Two big stories might suddenly be leaning pro-Obama after all – before the third and last presidential debate tomorrow on foreign policy:
First, CIA support Susan Rice on Benghazi (WaPo):
The Romney campaign may have misfired with its suggestion that statements by President Obama and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice about the Benghazi attack last month weren’t supported by intelligence, according to documents provided by a senior U.S. intelligence official.
Then, Iran agrees to nuclear talks (NyTimes):
WASHINGTON — The United States and Iran have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, according to Obama administration officials, setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran.
Iran’s economy collapsing.. unidentified drones over Israel… Turkey attacking Syria..
This could be nothing… but a crises now might be difficult to manage..
Turkey strikes back after Syria shelling – Middle East – Al Jazeera English:
Mortar rounds launched in retaliation after Syrian shells land in border town of Akcakale.
Syrian troops on Sunday pressed their offensive to retake rebel-held areas in Homs [AFP]
Turkey’s military has fired numerous artillery rounds into Syria in immediate retaliation after a shell fired from Syria landed in the Turkish border town of Akcakale.
The Syrian shell landed in the grounds of a public building on Sunday and there were no casualties, Abdulhakim Ayhan, the mayor of Akcakale, told reporters.
“Thank God there were no victims. Turkish artillery immediately responded to the shots that came from Syria,” Ayhan said.
There was minor damage to the building, which had been previously evacuated, Turkish media said.
It was the second time that Turkey returned fire on Syrian army positions since Syrian shelling killed five civilians in Akcakale on Wednesday. (…)
Who knows what this was… but tensions seems to be rising again..
Israel downs unidentified drone – Middle East – Al Jazeera English:
Spokeswoman for the military says Israeli systems on ground alerted the air force to the drone as it flew over Gaza.
Israel has shot down drones entering its airspace in the past but such cases are rare [Reuters]
Israeli jets scrambled to intercept a drone that crossed into Israeli airspace from the Mediterranean Sea, bringing it down without incident in the south of the country, a military spokeswoman said.
Lieutenant-Colonel Avital Leibovich said Israeli systems on the ground alerted the air force to the drone Saturday morning. She said it flew over the Gaza Strip but did not originate from the Palestinian territory.
She said Israel did not know the drone’s starting point and an investigation was under way. Nobody was hurt in the incident.
Leibovich did not give more details, but Israel media reported that the aircraft was not carrying explosives and could have been a surveillance drone.
Leibovich said the operation was successful and the military was in control throughout.
“We had monitoring contact from the ground and from the air,” she said. (…)
A hedge fund person makes the argument… that the sanctions on Iran used to be toothless…. because they didn’t go for the oil flow..
But now that Iraq has risen their production from 2 to 3.4 million barrels/day… making harsh sanctions on Iran less costly.. the screw is tightened… possibly causing the sudden collapse in their currency… and unrest might quickly follow…
Why is Iran’s Currency Collapsing Now?:
Daniel Cloud is a founding partner of two hedge funds who manages also to find time to teach philosophy at Princeton. He is a shrewd observer of international markets. I asked him why he thought the Iranian currency was collapsing now. His answer is surprising – but highly convincing.
For many years, the sanctions on Iran weren’t effective. They weren’t very serious sanctions, because the outside world was willing to do everything except… actually interrupt the flow of oil, the only thing that would have made a difference. The two sides disliked each other, but were dependent on each other, so they attacked each other in relatively minor ways, while continuing to do business.
This latest round of sanctions, however, which included cutting Iran off from the global payments system, really has been serious, so serious that Turkey has been forced to pay for Iranian oil with gold. But why? What is it that suddenly caused the West to change its behavior? New worries about Iranian nuclear progress? The problem with that explanation is that hawks have been saying a bomb was imminent for decades. Some renewed enthusiasm for an actual war with Iran, on the part of people like Hilary Clinton? Hard to believe. The real reason the West intensified sanctions was that they could, because the potential political costs of removing Iranian oil from the market have fallen dramatically with the recent increase of production in Iraq.
Iraqi production has gone from a low of less than two million barrels of oil a day at the height of the war, to almost 3.4 million barrels a day this September. The Iraqis have a target of 4 million barrels a day by 2014, which – given the way things have gone in the last year – they are quite likely to meet and perhaps exceed. The increase of 1.5 m barrels/day that has already occurred neatly matches the decline of about 1.5 m barrels/a day that has occurred in Iranian exports over the last year. Since the West could always quietly abandon sanctions if things went badly wrong in Iraq, serious sanctions on Iran have gone from being impossible, to being almost costless, as a result of the success of the Iraqi reconstruction program. While the public narrative in American politics casts Iraq as South Vietnam and Iran as North Vietnam, making the Iranians the main beneficiaries of the war, in fact that scary old story has nothing at all to do with Iraq or Iran, and the actual outcome of the war, for the Iranians, has been disaster.
Another great set of Middle East pics from Simples Regards:
Travelling Egypt - from Cairo to Aswan. Photo: Mélissa Rahmouni
Posted in Blog
Tagged cairo, egypt, green, middle-east, mideast, news, palms, photography, pics, simples regards, sun
The RQ-170, allegedly shot down in Iran.
Maybe this is how warfare has become in our times… Tiny operations, small bombs, a little here, a little there – and a lot of cyberattacks and economical battles in the shadows.
And maybe… these enormous defense budgets for military equipment gradually will become a thing of the past.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s armed forces have shot down an unmanned U.S. spy plane that violated Iranian airspace along the country’s eastern border, the official IRNA news agency reported Sunday.
An unidentified military official quoted in the report warned of a strong and crushing response to any violations of the country’s airspace by American drone aircraft.
“An advanced RQ-170 unmanned American spy plane was shot down by Iran’s armed forces. It suffered minor damage and is now in possession of Iran’s armed forces,” IRNA quoted the official as saying.