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Iranian Alert -- December 1, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 12.1.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 12/01/2003 12:07:30 AM 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 American’s 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.


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iaea; iran; iranianalert; protests; southasia; studentmovement; studentprotest
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To: DoctorZIn
Iraqi Freedom's Friend

December 01, 2003
New York Post
Amir Taheri

THOSE making Iraq policy in Washington appear to have found an easy way to explain, and explain away, whatever snag that their changing and contradictory plans may hit at any given time. It consists of one phrase: the Sistani logjam.

This refers to Grand Ayatollah Ali Muhammad Sistani, the primus inter pares of Shi'ite clerics in Najaf.

The day the war started, Sistani issued a fatwa calling on Iraqis not to hamper the progress of the Coalition forces. Immediately after liberation, however, he was blamed for the decision to halt town-hall style consultations about a new constitution. In July, he got the blame for the failure of the Governing Council and the Coalition to provide a timetable for the transition. In September, the grand ayatollah was blamed for the Coalition's failure to fix a framework for creating a constituent assembly.

And now we hear voices blaming Sistani for what look like hitches in the latest plan to transfer power to an interim government by next June.

Such a blame game is unlikely to do anyone any good. Worse, it could harm what should be the central goal of both the Coalition and the Iraqis: the creation of a people-based system in the liberated country.

Blaming Sistani for the mistakes and failures of others is easy for two reasons.

First, Sistani does not appear on television, and grants no interviews. Nor does he have a party through which he can play the power game. This is because he believes that mullahs should not play politician.

Second, blaming Sistani is an indirect way of sustaining suspicion against the Shi'ites who form a majority of the Iraqis.

Self-styled experts on American TV claim he is seeking power and/or wants to set up an "Islamic" republic, whatever that means. Anyone familiar with Sistani's life's work, however, would know that this is the opposite of what he wants.

Sistani belongs to the quietist school of Shi'ism that has always opposed mixing theology and politics. This is why he has refused to meet officials from more than a dozen countries, including the United States and Britain, who have applied to meet him.

Throughout the 1960s and '70s, decades that witnessed a great Shi'ite political debate, Sistani opposed other Najaf clerics (notably the late Muhammad Baqer Sadr and Ruhallah Khomeini) who wanted mullahs to seize power in the name of the Hidden Imam. (In doing so, Sistani continued the tradition of such scholars as Allameh Hilli, Abol-Hassan Isfahani, Muhsen Hakim-Tabatabai and Abol-Qassem Mussavi Khoei.)

What has Sistani been demanding right from the day Saddam Hussein went into hiding? He has told the mullahs to stay clear of political posts and, when there is a power vacuum, only act as advisers to non-clerical administrators.

Instead, Sistani has been calling for elections. The surprise is that Washington, rather than welcoming this, sees it as a hostile demand.

After all, Saddam was overthrown so that Iraqis could choose their form of government and the people they want to run it. Hasn't President Bush said repeatedly that he wants Iraq to become a model of democracy? Can there be democracy without elections?

Some claim that Sistani is so keen on elections because the Shi'ites, being a majority, could win a dominant position in a future government.

That claim is based on an "essentialist" view of politics that is seldom borne out by reality. If it were, all American Catholics would vote the same way in every election, and all Hindus in India would back the same party all the time.

Sistani is calling for elections precisely because he does not want the politics of new Iraq to be based on ethnic and sectarian divisions. Such considerations are paramount in forming selected, not elected, bodies. (For example, the Governing Council, appointed by the Coalition, has a Shi'ite majority.)

If there were elections in Iraq today, we would see the Shi'ite vote split among at least three broad groups: moderate Islamists, the left and the liberals (liberals in the European, not the American, sense).

Each of these has allies in other parts of Iraq, including the Kurdish areas. Thus any future parliament, rather than reflecting sectarian divisions, would reveal the relative strength of the various political movements that have marked Iraqi life for the past eight decades.

Iraqi Kurds, divided into two big blocs and several smaller ones, do not all vote the same way. Nor could anyone claim that Iraq's Sunni Arabs constitute a single bloc. So why assume that the Shi'ites are an exception?

By asking for elections, Sistani is, in fact, pulling the carpet from under the feet of those who wish to play sectarian politics.

Right now, the leadership of the biggest Shi'ite parties, often returning from decades of exile, are committed to positions that include a dose of sectarianism. This is understandable. Under Saddam, Shi'ites were persecuted because of what they were, not what they did. Their natural reaction was to become more of what they were, de-emphasising the importance of what they did. In an election, however, they would have to offer political, rather than sectarian, programs.

Another reason why Sistani wants elections is to see a leadership that is not almost entirely constituted of returning exiles. This need not be seen as a slight against the exiles, many of whom have heroic histories of struggle against tyranny. But the new Iraq needs a better leadership mix, with individuals who have a more direct experience of life and struggle under tyranny.

Sistani does not want an "Islamic" republic, and loathes the system created by Khomeini in Iran. He is calling for elections because he knows that a majority of the Iraqis will choose a pluralist system in which Islam, while providing the context of the nation's ethical existence, does not dictate its politics.

Finally, Sistani wants the break with the past to be legitimized by popular will. The Coalition brought political liberation. Elections would provide moral liberation.

Provided the Coalition has the will, reasonably free and fair elections could be held in Iraq. It is not Sistani's business to show how. He is not a politician. He is offering his reading of the situation. It is up to the Coalition and the Governing Council, who will get the praise if there is success, to decide whether or not what he says makes sense.

One thing is certain: Sistani knows that he would be dead if Saddam, or anyone like him, were to come to power. He also knows that any attempt at imposing a Shi'ite regime would mean civil war, which, in turn, would spell the end of his quietist brand of the faith. Thus he shares the Coalition's strategic goal in Iraq.

21 posted on 12/01/2003 11:09:03 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Iraqi Freedom's Friend

December 01, 2003
New York Post
Amir Taheri
22 posted on 12/01/2003 11:12:20 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

To: seamole
Thanks for the heads up to Warren article. (Missed the ping on that one.)
I don't know if Bush giving Sistani the "rhetorical whatever", as Warren puts it, is the best way to deal with this situation. Good to hear that he met with Council members. I was thinking he might win a lot of points and cooperation if he met with Sistani for 15 mins.
Maybe if Bremer, et al, step back and out of the way, the Gov. Council will start making some decisions, and get things moving.
24 posted on 12/01/2003 1:50:24 PM PST by nuconvert
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To: F14 Pilot
"Iranian revolutionary militia chanted "Death to America" outside the former US embassy in Tehran"

Hey, didn't they do this a couple of weeks ago?
They think if they repeat it, and bus more people in, it will have more impact the 2nd time? Don't think so.

[And to the writer of the article, it wasn't "around 50" hostages. It was 53 who were taken hostage, with one being let go, resulting in 52. One or two lives may not mean much to them, but it sure does to us.]
25 posted on 12/01/2003 2:08:33 PM PST by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn
U.S. Opens Afghan Reconstruction Mission

December 01, 2003
The Associated Press
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

HERAT, Afghanistan -- U.S. and Afghan officials on Monday inaugurated a joint military-civilian reconstruction mission in western Afghanistan, part of an effort to bring stability to the country's troubled provinces.

About 60 U.S. troops are being deployed in the city of Herat to foster security and carry out relief projects in four western provinces close to Afghanistan's borders with Iran and Turkmenistan.

The so-called Provincial Reconstruction Team is the sixth of its kind sent to provincial Afghan cities. Three are operated by the United States, while forces from Britain, Germany and New Zealand each run one team.

Worried by the re-emergence of Taliban guerillas, the power of regional warlords and burgeoning drug production, the United Nations and the Afghan government have called strongly for more international troops to be sent to the provinces.

Ministers from members of NATO, which commands the international peacekeeping force in Kabul, opened a meeting Monday in Brussels to discuss how they can supply more troops to expand that operation into key cities around the country.

Two years after the fall of the Taliban, there are still about 11,600 U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan trying to track down anti-government forces. The international peacekeepers under NATO command number about 5,500.

Gen. John Abizaid, the chief of the U.S. Central Command, visited American troops searching for rebels in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday.