Tehran, Iran, Mar. 29 – Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) will begin large-scale naval exercises in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman on Friday by firing a Shahab-2 missile “to show Iran’s desire for peace and friendship with neighbouring countries”, the IRGC naval chief said on Wednesday.Some gesture of friendship. They're also planning on building new "smart weapons" this year:
Tehran, Iran, Mar. 28 – Iran’s Defence Minister said that Tehran was planning to make use of new “smart weapons” to upgrade the armed forces within the next 12 months, the government-run news agency Fars reported on Monday.Rubbish...how can you have precision targeting without global satellite navigation? Do they think we'll just let them use our GPS satellites in a war? Galileo won't be ready until 2010, and it's lunacy to think that the Euros would let Iran use their satellites in a war with the US.
Brigadier General Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar told military commanders in the southern province of Kohkiloueh-va-Bouyerahmad that the Islamic Republic’s armed forces would give a “decisive” and “destructive” blow to any possible aggression by “enemy” forces.
“As we have declared many times before, the response by the armed forces to any aggression to the country will be decisive and destructive so that the enemy regrets his actions”, the general said.
General Mohammad-Najjar was accompanying hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a cabinet trip to the province.
“With the very good progress that we have had in creating electronic technology, we have laid the groundwork to obtain technology to turn our ammunition into smart weapons to pinpoint and attack enemy targets with precision”, the Iranian Defence Minister said.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The United States has ordered its diplomats and contractors not to have any contacts with Palestinian ministries once a Hamas-led government is sworn in on Wednesday, U.S. officials said.
They said the directive was sent to U.S. officials by email.
Contacts will still be permitted with President Mahmoud Abbas's office and non-Hamas members of the Palestinian parliament. The order takes effect from 6 p.m. on Wednesday, when Abbas is expected to swear in the new cabinet.
March 27, 2006 -- CHINA+RUSSIA = TROUBLE
A BLOSSOMING Sino-Russian romance is undercutting U.S. global interests on an unprecedented scale. Indeed, Russia and China seem to have their eyes on restraining European and Japanese power, too.
Start with the United Nations, where Russia and China are hampering U.S.- and European Union-led efforts to address Iran's nuclear program. It's been weeks since the Security Council got official notice that Iran had violated its nonproliferation promises - yet the U.N. body has yet to manage to even condemn Tehran's actions, much less impose economic sanctions.
No surprise: Both Moscow and Beijing have way too much at stake to bully their buddy, Tehran. China has billions invested in Iran's oil/gas fields; Russia hopes to make its own billions by reprocessing Iranian reactor fuel. And both sell millions in advanced weapons to Iran.
Russian and Chinese unwillingness has also stalled the world's drive to contain and roll back North Korea's nuclear-weapons program. While Pyongyang may be an annoying, needy country cousin for Moscow and Beijing, neither minds that the issue causes nuclear-strength heartburn for Washington, exacerbating festering U.S.-South Korean alliance problems. China certainly doesn't lose sleep over North Korean missiles bore-sighted on Japan, either.
Meanwhile, both have pushed for the closing of U.S. bases in Central Asia (used to support the Afghanistan mission). They've succeeded in Uzbekistan, but so far fallen short in Kyrgyzstan.
And Russia and China last summer conducted their first-ever joint military exercises, which included 10,000 military, intelligence and internal security forces. Both capitals claimed the drills weren't aimed at any country - not that anyone in the U.S., Taiwan or Japan believed that . . . Rumors abound that another series of joint exercises is planned later this year.
Moreover, both nations have been cooperating on foreign and military intelligence matters since the end of the Cold War, and are growing counterintelligence problems for the United States, Europe and Japan. With the end of Cold War-era travel restrictions, Chinese and Russian spooks see open societies as easy pickings.
According to the FBI, China is now America's greatest spy threat. But Russian intel operations - under Russian President Vladimir Putin (a former KGB Colonel) - are at an all-time, post-Berlin Wall high, too. Just last week came news of Russia giving U.S. war plans and troop-movements to the Saddam Hussein regime just before and after the 2003 invasion.
Chinese espionage rings have also been exposed in Europe, while Russia has redoubled its efforts there in recent years. And Japan's weak espionage laws make it a spy's happy hunting ground.