Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 06, 2006

Man at His Window

Sorry for the light posting. I am under a deadline to deliver a presentation on someones IT implementation gone bad and it takes quite some time from my regular schedule.

I'll leave you with this for today. The Angry Arab posted it yesterday and, though I am not young anymore, I love it, as it carries a bit of my autistic feelings these days.

by Gustave Caillebotte
Young Man at His Window
1875 - Oil on canvas - 117 x 82 cm
bigger (100kb)

Posted by b on June 6, 2006 at 02:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (13)

OT 06-49

Your news & views ...

Posted by b on June 6, 2006 at 12:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (154)

June 04, 2006

Rice Out?

A quite speculative thought: Is Rice on the way out? I thinks she is.

Rice Key to Reversal on Iran

At the end of March, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice flew to Europe and had unusual, one-on-one conversations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Jacques Chirac and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. She also attended a meeting in Berlin on Iran at which the Russian and Chinese representatives denounced the idea of sanctions to halt Tehran's drive toward a nuclear weapon.

Rice returned to Washington with a sobering message: The international effort to derail Iran's programs was falling apart. Her conclusion spurred a secret discussion among Rice, President Bush, Vice President Cheney and national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley: Should the United States finally agree to join the Europeans at the negotiations with Iran?

The only reason the Eurpoeans got involved in this at all was to prevent the U.S. from attacking Iran. The mess in the Midddle East is alredy terrible. To add to this by including Iran would be worse for Europe than any assumed nukes in Iranian hands ten years from now.

Rice Plays Down Iran's Threat to Curb Oil Exports

Ms. Rice helped engineer a policy shift by Washington last week that would allow it to join in the talks with Tehran, conducted up to now by Britain, France and Germany. She was said to fear that the international coalition on Iran was close to collapse.

China and Russia had appeared increasingly resistant to calls from the United States and others to impose sanctions if Iran continued its enrichment activities.

Ms. Rice would not say explicitly today that Russia and China had agreed to impose sanctions if Iran rejected the latest offer, but she said on Fox News that "we are absolutely satisfied with the commitments of our allies to a robust path."

Obviously neither China nor Russia did agree to ANY sanction, which means no effective sanctions on Iran at all. But worse, the Europeans did not agree to this either. Why is the offer to Iran kept secret? "We" offer them a light water reactor for $3 billlion plus while the Russians are building one for $1 billion? "We" offer them five years of fuel supply when the economic valible case of a reactor is only justifiable at 30+ years of operations?

From the viewpoint of Cheney's neocons Rice has played her card and failed. They will Powell her now. That move might come faster than anybody anticipates today.

For Bush, Talks With Iran Were a Last Resort

In the end, said one former official who has kept close tabs on the debate, "it came down to convincing Cheney and others that if we are going to confront Iran, we first have to check off the box" of trying talks.

Posted by b on June 4, 2006 at 03:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (19)

June 03, 2006

Furthering War

NYT: June 4, 2006; A Talk at Lunch That Shifted the Stance on Iran

After the surprise election of Mr. Ahmadinejad last summer, Iran ended its voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment, and the United States and Europe won resolutions at the International Atomic Energy Agency to move the issue to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions.

What the writers of the above graph want you to think is obvious: After A (Ahmadinejad) occurred, B (ended suspension of enrichment) happened and C (the IAEA resolution) followed.

Read it again. That is the timeline the paragraph above expresses to the reader.

But that timeline is in fact wrong. The historic record is definitely different.

The real timeline was A, C and then B.

A (Ahmadinejad) in this case is irrelevant anyhow. The president of Iran has no final word on foreign policy. The deciding voice on foreign policy, like the command over all military forces, is the prerogative of the Council of Guardians

The suspension of voluntary inspections, the B in the NYT's tale, was a direct consequence of C, the reference, by the first non-unanimous IAEA vote ever, to the security council. It happened only after that refernece was made.

By changing the timeline the NYT sticks guilt to Iran. It changes cause and effect. Such "reporting" is furthering war.

A: June 26, 2005; Winner in Iran Calls for Unity; Reformists Reel

Iran's newly elected president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Saturday that he wanted to create a strong Islamic nation and issued a call for unity in his first comments after a landslide victory ...

C: February 3, 2006; In Another Threat, Iran Warns It May Block Inspections

Iran formally notified the International Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday that it would end all "voluntary" nuclear cooperation with the agency if, as expected, its 35-country board referred Iran's nuclear activity case to the United Nations Security Council.

B: February 5, 2006; Nuclear Panel Votes to Report Tehran to U.N.

The 35-nation board of the United Nations atomic energy agency voted here on Saturday to report Iran to the Security Council, a move that reflects increasing suspicion around the world that Iran is determined to develop nuclear weapons.
After the vote, Iran announced that it would immediately end its voluntary nuclear cooperation with the agency and that it would begin full-scale production of enriched uranium, which can be used to produce electricity or to help build nuclear bombs.

Posted by b on June 3, 2006 at 03:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (11)

Weekend OT

Your open thread ...

Posted by b on June 3, 2006 at 05:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (90)

Glory Bound

by anna missed
oil pain and inlay on douglas fir slab
full view (180kb)

anna missed says:

I see this as a flag field (stars) with a black web that also reads spatially in an architectual (temple like) sort of way aka "bound".

Posted by b on June 3, 2006 at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (13)

June 02, 2006

WB: The Gift of the Nile


It was then – half-hypnotized, my head drooping towards my lap – that I had a dreamlike vision of Egypt as a single, living organism, sustained by a vast circulatory system, comparable to that of a human body. The Nile was the heart, pumping water instead of blood; the main irrigation canals were the veins and arteries, carrying the Nile’s gift to the land; the wet fingers reaching into the fields were the capillaries, saturating the soil with life, while the Egyptians themselves were the individual cells at the ends of those dense filaments, drawing sustenance from the timeless trinity of earth, water and sun. Outside my window the sky seemed to expand while the train shrank, until it was just a fly, crawling slowly across the gray expanse of an elephant’s back. And then I really was asleep, gently rocked by the elephant’s rough steps as it ambled towards the edge of the world.

The Gift of the Nile

Posted by b on June 2, 2006 at 01:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (56)

June 01, 2006

U.S. - Iran Talks

As condition to start negotiations about a stop of Iran's Uranium enrichment program, Secretary of State Rice demanded a stop of Iran's Uranium enrichment program.

Bush found similar words.

"Our message to the Iranians is that, one, you won't have a weapon, and two, that you must verifiably suspend any programs, at which point we will come to the negotiating table to work on a way forward," Mr. Bush said at the White House.


The Uranium program is in a sorry state anyhow. So the Iranians may well be ready to stop it for a while to do some more research on centrifuges without any Uranium hexafluorid near them. It would not hurt them in any material way. But they need to keep their face too and will not stop it just because some empty bluster by Bush.

So this opening of negotiations about negotiations will take a while.

The whole move on the U.S. side could just be a ploy to get the Russians and the Chinese to agree on a sanction menue. But this is unlikely to achieve that, if only because it is too simple. For the same reason it does not even set Iran in a bad light if it would refuse negotiations at all, which it will not. The absurdity of Rice's condition is just too obvious.

Sanctions could be effective though and they would have serious consequences in Iran. For lack of refineries, the country imports 40% of the gazoline and diesel it needs. Taking that away would gurantee for serious hardship and a longterm plan could be to keep Iran under sanctions for the next 10 years until the next republican president can finish them off in a three weeks campaign. Throw in some limited bombing and, as you will remember, you end at the same scheme that did worked well on Iraq.

But China and Russia know this too. I have no reason to believe that they would ever agree on something that would seriously hurt Iran. What has Iran done to them (or to anybody else) that would give them reason to do so?

For now I assume there is something else behind Bush's flip-flop. The military option Cheney and Bolton are pushing is just no real alternative. The Generals will have made that clear. The U.S. recently had to reenforce its troops in Iran and Afghanistan. And in both countries Iran has them by the balls and can squeeze whenever it likes to.

So for now it is time for talks and some diplomatic chessplay. The opening gave Iran some advantages. Let's see if they can build on that.

Posted by b on June 1, 2006 at 01:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (30)