrible thing to waste. It only comes around once every so often. Wouldn’t it be a shame if Americans’ hopes for the Obama Administration were squandered in Afghanistan?

See:
http://nasir-khan.blogspot.com/2009/03/c
an-congress-save-obama-from-afghan.html

Russia, “Desperate For Cash,” Sells Oil to China In “Very Bad Deal”

March 8, 2009

“Russia, just a few months ago a very oil rich nation, just made a very bad deal to raise $25 billion in cash from China by giving them oil for 10 years.  It is a very bad deal and shows how bad the world economy has become.”

That according to Newt Gingrich on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday March 8.

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From the People’s Daily

China will further promote cooperation and exchanges with Russia this year as the two countries embrace the 60th anniversary of their establishment of diplomatic ties, said China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi here Saturday.

China will fully carry out practical cooperation with Russia in various fields, including energy and science and technology, he told a press conference on the sidelines of an annual parliament session.

The two sides’ recent agreement on the construction of a crude oil pipeline project, a long-term crude oil trading deal and a financing scheme was a “mutually beneficial and win-win result”, said Yang.

The agreement signed in February allowed China to lend 25 billion U.S. dollars to Russia in an exchange for a 20-year oil supply starting from 2011 with a total volume of 300 million tons.

“China and Russia have come a long way in the past 13 years since the Sino-Russian Strategic Partnership of Cooperation was established,” said Yang. “A lot of achievements have been made in recent years particularly.”

He urged the two countries, both major countries and permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, to join hands to promote world multi-polarity and greater democracy in international order.

Gas flares off under heavy snowfall at a liquefied natural gas ... 
Gas flares off under heavy snowfall at a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on Sakhalin island outside the town Korsakovi Russia.(AFP/File/Natalia Kolesnikova)

“We should make greater contribution to promoting world peace, stability and development,” said Yang.

He also pledged to enhance high-level exchanges and mutual visits between the two countries and boost people-to-people interaction through such activities as the Year of the Russian Language in China that falls this year.

Source:Xinhua

Related:

Recession on track to be longest in postwar period

 Russia Reclaiming Raw Materials Like Oil, Coal

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The Next Big War Will Be Over Commodities

By John E. Carey
2008

Last Month President Bush went to Saudi Arabia to ask his friends there to increase oil production. The White House believed that by increasing supply, the price of gasoline per gallon at your friendly service station would drop. The president was rebuffed.

This month the United States urged upon the other large users of oil in the world community to join the “produce more” bandwagon.”

China, Japan, India and South Korea went along with the U.S. plan.

Cabinet ministers from the five countries, which account for more than half the world’s consumption of energy, agreed that the sharp surge in oil prices was a menace to the world economy, and that more petroleum should be produced to meet rising demand.

The five consumer countries, meeting in Japan before an energy conference of the Group of Eight industrialized nations plus Russia on June 8, 2008, argued that the unprecedented prices were against the interests of both producers and consumers, and imposed a “heavy burden” on developing countries.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries current president, Chakib Khelil, said that the cartel will make no new decision on production levels until OPEC’s September 9, 2008 meeting in Vienna.

So in just a few weeks time, we witnessed the President of the United States pleading for more production and the senior energy ministers from the U.S., China, India, Japan and South Korea joining in a chorus.

We at Peace and Freedom believe that when the engine of the free market jumps the tracks and supply and demand are ignored; one had better get ready for bad blood.

Then we have food. In the Philippines the people took to the streets demanding more rice. In Egypt, the people took to the streets demanding more bread. And some bad blood developed between Thailand, the world’s leading rice exporter, and Vietnam, perhaps the second most important rice exporter.

It seems the Vietnamese had underbid the Thais on contracts to export rice. The Vietnamese saw this as good business. The Thais viewed it as theft. Never mind that Thai rice is of higher quality and thus cists more.

China recently announced that it had “overbuilt” its industry and removed too much farmland from production. China now is instituting new regulations to preserve farmland and it is mapping a strategy to import more food.

Ethanol and other bio fuels seemed like a great idea to help add to U.S. oil stocks. But when all that corn disappeared into your fuel tank, the price of all corn went up. And corn not only feeds people but it is a huge source of livestock feed. So the price of pork and beef and all that other livestock that makes its way to the dinner table went up.

And food and fuels have never been in such demand. Never mind the huge increases in global population; with the combined populations of India and China eight times that of the U.S.

The world, believe it or not, is becoming more “middle class.” That means more people want gas burning cars which suck up a lot of fuel and add to global pollution. These new “middle class” folks also want a higher protein diet.

If one eats rice or corn or other grains the costs are somewhat manageable. But it takes four times more grain (and sometimes as much as six times) to put meat on pork or cattle before human beings eat that meat. So the high protein diet has a huge cost. It sucks up a lot more grain that human grain eaters ever would and it means the eaters need more dollars, rupees euros, yen or other denominations to buy every meal.

Bacon and eggs are more expensive, say, than the traditional rice bowl.

Finally, all these goodies, usually called commodities, are moving around the globe.

The Associated Press had an excellent article by Gavin Rabinowitz out on June 7.

India, China jostle for influence in Indian Ocean

 

Mr. Rabinowitz pointed out that looking south from Sri Lanka “just over the horizon runs one of the world’s great trade arteries, the shipping lanes where thousands of vessels carry oil from the Middle East and raw materials to Asia, returning with television sets, toys and sneakers for European consumers.”

That shipping lane is a possible flashpoint between India and China. Add in Japan, which gets just about all of its oil by that sea lane. And don’t forget the U.S. and the U.S. Navy. Those boys don’t want to see that sea lane interrupted by war, terrorism, piracy or any other form of bad blood.

So the bottom line, from our small window of the world is this: The next big war could well be over “commodities.”

We’ve used food and oil here as the most obvious examples of commodities worth fighting for. But it could be over uranium, tin, gold or who knows what. Even fresh water.

California is already starting to limit development due to water shortages. Australia is in the midst of a multi-year drought which has crippled Aussie grain production. And over use of fertilizers and pesticides in China and Vietnam have poisoned much of the ground water.

The next big war could well be over commodities.

Welcome to the new millennium.

Related:
China’s thirst for copper could hold key to Afghanistan’s future

Philippines Enacts Law Claiming Islands also Claimed by China, Others

Iran Will Have Nuke This Year?

January 27, 2009

Iran will have enough enriched uranium to make a single nuclear weapon later this year, the prestigious International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) predicts.

By Geoff Meade
Sky News
The think tank’s Mark Fitzpatrick made the announcement at today’s launch of its annual global review of military powers.

“But being able to enrich uranium is not the same as having a nuclear weapon.”

However, the survey reports doubts over US Intelligence estimates that Iran halted its work on nuclear weapons six years ago.

This points to Tehran’s continued development of long-range ballistic missiles able to reach targets in Israel and beyond.

The IISS recommends a mixture of carrot and stick as the best international response.


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

It concluded a dual policy of engagement and sanctions, testing possibilities for Iranian cooperation while adopting targeted containment strategies, is the best way to deal with Iran’s nuclear programme.

Foreign affairs editor Tim Marshall said: “Several think-tanks have come to the same conclusion.

“The intelligence agencies are more reluctant to put a time frame on it, and the report itself says having enough enriched Uranium to build the warhead is not the same as building the warhead itself.”

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Nuclear
-Weapon-From-Iran-Within-A-Year-Expert-Says-Country
-Will-Have-Enough-Uranium-For-Warhead/Article/200
901415211260

Iran Short On Uranium?

January 24, 2009

Western powers believe that Iran is running short of the raw material required to manufacture nuclear weapons, triggering an international race to prevent it from importing more, The Times has learnt.

Diplomatic sources believe that Iran’s stockpile of yellow cake uranium, produced from uranium ore, is close to running out and could be exhausted within months. Countries including Britain, the US, France and Germany have started intensive diplomatic efforts to dissuade major uranium producers from selling to Iran.

Before Christmas, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office sent out a confidential request for its diplomats in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Brazil, all major uranium producers, to lobby governments not to sell uranium products, specifically yellow cake, to Iran.

Iran’s stock of yellow cake, acquired from South Africa in the 1970s under the Shah’s original civil nuclear power programme, has almost run out. Iran is developing its own uranium mines, but does not have enough ore to support a sustained nuclear programme.

Read the rest:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/
world/middle_east/article5576589.ece

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Western powers believe that Iran’s supply of yellow cake uranium, the material required to manufacture nuclear weapons, could run out within months, the Times of London reported on Saturday.

The British newspaper reported that countries including Britain, the United States, France and Germany have all launched intensive diplomatic efforts to dissuade major uranium producers from selling to Iran.

Read the rest:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1058244.html

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at a news conference ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at a news conference in Tehran January 15, 2009.REUTERS/Caren Firouz

Hillary’s First Move For Obama: Closer to Israel

January 24, 2009

Israel’s daily Haaretz said Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and the new US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the deal during a phone conversation on Thursday, according to Iran’s state news network.

Clinton-Livni
Tzipi Livni (Left) with Hillary Clinton

The report added that they also agreed to take joint measures to halt Iran’s uranium enrichment program.

Clinton officially was sworn in as U.S. Secretary of State this last week.

The US, Israel and their European allies accuse Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signatory Iran of developing a nuclear program for military purposes. Tehran says it only seeks civilian applications of the technology.

Last week, Mrs. Clinton said that the Obama administration would pursue ‘an attitude toward engagement (with Iran) that might bear fruit’.

Related:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/hillarys-first-act-as-sec-o
f-state-cozy-up-to-israel-in-iran-nuclear-agreement.html

http://abunakhli.wordpress.com/2009/01/24/hilla
ry-tzipi-to-stop-iran-enrichment/

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1058244.html

Hillary Clinton gets sworn in Wednesday in her Senate office by Judge Kathryn Oberly.

North Korea declares “all-out confrontational posture” against South Korea

January 17, 2009

The North Korean military declared an “all-out confrontational posture” against South Korea on Saturday as an American scholar said he was told by officials in North Korea that it had “weaponized” 30.8 kilograms of plutonium.

By Choe Sang-Hun
International Herald Tribune

South Korea ordered its military to heighten vigilance along the border with North Korea, the world’s most heavily armed frontier, said a spokesman of the South Korean military Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.

North Korea’s saber-rattling oratory against the South has been common, especially after Lee Myung Bak came to office as president of South Korea a year ago vowing to take a tougher stance on the North in a reversal from 10 years of his liberal predecessors’ efforts to engage Pyongyang with economic aid. But what made the threat on Saturday unusual was the way it was delivered: a statement read on North Korean television by a uniformed spokesman for the North Korean military Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“Strong military measures will follow from our revolutionary armed force,” the spokesman, a colonel, said, according to Yonhap, South Korea’s national news agency, which monitors North Korean broadcasts.

Read the rest:
http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/01/17
/news/norkor.1-409776.php

North Korea Expected to “Test” Obama

January 7, 2009

The Bush administration said Wednesday that nuclear-armed North Korea will be an early test for President-elect Barack Obama‘s new administration, conceding that one of President George W. Bush‘s top foreign policy initiatives is unlikely to be resolved before Obama takes office Jan. 20.

Bush’s national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, said the long-running, often acrimonious and currently stalled nuclear disarmament talks among the Koreas, the United States, Japan, China and Russia have allowed envoys to pressure the North to follow through on its 2007 agreement to give up its nuclear program in return for aid and concessions.

But “North Korea will test the new administration by once again trying to split the six parties and renegotiate the deal, he said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank. “When its efforts to do so fail, North Korea will need to accept a verification agreement so we can verify the disablement and then dismantlement of that country’s nuclear capabilities.”

Negotiations have stalled over the North’s refusal to agree on a process to account for all its nuclear activities, and Hadley said there will be no progress without a verification formula.

“This is especially true because some in the intelligence community have increasing concerns that North Korea has an ongoing covert uranium enrichment program,” Hadley said.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090107/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_nko
rea;_ylt=AiTaR3cRbg21DEEORMxz4.pvaA8F

Iran: We Have Best Plan for UN Consideration

December 15, 2008

An Iranian lawmaker said here [in Tehran] Sunday that the talks on Iran’s proposed package is the best solution to Iran’s nuclear standoff, Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported.

“Negotiations within the framework of Iran’s proposed package is the best solution to Iran’s nuclear dispute,” head of Iran’s Parliament (Majlis) National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi told reporters.

“Recognized principles of the UN nuclear watchdog and the Non-Proliferation Treaty as well as the framework provided by the two sides’ proposed packages are the best possible solution,” Boroujerdi was quoted as saying.

He made the remarks when asked about the European Union (EU) Foreign Policy chief Javier Solana’s statements concerning the hope to meet Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in near future.              

Solana in mid-June presented to Iran a new package of incentives proposed by six major powers, including Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States plus Germany, suggesting that Iran get a temporary reprieve from economic and financial sanctions in exchange for freezing its enrichment activities.

However, Iran’s government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham said that the country would reject any nuclear deal offered by major world powers that demands a suspension of its uranium enrichment.

Iran’s failure to answer the new package in a way expected by the West, reasoning that Iran’s answer will be based on logical and constructive answers to Iran’s already-proposed package to the Westerners which is aimed to help resolve regional and international problems including Iran’s nuclear issue, disappointed the West.

The United States and its allies have accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program.

Iran denies the charges and insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

–Xinhua