Day: November 1, 2006

Lebanon Plot Warning

Via the BBC:

The United States has said there is “mounting evidence” that Syria, Iran and Hezbollah are planning to topple the Lebanese government.

The White House said Syria hoped to stop the formation of an international tribunal to try suspects in the killing of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri.

Spokesman Tony Snow said any attempt to destabilise the Lebanese government would violate UN resolutions.

A UN team has been investigating who was behind Mr Hariri’s death in 2005.

Hezbollah demand

The BBC News website’s world affairs correspondent Paul Reynolds says the White House statement appears to result from the tense situation in Lebanon, where Hezbollah is demanding one third of cabinet seats, thereby giving it a veto over decisions.

Such a veto would enable it to block approval of the international tribunal to try suspects in Mr Hariri’s assassination, our correspondent says.

The Hezbollah leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, has threatened street demonstrations in support of his demand.

The US is concerned that this instability could result in the fall of the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

The statement also casts doubt on any willingness by the Bush administration to consider Syria and Iran as potential partners over the future of Iraq, an idea that the Baker commission on Iraq is expected to suggest, our correspondent adds.

Designer Classics

My translations of Crime and Punishment and The Idiot are among five titles chosen for recovering by design artists to celebrate Penguin’s 60th anniversary. The others in the series are Geoffrey Wall’s translation of Madame Bovary, Tender Is The Night, and Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

Crime and Punishment is designed by Fuel, and The Idiot by Ron Arad.

Madame Bovary is designed by Manolo Blahnik, Tender Is The Night by Sam Taylor-Wood, and Lady Chatterley’s Lover by Paul Smith.

The books are published in limited editions of 1000 copies each, and come in a hard perspex case.

Moscow to Sell Tor-M1s to Iran

The Jerusalem Post notes that Moscow has not backed down on the issue of missile sales to Iran, with foreign minister Lavrov insisting that the systems are “purely defensive”:

Moscow has refused to bow to Western pressure and cancel its US $700 million contract to sell 29 Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Iran which was signed last December.

A Russian Defense Ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, said that Moscow would fulfill the contract unless international sanctions against Iran make it illegal.