1. With Iran once again dragging out the latest round of diplomatic efforts seeking extended play, the US and EU push for more and stronger sanctions. Russia, meanwhile, made an appeal to give Iran more time.
2. Within the Iran threat context, Russia threatened to move Iskander/SS-26 surface-to-surface missile batteries to the Polish border if it goes ahead with the installation of a US missile shield for Europe, intended to defend European states from Iranian missile threat. The Iskander is a late-90’s SCUD system replacement with relatively short, tactical range for theater defense and can have cluster, air-fuel-burst, bunker buster warheads as well as an EMP warhead for anti-radar capabilities.
3. The Pakistani government is currently considering an impeachment vote against president Pervez Musharraf, with a no confidence vote expected in relatively short order. Such would be a move that would, as the new government openly intended upon elections, drive Pakistan further from the United States. This materializing reality - the end of Musharraf’s presidency - is the cause for increased US operations and strikes against al-Qaeda targets within Pakistan, not a personal press by America’s outgoing President Bush to secure his legacy.
US urges ‘punitive’ steps on Iran - BBC
US: Iran stalling on nukes, new penalties likely - AP
Russia Asks That Iran Be Given More Time - Washington Post
The End of Nuclear Diplomacy - Weekly Standard
Iranian regime rejects arming Hizballah - Tehran Times
Israel Determined on Ending Arms Smuggling to Hizballah - An-Nahar
Israel warns Hizballah: We won’t tolerate arms smuggling - Haaretz
Petraeus Visit Highlights Growing Strategic Prominence of Lebanon - New York Sun
Debate on Impeachment Called ‘Make or Break’ for Ruling Coalition - Daily Times
Pakistan’s Musharraf May Be Impeached, Faces No Confidence Vote - ABC
Pakistan government debates Pervez Musharraf impeachment - Telegraph
Background: PrincipalAnalysis: The Clock Ticks For The President - ThreatsWatch
A Dangerous Neighbor: How Pakistan’s Deterioration Harms Afghanistan - Weekly Standard