Events in turmoil this Valentine’s weekend – and not just financial markets

What is going on in the Middle East/Asia around this Valentine’s Day?  Over a period of just 48 hours, events seem to be moving fast, and not in a good direction.  Increasing tensions are also relevant to worldwide petroleum supply and prices. Collected here for your perusal is a listing of some of the troubling events of the past 2 days.   

According to website, al-Qaida in Iraq calls for attack on Israel:  The alleged leader of al Qaida’s affiliate in Iraq called in a new posting on a militant Web Site on Thursday for attacks on Israel and the liberation of Palestine, proposing that Iraq’s territory be used as a “launching pad” to seize Jerusalem.  http://www.gulfnews.com/region/Middle_East/10189669.html

U.S. gives Iranian nuke evidence to IAEA: The U.S. has recently shared sensitive information with the International Atomic Energy Agency on key aspects of Iran’s nuclear program that Washington says shows Tehran was directly engaged in trying to make an atomic weapon, diplomats told The Associated Press on Thursday. http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8UQ49R00&show_article=1 

Iran’s diplomatic meeting with the United States was supposed to occur this week but is cancelled with no reason given:   US embassy official said it increasingly appeared that Tehran did not want to hold the dialogue. Iranian officials were not immediately available to comment.  http://www.gulfnews.com/region/Iran/10189822.html

Iran warns U.S. not to cross border: Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry warned it would “give proper response” to any US military operation that trailed suspected militants into Iran, UPI reported.   http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=57868&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs

U.S. accuses Iran and Syria of meddling in Lebanon:  http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=57837&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs

Israeli Defense Forces put on high alert:  Israel’s army chief orders IDF land, sea and air forces to prepare to defend the country’s northern borders and interests.   http://debka.com/headline.php?hid=5030

FBI put on high alert for threats to Israel-related targets in U.S.:  http://debka.com/headline.php?hid=5032

Pakistanis warned not to protest after elections:  They should not be under any illusion that they will bring people to the streets after the election. Nothing of that sort will be allowed,” Musharraf said in comments at a seminar telecast on Thursday by state-run Pakistan Television.  http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSISL25056920080215

— while polls show 2/3 Pakistanis want Musharraf out.  http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSN1337176020080214

Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan and two from Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission are kidnapped, still missing:  http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=46887&Itemid=117

Hezbollah commander Mughniyeh is assassinated by explosives. 

Syria condemns assassination of Hezbollah commander as a terrorist act:  Hezbollah has accused Israel of carrying out the attack but Israel denied involvement.  http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL1345772220080213 

Iraqi cleric condemns assassination:  Iraq’s Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s  condemned the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh and declared three days of mourning in all Sadrist offices .

Iran blames Israel for assassination, calls it a terrorist act: “This measure is the result and another prominent example of organized state terrorism by the Zionist regime (Israel),” IRNA quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini as saying.  http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSDAH35158620080213

U.S. applauds the assassination: “The world is a better place without this man in it. He was a cold-blooded killer, a mass murderer and a terrorist responsible for countless innocent lives lost,” said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack. “One way or another he was brought to justice.” http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSN1334407220080213

Hezbollah threatens Israel at funeral of assassinated leader:  “Zionists, if you want this type of open war then let the whole world hear: let it be an open war,” Nasrallah told mourners at the funeral .  http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL1387604520080215

Israel wants to mount large scale operation against Gaza:   But a large-scale military offensive in densely populated Gaza, where an Israeli blockade has already fuelled fears of a humanitarian crisis, could prove a tough sell for Israel.   http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL1222044720080213

Lebanon put on high alert:  Tensions have been rising in Lebanon, with factions from both sides ramping up the political rhetoric in recent weeks.   http://www.gulfnews.com/region/Lebanon/10189623.html

Iran tests uranium gas, say European Union diplomats: Iran has introduced small amounts of uranium gas into advanced centrifuges it is testing at its main nuclear complex, diplomats said, in a further step towards gaining the means to develop atom bombs if it later chooses.    http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL1323737020080213

The information about Iranian centrifuges is new to the IAEA: The existence of the IR-2 centrifuge was made known only last week by diplomats accredited to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency probing Iran’s nuclear program for suspicions it may have been designed to make weapons.   http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1202742150714&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Russia warns Iran on missiles, uranium:    http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL1373827920080214

Persian Gulf nations believe Israel will strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities rather than allow Teheran to develop nuclear weapons capabilities, Reuters quoted a senior Kuwaiti adviser as saying.   http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1202742144027&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

France urges IAEA to look long and hard for Iran nuke evidence:  http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/14/mideast/nuke.php

Olmert flies to Germany to talk about Iranian nuke issue:  http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=57823&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs

Russia launches nuclear submarine:  http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=46904&Itemid=117

Egypt raids Muslim Brotherhood:  http://www.gulfnews.com/region/Egypt/10189643.html

And not to forget  NATO’s pre-emptive nuclear strike option which was recently publicized:  The west must be ready to resort to a pre-emptive nuclear attack to try to halt the “imminent” spread of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, according to a radical manifesto for a new Nato by five of the west’s most senior military officers and strategists. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jan/22/nato.nuclear

Or, the series of cuts in submarine telecommunications cables serving the Middle East-Asia:  submarine%20cable%20cut%20update%20bulletin%20release%20110208.pdf

Or, Iran’s intention to open an Oil Bourse which will not accept U.S. Dollars (see prior post on this website).

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