The five permanent members of the UN Security Council agreed Friday to move toward a third set of sanctions on Iran should Tehran fail to answer key questions on its nuclear program, the British Foreign Office said. The Foreign Office said the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France agreed, along with Germany, to come up with a new sanctions resolution with the aim of voting on it if November reports by the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency did not show improved Iranian cooperation. Russia and China did not comment, but the agreement would mark a surprising turnaround in the two countries' strong resistance to fresh sanctions against Iran. IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei will report to the U.N. on Iran's nuclear activities in mid-November. EU chief negotiator Javier Solana is also due to submit a report on Iran's cooperation. [Na, aus einer Absichtserklärung der Russen und Chinesen am 19.11. an der Sichtung teilzunehmen kann ich noch kein Einverständnis lesen.] Die eigentliche Kursrichtung wird bereits geübt: The U.S. Navy began a series of exercises in the Gulf and wider Gulf waters on Friday involving a U.S aircraft carrier and two expeditionary assault ships. The five-day crisis response exercise involved amphibious, air and medical forces, the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, headquartered in Bahrain, said in a statement. "The scenario is challenging but prepares us for a real-world event," Commander Jay Chambers, of Combined Task Force 59, said.
Circulating rumors claim that Lebanese singer and seductress Haifa Wehbe is shopping for an insurance policy to "cover her body" from personal injury damage. Haifa received numerous offers from insurance companies. One company offered coverage of up to one billion dollars. Haifa is reported to be currently reviewing the offers before making a decision. +++++ Jamal Saidi: For arms dealer Abu Walid, political crisis in Lebanon means profit. He says he can't keep up with customer demand. "The market is very prosperous. If there were weapons factories in Lebanon today, they would not be able to meet the demand," he said, adding that the price of a good Kalashnikov -- his best selling gun -- had trebled to more than $1,000. Weapons buying by rival political factions is ringing alarm bells for Lebanese who fear a bitter power struggle in their country will turn violent unless it is settled soon. Demand had been "unusually strong" over the last five months, said Abu Walid, declining to give his full name. "I don't care who's buying. What is important is who pays more." +++++ French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner warned Syria Friday that the international community could not "remain indifferent" to the current political vacuum in Lebanon.
Seltsam? Bei den Israelis bekommt sie den Mund nicht auf, aber den Libanesen [und ich bin wie nachlesbar kein Freund von Aoun] schreibt sie aus dem Flugzeug vor was sie zu tun haben: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned on Friday against diplomatic moves to resolve the standoff between Lebanon's rival political camps through compromise. Rice's comments came as Lebanon's rival camps are trying to reach a deal over a successor to President Emile Lahoud, who must step down on November 24. Parliament is set to meet on November 12 for the vote. "I think there is a lot of talk right now about compromise," she told journalists on a plane taking her to Ankara for talks with Turkish leaders on how to deal with Kurdish rebels attacking from northern Iraq. "There are a lot of discussions going on," she added. "That is fine, but any candidate for president or any president needs to be committed to Lebanon's sovereignty and independence, needs to be committed to resolutions that Lebanon has signed on to, and needs to be committed to carrying on the tribunal." She was referring to the Special Tribunal to try suspects in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. She did not give names, but her statement appeared to be a veiled reference to a meeting between opposition leader MP Michel Aoun, who heads the Free Patriotic Movement, and MP Saad Hariri, head of the parliamentary majority. + Kommentar des Daily Star. [A federal judge today ordered Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and more than 10 other prominent current and former government officials to testify at the criminal trial of two pro-Israel lobbyists accused of violating the Espionage Act.]
Westfront: Während die Hamas den Besuch von Vetretern ihrer Gruppierung bei Abbas [A number of Hamas leaders met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday in his headquarters in Ramallah in the first meeting between Fatah and Hamas officials since the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in June. Ayman Daraghmeh, Hussein Kwaik and Abu Rumman also met Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Al Shaer and a number of ministers. Al Shaer said the leaders attended Friday prayers together before holding discussions, particularly concerning security issues.] herunter zu spielen sucht, vermeldet die israelische Seite nur einen Granatangriff auf einen nicht benannten Kibbutz. An der Ostfront kommt es nur zu vereinzelten Aktionen. An einem Checkpoint der Fatah wird ein PA-Sicherheitsbeamter durch friendly fire angeschossen. Bei der wöschentlichen Demo in Bi'lin ein französischer Photograph durch bad IDF fire. Östlich von Qalkilla wird der Ort Azzun von Israelis wegen eines Stein- und Flaschenbombardements auf ein israelisches Fahrzeug abgeriegelt.
James J. Zogby, "An Arab initiative to avoid a failed conference": In the aftermath of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's fourth recent visit to the Middle East to prepare for a peace conference, only the meeting's proposed location has been decided. The situation looks quite bleak, with little to show for the efforts made to date. Early in her visit, Rice made an effort to damp down expectations about the conference—not a good sign—sending mixed and confusing signals. While the US secretary reiterating the Bush administration's commitment to a Palestinian state, she made it clear after meeting with a number of Israeli officials that the administration would not press hard for a declaration defining outcomes or setting timetables—two essential Palestinian requirements.
Sehr lehrreich der post von C. Sydow über eine "Bildungsoffensive in den Golfstaaten". Yoel Marcus hat five comments on the situation anzubeiten. [Kostet gar nichts, bildet auch.]