Thursday, December 14, 2006

The New Middle East Cold War

* emptywheel has a chronology about recent ME events, mostly from the starting point of the resignation of Turki al-Faisal:
it sure looks like it's heading to (as Juan Cole calls it) The New Middle East Cold War: Saudi/Israel/Lebanon versus Iran/Syria/Iraq/Hizbullah.
saltinwound in the comments adds:
"I get the feeling that there's something else out there which we wouldn't even think of adding right now, because it seems so preposterous, something like Iran-Contra. I remember how stunned I was at the time when I got off a plane and my father told me what had been unearthed. Up until then, I don't think I'd ever used Iran and Nicaragua in the same sentence. I have no idea what that link would be now though and realize that by merely asking the question I'm changing the very nature of the game."

* meanwhile, AFP:
"Oil-rich Gulf Arab states said on Sunday they planned to seek nuclear energy technology for peaceful purposes and repeated their demand to turn the Middle East, including the Gulf, into a zone free of weapons of mass destruction.

The six Gulf Cooperation Council leaders, ending a two-day summit in Riyadh, said in a statement that "the states of the (Gulf) region have a right to possess nuclear energy technology for peaceful purposes ... within the context of the pertinent international agreements."

They ordered that a "GCC-wide study be conducted to formulate a joint programme in the field of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, in keeping with international standards and regulations," the statement said.

The leaders of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates called for a peaceful settlement of the crisis over Iran's nuclear programme, which the West suspects could be a cover for nuclear weapons development. Iran insists it is for peaceful purposes only.

The GCC heads of state also demanded that Israel, the only country in the Middle East believed to have nuclear weapons, join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told reporters that the GCC states' intention to pursue civilian nuclear technology was not a "threat" to anyone."

* OneGoodMove has Richard Dawkins on the teeve in Ireland and, for comparative purposes, Francis Collins (author of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief and also director of the National Human Genome Research Institute) was on Colbert.

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