Saturday, February 20, 2010
For many in the Israeli defense establishment, bombing Iran has been reduced to two things: developing a nuclear weapon and acquiring a S-300 Russian-made air defense system.
Last night when I was checking Haaretz, a most liberal of Israeli papers, the front headline read, "Russia to supply Iran with S-300 defense systems."
So here we go? Are we headed to another round of conflict? I suspect there are few who would question the current Israeli governments decision to "do what it must," but not everything is set in stone--yet.
Russia has said for the longest time that it would deliver these systems to Iran. There have been interesting reports that Venezuela and Siberia have tried to smuggle these truck-mounded defense systems into the Islamic Republic, but it looks of now that Russia is willing to openly fulfill its contract.
Will this go through? To this I am ignorant. But I wonder if this was really just about Russia "fulfilling a contract" or if Moscow is unhappy with Israel or the U.S. and is trying to get some attention by selling the Persians a cutting edge air defense to guard their controversial nuclear program....
Update: Our friends over at Notes From Amedinah have a great post about the absurdities of the recent assassination in Dubai.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
So this evening I was taking a break from studying my state medical license renewal material and I decided to peruse the National Geographic website and I stumbled across their Xpeditions webpage.
I was intrigued and very impressed with the quality and content that Nat Geo was representing on their website, but honestly, would you expect anything less from the greatest periodical company in the world? Exactly. Well, back to the point, this web section includes daily lesson plans for teaching kids about the world and one of those lessons is titled, "Investigating Central Asia Through Maps." What a grand idea! Teach kids about the world via maps and their respective cultures within.
The lesson is highlighted as suitable for grades 6 through 8, so roughly middle school age children. Here is where I found this interesting. After reviewing the lesson plan and it's content, I came to the conclusion that in America, this lesson was more likely appropriate for, oh I don't know say, Freshman in College. (And that's me being extremly optimistic.)
HERE IS A SMALL EXAMPLE OF SOME OF THE LESSON PLAN OBJECTIVES:
Standard 1) How to use maps and geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information.
Standard 4) The physical and human characteristics of places.
Standard 15) How physical systems affect human systems.
HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF POST LESSON QUESTIONS:
1) Name the countries that border Afghanistan? (This is the best question I found out of the bunch. Can you answer it off hand?)
2) What is the name of the corridor between Afghanistan and Pakistan, running through the Great Highlands of the Hindu Kush Mountains?
3) What is the name of the landlocked, mountainous country that was carved out of Uzbekistan to stop resistance to Soviet rule?
4) What country has the largest population of the Central Asia countries?
5) What is the largest crop produced in Turkmenistan?
6) What religion can be found along the borders of Eastern Russia?So there you have it. Yes, these questions should be able to be answered at the 6-8 grade level, but I fear that for most Americans, they could not answer them even after graduating High School.
In fact, I challenge all you Casbahites to see how many of these questions you can answer of hand... no cheating by checking the internet either!
So after much consideration, I have decided that I want to petition National Geographic to take over the educational system here in America. At least they should be allowed to create a mandatory one hour lesson plan to be taught in each grade level. We need your help Nat Geo.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Well, yes... The FARC, the largest Marxist guerrilla group in the world, is just another front where conventional U.S. weapons are being tested against non-conventional, smuggled arms from Russia, China, Iran and beyond.
Other fronts where this is happening? Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel-Lebanon... to name a few.
Update: If you have not joined this blog yet I urge you to do so.
Update II: Qifa Nabk writes a clear timelined post on the evolving "rules" between Israel and Hezbollah--he claims they've recently changed.