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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- A U.N. panel on Monday approved Iraq's plan to receive oil-export payments in Europe's single currency after Baghdad decided to move the start date back a week.
Members of the Security Council's Iraqi sanctions committee said the panel's chairman, Dutch Ambassador Peter van Walsum, would inform U.N. officials on Tuesday of the decision to allow Iraq to receive payments in euros, rather than dollars.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's office is to report in three months on the impact of the switch to euros, which a U.N. study said would cost Iraq at least $270 million.
Iraq's U.N. Ambassador Saeed Hasan reported earlier that Baghdad would delay the changeover until after Nov. 6, rather than put it into effect on November 1, as originally announced. Iraq has called the dollar the currency of an "enemy state.
The Iranian Oil Bourse (Persian: بورس نفت ایران) International Oil Bourse, Iran Petroleum Exchange or Oil Bourse in Kish (IOB; the official English language name is unclear) is a commodity exchange which opened on February 17, 2008,. It was created by cooperation between Iranian ministries and other state and private institutions. The IOB is intended as an oil bourse for petroleum, petrochemicals and gas in various currencies, primarily the euro and Iranian rial and a basket of other major currencies. The geographical location is at the Persian Gulf island of Kish which is designated by Iran as a free trade zone.
During 2007, Iran asked its petroleum customers to pay in non-dollar currencies. By December 8, 2007, Iran reported to have converted all of its oil export payments to non-dollar currencies.  The Kish Bourse was officially opened in a videoconference ceremony on February 17, 2008, despite last minute disruptions to the internet services to the Persian Gulf regions. Currently the Kish Bourse is only trading in oil-derived products, generally those used as feedstock for the plastics and pharmaceutical industries. However, officially published statements by Iranian oil minister Gholamhossein Nozari indicate that the second phase, to establish trading in crude oil directly, which has been suggested might one day perhaps create a "Caspian Crude" benchmark price analogous to Brent Crude or WTI will only be started after the Bourse has demonstrated a reasonable period of trouble-free running. 
"Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge.
"Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievement of past decades?
"Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favourable to American principles and interests?
"[What we require] is a military that is strong... a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American interests... and a national leadership that accepts the United States' global responsibility."
In the Persian Gulf region, the presence of American forces, along with British and French units, has become a semipermanent fact of life. Though the immediate mission of those forces is to enforce the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq, they represent the long-term commitment of the United States and its major allies to a region of vital importance. Indeed, the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein. In East Asia, the pattern of U.S. military operations is shifting to the south: in recent years, significant naval forces have been sent to the region around Taiwan in response to Chinese provocation, and now a contingent of U.S. troops is supporting the Australianled mission to East Timor. Across the globe, the trend is for a larger U.S. security perimeter, bringing with it new kinds of missions.
After eight years of no-fly-zone operations, there is little reason to anticipate that the U.S. air presence in the region should diminish significantly as long as Saddam Hussein remains in power. Although Saudi domestic sensibilities demand that the forces based in the Kingdom nominally remain rotational forces, it has become apparent that this is now a semi-permanent mission. From an American perspective, the value of such bases would endure even should Saddam pass from the scene. Over the long term, Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S. interests in the Gulf as Iraq has. And even should U.S.-Iranian relations improve, retaining forward-based forces in the region would still be an essential element in U.S. security strategy given the longstanding American interests in the region.
But last week a surprising new name joined the chorus of praise for the antiwar Obama – that of Robert Kagan, a leading neoconservative and co-founder of the Project for the New American Century in the late 1990s, which called for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
Kagan is an informal foreign policy adviser to the Republican senator John McCain, who remains the favoured neoconservative choice for the White House because of his backing for the troops in Iraq.
But in an article in the Washington Post, Kagan wrote approvingly that a keynote speech by
Obama at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs was “pure John Kennedy”, a neocon hero of the cold war.
In his speech, Obama called for an increase in defence spending and an extra 65,000 soldiers and 27,000 marines to “stay on the offense” against terrorism and ensure America had “the strongest, best-equipped military in the world”. He talked about building democracies, stopping weapons of mass destruction and the right to take unilateral action to protect US “vital interests” if necessary, as well as the importance of building alliances.
“Personally, I liked it,” Kagan wrote.
Like its predecessor, PNAC, FPI apparently aims to build alliances across ideological lines through the mechanics of open sign-on letters supporting particular stances on key foreign policy issues. In early July 2009, for example, FPI released an open-letter to President Barack Obama urging him to promote human rights during his summit in Russia with President Dmitry Medvedev. Among the signatories to the letter were several long-standing neoconservative associates, including Max Boot, Jeffrey Gedmin, Carl Gershman, Max Kampelman, Bruce Jackson, Clifford May, Danielle Pletka, Randy Scheunemann, Gary Schmitt, Peter Wehner, and James Woolsey. In addition to these names, however, were those of several well known human rights and civil liberties experts, like Larry Cox of Amnesty International-USA, Clinton administration official Morton Halperin, and Stephen Rickard of the Open Society Institute. 
Commenting on the letter, Jim Lobe of the Inter Press Service wrote, “That several genuine human rights activists … should have chosen to associate themselves with such a group is remarkable and offers additional evidence that Kagan and Kristol are trying to reconstruct the neocon/liberal coalition that pressed the Clinton administration to intervene in the Balkans during the late 1990s. ... [T]o the extent that prominent liberals publicly endorse it, neoconservatives … regain respectability.” 
Earlier in 2009, FPI played a vocal role in supporting President Obama’s approach to confronting the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Central Asia. The group’s inaugural conference, held in Washington on March 31, 2009, was titled “Afghanistan: Planning for Success.” Among the participants were Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a long-time supporter of neocon-led causes like the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq; Frederick Kagan, brother of Robert and coauthor of a 2007 American Enterprise Institute study that reportedly served as a blueprint for the “surge” in Iraq; and I. Lewis Libby, former Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff who was convicted in connection with the federal investigation into the “outing” of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Commenting on the conference, Matt Duss of Thinkprogress.org told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, “It was kind of a reunion of John McCain`s presidential campaign.” 
The conference devoted significant time to pushing counterinsurgency strategies in Afghanistan, which was the topic of a discussion led by Robert Kagan and John Nagl, a retired Army officer and president of the Center for a New American Security who has promoted applying counterinsurgency techniques learned in Vietnam to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  According to a summary of the discussion published by FPI, “Nagl stated that the ‘means’ which President Obama described in the strategy—an increase of 17,000 troops along with 4,000 more trainers and advisors—is merely a down-payment on the vast force necessary to protect the Afghan people, that is, to effectively carry out a population-centric counterinsurgency strategy. An effort to expand the Afghan National Army (not mentioned in the president’s remarks) would be the most prudent means of resolving this manpower shortfall. While the deployment of a dedicated training and advisory force is an encouraging and long-overdue step, the number of troops in the country even after the announced increase will be insufficient to achieve even the limited short-term goals laid out by the administration.” 
According to FPI’s summary, Kagan agreed with Nagl, arguing that “that while the president appears to have committed himself to a real, comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy—instead of a more minimalist counterterrorism approach—he risks under-resourcing the strategy.” However, Kagan also praised Obama’s overall approach, saying it “portends further encouraging trends in the administration’s foreign policy. … The president has said ‘no’ to pulling back. Obama has renewed America’s commitment to the conflict in Afghanistan and set a precedent in the process; it seems unlikely for him to push forward in this case, but to retreat elsewhere.” 
The Iranians will certainly respond with terrorism. That's one of the reasons [they] want to have nuclear weaponry anyway, is because they have terrorism in their DNA. I would expect them to try to cause trouble in Iraq. Now, the one thing you're not going to see is Iranian Revolutionary Guards taking on American soldiers; they'd be slaughtered. ...
Now, will the Iranians be patient and try to figure out ways to strike the Americans? Absolutely. But again, is that damage less or more than allowing a regime with the history that the clerics have to have nuclear weaponry? I would say no. I'd rather take a risk. ...
AEI's Program on International Economics encompasses international trade, globalization, and international financial and regulatory bodies (such as the World Trade Organization, World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund). Scholars in the Program on International Economics, including Claude Barfield, Philip I. Levy, Desmond Lachman, and Allan H. Meltzer, strongly favor free trade. Much of AEI's recent work on trade focuses on the Doha Development Round and why it has failed to gain traction.. The AEI Press has published several volumes on trade in services negotiations.
AEI is the most prominent think tank associated with American neoconservatism, in both the domestic and international policy arenas. Irving Kristol, widely considered a father of neoconservatism, was a senior fellow at AEI, and many prominent neoconservatives—including Jeane Kirkpatrick, Ben Wattenberg, and Joshua Muravchik—spent the bulk of their careers at AEI.. However, AEI is not officially neoconservative.
AEI scholars are considered to be some of the leading architects of the second Bush administration's public policy. More than twenty AEI scholars and fellows served either in a Bush administration policy post or on one of the government's many panels and commissions
FDD’S Iranian Threat Campaign called upon the Free World to defend itself against the escalating danger to democracy, freedom, and human rights posed by the "radical regime" ruling Iran.
FDD says that this campaign raised global awareness of the threat from Iran and its terrorist proxies through more than 300 broadcast interviews of FDD staff in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East; nearly 100 newspaper and policy journal articles written by FDD staff; briefings to scores of policymakers in Washington and European capitals; 20 FDD publications; and polls FDD released.
Former Goldman Sachs executive Robert Hormats has been named by the Obama Administration to serve as Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs.
Not only has Mr. Hormats worked for Goldman Sachs since 1982 — rising there through the years ultimately to attain the title Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs International and Managing Director of Goldman, Sachs & Co. — but he is also a trustee of the Freedom House, whose associations include the extremist Right-wing Sarah Scaife Foundation; Peter Ackerman, also associated with Scaife's group; Project for the New American Century neo-conservative chickenhawk Kenneth Adelman (who endorsed then-Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama in October of 2008); Diana Negroponte, wife of Reagan- and Bush-era denizen John Negroponte; and an assortment of other individuals of varying degrees of repute and ill-repute.
The triumphalism which swept through Washington after the fall of the Berlin Wall has been replaced with a palpable fear that Russia's power will grow as oil prices continue to soar. The tectonic plates of geopolitical power are gradually shifting eastward. That's why the US has joined in “The Great Game” and is trying to put down roots in Eurasia. Still, it's easy to imagine a scenario in which America's access to the last great oil and natural gas reserves on the planet -- the 3 trillion barrels of oil and natural gas situated in the Caspian Basin -- could be completely blocked by a resurgent Russian superpower.
The most powerful of the Washington think tanks, the Council on Foreign relations, recognized this problem early on and decided that US policy towards Russia had to be reworked entirely.
John Edwards and Jack Kemp were appointed to lead a CFR task force which concocted the pretext for an all-out assault on the Putin. This is where the idea that Putin is “rolling back democracy” began. In their article “Russia’s Wrong Direction," Edwards and Kemp state that a “strategic partnership” with Russia is no longer possible. They note that the government has become increasingly “authoritarian” and that the society is growing less “open and pluralistic."
Kemp and Edwards provided the ideological foundation upon which the entire public relations campaign against Putin has been built. And it is quite an impressive campaign. A Google News search shows roughly 1,400 articles from the various news services on Putin. Virtually all of them contain exactly the same rhetoric, the same buzzwords, the same spurious claims, the same slanders. It is impossible to find even one article out of 1,400 that diverges the slightest bit from the talking points which originated at the Council on Foreign Relations.
The head of Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence service, has assured Benjamin Netanyahu, its prime minister, that Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets flying over the kingdom during any future raid on Iran’s nuclear sites.
Earlier this year Meir Dagan, Mossad’s director since 2002, held secret talks with Saudi officials to discuss the possibility.
The Israeli press has already carried unconfirmed reports that high-ranking officials, including Ehud Olmert, the former prime minister, held meetings with Saudi colleagues. The reports were denied by Saudi officials.
“The Saudis have tacitly agreed to the Israeli air force flying through their airspace on a mission which is supposed to be in the common interests of both Israel and Saudi Arabia,” a diplomatic source said last week.
Although the countries have no formal diplomatic relations, an Israeli defence source confirmed that Mossad maintained “working relations” with the Saudis.