Cheney’s Mission in the Middle East

Vice President Cheney has returned to the Middle East to meet with leaders in Egypt and Saudia Arabia, according to AFX. This is a continuation of the Middle East trip that the Veep cut short in case he was needed as the tiebreaking vote on the Senate budget and ANWR.

UPI reports that Cheney is hoping to convince Arab countries to sent troops to Iraq as the U.S. downsizes its forces. (h/t to Steve and Qusan).Juan Cole has scoured the Arab-language dailies to get to the bottom of Cheney’s mission. According to Dr. Cole, Baghdad’s Al-Azzam reports that Cheney is hoping to ensure that both Egypt and Saudi Arabia are willing to send troops to Iraq if necessary. Dar al-Hayat states that the Vice President is seeking a free trade deal with Egypt.

I posted last month about the newly-elected Egyptian leaders’ willingness to work with the U.S. and Britain on matters in Iraq, but as long as Cheney deals with Hosni Mubarak (a “sphinx to his people“), the U.S. will shy away from any collaborative efforts with the Muslim Brotherhood-associated opposition.

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On the heels of the election of as President of Chile, Ellen Johnson-Sirleif was inaugurated President of Liberia, becoming Africa’s first elected female leader. Would it ever happen in America? Munir at Diplomatic Times Review would like to know, adding that Pakistan and Bangladesh are the only Muslim countries to have elected female leaders. Secretary Rice and First Lady Bush attended the ceremony.###

World leaders met on Monday and are prepared to refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council regarding the country’s nuclear projects. Consequentially, Arab nations are hoping that Israel will be forced to sign off on the Non-Proliferation Treaty, according to Lebanon’s Daily Star.Director of the UN Nuclear watchdog IAEA Mohammed ElBaradei explains to Christopher Dickey in next week’s Newsweek that he’s tired of the Iran situation, but “not yet ready” to make a decision. According to Der Spiegel, the U.S. can expect continued threats from Iran no matter Washington’s toughter stance, “now that the country has removed the seals on its uranium enrichment facility at Natanz.”
Daanspeak has quite the roundup here.

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NewsHog:
Part One, The Back Story deals with the known truths and speculations about Iran’s nuclear program.
Part Two, Nuclear Iran
Part Three: Exploring the Military Option (forthcoming)
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TVNewswer reports that CNN has been added to the list of banned networks in Iran after a report in which a recent speech by President Amadinejad was mistakenly translated to state that Iran was pursuing “nuclear weapons,” when Amadinejad had actually said “nuclear energy.”###

CNN has apologized across all of its international networks, and the translator has been fired.###

Al-Jazeera, which is already banned in four Arab nations including Saudi Arabia and Iraq, is also banned in Iran.

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