Morning Report: November 18, 2005

Iran admits satellite that can spy on Israel. AP via Marze Por Gohar: 'Iran said the satellite would be purely scientific. But a month after its launch -- and only weeks after the president said Israel should be wiped off the map -- the head of Tehran's space program now says the Sina-1 is capable of spying on the Jewish state. The launch of the Russian-made satellite into orbit aboard a Russian rocket last month marked the beginning of Iran's space program. Officials say a second satellite -- this one Iranian-built -- will be launched in about two months, heightening Israeli concerns. The Sina-1's stated purpose is to take pictures of Iran and to monitor natural disasters in the earthquake-prone nation. But as it orbits the Earth, with controllers able to point its cameras as they wish, Sina-1 gives Iran a limited space reconnaissance capability over the entire Middle East.'

Iran: US announces London meeting, may close gap with Russia. Forbes: 'The US said an informal meeting on Iran's nuclear program would be held in London on Friday, confirming reports, after Tehran resumed nuclear fuel work that it had earlier suspended. A State Department spokesman said that Nicholas Burns, the US undersecretary of state for political affairs, was leaving for London to meet with officials from Britain, France, Germany, Russia and others to discuss what he called Iran's 'unwelcome move' to resume converting uranium into uranium hexafluoride. 'This is an unwelcome move; one that we view with concern,' said spokesman Adam Ereli, adding that the IAEA has confirmed Iran's return to uranium conversion efforts. 'It is the latest in a series of moves by Iran that, frankly, go against what they themselves have committed themselves to and what the international community has asked of them.' CBS: 'Russia is increasingly frustrated with Iran's reluctance to compromise on its nuclear activities, and that anger is helping the United States and other nations seeking to refer Tehran to the U.N. Security Council, diplomats said Thursday. Both Russia and China are veto-wielding members of the Security Council and both oppose Iran being referred to the top U.N. decision making body. But increasing frustration in Moscow could swing the Russians closer to the U.S.-European position and indirectly pressure Beijing to also join the mainstream and moderate its opposition to Security Council action, one diplomat said.' AP via Yahoo: 'BUSAN, South Korea - President Bush told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday that the United States supports a proposal from Moscow that could deny Iran the ability to produce nuclear weapons. "It may provide a way out," National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said of the Russian plan, discussed during an hourlong meeting between the U.S. and Russian presidents that ranged across a variety of difficult topics.' All links come via Regime Change Iran. (various via RCI)

"No place for another Saddam." Mohammed at Iraq the Model: 'Iraqis have been receiving very disturbing news about prisoners abuse in the detention centers of the interior ministry and what’s really alarming in this incident is that the bad guys weren’t masked men hiding in narrow alleys but were men in uniforms that were supposed to bring us security and peace but unfortunately it appeared to be sometimes doing the exact opposite showing us images of savagery that terrify us in the name of fighting terror. Everyone here knew some violations were taking place but only now we got to realize the magnitude and organized nature of these outrageous violations. We have expressed our concerns more than once before when the government was still being formed and there was a big conflict about who should get the interior post and we knew what those parties were aiming at and what we saw yesterday proves that their goal to take over the security instruments rather than preserving security. We all know how the SCIRI insisted that the commander of Badr brigade Hadi al-Amiri should take the post but they later settled down for Bayan Jabor and it was the internal and foreign opposition to assigning al-Amiri that helped us get the mildest of too bitter choices. ... Minister Jabor appeared in a press conference today and he didn’t deny the abuse yet he said that only 7 prisoners were abused and not 173 as the news originally said and he also denied the claims that the detention center in question is run by Iranian intelligence officers saying that it is actually run by 29 “pure Iraqi” officers. However, this is not the first case of abuse that got played down by the ministry...' (ITM)

Saddam's nephew in Yemen a terror leader; where is Saleh? Jane at Armies of Liberation reports on this news item: 'Iraqi Attorney General Chathanfar Hmod Al-Jasim presented Interpol with an extradition request to bring Saddam Hussein's nephew from Yemen back to Baghdad to standtrial for "committing acts of terror," the US military said in a statement on Thursday. Omar Sabawi Ibrahim Hasan Al-Tikriti, the son of Saddam Hussein’s half brother, has been sought by Iraqi officials for his leading role and financial support to “terrorist organizations”,the military said in a statement.' Jane says: 'Many of Iraq’s upper generals who fled Iraq as the regime fell were recruited by the Yemeni military. (That’s like recruiting French generals, what’s the point?) ... Wasn’t there just a highly publicized trial of some Iraqi “terrorists” (that were in jail for two years) who were said to be in possessionof some handgranades. There was less publicity when they were acquited by a judge who said there wasnt a shred of evidence against the four teachers who insisted all along they were tortured into confessions. But Saddam’s Nephew, son of the Iraqi Chief of Intelligence, is running terrorist operatations out of Yemen where there’s military checkpoints every ten feet, and Saleh doesn’t know and there’s no support for al-Tikritis operations from the Yemeni military, our important Partners in the WOT with whom we do mil-to-mil. Either Saleh is completely incompetant or he’s knowingly permitting big terrorists to operate from Yemen. My guess is both.' (Armies of Liberation, Xinhua)

Hope for Khamis Mushayt girl? The Religious Policeman reports on a possible pardon for the Khamis Mushayt girl, who was convicted of killing a man who attempted to rape her. Samira Murait (KMG's real name) was not happy with the press coverage, and charged that "some of what was published in the newspapers was not true and was full of both fabricated and exaggerated facts which did not help her case." Alhamedi adds: 'Unfortunately, the reason we get "fabricated and exaggerated facts" is that court proceedings are entirely secret. No court reporters, no photographs, no courtroom TV, no interviews on the steps. Imagine the situation where you are a young girl accused of murder, and your defense is that the "victim" was trying to rape you.' (The Religious Policeman)

Gay Patriot: Putting the "Republican" back in Log Cabin. In their first joint post, Gay Patriot and Gay Patriot West call for a renewed commitment to the Republican mainstream by LCR: 'Given that an overwhelmingly majority (at least 90%) of gay Republicans voted to reelect President Bush last fall (even as many of us disagreed with his support of the Federal Marriage Amendment), Log Cabin must hire as its new political director someone who openly supported President Bush last fall. Even after the election, Patrick [Guerriero] refused to say who he voted for, leaving some to wonder if he, like some fair-weather gay Republicans eager for media attention, voted for John Kerry.' Full post at the link. (Gay Patriot)

Michael Yon: The Punishers' ball. Deuce Four, now returned to the United States, hold a Redeployment Ball. Go check out Michael Yon's story, with lots of pictures. (Michael Yon)