Somehow you just knew this was coming: Iran and Egypt are resuming diplomatic relations (Hat Tip: IMRA).Iran on Wednesday received well a recent proposal by Egypt's newly appointed Foreign Minister Nabil al-Arabi for the promotion of the bilateral ties between the two sides, and said it is ready to resume relations with Cairo.Hey Barack, how's that change working out? Aren't you glad you got rid of Mubarak?
"There have been many ups and downs in the two countries' relations and we hope that under the new conditions we will witness further expansion of relations between the two great nations," Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said.
He also underlined that there is no doubt that good ties between the two countries would help restore stability, security and development to the entire region.
Salehi said that the Egyptian people strived to materialize their justice seeking moves which was regarded as a new chapter in the country's history.
"We would like to once again congratulate them on the occasion," he concluded.
Al-Arabi in his first press conference on Tuesday announced Cairo's preparedness to open "a new page with Iran".
Reuters is reporting that President Obama has authorized secret assistance to the al-Qaeda-led rebels in Libya (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday.But who says Rogers and his committee will be asked? Obama didn't ask Congress' permission before starting to enforce the no-fly zone. What could go wrong?
Obama signed the order, known as a presidential "finding", within the last two or three weeks, according to government sources familiar with the matter.
Such findings are a principal form of presidential directive used to authorize secret operations by the Central Intelligence Agency. This is a necessary legal step before such action can take place but does not mean that it will.
As is common practice for this and all administrations, I am not going to comment on intelligence matters," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement. "I will reiterate what the president said yesterday -- no decision has been made about providing arms to the opposition or to any group in Libya."
The CIA declined comment.
People familiar with U.S. intelligence procedures said that Presidential covert action "findings" are normally crafted to provide broad authorization for a range of potential U.S. government actions to support a particular covert objective.
In order for specific operations to be carried out under the provisions of such a broad authorization -- for example the delivery of cash or weapons to anti-Gaddafi forces -- the White House also would have to give additional "permission" allowing such activities to proceed.
Former officials say these follow-up authorizations are known in the intelligence world as "'Mother may I' findings."
In 2009 Obama gave a similar authorization for the expansion of covert U.S. counter-terrorism actions by the CIA in Yemen. The White House does not normally confirm such orders have been issued.
Sending in weapons would arguably violate an arms embargo on Libya by the U.N. Security Council imposed on February 26, although British, U.S. and French officials have suggested there may be a loophole.
Getting a waiver would require the agreement of all 15 council members, which is unlikely at this stage. Diplomats say any countries that decided to arm the rebels would be unlikely to seek formal council approval.
U.S. officials also have said that Saudi Arabia and Qatar, whose leaders despise Gaddafi, have indicated a willingness to supply Libyan rebels with weapons.
Members of Congress have expressed anxiety about U.S. government activities in Libya. Some have recalled that weapons provided by the U.S. and Saudis to mujahedeen fighting Soviet occupation forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s later ended up in the hands of anti-American militants.
There are fears that the same thing could happen in Libya unless the U.S. is sure who it is dealing with. The chairman of the House intelligence committee, Rep. Mike Rogers, said on Wednesday he opposed supplying arms to the Libyan rebels fighting Gaddafi "at this time."
"We need to understand more about the opposition before I would support passing out guns and advanced weapons to them," Rogers said in a statement.
On Tuesday, YNet reported that 'Rightists' slammed new General Security Service chief Yoram Cohen, the first religious Jew to lead the agency, on the grounds that he would bend over backward to show he was not biased toward the religious Jewish (and by implication revenant) community.
"The feeling is that he will be worse than all his predecessors because of the media attack against him, because supposedly he is an emissary of the right," one source said. "He will try anything to prove that he isn't one."
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: It should come as no surprise to the West that intelligence officials have identified "flickers" of al-Qaeda among the Libyan rebels seeking to overthrow the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
Since widespread anti-government protests erupted in Libya last month Col Gaddafi has repeatedly claimed that al-Qaeda was actively involved in stirring up the unrest. At the start of the uprising he even made the bizarre claim that al-Qaeda had supplied Libyans with pills that induced them to revolt. "Our children have been manipulated by al-Qaeda," he declared.
Saif al-Islam, his second eldest son and heir apparent, has also made much of al-Qaeda's role in the revolt, warning the West that it has made a "terrible mistake" in backing the rebels. "Believe me, one day when you wake up, you will find that you support the wrong people," he said after French warplanes had bombed Libya's air defences. "You've made a terrible mistake."
While the Gaddafi regime has undoubtedly exaggerated the extent of al-Qaeda's influence in their country, there is nevertheless disturbing evidence that the Islamist terror group is seeking to turn the current political unrest to its advantage.
The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a militant Islamist group committed to the establishment of a fundamentalist Islamic state in Libya, was set up in 1995 by groups of Libyan jihadi fighters who had returned home after fighting with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union.
The LIFG later established ties with like-minded organisations, particularly al-Qaeda's North African wing, which is predominantly based in Algeria and has claimed responsibility for a number of terrorist attacks against European targets. » | Con Coughlin | Tuesday, March 29, 2011
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