US Democrats warn Bush on Iran

Nancy Pelosi

Ms Pelosi says it is time for Congress to exert its authority

Top Democrats in the US Congress have warned President George W Bush that he does not have the authority to go to war with Iran. Washington is in dispute with Iran over its nuclear programme, and senior US officials have accused it of supplying weapons to Shia insurgents in Iraq.

The warning came ahead of a House of Representatives vote likely to condemn the recent surge of US troops in Iraq.

The Senate is due to vote on the troop plan in an unusual Saturday session.

Iran rhetoric

There has been concern recently over the president’s rhetoric on Iranian activity in Iraq.

House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledged Mr Bush has said he wants a diplomatic solution to the rift with Iran, saying: “I take him at his word.”

There is no previous authority for the president, any president, to go into Iran

Nancy Pelosi

But she also said that Congress should assert itself “and make it very clear that there is no previous authority for the president, any president, to go into Iran”.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is on Friday expected to vote on a non-binding resolution opposing Mr Bush’s decision to send an extra 21,500 US troops to Iraq to try to restore stability.

The vote comes after days of fierce debate on the issue in what has been the first full debate in the House since the Democrats took control of Congress in November.

Double threat

The resolution states that the House “will continue to support and protect” troops in Iraq but that it “disapproves” of the troop increase.

The Senate is holding its own vote – in an unusual Saturday session – on whether to begin debate on the resolution.

Two US marines in western Iraq

Mr Bush plans to send 21,500 additional US troops to Iraq

Previous Senate attempts to debate the anti-troop surge resolution have been met with delaying tactics from Republican members.

Mr Bush faces the possibility that both chambers of Congress will repudiate his Iraq policy says the BBC’s Justin Webb in Washington.

Although the upcoming Congressional votes are non-binding, the president needs the legislators to support his $93bn (£48bn) emergency troop funding measure.

“Our men and women in uniform are counting on their elected leaders to provide them with the support they need to accomplish their mission,” he said on Thursday.

“Republicans and Democrats have a responsibility to give our troops the resources they need.”

But in the debate, Ms Pelosi said there should be “no more blank cheques”.

Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner criticised the Democrats’ attempts to derail Mr Bush’s plans for Iraq.

“While American troops are fighting radical Islamic terrorists thousands of miles away,” he said, “it is unthinkable that the United States Congress would move to discredit their mission, cut off their reinforcements and deny them the resources they need to succeed and return home safely”.

Iran drones ‘can attack US ships’

An Iranian website close to the Revolutionary Guard has said they have drones that can launch attacks on American warships in the Persian Gulf. This comes as the US has sent a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf in a move it says is intended to warn Iran that it intends to have a regional presence.

Both sides have increased the talk of war readiness in recent weeks.

This comes as concerns mount internationally about Iran’s nuclear programme and its involvement in Iraq.

The Baztab website quotes the acting commander of the Revolutionary Guard’s land forces as saying that Iran has unmanned aircraft that can fly long distances and launch attacks on American warships.

The commander reportedly said this would make the Americans leave the region in shame.

He added Iran had all US activity, including the slightest changes of the enemy, under constant surveillance.

And the website also quoted the commander claiming that Iran had managed to put the logo of the Revolutionary Guards on the side of an American warship in the Gulf to demonstrate how insecure they were in this region.

There is no independent confirmation of these Iranian assertions, but they show how Tehran is trying to counter what it says is the psychological warfare of the Americans with claims of military superiority.

Every few weeks, there are new Iranian war games and state television shows pictures of fresh military hardware like missiles and torpedoes being tested.

Novell CEO: We’re Going to ‘Attack’ Vista

The ‘alliance’ between Novell and Microsoft got a bit weirder after Novell’s CEO indicated that he was pleased by Vista’s slow rate of adoption, and will continue to battle the company directly in the marketplace.

Ron Hovespian made the comments to reporters in Australia on Thursday. He mentioned that Vista took over five years to produce, while open source is much easier to develop for. Also, the agreement brings Novell closer to Microsoft’s customers.

Although many IT administrators will openly voice their dislike, the reality of the matter is most use the Windows operating system to run their servers. With Novell closer to the customer, the chance of migrating to Linux is much greater, he claims.

Hovespian defended the deal, saying that while the company itself did not have to do it, it was in the best interest of its customers. Additionally, he refuted the misconception that the two companies signed a patent cross-licensing agreement.

“We did not sign a patent cross licensing agreement, what we agreed to was not to sue any customers over patents,” he was quoted by news sources as telling reporters. Microsoft and Novell could still sue each other, he added.

Novell says that the agreement has proven to be a positive move for the company, citing some “big wins” it has seen. Following the agreement, the company sold about 35,000 SUSE Linux support certificates, one of the more lucrative parts of its Linux business.

Microsoft has also held up its end of the pact by hiring sales and marketing staff to support SUSE Linux. An interoperability lab is still in the works as well, Hovespian says.

But after all the good feelings, don’t expect Novell to take it easy on Vista. Hovespian said that Novell is “going to attack Vista” head on in the years to come.