|A retreat for the well-being of my mind from the insanity of the life that is mine.|
Thursday, January 19, 2006 0 comments
Reading: U.S.: Secretary Of State Outlines Overhaul Of Diplomatic Corps
Currently listening to: Elysium - Portishead
Quote of the day: "I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians." - Charles De Gaulle
Wow! Its been a pretty interesting night on the newswires... check out these three stories:
Bin Laden offers Americans truce
Al-Jazeera on Thursday aired an audiotape purportedly from Osama bin Laden, who says al-Qaida is making preparations for attacks in the United States but offering a truce "with fair conditions."
The tape's release came days after a U.S. airstrike in Pakistan that was targeting bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, and reportedly killed four leading al-Qaida figures, including possibly al-Zawahri's son-in-law. There was no mention of the attack on the segments that were broadcast.
It was the first purported tape from the al-Qaida leader in more than a year _ the longest period without a message since the Sept. 11 2001 suicide hijackings in the United States.
The tape appeared to have been made since late November. The speaker refers to an alleged comment by President Bush about bombing the Qatar headquarters of Al-Jazeera, which was first reported in the British press on Nov. 22.
He also refers indirectly to the July 7 bombings in London that killed 56 people and to poll numbers that showed a fall in Bush's popularity, as occurred in late 2005.
The voice on the tape said he was directing his message to the American people after polls showed that "an overwhelming majority of you want the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq but (Bush) opposed that desire."
He said insurgents were winning the conflict in Iraq and warned that security measures in the West and the United States could not prevent attacks there.
"The proof of that is the explosions you have seen in the capitals of European nations," he said "The delay in similar operations happening in America has not been because of failure to break through your security measures. The operations are under preparation and you will see them in your homes the minute they are through (with preparations), with God's permission."
The speaker did not give conditions for a truce in the excerpts aired by Al-Jazeera.
"We do not mind offering you a long-term truce with fair conditions that we adhere to," he said. "We are a nation that God has forbidden to lie and cheat. So both sides can enjoy security and stability under this truce so we can build Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been destroyed in this war.
"There is no shame in this solution, which prevents the wasting of billions of dollars that have gone to those with influence and merchants of war in America," he said.
Also, be sure to check out the actual Al-Jazeera article with most of the transcript written verbatim...
France defends right to nuclear reply to terrorism
France said on Thursday it would be ready to use nuclear weapons against any state that carried out a terrorist attack against it, reaffirming the need for its nuclear deterrent.
Deflecting criticism of France's costly nuclear arms program,
President Jacques Chirac said security came at a price and France must be able to hit back hard at a hostile state's centers of power and its "capacity to act."
He said there was no change in France's overall policy, which rules out the use of nuclear weapons in a military conflict. But his speech pointed to a change of emphasis to underline the growing threat France perceives from terrorism.
"The leaders of states who would use terrorist means against us, as well as those who would consider using in one way or another weapons of mass destruction, must understand that they would lay themselves open to a firm and adapted response on our part," Chirac said during a visit to a nuclear submarine base in northwestern France.
"This response could be a conventional one. It could also be of a different kind."
Chirac, who is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, said all of France's nuclear forces had been configured with the new strategy in mind and the number of nuclear warheads on French nuclear submarines had been reduced to allow targeted strikes.
It was the first time he had so clearly linked the threat of a nuclear response to a terrorist attack.
Chirac, 73, did not say whether France would be prepared to use pre-emptive strikes against a country it saw as a threat.
Interesting statement to make eh? I'd love to see what their exact definition of terrorism of process of accountability is... Still, quite a strong statement for Chirac - most people tend to forget that France has 300+ nukes...
Iranian President Cements Syrian Alliance
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began a visit to Syria Thursday to consolidate an old alliance made increasingly crucial as both countries face mounting U.S. pressure and the threat of international sanctions.
Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Bashar Assad were expected to talk about Iran's standoff with the West over its nuclear program and the threat to refer it to the U.N. Security Council, as well as Syria's own troubles over a U.N. investigation that implicated it in the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister.
Bilateral economic, industrial and cultural agreements also were expected to be discussed during the two-day visit.
Syria is Iran's closest Arab ally. The two countries have had close relations since 1980 when Syria sided with Iran against Iraq at the start of the Iran-Iraq war.
On the eve of the visit, Ahmadinejad described bilateral relations as "strong and good."
Both countries share to a certain extent similar foreign policy objectives: opposition to what they describe as U.S. attempts to dominate the Middle East, hostility toward Israel and support for Palestinian and Lebanese militant groups fighting the Jewish state.
Ahmadinejad's visit comes at a very delicate time for both nations.
Dangerous times indeed... it'll be interesting to see how this plays out, and the historian in me is excited by the prospect of having seen history made each step of the way, yet chilled at the consequences of modern conventional warfare.
Name: Patrick Pincon
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