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Iranian Alert -- November 24, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^
Posted on 11/23/2003 10:05:14 PM PST by DoctorZIn
The US media almost entirely ignores news regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. As Tony Snow of the Fox News Network has put it, this is probably the most under-reported news story of the year. But most Americans are unaware that the Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT supported by the masses of Iranians today. Modern Iranians are among the most pro-American in the Middle East.
There is a popular revolt against the Iranian regime brewing in Iran today. Starting June 10th of this year, Iranians have begun taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy. Many even want the US to over throw their government.
The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movement in Iran from being reported. Unfortunately, the regime has successfully prohibited western news reporters from covering the demonstrations. The voices of discontent within Iran are sometime murdered, more often imprisoned. Still the people continue to take to the streets to demonstrate against the regime.
In support of this revolt, Iranians in America have been broadcasting news stories by satellite into Iran. This 21st century news link has greatly encouraged these protests. The regime has been attempting to jam the signals, and locate the satellite dishes. Still the people violate the law and listen to these broadcasts. Iranians also use the Internet and the regime attempts to block their access to news against the regime. In spite of this, many Iranians inside of Iran read these posts daily to keep informed of the events in their own country.
This daily thread contains nearly all of the English news reports on Iran. It is thorough. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary. The news stories and commentary will from time to time include material from the regime itself. But if you read the post you will discover for yourself, the real story of what is occurring in Iran and its effects on the war on terror.
I am not of Iranian heritage. I am an American committed to supporting the efforts of those in Iran seeking to replace their government with a secular democracy. I am in contact with leaders of the Iranian community here in the United States and in Iran itself.
If you read the daily posts you will gain a better understanding of the US war on terrorism, the Middle East and why we need to support a change of regime in Iran. Feel free to ask your questions and post news stories you discover in the weeks to come.
If all goes well Iran will be free soon and I am convinced become a major ally in the war on terrorism. The regime will fall. Iran will be free. It is just a matter of time.
PS I have a daily ping list and a breaking news ping list. If you would like to receive alerts to these stories please let me know which list you would like to join.
TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iaea; iran; iranianalert; protests; southasia; studentmovement; studentprotest
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Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!
"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin
posted on 11/23/2003 10:05:15 PM PST
posted on 11/23/2003 10:07:11 PM PST
To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!
"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin
posted on 11/23/2003 10:07:49 PM PST
I read it earlier tonight.
I was going to post it.
posted on 11/23/2003 10:09:14 PM PST
VISIT TO IRAN BY ITALYS FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER POSTPONED
ROME-TEHRAN 23 Nov. (IPS)
Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Franco Frattinis visit to Iran scheduled for Sunday has been postponed, the official Iranian news agency IRNA confirmed, quoting an identified Italian diplomatic source.
The Italian diplomat told IRNA that the postponement of Frattinis visit was due to his tight schedule and that no new date has yet been set.
But according to Mr. Ahmad Rafat, a correspondent in Rome for Radio Farda (Tomorrow), the Persian service of the Prague-based Rafio Free Europe-Radio Liberty said the Italians have blamed the Iranian side for the cancellation of the visit.
"The situation of human rights and Irans controversial nuclear activities were to be at the centre of Mr. Frattinis talks with Iranian officials, but the Iranians, angry at the support the European gave to a Canadian resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Committee in the one hand and the stance they took at the International Atomic Energy Agency on Irans atomic programs, decided time was not good for the visit.
Italy is the present chair country of the 15-25 European Union.
During his two-day visit, the Italian Foreign Affairs Minister was scheduled to confer with President Mohammad Khatami, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani and his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi on matters of mutual interest.
On 21 October, Iran accepted a proposal from foreign affairs minister of Britain, France and Germany to sign the Additional Protocol to the Non Proliferation Treaty and suspend its uranium enriching programmes, activities it had concealed from the Vienna-based IAEA for 18 years.
A report by the Agencys inspectors on Iranian atomic projects is at the heart of a new row between the United States that accuses the Islamic Republic for efforts to access the nuclear arms with the European Union.
"Mutual relations, bolstering economic cooperation and the latest international developments, specially the Middle East issues were among the main subjects to be discussed", IRNA reported.
But Mr. Rafat said besides the atomic issues, subjects of human rights, the imprisonment of dissidents journalists, intellectuals, lawyers and scholars, the closure of a hundred of publications and the situation of women were also to be discussed, "subjects that are not to the liking of the ruling Iranians", he noted.
ENDS ITALY IRAN 231103 http://www.iran-press-service.com/articles_2003/Nov-2003/italy_iran_231103.htm
posted on 11/23/2003 10:09:57 PM PST
Great webpage. Thanks for posting...~!
posted on 11/23/2003 11:11:36 PM PST
by F14 Pilot
Iran enjoys a living nation: Leader
IRIB English News
Tehran, Nov 24 - Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said on Sunday that despite efforts by those malicious people who wish to revive the pre-revolution's stagnant days the Iranian nation is buoyant and will continue its way by relying on its fervent youths.
Hosting a group of the children of martyrs for iftar (breaking fast) the Leader of the Islamic revolution highlighted the talent and capabilities of the martyrs' children and said after the Islamic revolution a new fervent generation of youths emerged in the history of the country and brought forth manifold blessings to the nation and country and the nation is going to enjoy it in the future. http://www.iribnews.com/Full_en.asp?news_id=193088
posted on 11/24/2003 3:13:22 AM PST
by F14 Pilot
Fantastic! And welcome to Freerepublic.
posted on 11/24/2003 4:22:03 AM PST
by Pan_Yans Wife
("Your joy is your sorrow unmasked." --- GIBRAN)
To: Pan_Yans Wife; Kashei64; yoe; LoudRepublicangirl; Alamo-Girl; yonif; McGavin999; seamole; onyx; ...
Parliament Speaker: ''Zionist lobby'' behind UN pressure on Iran
Majlis Speaker Mehdi Karroubi said Monday that efforts to forward Iran`s nuclear case to the UN Security Council are rooted in the "Zionist and US consultations and lobbying". "Pressures are politically-motivated. Efforts to refer Iran`s case to the United Nations Security Council is a move against Tehran Declaration and the Europeans` opinion," he told parliamentary reporters, according to IRNA.
"Such measures which are taken due to the US lobby indicate that they seek to determine the fate of others and in their eyes the Zionists and Sharon are the symbols of democracy," he added.
Asked about possible measures Iran would adopt if the international Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) fails to fulfill its promises, Karroubi said, "We would answer it firmly as Foreign Ministry spokesman has said. However, we should wait for the answer of the system`s officials." http://www.albawaba.com/news/index.php3?sid=264192&lang=e&dir=news
posted on 11/24/2003 5:14:50 AM PST
by F14 Pilot
(Conspiracy Theory... For whom the bell tolls ?)
To: F14 Pilot
Thanks for the ping!
See No Evil
November 24, 2003
The Washington Post
The International Atomic Energy Agency has now documented that Iran has been violating the requirements of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty for the past 18 years by, among other things, producing plutonium and enriched uranium in ways that would be useful only for the manufacture of nuclear weapons. Yet at a two-day meeting last week, the IAEA's 35-member board was unable to agree on a reaction to this disturbing discovery. In large part, this was because most of its members were opposed to drawing the obvious conclusion: that Iran is in violation of the treaty and has been secretly engaged in an intensive effort to become a nuclear power. In this they were abetted by the agency's director, Mohammed ElBaradei, who himself refuses to conclude that Iran is seeking a bomb -- though no other logical conclusion is possible.
European members of the board proposed a resolution mildly deploring the cheating while congratulating Tehran for its recent pledges to suspend its uranium enrichment and accept more intrusive IAEA inspections. Britain, France and Germany obtained those Iranian promises last month in exchange for an offer of "constructive dialogue" instead of a referral to the United Nations Security Council. This produced an ugly scene at the IAEA meeting: While Bush administration officials loudly objected to the whitewash, the Iranian delegation threatened to retract all of its fresh promises unless its previous lies were excused. Maybe this meltdown can still lead to a genuine, internationally monitored freeze in Iran's nuclear program. But it's hard to be optimistic.
European officials argue that their soft diplomacy is already paying off. When they met in Tehran with senior Iranian officials, the German, French and British foreign ministers were assured that the Iranian government has concluded that cooperation on the nuclear front is preferable to steps toward weapons production that might isolate the regime internationally. Such assertions might seem incredible, given the years of effort and huge resources Iran has invested in its nuclear program. But, argue the Europeans, there is their agreement: Enhanced inspections can determine whether Iran abides by treaty requirements in the future and keeps its non-binding promise not to continue enriching uranium. If Iran does not comply, they say, the dialogue can be broken off and a tougher approach adopted.
The most obvious problem with this strategy is that it assumes that IAEA inspectors or Western governments will do a better job of detecting illicit Iranian nuclear activity in the future than they have done for 20 years, when extensive violations were missed. So far, there is no mechanism for triggering a response if Iran fails to comply. The European approach also downplays the possibility that Iran will simply continue pursuing its weapons program by other means -- for example, by stalling inspectors and pursuing the wide loopholes in the non-proliferation treaty.
If this is Tehran's strategy, it can only be encouraged by the developments of the past few weeks: The previously united international front against it has been splintered, the Security Council ruled out, and the IAEA so hamstrung that it cannot draw the obvious conclusions from what it has discovered. The board is due to meet again this week; it will have a better chance of succeeding if it can be honest about the threat it must address. http://iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news.pl?l=en&y=2003&m=11&d=24&a=1
Hezbollah, Has Established a Significant Presence in Iraq
November 24, 2003
The New York Times
WASHINGTON -- Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite group, has established a significant presence in Iraq, but is not taking part in attacks on American forces inside the country, according to current and former United States officials and Arabs familiar with the organization.
Iran is believed to be restraining Hezbollah from attacking American troops, and that is prompting a debate within the Bush administration about Iran's objectives, administration officials said.
Hezbollah's presence has become a source of concern as it is recognized by counterterrorist experts to have some of the most dangerous operatives in the world.
Both American and Israeli intelligence have found evidence that Hezbollah operatives have established themselves in Iraq, according to current and former United States officials. Separately, Arabs in Lebanon and elsewhere who are familiar with the organization say Hezbollah has sent what they describe as a security team of up to 90 members to Iraq.
The organization has steered clear of attacks on Americans, the American officials and Arabs familiar with Hezbollah agree. United States intelligence officials said Hezbollah operatives were believed to have arrived in Iraq soon after the end of major combat operations last spring, and had refrained from attacks on Americans ever since. The Central Intelligence Agency has not seen a major influx of Hezbollah operatives since that time, officials added.
"Hezbollah has moved to establish a presence inside Iraq, but it isn't clear from the intelligence reports what their intent is," one administration official said.
Based in Lebanon, Hezbollah is a Shiite Islamic group that is under Tehran's control. Syria, which dominates Lebanon and controls Hezbollah's supply lines from Iran, also plays a powerful role with the group.
Inside Lebanon, Hezbollah has taken on an increasingly political role, but it continues to pose a global threat. The United States has issued a $25 million reward for the capture of Imad Mugniyah, the longtime chief of foreign terrorist operations; he is believed to have been behind a series of attacks against Americans in the 1980's, including hostage-taking operations in Lebanon.
More recently, Hezbollah has focused its activities on Israel, and is not believed to have launched a large attack against American interests since 1996, when, according to American government charges, it conducted the bombing of the Khobar Towers barracks in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 Americans.
In recent months, American troops have faced a deadly guerrilla campaign waged largely by the remnants of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party government in the Sunni-dominated region of central Iraq. Some foreign Arab fighters are believed to have infiltrated Iraq, but their role in attacks against American troops now appears to be less significant than United States military and intelligence officials originally believed.
American forces have faced far less violence in Shiite-dominated southern Iraq than they have in the Sunni heartland. The Shiites, though the majority of Iraq's population, suffered severe oppression under the Sunni-dominated government of Mr. Hussein, and have so far appeared more willing to accept the American military occupation.
But Iran's role in Iraq's Shiite community has been a wild card for the Bush administration. Shiite-dominated Iran has a strong interest in influencing the political and religious direction of the country, particularly because some of the Shiite world's holiest sites are in the Iraqi cities of Karbala and Najaf. Iran's powerful clerical leaders are deeply concerned about which clerics emerge as the dominant figures in those cities, American officials say.
"We are very aware of the rivalry between Iranian Shia and Iraqi Shia for dominance in that community," one administration official said. "It's possible that Hezbollah is there to help the Iraqis politically, to work in the Shia community," and have no plans for terrorist attacks against Americans, the official added.
Another critical concern of the Iranians is the American policy toward the People's Mujahedeen, an anti-Iranian terrorist group that operated for years on the Iraqi side of the border under the protection of Mr. Hussein's government.
Since the American occupation of the country, the Bush administration has been deeply divided over how to handle this group. Pentagon officials and conservatives inside and outside the administration have been open to the idea of using it against the Iranians, but State Department officials have argued that the group should be disarmed and rendered ineffective to improve relations with Iran.
Last spring, President Bush ordered that American forces disarm the group, but some administration officials say the Pentagon has purposefully been lax in its treatment of the organization. An administration official said last week that the United States military had allowed some members of the People's Mujahedeen to enter and leave Iran, and that the group still had equipment for broadcasting its antigovernment messages into Iran.
Earlier this month, in an interview with The Washington Post, Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, tried to clarify the administration's policy toward the anti-Iranian group by insisting that Washington was treating it as terrorist.
But the Iranians remain suspicious about American intentions, and some administration officials speculated that Tehran might be trying to use Hezbollah's presence in Iraq as a counterweight, to deter the Americans from unleashing the Mujahedeen against Iran.
American officials say they believe that Iran wants to resume the quiet dialogue with the United States that has been suspended in recent months. Earlier this year, Bush administration officials charged that operatives of Al Qaeda in Iran were behind a May 12 terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia, although American officials subsequently learned that those operatives, including Saef al-Adel, a pivotal Qaeda figure, were in some form of custody in Iran.
More recently, Iran has said it has handed over some Qaeda operatives to other countries, but has been unwilling to turn them over directly to the United States. It is possible, some American officials said, that the Iranians want to resume talks, and that by keeping Hezbollah under wraps, they are quietly sending a conciliatory message to Washington.
"I think it is a little bit of the carrot and the stick," said one administration official. "They want a dialogue, and they also want to get their hands on" members of the Mujahedeen.
"I think sending Hezbollah to Iraq is about Iran's desire for us to take them seriously, both in terms of their interests in Iraq and their broader concerns in the Middle East," observed one former American official familiar with the intelligence reports on Hezbollah's presence in Iraq. "They want a dialogue with us, and they are signaling they can help us or hurt us." http://iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news.pl?l=en&y=2003&m=11&d=24&a=2
WHAT TO DO
The problem in Iraq is neither political nor military; it is a security problem
by Amir Taheri
November 24, 2003
In late October and early November, the Iraqi capital of Baghdad had some horrible days, with terrorist attacks that claimed scores of victims. The attacks put the usual what-is-to-be-done industry into overdrive in Washington and elsewhere. There has been no dearth of ideas, some outrageous, others amusing. One is to impose a 24-hour curfew in Baghdad. Another is to abandon democratization, and appoint a military junta to restore calm. (The calm, that is to say, of the graveyard.) We are told to court tribal sheikhs, to cuddle the mullahs, or to crown this or that aspiring despot as "strongman." The avalanche of ideas includes other gems: get a new U.N. resolution, put Kofi Annan in charge, call Jacques Chirac to the rescue, and even beg the mullahs of Tehran for help.
The best short answer to the question, however, is to do nothing. Doing nothing is often better than knee-jerk reactions and panic measures. A longer answer, however, will have to start by establishing what it is that we face in Baghdad today. To present the attacks as "the Iraq problem" falsifies the issue. Iraq does remain a problem, not only for the U.S.-led coalition but also for the Persian Gulf, and, beyond it, the whole world. But to reduce that problem to the terrorism that we have witnessed since May would be to miss the point.
The terrorist attacks in localities that account for perhaps just over 1 percent of Iraqi territory do need to be dealt with, but they cannot be dealt with unless we understand their nature. First of all, they are not political. Their instigators have not presented any political demands, nor have they presented their terrorism in the context of any political analysis. The choice of targets, too, shows that there is no coherent political strategy behind the attacks. (To be sure, pundits speculate about such motives. We are told, for example, that the attacks come from Iraqis who wish to drive the Americans out. In that case, one wonders why the terrorists attacked Muslim embassies, the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, hospitals, universities, and other points of concentrations of Iraqi civilians.) No, the agenda behind these acts is not political, and thus cannot be dealt with through political means such as changing policies, establishing dialogue, seeking compromises, and altering alliances.
Nor can the attacks be understood in military terms. One idea, from those who see the attacks as a military problem, is to flood Iraq with boots, to the tune of half a million or more. Another is to withdraw the GIs into cordoned-off bases, and let the Iraqis settle it among themselves. Yet another is to bring in the Turkish and Jordanian armies because they supposedly know how to deal with "the natives." The truth, however, is that these attacks do not represent a military threat to the coalition. The instigators are not trying to capture territory or deny territory to the coalition. Nor are they seeking to destroy the coalition's major assets or gain control of vital resources, such as water, or even to disrupt the logistics of the "enemy."
As things stand today, then, the U.S.-led coalition faces neither a political nor a military challenge in Iraq. Politically, the coalition enjoys support from a majority of Iraqis on two points: 1) making sure that the fallen regime does not return in any form and 2) preventing a single ethnic and/or religious group from winning an exclusive hold on power in any future regime. (This support, however, could be lost if a growing number of Iraqis sensed that, for domestic political reasons, the U.S. might not want to stay the course.)
Nor does the coalition face a military challenge in Iraq in the foreseeable future. (Gen. John Abizaid overstated the case when he suggested that Iraq was witnessing a guerrilla war.) The suggestion that, in military terms, Iraq could become "another Vietnam" comes from those who know neither.
This terrorism is, in fact, a security problem, which must be combated with policing methods. The coalition and the Iraqi Governing Council have had a measure of success in dealing with the wave of ordinary crimes that hit Baghdad in the immediate aftermath of liberation. That success has been achieved through the organization of Iraqi police units and the establishment of neighborhood-watch networks that supply the information needed for prevention and detection of crime.
That method has not been used against terrorism. For reasons that are hard to fathom, the U.S.-led administration has excluded the Governing Council and the newly created Iraqi police force from the task of combating terrorism. As for the Governing Council, some of its members claim that terrorism is "part of the war," and thus "a preserve of the Americans." Again for reasons hard to explain, the coalition has refused to build up an adequate counterterrorism capacity. It was not until early in October that Washington assigned a couple of counterterrorism experts to the reconstituted Iraqi Ministry of Defense. Of the 56 specialist detectives promised for a new division to deal with terrorism, only two have been assigned.
At the same time, the interim administration, perhaps anxious to do the best thing for the longer term, is trying to introduce technologies and equipment that few Iraqis understand and can handle. Creating a genetic database for criminal investigations, for example, may be useful in the long run. But right now you need people who know which tribes to infiltrate, which teahouses to frequent, and which moneychangers to keep an eye on. The newly created police computer center in Baghdad looks like a Hollywood set. But very little of immediate use goes in, and less comes out.
On the ground, there is no organized effort to search out and destroy the terrorists. Whatever raids the coalition forces carry out and whatever arrests they make are prompted by information volunteered by Iraqis who share the dream of a new Iraq. This is a reactive, rather than proactive, way of fighting terror. The terrorists in Iraq have an easy time because no systematic watch is kept on them, no one is hunting them, and no one disrupts their cash flow. The American force that faces them, though large and well equipped, is unsuited to the task of infiltrating and destroying clandestine cells.
When Saddam Hussein went into hiding just before April 9, he made sure that his henchmen had emptied the contents of the Central Bank. By most accounts they took something like $1 billion. Of that, half was recovered by the coalition, including $400 million in a cache close to the Tigris River in Baghdad. Saddam has therefore almost half a billion dollars to play with that is to say, to spend on his terror network, possibly with the help of professional criminals and remnants of foreign terrorist groups that he had sheltered and financed for decades. Half a billion dollars is a lot of money, especially in cash-starved Iraq, and could buy quite a few volunteers for terrorism. And as long as there is no efficient policing action, the terrorists will see no reason why they should stop.
Nevertheless, this terror campaign lacks staying power. Saddam's money is bound to run out, sooner rather than later. Because he is not using terror in the context of a popular political program, his field of recruitment is bound to remain limited to diehard Ba'athists, mercenaries, and foreign militants thirsting to kill Americans wherever possible. There are no signs that the terror network has prepared for using the fundraising methods of classical terrorist organizations, such as robbing more banks, setting up rackets, and running extortion networks. Saddam has always been a reckless tactician and a cowardly strategist: He always started with as much violence as he could muster, but ended up looking for a hole in which to hide. In previous cases, such as the war he launched against Iran and his invasion of Kuwait, he got off the hook thanks to either the Western powers that supported him or the United Nations that offered him a way out.
This time he is unlikely to get a break. Sooner or later, the coalition will create and deploy a counterterrorism force constituted mainly of Iraqis. With this endeavor, some of Washington's allies, notably the British, can help. Rather than clean up after every terrorist attack, the new force would go on the offensive against an adversary that is politically isolated and militarily doomed. The liberation of Iraq was and remains a success; no explosion in Baghdad should make us forget that. Iraq could become a problem only in Washington if short-term domestic political considerations override the broader goal of winning the war against global terrorism.
Mr. Taheri is an Iranian journalist and author of ten books on the Middle East and Islam. His most recent book, L'Irak: le dessous des cartes, was published last year by Editions Complexe. http://www.benadorassociates.com/article/679
Eliot A. Cohen: Why America cannot cut-and-run from Iraq
Eliot A. Cohen
Published November 23, 2003 COHEN1123
Suppose President Bush -- or for that matter a Democratic successor -- were to decide that reconstructing Iraq was impossible or too costly. What would cut-and-run look like, and what consequences would it have?
Of course, an administration would do something that would look more like "cut and shuffle" than skedaddle. Somalia after the "Blackhawk Down" incident would provide the model -- a pulling back from engagement in heavily populated areas, a hunkering down of American forces in their compounds, a declaration that the main mission (overthrowing Saddam Hussein or neutering Iraq as a menace to its neighbors) had been accomplished, and a disengagement over a year or two.
During that period, authorized but anonymous senior officials would complain about the impossibility of getting Iraqis to take charge of their own destiny, while U.S. troops on the ground would do what they could to obtain a decent interval of stability before the whole mess disintegrated into obvious failure.
But no one would be fooled. Everyone would know what was going on, as was the case in Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia.
Adnan Pachachi, the oldest member of the Iraqi Governing Council, put it this way a few days ago: "In the current security crisis, any talk of a withdrawal would swell the ranks of the insurgents."
Of course it would. The locals have to live there, and people want to side with the winners, particularly brutal winners.
The insurgents would have no incentive to make it easy for us -- the more humiliating the American exit, the better the chance that the United States would stay out of that part of the world for good.
Let us say, though, that American forces nonetheless got out, accompanied (one would hope) by tens if not hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who had put their faith in their American liberators and at least had received asylum in return. What would then happen in Iraq? A return of Saddam to complete power?
Unlikely: His army is in ruins, and neither Kurds nor Shiites would be as easy victims as in the past. But internecine mayhem? Surely -- there would be ample opportunities for preemptive or retaliatory slaughter, particularly in towns with mixed populations (including Baghdad).
It might settle down after a while, with a Kurdish republic in the north boxed in by Turkey, Syria, Iran and the Sunnis (all hostile), a turbulent Shiite south (with a lot of oil but little governance) and a Sunni center including, in all likelihood, control of a divided Baghdad. This would be the playground for all kinds of foreign parties -- Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Islamist fanatics of all stripes. If the United States did not like Afghanistan as a home for jihadists, it can expect to like such a base in the heart of the Arab world even less.
Regionally, of course, the losers would be numerous: Jordan, a lonely island of economic and social progress; Israel; and the gulf states, whose alliance with the United States would have reaped a large dividend of instability.
Turkey, however, might welcome the opportunity to isolate and subordinate the Kurds; Iran would see opportunities in the south and a salutary warning to its budding domestic reformers, and Saudi Arabia would be mixed -- its leadership more fearful of chaos to the north than it was of Saddam's dictatorship, its Islamist opposition encouraged.
The United States would bury its dead and get back to business. But the lessons for its political leaders, and indeed for everyone else in the world, would be simple: The United States cannot and will not conduct a counterinsurgency. When it tries, drips and spurts of casualties will cause it to lose its nerve.
For all potential opponents of the United States, the ultimate deterrent is not a nuclear weapon but a few dozen suicide bombers and trucks to carry them, augmented by a couple of hundred grenade-launcher-toting irregulars. Not much, all things considered.
Saddam made clear in 1990 that he had learned (he thought) the lesson of Beirut 1983: Americans cannot take casualties.
In this war he seems to have learned the "Blackhawk Down" lesson: Americans can fight a three-week conventional war but not a multiyear guerrilla struggle. If the United States leaves Iraq under these conditions, he will be proven right.
Cut-and-run cannot be disguised, and the price to be paid for it would be appalling. No one else would take on the burdens of Iraq. Whatever one's view of the war's rationale, conception, planning or conduct, our war it remains, and we had best figure out how to win it.
Eliot A. Cohen, professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, wrote this article for the Washington Post. http://www.startribune.com/stories/1519/4226627.html
Islamic regime bans official student day's demos
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Nov 24, 2003
The Islamic republic regime has banned the demonstrations planned for the official "student day", on December 7th, in an effort to avoid more popular shows of its rejection.
Students have been notified that they can hold small gatherings inside the universities but are not allowed to demonstrate in the streets and especially in front of the main door of Tehran University.
The Islamic regime intends, by this way, to avoid mass demonstrations like those held last year which showed the degree of Iranian masses's exasperation and request for radical change. http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_3766.shtml
Iran's hard-liners mourn ascendancy of secular influence
Even if they win the next election, many see change cannot be undone
Monday, November 24, 2003
San Francisco Chronicle
Tehran, Iran -- Throughout the country, the religious hard-liners that have ruled since the 1979 revolution are no longer as wolfishly aggressive as they used to be, and that saddens people like Montazer Shubbar .
The 22-year-old medical student at Tehran University is a local leader of the Basij, the religious paramilitary organization that for years has acted as shock troops to intimidate democracy activists, crack heads and break up street demonstrations.
But these days, Shubbar laments, things have become too lax, and even the religious establishment doesn't have the backbone to crack down.
"Women wear their hijab way back, showing most of their heads," he said, referring to the Muslim shawl that should cover the hairline. "Young people play rock music. They insult the velayat-e faqih (Iran's concept of absolute power for top religious authorities) and the worst thing is that we can no longer act like we could before to stop them."
Surrounded by dusty piles of religious leaflets in the six-room cluster of offices at the medical school where the Basij monitors students' comings and goings, Shubbar sighs: "Even if we come back to power, we won't be able to change anything."
Conservatives are widely predicted to win a major victory in February's parliamentary elections, retaking control from reformers loyal to President Mohammad Khatami whose public support has evaporated because of political deadlock. It is expected that millions of disillusioned pro-reform voters will stay home, driving abstention to near-record highs, while the highly organized conservative machine brings its voters to the polls.
But the pace of social change -- mainly driven by the people themselves,
not the government -- has gone so far that some say the reform process will continue even if the rightists regain power. Developments such as the Internet and the proliferation of illegal satellite TV dishes have irrevocably changed people's views on lifestyle issues such as the hijab, dating, music and freedom of speech.
"We are changing," said Parviz Esmaeli, editor in chief of Tehran Times, which is controlled by the nation's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
"There is a spectrum of conservatives, among them many high-ranking officials, who realize they must have access to high technology and domestic and foreign investment," Esmaeli said. "The traditional clerics from the revolution are now at the age of retirement. There's a change of generations to a moderate center. In the next elections, you will see convergence of young moderate reformers and conservatives."
The end of extremism
Esmaeli and other hard-liners say that if they regain control of parliament they will focus on bread-and-butter issues, such as trying to reduce unemployment, which is officially 16 percent but widely believed to be about 21 percent. Many voters blame joblessness on the attempts by Khatami to reduce subsidies and privatize the huge number of unprofitable state-owned factories.
"The people are tired of extremisms, both from the fundamentalists and the reformists, and they just want problems solved," said one government official. "Everybody realizes that Iran has fallen behind economically, technologically and in many other fields."
Certainly, the hard-liners still wield enormous power and are giving it up only grudgingly. The religious hierarchy still exercises near complete veto power over parliament, the courts and the armed forces. The government is estimated to have anywhere from 30 to several hundred political prisoners, most of whom are Khatami loyalists jailed at the whim of Tehran chief prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi, an arch-conservative.
Although some reformists warn that the hard-liners would drag Iran back into the dark ages of the 1980s, when theocratic rule was at its harshest, others admit there is much less difference now between the reformist rule of Khatami, who has been in power since 1997, and the conservatives who oppose him.
"The fundamentalists are very divided, and they don't know what to do any more than Khatami does," said Khazem Jalali, a reformist member of parliament. "I think most people realize that the rules have been changing, or at least the enforcement of the rules, because the Iranian people are much more aware than before. They spend a lot of time on the Internet, they know what is happening around the world, they realize things are passing them by, and they are pushing for change. That won't go away if the fundamentalists regain power. "
Hard-liners insist that they have learned a lesson. "There is a lot of propaganda around, which is very unfortunate," said Mohsen Esmaeli, one of 12 members of the Guardian Council, which has the authority to veto bills passed by the legislature and can reject candidates for election to parliament.
"Fewer than one-fifth of the reform candidates will be vetoed" in the February elections, Esmaeli said. That's still a large chunk of candidates to the 290-seat parliament, but much fewer than in previous elections, when as many as two-fifths of candidates were rejected by the Guardian Council on the basis of ill-defined criteria that include "loyalty to Islamic principles."
From the Basij office in the medical school, activists like Shubbar used to swarm over the campus and arrest any woman who showed even a wisp of hair - - or any couple walking together who were not married. Now, the Basij remain at their offices and talk.
Perhaps the biggest sign of moderation has been the decision by Khamenei and National Security Council President Hassan Rowhani to sign a pact with Britain, France and Germany that would halt all work toward developing nuclear weapons and would allow teams of U.N. inspectors to roam the country virtually at will, barging into government, military and industrial sites.
"This was a huge concession by the hard-liners, and it showed that at least for the moment, they are backing away from mere ideological fanaticism," said a Western diplomat in Tehran. "Maybe they are starting to realize they may have to govern Iran again soon, and their old ideas just won't help Iran prosper and advance in the modern world."
Power of the bazaar
Khamenei and the rest of the religious establishment still have significant support among the poor, who benefited greatly from the quasi- socialist policies implemented after Iran's 1979 revolution. Education and health have been much improved by social spending programs that are enforced rigorously by religious authorities. Ironically, these programs have improved the status of women at the same time as new Islamic restrictions were imposed on them. Tehran's slums were razed and replaced by pleasant and well- maintained public housing projects.
Perhaps nowhere have the pillars of the ayatollahs' support been as firm as in the bazaars -- the vast, ancient complexes of vendors and stores that are at the core of most Iranian cities. The so-called bazaris, or store owners,
gave large sums of money to the 1979 revolutionaries and are generally very religious.
But through the twisted corridors of the Tehran bazaar, filled with everything from carpets to spices to kitchenware to clothing, many of the bazaris now say they want reform, just at a slower and more controlled pace than under Khatami and the current parliament.
"Khatami is bad, but he is not the real problem," said Amin Dolatabadi, a 25-year-old manager of a store selling religious books, cassettes and software.
"We need more religious devotion, but the number of people who are devout is smaller than ever. That is our main problem. And we must teach people with gentleness instead of beatings."
Down the corridor, a clothes salesman said that he, too, is a member of Basij. "I used to go out with them, to do vigilance whenever the opposition would try to start rioting, but we hardly do anything nowadays," said Khoodayar Ghorban. "Frankly, I just don't believe in that stuff. Nobody does anymore."
E-mail Robert Collier at email@example.com http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/11/24/MNGL939AVU1.DTL
The Turks, Italians & Us
November 24, 2003
National Review Online
Most Americans did not know there was an Italian military unit operating in southern Iraq, both because the press rarely provides information having to do with allies supporting the Bush administration, and also because it doesn't fit the stereotype we have and which Italians themselves share, by the way of non-threatening, charming people who shy away from military conflict and armed violence. The Italians came to believe that they were welcome wherever they go, because they always charm the locals in ways that Americans, Germans, Russians, and the others just can't match. The evidence seemed to support the conclusion: zero casualties in the Gulf War, zero in Kosovo, and so forth.
The Nasiriyah suicide bombing put an end to that happy thought, and many of the country's political analysts foresaw a strong national reaction against the deployment in Iraq. But it did not develop; on the contrary, Italy's commitment to Iraqi reconstruction is manifestly stronger today than it was before the suicide attack, and, quite unexpectedly, there has been a resurgence of patriotism, especially among young people. One now sees the Italian flags draped from windows, and every so often accompanied by the Stars and Stripes.
Just a few months ago tens of thousands of Italians marched against the liberation of Iraq.
Meanwhile, the old guard is struggling to catch up with reality. Italy's ceremonial president, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, was in Washington to meet with President Bush right after the massacre, and used the occasion to nudge Bush to make Iraqi reconstruction a more multilateral undertaking. This is of course the European party line, which conveniently ignores the fact that two of the most important (or at least self-important) countries France and Germany don't want to play that game, and therefore Ciampi's sermon is more appropriately directed at Chirac and Schroeder, not at an American president who has actually been excessively multilateral, having lost precious months to wasted efforts with allies and the United Nations.
The next day Ciampi flew up to New York to talk to Kofi Annan, and without apparent grasp of the irony of it all, urged him to bring back the U N, which had fled after the bombing of its Baghdad HQ.
Ciampi and others have constantly repeated the mantra that Italian forces were on a peace mission, were only engaged in rebuilding the country after the war, and thus should not be combatants. "A mission of peace, not war," as Ciampi intoned to the press in Washington. But the Nasiriyah massacre has showed the emptiness of that pious conceit, for Italy is at war, perhaps not of its choosing, but because it is part of the West.
On Friday, coalition troops in Baghdad found rocket launchers aimed at the Italian Embassy. And an Islamist Imam by the name of Fall Mamour, recently expelled from Italy, gave an interview in Senegal, proclaiming that roughly one hundred killers had recently left Italy for Iraq for combat against us, and that the Italian Defense Minister, Antonio Martino, had been targeted for assassination.
So Nasiriyah was not a single stroke; it was part of an extended strategy that will continue, both in Iraq and in Italy itself.
Unlike the old political class, the Italian people understand both the situation and the stakes. Most of the professional politicians expected that public opinion would turn against the Iraq mission at the first Italian death on the ground, but the opposite happened. In large part that was due to the forthright behavior of the families of the murdered carabinieri, who said from the first minutes that their men knew what they were getting into, approved of the mission, and would be shamed if Italy withdrew.
The same public reaction swept Turkey, prompting the usual chatterers to wonder out loud how the terror masters had so badly misjudged the public-relations aspects of this terror campaign. Instead of winning support, the terrorists had galvanized public opinion against them. But this misses the essence of the terror masters' campaign against us. It is not our policies that inflame the hatred of the mullahs and the wahhabis, the Shiites and the Sunnis, the Osamas and the Mughniyahs. It's not what we do, but what we are a free and successful society that threatens them. The tyrannical terror masters know that our existence undermines their own authority and their own legitimacy in the eyes of their own people. So long as we exist and flourish, they are threatened by their own people. To have freedom and success arrive on their very doorstep is even worse. Therefore, all those in Iraq working to make it a free and successful country are treated as enemies.
All of which brings us back to the vexing question of American policy. It is all well and good for the president to give brilliant speeches, as he did last week at Whitehall. But it isn't good enough. We need action, not words. How many reports of Osama operating on the Iran-Iraq border, how many stories of Saddam on one of the islands between Iraq and Iran, how many thousands of terrorists pouring in from Iran and Syria, how many hundreds of dead Americans, Turks, Italians, Brits, and Iraqis, before we take the war to the men who are driving it?
As things stand today, we are back in the "phony war," we are playing defense, which is a sucker's game, we are worrying about U.N. resolutions and IAEA findings, instead of bringing down the regimes that, for a quarter century, have waged the terror war against us. We are waiting for another 9/11, and unless we act, it will arrive.
Never again. Faster, please. http://www.nationalreview.com/ledeen/ledeen200311240843.asp
To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Diplomats: Iran Nuke Resolution Too Weak for U.S.
November 24, 2003
VIENNA -- The deadlock over Iran's atomic program continued Monday as France, Germany and Britain circulated a new draft U.N. nuclear resolution on Iran's 18-year concealment of atomic research that is too weak for Washington.
The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) 35-member Board of Governors Friday adjourned talks until Wednesday, to give diplomats a chance to revise a resolution drafted by the three European states condemning Iran's concealment of atomic research which could be arms-related.
The new draft, obtained in full by Reuters, calls for the IAEA's governing board to "meet immediately to consider all options at its disposal" if any further violations of Tehran's international non-proliferation obligations are uncovered.
However, Western diplomats told Reuters U.S. negotiators want a much stronger "trigger mechanism" that warns Iran clearly that if it has any more atomic secrets it will be reported to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.
"That's obviously not going to be acceptable to the Americans," a Western diplomat said, adding that this wording was the subject of continued talks "at the highest levels" in Washington, London, Paris and Berlin.
The wording of the trigger is one of the main sticking points for the United States, which accuses Iran of wanting The Bomb. The diplomat said it was unclear when the four capitals would have an acceptable new draft to submit to the board.
The Germans are worried that too strong a trigger could alienate the Iranians, who deny wanting nuclear weapons, and cause them to curtail cooperation with the U.N, diplomats said.
However, the draft has some sharp language. It "strongly deplores Iran's past failures and breaches of its obligation to comply with ... its Safeguards Agreement" under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Originally Washington had pushed the board to pass a resolution that would declare Iran in "non-compliance" with the NPT and would report it to the Security Council. However, U.S. officials dropped these demands to facilitate a compromise.
GRAVE CONCERN ABOUT PLUTONIUM SEPARATION
The resolution is responding to a recent IAEA report that said Iran had concealed a uranium enrichment program for 18 years and secretly reprocessed plutonium, useable in weapons.
It said there was "no evidence" of an arms program but the jury was still out as to whether one existed. The resolution notes "with the gravest concern that Iran enriched uranium and separated plutonium in undeclared facilities, in the absence of IAEA safeguards."
But it "weclomes Iran's offer of active cooperation and openness and its positive response to the demands ... in the (September 12 IAEA) resolution" which gave Tehran until October 31 to come clean about the full extent of its nuclear program.
U.S. officials were supposed to help write the third draft of the resolution. In the end, diplomats said Washington was not so actively involved in the writing but mostly gave suggestions to France, Germany and Britain for inclusion in the new draft.
The resolution also "welcomes Iran's decision to suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and requests Iran to adhere to it." It called for IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei to submit a new report to the board in mid-February.
An editorial in Iran's conservative newspaper Jomhuri-ye Eslami warned U.S. allies that they would be punished by Tehran.
"Our political an economic relations with countries like Japan, Australia and Canada must be reviewed after their full support was given to America in the IAEA," it said. http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=3882045
Iran Offers To Pay 60% Cost Of Proposed Gas Pipe To India
November 24, 2003
Dow Jones Newswires
NEW DELHI -- Iran Monday offered to bear 60% of the cost of a proposed $3 billion onshore natural gas pipeline from Iran to India passing through Pakistan in a bid to get India's involvement in the project.
"The Iranian government is willing to bear 60% of the total cost of the pipeline. Iran can guarantee India of a long-term, credible gas supply at the lowest cost and can provide an assurance regarding the safe delivery of the gas, " Iran's Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad H. Adeli said at the India Economic Summit in New Delhi, organized by the World Economic Forum.
"The pipeline can save India up to $300 million every year in energy costs," Adeli added.
India's security concerns are the sole stumbling block to the trilateral project, which otherwise appears to be commercially viable.
Iran wants an outlet for its large proven natural gas reserves - estimated at 812 trillion cubic feet while Pakistan can earn around $400 million a year in transit fees if the pipeline project comes on stream. India can get an inexpensive source of fuel to supplement its growing energy needs.
The project has remained a non-starter due to India and Pakistan's mutual mistrust. The two countries have long been at odds over the Himalayan region of Kashmir and have fought two wars over the territory since gaining independence from the U.K. in 1947.
India fears that a gas pipeline through Pakistan could be sabotaged, or be used as a political weapon by the Pakistani government. It wants Pakistan to provide strong guarantees of secure gas supply through its territory before considering any joint projects.
India's gas demand is expected to surge to 325 million cubic meters a day by 2020, from around 100 mcm a day. http://www.iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news.pl?l=en&y=2003&m=11&d=24&a=7
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