Middle East - June 10
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Iran threatens Gulf blitz if US hits nuclear plants
Michael Smith, Sunday Times
IRAN has threatened to launch a missile blitz against the Gulf states and plunge the entire Middle East into war if America attacks its nuclear facilities.
Admiral Ali Shamkhani, a senior defence adviser to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned that Gulf states providing the US with military cooperation would be the key targets of a barrage of ballistic missiles.
Shamkhani told the US journal Defense News that missiles would be launched not only at US military bases but also at strategic targets such as oil refineries and power stations.
Qatar, Bahrain and Oman all host important US bases and British forces are based in all three countries. Any Iranian attack would be bound to draw in the other Gulf Cooperation Council states: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.
(10 June 2007)
AFL-CIO Calls on Iraq to Stop Threatening Workers in Oil Fields
Issues Joint Statement with British TUC, Writes to Sec. of State Rice
The AFL-CIO has called on the Iraqi Government to immediately stop using the threat of force to intimidate workers in Basra oil fields. The American labor federation issued a joint statement with the British Trade Union Congress today calling on Iraq to "pull back its security and military forces and cease its menacing threats to arrest and attack these workers immediately." In addition, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney wrote a letter to Secretary of State Rice urging her to use diplomatic channels "to convey to the Iraqi government that military intervention is not the way to resolve this dispute."
A strike of oil workers began on Monday, June 4 and on Tuesday these workers were surrounded and threatened by Iraqi armed forces while attempting to exercise their legitimate right to strike. These pipeline workers belong to the 26,000 member Iraqi Federation of Oil Workers (IFOU).
The strike was called after months of discussions between the union and the government over wages, health and safety, the use of temporary workers and the future of Iraq's oil industry failed to produce a negotiated settlement. The strike Tuesday temporarily suspended delivery of oil products to Baghdad and the southern Governates of Iraq. As of Tuesday night, workers had returned temporarily to work after receiving a promise of further talks, but the troops remain in place.
The AFL-CIO joins the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and other global unions in urging the Iraqi Government to negotiate with the oil workers.
(7 June 2007)
Related from the British Trade Union Council (TUC): Solidarity with Iraqi oil workers.
OPEC Says Oil Price `Reasonable,'
Stephen Voss, Bloomberg
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said current oil prices are ``reasonable'' on an inflation-adjusted basis and world crude oil markets are ``adequately supplied.''
OPEC countries are building spare production capacity -- currently between 2.5 million and 3 million barrels a day -- as a means of moderating prices over the long term, the group's president, Mohamed al-Hamli, said in an interview on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum today.
(9 June 2007)