“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, August 08, 2008

Russia Sends a Message


Given the speed with which the Russians reacted to Georgia’s incursion into South Ossetia, Moscow was clearly ready to intervene. We suspect the Georgians were set up for this in some way, but at this point the buildup to the conflict no longer matters. What matters is the message that Russia is sending to the West.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev summed this message up best: “Historically Russia has been, and will continue to be, a guarantor of security for peoples of the Caucasus.”

Strategically, we said Russia would respond to Kosovo’s independence, and they have. Russia is now declaring the Caucasus to be part of its sphere of influence. We have spoken for months of how Russia would find a window of opportunity to redefine the region. This is happening now.


  1. I join w/Ash in calling for Unilateral Nuclear Disarmament for the USA.

    Barry's already got a plan for the elimination of "Unproven Star Wars Stuff."

  2. Good thing we ain't drilling in ANWAR.

  3. "But I didn't inhale"
    Edwards Admits Extramarital Affair

    John Edwards, the former senator and presidential candidate, said in a statement that he had an affair but did not father a child out of wedlock.

  4. No Cigars for EB pending litigation.
    (Edwards, Slimebaum & Sleazy, Ltd)


  6. Great timing for the Donks. They were so happy to announce this morning that Clinton will be speaking at the Anointing of the Messiah.

  7. "Strategically, we said Russia would respond to Kosovo’s independence, and they have. "

    Shocking, ain't it?.

  8. What'll they do if his shirt gets stained?

  9. "We are the Puns
    We've been Waiting For!

  10. I just read 'Rat's Oil Post.
    Please excuse me while I go to the bathroom and hang myself.

  11. You can take the Russians out of the Soviets but you can't take the soviet out of the Russians.

  12. Get a nice Joseph Phelps cabernet some fine Columbian and take Sonia for a walk on the beach. Take a blue vitamin just in case.

  13. How much oil is within Mexico's claim?

  14. Good idea.
    I'll just use the rope for extra credit.

  15. They still export over a million barrels per day.

    Production in their fields is dropping and their internal consumption is raising @$2.35 per gal., retail.

    The production drop could be attributable to poor management and such by Pemex, the nationalized oil monopoly of Mexico.

    Or it could be peak oil.

    As of December 31, 2007, PEMEX estimates proved reserves of 14.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent, of which 71% consists of crude oil, 12% consists of condensates and liquids from plants and the remaining 17% consists of dry gas equivalent to liquid.

    Source is Pemex, itelf

  16. Very stupid. Georgians are surrounded by Muslims. Russia is their only true ally.


  17. Don’t cry for me, PEMEX

    April, 9, 2008

    I am using the Mexican term for PEMEX — paraestatal — because I can’t think of a word in English that describes PEMEX: a profit making government enterprise. It’s an oil company AND a federal cabinet agency AND has social, political and economic responsibilities outside the normal purview of either a business or a bureaucracy.

    If you look at PEMEX solely as an oil company, then it is perfectly logical for it to seek foreign partners. An oil company would presumably want to increase their access to supply (deep water drilling) and seek the capital to do so, even if it meant sharing the profits. BUT… that’s assuming oil companies need to grow.

    It was recently announced that PEMEX had gone from 7th to 10th place among the oil giants. SO? That only matters if you’re talking about continued high exports, and not about PEMEX’s other role — providing MEXICO with cheap oil. Even with falling reserves, Mexico has plenty of oil for its own needs. WIth fiscal reforms designed to lessen the state’s dependency on oil revenues, exports should be less important. It’s not Mexico’s oil consumers who need to worry… it’s the U.S. that depends on Mexican oil, and has the largest stake in continued exploration (and exploitation) of Mexican fields.

    The “legitimate government” (the friends of AMLO) has been leaking documents from PEMEX (and AMLO still has strong ties to the paraestatal from his days as an oil workers’ union leader) has been leaking documents that suggest the “de facto government’s” real interest is in providing a way for the Spanish oil giant, REPSOL. Pemex owns a 4.5% stake in Repsol, but it appears proposals to open PEMEX to foreign investments have mostly been crafted to benefit Repsol.

    Within congress, the leftist coalition, FAP, and much of PRI has opposed privatization, as has the Catholic Church. From what I can tell, the latest Administration bill seeks to mollify at least enough PRI senators and deputies to give the bill a chance. It would allow third-party contracts for some services, including refining and pipelines (which would remain the property of the third party… and has already been rejected by FAP) would have to maintain a “Mexican personality.” If this bill passes, at worst, the investors are going to be Mexican companies (in theory anyway) and — even if Mexican oil exports drop — it’s not going to mean a return to the “bad old days” of foreign control. In the “new world order” they already do that through the banks, right?

    the link to The Mex Files

  18. Twenty-First Member of MS-13 Convicted of Racketeering Conspiracy, Murder Conspiracy and Murder

    To date, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland has charged 50 gang members with various federal offenses, with 30 defendants charged in this RICO conspiracy case. Twenty-one MS-13 gang members have been convicted thus far in this RICO conspiracy case.

    "By working together to prosecute Israel Palacios and many other MS-13 gang members using federal racketeering laws, law enforcement agencies are making a substantial impact on violent crime in Maryland," said U.S. Attorney Rosenstein.

    "We wish to send a consistent message that when people choose to join a violent gang, they will be held accountable for its actions-no excuses," said Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Sheree L. Mixell of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

    Acting Assistant Attorney General Friedrich and U.S. Attorney Rosenstein praised the RAGE Task Force; the ATF; the Prince George's County Police Department; the FBI; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the Montgomery County Department of Police; the Maryland National Capital Park Police; and the Maryland State Police. Acting Assistant Attorney General Friedrich and the U.S. Attorney also recognized Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey for the assistance that he and his office provided.

    What do you figure happens once they're convicted?

  19. No Help for Mexico's Kidnapping Surge
    Mexicans don't call the police when their loved ones are snatched, because as in the case of a shocking recent killing, too often senior policemen seem to be involved in the crime.

    Mexico's leftist opposition may denounce the administration of President Felipe Calderon as a government of the rich, but the rich are not so sure. In fact, they're rapidly losing confidence in the state's ability to ensure their physical safety. And the reasons for their skepticism were made clear in the recent kidnapping and murder of a 14-year-old, and the arraignment of two police officers in the case.

    But the Secretary for Public Security has revealed that this year's figures so far show an 80% increase. And those are only reported kidnappings — Mexico's Human Rights Commission believes that less than one in three kidnappings is ever reported to the authorities, because so many Mexicans have little confidence in a law enforcement system riddled with criminal elements.
    Can Mexico’s Drug Terror Be Stopped?

  20. Here now is Georgia, a Nation State that has stood shoulder to shoulder with US, in Iraq.

    Where are the US logistic experts? Are they on the ground, preparing for the vast quantities of arms and supplies Georgia will need?

    If the five million Georgians are to be considered "very stupid" because they refuse to cede their soverignty to foreigners, due to the fear of being surrounded by muslims.
    How should we describe six million Jews that make that same choice?

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. "How should we describe six million Jews that make that same choice?"

    What same choice? What is today Syria Lebanon Jordan and Egypt should all have been part of Israel already.

  23. They are sentenced

    Palacios faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow scheduled Palacios' sentencing for Nov. 10, 2008. Palacios remains in federal custody.

    Guillen, a/k/a "Toro," 22, of Hyattsville, Md., pleaded guilty after a jury was selected for his federal trial, to conspiracy to participate in racketeering enterprise activities and was sentenced on Jan. 11, 2008, to 262 months in prison.

    Now, with parole, two for one, or three. The 262 months becones 180 or so.
    Then it depends upon nationality, Toro could very well be a citizen of the US, if so, he couldn't be deported.

  24. The choice of six million to live surrounded by muslims.
    Syria 20,000,000
    Lebanon 4,000,000
    Jordan 6,000,000
    Egypt 82,000,000

    If the Georgians are stupid, there you go, you are way ahead of 'em.

  25. Regarding this development Obama was heard to comment...."I'm down with this Russian response as long as when they get to Atlanta they only hassle the rich people."

  26. Given the speed with which the Russians reacted to Georgia’s incursion into South Ossetia...

    That's funny. South Ossetia is part of Georgia. You don't make "incursions" into your own land.

    Russia is now declaring the Caucasus to be part of its sphere of influence.

    The Caucasus? Good luck to them with that big flaming paper sack of dog poop.

  27. A choice you decided not to make.

    But a choice the leaders of the Georgians seem willing to shoulder.

    Being as how they can't expatriate.

  28. Westhawk The 1930s echo in Georgia

    What does this crisis mean for U.S. security interests? Georgia has strived mightily to be a good ally to the U.S. Georgia has made large deployments of its soldiers to both Iraq and Afghanistan, and has not hesitated (unlike other European allies) to send its soldiers into the most dangerous conditions. For these efforts, Georgia hoped to receive a security commitment from at least the U.S., and hopefully from NATO. Will Georgia’s hopes in this regard be fulfilled? Or will the Bush administration now find a way to quietly back away from this uncomfortable situation? And if the U.S. finds a way to wriggle away from Georgia, what would that mean for U.S. credibility? Or its willingness to involve itself with other vulnerable countries on either Russia’s or China’s peripheries?

  29. No wonder Egypt is so f..... up!
    82 freaking million.

  30. The US called for help and Georgia answered and was welcomed.

    Now when Georgia is in a truly existental fight, will the US stand with it's ally, or cut and run.

    This is the test of US credibilty, not Iraq. Iraq only provided the stage setting. Will the US provide the quid pro que to a staunch ally, or leave them to twist in the wind?

  31. "The choice of six million to live surrounded by muslims."

    No. That's you framing the choice. For me the choice is simple, that of allying with Muslims or against. And for me, the choice would always be the same.

  32. "US provide the quid pro que to a staunch ally, or leave them to twist in the wind?"
    Libby is skeptical.

  33. And for me, amigo, it is individual freedom and liberty that is allied with, or against.

    Because, amigo, in my part of the world, the largest security threat is being trained by Israeli mercs.
    It's not the Muslims that are training the drug cartel foot soldiers, it's the Jews, or at least secular Israeli.

    The fact that a batch were also trained at Fort Benning, Georgia, USA, does not provide excuse.

  34. Candidates React to Georgia/Russia Conflict
    Posted by BLAKE DVORAK | E-Mail This | Permalink | Email Author
    From John McCain:

    Today, news reports indicate that Russian military forces crossed an internationally-recognized border into the sovereign territory of Georgia. Russia should immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations and withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgian territory. What is most critical now is to avoid further confrontation between Russian and Georgian military forces. The consequences for Euro-Atlantic stability and security are grave.
    The government of Georgia has called for a cease-fire and for a resumption of direct talks on South Ossetia with international mediators. The U.S. should immediately convene an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council to call on Russia to reverse course. The U.S. should immediately work with the EU and the OSCE to put diplomatic pressure on Russia to reverse this perilous course it has chosen. We should immediately call a meeting of the North Atlantic Council to assess Georgia's security and review measures NATO can take to contribute to stabilizing this very dangerous situation. Finally, the international community needs to establish a truly independent and neutral peacekeeping force in South Ossetia.

    From Barack Obama:

    I strongly condemn the outbreak of violence in Georgia, and urge an immediate end to armed conflict. Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint, and to avoid an escalation to full scale war. Georgia's territorial integrity must be respected. All sides should enter into direct talks on behalf of stability in Georgia, and the United States, the United Nations Security Council, and the international community should fully support a peaceful resolution to this crisis.

  35. "Because, amigo, in my part of the world, the largest security threat is being trained by Israeli mercs."

    LOL. Yeah. Under the supervision and direction of the CIA.

  36. "It's not the Muslims that are training the drug cartel foot soldiers, it's the Jews, or at least secular Israeli."

    It's your money that finances these drug cartels. So if you don't like the foot soldiers, don't buy their product.

  37. Not my cash, amigo, but plenty of our fellow Americans do support agriculture, in Mexico, with their wallets.

  38. Does anyone have a clue what this Russia/Georgia dust-up is all about?

    Did someone strike oil down there (South of Russia) and not tell me?

  39. LOL. Agriculture. That's rich.

    Interestingly, you don't seem to be holding a grudge against them fellow Americans and their agriculture supporting habits.

    Also interesting how the Jew the secular Israeli is always in the forefront of your thought. Seems like with you, everything always comes back to the Jew.

  40. "Did someone strike oil down there (South of Russia) and not tell me?"

    It's about oil going thru Turkey instead of Russia.

  41. So, what, are Americans obliged to support Israel because...

  42. Foreign entanglements vs our liberty.

  43. If Israel wants to help us export security, great. Looks like they export security, but not to us - and not in a way obviously beneficial to us (or at least me). We're in competition in that market place it would seem.

    How awful is it to say: Let Israel beat fate, and it will survive on its own. I'm concerned about America avoiding its own "inevitabilities."

  44. This comment has been removed by the author.

  45. I don't follo you, what does Georgia have to do with Israel?

  46. Where will the halls of power reside in the future? Why in the Megacities or Megaregions, depending on where you draw your boundaries and population density.

    This map shows cities with population with at least 1 million. Those are power centers in the future. Israel's largest city, its capital Jerusalem, houses less than 800k. It is presumably only one of the dots in that neck of the woods.

    America is thought to have potential for ~ 10 different megaregions. Mind you, its at that level of power where Kyoto was signed. No idea about the implementation. Not sure what would stop them, however.

  47. Question to an American is what do either of those little markets have to do with me? Maybe there is a compelling case to be made.

  48. A better market for Israel than drug lords

    "The Chinese fear, among other things, that some demonstrators' group might try to take advantage of the worldwide attention to carry out a non-violent but provocative act to disgrace the Chinese organizers," Gleser says.

    ISDS' people impressed on the Chinese to avoid over reacting and not to use their full force, to avoid causing even greater harm. It's important to display reasonable, moderate force in dealing with an event, he says.

    Gleser, who maintains close ties with Australian and American officials working with the Olympics' organizing committee, hopes that all the hard work will ensure that today's opening ceremony and the rest of the Games pass uneventfully.

  49. Maybe the alliance continues. But the case needs to be made. It's a new world. What assets would Israel/Georgia bring to bear in an operation like those AFRICOM has envisioned, namely humanitarian ones?

  50. Re: the 2xChina's worth of demand for Security, Energy, Water, Food, Employment, Technology etc that are incoming, where do Israel or Georgia fit? Georgia can export security only so far as that locality is stable. Some say the real goal is getting China to help.

    Consider the membership of the Proliferation Security Initiative and the Container Security Initiative

    Haifa and Ashdod in Israel is part of this attempt to build more secure transport. Israel has not, however, helped in the PSI, for understandable reasons.

    Haifa has > 1 million in the immediate area so its likely a future power dot.

  51. "South Ossetia is one of the few places where ethnic, nationalist or other complications mean that the Cold War went dormant but didn't die. U.S diplomats refer to these neighborhood squabbles as "frozen conflicts," a euphemism that belies the long-recognized threat that seemingly petty disputes can easily provoke a wider war."

    What is the best response for when these things "thaw?" Is waiting it out safe?

    Is the better question to ask how each of us can avoid becoming Georgians?

  52. You're thinking like an imperialist, dRat. Markets don't produce wealth. It's intellectual power that produces wealth.

  53. After hearing Saxby Chambliss on the radio, I'm not sure Georgia won't be better off with the Russians in charge.

    ...I wish Rufus would check in and let us know if he thinks it might spill over into Mississippi.

  54. Over 1,300 people are reported dead after Russian forces responded to a Georgian attack on rebels in the breakaway province of South Ossetia by mounting a full scale invasion.


    Georgia will withdraw 1,000 soldiers from its military contingent of around 2,000 troops in Iraq to help in the fighting against South Ossetian separatist rebels, a top Georgian official said.

    Georgia has asked the US military to provide aircraft to move Georgian troops home from Iraq as fighting rages in Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia region, a US military official said Friday.

    [Cue Mighty Mouse theme music]

    US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on Russia to withdraw its troops from Georgia.

    "The United States calls for an immediate ceasefire to the armed conflict in Georgia's region of South Ossetia," Rice said in a statement.

    "We call on Russia to cease attacks on Georgia by aircraft and missiles, respect Georgia's territorial integrity, and withdraw its ground combat forces from Georgian soil," she said.

    The United States is working actively with its European allies to launch international mediation to end the crisis and senior US officials have spoken with the parties in the conflict, she added.

    A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana: "We repeat our message to all parties to immediately stop the violence."

    In Washington, State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said the US was sending an envoy to the region "to engage with the parties in the conflict".

  55. "US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on Russia to withdraw its troops from Georgia."
    That's great news!
    ...they'll probly start pullin out tommorrow morning.

  56. Crude plunges $4 to below $116
    London: Oil fell $4 to below $116 on Friday in line with declines across the commodities complex as weaker demand and a stronger US dollar outweighed concern conflict in Georgia could disrupt Caspian energy supplies.US light crude was down $3.50 at $116.52 ... [6 hours ago - Gulf News]

  57. his spokeswoman Dana Perino said Friday. 'President Bush has been regularly updated ...


  58. Georgia Official: Russian Planes Attack Poti Port, Railway

    MOSCOW (AFP)--Russian aircraft have attacked the oil port of Poti, as well as an air field and a railway junction, the secretary of Georgia's National Security Council told AFP Saturday.

    "Over the past two hours, Russian aviation has carried out flights on economic and civilian infrastructure targets. There has been an attack on the port of Poti and on a railway junction and aerodrome in Senaki," Alexander Lomaia said by phone from Tbilisi.



  59. Georgia: the energy connection

    Georgia, where government forces fought pro-Russian separatists on Friday, is an energy highway to the West with two major pipelines routed via the capital Tbilisi.

    Last Updated: 11:57AM BST 08 Aug 2008

    From Tbilisi, the links head south into Turkey, away from the breakaway South Ossetia region, the scene of the fighting.

    They are particularly valued by the European Union because they reduce dependency on Russian supplies and do not cross Russian territory.

    But exports of gas and oil have been disrupted following a blast in Turkey earlier this week. The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) claimed responsibility for the attack.

    The Baku-Tblisis-Ceyhan pipeline: The BP-led pipeline was opened in 2006.

    It can pump up to one million bpd of Azeri crude along the 1,040 mile route to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

    It is the first pipeline to carry large volumes of crude from the Caspian without going through Russia.

    The Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline: Also known as the Shakh-Deniz Pipeline, takes gas from the Shakh Deniz gasfield in the Caspian Sea to Erzurum in Turkey.

    It is jointly operated by BP and StatoilHydro. It began exports to Turkey in 2007 and will eventually be able to carry 20 billion cubic metres of gas.

  60. The Russian Defence Ministry's airmobile hospital is at Beslan's airport and ready to transport heavily ...
    MOSCOW, August 9 (Itar-Tass) -- The Russian Defence Ministry's airmobile hospital is at Beslan's airport and ready to transport heavily wounded Russian peacekeepers and civilians from South Ossetia to Moscow and Rostov-on-Don. "The hospital has brought ...

    Peacekeepers. My ass.

  61. So, Doug...

    I see you're back. How was your walk on the beach?

  62. Oil Daily

    Only days after an apparent terrorist attack in eastern Turkey halted flows of Azeri crude oil along the 1 million barrel per day BTC pipeline, the entire Caucasus region is bracing itself for all-out war between Russia and Georgia. For BP, which operates not only the BTC but also the South Caucasus gas pipeline running from Baku through Georgia to eastern Turkey, this is becoming a nightmare scenario.

  63. Peacekeepers. My ass.

    Indeed. The Ruskies don't even bother trying to tell clever lies but piss in your eyes and tell you its raining.

    The US can (and should) help plenty - out of plain view - by giving the Georgians intel and supplying (or permitting companies to supply) small volume high effect stuff like AT missiles and night vision gear, expediting spare parts for ex-soviet equipment from 3rd parties etc.

  64. 1. Throw the Russian bastards out of the G-8. They never belonged there in the first place.

    2. Severely restrict visas to Russian travelers.

    3. How do you spell IED's? The Georgians returning from Iraq should be made expert.

    4. Take FPK's advice and supply them fast.

    5. Send a quiet mission to Venezuela and tell Hugo the party is over.

    6. Any Russian ownership of strategic European assets is a threat and should be treated as one. Europe (France and Germany) needs to show some spine.

  65. This is going to backfire on Putin. There sure was a lot of Friday shorting of the €.

  66. This is right out of Exodus 16 for McCain, "manna from heaven". I can picture the ad:
    - Dark, fast moving clouds.
    - Deep sinister voice.
    - Tanks moving from the valley of the Ork.
    - Rapid succesion of photos of Putin.
    - A clip of Hillary saying Obama's experience is one speech.
    -McCain calling for Russia to be thrown out of the G-8 and saying that when he looked into Putin's eyes he saw KGB.

    "In a time of uncertainty and real peril, we need McCain."

    "In an unstable world do you really want a community organizer?"

  67. by giving the Georgians intel...

    Thinking about this a lot this evening. A wonderful idea if our intel gift can be trusted. The fly in the ointment is that I'd have assumed they were already getting some intel in return for the support in Iraq and Afghanistan. If so, and a big IF admittedly, then somebody missed the Russians buildup, badly. Or, maybe somebody decided it wasn't important enough to pass on? I think we saw it coming, and somebody sat on it.

    Other factors impinge.

    Saakasvilli said to be reckless? Well, he's a pal of George, whaddya expect?

    Who would have been overseeing our 'gifts' to Georgia, State or Defense?

    And the news coming out from both sides seems just a pissing contest.

    What we know is that Russians have heavily damaged the port on the Black Sea, gone after rail assets, and seem to be systematically destroying the roads and internal communications. Couple that with the "terrorist" attack on the pipeline in Turkey a few days earlier. Saw someplace tonight that Ivan has a nice new port just up the coast.

    I'd say Russia wants all of Georgia, and will probably get it, or cripple it, to protect their stake in oil flowing through Russian pipes.

  68. "The United States calls for an immediate ceasefire to the armed conflict in Georgia's region of South Ossetia," Rice said in a statement.

    "We call on Russia to cease attacks on Georgia by aircraft and missiles, respect Georgia's territorial integrity, and withdraw its ground combat forces from Georgian soil," she said.

    ...stamping her feet and gesturing threateningly...

  69. Notice how russia DOESNT send fliers giving people warning?

    More died in one day than in the entire month long war in lebanon in 2006.

    lesson learned?

    on the USA and Israel are concerned about civilian damage.

    I think russia will attempt to punish Israel for It's support of Georgia..

    I think Israel will take out something russian supplied of high profile in either lebanon/syria or iran to make russia's s300's look like worthless shit..

    i read in the Jpost 2 days ago

    'We'll neutralize S-300 if sold to Iran'
    Aug. 8, 2008
    Yaakov Katz , THE JERUSALEM POST
    If Russia goes through with the sale of its most advanced anti-aircraft missile system to Iran, Israel will use an electronic warfare device now under development to neutralize it and as a result present Russia as vulnerable to air infiltrations, a top defense official has told The Jerusalem Post.

    The Russian system, called the S-300, is one of the most advanced multi-target anti-aircraft-missile systems in the world today and has a reported ability to track up to 100 targets simultaneously while engaging up to 12 at the same time. It has a range of about 200 kilometers and can hit targets at altitudes of 27,000 meters.

    While Russia has denied that it sold the system to Iran, Teheran claimed last year that Moscow was preparing to equip the Islamic Republic with S-300 systems. Iran already has TOR-M1 surface-to-air missiles from Russia.

    Mixed media reports have emerged recently regarding the possible delivery of the system to Iran. Two weeks ago Reuters quoted a senior Israeli official who said the system would be delivered to Iran by the end of the year. In response, the Pentagon released a statement rejecting the assessment and saying that the US did not believe Iran would get it in 2008.

    According to the Israeli defense official who spoke to the Post, "no one really knows yet if and when Iran will get the system."

    A top IAF officer also said this week that Israel needed to do "everything possible" to prevent the S-300 from reaching the region.

    "Russia will have to think real hard before delivering this system to Iran, which is possibly on the brink of conflict with either Israel or the US, since if the system is delivered, an EW [electronic warfare] system will likely be developed to neutralize it, and if that happens it would be catastrophic not only for Iran but also for Russia," the defense official said.

    Neutralization of one of the main components of Russian air defense would be a blow to Russian national security as well as to defense exports. "No country will want to buy the system if it is proven to be ineffective," the official said. "For these reasons, Russia may not deliver it in the end to Iran."

    Also on Thursday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told an Italian paper that a nuclear Iran would be "dangerous to world order."

    Barak emphasized that all options for dealing with threat of a nuclear Teheran were "open and ready," and stressed the importance of "strengthening and accelerating economic sanctions against Iran."

    "Either way, we need to keep every option open. If they provoke us, or they attack us, our army is prepared to attack and to succeed uncompromisingly," he asserted in an interview with the daily Corriere della Sera . "It's up to us to find the best way to get the best result with minimum damage," Barak added.

    "Iran confirmed its message when it stood against the whole world: to deceive and to reject. Their aim is to obtain an atomic bomb," he continued.

    The defense minister also spoke of the results of the Second Lebanon War, telling the Italian paper, "Two years ago, we saw the price that's paid for a lack of an experienced leadership. Nevertheless, today we're equipped with a good understanding to prevent this from happening again."

    He added that UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that brought an end to the war was inefficient since Hizbullah, Syria and Iran were doing what they wanted in Lebanon.

    Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

    This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1218104239541&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

  70. This thing is moving. The Telegraph is reporting:

    Georgia: Russia 'invades new province' as South Ossetia conflict escalates

    Russian forces have invaded the Georgian province of Abkhazia hours after taking control of most of South Ossetia, said Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.
    Here and a map of the area here

  71. Guess Condi's plea fell upon deaf ears.

    Had a reasonable post on Pakistan and Stratfor, now lost in the ether.

    Maybe later ....

  72. We warned about this possibility in a post about Kosovo independence on 2 October 2007:

    Kosovo, Will the Cesspool of Europe Overflow, Again?

  73. Whit has a pretty full out-basket back there. He will probably let this thread run awhile longer and put it back up.

  74. Not pretty enough to be Vice President.

  75. Funny how oil prices fall precipitously and THEN Russia invades. It's like Ahmedinejad told them, "I'm all out of ideas on things to do to prop it up, you give it a whirl."