Wednesday, September 12, 2007


News Flash! World keeps turning!

Much news today, probably none will make it to CBS

Not that I watch CBS.

Russian government quits, Putin succession heats up

by Sebastian Smith
1 hour, 56 minutes ago

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed his prime minister and government Wednesday, paving the way for the Kremlin leader to handpick a successor when he steps down next year.

The replacement of Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov with a barely known finance official, Viktor Zubkov, came three months before parliamentary elections and less than six months ahead of a presidential poll to replace Putin.

The lower house of parliament is expected on Friday to rubber stamp the nomination of Zubkov, head of the government's financial crimes investigation agency and a former Soviet state farm manager.

Analysts saw 65-year-old Zubkov's sudden rise as the launch of a long-awaited plan to arrange a replacement for Putin when he steps down at the end of a second term in 2008.

Putin hinted at this, saying he wanted to prepare "the country for the period after the presidential election."

But just who will step into his shoes remains one of the biggest mysteries of global politics.

Not one political heavyweight has thrown his hat in the ring for the March 2, 2008 election, leaving the world guessing who will head the energy producing giant and nuclear-weapons superpower -- a process that can resemble Soviet-era "Kremlinology."

News that Fradkov was stepping down sent the rumour mill into overdrive.

After all, Putin himself rose to power from obscurity after first being named prime minister in 1999, then taking over the presidency from Boris Yeltsin in a barely contested election in 2000.


read the rest here

UPDATE

Check out the spin at the link above


___________________________________

May I have a few minutes of your time to ask 82 questions?

Poll: US gov't knew about 9/11 attacks

Tue, 11 Sep 2007 22:20:11
A new poll indicates that some 43 percent of Americans believe that Washington knew about the 9/11 attacks but did nothing to stop them.

According to the Press TV-Zogby International poll, 42.5 percent of the respondents believed that the Bush Administration knew about the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center but did nothing to prevent the attacks.

Only 37.5 percent of the respondents strongly disagreed with the idea and 4.5 percent neither agreed nor disagreed with it.

Among the members of the armed forces who participated in the poll nearly 44 percent said that the US government had known about the plans for 9/11 attacks with 37.2 strongly disagreeing with it.

The poll also indicates that a majority of Americans (56.3 percent), including the members of US armed forces, support the idea that the Bush Administration used the September 11 attacks as an excuse to push ahead with its own agenda, particularly in the Middle East and only 27.1 percent of respondents disagreed with it.

Some 1006 people across the US were questioned by pollsters and the margin of error was +/- 3.2.
There's a wee problem with this poll in the fact that Press TV may not have American interests at heart.
wiki says:
PRESS TV is an English language international television news channel which is funded by the Iranian government, based in Tehran and broadcasts in English on a round-the-clock schedule. With 26 international correspondents and more than 400 staff around the world, its stated mission is to offer a different and unbiased view of the world events.[1][2]
Here are some other gems from Press TV:

Six years of 9/11 as a license to kill

Tue, 11 Sep 2007 22:24:47
By Norman Solomon, antiwar.com
It evokes a tragedy that marks an epoch. From the outset, the warfare state has exploited "9/11," a label at once too facile and too laden with historic weight - giving further power to the tacit political axiom that perception is reality.

Often it seems that media coverage is all about perception, especially when the underlying agendas are wired into huge profits and geopolitical leverage.
and this

Iran's gambit has checkmated the US

Tue, 11 Sep 2007 21:50:53
By Mahbod Ebrahimi, Press TV, Tehran
Before the crucial meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors in Vienna, Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the UN nuclear watchdog hailed a recent agreement between the IAEA and Iran as 'a significant step forward'.

A day after the IAEA announced the agreement with Iran and termed it as a "milestone", US envoy to IAEA, Gregory Schulte claimed the plan had "real limitations" and suggested that Tehran had "manipulated" the IAEA into allowing it to make a play of cooperation to head off more sanctions, Reuters reported.

Now this next article is something to watch develop.

US confirms Israeli air strike on Syria

By Tim Butcher in Tel Aviv
Last Updated: 2:26am BST 12/09/2007

A US official has confirmed that Israeli warplanes carried out an air strike "deep inside" Syria, escalating tensions between the two countries.

Israel considers retaliation in Gaza

The target of the strike last Thursday remained unclear but Israeli media reported that a shipment of Iranian arms crossing Syria for use by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia in Lebanon was attacked.

Syria first reported the incident on the day, saying its air defences had engaged five Israeli planes, but did not say what their target was. Israel remained uncharacteristically silent, pointedly refusing to deny that its warplanes were involved in an operation. The closest it came to acknowledging the affair happened was when it made an undertaking to Turkey to investigate how an Israeli long-range fuel tank was dropped on Turkish territory near the Syrian border.

Another theory gaining ground yesterday was that Israel was deliberately attacking the Russian-made Pantsyr air defence system recently bought by Damascus. The sale includes provision for the Pantsyr system to be shipped on to Iran and it is possible the Israeli attack was co-ordinated with America to probe the effectiveness of the system. It is believed that Iran would use the Pantsyr system to defend its nuclear facilities.

Syria has sought to keep the incident in the public arena, saying yesterday that it had complained formally to the United Nations, accusing Israel of unjustified aggression.

Syria and Israel have fought major wars on three occasions, in 1948, 1967 and 1973, as well as numerous other skirmishes. The two nations remain formally at war although an uneasy calm has largely held for the past three decades. Meanwhile, Israel was contemplating a retaliatory strike on Gaza last night after a Palestinian qassam rocket injured 69 of its soldiers, five seriously, at the Zikim army base. Many of the Israelis were hit by shrapnel as they slept under canvas.

While the rocket was fired by members of the Islamic Jihad party, Israel said it would hold Hamas accountable because the group is the main authority in the Gaza strip since it drove out its Fatah rivals in June.

The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, convened an emergency meeting yesterday with military and security commanders to discuss a response to the attack.

UPDATE

NYT source: Israeli airstrike in Syria may have targeted nuke installations


posted at 10:30 am on September 12, 2007 by Allahpundit
“But AP,” you say, “Syria doesn’t have nuke installations.” Yeah, that’s what I thought too.

But we learn something new every day, don’t we?
Officials in Washington said that the most likely targets of the raid were weapons caches that Israel’s government believes Iran has been sending the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah through Syria…

One Bush administration official said Israel had recently carried out reconnaissance flights over Syria, taking pictures of possible nuclear installations that Israeli officials believed might have been supplied with material from North Korea. The administration official said Israeli officials believed that North Korea might be unloading some of its nuclear material on Syria.

“The Israelis think North Korea is selling to Iran and Syria what little they have left,” the official said. He said it was unclear whether the Israeli strike had produced any evidence that might validate that belief.


An Israeli Arab paper offers a third possibility: they were targeting Syrian missile base that was being financed by Iran — and they destroyed it completely. The Israeli government isn’t talking by a source tells CNN they’re “very happy” with the operation, which may have involved ground forces. Ehud Barak is certainly making his mark lately, isn’t he?

A Kuwaiti newspaper says Assad is being pressured to respond via Hezbollah and Hamas. I thought he already had.

I leave you with another cryptic hint at the target from the same JPost article:

Also on Wednesday, the Lebanese daily Almustakbal reported that since the alleged IAF foray over Syria last week there have been severe disturbances in Lebanese communications systems and cellular frequencies.
I KNEW this wa s the story with legs. Updating at 1735 EDT.

RELATED

The 'proxy war': UK troops are sent to Iranian border


British soldiers return to action as tensions between US and Iran grow

Exclusive by Kim Sengupta in Baghdad
Published: 12 September 2007

British forces have been sent from Basra to the volatile border with Iran amid warnings from the senior US commander in Iraq that Tehran is fomenting a "proxy war".

In signs of a fast-developing confrontation, the Iranians have threatened military action in response to attacks launched from Iraqi territory while the Pentagon has announced the building of a US base and fortified checkpoints at the frontier.

The UK operation, in which up to 350 troops are involved, has come at the request of the Americans, who say that elements close to the Iranian regime have stepped up supplies of weapons to Shia militias in recent weeks in preparation for attacks inside Iraq.

The deployment came within a week of British forces leaving Basra Palace, their last remaining base inside Basra city, and withdrawing to the airport for a widely expected final departure from Iraq. Brigadier James Bashall, commander of 1 Mechanised Brigade, based at Basra said: "We have been asked to help at the Iranian border to stop the flow of weapons and I am willing to do so. We know the points of entry and I am sure we can do what needs to be done. The US forces are, as we know, engaged in the 'surge' and the border is of particular concern to them."

The mission will include the King's Royal Hussars battle group, 250 of whom were told at the weekend that they would be returning to the UK as part of a drawdown of forces in Iraq.

The operation is regarded as a high-risk strategy which could lead to clashes with Iranian-backed Shia militias or even Iranian forces and also leaves open the possibility of Iranian retaliation in the form of attacks against British forces at the Basra air base or inciting violence to draw them back into Basra city. Relations between the two countries are already fraught after the Iranian Revolutionary Guards seized a British naval party in the Gulf earlier this year.

he move came as General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador to Iraq, made some of the strongest accusations yet by US officials about Iranian activity. General Petraeus spoke on Monday of a "proxy war" in Iraq, while Mr Crocker accused the Iranian government of "providing lethal capabilities to the enemies of the Iraqi state".

In an interview after his appearance before a congressional panel on Monday, General Petraeus strongly implied that it would soon be necessary to obtain authorisation to take action against Iran within its own borders, rather than just inside Iraq. "There is a pretty hard look ongoing at that particular situation" he said.



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