Morning Report: January 31, 2007

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded: the Pentagon is getting nervous about selling certain kinds of surplus gear, and it's investigating the role of a certain foreign nation (no prizes for guessing who) in a recent attack in Iraq; while in Israel, we learn that the government got a heads-up about a southern border crossing.

Pentagon halts sales of F-14 parts. Fox News: 'The Pentagon said Tuesday it had stopped selling surplus F-14 parts, announcing the step after congressional criticism of security weaknesses that had given buyers for countries including Iran access to the aircraft parts and other valuable gear. Sales of parts from the recently retired fleet were halted last Friday, Defense Logistics Agency spokesman Jack Hooper said, adding that marketing of the parts will remain suspended until a "comprehensive review" is completed. He did not immediately elaborate. The decision comes as a Democratic senator moves to cut off all Pentagon sales of surplus F-14 parts, saying the military's marketing of the spares "defies common sense" in light of their importance to Iran. Sen. Ron Wyden's [D - Oregon] bill came in response to an investigation by The Associated Press that found weaknesses in surplus-sale security that allowed buyers for countries including Iran and China to surreptitiously obtain sensitive U.S. military equipment including Tomcat parts.' (Fox)

Pentagon investigates Iranian role in Karbala attack. The Fourth Rail: 'On Friday, we reported that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps' Qods Force was very likely behind the attack on the Provincial Joint Coordination Center in Karbala, which resulted in the kidnapping and execution of four U.S. soldiers. ... Today, CNN is reporting the Pentagon is seriously investigating Iran's involvement in the attack, and the Irbil raid was likely a motive for the Qods Force operation ... The United States had planned to detail Iran's involvement in supporting the Shia death squads, as well as the Sunni insurgency, al-Qaeda in Iraq and Ansar al-Sunnah during a press briefing with Major General Bill Caldwell on Wednesday at 7:00 am Eastern. ... The Bush administration has decided to put the briefing "on hold for several reasons, including concerns over the reaction from Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — as well as inevitable follow-up questions that would be raised over what the U.S. should do about it," according to FOX News.' Read the full post at the link. (TFR)

"Everybody knows Iran is meddling." AP via YNet: 'Several prominent Sunni politicians from Iraq joined forces with an exiled Iranian opposition group Wednesday to demand an end to interference in Iraq by the Iranian government. "The intervention of Iran in the affairs of Iraq is not long a secret to anyone," said Adnan al-Dulaimi, leader of Iraqi parliament's largest Sunni Arab bloc. "Everybody knows Iran is meddling." He appealed for help from the EU.' (AP)

Mofaz warned of Egypt infiltrations in 2004. Jerusalem Post: 'Following Monday's suicide bombing in Eilat, documents surfaced showing that Shaul Mofaz as acting defense minister warned the government two and a half years ago that terror organizations would likely try to perpetrate an attack in the south of Israel given the porous border on the Egyptian frontier, Army Radio reported on Wednesday. According to the report, then-Deputy Minister of Internal Security Ya'akov Edri sent Mofaz a letter in 2004 in which he stressed that the lack of obstacles or IDF patrols in the area could be exploited by terrorist and criminal elements to enter into Israel. "It is advisable to at least begin planning construction of a security barrier on the [Egypt's] eastern border," wrote Edri. According to Army Radio, Mofaz's spokesperson at the time replied to Edri's letter with the following statement: "The minister turned to the prime minister and the finance minister with a plan to check the smuggling that cost approximately a billion shekels, but the request was denied, and instead it was decided to cut NIS 200 million from the military budget."' Read the rest at the link. (JPost)

Eilat: The day after. Israelity: 'What of today? Today, the hardworking population will wake up, bury and mourn the victims of the attack, then dust themselves off, and get back to business, shaken but determined. Hopefully, we will all get busy booking our next vacations in Eilat. I know I will.' (Israelity)

Debka: Iranian official sees US attack in two months. Debka: 'DEBKAfile: An Iranian official postulates first US military action against Iran in two months. The first commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohsein Rezai, estimated in recent conversations with Western sources that the US would not start out with a large-scale attack but only pinpointed military raids against RG bases in Iran. The opposition Mujaheddin al Khalq are reportedly being trained to take part in these operations, which would probably escalate as Iran began retaliating to the American strikes.' (Debka)

Commentary. ThreatsWatch: 'The reaction to the administration’s sudden decision to withhold from publicly exposing Iran’s murderous activities is initially one of a rush of anger and renewed frustration. Such anger and frustration is brought on by a political climate in which United States Senators, Congressmen and Congresswomen insist upon confrontation with the Commander in Chief more so than they demand our nation confront and defeat the enemies who seek to kill us. ... Consider the attack in Karbala, just days before Senator Kerry’s verbal revolt, where five American soldiers were killed, four of them after being abducted and later executed by gunshots into their skulls. Each detail known thus far about the attack supports – or at minimum, fits - the conclusion that the execution of four American soldiers was an Islamic Revolutionary Guards Qods Force operation carried out directly by Iranians. None of the details serves diminish that likelihood.' Steve Schippert allows that there may be some justification for delaying the release of the evidence, but for withholding it there can be none.

What will it take to get us to wage war on the nation that declared war against us so long ago? Another Pearl Harbor? Another September 11? For some, even that is not sufficient provocation. So we will have to wait and see what the President - who is also the Commander In Chief, or so I've heard it said - will do. If anything.
That's how it goes.
Everybody knows.