Morning Report: February 18, 2008

Middle Eastern threats against Europe, and a European secession.

Saudi officials threatened terror. Via IRIS, the Guardian reports:
Saudi Arabia's rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday.

Previously secret files describe how investigators were told they faced "another 7/7" and the loss of "British lives on British streets" if they pressed on with their inquiries and the Saudis carried out their threat to cut off intelligence.

Prince Bandar, the head of the Saudi national security council, and son of the crown prince, was alleged in court to be the man behind the threats to hold back information about suicide bombers and terrorists. He faces accusations that he himself took more than £1bn in secret payments from the arms company BAE. ...

Read the full story at the link.

Iran threatens Netherlands government. Arutz Sheva: 'Iran has charged that a plan by a right-wing Dutch lawmaker to show a film portraying the Muslim religion as backing terror would be "a provocative and satanic act." It warned against allowing freedom of speech "to be used as a cover for assaulting the sensibilities and exalted moral and religious values which are respected by all of humanity," said Iranian Justice Minister Gholamhossein Elham. Dutch legislator Geert Wilders said his film, to be shown next month, shows the Koran as a book that incites murder.'

Kosovo declares indepencence; Bush recognizes. Fox News reports that the ethnic Albanian leadership of Kosovo has declared independence from Serbia, and that President Bush has recognized Kosovo. Serbia "made it clear that it would never accept Kosovo's statehood," according to the item. Debka has more: 'Half a dozen European Union members were ready to follow the US lead and recognize the fourth Muslim state to rise in Europe after Albania, Turkey and Bosnia. But Japan and Australia were in no hurry. And Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Slovakia and Bulgaria are opposed. Therefore, the 27-member EU bloc is far from a consensus. Russia, while failing to persuade the UN Security Council Sunday night to declare Kosovo’s declaration null and void, is backed by China.' Joel Rosenthal at Pajamas Media has a full analysis, contending that Kosovo is not really independent. Most of Kosovo's 2 million inhabitants are Muslim, but there are also about 120,000 ethnic Serbs. Strategy Page reports: 'The Serb government is preparing to back a "rejection movement" by Kosovar Serbs. The Kosovar Serbs claim they will not accept Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence. Serbia is expected to continue to insist on partition of Kosovo into an Albanian-dominated "Kosovo South" and a Kosovar Serb "statelet" that may ultimately join Serbia. The UN estimates that 120,000 Kosovar Serbs remain in Kosovo.'

"Israel hopes to destroy Hamas within a few months." Strategy Page: 'Israel has declared war on the Hamas leadership, and given the security services permission to do whatever they can to wipe out the Hamas officials involved in attacks on Israel. In (unofficial) cooperation with Fatah, which has the support of half, or more, of the Gaza population, Israel hopes to destroy Hamas in a few months. Fatah publicly condemns Israeli attacks on Hamas, but privately takes advantage of it by taking control of more neighborhoods in Gaza. Fatah support provides Israel with more information on who Hamas leaders are, where they are and when.'

In Iraq, pressure on Sadr and Iran-backed forces continues. Bill Roggio at the Long War Journal has the latest developments in the war against Iranian- and Mahdi Army-backed forces in Iraq. As for Sadr himself, he has to choose between extending the cease-fire, or ending it - which puts him in a tough spot. And that's just where we want him.

Briefly noted. Telegraph: Parviz Khan, UK terrorist who targeted Muslim soldier, gets life. Gateway Pundit: Eighth night of rioting in Denmark.

Commentary. No commentary today. Happy Presidents' Day.