Morning Report: January 5, 2006

Israeli PM Ariel Sharon in critical condition. Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon remains in extremely grave condition at this posting. News reports indicate that he has had a third brain operation in response to his recent stroke. Debka reports: 'His third operation Friday relieved pressure on the brain and removed clots from previous procedures. There is no active bleeding. A catheter is fitted in his brain. Latest CT shows significant improvement.' The Jerusalem Post says doctors are expected to release an update soon; JPost also offers related links. Dreams Into Lightning will post on any new developments. (various)

Iran seeking showdown to avert regime change? Just posted at Regime Change Iran, "Alan Peters" paints a disturbing picture of the Iranian regime's latest tactics: 'Analysts watching Iran on a daily basis were not taken by surprise by the Islamic Regime not showing up at the International Atomic Energy Agency on January 05, 2006, since reports out of Tehran have for the past weeks been mentioning President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad's office privately leaking to the Tehran newspapers that Iran already has four nuclear weapons obtained from the Ukraine. Back in 1991/1992 three nuclear weapon devices the Mullahs had obtained from Kazakhstan were verified on ground in Iran and intelligence further estimates that Iran has totally between eight to 12 nuclear devices from the Soviet era. ... s Iran expecting an attack now that the more pragmatic Sharon is out of the picture or has U.S and Coalition information leaked to them of an impending strike to put an end to nuclear weapons falling into the hands of someone like Ahmadi-Nejad? The new regime in Iran has certainly tried to provoke the USA and Israel beyond the point of endurance. ... Alternatively, is Iran planning to set up a reactive retaliation in the Middle East by the USA from an attack through surrogates like the Hezbollah?' Full text at link. Doctor Zin comments: 'If his sources are correct and Ahmadinejad is leaking that Iran has nuclear weapons, it would appear he is intent on creating a crisis now! Many believe Ahmadinejad is setting a trap for the west because western military action at this time would likely be of a limited nature since the west is unprepared for a full scale occupation of Iran. Such a confrontation would likely end in a negotiated settlement leaving the regime in power, but would also likely include internationally agreed to security arrangements with the regime, a very dangerous proposition indeed.' (RCI)