The Persian crunch

A pretty dramatic development at hand as the 9/11 commission pins a great deal of Al Qaeda activity on Iran's government. It is not too hard to believe, surely, that Iran's intelligence services might have helped some dudes get around between the Afghan frontier, Pakistan and so forth. It's a rather more plausible casus belli than we stomped into Iraq with, which is a great part of why the war was so perplexing. Via a DKos thread here are some news links about the Iran strategic situation:

Starting at the top, a delightful headline: "Report: Israel's 'first strike' plan against Iran ready" from the JPost. Ex-neoconservative William Lind heard the hit might come this year. Tehran here we come... America or the Israelis. A mysterious report from July 1 about "Iran Reacts to U.S. Power Loss." Last December, Lt Col Karen Kwiatkowski opined about the pipeline politics in Central Asia.

The almighty neocon mastermind Michael Ledeen wrote about Iran for the millionth time. It's kind of funny ("Are you sitting down? Iran is a terrorist state.") but obviously this man should be regarded with as much suspicion as any mullah you might find.

Back in 2001, Asia Times reported that Bin Laden had been traced to Iran. In 1999, Shell oil put together an oil deal with Iran and some companies defied U.S. sanctions.

There's some complex demand problems among growing Asian nations, who are looking to Iran to fill energy needs. A Pakistani paper said that "Japan must ensure its Iranian oil supply" today.

For rather ugly leftie resource sites, look no further than

In other misc mideast news, apparently Egypt's cabinet resigned on July 9th and no one noticed. Does this have anything to do with the flare-up in Gaza??

I enjoyed this feature, "Sightseeing in Oman? You Mustn't Miss the Smugglers" in the Times but sadly, its disappeared into the pay archives.

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