Morning Report: April 21, 2005

UN Oil-for-Food officials resign. According to news reports: 'Two senior investigators in the probe of corruption in the U.N. Oil-for-Food program have resigned because they believed a report that cleared Kofi Annan of meddling in the $64 billion operation was too soft on the secretary-general, a panel member confirmed Wednesday.' Roger L. Simon writes: 'The level of prevarication surrounding the recent resignation of investigators Robert Parton and Miranda Duncan from the Independent Inquiry Committee into the United Nations Oil-for-Food Programme is so great that even a blogger in farwaway Los Angeles can see that committee members responding to the resignations are lying through their teeth. Here's an excerpt from CNN's coverage of the breaking story by Richard Roth: Another member of the Volcker panel, Richard Goldstone, discounted a media report that Parton and Duncan resigned to protest conclusions the panel reached about U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Goldstone told CNN that was not his understanding, and that Parton and Duncan had already been set to leave after having completed their work. He said their departure would not affect the investigation. Well, I am sorry Mr. Goldstone but I am actually amazed you would put your name publicly to such nonsense (next time I would advise speaking, as did your female cohort from the committee, on "condition of anonymity" or some such). Why am I so sure this is nonsense? Because I have known personally about Parton's disaffection from the committee for over a month ... ' Read Roger's piece at the link; the CNN story is here. Roger Simon has provided extensive - and exclusive - coverage of the Oil-for-Food scandal on his homepage. (AP via Fox, Roger L. Simon, CNN)

Debka roundup. Latest headlines from Debka: 'Civilian Russian-built Mi-8 helicopter shot down by ground fire near Tarmiya north of Baghdad killing all 9 aboard. ... Several Israeli soldiers injured, one seriously, in Palestinian bomb explosion against Israeli patrol outside Gaza Strip near Kfar Aza. ... Israel’s security chiefs recommend three-week delay in start of Gaza Strip and N. Gaza Strip pull-back to August 15. ... In Passover radio interview, Sharon pledged again no more Israeli withdrawals after Gaza and N. West Bank. Settlement blocs must remain part of and contiguous to Israel and each other. Washington never accepted settlement policy common to all Israeli governments from 1967, he added. The peace process will go forward, he stressed, only after Palestinians meet commitments to disarm and dismantle terrorist groups, enforce complete calm and reforms. Sharon will raise Russian anti-air missile sale to Syria with Putin when he visits next week. He does not accept deal final or not detrimental to Israel.' (Debka)

Mohammed: Iraqi people's success is Tehran regime's failure. Mohammed at Iraq the Model writes: 'The role of Tehran in creating the sectarian conflict in Iraq has became more than obvious after the failure of all the attempts to provoke a conflict between the Sunni and the She'at. The astounding successes of Iraq in democracy and writing the constitution and building a free community is causing a panic the neighborhood. We mentioned earlier that the Mada'en crisis is a fake and we pointed out that intrinsic and extrinsic parties had taken a stance to invest this story. ...' Full post at the link. (ITM)

Iran: Unrest spreads after Khouzestan riots. Report from Free Iran: 'Violent clashes continued, yesterday and this evening, in several southern Iranian cities, such as, Ahwaz, Khoramshahr, Mahshar. This wave of unprecedented unrest which has started from Ahwaz, since last Friday, has spread to other cities of the oil rich Khoozestan province, such as, Dezful and Masjed Soleiman. Sporadic demonstrations are still taking place despite the heavy security presence and injunctions to end the riots. Slogans against the Islamic regime and its leadership are the main motto of these actions. New reports are stating about the increase of number of deaths among the demonstrators but also security forces. Two militiamen were killed in an armed attack against a security post yesterday evening in Ahwaz. Houses of some of the regime officials or their relatives have been set ablaze ... ' (SMCCDI via Free Iran)