To: F14 Pilot
LEBANESE HIZBALLAH SPEAKS OUT FOR IRAN.
Hizballah has officially adopted a policy of silence towards recent criticism of Iran by a former party leader, but unofficially it backs Iran, Lebanon's "Al-Mustaqbal" newspaper reported on 2 October. Former Hizballah Secretary-General Subih Tufaili had said in an early-September speech in Brital, in Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley, that Iran has betrayed the revolution's founding principles, and he denounced current Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah as an Iranian agent, "The Daily Star" reported on 9 September. He also accused Iran of cooperating with the U.S. Anonymous Hizballah officials dismissed Tufaili's comments and said that the coincidence of Iranian interests in Iraq and Afghanistan with those of the U.S. is not indicative of submission, according to the 2 October "Al-Mustaqbal" report.
The reality of the relationship is indicated by U.S. pressure on Iran regarding the nuclear issue and Iranian opposition to U.S. activities in Iraq, they said. Moreover, the Hizballah officials asked, "If the Americans themselves are accusing Syria and Iran of supporting the Iraqi opposition or facilitating its operations, how can it then be correct to accuse them of dealing with the Americans?" Tufaili's criticism of Hizballah also seems far-fetched. The organization is listed as a "foreign terrorist organization" by the U.S. State Department, it is connected with the 1983 suicide bombings of the U.S. Embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut, and the kidnapping of many Americans and other Westerners. Secretary-General Nasrallah, however, denies that Hizballah is a terrorist organization. "Hizballah is a Lebanese resistance group. It has fought and is ready to fight," he said in the 28 July issue of "The Times" of London. "Hizballah has offered martyrs and is ready to offer more martyrs to defend its people and country."
Tufaili also has criticized Hizballah for its participation in the Lebanese political system, a process that began when Hizballah fielded candidates for the 1992 parliamentary race. There are now almost 10 Hizballah members in the legislature. Anonymous Hizballah officials reject such criticisms. They said that there is absolutely no connection between their interest in domestic affairs and the retreat of the resistance or an end to its military role, "Al-Mustaqbal" reported on 8 July.
According to another report, in the 3 July "Al-Nahar" from Beirut, Hizballah ideology requires it to continue fighting until Israel no longer occupies any Lebanese territory (a reference to the Shabaa Farms). Any indications of a retreat on the party's part are in fact based on the need to reassess regional developments after Operation Iraqi Freedom and in light of U.S. challenges to Iran and Syria. If Iran pushes Hizballah to act against Israel right now, according to "Al-Nahar," Iran would suffer the consequences. Nasrallah himself sounds far from conciliatory, nor does he seem to have abandoned armed struggle, as Tufaili suggests. Nasrallah said in May, according to the 1 June issue of Manama's "Al-Wasat," "We must continue resistance." He continued: "We are at a stage in which there is no room for capitulation. We have been here for 20 years and have not surrendered or weakened. Killing made us stronger, the blood of martyrs made us stronger, the shackles of Sheikh Abdul Karim Obeid, Mustafa Dirani, and other prisoners in the enemy jails made us stronger." (Bill Samii)
source RFE/RL Iran Report Vol. 6, No. 41, 13 October 2003
posted on 10/14/2003 3:49:34 AM PDT
TEHRAN DEBATES SCIRI'S ROLE IN IRAQ.
Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) Chairman Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim had a very busy schedule during his 5-10 October trip to Tehran. He met with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Expediency Council Chairman Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, President Hojatoleslam Mohammad Khatami, judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi-Shahrudi, and Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi; participated in the third conference of the Ahl al-Bayt (the Household of the Prophet) organization; and gave the pre-sermon speech at the 10 October Friday prayers. Like his hosts, he repeatedly expressed his interest in seeing an end to the occupation of Iraq, according to Iranian news agencies. Behind the scenes, however, everything was not so united. Al-Hakim's visit comes at a sensitive time for Tehran-SCIRI relations.
When al-Hakim arrived in Tehran on 5 October he told reporters that the main reason for his visit is to thank Iran for its years of support for the Iraqi nation, ISNA reported. Al-Hakim said he has received invitations from "many countries," but, "because of Iran's principled policies toward Iraq over the years, I preferred to visit Iran before visiting other countries." While it is true that SCIRI was the main recipient of Iranian backing for the Iraqi opposition during Saddam Hussein's reign, the situation has changed since the U.S.-led international coalition destroyed the Iraqi dictator's military. Tehran now finds itself surrounded on all sides by the U.S. and it does not like what it sees. This could explain its new relationship with the upstart Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, a relationship that may have been cemented when al-Sadr visited Iran in early June (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 9 June 2003). Outspoken in his opposition to the coalition and in his hostility to the U.S., al-Sadr declared during the 10 October Friday prayers in Kufa that he is forming his own cabinet, and one of his associates said it would include a ministry for the promotion of virtue and prohibition of vice. "Although this might entail some danger to my person, I have created some cabinet posts in our government," al-Sadr said, according to "The Washington Post" on 12 October.
Al-Hakim resents the support given to al-Sadr by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and the supreme leader's office, "Al-Sharq al-Awsat" reported on 8 October. Alireza Nurizadeh writes in the Arabic-language London daily that al-Hakim has been under pressure to declare his fealty to Supreme Leader Khamenei ever since the late-August assassination of his brother, Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim. Moreover, Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim does not have sufficient standing to fill the religious vacuum in SCIRI left by the killing of the ayatollah, and Tehran does not want SCIRI to become a wholly political organization. Some Iranian officials, therefore, are backing Ayatollah Ali al-Haeri as SCIRI's religious leader.
"Al-Sharq al-Awsat" reported that al-Hakim came to Iran in response to President Khatami's invitation, and Khatami and other reformists had refused to meet with al-Sadr. Other news reports did not include such information or place the visit in the context of Iranian power politics. Al-Hakim met with Khatami on 6 October, IRNA reported, and they discussed Tehran-Baghdad relations. "Jane's Foreign Report" reported on 9 October, three days later, that it had "learned" that al-Hakim was in Tehran on 6 October and had met with Khatami to discuss the Iraqi Governing Council. Al-Hakim met with Foreign Minister Kharrazi on 6 October, ISNA reported. Kharrazi said: "The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the sovereignty of Iraq must be handed over to its people as soon as possible under the supervision of the UN. The occupiers have no choice other than handing over the management and political destiny of Iraq to leaders chosen by its people." Judiciary chief Hashemi-Shahrudi called for an end to the occupation when he met with al-Hakim on 6 October, IRNA reported the next day. "By continuing the occupation of Iraq, the Americans are ruining their reputation before the world public opinion more than ever."
Al-Hakim met with Supreme Leader Khamenei on 7 October, IRNA reported. Khamenei described the end of the occupation as one of the Iraqis' main demands. During the Ahl al-Bayt conference on 9 October, Khamenei said that the occupation is the main problem facing Iraqis.
Expediency Council Chairman Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani told al-Hakim on 7 October that free elections under the aegis of the United Nations would pave the way for the withdrawal of occupation forces, IRNA reported. Al-Hakim told his host that the U.S. is incapable of establishing security. Al-Hakim said at an 8 October memorial ceremony in Tehran for his assassinated brother that there is international pressure on the U.S. to withdraw its troops and for it to specify a withdrawal date. "Of course, we support the international community in this demand and for the U.S. to limit the duration of its occupation of Iraq." He said on 9 October during the Ahl al-Bayt event that the Iraqi people have started a major battle to liberate their country from the occupation and the remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime, Tehran radio reported on 10 October.
Al-Hakim also discussed the assassination of his brother. He told reporters on 5 October that the investigation is continuing and there is no definitive conclusion yet, ISNA reported. "What is clear, however, is that the former Iraqi regime and its supporters had a hand in this crime." Al-Hakim added, "Of course, there are people who have argued that foreign groups were also involved in committing this serious crime." (Bill Samii)
Source: RFE/RL Iran Report Vol. 6, No. 41, 13 October 2003
comment: Will Al-Hakim resist the pressure from RICO-Rafsanjani/Khamenei and say NO to follow Qom and instead seek assistance from the clerics in Najaf?
Expediency Council Chairman Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani told al-Hakim on 7 October that free elections under the aegis of the United Nations would pave the way for the withdrawal of occupation force.
We should ask RICO-Rafsanjani why he is not supporting free elections without Guardian Council vetting of candidates on the aegis of the United Nations in Iran?
posted on 10/14/2003 4:01:18 AM PDT
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