Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Wednesday called on North Korea to stand down in its pursuit of nuclear weapons or risk taking actions that would “lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.”
“The United States and our allies have the demonstrated capabilities and unquestionable commitment to defend ourselves from an attack,” Mattis said in a statement. “Kim Jong Un should take heed of the United Nations Security Council’s unified voice, and statements from governments the world over, who agree the DPRK poses a threat to global security and stability.” Continue reading →
Sanctions, while having somewhat of an impact on the Iranian economy, are not effective enough. History tells us that third world economies have no bottom — especially those with a solid oil revenue foundation and a long list of alternative clientele. They have also stopped trading oil in dollars.
LONDON — Iran, facing Western sanctions and attack threats, has been
quietly storing millions of barrels of crude oil in the Gulf.
Industry sources said the Teheran regime, which oversees production of 3.5 million barrels per day, was preparing for an international embargo on fuel exports to Iran.
The U.S. intelligence community has assessed that a fragmented opposition and powerful foreign support could sustain the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad throughout 2012.
Officials said the assessment took into account the strong military, intelligence and financial support the Damascus regime has received from China, Iran and Russia.
The U.S. intelligence assessment has determined that Assad faced increasing resistance to his regime by Sunni fighters and thousands of deserters. But the assessment concluded that Assad’s military and security forces were sufficiently powerful to ensure regime survival for at least the next year.
“It could be a long time,” National Intelligence Director James Clapper said. “The opposition appears fragmented.”
The intelligence assessment, issued at a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Jan. 31, marked the first high-level assertion by Washington that the Assad regime remained resilient.
The Syrian government this week dismissed a demand by the Arab League for Mr Assad to cede power to a transitional unity government. Walid al-Mouallem, foreign minister, said Syria was “like a mountain that never shakes in the wind”.
Despite that vivid claim, overnight clashes were reported in the Irbin area on Thursday, while the Arab League observers did not go further than a government checkpoint in the nearby district of Zamalka. Two corpses lay on the pavement there, a soldier and a civilian dumped that morning by regime opponents, a Syrian military commander claimed. Hussein Makhlouf, governor of the area, told the Arab peace monitors that the authorities were seeking a truce with local rebels.
The Free Syrian Army checkpoint was one of several in place this week in the area around Irbin and neighbouring Seqba, whose proximity to the capital is fast making it a critical battleground between the opposition and the regime.