Morning Report: March 9, 2006

Debka on Iran's IAEA referral. Debka reports: 'The IAEA report on the Iranian nuclear program goes to the Security Council for consideration of possible punitive action. The council is expected to give Tehran 30 days to comply with nuclear watchdog directives. Tehran has threatened the US with “harm and pain” for pushing the issue to the world body, a threat the White House dismissed as provocative and further isolating Tehran. U.S. delegate Gregory Schulte said "the time has now come for the Security Council to act." He said the 85 tons of feedstock uranium gas already to hand in Iran could produce enough material for about 10 nuclear weapons if enriched. DEBKAfile’s Gulf sources disclose that Tehran accompanied the 35-member International Atomic Energy Agency’s decision Wednesday, March 8, by launching a new, locally-built submarine, the Nahang (whale) in the Persian Gulf. With the capability to carry multipurpose weapons, the sub is especially adapted to Gulf waters. Military experts report Iran also has six Russian-built SSK or SSI Kilo class diesel submarines patrolling the strategic waterway. ... Separately, France, Germany and Britain, which spearheaded the Feb. 4 IAEA resolution clearing the path for Security Council action, warned that what is known about Iran's enrichment program could be only "the tip of the iceberg." However, both the Russian and Chinese foreign ministers stood aside from the US-EU view.' (Debka)

Musharraf offeers aid to NW Pakistan. Stratfor (subscription service) reports: 'Pakistan has offered the tribal region along its northwestern border with Afghanistan development assistance on condition that foreign Islamist militants are expelled from the area, the official Associated Press of Pakistan news agency reported March 9. President Gen. Pervez Musharraf gave tribal chieftains a detailed development plan for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas that entails enhancing agriculture, irrigation, livestock and industry. It also calls for creation of reconstruction opportunity zones in which companies would be exempt from export duty.' (Stratfor)

Philippine soldiers held over coup plot. AFP via Yahoo reports: 'Twenty-five soldiers including eight officers have been detained, accused of involvement in an alleged coup attempt against President Gloria Arroyo, senior military sources said. Among those being questioned are two lieutenant colonels. All but one of the officers are from the elite Army Scout Rangers, the sources said. An officer from the Special Operations Command was also held. The former Scout Ranger commander, Brigadier General Danilo Lim, was removed from his post on February 24 accused of involvement in the alleged coup plot.' (AFP)

CTB: Immigration fraud overwhelms DHS. INS veteran Michael Cutler at The Counterterrorism Blog reports: 'Simply stated, immigration fraud can be thought of as a lie put on an application that enables an individual to gain an immigration benefit that he/she would not receive if all of the relevant facts were known. Additionally, fraud can be thought of as coming in two broad categories, document fraud and fraud schemes. Both areas leave our nation vulnerable and virtually nothing is being done to address these issues in meaningful ways. While much attention has been paid to the situation at our nation's borders, immigration benefit fraud has been all but ignored by the government and by most of the news media.' Cutler cites a Washington Times article, which cites a Government report alleging that 'the agency that would oversee any future guest-worker program doesn't have a handle on fraud, doesn't do enough to deter it, and won't have a fraud-management system in place until 2011 ...'. Cutler concludes: 'The GAO report discussed in this article was the result of a request from Representative John Hostettler, the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims. His unflagging efforts to address so many of the immigration issues confronting our nation should be appreciated by all of us who share my concerns about the dire need that exists to fix the immigration system. Our nation desperately needs to view immigration as a system in which all of the components need to work effectively and with great integrity- no less than the safety and survival of our nation is at stake!' Full articles at the links. (CTB, Washington Times)

ITM on forming Iraq's new government. Iraq the Model: 'The political dispute between the UIA and the rest of the political bodies is still up and growing with both parties stubborn and not showing signs compromising. The UIA still insist that their decision to choose Jafari for PM must be respected while the Kurdish alliance, Accord Front and Iraqi list are still pushing towards changing Jafari with someone else from within the UIA (or to a lesser possibility from another bloc). President Talabani wanted to bring the discussion to the halls of the parliament- a step I admired him for taking-but the UIA through the vice president AbdulMahdi halted Talabani's call by refusing to put his signature on it. Legal experts and politicians have different opinions on whether the constitution has been breached or not by this delay in seating the parliament but the text is clear and frank; the parliament had to be called to convene two weeks ago thus the constitution is already breached even though politicians refuse to admit it and further delay can only be more illegitimate. ...' Read the rest at the link. (ITM)

Winds of Change on school choice. Joe Katzman at Winds of Change has some thoughts on a Wall Street Journal column covering school choice in Minnesota. (Winds of Change, WSJ)