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from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

India, Pakistan and Afghanistan: the impossible triangle

A single paragraph in General Stanley McChrystal's leaked assessment of the war in Afghanistan has generated much interest, particularly in Pakistan.

"Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan, including significant development efforts and financial investment," it says. "In addition the current Afghan government is perceived by Islamabad to be pro-Indian. While Indian activities largely benefit the Afghan people, increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani counter-measures in Afghanistan or India."

He did not say anything that anybody did not already know. Pakistan has long been wary of India's growing influence in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 and is seen as reluctant to turn against the Afghan Taliban and other insurgent groups as long as it believes it might need them to counter India. The fact that he said it all suggested a renewed focus on the relationship between India and Pakistan, whose confrontation to the east spilled long ago into rivalry over Afghanistan to the west.

Pakistan's Daily Times said in an editorial the rivalry between India and Pakistan in Afghanistan highlighted the need for peace talks between the two nuclear-armed neighbours, which have fought three full-scale wars since independence in 1947, two of them over Kashmir.

from Commentaries:

West raises stakes over Iran nuclear programme

big-3President Obama and the leaders of France and Britain have deliberately raised the stakes in the confrontation over Iran's nuclear programme by dramatising the disclosure that it is building a second uranium enrichment plant. Their shoulder-to-shoulder statements of resolve, less than a week before Iran opens talks with six major powers in Geneva, raised more questions than they answer.

It turns out that the United States has known for a long time (how long?) that Iran had been building the still incomplete plant near Qom. Did it share that intelligence with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, and if not, why not? Why did it wait until now, in the middle of a G20 summit in Pittsburgh, to make the announcement -- after Iran had notified the International Atomic Energy Authority of the plant's existence on Monday, after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had delivered a defiant speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday and after the Security Council had adopted a unanimous resolution calling for an end to the spread of nuclear weapons on Thursday?

from From Reuters.com:

Graphic: World nuclear arsenals

from AxisMundi Jerusalem:

The Iran question, again

med_iran

It seems last week’s focus, settlement expansion, has given way to this week’s prime focus: Might Israel attack Iran?

Last week the Arab media found Israel's refusal to cease settlement expansion unsurprising and affirmative of what they said was Israel's unwillingness to pursue a peace settlement with the Palestinians. An op-ed in Al Ahram Weekly, an English-language newspaper in Egypt, questioned the Arabs' ability to challenge Israel: “Will they have the courage to shift the focus back from the Israeli-instigated 'Iranian threat' to the clear and present Israeli danger to the region?"

from UK News:

Can Britain still afford nuclear weapons ?

BRITAIN-NUCLEAR/As the public spending axe starts swinging, attention inevitably turns northwards to the chilly waters of the Clyde where Britain's nuclear deterrent is based.

The four Vanguard class submarines which make up what is left of the UK deterrent come to the end of their lives around 2019 and their Trident missiles will need updating in the 2020s.

from The Great Debate UK:

Can Britain still afford nuclear weapons ?

[CROSSPOST blog: 19 post: 4040]

Original Post Text:
BRITAIN-NUCLEAR/As the public spending axe starts swinging, attention inevitably turns northwards to the chilly waters of the Clyde where Britain's nuclear deterrent is based.

The four Vanguard class submarines which make up what is left of the UK deterrent come to the end of their lives around 2019 and their Trident missiles will need updating in the 2020s.

from Commentaries:

Obama playing a weak hand with Iran

The announcement that the major powers, including the United States, are going to open talks with Iran on Oct. 1 ought to be a source of rejoicing. After all, isn't this what much of the world has been urging for several years, while the European Union conducted a frustrating, low-key dialogue like the warm-up band at a rock concert?

So why is there so little excitement about the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany sitting down at the table for comprehensive talks with the Islamic Republic?

from Global News Journal:

Less content, more Merkel in campaign posters

With two weeks to go before Germany holds an election, Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives have unveiled a new set of election posters, depicting Merkel, Merkel, and more Merkel.

Rather than campaigning on the issues highlighted in their election programmes, the Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) are keeping it simple and hoping to capitalise instead on the popularity of their leader, Germany's first female chancellor.

from Global News Journal:

Germany’s Greens trade in woolly sweaters for business suits

Having traded in their woolly sweaters, jeans and sandals for dapper suits and shiny shoes, Germany's Greens are ready for business, claiming that to be the "party that truly knows its economics".

The world's most successful environmental party is eager to get back into power at the federal election on Sept. 27 after a first stint in coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD) from 1998 to 2005.

from Global News Journal:

IAEA nations, but not Israel, fete El Baradei in sendoff

Some nations who once criticised Mohamed ElBaradei over his approach to Iran's disputed nuclear programme joined a roomful of effusive tributes to the outgoing chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency on Thursday.

But Israel, ElBaradei's most public and caustic critic, left its seat empty to sidestep the succession of delegations hailing the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, participants in the closed-door meeting said.

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