Morning Report: September 18, 2005

Afghan elections undisrupted. Stratfor (subscription service) reports that 'Polls for Afghanistan's first parliamentary elections in over 30 years closed Sept. 18 with no significant attempt to disrupt the elections by the Taliban or al Qaeda', despite sporadic violence. Dean Esmay comments on some ironies, and links to Publius Pundit who's keeping a running update on the Afghan parliamentary elections. (Stratfor, Dean Esmay, Publius Pundit)

Iran bracing for confrontation? Amir Taheri writes: 'Incredible though it may sound there are signs that Tehran may be preparing for a military confrontation with the United States, and has convinced itself that it could win. The first sign came last June with the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president of the Islamic Republic, an event that completed the conquest of all levers of power by the most radical elements of the establishment. Since then, the revolutionary factions have conducted a little publicized purge of the military, the security, the civil service, and state-owned corporations and media. The most significant purges have affected the military high command. ...' Full post at the link. (Amir Taheri)