UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said today that “the time is not ripe” for him to talk to Hamas.
But don’t jump to the conclusion that refusing to talk to Hamas (for now) means he’s opposed to Palestinian terrorism. Here he is respectfully laying a wreath on the grave of one of history’s most notorious mass-murdering terrorists:
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon lays a wreath at the grave of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat during his visit in the West Bank town of Ramallah, Sunday, March 25, 2007. The visiting U.N. secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, said Sunday that the time is not ripe for meetings with Hamas officials in the new Palestinian government. (AP Photo/Loay Abu Haykel, Pool)
OUR FRIENDS THE SAUDIS
By Charles Johnson
The hatred never stops: Saudi Arabia Bars Israeli Journalist Traveling With UN Chief.
CAIRO, March 24 — Saudi Arabia has barred entry to a Washington-based Israeli journalist traveling with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on his current Middle East tour, the United Nations said today.
Mr. Ban is going to Riyadh on Tuesday for two days of the summit meeting of the League of Arab States.
Orly Azoulay, the Washington bureau chief of Yediot Aharonot, was unable to obtain a visa to Saudi Arabia despite assurances the Saudi mission in New York gave the United Nations last week, said Michéle Montas, Mr. Ban’s spokeswoman.
Ms. Montas said that both Lebanon and Saudi Arabia initially refused to grant Ms. Azoulay a visa, but that Lebanon had dropped its objections last week and given her the needed stamp.
Ms. Azoulay, 53, an Israeli-born dual citizen of France and Israel, sought the visa on her French passport. She said she had traveled during the past two years to Afghanistan, Iran, Lebanon, Iraq and Pakistan and had gone to Saudi Arabia in 2000 with correspondents covering then-Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright.
When the Saudi consulate in New York returned the passports of the 11 news reporters and broadcasters to United Nations headquarters on Friday afternoon, only Ms. Azoulay’s bore no Saudi visa. Ms. Montas said this occurred despite repeated appeals to the Saudis during the week from Vijay Nambiar, Mr. Ban’s chief of staff. Sunday, March 25, 2007
DO AS I SAY…
By Sam Ryskind
AL QAEDA’S CHLORINE WAR CONTINUES IN RAMADI
By Bill Roggio
Ramadi police seize a truck rigged with explosives and chlorine cannisters
The truck cargo area reveals containers filled with chlorine and explosives. Picture courtesy of MNF-West PAO. Click to view.
Al Qaeda in Iraq is pressing forward with its dirty war in Anbar province. On March 23, police in Ramadi’s Jazeera district seize a truck filled with “five 1000-gallon barrels filled with chlorine and more than two tons of explosives,” according to Multinational Forces West. The truck was parked outside the Jazeera police station. “The police approached the truck for further investigation and detained the driver when they discovered the truck was rigged with explosives and the driver was attempting to detonate the vehicle.” The driver was captured and an Explosives Ordnance Demolition team destroyed the truck.
The driver will be interrogated in an attempt to break the al Qaeda network of chlorine bombers.
Al Qaeda in Iraq has escalated its suicide campaign to include attacks with chlorine gas, and Anbar province has been the focus of these attacks. This is the sixth chlorine suicide attack in the province since this mode of attack begun this winter.
On January 28, 16 were killed in the first such attack in Ramadi. On February 19, al Qaeda struck again in Ramadi, killing two members of the Iraqi security force and wounding 16. On March 17, al Qaeda hit with a three pronged attack in Ramadi, Fallujah and Amiriya. Two were killed and over 360 were poisoned in the aftermath of the attacks.
Al Qaeda also conducted two deadly chlorine attacks outside of Anbar province. On February 20, five were killed and 140 sickened after a chlorine attack in Baghdad. On February 21, a chlorine attack in Taji killed 9 and made 150 sick.
The U.S. and Iraqi security forces have been hunting for clues behind the chlorine attacks and are seeking to dismantle the networks behind them.
Two chlorine bomb factories were discovered in Karma and Fallujah by Coalition forces on February 21. Karma has increasingly become a hot spot in Anbar province. A Marine CH-46 was shot down with an al Qaeda anti-aircraft missile in Karma, and the follow on task force of U.S. Army engineers sent to secure the wreckage lost three soldiers in a sophisticated IED strike. On March 22, U.S. and Iraqi forces found a chlorine supply in a bomb factory in Baghdad.
Al Qaeda in Iraq, through its political mouthpiece the Islamic State of Iraq, has issued a denial of its involvement with chlorine suicide attacks. “The group calls accusations of their involvement in the attack part of an information campaign aimed at tarnishing the jihad of the Islamic State, and more broadly, the image of the ‘blessed global jihad,’” according to the SITE Institute. “The group asks how any ‘sane’ person can believe that the Islamic State is targeting its own people as so many move to join their military ranks.” The attempt to distance itself from such attacks is a clear indication the backlash they have received from using such devices, however this did not stop the latest attempt in Ramadi.
Al Qaeda has issued instructions and implored its operatives to use chemical weapons in the past. Saturday, March 24, 2006
From FOX News: Iran to Suspend Cooperation With Nuke Watchdog Over Sanctions.
Iran isn’t backing down after a unanimous vote by the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions, announcing Sunday that it will partially suspend cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency and will be adjusting relations with those nations who voted for sanctions. Iranian officials called the vote by the U.N. Security Council in response to Tehran’s refusal to stop enriching uranium “illegal and bullying.”
“The Security Council has to be aware of its own position and status. Actions that are illegal, unwarranted and unjustified will reduce the credibility of the Security Council,” Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said through a translator while in New York.
“A few select countries don’t have the right to abuse the Security Council,” Mottaki added.
In response to the vote, the Iranian Cabinet also decided to stop informing U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency of any new steps or decisions in its uclear weapons program, Gholam Hossein Elham, a government spokesman said on state television.
Sunday’s decision is a response to “Saturday night’s illegal and bullying resolution by the Security Council,” Elham said. The suspension of cooperation “will continue until Iran’s nuclear case is referred back to the IAEA from the U.N Security Council.”
While Iran stands firm against the world, international pressure continues to mount for Tehran to release 15 British soldiers who Iranian officials say had crossed into Tehran’s territory. Accused of trespassing, Britain says the sailors and marines were conducting a routine inspection of a merchant ship in the disputed Shatt Al-Arab waterway between Iran and Iraq when they were captured Friday by Iranian forces. Sunday, March 25, 2007