(2006-08-26) — Just hours after Iran opened a new plant capable of making plutonium “for peaceful purposes”, U.S. President George Bush assured his Iranian counterpart that any B-2 bombers that appear over Tehran in the near future would also serve peaceful purposes.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cut the ribbon on the new heavy-water nuclear plant Saturday as part of a month-long Iranian tribute to the effectiveness of the United Nations.
Mr. Bush hailed Iran’s “transparent diplomacy” and said, “I called President Ahmadinejad today to congratulate him, and I told him that if he happens to notice one of them Stealth bombers going over his town at about 600 miles per hour, he can be assured that the pilot has only the best intentions in his heart for world peace.”
“There’s nothing like the B-2 when it comes to giving peace a chance,” Mr. Bush added.And in a related development:
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced today that an unnamed “but reputable middle eastern social services agency” had agreed to provide armed troops to complete the 15,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping contingent in southern Lebanon.
The news comes after word that Mr. Annan had persuaded Europe to send almost 7,000 troops under French leadership to secure the peace along the Israel-Lebanon border without disarming Hezbollah or cutting off its military supply lines from Syria and Iran.
“The organization that will complete our U.N. force has a long history of dealing with armed conflict in the region,” said Mr. Annan. “They know Hezbollah better than anyone else. They know Israel’s capabilities and tactics. They are held in high esteem by most members of the U.N. for their work to overcome what many see as the root cause of all global tensions.”
Mr. Annan said the anonymous group is well supplied with weaponry from a third-party, so their deployment would not require additional funds from the U.N. budget, and they could be in position faster than any army in the world.
Negotiations continue over equipping the new force with U.N. uniforms and blue helmets, Mr. Annan said, since these soldiers are not accustomed to identifying themselves as military combatants.
“They tend to blend in with society as they do their reconstruction, education and health care work,” he said, “and they don’t like the inconvenience of having to change into battle dress uniforms or move away from civilian areas in order to conduct military operations. I don’t see that as a deal-breaker.”
And if you thought this is just satire, well, read this beaut:Annan stressed Friday it was not the peacekeepers' task to strip the guerrillas of their weapons, saying that was an issue for Lebanon's government and "cannot be done by force."
"The troops are not going there to disarm Hezbollah. Let's be clear about that," he said.