Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Mission Failed: The Taliban Resurgence

With Afghan Opium crops soaring,the highest ever, it's no mystery why the Taliban is resurging in an area called Waziristan on the northwest Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Troops fighting in Afghanistan face about as much danger as troops in Iraq, says The New York Times . Their investigation concludes that Afghanistan has become "a symbol of failure."

CBS reporter, Lara Logan, has the opportunity to travel deep into Taliban territory after 6 months of negotiations with Taliban leaders.

Logan is taken to a place with scores of Taliban fighters. The fighters are proud to show that they have taken back territory that U.S. forces occupied just 2 years ago.

The following video contains reports from CNN and CBS News.

The International Herald Tribune says,"The war seems, to many fighting it, to have been obscured by the glare of attention on the conflict in Iraq and undercut by the resources it has sapped from this mission."

Europe and Iran Report Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the EU said Sunday that they had made progress in the search for a compromise to avert possible UN sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program. "The meetings … have been productive," said Javier Solana, the EU’s foreign policy chief, after talks with Ali Larijani, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator. "We have clarified some of the misunderstandings that existed before." He added that he wanted to continue the negotiations. "We have made progress," he said. "We want to continue that line, and we are going to meet next week." Larijani said "many misunderstandings had been removed."

The cautious-but-positive tone of the statements from Solana and Larijani contrasted sharply with the US position outlined last week by Nicholas Burns, the under secretary of state for political affairs.

Reuters reported Sunday that Larijani had said Iran would be willing to consider a two-month moratorium on its uranium-enrichment program, but other Iranian officials denied that. Although both sides were unwilling to give many details about the talks, there were suggestions that Iran might be willing to suspend its uranium-enrichment program if negotiations on the package were to start. The US, however, might not accept the idea. NY Times

Will the Bush Admin. attack Iran next?

The Bush administration has already taken a crucial step in weaking Iran by blocking a major Iranian bank. Stuart Levey, the U.S. Treasury's under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence is already in Europe for talks this week on how to further limit Iran’s access to the global financial system. This must not happen! This is one of the reasons why Iraq became a place of unrest, the sanctions and the twisted Foreign Policy of the Bush administration.

As Noam Chomsky states, "There are ways to mitigate and probably end these crises. The first is to call off the very credible US and Israeli threats that virtually urge Iran to develop nuclear weapons as a deterrent."

Historical facts are at play here and cannot be disputed.

"Iranians are surely not as willing as the West to discard history to the rubbish heap. They know that the United States, along with its allies, has been tormenting Iranians for more than 50 years, ever since a US-UK military coup overthrew the parliamentary government and installed the Shah, who ruled with an iron hand until a popular uprising expelled him in 1979." says Chomsky. Read full article.

The Bush Administration has talked seriously about the possibility of military strikes against Iran, which could dramatically escalate the level of violence in the region, already high. These threats have undermined real negotiations on Iran's nuclear program. As the Washington Post reported Friday, "The package presented to the [UN Security Council] Thursday provides no explicit assurances Tehran has sought to bar U.S. military strikes on its territory…President Bush…has resisted European appeals to provide Iran with such security assurances, insisting that the military option not be taken off the table." These threats also increase the likelihood of a wider war, a likelihood that seems to increase each day.

Maintaining the threat of a military attack against Iran not only undermines negotiations but also undermines the international regime of nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear inspections, which is based on multilateral cooperation, not unilateral force. Iran is at least 5 to 10 years away from acquiring a nuclear weapon, were it to attempt to do so. There is no crisis justifying the threat of military force against Iran.

Congress should pressure the Bush Administration to take the "military option" of attacking Iran off the table.

We must be pro active and rule out attacks against Iran before it is too late!

Bush Admin. blacklists major Iranian bank

The Bush administration has blacklisted one of Iran's biggest banks, Bank Saderat, alleging that it is used to transfer money to terrorist organizations.

Stuart Levey, the Treasury's under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence said the bank had been blacklisted because "this bank, which has approximately 3,400 branch offices, is used by the government of Iran to transfer money to terrorist organisations."

According to Mr Levy, the bank had facilitated the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars to the Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah, and what he called other terrorist organisations, every year. Via

We need to stop the U.S. from putting sanctions on Iran, it will force the Iranian people to depend on the Iranian government, making things worse of course. Not to mention the fact that if economic sanctions are imposed on Iran, it may cause 10,000 Germans to lose their jobs.