Iranian chocolate thief ‘to have hand chopped off

An Iranian judge has sentenced a man convicted of robbing a confectionery shop to have one of his hands cut off, Iranian media report.

 

The judge also sentenced the man to one year in prison.

Police arrested the man in May after finding $900 (£560), three pairs of gloves and a large amount of chocolate in his car, Fars news agency said.

Under Iran‘s Islamic law, amputations are usually reserved for habitual thieves.

Last week, authorities cut off the hand of a man convicted of two robberies in the north-eastern city of Mashhad.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11559750

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Islam’s tentacles enveloping U.S.

‘Every time we allow a mosque to go up, it’s like planting IED’

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=mosque+construction&iid=1508285″ src=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/1508285/protests-anti/protests-anti.jpg?size=380&imageId=1508285″ width=”380″ height=”557″ /]

The proposed Ground Zero mosque in New York City has been a focal point for those wanting to expand Islam’s influence in America, but it’s not the only front on which the nation is facing the advance of Muslim interests.

There are more than 3,000 mosques in the U.S., and work is being done on several major projects that have neighbors alarmed to the point of resistance.

One of the hot-button mosques is the proposed Temecula Valley Islamic Center. Land for the project was purchased several years ago, but a number of people in the Southern California town have an organized campaign to derail the project.

Opponents have held signs on street corners, and a number of the protesters say their concerns include many facets other than being “anti-Muslim.”

One of the leading spokesmen for the mosque opponents is Mano Bakh, who fled Iran 30 years ago after the Shia-backed Iranian Islamic Revolution

Bakh believes it’s appropriate to oppose the mosque because there are two sides to Islam.

“The main reason is that there are two segments to Islam, the thing that calls itself a religion. One is the religious part of it to pray and the other one is to Shariah law, the way of life,” Bakh explained.

“We have no problem with the praying part of Islam. What we have a problem with is preaching what is in Shariah law,” Bakh continued.

However, the former Iranian citizen and author who has shared his story in his biography, “Escaping Islam,” says the community is willing to extend an olive branch.

“We have given a pledge of friendship to the imam. We say, ‘If you really claim that you’re a moderate and inclined to moderation in Islam,’ sign it,” Bakh said.

However, he continued with some harsh words of clarification.

“Don’t say you’re a moderate Muslim if you’re going to preach the same hatred from the Quran and Islam and Shariah law. He has to sign it and build a pledge of friendship,” Bakh stated.

The olive branch isn’t only for the imam at the Temecula Valley project.

“We would love to have all the imams across the country in the United States sign it, acknowledge it, that you’re a moderate. The reason is simple. In Islam, there is no moderation. You may find a moderate Muslim, but you cannot [find] moderation within the religion that they claim,” Bakh explained.

“We in California, in America, because we want the people to understand more, we have organized a night of education on September 20 at 7 p.m. We have invited several hundred people to come and understand the truth of our position, to understand what we think Islam and the mosque should be and what they want to use the mosque for. That’s two different things,” Bakh continued.

“In my past, I have been a Muslim apostate and wrote about it in my book, ‘Escaping Islam,'” he added.

“In Islam there are five pillars of Islam. If you believe in the five pillars, you’re a Muslim. Those five pillars have nothing to do with the background, has nothing to do with wife-beating, has nothing to do with Shariah,” Bakh stated.

“We are concerned that they are going to preach hate. That’s why they’re not calling it a mosque, they’re calling it an Islamic Education Center. What they’re going to teach is hate, and killing the infidel,” Bakh asserted.

Bakh stated in an interview with Southern California Public Radio that he favors taking away civil liberties from Muslims as long as they promote values contrary to the U. S. Constitution.

The proposed Islamic Education Center will go before a city planning board in November.

A proposed mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn., has attracted media attention because the project has been greeted with organized protests. Mosque opponents say they don’t want the 15-acre site to be a training center for militants who may go on suicide bomb missions.

One report alleges that anti-mosque feeling may have been the motive for an act of arson earlier this month at the proposed mosque site. Federal authorities are offering a $20,000 reward for information on the alleged arson.

Other mosques around the country have been getting similar attention, although the levels of opposition vary.

A source in St. Joseph, Mo., who does not want to be identified says the proposed mosque project in that community isn’t drawing public protests. The opposition in the Missouri city about an hour north of Kansas City is coming mostly from blog posts and e-mail campaigns.

Another mosque opened in the affluent Philadelphia suburb of Berwyn, Pa. The Washington Post reported that the Pennsylvania mosque has good relations with its neighbors and opened with little, if any, attention from the media.

The stories of cordial relationships would seem to counter the aggressive anti-mosque position of the protesters. However, the stories of peace and harmony between the mosque and the community don’t seem to square with reality.

American Family Association policy analyst Bryan Fischer says 80 percent of the mosques being built are funded by Middle Eastern money. Most are also acting as training academies.

Read more:

Islam’s tentacles enveloping U.S.

Egypt official: U.S. president claims to be Muslim

WND

Quote from foreign minister stirs up tempest

An Egyptian foreign service official’s comment about President Obama is turning into a sensation among bloggers for its claim that the American leader claims to be Muslim.

Obama’s religiosity has been the subject of discussion since before he was elected and his Chicago-area pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, delivered a “God d— America” sermon that was caught on video.

Obama later claimed to be a Muslim in a television interview where the interviewer corrected his “misstatement” and he has referenced the Muslim heritage in America’s past several times.

Now the heat on the issue is being turned up because of a weeks-old report in Israel Today.

In the report, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit was quoted as saying during an appearance on Nile TV that, “The American president told me in confidence that he is a Muslim.”

The White House remained silent on the comment, declining to respond to a WND request for comment.

But blogger Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs wrote, “This is akin to an SS officer getting elected president during WW II. Every country in the free world must be cognizant of such a catastrophic sea change in the leadership of the free world (as witnessed by events over the past year). This changes everything. He took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, and yet he has gone around the world promoting Islam, the Shariah (Islamic law).”

She suggested that the exchange could have happened early in 2010 when Gheit was in Washington, D.C., to address “Mideast peace talks.”

Obama’s comments from before the 2008 election:

The Israel Today report, from late in April, focused on the “crisis” in relations between Jerusalem and Washington under Obama.

It quotes sources who called Obama a “strategic catastrophe” for Israel.

They expressed concern, speaking on condition of anonymity to the newspaper, that Obama’s administration is a serious threat to the future of Israel.

The report then said Israelis feel Obama is “appeasing” Muslims at the expense of Israel.

“‘The American president told me in confidence that he is a Muslim,’ said Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit on Nile TV. That could explain why Obama has instructed that the term ‘Islamic extremism’ no longer be used in official government documents and statements,” according to the report.

There was no independent verification of the statement attributed to Gheit.

But a video has been assembled by a group called Feel the Change Media highlighting Obama’s numerous remarks about Islam:

It has been viewed more than two million times already.

It was last year when Toby Harden, of the Daily Telegraph, cited Obama’s statement that the U.S. is “one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.”

Obama had said, he quoted, “if you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we’ be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.”

Obama also previously said in Turkey that Americans “do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation.”

That prompted members of Congress to disagree. At that time a bipartisan group of 25 members of the House of Representatives submitted H.Res. 397, which calls on Congress to affirm “the rich spiritual and religious history of our nation’s founding and subsequent history” and to designate the first week of May as America’s Spiritual Heritage Week for “the appreciation of and education on America’s history of religious faith.”

Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., specifically challenged the president’s claims that America is not a Christian nation in a news conference announcing the bill immediately following a National Day of Prayer observance.

“The overwhelming evidence suggests that this nation was born and birthed with Judeo-Christian principles,” Forbes told reporters, “and I would challenge anybody to tell me that point in time when we ceased to be so, because it doesn’t exist.”

During a June 2007 speech available on Youtube, Obama stated, “Whatever we once were, we’re no longer a Christian nation. At least not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.”

In that speech, Obama took aim at the “Christian Right” for “hijacking” religion and using it to divide the nation:

“Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart. It got hijacked. Part of it’s because of the so-called leaders of the Christian Right, who’ve been all too eager to exploit what divides us,” he said.

Geller suggested perhaps other evidence should be considered as well, listing how Obama in early 2009 declared the “war on terror” over, suggested discussions with Hamas and recruited more Muslims for the White House staff.

He also created the Outreach to the Worldwide Muslim community in the State department, announces cuts in the U.S. nuclear arsenal, offered funding to a Muslim technology fund, issued a special hajj message, had a “non-religious” Christmas, ordered NASA to work with Muslim nations and offered support for an anti-Israel resolution at the U.N.

“This is one hellacious argument and anyone not lobotomized by liberalism can see Obama’s an agent of Islam inside the wire,” said one participant in Geller’s forum page.

Moscow alarmed by Chinese maneuvers

Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin

Moscow's Red Square Military Might

Moscow, which conspicuously left out any mention of China’s growing influence and power in its newly adopted military doctrine, is revealing the depth of its alarm, however, through its trade and business decisions, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

The new doctrine takes aim at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which Moscow identifies as a threat due to its eastward expansion ambitions. But a glance at the trade balance sheets between Moscow and Beijing and other business decisions reveals an equal concern is developing there.

Not only are trade channels drying up, the Kremlin is planning an uptick in military exercises this year focusing on the Far East and also is reaching out to enhance its relationship with nations that surround China, signaling a possible containment policy toward Beijing.

Russia recently agreed to sell a dozen Su-30 top-of-the-line fighter aircraft to Vietnam, in addition to an increase in other arms exports such as the recent Vietnamese purchase of six Russian Kilo submarines.

A key analyst has concluded that while Moscow’s policy doesn’t directly mention China, it includes references to the nation because of its mention of a “real possibility of military conflict.” The alarm follows China’s training program for what would appear to be an invasion of Russia.

Further, Russian-Chinese trade last year fell some 31.8 percent from 2008, to only $38.8 billion.

For the complete report and full immediate access to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, subscribe now.

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Ex-Mossad chief: Israel can hit Iran without U.S. OK

WND

‘A nuclear Tehran with the present regime is a threat of survival scale’

Shabtai Shavit, Ex-Mossad chief

JERUSALEM – Israel does not need American permission to strike Iran, said Shabtai Shavit, former chief of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, in an exclusive interview with Aaron Klein, WND’s Jerusalem bureau chief.

Asked whether Israel must coordinate with the U.S. on any future military actions against Iran’s nuclear facilities, Shavit replied, “I don’t think that Israel needs American permission when it comes to the survival of Israel.”

“But I would expect Israel to try to coordinate such a move if push comes to shove,” Shavit said.

Shavit, who traditionally shies away from news media interviews, was speaking during an interview on New York’s WABC Radio with Klein, who hosts a weekend show on station.

Shavit posited that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s declaration last week that his country is a nuclear state “proves that the international strategy addressing the nuclear threat until today was completely wrong.”

Shavit said he doesn’t see a consensus materializing to push through the crippling sanctions that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been lobbying for.

Shavit did suggest, however, strong sanctions may still work to dissuade Iran from forging ahead with its nuclear ambitions.

“If there is a consensus among the U.S., Europe, Russia and China, I believe it is still possible to convince the Iranians that for them the price that they will have to pay for achieving the nuclear ways is prohibitive for them,” he said.

Asked by Klein whether Israel should strike Iran if sanctions failed and Tehran pressed ahead with its uranium enrichment program, Shavit replied, “I wouldn’t like to elaborate too much about this section, but I will only say that a nuclear Iran with the present regime of the extremists’ fanaticism – this is a threat of a survival scale.”

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China’s idiotic stance at Munich security conference

CSM

In front of 300 diplomats, including senior US officials, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said the US was violating international law by a proposed arms sale to Taiwan, and defended Chinese TV and radio as more reliable than Western media.

Why do China sell weapons to failed states like North Korea or Burma or Iran?

China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi is welcomed by Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Conference on Security Friday before the start of the 46th Conference on Security Policy in Munich. Speaking with uncharacteristic bluntness, Mr. Yang accused the US of violating international law with its proposed arms sale to Taiwan.

By Robert Marquand

Munich, Germany

Today Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi, speaking with unusual bluntness in front of 300 leading diplomats – including senior US officials – here in Munich publicly stated that China is getting stronger on the international stage. He said the US was violating international law by a proposed arms sale to Taiwan, offered that China’s TV and radio news service contains “more solid” and reliable news than Western media, and that China is not ready to address sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program, stating instead that the Islamic Republic “has not totally closed the door on the IAEA.”

Transatlantic – meet the Pacific.

Foreign Minister Yang is the first Chinese official to speak at the annual Munich Security Conference, the premier transatlantic security meeting, in its 46 year history. He turned heads in the group at a time when the People’s Republic and the US have come to loggerheads over Taiwan arms sales, Internet freedom, currency rates, and climate policy coming out of the Copenhagen meeting in December.

“I haven’t heard a high-ranking Chinese official say, ‘Yes, we are strong,’ in a public setting before,” said a senior German diplomat. “It was a very assertive message, different, and it means we will soon see a different Chinese policy.”

Mr. Yang, a former ambassador to the US and highly respected, gave a somewhat conventional speech – though in a strong voice. He affirmed that China is both a developed and a developing country, that it seeks “win-win solutions,” and that it is preparing for greater “shared responsibilities” on the world stage – and that it played a transformative role in helping avert a global financial crisis in the past year.

Yet during three probing follow-up questions, Yang mopped his brow repeatedly in answering on Taiwan, cyberspace, and China’s position on Iran’s nuclear program, which he earlier admitted was “at a crucial stage.”

“Does China feel stronger? Yes,” he said as questions opened.

Regarding a proposed US $6.4 billion package of arms for Taiwan introduced in recent weeks by the Obama administration, and which China has for the first time threatened retaliatory sanctions on US firms that supply arms – Yang called it a “violation of the code of conduct among nations” by the US, said China has “every reason to feel indignant about this thing,” and added that Beijing has a “sovereign right to do what is necessary” in response.

He went on to say China is “totally against hacking attacks…I don’t know how this Google thing has popped up” – in response to a question about cyberspace. At a time when the American search engine giant has said it may leave China after repeated hacks on human rights workers, and British intelligence has reported official Chinese espionage against business travelers, Yang said that “China is a victim” of hacking.

The cyberspace answers were prefaced with polemics on the virtues of Chinese news gathering. The Chinese people have better news than members of the western public, and “freedom of speech is what we advocate,” Yang said, adding that with 15 million Chinese traveling abroad every year, “the Chinese people are well informed.” Yang also said that while foreign companies were free to enter China, and that many had done well there, they still must submit to Chinese laws, “and what is in the best interest of China.”

China’s presence at the 48-hour Munich conference, hosted by German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger, and that will include US National Security Advisor James Jones, follows a robust Chinese presence at the annual Davos conference in Switzerland, where China rented one of the most splendid villas – used in the past by Microsoft.

Gary Smith, director of the American Academy in Berlin, said that Yuan’s assertive speech did not contain the kind of direct dynamite that Vladimir Putin’s address here did in 2007, when Russia’s then-president affirmed that Russia would taking a newly assertive role on the world stage. But Yuan’s comments nonetheless would be felt strongly here, Smith said: “Europeans have been terrified by this kind of moment…they’ve been obsessed by the rise of China and India.

“[Yuan’s remarks] tells this group that the hard work of Atlantic consensus on global issues can be negligible if the Chinese don’t agree to play ball.”

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Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad: an astonishingly bold stand

CSM

The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback says he stands up for what he believes. Even so, the Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad against abortion threatens to politicize ‘Super Sunday’ and turn some fans and NFL coaches against him.

In this Jan. 1 photo, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow stands on the sidelines during the Sugar Bowl football game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.

By Patrik Jonsson

Atlanta

In a historic career at the University of Florida, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow has kept his faith and his convictions confined mostly to a few square inches beneath his eyes: Every Saturday, he would write a Biblical citation on his eye black.

Now, at the very moment when his hope of becoming a pro football quarterback hangs in the balance, Tim Tebow is taking on perhaps the single most divisive topic in America – abortion – in an advertisement set to air during the single most-watched television program of the year: the Super Bowl.

For a handsome and humble young man, who has become revered throughout much of the South for his devoutness as well as his on-field skill, it is an astonishingly bold decision. In the 30-second ad against abortion, he will speak from his own experience of how his mother did not abort him despite medical advice to do so.

Abortion-rights groups are already calling for the ad’s removal, saying that the group behind the ad is “anti-woman” and “anti-equality.” Online chatter is expressing an unease about Tebow’s willingness to infuse Super Bowl Sunday – an apolitical American rite – with politics. And, perhaps most concerning for Tebow himself, pro football teams already skeptical of his ability to transition to the National Football League might see this as further reason to avoid him on draft day.

“I do stand up for what I believe,” Tebow told Sports Illustrated last summer. “And at least you can respect that.”

Tebow’s story

Raised on a farm outside Jacksonville, Fla., by the son of an evangelist preacher and a mom who home-schooled him, Tebow is an amalgam of charismatic leader, world-class athlete, and devout Christian Southern boy. His faith resonates among fans in the Deep South.

But by targeting the Super Bowl, his “Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life” ad ranges far beyond the familiar confines of the conservative South. Fans and coaches in the NFL might resent him for pushing a cultural message on a day usually reserved for quarterback matchups and halftime extravaganzas.

“We’re going down a road here that is filled with potholes, moral and otherwise,” writes Orlando Sentinel sports columnist George Diaz, suggesting that the ad could lead to more advocacy ads, which Super Bowl broadcaster CBS has said it will consider.

The ad, funded by the Focus on the Family organization, is expected to tell the story of Tebow and his mother, Pam. Ill while pregnant with Tim, Pam refused suggestions to abort her son. Those who have seen the ad describe it as “uplifting.”

“I asked God for a preacher, and he gave me a quarterback,” Tebow’s dad, Bob, has famously said about the trying pregnancy.

The appropriate venue?

But various groups, including the National Organization for Women, have called for CBS to withdraw the ad. They say that both the ad’s advocacy content, as well as the group behind it are unacceptable. So far, CBS has said it intends to run the ad.

“This un-American hate doesn’t have a place in this all-American pastime,” Kierra Johnson, executive director of Choice USA, told Fox News.

Tebow has for years had to walk the line between the conviction of his faith and open proselytizing. But the ad comes at a crossroads for Tebow. Professional scouts have said Tebow’s throwing motion and skill-set are poorly suited for the NFL, and his preparations for the upcoming Senior Bowl, which offers coaches a first up-close look at college prospects, haven’t gone well so far this week.

“The anti-abortion ad that he’s in that will possibly run during the Super Bowl will likely create an uproar for him as well that some teams might not want to get involved in,” writes Mark Miller on Yahoo! Sports.

Yet it is the timing of his ad – and not necessarily the content – that could knock Tebow down a few notches among NFL fans. Indeed, a May 2009 Gallup poll found that, for the first time since the poll began in 1995, more Americans are anti-abortion than pro-abortion rights. But timing is everything.

“There are going to be about 100 million of us who won’t be happy for 30 seconds of the Super Bowl,” writes CBS Sports’ Gregg Doyel. “I’m not complaining about the ad because it’s anti-abortion and I’m not. I’m complaining about the ad because it’s pro-politics. And I’m not. Not on Super Sunday.”

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Kurt Warner: Jesus Brought Me Here

CHRISTIAN POST

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner announces his retirement from football Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 at the Cardinals' training facility in Tempe, Ariz.

Outspoken Christian Quarterback Kurt Warner announced his retirement from the National Football League on Friday, thanking God for the opportunities he received both on and off the field.

“As always, as it started in 1999 when I was up on the podium holding up a trophy, the first thing I want to do is give thanks to God,” Warner said during a press conference in Tempe, Ariz., referring to his widely-heard shot out to the Almighty following his Super Bowl win with the St. Louis Rams.

“My Lord Jesus brought me here. I know he brought me here for a purpose. And it’s been an amazing ride,” he added.

Though Hall of Fame-bound Warner stands out as one of the top quarterbacks in NFL history – with an impressive list of achievements that includes three MVP awards, a Super Bowl win, and the second-highest completion percentage in NFL history – Warner is most noted for his King David-esque rise to stardom, which was twice witnessed.

Not only did Warner go from stocking shelves at a grocery store in 1994 to a winning a Super Bowl in 2000, he also returned to the spotlight after his time appeared to be up, leading the Arizona Cardinals to the franchises’ first-ever Super Bowl in 2009.

“I don’t think I could have dreamt out that it would have played out as it had. But I’ve been humbled everyday that I’ve woke up for the last 12 years and amazed that God would choose to use me to do what He’s given me the opportunity to do over 12 years,” Warner said Friday.

But the one-time Super Bowl MVP made it clear that the opportunities he was given were not only on the football field. For him, it’s not just about the successes and the Super Bowls and the wins and the losses.

“[I]t’s also been the opportunities that He (God)’s given to me off the football field,” Warner stated.

Since his rise to stardom, Warner has been a featured speaker across the country for numerous churches, non-profit organizations, men’s conferences, and corporate events.

Warner’s work both on and off the field, meanwhile, resulted in him being awarded the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2008 and the Muhammad Ali Sports Leadership Award in 2009. Warner was also selected by USA Weekend as the winner of its annual Most Caring Athlete Award for 2009 and, just last month, topped a Sports Illustrated poll of NFL players to name the best role model on and off the field in the NFL.

First Things First Foundation, a non-profit public charity that he and his wife established in 2001, has been involved with numerous projects for causes such as children’s hospitals, people with developmental disabilities and assisting single parents.

“So I hope that when people think back over my career – maybe it’s just over the next couple of weeks as they reflect on it or maybe it’s years to come – that that’s what they remember more than anything else,” Warner said Friday.

“Not the way I threw the football, not particular games that I won. But that they remember that here’s a guy that believed, that worked hard, and – although things didn’t always go in his favor – he continued to press through. And with his faith in himself and with his faith in God, he was able to accomplish great things,” he concluded.

As for his future plans, Warner said earlier at the press conference that he’s just as excited about the next 12 years as he has the past “12 unbelievable years – 12 of the best years of my life.”

“I’m excited about what lies in front of me. I’m excited about spending more time with my family and seeing what God’s going to do next,” he reported.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Warner will keep his charitable foundation going, perhaps do some speaking, writing, ministry work, and maybe some football analyst work on TV or radio.

First Things First Foundation, which draws its name from Warner’s famed post-Super Bowl response in 2000, is dedicated to impacting lives by promoting Christian values, sharing experiences and providing opportunities “to encourage everyone that all things are possible when people seek to put first things first.”

The charity’s guiding principle is Matthew 6:33, which states “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

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NATO member aligning itself with Russia

Move by Turkey gives Putin way to keep treaty organization at arm’s length

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND. Subscriptions are $99 a year or, for monthly trials, just $9.95 per month for credit card users, and provide instant access for the complete reports.

As Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, turns away from its Western links, it is aligning itself more and more with Iran, Syria and Russia, especially because of its quickly developing energy and trade connections to the central part of what was the old Soviet Union, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

From a strategic standpoint, the development gives Moscow an opportunity to further undermine a plan by NATO to spread its security arrangement further east in a region Moscow considers to be its sphere of influence.

During a recent visit to Moscow to meet with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed multi-billion dollar agreements on trade and energy.

While both parties agreed to increase trade from the current $35 billion to $100 billion within the next five years, the most significant development was an agreement in their strategic relationship on energy cooperation.

In addition to concessions on various pipelines between the two countries, Erdogan pledged to pursue Russian construction and operation of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant.

Keep in touch with the most important breaking news stories about critical developments around the globe with Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium, online intelligence news source edited and published by the founder of WND.

The Turks were left with little choice but to involve Russia more in its energy future, given that Turkey imports some 70 percent of its natural gas from Russia.

That dependency also gives the Russians considerable political and economic leverage over Ankara and increases Moscow’s influence over Europe’s energy future through greater control of existing and proposed pipelines that provide European countries with more than 40 percent of their energy needs.

Various pipelines with Turkish participation as a gate to the West, however, are but one source of control Russia is exhibiting over the Turks.

The more significant one is Russia’s proposal to construct and operate Turkey’s first nuclear power plant.

Erdogan and Putin signed a commitment to construct the nuclear power plant, even though there is some domestic opposition due to the existing heavy reliance on Russia for energy.

The plant is to be built on the Mediterranean coast near Akkuyu. A consortium to construct the nuclear power plant includes Russia’s Atomstroyexport, Inter Rao Eus and Turkey’s Park Teknik.

Putin said that Russia had “significant advantages over the competition” to build the nuclear plant in Turkey. In one sense, he was alluding to the virtual energy grip Moscow enjoys over Ankara.

For the complete report and full immediate access to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, subscribe now.

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Exposed: Saudi Arabia’s secret nuke stash

WND

Riyadh ‘confident’ it has an atomic option

Pakistani missiles on display in Karachi in 2008.

By Aaron Klein

JERUSALEM – Pakistan’s nuclear weapons project was partially financed by Saudi Arabia, with the two countries sharing nuclear technology, a senior Egyptian security official told WND.

“The Saudis are confident they have a nuclear option via Pakistan,” said the security official. “The Pakistani nukes are also Saudi nukes.”

The official said an agreement between the two countries was secretly inked seven years ago, although at the time such a pact was strongly denied by both Saudi and Pakistani officials.

Pakistan in the late 1990s became the seventh country to successfully develop and test nuclear weapons. The Pakistani arsenal is estimated at between 35 and 95 warheads, according to the U.S. Navy Center for Contemporary Conflict.

Analysts have been keeping a close eye on the rise of Islamic militants in provinces close to Pakistan’s nuclear facilities.

Saudi-Pakistan cooperation has been extensive for decades. The two are both leading Islamic countries with close military alliances. As early as 1969, the Pakistan Air Force flew the aircraft of the Royal Saudi Air Force to help fend off an invasion from South Yemen. In the 1970s and 1980s, about 15,000 Pakistani soldiers were stationed in Saudi Arabia to protect the country’s oil fields.

According to recent media reports, Saudi Arabia negotiated the purchase of Pakistani ballistic missiles that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

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