Sunday, July 22, 2007

Ahmadinejad to Syria: We'll Buy You Arms, if You'll Never Make Peace with Israel

Iran President Imajihadi (or whatever his name is) has promised Syria's Assad military funding if Syria avoids entering into a peace agreement with Israel. Some important quotes:

The two leaders signed a comprehensive agreement on strategic cooperation between Tehran and Damascus, according to which Iran will transfer a billion dollars to Syria for the purchase of 400 advanced T-72 Russian tanks, 18 MiG-31 warplanes, eight Sukhoi fighter jets and eight Mikoyan helicopters.

In addition, Iran will help Syria set up a mid-range missile manufacturing plant and equip the Syrian army with Iranian-made armored vehicles and tanks.

The deal states that the Syrian navy will receive C-801 and C-802 missiles, which were developed by China and are currently being produced also in Iran, as well as training for its air force and navy officers in Iran. Tehran will also assist Syria in developing a nuclear research program and advance its biological weapons capabilities.

And then, there's this part:

In return for Iran’s military assistance and its promise to back Syria on the Lebanon issue, Assad pledged not to enter peace talks with Israel. According to the agreement, Ahmadinejad will exert his influence to prevent the Lebanese parliament from convening to elect a new president to replace Emile Lahoud, who will be stepping down in the coming weeks.

Ahmadinejad also committed to continue working toward toppling Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s government.

Finally, a little bit more on Imajihadi's ominous references to the summer (of which there's not much left, admittedly):

Asked about the possibility of another war breaking out in the region, the Iranian president replied, 'We hope the summer will bring victories to the region's nations and failures to their enemies.' He refused to elaborate.

China's Future: Capitalism or Collapse

An interesting read on China and its economic and politica future. Nothing mind-boggling here, but still insightful. Worth a quick read.*

*And yes, I do realize my title reads a bit into the story.

North Korea Adds to Demands for Promises

I knew it wouldn't be long before North Korea started asking for more in "exchange" (in quotes, because that word actually has a meaning) for promising to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. This time it's light-water nuclear reactors.

I wonder what they'll ask for next. It's a scene out of the Sopranos, the classic protectionist racket. Except they're the ones who need protecting, not us--and we just don't seem to realize it.

An Inspirational Cover for Atlas Shrugged

Speaking of Atlas Shrugged, here's a great potential piece of cover art for a future version of Ayn Rand's seminal novel. By John Cox of Cox and Forkum.

Vin Diesel Loves Ayn Rand

Celebrity Report: Apparently, Vin Diesel's favorite book is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I always liked the guy, and now he's on the most favored celebrity list.

Are Things with Russia Really Heating Up?

This story is definitely more pro-Putin than it is pro-American (maybe completely so?), but it does bring up the interesting point about the meeting between Kissinger and a host of other once important American dignitaries with Putin last week.

What's fascinating about it is that the meeting really did receive very little press. I remember hearing a bit about it, but not much.

Things keep getting more and more interesting.

With or Without Pakistan's Support, We Need to Destory al Qaeda

I'd be happy if Pakistan's Musharraf helped us in rooting out al Qaeda. But, I'd be just as happy if we told him, in the kindest terms, "Pardon us, but we're going to come in and do a little housecleaning. Hope you don't mind."

As this New York Times story contends, one of the reason 9/11 happened is because we didn't invade Afghanistan and destroy al Qaeda beforehand. I suggest that we don't make the same mistake twice.

If the Pakistanis don't like it, then I suppose it's something we'll have to live with. But certainly, Musharraf needs us just as much as, if not more than, we need him.

A Real Media Piece on Ron Paul

Here's the first major media piece on Ron Paul that I've personally run across, in the New York Times. If I didn't like the guy before, here's a quote that seals the deal for me:

During a May debate in South Carolina, he suggested the 9/11 attacks could be attributed to United States policy. “Have you ever read about the reasons they attacked us?” he asked, referring to one of Osama bin Laden’s communiqu├ęs. “They attack us because we’ve been over there. We’ve been bombing Iraq for 10 years.”

Anyone who takes a letter from Osama bin Laden and uses it to formulate policy should hold no office, let alone President. The fact that he was once Libertarian candidate for President doesn't surprise me, and is just as nauseating.

It's a good thing the guy has no chance of winning.

Digg Report

Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at 3805 Diggs, is a link to some game involving a can of beans. I didn't take the time to figure out the trick.*

*I also apologize for the lack of a Digg Report yesterday. Just slipped my mind.

US Should Grant Visas to Helpful Iraqis

It seems reasonable to grant refugee status to Iraqis helping us in Iraq. I'm not sure what the problem is, and I certainly hope it's not due to Bush wanting to avoid further signs of failure.

It reminds me (vaguely, because nothing can really approach it) of our abandoning the Iraqis who rose up against Hussein following the first Gulf War, after we promised to provide them with support. Let's hope it's just a matter of like father, like son.

Turkey Votes on its Future - And Ours

Turkey has a lot to do with what happens in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East. And so, this Parliamentary vote will likely be vital to determining a number of important issues.

How Turkey responds to the Kurds, whether or not Turkey becomes an Islamic state, and other important facets of Turkey's future are at stake. This deserves close watching.

Take-Two Exploits Murder in Video Game

Video games seem to become ever darker and more violent, rendering them in many cases no longer appropriate for the very market they target (or, any market, for that matter, except the twisted and psychotic). It's as if Disney started making animations with little snippets of porn in them (we'll set aside the flatulance and other items of simple poor taste that grace kid's movies lately).

This one, a "football" simulation that includes O.J. Simpson as a player and features a trailer with a knife-wielding hooded "mascot" goes as far as any. Worse, even, because although the Grand Theft Auto series feature some of the worst elements (pimps, prostitutes, theft, etc.), they're at least all fictional.

There's nothing innocent or innocuous about this. It's pure exploitation, and I hope the company that made it (Take-Two) gets ground into the dirt.