Morning Report: October 31, 2004

Debka: Bin Laden recently sighted by India. A recent bulletin from Debka states that 'DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report Indian Air Force sighted bin Laden a few days ago on Tibet-Laddakh region close to the North-Eastern corner of Pakistan bordering India and China. Indian forces went on red alert'. Some analysts believe that, with the recent video release, OBL may be jealous of the attention being lavished on Zarqawi. Two significant omissions from the tape: any mention of either (a) al-Qaeda's long-term goals, or (b) the Iraq insurgency. Stratfor wonders what this may tell us about the possibly strained or fragmented relationships among the terror groups. Mincing no words, Wretchard at the Belmont Club calls it a "surrender proposal".

Japan will not withdraw from Iraq, despite killing of civilian. The decapitated body of 24-year-old Japanese citizen Shosei Koda was not enough to persuade Japan's government to pull its troops from Iraq. A recent statement from Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi affirms that "We cannot lose to terrorism, we must not yield to brute force".

Iran regime to West: Please kick our ass. The Iranian parliament is preparing to approve the resumption of uranium-enrichment programs. As Dreams Into Lightning observed earlier, this policy seems certain to force a confrontation with the US and its allies - a confrontation that could end with regime change in Tehran. It is important to note here that while the nuclear issue is distinct from human-rights concerns, these issues need not be mutually exclusive. An online petition, approved by the Iranian dissident organization SMCCDI (and drafted with the help of yours truly) urges Washington to incorporate a free and democratic future into any plans it may have for Iran. If you haven't done so yet, please sign the Iran Regime Change Petition.