Morning Report: November 12, 2006

Centrifugal force. A fragile coalition collapses, while a Mideast power boasts of centrifuges and spy cameras. But there are some things they'd rather you didn't know.

Lebanon: Siniora government breaks up. Stratfor (subscription) reports: 'Five Shiite members of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's Cabinet resigned Nov. 11 after negotiations about Hezbollah's role in a new government ended without agreement, Shiite party spokesmen said. The ministers who quit represented both Hezbollah and the Amal movement. No date was set for further talks.' Debka: 'Siniora’s Lebanese government breaks up, faces street disturbances after national unity talks collapse Saturday. Five pro-Syrian Hizballah and Amal ministers walked out of Fouad Siniora’s government coalition Saturday, Nov. 11. Another two ministers, supporters of the pro-Syrian president Emil Lahoud, are on their way out, taking with them the government’s parliamentary majority. The two Shiite factions and the pro-Syrian Maronite leader Michel Aoun say their followers will take to the streets as of Sunday for demonstrations in Beirut and other Lebanese towns. It would only take a few shots, say DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources, to spark clashes between Syria’s adherents and opponents in Lebanon. The crisis erupted when Siniora proposed convening the cabinet Monday, Nov. 13, to approve a bill for a special court to try suspects in the Feb. 2005 Hariri assassination. He intended to propose a panel of 5 Lebanese and 3 international judges to be appointed by the UN Secretary General.' Yedioth: 'Lebanese President Emile Lahoud said Sunday that the Lebanese government had lost its legitimacy after the decision of five Shiite ministers to resign.' (Debka, Stratfor, YNet)

Iran claims spy drone photographs US carrier. Gateway Pundit: 'Iran spy drone footage of an American Aircraft Carrier aired on Al-Alam TV today. Iran released footage taken from a spy plane of a US Carrier in the Gulf today on Al-Alam television.' Original link to photos here. Go to the link for more info and comments thread. (Gateway Pundit)

Iran begins installing 3,000 new centrifuges. Jerusalem Post: 'Iran began installing an additional 3,000 centrifuges, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Ali Hosseini revealed on Sunday. In October, Iran stepped up uranium enrichment by injecting gas into a second network of 164 centrifuges. Iran produced a small batch of low-enriched uranium - suitable as nuclear fuel but not weapons grade - in February, using its initial cascade of 164 centrifuges at its pilot plant at Natanz.' (JPost)

Witness to Zahra Kazemi murder executed. Azarmehr: 'According to news received from human rights activists in Iran, Madhan Javadolmanshi, one of the prisoners who claimed had witnessed the murder of Iranian born photo-journalist, Zahra Kazemi, was secretly executed back in August this year. Madhan was in prison for more than 10 years on charges of espionage. One of the political prisoners who met Madhan in prison, said Madhan told him, he had heard two of the prison guards by the names of Moussa and Niazi, take part in the horrific beating of Zahra Kazemi, which led to her death.' (Azarmehr)

Commentary. Big Pharaoh links to a very thoughtful analysis of Rumsfeld's successes and failures by Abdul Rahman al-Rashed in Asharq al-Awsat:
It was obvious after the quick military victory and fall of Saddam's regime that most of Iraq supported what happened, as evident by the small number of Saddam's massive military forces that actually stood and fought, while the majority opted to surrender or return to their homes leaving Iraq's barracks deserted and which the American troops occupied with minimal resistance.

But the US Department of Defense then took over the management of Iraqi political affairs ignoring the more qualified centers that were more specialized in political and democratic action. This sparked mass-confusion, with scenes of the looting of government offices, anarchy in the street, the announcement of the occupation governor (Jay Garner), the inclusion of opportunistic Iraqi parties in the civilian government, the bias toward one party against another, the entanglement in Iraqi details, and the drowning in the regional quicksand. It was obvious to the world that Rumsfeld's department went from one crisis to a bigger one at a time when it isolated the State Department until Colin Powell left it in sadness because of his impotence and realization that the Pentagon had entered a dark tunnel and dragged a bigger world behind it.

The Bush Administration will need to work quickly to make use of the new hand it has been dealt.