junho 30, 2008
The international community is hoping that new sanctions on Iran will turn the country away from its nuclear program. An economic embargo is, perhaps, the last chance for peace. But can it work?
On the one hand, formulaic diplomacy is being strictly adhered to. His Excellency, the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union, Dr. Javier Solana, recently presented to his Iranian counterpart, Manucher Mottaki, the latest offer from the so-called group of six nations, consisting of the three European powers Great Britain, France and Germany, as well as China, Russia and the United States. The goal is international cooperation in determining the true purpose of Iran's nuclear program.
In the letter accompanying the offer, the alliance expressed its deepest respect for Iran as "one of the oldest civilizations in the world." The last of the signatures on the third page belonged to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Mottaki wanted to know whether it is her original signature, and not from a signature machine or a photocopy. Of course Ms. Rice personally signed the document,Solana assured him. Mottaki gathered together his papers, called the assembled journalists and photographers into the room and began the transfer ceremony with apparent pride, as if to say: Here it is, mail from the Great Satan, and signed in person, no less.
On the other hand, the threats are growing increasingly frequent. Just 10 days ago, 100 Israeli planes flew 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) out over the Mediterranean as part of a military exercise. In the flight, they covered exactly the same distance they would have to cover in an attack on the Iranian uranium enrichment plant in Natanz.
Not long later, Israeli experts in the know began commenting publicly on potential links between the secretive nuclear programs of Iran, Syria and North Korea. The facility the Israelis bombed in Syria last September, they said, was believed to have been producing plutonium and passing the weapons-grade material on to Tehran. They further said there is a discrepancy between the amount of plutonium North Korea claims to have produced and the amount the country was in fact capable of producing -- and that the difference could suggest that some of the plutonium was going to Iran. The conclusion? Iran could very well be capable of making a bomb by 2010.
The message these experts have sought to convey is that unless this development is stopped, it won't be long before the next war breaks out in the Middle East.
But what is the alternative? Is there any chance that the talks Solana plans to conduct on behalf of the group of six will result in a breakthrough? Will international sanctions produce the desired effect? The government in Tehran is already paying a high price for its refusal to stop enriching uranium and negotiate [...]
Ver artigo completo na revista Der Spiegel.
junho 28, 2008
junho 27, 2008
junho 26, 2008
Moveon.org, el más poderoso grupo de apoyo a la causa demócrata, acaba de poner en circulación un nuevo anuncio sobre Irak en el que una mujer con un niño en sus brazos advierte a John McCain que no se le ocurra contar con su pequeño para continuar con la guerra por 100 años más. El objetivo principal de esta campaña no es, en realidad, denunciar al candidato republicano, que nunca ha hecho semejante pronóstico, sino mantener dramáticamente de actualidad un conflicto que ya no merece la atención preferente de los medios de comunicación y del que empieza a asentarse una visión mucho más positiva.
Desde hace meses, en Estados Unidos se lee y se oye menos sobre Irak, y lo que se ve o se oye son, por lo general, buenas noticias. Los principales noticieros diarios de las tres grandes cadenas han emitido en los seis primeros meses de este año, según un estudio de una firma especializada, 181 minutos de noticias relacionadas con Irak, comparado con los 1.157 que destinaron a esa cobertura a lo largo de todo el año anterior. CBS ha decidido eliminar el cargo de corresponsal permanente en Bagdad y mantener allí tan sólo un productor.
"La violencia por sí sola ya no es noticia en Irak", reconoce la corresponsal de Fox, Anita McNaught. La semana pasada, cuando una bomba acabó con la vida de 51 personas en un mercado de Bagdad, sólo una de las grandes cadenas lo mencionó brevemente en su principal informativo.
Si Irak está hoy en las noticias es, fundamentalmente, para dar testimonio de los progresos conseguidos en el último año. El diario The New York Times publicaba el pasado sábado en primera página: "La violencia en todo Irak está en su nivel más bajo desde marzo de 2004. Las dos principales ciudades, Bagdad y Basora, viven una calma desconocida desde hace años. La tercera, Mosul, está siendo objeto de una fuerte operación de seguridad. El Ejército iraquí retomó sin resistencia la ciudad de Amara, antes bajo control de las milicias chiíes. Existe la impresión de que el primer ministro, Nuri al Maliki, tiene más energía que ninguno de sus antecesores".
"Irak es hoy un lugar de punta a cabo mucho mejor que hace un año", aseguró el lunes el presidente del Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas norteamericanas, almirante Mike Muller, al presentar un informe del Pentágono que daba cuenta de la notable disminución de la violencia y los progresos obtenidos en todos los frentes desde que en 2007 comenzó una nueva estrategia conducida por el general David Petraeus.
Esos progresos han sido corroborados por observadores independientes. Un estudio elaborado por analistas de Brookings Institution en Washington anotaba en mayo pasado la cifra de 550 civiles iraquíes muertos, en comparación con los 2.600 que perdieron la vida el año pasado.
Esa misma fuente señala la muerte de 19 soldados norteamericanos en mayo, por 126 hace un año -ya mueren más estadounidenses en Afganistán que en Irak-, y confirma avances notables, tanto de orden político como económico. El número de líderes suníes colaborando con EE UU, por ejemplo, se ha multiplicado por cuatro y la producción de petróleo ha aumentado en medio millón de barriles por día.
Esta nueva situación podría tener consecuencias en una campaña electoral en la que el candidato republicano es un firme partidario de continuar la presencia militar en el país árabe, y el candidato demócrata Barack Obama propone una retirada escalonada pero total.
Por el momento, el efecto es tenue y se aprecia más en las columnas de los periódicos que en las encuestas. Los norteamericanos parecen, por ahora, seguir deseando la retirada, a pesar de la oleada de buenas noticias. Un 63% de la población sigue considerando hoy que no merece la pena seguir en Irak, según una encuesta reciente de ABC-The Washington Post, apenas un 1% menos que el pasado mes de abril.
"La guerra es un asunto cerrado desde comienzos de 2007", opina el articulista Frank Rich. "No importa lo que pase en Irak, no importa lo que diga cualquiera de los lados implicados en este debate, una mayoría de los norteamericanos considera que esta guerra ha sido un error y quiere que nos retiremos".
Para la campaña demócrata, no obstante, esta nueva visión sobre Irak es motivo de preocupación. Encuestas recientes demuestran que una mayoría de votantes independientes creen que McCain está mejor capacitado para manejar el problema de Irak. Obama se ha visto a la defensiva cuando su rival le ha invitado públicamente a viajar a Irak para comprobar por sí mismo los éxitos obtenidos. Finalmente, tendrá que viajar, pero se estudia el momento más oportuno para obtener efectos positivos de esa visita.
Inquieta en la campaña demócrata, no sólo el hecho de que la menor presencia de Irak en los medios de comunicación reste presión sobre McCain, sino que, de repente, algunos votantes empiecen a mirar de otra manera a George Bush y a ver con menos recelo una nueva Administración republicana.
"Los más honestos entre los enemigos de la estrategia en Irak tendrán que reconocer que Bush, al que se supone tonto, ha hecho esto bien", escribía el martes David Brooks en The Washington Post.
En todo caso, es muy pronto aún para que nadie pueda situar a Irak en el campo de sus logros o de sus méritos electorales. El propio informe del Pentágono presentado el lunes recordaba que los progresos hechos en ese país eran "frágiles y todavía coyunturales". Y, en lo que respecta a los aspectos políticos, no se vislumbra aún la nación estable y democrática que se prometió durante la invasión y que permitiría el regreso triunfal de las tropas. Un informe presentado esta semana en el Congreso por la Oficina de Control al Gobierno destaca que la Administración resalta ciertas cifras pero oculta otras, como el número de iraquíes con acceso a energía eléctrica o el dinero invertido en la reconstrucción, que contribuyen a un panorama mucho más sombrío.
"Irak continúa siendo un desconcierto y, para ser honestos, da la impresión de que lo será perpetuamente", afirma el general retirado Nathan Freier, del Centro de Estudios Estratégicos Internacionales, en Washington.
Ya es un hecho que la presencia militar en Irak continuará más o menos al nivel actual -150.000 soldados- cuando los norteamericanos acudan a las urnas el próximo 4 de noviembre. Es posible también que, salvo sucesos sorpresivos pero no sorprendentes, el proceso de estabilización continúe lentamente. Queda por ver si para entonces los votantes ven la botella medio llena o medio vacía.
junho 25, 2008
junho 22, 2008
Voters have once again shot an arrow into the heart of a European Union treaty. This time it was the Irish, who voted no to the Lisbon treaty on June 12th by 53-47%, on a high turnout. They follow the French and Dutch, who rejected Lisbon's predecessor, the EU constitution, in 2005. In 2001 the Irish also turned down the Nice treaty, but the Danes started this game when they voted against the Maastricht treaty in 1992.
Europe's political leaders react to these unwelcome expressions of popular will in three depressingly familiar stages. First they declare portentously that the European club is in deep “crisis” and unable to function. Next, even though treaties have to be ratified by all members to take effect, they put the onus of finding a solution on the country that has said no. Last, they start to hint that the voters in question should think again, and threaten that a second rejection may force the recalcitrant country to leave the EU. The sole exception to this three-stage process was the Franco-Dutch no in 2005. Then, after two years of debate the politicians hit on the cynical wheeze of writing the constitution's main elements into the incomprehensible Lisbon treaty, with the deliberate aim of avoiding the need to consult Europe's voters directly again.
Now the Irish, the only people in the EU to be offered a referendum on Lisbon, have shot down even this wheeze. And as EU leaders gathered for a Brussels summit, after The Economist went to press, most had duly embarked on their usual three-stage reaction, all the while promising to “respect” the outcome of the Irish referendum—by which they mean to look for a way round it (see article). Some have had the gall to argue, with a straight face, that Lisbon must be brought into effect despite the Irish no because it will make the EU more democratic. This is Brussels's equivalent of a doctor saying that the operation was a success, but the patient died. In truth, it is the Lisbon treaty that should be allowed to die.
Democracy and efficiency don't always go together
Every part of EU leaders' three-stage response is wrong-headed. The Irish rejection of the treaty is a setback, certainly. But in the days after the vote, the Brussels machinery has acted normally, approving mergers, looking into state-aid cases, holding meetings and passing directives. The claim that an expanded EU of 27 countries cannot function without Lisbon is simply not true. Indeed, several academic studies have found that the enlarged EU has worked more efficiently than before. Besides, it is not always desirable to speed up decision-making: democracy usually operates by slowing it down. And many of the institutional reforms in the Lisbon treaty would not have taken effect until 2014 or 2017 in any case.
Nor is it right to treat the outcome as a problem for Ireland alone, still less to start talking of making the Irish vote again. As it happens, a case can be made that EU treaties are too complex to be readily susceptible to a simple yes/no vote. But 11 EU governments grandly promised such referendums on the constitution, and ten of them have been dishonest in pretending that Lisbon is a wholly different document. The Irish constitution requires a vote on any treaty that transfers any power at all to the European level. Even if one believes that referendums are not always desirable, it is both stupefyingly arrogant and anti-democratic to refuse to take no for an answer. Just what kind of democracy is being practised by the EU when the only outcome of a vote that is ever acceptable to Brussels is a yes (see article)?
A mess of pottage
It is not as if the Lisbon treaty is such a wonderful text. Besides being incomprehensible, it was—as so many EU treaties are—a messy compromise. And, like the constitution, it failed to meet the objectives laid down by an EU summit in Laeken almost seven years ago. The broad aims then were to clarify the EU's distribution of powers, with an eye to handing more of them back to national parliaments; and to simplify the rules so as to make the EU more transparent and bring it closer to its citizens. Nobody could pretend that Lisbon fulfils these goals.
This is not to say that everything in the treaty is bad. It would have improved the institutional machinery in Brussels, sorted out a muddle in foreign-policy making and brought in a fairer system of voting by EU members. But these are not the sorts of changes to set voters alight. And in truth, few EU governments or institutions are genuine enthusiasts for the treaty as such (Germany, which would gain voting weight, and the European Parliament, which would win extra powers, are two exceptions). Most simply wanted to get it out of the way and move on to issues more interesting than the institutional navel-gazing that has preoccupied the EU for too long.
After the Irish no, that is precisely what they should now do. The treaty should be buried so that the EU can focus on more urgent matters, such as energy, climate change, immigration, dealing with Russia and the EU's own expansion. It is disingenuous to claim, as some do, that without Lisbon no further enlargement is possible. Each applicant needs an accession treaty that can include the institutional changes, such as new voting weights or extra parliamentary seats.
Needless to say, many of Europe's leaders will instead look for ingenious ways to ignore or reverse the Irish decision. But to come up with a few declarations or protocols and ask the Irish to vote again would not just be contemptuous of democracy: the turnout and margin of defeat also suggest that it might fail. Nor can Ireland, legally or morally, be excluded from the EU. Attempts by diehards to forge a core group of countries that builds a United States of Europe would also founder because, outside Belgium and Luxembourg, there is no longer a serious appetite for a federal Europe.
Ireland is a small country, to be sure. But the EU is an inter-governmental organisation that needs a consensus to proceed. It is bogus to claim that 1m voters are thwarting the will of 495m Europeans by blocking this treaty. Referendums would have been lost in many other countries had their people been given a say. Voters have thrice said no to this mess of pottage. It is time their verdict was respected.
junho 20, 2008
EU leaders have admitted that the Czech Republic may not be able to ratify the Lisbon Treaty, which has already been rejected by the Irish.
The declaration from their summit in Brussels notes that the Czech process is on hold due to legal difficulties.
But they said ratification would continue elsewhere, and ruled out renegotiation of the treaty.
But British PM Gordon Brown said the UK could not definitively ratify it until a court ruled on a legal challenge.
It followed a warning from a judge in the case that ratification should be delayed until the ruling was in.
The treaty passed through British parliament this week, but has still to complete formal ratification.
Mr Brown said the judge's intervention would not affect the process, which would not have been completed until after the court judgement anyway.
The Brussels summit has been overshadowed by the Irish result, despite efforts to concentrate on food and fuel prices, and now the Czech threat hangs over the treaty.
"The idea is for the European Council to note that the Czech Republic cannot complete the ratification process until its constitutional court delivers its opinion," Reuters quoted an EU official as saying.
The Czech parliament's ratification has been suspended, after the Senate demanded that the constitutional court decide whether the treaty conformed with the constitution.
The Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said at the summit that he was not going to try to halt the ratification process in his country.
But he added: "I am not going to force MPs to back Lisbon and I wouldn't bet 100 crowns (£3, $6) on a Czech Yes."
The Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, said after the Irish vote that it had killed off the treaty.
With growing opposition from Euro-sceptics, and key elections due in October, the future of the treaty in the Czech Republic looks uncertain, says the BBC's Oana Lungescu at the summit in Brussels.
'Not just for fun'
The issue has obstructed attempts to get a common position in Brussels - that ratification should continue, while the Irish government takes time to consider its next step.
But President Sarkozy said EU leaders had decided that: "The treaty ratification process should continue in all member states, that's the position now of the council."
"Ireland is a problem, but if we have a second or third problem then it's really going to get difficult," he added.
The treaty must be ratified by all 27 member states to take effect. Nineteen have approved it so far.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso urged respect for the Irish No vote but said he was confident all the countries would complete the ratification process.
He ruled out renegotiating the reform treaty.
"When a treaty is signed by 27 governments it's not just for fun," he said. "It's inconceivable that a government signs a treaty without the intention of ratifying it. It's a principle of international law."
Mr Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European Union would not be able to expand further without ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, in what correspondents said appeared to be an attempt to lean on the Czechs.
On Thursday, the leaders agreed to scrap diplomatic sanctions against Cuba imposed in 2003.
Mr Barroso has also been pressing for the summit to focus on other issues such as fuel and food prices. After the first day of the summit, he announced:
-an emergency package for fisheries, amounting to 30,000 euros (£23,600) per vessel
-An extended programme to distribute food aid inside the EU to the most deprived people, increasing the aid from 300m euros (£236m) a year to 500m euros (£393m) a year
-A new EU fund to help the agricultural sector in developing countries.
junho 18, 2008
junho 17, 2008
The Czech Republic resisted pressure on Monday to quickly ratify the European Union's reform treaty after its defeat by Irish voters, and kept its options open on how to proceed with the charter.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was to meet the prime ministers of four central European EU states in Prague, has led calls for the ratification process to continue around Europe despite Ireland's "No" vote.
But the pressure has hit a snag in the Czech Republic, one of nine EU countries which have not ratified the pact. Its eurosceptic President Vaclav Klaus and some others in his ruling Civic Democratic Party said the Irish vote meant the treaty was dead and should be abandoned.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, a Civic Democrat who signed the treaty for the Czech Republic, said there could be no hurrying a decision on how to go forward but it was clear the treaty would not enter force on January 1 next year as planned.
"We are relatively cautious in statements on the matter and want to sit down at the European Council, find a short term solution and a path forward," he told reporters.
"I do not think anybody has a completely clear idea in respect of continuing the ratification process," he said, adding the Irish vote had to be respected the same way the French and Dutch referendums which killed a previous treaty in 2005.
The Civic Democrats have sent the treaty to the Constitutional Court, expected to rule on it around September.
"We have the advantage that we do not have to decide if the ratification process will be interrupted or not, because we have already interrupted it de facto," Topolanek said.
European foreign ministers were meeting in Brussels on Monday to start picking up pieces of the Irish vote, and the overwhelming opinion was that the ratification should continue.
The proposed new treaty would allow more EU decisions to be taken by a majority vote rather than consensus and provide the bloc with a long-term president and a foreign policy chief to give it more clout on the global scene.
Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra, also a Civic Democrat, told Monday's daily Hospodarske Noviny the French should not push others.
"This pressure seems inappropriate to me," he said.
He said the treaty may not be passable in the upper house of parliament, where the Irish rejection bolstered many Civic Democrats who have never been big supporters of the pact.
France and Germany have pressed other countries to go ahead with ratification to keep up momentum during the French presidency of the EU in the second half of this year. The Czechs will hold the rotating presidency for the first half of 2009.
junho 16, 2008
junho 13, 2008
Primeiros resultados do referendo: irlandeses dizem ‘Não‘ ao Tratado de Lisboa in EU Observer, 13 de Junho de 2008
Rural and working class Ireland has strongly voted No to the Lisbon Treaty, while middle-class districts are not as robustly supporting the Yes side as analysts had predicted.
Dublin south-west, north-west and north-east - the latter a strongly middle-class area - have all voted over 60 percent against the treaty, preliminary counts indicate.
The Irish Times is reporting that Dublin south-east has voted 70-30 for the No side.
In former prime minister Bertie Ahern's own constituency, Dublin central, voters have gone for No 56-44.
Galway-west has voted 56 percent against, while the east of the city is split 50-50.
Cork-north, east, south and west are also leaning towards a No.
Tipperary-north and south have leant slightly toward the No, on 52-48.
Mayo, home to opposition Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, follows the trend nationwide, with a firm 60-40 No vote.
In Limerick, the vote has set middle class districts against working class areas, with the former leaning toward Yes and the latter backing the No strongly. In western areas, the No has reached as high as 69 percent.
This is only according to initial, unofficial results. More precise tallies are expected to be released later this morning.
As polls closed last night, turn-out was a high 50 percent.
Analysts had speculated that anything under a 40 percent turn-out would be dangerous for the treaty, based on the logic that opponents had a strong motivation to go out and vote, but that there were a greater number of passive Yes voters.
The No vote appears to be leading strongly despite the healthy showing of voters, however.
junho 12, 2008
junho 11, 2008
Partidários irlandeses do ‘Não‘ dizem que a França esconde planos para uma defesa da UE, in EU Observer, 11 de Junho de 2008
On the eve of Ireland's referendum on the EU treaty, the Irish "no" camp has accused France of trying to hide its intentions to push for beefing up EU military capabilities and creating an EU army commanded by Brussels.
According to Kathy Sinnott, independent MEP and fervent opponent of the Lisbon treaty, the French government is keeping a promised blueprint on European defence and security secret until after the crucial vote on Thursday (12 June).
"The French white paper on EU defence has been ready for release since May, but the French government are withholding it until after the Irish referendum," the MEP said, demanding that the text be released immediately.
According to the MEP, the Lisbon treaty would force member states to contribute substantial amounts of cash and military expertise to comply with the text's provision on boosting EU military capability, a provision that Paris is ready to take up on as soon as the text has been ratified by all EU member states.
The Lisbon Treaty states that Ireland is not obliged to take part in, or be bound by, decisions in the area of freedom, security and justice, such as military cooperation.
But Ms Sinnott insists that under the new treaty, Ireland could lose its long-cherished military neutrality. She points to a clause in the treaty which states that "member states shall undertake progressively to improve their military capabilities."
"Even if the Lisbon Treaty gives us the right to keep our veto on sending Irish soldiers to the world's hot spots under an EU flag, we would not have the right to refuse to join the EU arms race," Ms Sinnott told EUobserver.
"In the name of solidarity with the other member states, we would have to keep our machinery up to date, send our military experts and increase defence spending. Irish tax-payers would have to pay for EU weaponry."
The Irish Labour party, a strong supporter of the treaty, in an immediate response to Ms Sinnott's accusations, on Tuesday (10 June) said that Irish neutrality had never and would not in the future be jeopardized by the Lisbon deal.
"Ireland has a veto on EU defence policy, and Ireland is not bound by any mutual defence commitment, nor is Ireland party to any plans to develop a European army," Eamon Gilmore, leader of the Irish Labour party said in a statement.
A spokesperson for the French government, surprised by the accusations from Ms Sinnott, told EUobserver that the white paper on defence was an "internal exercise" and that his government had never made any promises concerning the publication date to its European colleagues.
"It was always said it would come out in June, but we never talked about whether it would be before or after the Irish referendum; this is an entirely French paper," he said.
French newspapers reported last month that the Irish government had explicitly asked the French government to keep its defence strategy quiet until after the 12 June referendum. The spokesperson denied knowledge of such a deal.
France pushes defence
Paris' intention to reassert itself at the centre of European politics in an area where it has considerable assets (defence) and to kick-start a new era in European security policy is well-known to European policymakers since the arrival of latest president to the Elysee palace.
Nicolas Sarkozy said already in August last year that France would push for a bolder strategy on defence when it holds the rotating presidency - the political leadership - of the EU, starting on 1 July this year.
"Europe must progressively affirm itself as a first-rank player for peace and security," Sarkozy said, suggesting among other things to strengthen Europe's shared defence forces and set out a blueprint for the future deployment of troops from all member states, commanded from a new EU military headquarters in Brussels.
Last week, French defence minister Herve Morin suggested that EU countries on a voluntary basis create a common market for weapons, an area where currently EU common market rules or rules on procurement and tenders do not apply.
EU capitals have so far jealously protected their arms industries from the EU open market, claiming the defence market is a crucial matter of national security. Previous calls for a European defence have also sparked fears that it could undermine the work of NATO.
junho 10, 2008
La Policía Nacional ha detenido esta madrugada en Barcelona, Castellón y Pamplona a ocho argelinos presuntos integrantes de una célula islamista relacionada con actividades de adoctrinamiento, sustento económico, envío de 'muyahidines' a Iraq y apoyo logístico a integrantes de grupos terroristas pertenecientes a la estructura de Al Qaeda en el Magreb Islámico.
Según ha informado el Ministerio del Interior, en la operación, que continúa abierta, han sido arrestadas otras diez personas que mantenían relación directa con diferentes objetivos de la operación y las investigaciones establecerán su grado de participación en las actividades de la célula.
Los arrestos de estas ocho personas, llevados a cabo por su presunta implicación en el delito de integración en organización terrorista, se han practicado dentro de la denominada Operación Submarino, dirigida por el Juzgado Central de Instrucción Número 5 de la Audiencia Nacional.
Los detenidos en la provincia de Castellón son los argelinos Mohamed Bouacha, Mohamed Souici Youcef Haddallah, Mourad Ait Kaid y Abdennour Chettah. En Barcelona han sido arrestados Sid Ali Taukoucht y Abdelghani Himmouri, también argelinos, mientras que en Pamplona ha sido apresado Mustapha Yousfi, nacido en Orán, Argelia.
De nuevo en el Raval
Los de Barcelona han sido detenidos en la calle Arc del teatre, en el barrio del Raval, y desarrollaban supuestamente labores de captación. Según fuentes de la investigación, no están relacionados en principio con la operación antiterrorista islamista en la capital catalana de enero pasado y que acabó con la detención de varias personas que querían atentar en el metro.
En aquella ocasión, los arrestos se practicaron en la calle Hospital. Muy cerca, prosiguen esta mañana los registros, concretamente en la calle d'en Roig.
Los ocho argelinos detenidos pertenecen a la organización Al Qaeda en el Magreb Islámico. En 2007, los grupos islamistas de inspiración salafista del Magreb se unificaron, con el visto bueno de la dirección de Al Qaeda, en el grupo Al Qaeda para el Magreb Islámico. Entre estos grupos está el Grupo Salafista para la Predicación y el Combate (GSPC), originario de Argelia, de donde procede la mayoría de los detenidos.
En los registros practicados hasta el momento en los domicilios se han intervenido 7.000 euros en metálico, resguardos de envío de dinero a Argelia, libretas bancarias, numerosos CD y cintas de vídeo, tarjetas telefónicas y diversa documentación.
La Policía Nacional mantiene contacto con otros servicios policiales extranjeros para determinar la implicación de los detenidos en las redes del terrorismo internacional. Las investigaciones han sido llevadas a cabo por la Comisaría General de Información del Cuerpo Nacional de Policía, en colaboración con las Brigadas Provinciales Castellón, Barcelona y Navarra.
El secretario de Estado de Seguridad, Antonio Camacho, ha asegurado que las detenciones impiden la actuación de personas que podrían tener entre sus objetivos comprometer la seguridad de los ciudadanos.
Camacho, que visita en Zaragoza el Centro de Coordinación de la Exposición Internacional que se inaugura el viernes, ha declarado a los medios que la operación "sigue abierta".
Camacho ha precisado que los integrantes de la célula se encargaban del soporte financiero y logístico de personas y del envío de 'muyahidines' a Iraq, y ha ocnfirmado que están relacionados con Al Qaeda en el Magreb islámico.
junho 07, 2008
Ataque às instalações nucleares do Irão volta a ser falado como hipótese em aberto, in BBC 6 de Junho de 2008
Last December American intelligence agencies said they had "high confidence" that in late 2003 Iran had stopped trying to build nuclear weapons.
That seemed to end much of the talk about an American - or Israeli - attempt to destroy the facilities that Iran has developed for what it insists is a purely peaceful nuclear programme.
Plenty of influential people in the Middle East, Europe and the United States think an attack on Iran would have consequences potentially as disastrous as the invasion of Iraq in 2003. It would also send oil prices, already through the roof, into orbit.
But the talk has started again. Negotiations with Iran - and sanctions against it - have not stopped it enriching uranium, which its critics say is being done to make a bomb.
In one of his first acts after he secured the Democratic nomination for president of the US, Senator Barack Obama told Aipac, America's most powerful pro-Israel lobby, that he would do everything in his power to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
He repeated the word "everything" several times. Even allowing for the fact that he was also trying to dispel the impression that he was soft on Iran, it was strong language.
End of term
The American National Intelligence Estimate that was published in December 2007 was more nuanced than some of the headlines suggested.
It had only "moderate confidence" that Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program by the summer of 2007, and said "we do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons".
Israel, among others, has never accepted that Iran has stopped trying to build them.
Ehud Olmert, Israel's prime minister, has been in Washington this week.
The day before Senator Obama addressed Aipac, Mr Olmert used some of his toughest public language yet about Iran to the same audience.
"The international community has a duty and responsibility to clarify to Iran, through drastic measures, that the repercussions of their continued pursuit of nuclear weapons will be devastating," he said.
The speculation is that President George W Bush and Prime Minister Olmert want to remove what they believe is a clear and present danger before they face their own political oblivion.
Mr Bush is finishing his time at the White House still dogged by the disaster of Iraq - and Mr Olmert faces disgrace over allegations of corruption.
The talk has alarmed, among others, the former German Foreign Minister, Joshka Fischer.
Germany has, with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, taken the lead in talks with Iran about its nuclear plans.
He wrote in the Israeli daily Haaretz this week that Messrs Bush and Olmert seem to have been planning to end the Iranian nuclear programme "by military, rather than by diplomatic means".
Mr Fischer fears that the Middle East is drifting towards a new great confrontation in 2008.
"Iran must understand that without a diplomatic solution in the coming months, a dangerous military conflict is very likely to erupt. It is high time for serious negotiations to begin," he said.
One scenario being discussed by Israeli analysts is that there could be an attack, by Israel or by the Americans, after the US election in November and before the new president is inaugurated in January, with the tacit consent of the incoming president.
That might be easier if it is Senator Obama's Republican rival John McCain.
During the campaign for his party's nomination, he once sang "bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran" to the tune of the Beachboys' classic Barbara Ann.
In a less jocular moment, he said that the only thing worse than attacking Iran would be to allow it to have nuclear weapons.
Some pro-Israeli US analysts are arguing that Iran's response to an attack would not be as harsh as many have predicted.
This week Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei repeated that Iran did not want nuclear weapons. But he said it would continue to develop nuclear energy for daily life.
Those who have made their minds up about Iran are more likely to listen to Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has once again predicted Israel's doom.
None of this means an attack on Iran is coming. But it is being discussed, and that is significant.
Leituras: ‘A Terra é Redonda como uma Bola. Geopolítica do Futebol‘ de Pascal Boniface, Edições Seuil, 2002
O futebol também pode ser analisado como um fenómeno geopolítico. É isto que sustenta Pascal Boniface, director do Instituto des Relações Internacionais Estratégicas (IRIS), nesta publicação das Edições du Seuil de Paris (2002). Segundo o autor, o futebol representa a fase mais avançada da globalização, estando mais expandido do que a democracia, a internet ou a economia de mercado. Para além dos seus aspectos estritamente desportivos, o futebol tem implicações políticas. Numa altura em que as identidades se tornam fluídas, permite uma identificação nacional o que transforma as selecções nacionais em ‘embaixadores‘. À definição clássica de Estado com os seus três elementos tradicionais - território, poder político soberano e população -, será hoje necesário juntar um quarto: a selecção nacional de futebol... A independência nacional, no passado caracterizada pela possibilidade de defender as fronteiras e de ter uma moeda nacional (o que já não existe ao nível da ‘Eurolândia‘) transferiu-se para as provas internacionais de futebol. O futebol ter-se-à assim convertido num elemento da política internacional e numa expressão da actual globalização com a FIFA a superar a ONU em número de Estados.
junho 06, 2008
Tribunal constitucional anula decisão de permitir o uso do véu nas universidades turcas in Courrier International, 5 de Junho de 2008
En réponse à une requête de l'opposition kémaliste, la Cour constitutionnelle a annulé, le jeudi 5 juin, les amendements constitutionnels adoptés en février par l'Assemblée nationale pour lever l'interdiction du port du voile dans les universités. Un revers pour le parti islamo-conservateur au pouvoir. Revue de presse.
Selon Okay Gönensin du quotidien Vatan, très critique à l'égard du Parti pour la justice et le développement (AKP), il s'agit là d'un coup sévère porté au parti au pouvoir et dont l'interdiction est actuellement instruite précisément par la même Cour constitutionnelle : "Cette décision rend désormais inévitable l'interdiction de l'AKP. En effet, la Haute Cour qui considère que les modifications constitutionnelles réalisées par l'AKP sont contraires aux principes républicains devrait sanctionner par la peine la plus sévère le parti politique responsable de cette situation. Dans le cas contraire, la Cour constitutionnelle se contredirait."
Taha Akyol, plume libérale de Milliyet, estime en tout cas que cette décision va à l'encontre du droit dès lors que la Cour constitutionnelle a outrepassé son rôle en s'exprimant sur le fonds alors qu'elle ne peut en principe se prononcer que sur la forme : "En agissant de la sorte, la Haute Cour a supprimé la frontière entre le monde judiciaire et politique. Dorénavant, en Turquie, plus aucun parti politique n'osera adopter un programme privilégiant une approche de la laïcité à l'occidentale [dans le respect des libertés religieuses]. Cette décision n'est d'ailleurs pas une surprise dans la mesure où en Turquie, tant au niveau de l'idéologie officielle que de celui du monde judiciaire, l'interprétation du concept de laïcité se fait sur un mode antilibéral."
Ertugrul Özkök, rédacteur en chef de Hürriyet et très critique vis-à-vis de l'AKP, rappelle qu'il avait déjà mis en garde contre le fait de modifier la Constitution pour régler la question du voile. "Dès lors que vous agissiez de la sorte", écrit-il à l'attention de l'AKP, "vous couriez le risque d'en faire une question de régime. Et c'est d'ailleurs ce qu'a fait la Cour constitutionnelle, fût-ce au prix d'un élargissement de ses prérogatives. Dans un tel contexte, résoudre la problématique du voile à l'université est devenu sérieusement compliqué." "Une solution ne sera possible", conclut l'éditorialiste de Hürriyet, "qu'en soustrayant ce dossier aux fondamentalistes bornés et en le laissant dans les mains de croyants honnêtes".
Dans Zaman, quotidien plutôt proche de l'AKP, Mustafa Ünal estime néanmoins que la décision de la Cour constitutionnelle est avant tout politique : "C'est comme si cette Cour incarnait désormais l'esprit des tribunaux d'exception des débuts de la République. Je suis ainsi frappé par les commentaires au sujet de cette affaire, où, au lieu d'évoquer les principes de droit, de justice et de démocratie, on parle surtout sur un mode très politique de système, de régime et de laïcité. Il s'agit là d'une évolution assez inquiétante."
junho 05, 2008
The Lisbon Treaty is heading towards a shock defeat with the No side now in the lead, according to the findings of the latest Irish Times/TNS mrbi poll.
It will take an unprecedented swing in the last week of the campaign for the Treaty to be carried.
The poll shows the number of people intending to vote No has almost doubled to 35 per cent (up 17 points) since the last poll three weeks ago, while the number of the Yes side has declined to 30 per cent (down 5 points).
The number of undecided voters is still a significant 28 per (down 12 points) cent, while 7 per cent won’t vote.
The massive increase by the No vote since the last poll has mainly come through gains among undecided voters but, even more ominously for the Yes side, it has lost some support to the No camp.
While the final outcome is still in the hands of undecided voters, the clear momentum is now with the No campaign, and it will take a dramatic shift in public attitudes over the next few days for the Yes side to win.
The swing to the No camp has not been prompted by domestic considerations, with just 5 per cent of those opposed to the Treaty saying they are influenced by a desire to protest against the Government.
The reason most often cited by No voters is that they don’t know what they are voting for or they don’t understand the Treaty, with 30 per cent of No voters listing this as the main reason for their decision.
The poll was conducted last Tuesday and Wednesday among a representative sample of 1,000 voters in face-to-face interviews at 100 sampling points in all 43 constituencies. It was taken in the middle of the controversy over the World Trade Organisation talks.
That issue came to a head on Tuesday afternoon with the announcement by the Irish Farmers' Association that it would support a Yes vote following the declaration by the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, that he would use the veto to block any deal unacceptable to Ireland if the issue was put to a vote.
The poll showed that farmers are opposed to the Treaty by 34 per cent to 31 per cent. The No majority among working class C2DE voters is much bigger with Labour voters shifting in large numbers from the Yes side. It indicates that opposition to the Treaty expressed by some trade unionists is having an impact.
In class terms, the Yes campaign is only ahead among better off ABC1 voters. Fianna Fáil voters continue to back the Treaty, but even in that category the No campaign has made massive strides in the past three weeks with a gain of 15 points to 25 per cent, while the proportion of Yes voters has fallen by five points to 42 per cent.
A clear majority of Fine Gael voters are now against the Treaty by 40 per cent to 30 per cent, while among Labour voters there has been a massive turnaround with the No side almost doubling its support to 47 per cent with 30 per cent of party supporters in favour.
Ironically, given the party’s previous stance on the EU, the strong support for the Treaty comes from among Green Party supporters.
Sinn Féin voters are overwhelming in the No side in line with their party’s position.http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/breaking/2008/0605/breaking84.htm
junho 03, 2008
‘Subida dos preços ofusca 10 aniversário do Banco Central Europeu‘ in EU Observer, 2 de Maio de 2008
The European Central Bank (ECB) is today hosting a birthday party to celebrate ten years of its monetary control over the single currency area, but the bash is overshadowed by pressures from rising inflation and forecasts of sluggish economic growth forecasts.
A number of European political heavyweights are gathering in Frankfurt on Monday (2 June) for a ceremony to mark the founding of the ECB and the European System of Central Banks on 1 June 1998.
The heads of all three top EU institutions – the commission, parliament and Slovenian presidency are set to participate - along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and eurozone finance ministers who will kick off their regular meeting in Germany before meeting up with their other EU counterparts in Luxembourg.
As with several other earlier events celebrating the tenth anniversary of the euro, it is expected that party attendees will praise the ECB's monetary policy while noting the future challenges for the common currency, which covers 15 of the 27 member states.
Securing price stability
The theme most likely to be repeated in the speeches is the importance of the bank's role in securing price stability – its main goal according to the EU treaties - which was also historically the raison d'etre of the bank's model, Germany's Bundesbank.
But there are two wrinkles in such a positive assessment. A majority of citizens in eurozone countries still associate the euro with rising prices, and monetary union is currently struggling with historic levels of inflation, although mainly for external reasons.
Despite a drop in the eurozone's annual inflation rate in April to 3.3 percent, down slightly from a record 3.6 percent in March, early figures for May released on Friday pointed to yet another bounce back to 3.6 percent, mainly due to rising oil prices. Frankfurt's goal is to keep annual inflation "below but close" to two percent.
Refusing to cap oil taxes
The issue is set to dominate today's eurogroup gathering. Eurozone chairperson, Luxembourg premier and finance minister Jean Claude Juncker, expressed worries over these trends in several media interviews over the weekend.
"That worries me a lot because it is those with the least resources who are the most heavily penalised by inflation which remains, in relative terms, at a very high level," he told France Inter radio.
But he rejected a proposal suggested by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the EU to cap oil taxes in response to the rise in oil prices, arguing "the idea goes against the general spirit [of the EU]."
Mr Juncker was referring to a principle agreed by the bloc's finance ministers in 2005 that states that the EU should not introduce fiscal measures to counteract oil price hikes.
Still, he added, "I don't want to kill the debate. We will undoubtedly discuss France's proposals. That is what economic co-ordination in the euro zone is about."
Due to the remaining risks of further inflation increases and despite concerns over a slowing economy in the euro area, the ECB's governing council is expected to leave its main interest rates at four percent on Thursday (5 June).