Morning Report: November 7, 2004

Allawi declares state of emergency. Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi declared a 60-day state of emergency across most of the country in the face of increased enemy attacks, with a US-led attack on Fallujah in the works.

French, Ivorian forces clash, sparking violence. According to the BBC report on Ivory Coast violence, 'Pro-government mobs in Ivory Coast have been making house-to-house searches to find and attack French citizens in the commercial capital, Abidjan. French peacekeepers there have moved 80 to 90 people to safer locations. As more reinforcements arrived, the troops were deployed around the city, trying to stem looting and burning. The troubles began after the French virtually wiped out the Ivorian air force, following the death of nine peacekeepers in a government raid. The mobs - supporters of President Laurent Gbagbo - went on the rampage after the French action.'

The Head Heeb explains: 'French peacekeepers in Cote d'Ivoire are reporting eight dead and 23 injured after one of their positions was bombed by Ivorian government aircraft. The French forces later retaliated against the Ivorian air force, with various reports saying they shot down three aircraft or destroyed them on the ground. It is unclear whether the government aircraft deliberately bombed the French base, but whether or not the attack was intentional, both the peacekeepers and their neutrality have become casualties of the collapsing peace.'

In light of the escalating crisis in Cote d'Ivoire / Ivory Coast, the United Nations Security Council has called a special meeting.

China, Iran, and oil. According to recent reports, China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said he saw "no reason" to refer Iran's nuclear program to the United Nations Security Council while on a visit to Iran. Meanwhile, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, visiting China, said that he would like to see China, rather than Japan, become Iran's largest crude oil consumer. China is the world's second largest consumer and importer of oil. Analysts believe that China's economy is in very serious trouble, in part due to rising energy costs.