Morning Report: December 12, 2006

Immovable object pushes back. Uppity women in Yemen speak out on a barbaric practice, and Iranian students jeer their fascist president. In other news, homophobia is state policy in Nigeria, Iraqi leaders speak out on a certain report, a spy case gets international attention, and Olmert breaks a taboo.

Crackdown on Nigerian gays. Gay Patriot: 'In Nigeria, outings have resulted in the gay community being terrified to have dinner with each other. And now the government is considering all forms of gays interacting with each other in Nigeria.' The draconian new laws would forbid not only sex but any form of dating or "amorous relationship". Story at the link. (Gay Patriot)

FGM, honor killings in Yemen. Armies of Liberation brings us a report on honor killings and female genital mutilation (the practice of so-called "female circumcision") in Yemen:
From behind her black burka in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, Siham says she wants to talk about what happened to her to highlight the practice of female circumcision, which is still ritually performed in many areas of coastal Yemen and throughout the Middle East. Women’s rights groups estimate that up to 25 per cent of Yemeni women have been circumcised, with numbers likely to be sharply higher in tribal areas outside their reach and the realm of health officials.

For many women in Yemen, the procedure is performed shortly after birth - not with the sharp edge of a knife, but with salt or warm cloths pressed repeatedly against an infant girl’s underdeveloped organs during the first 40 days of her life.

“They do it to try and stop the clitoris from forming,” said Amal al-Basha, head of the most prominent women’s rights groups in the eastern Arabian state. “It is a procedure that is done for weeks and sometimes months.”

A women’s rights conference held in Cairo last month heard that 8000 girls a day fell victim to the ancient custom, which is aimed at maintaining a woman’s morality and loyalty by curbing her desire.

Full article at the link. (Armies of Liberation)

More on Iran demonstrations. Gateway Pundit has a comprehensive roundup with photos. MSNBC: 'Dozens of Iranian students burned pictures of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and threw firecrackers in an effort to disrupt his speech at a university on Monday, a presidential office spokesman said. It was the first time the president, elected in a landslide in June 2005, had faced such open hostility at a public event. But the spokesman said Ahmadinejad was not deterred and completed his address at Tehran’s Amir Kabir University.' One protester was photographed with a sign reading, "Fascist President, Polytechnic Is Not Your Place". Or Does It Explode: 'It takes more than guts to interrupt a speech by the Iranian president. No students at Harvard or St. Andrews University in Scotland dared to take such measures during Khatami's recent visits. But yesterday a bunch of students at Amir Kabir Technical University did just that. In fact, they not only shouted down Ahmadinejad, but also lit off a firecracker and burned his photo in protest.' Azarmehr: 'It was good that the protests against president Ahmadi-Nejad yesterday, got some worldwide publicity. In fact a Google news search showed more than 150 related articles. ...' Of the "Fascist President" photo, he says: 'Its not just that he is standing up to an intolerant and dangerous man; one has to remember that the majority of the attendants were pro-Ahmadi-Nejad baseeji students, shipped in from Imam Sadeq and Imam Hossein universities.' Iran Press Service: 'Hundreds of pro-reforms students burned pictures of hard line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad, booed him with chants of “Ahmadi Nezhad, symbol of discrimination and dictatorship” and threw firecrackers in an effort to disrupt his speech at a university on Monday, according to eyewitnesses and reports from several Iranian independent news agencies.' (various)

Iraqi leaders assail report. ThreatsWatch: 'While the Baker-Hamilton Commission report continues to be debated within the United States, recent days have seen almost universal rejection of the report’s recommendations from Iraqi leaders. Kurdish and Shi’a leaders have been especially critical, and even Shi’a figures with ties to Iran have stated that the report’s recommendation of direct U.S.-Iranian dialogue on Iraq should be postponed.' Full article by Kirk Sowell at the link. (ThreatsWatch)

Interpol on Litvinenko case. MSNBC: 'International police force Interpol is helping coordinate the investigation into the poisoning of Russian former spy Alexander Litvinenko that now involves forces in Germany, Russia and Britain. The head of Interpol’s Russian office said on Tuesday the 186 member-country force had been asked to improve the information flow between the three countries, which have launched their own probes into Litvinenko’s death on November 23.' (MSNBC)

Olmert takes flak for nuclear comment. Debka: 'Olmert breaks Israel’s nuclear silence in response to US defense secretary’s nuclear stance and Iran’s Holocaust denial conference. The Israeli prime minister made his surprising disclosure Monday, Dec. 11: “Israel doesn’t threaten any country,” he said. “Iran openly, explicitly and publicly threatens to wipe Israel off the map. Can you see this on the same level when you are aspiring to have a nuclear weapon like the US, France, Israel and Russia?” the Israeli PM asked in an interview with the German TV station N24 Sat1. This was the first Israeli official admission of the possession of nuclear weapons. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that Olmert decided on this step in response to US defense secretary Robert Gates’ listing of Israel as among the nuclear states surrounding Iran to explain Tehran’s search for a nuclear deterrent of its own. He was the first American official to confirm Israel had a nuclear weapon and did so without consulting Jerusalem. Olmert chose his journey to Germany, which coincided with the opening in Tehran of a conference negating the Holocaust, for his shock disclosure. This conference is taken in Israel as a vehicle for attacking Zionist legitimacy and so justifying Iran’s ambition to destroy the Jewish state. Olmert used the opportunity to remind Iran’s rulers that Israel possesses a large stock of nuclear weapons capable of not only smashing Iran’s nuclear facilities but also disabling its infrastructure.' Jerusalem Post: 'Defense Minister Amir Peretz made clear on Tuesday that there has been no change in Israel's nuclear ambiguity policy, Army Radio reported. Speaking to soldiers in the Shomron Brigade, Peretz said that "the prime minister made himself clear, and I definitely believe the policy remains the same. We continue the same policy and do our job the best we can. Let no one think we will remain aloof to world events around us."' Yedioth: 'MK Arieh Eldad (National Union-National Religious Party) requested that Attorney General Menachem Mazuz inspect whether Prime Minister Ehud Olmert broke the censorship law during his speech on a German television station, where he discussed Israel's nuclear ability.' Also: 'Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in a meeting in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Markel that Israel's stance on nuclear weapons remains unchanged, the country will not be first to introduce them to Middle East.' (various)

State Department Googles for Iran info. Persian Journal:
Some people may Google to locate lost loves, or check out potential new ones. The state department resorts to the internet search engine when it is trying to penetrate the clandestine world of international nuclear weapons proliferators.

A junior foreign service officer, employed at the state department for only a few months and who was given the task of investigating Iranians with possible links to the country's nuclear programme typed "Iran and nuclear" into his browser, the Washington Post reported today.

That's not all they're curious about. As reported earlier at Dreams Into Lightning, somebody at State is wondering "when will the us strike iran". Sorry, readers, but this site's policy remains unchanged: We're not telling. Wouldn't want to spoil the surprise. (Persian Journal, DiL)

Commentary. What stands out for me this morning is the persistence, almost like a law of nature, of those who speak out. People like Siham and Amal al-Basha, people like the Iranian student with the sign. Ahmadinejad doesn't seem to grasp this. He is determined to push Iran to its breaking point - but he may well be the one who ends up broken.