Thursday, January 19, 2006

What is going on today?

Osama bin Laden seems to offer a long-term truce:
Arabic TV station al-Jazeera has broadcast an audio tape it says was by the al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden. In it the voice warns that new attacks on the US are being planned, but offers a "long-term truce" to the Americans. If confirmed, it would be the first time Bin Laden has been heard from since December 2004.
I'm not sure what he means by offering a truce while threatening attacks. But it certainly sounds like we are winning, which is always good. More "intelligence failures" like the recent one, please. Meanwhile Iran wants compromise (whatever that means):
Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, says his country is ready to compromise over its nuclear programme. He told the BBC that Iran was willing to discuss concerns about an alleged weapons programme and offer guarantees. However, the US and EU said there was no point in further negotiations unless Iran offered fresh proposals.
Which I certainly agree with. As the Financial Times noted the other day, in a piece about feeling sorry for Jack Straw (emphasis mine):
Iran was absent from the meeting, which included representatives of the US, Russia and China. The painfully earnest Mr Straw still asked the Westerner-hating nation for reassurances it does not want the bomb. But what else would a country with 10 per cent of the world's oil reserves want nuclear plants for? Does Mr Straw suppose that Iran, admiring the success of the Sellafield Visitor Centre, wants its own facilities to provide Tehran schoolkids with instructive day trips?
Good point. But Hillary goes even further: she accuses Bush of being a dangerous pacifist:
Sen. Hillary Clinton called for United Nations sanctions against Iran and faulted the Bush administration for "downplaying" the threat Tehran's nuclear program poses.
In an address Wednesday evening at Princeton University, Clinton, D-N.Y., said it was a mistake for the U.S. to have Britain, France and Germany head up nuclear talks with Iran over the past 2 1/2 years. Last week, Iran resumed nuclear research in a move Tehran claims is for energy, not weapons.
"I believe that we lost critical time in dealing with Iran because the White House chose to downplay the threats and chose to outsource the negotiations," Clinton said.
And Chirac says he is willing to hit terrorist states with nuclear weapons:
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."
Can you imagine what the outcry in France would have been if nuclear weapons had been used in Afghanistan? Not that I disagree with him (surprisingly!).

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