unconfirmed report that Russia pulled all its technicians out of Bushehr
the ever unreliable DEBKA is passing along a report from Iranian opposition group that the Russians pulled their technical people out of the almost completed Busher nuclear reactor in Iran this weekend
DEBKA floats a lot of false rumours (the USS Nimitz, for example, is back in San Diego this weekend, not in the Persian Gulf as DEBKA claimed recently), so big pinch of salt on this.
If true, they speculate 1) Russian-Iran relations broke down - one possibility is the Russians made a deal to support UN sanctions which would preclude further work and got their people out in advance - but as they note, Putin is due to visit Iran later this week
2) Russians learned Iran is about to do something stupid - they did visit Turkey about Israeli overflights and made silly noises about Syria and Israel relations. But Iran has nothing to gain from initiating any new action...
3) Russian learned the US is about to do something very silly - conceivable, but I don't believe the US would tell Russia and I'm skeptical Russia would telegraph intelligence capabilities if they found out. On the other hand there was the very strange report in the UK press about USAF co-ordinating overflight and air defence with Jordan and UAE.
The buzz on Iran is definitely up, but the US does not seem to have the assets in place to actually do much, and not likely they could until spring (which plays into the theory that the White House will want to kick over the applecart after the primaries, basically make the election a toss-up (they think) and, more importantly, leave a legacy that ties the next President's hands.
I still think the White House would like to attack Iran, and think that they can get away with just a short sharp air attack - they may even think it'd collapse the Iranian government as opposed to consolidate and radicalise them - but they may not be able to. Obvious time to do it now is April/May '08 - except in so far that you want surprise attacks to be at the least obvious time, eh?
During the September 6 raid, the Israelis managed to shut down Syria's Russian-made air defence system. If Bushehr is guarded by the same systems, I wouldn't want to be there either.
Fortunately there are no gay people in Iran to be harmed...
We don't know what happened in Syria. Had they shoot Israeli planes, Israel might have claimed it as a casus belli.
Hezbollah's incursion in Israel was smaller than this one and it was enough to star the war. Perhaps Syria has now the right to destroy northern Israeli infrastructure and kill a thousand people? Well, of course not but the Western double standards really do suck.
Ahmadinejad didn't say there's no gays in Iran, he said there are no gays like in the US. At this rate, Ahmadinejad will soon become the most ill-quoted person in history.