Habia Announces New SeaGuard Naval Cable Range

Monday, Dec 07, 2009
Habia Cable SeaGuard – Cables and Coaxial Cables for Naval Defence applications
Lightweight and small size, the SeaGuard range of wires and cables from Habia Cable have been designed and approved for use in naval defence cable applications. SeaGuard and SeaGuard DS cables include low smoke, zero halogen (LSOH) and flame retardant wires and cables that enhance performance and are oil and water resistant. Limited fire hazard materials meet a wide range of international fire tests and as such SeaGuard is approved by many Naval Authorities around the world.
Continue reading Habia Announces New SeaGuard Naval Cable Range

PMC realigns unit with RSCC

PMC Wire & Cable announced its New Hampshire airframe and specialty-wire unit will be combined with U.S. company RSCC Military-Shipboard. PMC announced the combination with Rockbestos-Surprenant Cable Corp. Military-Shipboard is part of an effort to realign its Manchester, N.H., unit with a stronger focus on the aerospace-and-defense market.
Continue reading PMC realigns unit with RSCC

Northrop Grumman tanker to boost military airlift capacity

The recent decision by ATA Airlines to file bankruptcy and cease operations — including the charter service it provided to the U.S. military — makes more apparent the wisdom of the U.S. Air Force decision to select the Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) KC-45 as America’s new tanker. In evaluating the competing proposals, the Air Force considered the ability to carry passengers a Key Performance Parameter (KPP). KPPs are what the combatant commanders have deemed essential features of any new system such as the new tanker. In this case, the KC-45 was clearly the better choice.

Continue reading Northrop Grumman tanker to boost military airlift capacity

US offers $63 billion arms package for Middle East

 Today in defence news we feature a story from the Middle East and how the US is about to supply $63 billion in arms package to Eygpt, Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries in an attempt bolster their Arab allies against Iran.  For full article please read on:

US offers $63 billion arms package for Middle East

 

The United States on Monday announced military aid packages worth more than $63 billion for Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states in an effort to bolster Arab allies against Iran and others.

The United States plans to offer a $13 billion package for Egypt over 10 years and a $30 billion package for Israel over the same period, increases over previous military funding, as well as unspecified defense aid to Saudi Arabia and Gulf states, said US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

 

The package for Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf countries could reach $20 billion over 10 years, another official said.

The proposed aid packages still have to be approved by Congress and there is expected to be opposition by some lawmakers, particularly over assistance to Saudi Arabia, which is accused of not being helpful in Iraq.

 

Rice made the announcement hours before leaving with Defense Secretary Robert Gates for a rare joint trip to Egypt and Saudi Arabia where they are seeking more Arab help in stabilizing Iraq.

 

’This effort will help bolster forces of moderation and support a broader strategy to counter the negative influences of al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran,’ said Rice in a statement announcing the defense agreements.

 

Washington is striving to assure Gulf allies, worried by the growing strength of Iran and war in Iraq, that the United States is committed to the region and will stand by them, with arms sales part of that process, US officials say.

 

But Iran accused the United States on Monday of seeking to create fear and cause divisions in the Middle East by announcing the major package of arms deals.

 

’America has always considered one policy in this region and that is creating fear and concerns in the countries of the region and trying to harm the good relations between these countries,’ Iran foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told a regular press briefing.

Rice said the Bush administration was starting discussions with Egypt for the $13 billion military assistance deal which would strengthen Egypt’s ability to ’address shared strategic goals.’

 

’Further modernizing the Egyptian and Saudi Armed Forces and increasing interoperability will bolster our partners’ resolve in confronting the threat of radicalism and cement their respective roles as regional leaders in the quest for Middle East peace and in ensuring Lebanon’s freedom and independence,’ Rice said.

The increased aid package to Israel is a significant rise over a previous 10-year plan negotiated by the Clinton administration in 1998, said US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns.

 

Burns said under that deal Israel got about $2.4 billion in military aid each year which would now rise to about $3 billion annually. Burns planned to travel to Israel next week to conclude the formal agreement for the $30 billion.

 

’We will have to do a lot of quick follow-up,’ said Burns in a conference call with reporters.

 

The Saudi package is expected to upgrade the country’s missile defenses and air force and increase its naval capabilities, a defense official told Reuters on Saturday.

 

Burns said the final amount for the Saudi and Gulf states arms package was still being negotiated although he expected it to be in the billions.

 

Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are also expected to benefit but no details have been given

US is building more bases in Iraq

The US are currently building more bases in Iraq, therefore it makes you think when will they leave or if they will leave?  For the full article please read on:

US is building more bases in Iraq

Last week, almost unnoticed, the war in Iraq entered a new phase. Laconic statements from the White House and the Pentagon confirmed what had long been suspected – namely that the US is planning a long-term military presence in Iraq. This is a geopolitical development of the first importance. It is a clear statement that, in spite of its current difficulties in Iraq – May was the most lethal month since 2004 for the US, with 119 soldiers killed – the US firmly intends to maintain control of Iraq and its vast oil reserves. Iraq’s neighbours and energy-hungry states and oil companies will take note. On a visit to the US Pacific Command in Honolulu last Thursday, Robert Gates, the US Defence Secretary, said that the US was looking for a “long and enduring presence” in Iraq under a mutually agreed arrangement with the Iraq government. “The Korea model is one, the security relationship we have with Japan is another,” he said. US troops have been in South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War and in Japan since the end of the Second World War. Last week, the White House spokesman, Tony Snow, confirmed that President George W. Bush wanted to see a lengthy US troop presence in Iraq at the invitation of the host government. “The situation in Iraq, and indeed, the larger war on terror, are things that are going to take a long time,” he said. Such statements, and the military planning which goes with them, clearly pre-empt and make nonsense of the current US debate – in Congress, the press and the public – about whether or not the US should announce a date for its withdrawal from Iraq, and whether or not the current “surge” in troop numbers is producing positive results. The Bush Administration is looking way beyond that. What are the motives driving such long term ambitions? The wish to retain control of important energy resources in the face of potential rivals such as China is clearly one of them. If there were no oil in Iraq, the US would not be there. Another motive is the ability to project US power over the whole of the oil-rich Gulf and, beyond, to a vast area from Central Asia to East Africa. Other motives include confronting hostile Iran and Syria, making up in Iraq for the loss of bases in Saudi Arabia and, not the least motive, being at hand to protect Israel in case of need. These were indeed the main reasons the US invaded Iraq over four years ago and smashed the Iraqi state. Seen in this light, for all the talk of promoting stability and democracy, the US enterprise is an unmistakable neo-colonial or imperial project such as the region suffered at the hands of Britain and France in an earlier age Former US president Jimmy Carter -a stern critic of the Bush Administration – was prescient when he declared on February 3, 2006: “There are people in Washington … who never intend to withdraw military forces from Iraq and they’re looking for ten, 20, 50 years into the future … the reason that we went into Iraq was to establish a permanent military base in the Gulf region, and I have never heard any of our leaders say that they would commit themselves to the Iraqi people that ten years from now there will be no military bases of the United States in Iraq.” Are these US ambitions realistic? Or will they simply pile up problems for the United States, exacerbating its already deplorable relations with much of the Arab and Muslim world? A former Centcom commander, General Anthony Zinni has described the establishment of permanent bases in Iraq as “a stupid idea and clearly politically unacceptable. It would damage our image in the region where people would decide that this was our original intent”. As early as 2004, Jessica Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, denounced permanent bases as a “disastrously bad idea” which reinforces Iraqi suspicions that the US launched the war to get a hand on Iraqi oil, control the region, and maintain a puppet government in Baghdad. Mammoth Yet, military base building by the US in Iraq continues apace at a cost of over $1 billion a year. In the years since the invasion, there have been numerous journalistic accounts of the mammoth bases the US has built, and continues to expand, in Iraq. There is the giant Al Balad base covering 14 square miles, some 40 miles north of Baghdad, formerly the Iraqi Air Force Academy. There is the even bigger Al Assad base covering 19 square miles; the Al Tallil base; the Al Sarq base; the Al Qayyarah base in the north and many others. Shortly after its invasion, the US established 110 bases in Iraq. The present plan seems to be to consolidate these into 14 “enduring bases” in Iraqi Kurdistan, at Baghdad airport, in Anbar province and in the southern approaches to Baghdad. The construction of a US embassy able to house 1,000 staff on a 100 acre site on the banks of the Tigris – the biggest US embassy in the world – does not point to an early US disengagement from Iraq.

Defence News – UK Navy warship shows off new refit

After the last two weeks of embarrisment for the British Royal Navy about the Iran-gate affair, it is good to get back to normal.  Today’s article is about the multi million pound refit for a Royal Navy Destroyer which will be docked at Liverpool Harbour on Sunday for the general public to come down and view.  The only problem is it is twinned with Manchester City Football Club, so lets hope its not firing blanks just like Stuart Pearce’s football team.  For the full article please read on:

A 5,200-tonne, 141m (463 ft) long, Type 42 Royal Navy destroyer is to spend the weekend on the River Mersey. The nearest that HMS Manchester can dock to her affiliated city to show off her multi-million pound improvements is Liverpool’s Huskisson Dock. The warship is twinned with a number of Manchester organisations, including Manchester City Football Club. Launched in 1980, she is the third ship to bear the name. Her crest features a bee from the city’s coat of arms. Other organisations twinned with the ship include Sale Sharks RFC, Manchester and Salford University Royal Naval Unit and The King’s and Cheshire Regiment. Commander and captain of HMS Manchester, David Dominy, said: “Unfortunately, this is as close as we can bring Manchester to our hometown. “But we would love to see as many people as possible join the ship’s 250 crew members from 1330 to 1600 BST on Sunday. “This will give everyone the opportunity to discover more about life at sea onboard an operational warship.” During her three-day visit the ship will welcome patients from the Moss Lea Day Centre in Ormskirk, the Whiteledge Day Centre in Skelmersdale and visitors from the Mersey Naval and Maritime Society. On Sunday sea cadets from Altrincham and Trafalgar units are to tour the ship, and later that day cadets from the Stretford and Urmston units will help the crew when the ship opens her gangway to the public. HMS Manchester returned to sea last October following a multi-million pound refit.

Defence News – 600 contractors have been killed in Iraq says retired US army general

Today we features a very interesting Defence News article about Retired US Army General talking about how Iraq is ripped in two because of civil war.  He believes that the US and UK need to provide the Iraqi governemnt with more tanks and helicopters in attempt in to increase the force of the army and curb the violence.  He goes onto say that already 600 contractors have been killed in Iraq and a further 4000 have been injured.  We always hear about the soldiers getting killed, we just dont hear about the poor (soon to be rich if they live) contractors getting killed.  For the full article please read on:

600 contractors have been killed in Iraq says retired US army general

 

Calling the situation in Iraq a “national emergency,” retired U.S. Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey said April 16 that the country is ripped by a catastrophic low-grade civil war. Returning from a March visit to Iraq and Kuwait, the retired Gulf War veteran issued a March 26 report detailing problems in the war-torn country and calling for stronger political and economic efforts to defuse the violence.

 

“There is no reason Iraq can’t be a successful nation-state, except that it is in a civil war. The place is too dangerous to work. I don’t see a good outcome until we have more security,” said McCaffrey.

There are roughly 130,000 contractors in Iraq, said McCaffrey; about 4,000 of them have been wounded and 600 have been killed, he said.

 

McCaffrey spent roughly a week touring Iraq, meeting U.S. military personnel, U.S. and Iraqi political leaders, and Iraqi regional leaders. “If they [the U.S. coalition] go after 100 Shia and Sunni leaders with logic, they will moderate their behavior. We must stay engaged with serious levels of economic involvement,” McCaffrey said in an April 16 speech about his report to the Atlantic Council, Washington.

 

McCaffrey said as many as 3,000 Iraqi citizens are murdered per month.

“The population is in despair. Life in many of the urban areas is now desperate. The population is terrorized by rampant criminal gangs involved in kidnapping, extortion, robbery, rape and massive stealing of public property,” McCaffrey writes. U.S. military forces are targeted by as many as 2,900 improvised-explosive-device attacks per month. Tracer fire from insurgent guns can be seen at night while flying above Iraq in helicopters.

 

“No Iraqi government official, coalition soldier, diplomat, reporter, foreign non-government organization nor contractor can walk the streets of Baghdad, nor Mosul, or Kirkuk, nor Basra, nor Tikrit, nor Najaf, nor Ramadi — without heavily armed protection,” McCaffrey writes.

 

McCaffrey said the Bush administration’s temporary tactical increase of 20,000 troops, referred to as the “surge,” is not likely to halt a bitter civil war.

“Reconciliation is the way out. There will be no imposed military solution with the current non-sustainable U.S. force levels. Military power alone cannot defeat insurgency — the political and economic struggle for power is the actual field of battle,” McCaffrey wrote in his report.

 

McCaffrey predicted that National Guard brigades will likely be called for an involuntary second combat tour, and said the U.S. Army and Marine Corps cannot sustain the current levels of deployment.

McCaffrey did say some of the tactics employed by Gen. David Petraeus, Multi-National Force-Iraq commander, were making a difference. For instance, going back into cities with platoon-size forces is helping U.S. soldiers find insurgents and stabilize certain communities, McCaffrey said.

“Some things have changed for the better in Baghdad,” McCaffrey said.

 

Also, there are indications that some of the millions of Iraqi refugees who fled to Syria and Jordan are starting to come back to their houses. McCaffrey also calls for more money and equipment to stand up the Iraqi Security Forces who, he said, have taken horrendous casualties. They need 150 U.S. helicopters, 24 C-130 airlifters and 5,000 light armored vehicles, he said.

 

“We must give them the leverage to replace us as our combat formations withdraw in the coming 36 months,” said McCaffrey.

The report credits Petraeus with making progress in this area, indicating that 3,500 armored Humvees, 3,500 rocket-propelled grenades 1,400 heavy machine guns, 900 mortars and more than 80 helicopters are now arriving for the Iraqi Security Forces.

 

Additionally, McCaffrey’s report says there is a groundswell of Sunni opposition to al-Qaida in Iraq. The opposition is in the Anbar province, the report says, and was fostered by the U.S. Marines. “There is now active combat between Sunni tribal leadership and al-Qaida in Iraq terrorists,” the report says.

 

Dean Popps, Director of the U.S. Army’s Iraq Reconstruction and Program Management, said more than $35 billion has been spent on 14,275 reconstruction projects in Iraq since the 2003 invasion. “It is the equivalent of the Marshall Plan without a name, with projects including water, power, public works, security, education, and oil,” said Popps. So far, $10 billion has been spent on the Iraqi Security Forces.

Crediting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Gulf Region Division, Popps said in many areas “pipelines have been restored, ports are open, there is lots of commerce and goods on the street”

Defence News – UK Sailors cashing in on their capture

How embarrissing is the UK sailors debacle?  Not only did they give in with out a fight, but now they all squeal for their 20 pieces of silver or £100,000+ to speak to Rupert Murdoch’s ‘Sun’ newspaper.  The Americans are ashamed, the armed forces are ashamed, the Ministry of Defence are ashamed, basically everyone except the Judas in the camp.  You really have to blame Tony Blair, once again he is managed to come out with egg on his face after losing the PR battle with the Iranian Prime Minister.  Imagine letting the troops speak to the Sun, thinking that people wanted to hear their side of the story.  Whatever happened to that old ‘British Stiff Upper Lip’?  However the one funny moment was the female troop captured said on the TV, ‘I really wanted to speak to the Sun because I knew they would tell the truth.’  Well there is always a first time for everything.

 Please read on for the full article: 

 UK Sailors cashing in on their capture

 

It is not enough that the fifteen British sailors and Marines gave up without a fight when Iranians decided to take them captive for a week and a half – now some of them are cashing in. The worst part is the justification put out by British leaders that equates this group of people with winners of the Victoria Cross – the moral equivalent of the US Medal of Honor. Frankly, I’m embarrassed for the UK over this blunder.

 

First, each of the fifteen come home to a heroes welcome and were quickly bestowed with the perks of the highest award for valor “in the face of the enemy” that the UK has to offer in language of the Victoria Cross. From the creation of the award in 1856 that commemorated the valor of the men who fought in the Crimean War only a handful of awards were handed out – a total of 1,356 as of this writing. Since WWII only 13 of the cherished awards were granted including only one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

 

That group of awards and the award itself is now sullied since more awards are being metaphorically issued to a group of people who gave up to their enemy than have been awarded in total since WWII while facing the enemy. It is unconscionable to most men and women in uniform that all you have to do is allow yourself to be captured, make a few television appearances, eat some chow for the cameras and make mock confessions and you get equated to a genuine hero, but some of these 15 are eating it up and cashing in.

 

Truth be told it typically takes dying to achieve the Victoria Cross since only around 10% of people who receive the award are actually alive to accept it so it is ironic that the recipients of that award would be the one that the British government would choose to compare the sailors and Marines to. Still, the Ministry of Defense likened the capture of these Britons to someone receiving that award in order to allow them to sell their stories.

 

Proving the new Persian Gulf theme song that it pays to be on the right boat at the right time when the Iranians come calling.

There is absolutely no question that the sailors and Marines who were captured by Iran and held as a public mockery of British impotence were mistreated and scared. The lone woman among the captives, Faye Turner, claims that she was being fitted for a coffin and some of the male shipmates believed they were being executed in the time honored Iranian tradition of mock executions.

 

Were these people traumatized – yes; were these people valiant? No, but they will be well paid. Then someone at the Ministry of Defense had an idea and with the consent of the Prime Minister allows these servicemen to sell their stories. Are there really no forward looking people running the UK these days? You simply must question the judgment of the people in charge. Did they not realize what Iran will do with this news? All they had to do was look to how Iran behaved in the past, but they didn’t – they let the people talk for cash and now Iran has started the trickle. They will release even more pictures of the group of fifteen having fun and those pictures will probably trickle for weeks – constantly mocking the former empire.

 

If I were the propaganda minister of Iran I would take full advantage of the cash changing hands, at some estimate hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Turner story (or non-story), and poke even more fun of the UK whose highest award is “going” to people who did absolutely nothing to defend themselves and allowed their capture because they did not want to cause an incident and they realized they were outgunned.

 

Boy – that is valiant!

 

Being outgunned and firing on the enemy (at least we know that some in Europe consider Iran an enemy) is valor and that is exactly what the Victoria Cross is supposed to honor. To put this into perspective – the United States received the Victoria Cross for the unknown soldier of WWI and promptly reciprocated with a Medal of Honor for the British equivalent. Now the Victoria Cross is being used in press releases to compare the fifteen captured Brits – time to send that medal back to the Queen.

 

Would any United States commander actually recommend a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine for a Medal of Honor – or liken their behavior to the recipient of one – when they were captured without firing a shot, being a little scared and coming home in a couple weeks with gifts from their captors (which at least one of the fifteen say they may sell on EBay)? Any US commander or NCO would be laughed out of his unit for something like that, but this is the new UK. The old UK was a Margaret Thatcher don’t touch my islands (Falklands for those of you not in the know) kind of place; the new UK seems to be more the take our sailors and give them to us please UK.

Quickly followed up by polite thank you notes and perhaps fish and chips; a new day has dawned.

 

Selling their stories is more than unseemly or tacky – it is wrong. But when you have the prime minister’s permission do you blame them? The highest ranking sailor among the fifteen, Royal Navy Lieutenant Felix Carman, says that selling of stories is “a bit unsavory”, but he’ll be selling his story, but his money will go to charity. It seems that the Royal Marines are taking the high road so far, but all of that may change by the end of the news cycle.

 

Former British military and political leaders from all parties are almost in full agreement that making money from the stories is bad enough – the former head of the Royal Navy called the whole thing “tacky.” But the public and people who are fighting on the ground and those who lost loved ones to the war are even angrier that not only were these fifteen allowed to make money, but they’re being compared to war heroes by talking about the Victoria Cross.

 

The British cannot take back the money that has already changed hands, but they can certainly reconsider whether or not what these fifteen faced is truly worthy of even mentioning their nation’s highest award for valor. The government should say they made a mistake in how they talked about the fifteens’ couple weeks of captivity and remind people of the enormous sacrifice of true heroes.

 

There is not valor in not firing a shot and allowing your unit to be captured by a foreign navy, no valor in making televised confessions and no valor in simply being afraid. Using that as a judge for selling stories makes every grunt on the ground in Iraq worthy of earning money and a metaphorical medal.

 

To sully the name of the award that so many gave their lives to achieve should have been an arduous decision for British leaders, but it seems to have come easily to people who want to fend off the new reality television stars that their sailors have become. Time to send them back to the front – television stars they’re not – fighting men and a woman is what they’re supposed to be.

Energy news – Iran shrugs off U.N. pressure over its nuclear defiance

It seems to be the major topic of debate at the moment, will Iran choose to stop their Nuclear programmes.  They rightly know that at the moment nothing is going to happen to them.  The problem with sanctions as always is that it is the people who suffer and not those in power.  If you visit our About US page you will see a very interesting comment about how India and Pakistan were allowed to develop Nuclear power as they were banned from setting up a major gas pipline from Iran.  The full article is below: 

Iran on Thursday shrugged off the latest punitive U.N. action — suspension of nearly two dozen nuclear programs — and showed no signs it was cowed by the possibility of even tougher penalties in the form of new Security Council sanctions. Thursday’s decision by the 35 board nations of the International Atomic Energy Agency to deprive Tehran of 22 technical aid projects was symbolically important. Only North Korea and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had been subject to such action previously. Still, none of the programs directly applied to the Islamic republic’s developing uranium enrichment program — which Tehran refuses to mothball despite nearly three months of Security Council sanctions and the possibility that those punitive measures may be tightened. Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, Iran’s chief delegate to the IAEA, said as much after the board agreed by consensus to suspend the programs. “None of these projects are related to enrichment,” he said of the suspensions. “The enrichment program will continue as planned.” IAEA technical aid projects are meant to bolster the peaceful use of nuclear energy in medicine, agriculture, waste management, management training or power generation. The technical aid is provided to dozens of countries, most of them developing nations — but none suspected of possibly trying to develop nuclear weapons, like Iran. Enrichment, in contrast, has both peaceful and military applications. Iran says it wants to develop its enrichment program only to general nuclear power, and enrichment is not prohibited under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. But Tehran’s secretive nuclear ways — it hid sensitive activities from the world for nearly two decades until revelations four years ago of a covert enrichment project — led the Security Council to impose sanctions Dec. 23 because of fears its nuclear activities were a cover for a weapons program. Still, there is little evidence the sanctions are working beyond generating some domestic criticism of hardline Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who last month compared Iran’s enrichment program to an unstoppable train without brakes. And the sanctions themselves are less than their chief proponent, Washington, would like. Instead of choking off Iran economically and politically, they are relatively mild, only committing all U.N. member countries to stop supplying Iran with materials and technology that could contribute to its nuclear and missile programs and to freeze assets of 10 key Iranian companies and 12 individuals related to those programs. Russian and Chinese opposition to tougher action blunted Washington’s sanctions drive — and there was evidence of the same in attempts to keep Security Council unity on new sanctions meant to punish Iran for ignoring last month’s deadline on suspending enrichment. Council diplomats on Wednesday said the five permanent Council members were again struggling, with U.S., Britain and France pushing for tougher measures than Russia and China will accept. The impasse led to Security Council ambassadors sending the problem back to high level discussions among their capitals. Pundits often compared Iran to North Korea — the other country of nuclear concern that recently agreed to disarm — in arguing that sanctions work. But in the North’s case, any such pressure was a serious blow to a country that had few friends in the outside world and a devastated economy. And Iran’s oil leverage — it’s OPEC’s second-largest producer_ gives it extra clout in its standoff with much of the international community, along with its status as a regional power and protector of Shiite Muslims. The North is “an incredibly isolated state that has no friends and no significant resources to export,” says Matthew Bunn, with Harvard University’s Managing the Atom project. “But Iran is a state with vast oil and gas resources and a web of commercial and political relations with a large number of important states. “That makes for a huge difference in terms of the international community’s willingness to put leverage on them.” Ahead of the IAEA decision on technical aid in Vienna, Soltanieh accused the United States and Israel of threatening military attacks on its nuclear facilities and said Security Council sanctions against his country were illegal. Washington in turn criticized Tehran for ignoring Security Council demands to freeze uranium enrichment and said Iranian “intransigence” in answering questions about its nuclear program raises the level of concern that it might be seeking to make nuclear arms. Those comments, inside and on the sidelines of the meeting, came as part of a review of a report by IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei that confirmed Iran had defied a Security Council deadline on enrichment last month.

Blair set for grilling on Saddam

In today’s Defence News we have a very interesting article about ‘Blair being set for grilling on Saddam’. The Question remains will Tony Blair answer the questions that the general public want to hear or will he manage to squirm his way out of it as usual. Please read the article below.

Tony Blair is expected to face a grilling over the manner of Saddam Hussein’s execution when he faces MPs during prime minister’s questions. On Tuesday, Mr Blair described the taunting of the former Iraqi leader before he went to the gallows as “completely wrong”.

But critics have asked why the prime minister waited until almost two weeks after the execution to speak out. Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell said this did Mr Blair “no credit”.

’A real test’

Mobile phone footage shows the former Iraqi leader – a Sunni – being taunted with Shia slogans before his death. At the weekend, Chancellor Gordon Brown described the manner of Saddam’s hanging as “deplorable and unacceptable”.

On Tuesday, Mr Blair told a Downing Street press conference: “As has been very obvious from the comments of other ministers and indeed my own official spokesman, the manner of the execution of Saddam was completely wrong.

“But that should not blind us to the crimes he committed against his own people, including the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis; one million casualties in the Iran-Iraq war, and the use of chemical weapons against his own people, wiping out entire villages of people.

“So the crimes that Saddam committed do not excuse the manner of his execution, and the manner of his execution does not excuse the crimes. “Now I think that’s a perfectly sensible position that most people would reasonably accept”.

During prime minister’s questions, from 1200GMT, Mr Blair is also expected to be questioned over wider policy in Iraq. President George Bush is thought likely on Wednesday to reveal a plan to send more US troops to Iraq, in an effort to improve security.

Sir Menzies called the issue “a real test for the prime minister”. He added: “It is essential that he asserts the independence of British policy towards Iraq.

“President Bush’s determination to send thousands more troops, against the conclusions of the James Baker Iraq Study Group recommendations, is not a strategy that Britain should follow or endorse.

“A British strategy should be one based on phased withdrawal sooner rather than later.”

Read the article at http://www.thecabledirectory.com/newsdetails.asp?id=2193