Impasse On The Ivory Coast

Here we have another example of where an election was held and the loser refuses to give up power peacefully.

African Presidents Urge Gbagbo to Resign

Three African heads of state are in Abidjan, on behalf of West African regional bloc ECOWAS, to urge incumbent Ivorian president, Laurent Gbagbo, to step down and bring a peaceful end to a violent, month-long, political power struggle.

It has now been a month since Ivory Coast’s November 28 presidential runoff that was meant to mark an end to more than a decade of internal division in the post-conflict country, but has instead led to a tense political showdown that the United Nations says has killed more than 170 people.

The presidents of Benin, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde are set to meet with incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo, in Abidjan Tuesday to deliver an ECOWAS ultimatum: Gbagbo can step down peacefully or face removal by force.

. . .

The United Nations and much of the international community say challenger Alassane Ouattara won the presidential election.

. . .

Original electoral commission results said Ouattara won the poll with 54 percent of votes. The constitutional court, led by a Gbagbo ally, then annulled 10 percent of ballots as fraudulent and proclaimed Gbagbo the winner with 51 percent of votes.

. . .

ECOWAS has threatened a military intervention if Gbagbo refuses to step down, but some analysts doubt whether West African nations have the operational capability, manpower or political will for such an effort and worry that any attempt at a forceful removal could trigger open conflict.

Gbagbo has warned any attempt to remove him by force could reignite civil war.

See also:
African leaders meet with Gbagbo to deal with Ivory Coast crisis
Three West African presidents try to convince incumbent Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo to step down
African Leaders Visit Ivory Coast to Pressure President Gbagbo to Quit
Ecowas pressures Gbagbo to step down, as refugees flee to Liberia
Ivory Coast’s incumbent president locked in crucial negotiations
Gbagbo defiant at African ultimatum
Ivory Coast Leader Insists He is Rightful President
News Analysis: Cote d’Ivoire at crossroads of war and peace
UN convoy attacked in Ivory Coast
UN says crowd attacked peacekeepers in Ivory Coast
Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)
Cote d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire

Judging by the mutually exclusive stances of the two sides, it sure doesn’t look like there’s going to be a peaceful transition of power here.

/I hope I’m wrong, but I predict there will be blood

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How Are Those Sanctions Working Out?

Apparently, the West’s sanctions regime doesn’t seem to be slowing down North Korea’s nuclear program.

Why We’re Always Fooled by North Korea

According to Siegfried Hecker, the former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, North Korea is working on two new nuclear facilities, a light water power reactor in early stages of construction, and a “modern, clean centrifuge plant” for uranium enrichment. Mr. Hecker visited the facility over the weekend and says it appears nearly complete.

The centrifuge plant is particularly significant because it could produce more than enough highly enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon every year—and it may not be the North’s only such facility. North Korea’s artillery bombardment of the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong on Tuesday makes it doubly clear that Pyongyang intends to leverage its new nuclear breakthrough for maximum concessions from the international community.

This nuclear revelation is not an intelligence failure. Over the past decade, intelligence analysts have consistently predicted North Korea’s path to nuclear weapons and noted the increasing evidence of its missile and nuclear proliferation. The failure has been that of policy makers and pundits who denigrated the analysis, ignored it, or clung to the fallacy that North Korea would abide by a denuclearization deal.

See also:
A Return Trip to North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Complex
North Korean Uranium Plant Stokes Proliferation Worries
North Korea’s ‘Stunning’ Secret Nuclear Plant
Uranium Enrichment ‘Long Suspected’
N.Korea’s Uranium Enrichment Facility ‘a Ploy’
Pyongyang’s New Nuclear Facility Tests World Resolve
U.S. Calls North Korea’s Nuclear Revelation a ‘Publicity Stunt’
N. Korea uranium claim condemned
North Korean uranium enrichment no surprise (Rep. Pete Hoekstra)
U.S. scientist amazed by N. Korean nuclear facility
North Korea unveils sophisticated facility for enriching uranium

So, how are we responding to North Korea’s latest nuclear revelation? We’re not responding at all, as far as I can tell, not even a strongly worded letter.

/I guess we’re just going to let North Korea assemble all the nuclear weapons they want and hope they never use or sell them. not a particularly good strategy in my opinion

Boring Iran Into Submission With Failed Empty Rhetoric

It’s deja vu over and over and over again, like approaching infifnity, we never seem to actually get there. Yawn, all the usual boring, milquetoast suspects.

US working on ‘tough’ Iran sanctions

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Washington is holding talks with its partners to impose tough new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.

Clinton also accused Iran of defying the international community.

“Iran’s continued disregard for its international obligations underscores the importance of united international pressure to change its policies,” Reuters quoted Clinton as saying on Tuesday.

“The United States is working with our partners… on tough new sanctions that will further sharpen the choices that Iran’s leaders face,” she added.

On Monday, US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley confirmed that a flurry of telephone conversations on Iran between Clinton and world leaders, including her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, had taken place over the weekend.

The US is spearheading a campaign to impose a new round of sanctions on Iran, despite the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has never found a shred of evidence indicating that the Islamic Republic has had any diversion in its peaceful nuclear program.

Tehran has repeatedly declared that it will not relinquish the inalienable nuclear rights of the Iranian nation under Western pressure.

See also:
U.S. seeks tough sanctions on Iran: Clinton
Clinton: U.S. seeks new ‘tough’ Iran sanctions
Clinton: US seeks ‘tough’ Iran sanctions
Biden: China will agree to Iran sanctions
Biden Expects New UN Sanctions Against Iran
President Obama predicts ‘strong, tough’ Iran sanctions
Iran nuclear program: On sanctions, Congress ahead of Obama
Clinton: Iran Should Direct Concerns to IAEA
Iran hardliner issues Strait of Hormuz warning to U.S.
Iran FM hopeful for nuke fuel deal, no sanctions
Clinton Says Iran Still Hasn’t Accepted Fuel Swap Deal, Sanctions “Sometime in the Spring”
Even as momentum for Iran sanctions grows, containment seems only viable option

How’s that Obama “smart diplomacy” working out? One day China’s on board, next day Russia’s on board, but yet new sanctions on Iran never materialize. It’s a big international joke and China, Iran, and Russia are laughing their collective asses off at our expense.

/alright, back in the clown car all you Obama administration clowns, bad comedy is not foreign policy

Iran Tells The West To [Expletive Deleted] Off (Again)!

Iran Tests New Version of Missile that Can Reach Europe, Israel

Iranian state media reported Wednesday that Tehran successfully test-fired an enhanced version of a solid-fuel medium-range missile, as U.S. and Western powers prepare to push for new economic sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

Iran said it fired an “optimized” version of its Sajjil-2, a medium-range missile capable of hitting Israel, according to Iranian media.

Tehran first tested the weapon in May, claiming it marked a significant milestone in its missile-technology efforts. In May, Iran said the Sajjil-2 had a range of 2,000 kilometers, or about 1,200 miles. That would make it capable of reaching Israel and the Black Sea coast of European Union members Romania and Bulgaria, though that isn’t different than range capabilities claimed in previous missile launches.

Iran said, however, the missile was more sophisticated than earlier models, and propelled by a solid-fuel system, which would make it easier to deploy than liquid-fuel missiles.

Iran’s state media reported Wednesday the updated version is faster, harder to shoot down and quicker to launch.

Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, Iran’s defense minister, said in comments to state media the new weapon was defensive in nature. “Iran’s missile capabilities are strictly defensive and at the service of regional peace and stability,” Gen. Vahidi said. “They will never be [used] against any country.”

Iran has a history of conducting war games and unveiling what is says are military innovations during times of international pressure.

President Barack Obama has given an end-of-year deadline for progress in talks with Iran over its alleged nuclear ambitions. Washington and other capitals have ratcheted up threats of fresh sanctions as that deadline approaches.

The White House said Wednesday’s test would increase the international community’s resolve. “There’s no doubt that, given this environment, missile tests do nothing but undermine the Iranian claims” that its nuclear program has peaceful aims, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters.

See also:
Iran says it tested upgraded Sajjil-2 missile
Iran says it tested upgraded Sajjil-2 missile
Iran missile test follows sanctions talk from West
Iran tests missile, stoking tensions with the West
Iran’s missile test angers the West
U.S. condemns Iran’s missile test
US condemns Iran’s ‘provocative actions’ as regime test-fires missile
Gates ‘concerned’ over Iran missile test: Pentagon
Iran’s missile test aimed at U.S., Israel
Important Points About Iran’s Missile Test
Sajjil

Iranian missile tests like these, coupled with Iran’s uranium enrichment program and the recent discovery that Iran is working on nuclear trigger technology, in spite of the West’s economic sanctions and threats of more sanctions, are starting to point to what is the most likely inevitable conclusion. Iran will deploy a deliverable nuclear warhead and they will eventually launch it at Israel.

/theoretically, we’ll be able to shoot down any Iranian missile launch at Israel, but then the obvious question becomes, what happens next?