Sunday, September 4, 2011
Three Scud missiles flying from Iraq to Kuwait early Friday, Aug. 26 were launched by the Iran-backed Ketaeb Hizballah of Iraq, the first such attacks since the US invaded Iraq in 2003. It was also the first time any Middle East terrorist group had used Scud missiles.
They exploded on open ground, but debkafile's sources report that this round was meant as a warning for Kuwait to halt construction of the Grand Mubarak Port opposite the Iraqi shore - or else it would be followed by a massive volley.
In the second week of August, Kuwait massed troops on Boubiyan Island just across from Iraq to defend the huge $1.1 billion Grand Mubarak Port under construction there. The force was composed of Military Police of the Amoun Defense Organization, units of intelligence and air defense, the 35th Company, the 6th Brigade and naval forces.
This appeared to be rather a disproportionate reaction to Iraq's demand that Kuwait freeze construction of the Persian Gulf port until guarantees were provided that the new facility would not hinder the operations of Iraq's own planned harbor in the southern region of Basra. Iraq also fears it will block the main Persian Gulf gateway for its oil exports to reach the world's shipping lanes from the Shatt al-Arb.
A government spokesman in Baghdad demanded assurances that free and safe navigation would not be affected by the Kuwait port which is scheduled for completion in 2016.
This dispute did not account for Kuwait's heavy military deployment on its largest island.
What did is another factor DEBKA-Net- Weekly's military and intelligence sources reported on Aug. 12: A threat from the Iraqi Shiite radical Ketaeb Hizballah, an arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Al-Qods Brigades, trained by the Lebanese Hizballah, to strike the new port with Scud missiles, a threat they started carrying out this Friday.
This followed Tehran's discovery that Mubarak Port was also projected to house a large naval base to serve the fleets of Kuwait, the US and Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf, a project Iran is determined to put paid to by any means......read on
European Union governments have agreed to ban imports of Syrian oil and extended sanctions to seven new Syrian individuals and bodies to intensify pressure on President Bashar al-Assad's government.
The US, the EU and other western powers want Assad to end a violent five-month-old crackdown on pro-democracy protesters that the United Nations says has killed 2,000 civilians. But Assad shows no sign of heeding their calls for him to step down.
The EU has already banned Europeans from doing business with dozens of Syrian officials, government institutions and military-linked firms tied to the violence, but those measures seem to have had little influence on Assad's policy. Friday's steps are the first time the EU has targeted Syrian industry and the key oil sector, but analysts say the sanctions, which do not go as far as the investment ban imposed by the US last month, may have only a limited impact on Assad's access to funds.
"In view of the gravity of the situation in Syria, the council today further tightened the EU's sanctions against that country," EU governments said in a statement.
"The prohibition concerns purchase, import and transport of oil and other petroleum products from Syria," they said. The decision also expanded the list of people and entities subject to EU travel bans and asset freezes by seven, including four individuals.
The measures goes into effect on Saturday. But Italy has won an exemption on existing contracts, which can be fulfilled until 15 November, underscoring divisions in Europe over energy sanctions which have slowed the implementation of economic measures against Assad.
Italy defended its demand for a grace period, with its foreign minister, Franco Frattini, saying Italian firms needed time to adapt. "It is a technical request," Frattini told reporters. "Given that Italy imports 30% of all EU imports from Syria, we need … some weeks to comply with these sanctions, which we support and which obviously Italy had always called for."
Dutch foreign minister Uri Rosenthal argued that the sanctions would apply real pressure. "They will go straight to the heart of the regime. This will squeeze the regime," he said, but added that what was required was a UN resolution and a tough stance towards Assad by the Arab League.
Firms such as Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell and France's Total are significant investors in Syria........read on
In this episode Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert, discuss stiffing the dead in Illinois and reviving the carry trade in Iceland. In the second half of the show Max talks to Mike Maloney about how high gold would have to go to account for all the money printing since Bernanke took over at the Fed.