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Never say no to Panda 23, September 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations.
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Quite frankly one of the best adverts ever.

Hat tip: The Arabist

Stuxnet virus attacks Iran 23, September 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, Iran.
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The BBC reports that ‘high value’ infrastructure in Iran has been targeted by one of the most sophisticated computer viruses ever created.  ‘Stuxnet’ is designed to infiltrate systems via-USB keys. Then it searches the internal system for preset industrial control software made by Siemens where it can – theoretically – give the system new commands relating to, say, the temperature of a power plant. Siemens, however, maintains that they have had no such involvement in Iran for 30 years.

Though it has been found across the world, the concentration of Stuxnet in Iran along with the staggering complexity of the virus has led some experts to maintain that it must have been made by a nation state.

The inference in the article is clear; that America is waging a technological battle of sorts in Iran. This make a change from the typical storylines of this genre which tell of Chinese hackers repeatedly attacking Western government and private companies to steal secrets. The Chinese threat reached such proportions that Mi5, Britain’s domestic security service, issues stark warnings to the Government and Private Companies about China’s potential capabilities.

England cricket team to sue scurrilous slander 23, September 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in The Sub Continent, UK.
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I know that there are problems in the Middle East: Israel-Palestine and the Iranian cold war leaping to mind, but I simply must write instead about the great travesty of natural justice that befell the world last week. Brace yourselves, for what I am about to say is…well, utterly shocking; there’s just no other way to put it: THE England Cricket team was accused of cheating.

I know, I know…it shook me to my very core too. WHAT would the world be coming to if the England Cricket team , the very embodiment of truth, beauty and the essence, spirit and core of fair play thew a match? Clearly, it would be a harbinger of an imminent and deserved apocalypse.

Typically, it was a dastardly foreigner that shockingly accused the England Cricket team of cheating, trying to besmirch the reputation of Lords. Ijaz Butt, the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, said that England threw the third 20:20 test match against Pakistan in an attempt to divert attention from the utterly blatant cheating of numerous Pakistan players the week before.

This is a picture of an associate of the Pakistan cricket team accepting P I L E S  of cash from an undercoer reporter to arrange for certain fouls to be ‘made’ by the Pakistan players in the match at a prescribed time. People would place bets on when such a foul would occur and thus rake in a load of cash.

This picture is of the bowler overstepping the white line, thus fouling, on the exact ball that the newspaper was told to expect. This also happened numerous other times in the match.

The England team have, therefore, demanded that Butt offer a “full and unreserved” (and hopefully grovelling) apology to the team else they will sue. If such an apology is not forthcoming, I shall be calling my Member of Parliament to fire up the gunboats to save the Queen’s honor and dignity by giving this johnny-foreigner a damn good thrashing. Who’s with me?

Russia bans S-300 sale to Iran 23, September 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Iran, Russia.
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Russia has formally announced that it will not sell Iran its advanced S-300 missile defence system. Despite initially obfuscating whether they would sell them or not, given the latest round of U.N. sanctions, President Medvedev has banned their sale. This must also mean that the more advanced S-400 will not be sold to Iran either.

Not receiving these supplies is a blow to Iran’s air defense systems, leaving their critical sites relatively undefended given the technologically advanced American and Israeli aircraft. Iran are instead continuing work on their own IR-300 defense systems though their effectiveness and date of operation is unknown (to me at least).

Back-channel diplomacy for US & Iran in NY 23, September 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, Iran.
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Haaretz reports that U.S. and Iranian diplomats met in New York and are seeking to establish covert lines of communication between the antagonistic states. They even suggest that these discussions may be as a prelude to the establishment of unofficial diplomatic relations.