Saturday, February 16, 2008

Doing Away with the USD

OPEC considers dumping US dollar
Fri, 15 Feb 2008 16:55:38
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries plans to discuss a proposal by Iran and Venezuela to price oil in non-dollar currencies.

Finance minister of the group, which supplies 40 percent of the global crude demand, will meet to study the proposal, the organization's President Chakib Khelil said.

Khalil, however, did not say when the ministers are scheduled to discuss the proposal amid the ongoing depreciation of the dollar.

The idea floated by Tehran and Caracas since the dwindling dollar fallen 16.2 percent against a basket of major currencies since two years ago.

Iran, the OPEC's second largest exporter, has already cut all of its ties with the greenback with respect to oil transactions.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani had also said earlier that amid concerns about the weakness of the US dollar in recent months, the oil-rich Persian Gulf littoral state would shift Qatari riyal from the US currency over the next six months.

"The dollar lost a lot of value and energy worldwide is priced in the dollar, so all the producers are affected by the development on the dollar. This is a cycle so we have to live with it," Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah said.

The UAE is also likely to follow the lead, as Kuwait did last May.


Iran Oil Bourse may use Russian ruble
Fri, 15 Feb 2008 22:20:26
The Russian national currency, ruble, is an option for dealings at the Iran Oil Bourse, set to be launched soon, an Iranian official says.

"We are seeking to launch an oil exchange in Iran selling the crude in currencies other than US dollar. It is possible that in the future, we'll be able to use the ruble, Russia's national currency, in our operations," the Iranian Ambassador to Moscow Gholam-Reza Ansari noted.

"Russia and Iran, two major producers of the world's energy, should encourage oil and gas transactions in various non-dollar currencies, releasing the world from being a slave of dollar," he added.

The world's fourth-largest oil producer is to open its long-awaited oil exchange this weekend.

The Oil Bourse is supposed to trade oil products in non-dollar currencies and many analysts believe that it could be a blow to the already declining greenback.

Russia's first deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev also said on Friday, that Moscow should take advantage of the rising weakness of the greenback to make the ruble a regional reserve currency.

"Today the global economy is going through uneasy times. The role of the key reserve currencies is under review. And we must take advantage of it," Medvedev said in Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk.

"The ruble will de facto become one of the regional reserve currencies."


Friday, February 15, 2008

When and Where will the response be?

Nasrallah: War with Israel not over
Thu, 14 Feb 2008 18:53:21
Secretary General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah
Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah says the 2006 war against Israel is not over and his group has never agreed on a ceasefire.

"If the Zionists want war, then they shall have it. If you want an open war, then let it be an open war,” Nasrallah stated in a speech broadcast at the funeral of Imad Mugniyah in Beirut.

He maintained that the 2006 war between the resistance group and the Zionist regime was not over and that his followers stood ready for combat.

"The July war is not over. It is ongoing and no ceasefire was ever declared," Nasrallah noted.

The Secretary General of Hezbollah reiterated that the blood of Imad Mugniyah will contribute to the disappearance of Israel.


US braces for Hezbollah response
Thu, 14 Feb 2008 22:58:07
Sean McCormack
The US and Israel are on high alert for possible Hezbollah retaliation after Hezbollah said it would continue resistance.

"As a general matter, those kinds of statements are quite concerning and they should be alarming to everyone," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters after saying he did not know the details of the threats.

The Hezbollah Leader told the gathering of supporters at a funeral for slain commander Imad Mugniyah his group would retaliate against Israeli targets anywhere in the world.

Mugniyah, a top Hezbollah strategist and commander, was killed on Tuesday night in a bomb attack in a residential area of Damascus.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Guards, reserves 53% of US vet suicides

Tue, 12 Feb 2008 10:41:47

US National Guard and Reserve troops who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan wars comprise more than half the veterans who committed suicide.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs analysis of research of deaths among veterans of both wars, the guard or reserve members made up 53 percent of the veteran suicides from 2001, the beginning of the Afghanistan war through the end of 2005, after returning home.

In November last year, US President George W. Bush signed the Joshua Omvig suicide prevention bill, which directed the US Department of Veterans Affairs to improve the mental health training for its staff and advance the screening and treating of veterans.

Joshua Omvig was an Iowa Reservist who shot himself in front of his mother in December 2005 after an 11-month tour in Iraq.

According to the VA's research, 144 veterans committed suicide from the start of the war in Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001, through the end of 2005.

Of the 144 veterans, 35 veterans, or 24 percent, served in the Reserves and 41, or 29 percent, had served in the National Guard and 68 of them, 47 percent had been members of the regular military services.

According to the army, the suicide rate rose to 17.3 per 100,000 troops last year, the highest level in 26 years.

However the army recently reported that as many as 121 soldiers committed suicide last year which if confirmed would be more than double the number reported in 2001.

The VA study does not include those who committed suicide in the war zones or those who remained in the military after returning home from war.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

'March 14 should not play into US hands'

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 02:47:29

Hezbollah vows to defend Lebanon and the Lebanese at any moment, warning the March 14 faction not to play in Washington's hands.

"We have heard from some sources that America cannot tolerate Lebanon's situation any longer," Sheikh Mohammed Yazbek, a member of Hezbollah's Central Council, said Sunday.

Yazbek stressed that Lebanon's stability depended on 'its unity not fighting its people.'

He added the assassination of ex-Premier Rafik al-Hariri 'does not just concern the Sunnis or the government's loyalists, but all the Lebanese.'

Yazbek urged Lebanese forces to take all necessary measures to prevent the issue of Hariri's murder from being used to achieve political gains or to pursue US policies.


Israel Welcomes Jumblatt 'Readiness for War'

11/02/2008 Just after the head of the Progressive Socialist Party MP Walid Jumblatt finished his press conference on Sunday, Israeli media went for analyses. They read in his speech a direct message to Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah. Jumblatt openly stated in his speech that he's ready for war. "If you think that we are going to sit with our hands tied, then perhaps we would have to burn everything. If you want war, then we welcome war. We have no problem with war. We have no problem with weapons or with rockets which we will take from you," Jumblatt threatened. How did Israel welcome the PSP leader's position? In information published about an Israeli scenario for the next war on Lebanon, it was revealed that a sudden air deathblow against Hezbollah accompanied by airdrops in regions under the control of Jumblatt, Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea and other February 14 figures.
Jumblatt had previously admonished Israel's deputy chief of staff Moshee Keplensky during a conference organized by the Washington institute for Middle East policies. Jumblatt told Keplensky that a "confessional militia has defeated you and in the end you left Hezbollah's arsenal intact to kill us with, because you did not enter south Lebanon and you did not destroy its weapons warehouses." Many Israeli sources confirmed a one-hour-meeting had taken place between Jumblatt and Keplinski under the auspices of the Institute's administration that gave both men the chance to address the annual conference for the founders of the institute.
Keplenski promised Jumblatt that Israel will thrust more ground forces in the second round of the war to destroy Hezbollah's arsenals and training centers.
For its part, the 'Omedia' news website, reported information about a secret meeting that was held between Jumblatt and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and another one between Jumblatt and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's representative in the presence of US Vice President Dick Cheney, adding that that both meetings were positively concluded.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The price of freedom in Iran

Sun, 10 Feb 2008 21:01:38
By Hedieh Ghavidel, Press TV, Tehran

February 11 marks the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of Iran.

This day brings remembrance of the fact that the will of a nation can change the course of history, of a time when one nation stood up for its rights and would not be intimidated into accepting tyranny any longer.

The Iranian people put their trust in their charismatic leader Imam Khomeini, who had guided them through the hardships of a long battle against injustice, to finally take their fate into their own hands.

It is easy to understand why the people would not compromise with the Shah. How could a religious nation continue to turn a blind eye to his obvious anti-religious conduct and disrespect for the peoples' beliefs and the clergy.

How could the nation continue to tolerate seeing the representative of their country be the West's puppet, who instead of listening to the people's legitimate demands, turned his SAVAK (secret service) attack dogs on them?

While many were living in poverty and neglect, the Shah frivolously gambled away national assets.

People carrying the body of a young demonstrator, Tehran, 1978
How could people live under the rule of an illogical despot who demanded that they all be members of a single political party of which he was founder and leader?

If people dared show the slightest hint of dissatisfaction, the Israeli-trained SAVAK would bully them into silence by severing their limbs or taking their lives.

How can a nation maintain its dignity when its people are treated as second-class citizens in the land of their ancestors, while all Americans were granted diplomatic immunity regardless of their vocation and thus were immune from prosecution even when they killed Iranians?

Young man shot in Tehran demonstrations, February 1979
The scores of Iranians who had paid for freedom in blood, where rewarded upon Imam Khomeini's return to Iran on Feb. 1st 1979 after years of exile, as their struggle neared an end.

From Feb. 4th to 11th Iran had two governments, one which had long lost its legitimacy among the people, the other dependent on the chosen leader with his millions of loyal followers.

When the remaining supporters of the old regime realized that there was no way to save the sinking ship of the foreign-influenced absolutism, they secretly agreed on a coup in hopes of taking the reins of the popular revolution into their own hands.

Troops confront angry students at Tehran University gates, 1978
The illegitimate government then announced martial law would be imposed on Feb. 10, but Imam Khomeini who foresaw something was about to happen, told the nation to defy the order.

When word got out that the armed forces were moving toward Tehran in order to put down the revolution by force, young and old, man, woman and child took to the streets and stood in the way of the military.

The clashes which followed made the military realize they could not stand in the way of the nation's will to be free, and when revolutionaries began to take over police stations and military installations, it declared itself neutral in order to prevent further bloodshed.

Clergy and soldiers clasp hands in friendship, Tehran, 1979
The 15-year struggle finally bore fruit when Iranians took part in a national referendum and Iran officially became an independent Islamic Republic on April 1, 1979.

Feb. 11 is not only the anniversary of the revolution, but is also a reminder that the willpower of a united nation can triumph over despotic rule, military force and the illegitimate ambitions of world powers; nothing can stand in the way of a nation determined to regain its freedom.

The Iranian nation which has paid the high price of independence with the blood of its youth, will therefore never cease to safeguard the legacy of the revolution.

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