The Palestinian Finance Minister claims that the PA government will need 1 billion euros this year just to get back on its feet. Six words, Sir, and the world is yours: "Israel has the right to exist."
The U.K. Independent thinks that if 15 Americans had been threatened with capture by the Iranians, the U.S. would have fought back.
A senior American commander in the Gulf has said his men would have fired on
the Iranian Revolutionary Guard rather than let themselves be taken hostage.
In a dramatic illustration of the different postures adopted by British and
US forces working together in Iraq, Lt-Cdr Erik Horner - who has been
working alongside the task force to which the 15 captured Britons belonged -
said he was "surprised" the British marines and sailors had not
been more aggressive.
Asked by The Independent whether the men under his command would have fired
on the Iranians, he said: "Agreed. Yes. I don't want to second-guess
the British after the fact but our rules of engagement allow a little more
latitude. Our boarding team's training is a little bit more towards
The executive officer - second-in-command on USS Underwood, the frigate
working in the British-controlled task force with HMS Cornwall - said: "
The unique US Navy rules of engagement say we not only have a right to
self-defence but also an obligation to self-defence. They [the British] had
every right in my mind and every justification to defend themselves rather
than allow themselves to be taken. Our reaction was, 'Why didn't your guys
I can only hope that the tangled web of modern American military engagement rules would have resulted in a serious answer to the Iranians but it is pretty clear that the Iranians targeted the Brits because they weren't sure either. It's all very ironic given that our Democrat Congress is, this very week, trying desperately to find a way to surrender in Iraq.
It's only Bush's insistence that we'll stay in Iraq that prevented them from capturing Americans. They're still worried that we might fight back.
Lawrence White posts on the new Iranian 50,000 rial note. It's gained some international infamy for the swirling electron logo on its reverse, but the real scandal may be that it's only worth about $5.41.
Ahmadinejad's regime may be more tottering than we thought.
Do you wonder why the Iranians made the decision to capture 15 British sailors instead of 15 American sailors? Here's one possible reason. We'd have fought back. The Iranians are engaged in an extremely short-sighted and risky strategy but they're not completely stupid.
As currently interpreted the Geneva Conventions only apply to individuals bent on destroying America. Individuals who blow up elementary schools, kidnap children, attack churches and mosques, kill invalids in wheelchairs, plan attacks on skyscrapers in New York, behead journalists, detonate car bombs with children to camouflage their crime, or board jetliners with explosive shoes -- all while wearing mufti or even women's clothing -- these are all considered "freedom fighters" of the most principled kind. They and they alone enjoy the protections of the Geneva Convention.
The mainstream media's almost complete lack of interest in the capture of 15 British sailors is fascinating. Iran has engaged in an act of war and no one much cares. Today it's claiming that its prisoners have admitted to being in Iranian waters -- almost certainly either a lie or an admission gained by torture -- the real kind and not of the panties-on-the-head sort. NPR is reporting it occasionally but can muster nothing more than the fact that the waters on which they were taken hostage are disputed.
Britain has demanded the immediate release of its
forces and is expected to receive the backing of the European Union
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier
said Berlin had obtained official confirmation that the troops were
under arrest for an alleged border violation.
Meanwhile, a Foreign Office minister held fresh crisis talks with the Iranian ambassador.
Lord Triesman spent more than an hour demanding the safe return of the sailors and Royal Marines.
Ahmadinejad canceled an appearance in New York yesterday but no connection between that and the above has been suggested in the press. And on the very day (and some 12 hours) after the Iranians upped the ante in the Middle East, the Democrats in Washington passed a bill that specifies a deadline for removing American troops. If you were a more cynical person than I am you could be forgiven for thinking that the American media wishes not to call attention to this.
The hit American movie "300" has angered Iranians who say the Greeks-vs-Persians action flick insults their ancient culture and provokes animosity against Iran.
"Hollywood declares war on Iranians," blared a headline in Tuesday's edition of the independent Ayende-No newspaper.
The movie, which raked in $70 million in its opening weekend, is based on a comic-book fantasy version of the battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C., in which a force of 300 Spartans held off a massive Persian army at a mountain pass in Greece for three days.
Even some American reviewers noted the political overtones of the West-against-Iran story line - and the way Persians are depicted as decadent, sexually flamboyant and evil in contrast to the noble Greeks.
Yeah, right. Like anyone in the United States even knows that Iranians are Persian. I'd bet that only 25 of us could state with some certainty that Athens isn't a country. It isn't; I'm pretty sure it's not?
Probably in an effort to diversify their countries' economies away from oil, Syria and Iran are embarking on a joint venture to manufacture automobiles. The car will be known as Sham (the old Arabic name for Syria) which might affect export sales.
You might think that a kite-flying festival would be a fun way for the family to spend an afternoon -- but evidently not if you're in Pakistan.
An annual kite festival in eastern Pakistan has left at least eleven people dead.Officials say two died after their throats were cut by metal kite strings. Kite flyers often use string made of wire or coated with ground glass to try to cut the strings of rivals or damage other kites.
Throw in those killed by the celebratory gun shots, a couple electrocutions and people falling off roofs attempting to retrieve their kites and you've got the makings of quite a day.