Morning Report: January 20, 2006

Jacques Chirac, warmonger. French President Jacques Chirac threatened to nuke Iran (yes, you read that right) if that country resorted to the use of WMD. Financial Times via MSN reports: 'Jacques Chirac, France's president, has threatened to use nuclear weapons against any state that supported terrorism against his country or considered using weapons of mass destruction. In a high-profile speech on Thursday to update military officers on France's strategic doctrine, Mr Chirac said the end of the cold war had removed neither the threats to peace nor the justification for a nuclear deterrent. Citing the dangers of regional instability, growing extremism and the proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, Mr Chirac said France's nuclear deterrence remained the fundamental guarantee of its security.' (FT via MSN)

Wretchard on suitcase scenario: Don't panic. In the context of the foregoing, a number of people have expressed concerns like this one: 'The fear is not that Iran would attack us, but that they would produce countless small nuclear devices and turn them over to the terrorists whom they support. These would then be smuggled into many major cities in all the western nations for detonation.' The Belmont Club offers an assessment of the threat from "suitcase nukes". From the attacker's standpoint, the limitation of the weapon is the amount of control it delegates to the suitcase bearer: the weapon "is effectively 'his'" and could be bought, stolen, diverted, or misused in any number of ways contrary to the attacker's wishes. The workaround - closely monitored, one-at-a-time attacks on Western targets - has the disadvantage of slowing down the attack rate and allowing the enemy (that's us) to muster a robust response. Wretchard concludes: 'I should add that the proliferation of suitcase nuclear weapons would be just as much a security nightmare for a rogue state as any other. ... But likely rogue states, unlike the US, would be vulnerable to a low rate attack -- it will only take 2 or 3 nukes to bring a country like Syria to the McNamara's 'knee'. The suitcase nuke game is not one which always favors smaller powers.' Read the post for full analysis. (Belmont Club)

Iraq election results. Iraq the Model publishes the official results of Iraq's election. Omar notes: 'Ironically, the first objection to the results came from the UIA [which placed first, with 128 of 275 seats]. Al-Arabiya TV reported that Ammar al-Hakeem (AbdulAziz’s son) and Hussein al-Shahristani announced that the UIA objects to the way seats were distributed among provinces and they think that this “unfair distribution has cut down the UIA’s share by 10 seats”. Al-Hakeem and al-Shahristani reportedly said that they’ll be writing a memo with their objections to the electoral authorities.' Debka says: 'Iraqi’s Shiite Alliance wins December general election with 128 out of 275 parliamentary seats - short of an absolute majority. Official returns declared Friday assign Kurdish parties – 53, the main Sunni Arab bloc – 44 and former PM Iyad Allawi’s mixed Iraq list – 25. The Shiites will have to negotiate with other ethnic parties to form a coalition government.' (ITM, Debka)

IDF diary. 'Rona and Mark volunteered for two weeks with Sar-El in Israel, assisting the IDF. Kesher Talk is publishing Rona's diary.' Go to the link to read it. (Kesher Talk)