Morning Report: May 27, 2007

Not for them the dismal science. A French bank pulls out of an Iranian venture, but Ahmadinejad plays the economic game by his own rules. "Sham" has two meanings - one in English and one in Arabic - and both of them seem to fit a new organization that has mysteriously sprung up in the Levant. Finally, we look at efforts to help unwed mothers in Morocco.

French Development Bank drops Iran business. Victor Comras at CTB: 'As a critic of the effete sanctions measures adopted by the international community against Iran, I want to be among the first to recognize a success in the application of US Treasury tactics re foreign banks doing business with Iran. Under pressure from the United States the French Bank of General Development has withdrawn from its commitment to invest some $1.8 billion for the development of the South Pars (SP) oil and gas field development phases 17 and 18. The French Bank had agreed in 2005 to be the lead investor in this project, covering some 85% of its cost. One can only speculate whether this result should be attributed in part, also, to the election of French President Sarkozy, who has already indicated a willingness to adopt harsher measures against Iran, if necessary.'

More on Iran investment. Canada-based Iranian expat Winston at The Spirit of Man:
A new American Enterprise Institute's project, "Global Investment in Iran: Interactive," documents major world business transactions with the Islamic regime of Iran between 2000 and 2007. Canada included in the list with 4 major financial transactions, US is also there with 9, China with 27 and France with 66 major transactions. Incredible, isn't it? Each penny invested in Iran will enable the Islamic regime to live one more day longer and prolongs the misery of milions of enslaved hostages the mullahs have kept inside that country since 1979...

Paleo Lithics:
Amateur Hour continues in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Ayatollah Khomeini once dismissed the concerns of his first prime minister with the observation, “Economics is for donkeys!” What was important was Islam - not the economy. Continuing in the same mindset, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently ordered the lowering of interest rates at a time of hyper inflation. Conventional wisdom is that lower interest rates increase the demand for borrowed money which increases inflation. The result:
*Panic selling on the stock market
*Bank share values plummet

Al-Qaeda wannabes. Citing SITE, Anton Efendi at Across the Bay writes: 'This is so transparent, it's like the Syrian regime is not even trying anymore. Don't even bother with the religious paraphernalia (as al-Hayat noted). Just go straight to the point in threatening the end of the tourist season, spewing venom against the Patriarch, and a warning for Aoun (who went against Hezbollah on entering the camp and finishing off Fateh Islam), as well as a warning to the Army Commander Michel Suleiman (who in many was is the man in the spotlight, and Syria is monitoring his behavior carefully, and it and Hezbollah are said to be very upset with him for refusing the proposal to head a second government to rival Seniora's and to be established by Syria's puppet Lahoud when his term expires...). You know, when I think of al-Qaeda's global aims, I always think of the above, which only coincidentally happen to be precisely those of the Syrian regime.'

Helping single mothers in Morocco. Via Or Does It Explode - and marking Glamour's second appearance in Morning Report, here's Marianne Pearl:
I am sitting by the Atlantic Ocean facing Casablanca’s Mosque Hassan II, named for the Moroccan king who died in 1999. From the mosque’s tower—the world’s tallest minaret—a laser beam shining toward Mecca can be seen for miles. I am here to meet a vocal advocate for Arab women, Aicha Ech-Chenna, whom some call “the Mother Teresa of Morocco.” Aicha and I share a powerful history: Both our lives have been deeply affected by Islamic extremism. Aicha has spent decades fighting for the rights of unwed mothers, who are pariahs in Muslim society; for this, a few religious fanatics have threatened to stone her to death. Ironically, the same kind of people made me a single mom. ...

Commentary. I was going to write something about the idiot thug that sits in Tehran, but what is there to say, really? Never interfere with the enemy when he is self-destructing. Instead, I'm going to close with a bit more of the Glamour article by Marianne Pearl:
In 1985, Aicha and a cofounder expanded on her groundbreaking work by starting Solidarity Feminine, the first organization in Morocco dedicated to helping unwed mothers keep and support their babies. To give women job skills, Aicha opened a restaurant in Casablanca and hired 11 single mothers as its staff. Today Solidarity Feminine employs about 60 unwed mothers at two restaurants and a bakery, and provides them with education, child care and health care. The women earn enough to rent their own apartments for about 1,000 dirhams, or $120, a month. Although women usually stay in Aicha’s program for three years, some leave sooner for better-paying jobs. “We help them live with dignity,” says Aicha.