China’s Anti West Arms Strategy
Vol: 3 Issue: 31 Monday, December 31, 2001
The weapons free-for-all continues across Asia. China s military recently sent an arms shipment to Burma. The Chinese hope to bring back Burma’s ruling military junta. U.S. intelligence officials said the delivery was detected Dec. 15 as a 40-vehicle convoy that included artillery, gun carriages and communication equipment. The goods were delivered to the town of Lashio through the China-Burma border town of Mu-se. The shipment includes a Chinese-built artillery battery that is part of large shipments of military equipment to the State Peace and Development Council, as the ruling junta is called. Additional equipment provided in recent months includes more than 300 armored personnel carriers that were sent in August. Eight truckloads of other military goods were sent in July. The ties to Burma are part of China s southeast Asian strategy of developing ties to non-democratic, anti-Western nations along its borders. One intelligence official said Wa militants have been trafficking in PLA weapons to other tribal groups in the region.
Iran’s Nuclear Secrets
Western intelligence sources said Iran and Russia have launched a successful campaign to plug up intelligence leaks on Moscow’s aid to Iran’s nuclear weapons program. After a leading Iranian scientist with connections to the CIA was killed over the summer, scientists involved in the project aren’t talking. Washington is largely in the dark concerning Iran’s nuclear capability. President Bush has painted a picture of a new Russia, under the Western-friendly government of Vladimir Putin. Helping one of America’s most bitter enemy states attain nuclear status in secret doesn’t fit that image. Instead, it fits the image of Russia in the last days in Bible prophecy. Ezekiel 38:5 lists Russia’s allies in the end-time Gog-Magog invasion of Israel. Topping the list is Persia, known today as Iran.
US To Increase Pressure On Saudis
President Bush has extolled the virtues of US-Saudi relations, even though the Saudis have behaved more like a hard-line Islamic state than a friend since 9/11. Bush and his aides have smiled as Riyad denied the United States a key air base for attacks on Afghanistan and stalled on Washington’s request for intelligence on bin-Laden aides. The US is about to step up the pressure. The U.S. effort begins when the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers arrives in Riyad. Myers will press the Saudi kingdom for defense cooperation. This will include use of the Prince Saudi Air Force base, which the Pentagon had wanted to deploy in the war against Afghanistan. Myers will also discuss Gulf security and promote U.S. weapons sales to Riyad.
The US is also going to collect for its favorable portrayal of US-Saudi relations. Later in January, U.S. executives will meet Saudi leaders to discuss huge business deals in energy and weapons. Such a meeting scheduled for Jan. 15, was to have taken place in the fall but was delayed by the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. Washington wants to capture most of the Saudi contracts in a privatization program launched by Riyad. The privatization program is part of Saudi efforts to enter the World Trade Organization.
Saudis Say 9/11 “Hurt Muslim Image”
Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia gave the opening address at the Gulf States summit in Oman. In his remarks, he called on Arab states to denounce terror — not because it was wrong, but because it was bad for business. He said the image of Arab and Muslims had been severely damaged by the 11 September on the United States. Then the Middle Eastern version of Don Corleone turned his attention to business, criticizing the Gulf States for not ‘doing enough’ to achieve their goal of economic union and the creation of a unified military force. The summit is expected to approve a media campaign to improve the image of the Arabs and Muslims in the West.
bin-Laden Healthier Than He Looked
According to an assessment of the recent videotape of Osama bin-Laden, he is healthier than he looked. In the tape, bin-Laden appeared ashen-faced and was thinner and grayer than he had been a month before. He appeared alone, with none of his top lieutenants by his side as in earlier videotapes. The videotape was shot during the Ramadan fast. Unlike previous videos, bin-Laden’s ever present cup of water was missing. Muslims are exempted from fasting if they are ill or injured. Dia’a Rashwan, an expert on militant Muslim movements with Cairo’s Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies interpreted the missing water as evidence bin-Laden is in good health. Although there were hopeful rumors that Osama is dead, all available intelligence continues to suggest he is alive and well and living under the protection of a tribal warlord in Pakistan. Sen. Bob Graham, chairman of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN over the weekend, “The latest intelligence we had indicates that the high probabilities are that bin Laden is still alive.”
We pray God will grant you all a safe and blessed New Year. See you in 2002!