Putin says Syria chemical arms moves ‘inspire confidence’
Valdai, Russia (AFP) Sept 19, 2013 – Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he was confident but not 100 percent sure that Syria would carry out its commitments to destroy its chemical weapons stockpiles under a Russia-US agreement. “Will we manage to carry it through? I can’t say 100 percent, but all that we have seen recently, in the last few days, inspires confidence that it is possible and that it will be done,” Put … more

Bloodletting, bureaucratic bungling hamper Iraq’s oil plans
Baghdad (UPI) Sep 19, 2013 – Iraq, on paper one of the world’s oil giants, is struggling to boost its energy production amid a deteriorating security crisis that could seriously curtail Baghdad’s drive to exploit its vast oil and gas reserves. It has made remarkable progress since Saddam Hussein was toppled in the March 2003 U.S. invasion, largely due to the expertise and investment of Western oil companies. … more

US sees ‘chance for diplomacy’ with Iran….(really?)
Washington (AFP) Sept 19, 2013 – The United States said Thursday that comments by Iranian President Hassan Rowhani had opened up a possible new path for diplomacy, and urged Tehran to engage “substantively” with the West. In an interview, Rowhani suggested a new flexibility in Tehran’s approach to nuclear talks which have dragged for years as the international community seeks to rein in Iran’s suspect nuclear program. ” … more

Syria confident UN won’t adopt Chapter VII resolution
Damascus (AFP) Sept 18, 2013 – Syria is confident the United Nations will not adopt a resolution on its chemical weapons under Chapter VII, which could allow the use of force, its deputy foreign minister said Wednesday. “I think this is a big lie used by the Western powers; we believe it will never be used,” Faisal Muqdad told AFP. “There is no justification for that, and the Russian-American agreement does not have s … more