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Iranian Alert -- December 14, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 12.14.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 12/13/2003 11:54:17 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 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
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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To: DoctorZIn
After 2 Visits to the Hangman, More Horror for Iran Dissident

December 14, 2003
The New York Times
Nazila Fathi

TEHRAN -- Ahmad Batebi, a student activist, ran so afoul of the government that he received a death sentence in 1997. It was never carried out, but he languished in jail until on one recent day he was given the luxury of a 20-day leave.

Things went well until, two days before he was to return to the Evin Prison to serve out his 15-year sentence, he was rearrested in November. He had met that day with the United Nations human rights envoy, Ambeyi Ligabo.

A few days later, Mr. Batebi "had a weak voice and said that he could not talk much," said his father, Mohammad Baqer Batebi, who spoke with him by phone. "He did not know where he was taken but said he was in the custody of the judiciary."

Mr. Batebi became a symbol of student struggle for democracy after his picture, which showed him raising the blood-stained T-shirt of a fallen comrade in the student demonstrations of 1997, appeared in the Western media. He was charged with rallying against the government and received the death sentence, which was later reduced to a jail term.

"There is not a second that I don't wish I was a free man," Mr. Batebi said, sipping a milkshake in a cafe here before his rearrest. "Whether I want it or not, I am in prison as a representative of the student movement, and I will have to carry this burden as honorably as I can."

The tough days in prison have shattered him. At the cafe, he pulled out of his pocket a fistful of medicine that he needs to calm his jittery nerves. He has lost teeth and has hearing problems and bad vision because of the beatings of his face.

He has bad lungs, for which he blames his cell's location in the basement next to the main sewage pipe. Most prisoners are sick because of lack of air and the harsh smell of the chemicals used to kill the smell, he said. One of his cellmates, Akbar Mohammadi, had lung surgery.

The authorities at the prison summoned him twice to carry out the death sentence. "They told me to take off my clothes and wear a white dress," he said in the interview. "Every single bone was shaking in my body, and I could hear their sound," he said about the first time he felt the rope around his neck. He was reprieved, but the next time, they kept him on the stool for two hours before they announced that the execution had been postponed.

"Before I was jailed, I thought that the stories others told about their prison experiences were exaggerated," he said, referring to prison memoirs by other activists. "But I told only one-tenth of what happened to me."

For three years now, Mr. Batebi has been able to study sociology from prison, and can take exams at Payam-e-Nour University. "The condition is that I should not speak to any of the students," he said.

His joy in prison is a Spanish guitar, which he luckily found in the cultural section of the prison and learned to play.

Prison has turned Mr. Batebi, once very religious, into a secular person. "I read many books and saw different people in jail," he said. "I learned that I have to depend on myself and no other power to survive."

Despite the common feeling of disappointment toward President Mohammad Khatami, Mr. Batebi says he owes his life to him. "Thanks to him, there were at least a couple of free newspapers to write about Ahmad Batebi and force the authorities to throw away the death sentence," he said. "I would have certainly been executed years earlier."
21 posted on 12/14/2003 7:51:17 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Tomen to Pull Out of Japan-Iran Oil Talks

December 14, 2003

TOKYO -- Japanese trading house Tomen Corp has decided to pull out of a government-led consortium negotiating with Iran to develop the Azadegan oilfield, a Japanese newspaper said on Sunday.

The Asahi Shimbun daily said the departure of Tomen, which has strong ties with Iran, may affect the future of the talks, which have stalled due to concerns over Tehran's nuclear programme.

Kyodo news agency said on Friday, quoting officials in the Japanese group, that the negotiations could break down unless Tehran made concessions, adding that differences over contract terms remained wide.

Tomen is receiving support in rebuilding its debt-ridden business from Toyota Motor Corp. It may have given consideration to the possible effect on Toyota's U.S. business, in making the decision to give up the Azadegan talks, Asahi said.

Tomen and Japanese government officials could not be reached for further comment.

Asahi quoted a government source as saying that Tomen's decision would not affect the negotiations as the trading firm's interested was limited to the infrastructure business linked to the oil field.

The Japanese consortium had exclusive rights to negotiate a deal to develop Azadegan, one of the world's largest untapped oilfields, but it backed off under U.S. pressure regarding Iran's nuclear programme and lost exclusive rights in June.

The consortium, composed of Tomen, Japan Petroleum Exploration Co (JAPEX) and INPEX Corp, could be asked by Iran to agree in principle by December 15 to develop the oilfield, a Japanese source in Tehran close to the talks said on Thursday.

Resource-poor Japan has been caught between its desire to develop the oilfield and pressure from the United States, its main security ally.

The board of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), strongly condemned Iran last month for an 18-year cover-up of sensitive nuclear research, including activities which could point to a weapons programme. Iran flatly denies any intention to build nuclear arms.

Iran stressed last Sunday that it was committed to signing an international agreement binding it to snap inspections of its nuclear facilities.
22 posted on 12/14/2003 7:52:17 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
The following is posted for the attention of the Murdering Mullahs and their thugs who monitor FR!:

This scene will be coming soon to Iran unless you flee now!

23 posted on 12/14/2003 7:58:17 AM PST by Grampa Dave (George $orea$$ has owned and controlled the Rats for decades!)
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To: F14 Pilot
Freedom ~ Now!

We've smoked Saddam out of his spider hole ~ the democrats are sad ~ very sad! :)

24 posted on 12/14/2003 8:02:46 AM PST by blackie
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To: DoctorZIn
Don't miss this thread!

Terrorist Behind September 11 Strike was Trained by Saddam

25 posted on 12/14/2003 8:05:30 AM PST by TigersEye ("Where there is life there is hope!" - Terri Schiavo)
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To: DoctorZIn
Doctor Zin, below is another message for the murdering mullahs of Iran and their thugs who monitor FR.

Hey Mullahs don't believe what you see on ABCNNBCBS, read in the NY Slimes and hear from your rat buddies in Congress. Your buddy, $oddomite, paid attention to them. Look at what just happened to him!:

26 posted on 12/14/2003 8:06:00 AM PST by Grampa Dave (George $orea$$ has owned and controlled the Rats for decades!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's Election Hopefuls Register for Crunch Vote

Sat December 13, 2003 08:26 AM ET
By Christian Oliver

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Aspiring candidates began registering on Saturday to stand in Iran's parliamentary elections -- a vote that will test popular patience with the country's embattled reform movement.

Reformist President Mohammad Khatami has made the selection of candidates for the February 20 election a theme of speeches in recent weeks, calling on hard-liners not to axe hopefuls from his reformist camp through over-zealous screening.

Pro-reform politicians have voiced alarm that the unelected Guardian Council, a 12-member body dominated by conservative clerics, may exercise its power to veto scores of reformists wanting to contest the poll.

The Guardian Council has in the past vetoed potential candidates for a variety of reasons, including lack of commitment to the constitution, although it rarely gives a public explanation of its decisions.

Mohammad Reza Khatami, the President's younger brother and head of Iran's main reformist party, called for as many people as possible to stand to neutralize the conservatives.

"Younger people and women should enter the race to help turnout and their presence in parliament will help the democratic process," he told reporters.

Reformists fear their main group of supporters, the nation's youth, will stay at home on polling day to vent frustration at the reformist-dominated parliament's inability to overcome resistance from hard-liners who have stifled its bills.

"Very few young people will vote," said Mohammad, a 21-year-old computer programer. "These (MPs) have got to go, the economy is still bust."

Hard-liners have sought to take advantage of this sentiment, telling their supporters to turn out in droves.

The official IRNA news agency said candidates had one week to register for the poll with approved applicants to be announced on December 30.

Candidates, between 30 and 75 years old, must prove their allegiance to the Islamic republic's values, IRNA said. Barring factors range from drug addiction to sympathy for the Shah, toppled in the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Reformists allied to Khatami hold a majority in the 290-seat parliament but political analysts have said heavy vetting of candidates and growing voter apathy in the Islamic Republic could shift that balance.

Voter turnout fell to under 50 percent in municipal elections in February and was below 15 percent in most major cities, handing reformists their first electoral defeat since Khatami's shock presidential win in 1997.

Young voters, particularly students, have looked to reformists to not only ease the Islamic Republic's strict social restrictions but also overhaul the economy and create jobs. Many doubt unemployment is as low as the official rate of 16 percent.

About 70 percent of Iran's 66 million population are under 30. Iranians as young as 16 years old are eligible to vote.

One young engineer working for a foreign company said he was having second thoughts about staying at home on election day.

"I was going to abstain but now that is looking too dangerous," he said, adding that his abstention could usher in conservatives who would unravel the reformists' small gains.

Presidential elections come round again in 2005 but a big swing to the conservatives in parliament could allow hard-liners to remove some of Khatami's ministers.

(Additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi)
27 posted on 12/14/2003 8:12:27 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: HoustonCurmudgeon
Big Time.
Romanie, Germany, et al....
One goes down, they all fall.
28 posted on 12/14/2003 8:17:59 AM PST by mabelkitty
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's reformists fear election bid interference

ABC News

The main reformist party in Iran has expressed fears that conservatives will prevent them from taking part in parliamentary elections next February.

The comments come as the registration of would-be candidates begins.

Reformist leaders say they fear that a powerful conservative watchdog body, the Guardian Council, could veto their members' attempts to run for office.

The BBC reports the biggest of the reformist factions that currently dominate parliament, The Participation Front, has said it will take part in the race.

However, it reserves the right to pull out if too many of its entrants are disqualified.

At present much of the betting is that the reformists will do poorly at the polls, even if their candidates get that far.

They have got little to show in practical terms for their years in office, largely because their efforts to bring about change have been blocked by an entrenched hardline minority.

Many of the millions of Iranians who voted overwhelmingly for the reformists are now bitterly disillusioned.
29 posted on 12/14/2003 8:24:13 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn

TEHRAN 14 Dec. (IPS)

Iranians welcomed the arrest of Saddam Hoseyn, hoping that this would help restoring peace and stability to Iraq and an end to the Coalition occupation of the neighbouring nation.

Mr. Hoseyn was captured in a remote farm, in the Takrit region, few minutes after midnight by a combination of American special forces and Kurd Peshmerga of Mr. Jalal Talabani, the leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, who is the present president of the American-installed Provisory Council of Iraq.

"This is a good news for the people of Iraq, who suffered most from the ruthless rule of this dictator and was has to hope also that with Saddam Arrested, the Americans would also leave Iraq", Mr. Ali Shakkoori Rad, a representative of Tehran to the Majles said, quoted by the independent news agency ISNA.

"We are happy and thank God" commented briefly Admiral Ali Shamkhani, the Defence Minister, the only official commenting the event, more than 12 hours after it had been officially announced.

So far, there are no words from any Iranian official, but news agencies and websites gave the news large coverage.

But expressing the thinking of the conservatives, Hojjatoleslam Taha Hashemi, a cleric close to Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, the leader of the Islamic Republic and Editor of the conservative daily "Entekhab" told ISNA that the capture of Saddam had been "pre-arranged".

"The Americans knew where he was hiding, as they know where Ben Laden is. But, because of electoral conditions, they had to wait for the best moment to announce the capture", he said.

However, he hoped that the trial of the Iraqi dictator that imposed a devastating war on Iran for eight years would be an occasion for the world to learn about all the sufferings and crimes he imposed on the Iranians.

Mr. Shakkoori Rad also said Iranian observers must be present at the trial of Saddam, that he said must take place in Iraq itself.

30 posted on 12/14/2003 8:32:02 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Fantastic, Doc!
31 posted on 12/14/2003 8:37:01 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife ("Your joy is your sorrow unmasked." --- GIBRAN)
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To: All
Iraqi joy overflows onto streets, fills air with crackle of bullets
Agence France-Presse. | 12/14/03

Posted on 12/14/2003 8:27:39 AM PST by kattracks

Iraqis celebrated the capture of fallen dictator Saddam Hussein in traditional style, blasting away with their favourite weapons pointed to the skies and folk dancing in the streets.
As news spread across the country that ex-president Saddam Hussein had been captured alive near his hometown Tikrit, prolonged bursts of gun fire, automatic weapons, pistols and heavier calibres filled the air in Baghdad.

"It's a great joy for the Iraqi people because a great dictator has been arrested," interim Governing Council member Mahmud Othman told AFP.

In central Fardous Square, people threw old bank notes bearing Saddam's face into the air.

"It's not possible, it must be a double," said taxi-driver Taher, refusing to believe the eight-month hunt by crack US and Kurdish militia forces had come up trumps.

"Now it is time to look to your future. To your future of hope," US civil administrator Paul Bremer told Iraqis.

"Your future has never been more full of hope. The tyrant is a prisoner," he said.

But at the same press conference several Iraqis shouted "Death to Saddam, Death to Saddam" when photographs were shown of the forlorn leader.

After cheering the news wildly, the men stood up and thrust their arms at the video images of the long-haired and bearded leader and later at a shaved picture of him.

"Long live Iraq," they shouted repeatedly.

In the Shiite holy city of Najaf, which suffered harsh oppression under Saddam's Sunni-led government, people took to the streets to dance, an AFP correspondent said.

A local television channel urged people to party. Music was being played across the central Iraqi city.

Huge crowds gathered around cafes with television sets tuned to Arabic satellite channels following every detail of the arrest.

Street dancing was also underway in the streets of Kirkuk, led by northern oil centre's governor Abdul Rahamnd Mustafa Zangana and his deputy Ismail Ahmad al-Hadidi, who is also police chief.

US soldiers joined the fun while locals started to slaughter sheep to fuel the celebrations.

Old Iraqi flags with Arabic writing added by Saddam were being burnt, witnesses said.

In Suleimaniya, the northern Kurdish stronghold of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan leader Jalal Talabani whose fighters helped capture Saddam, the population rushed out to prepare for the great day, an AFP correspondent said.

By late afternoon traditional Kurdish dancing filled the city centre, 330 kilometres (200 miles) north of the capital.

In Baqubah, the muezzin who normally calls Muslims to prayer, issued a call to celebrate, or a Takdirat al-Eid.

Gunfire echoed over the town 60 kilometres (nearly 40 miles) northeast of the capital where anti-coalition violence has frequently erupted.

In Fallujah, a rebellious town where support for Saddam runs deep, residents said they could not believe the reports.

Hawija, near Kirkuk, and another centre of pro-Saddam loyalists, was reported quiet.

And Tikrit, Saddam's hometown near were he was captured late Saturday as he slept in a hole, was also quiet.

"If they had announced that he had been caught dead, I might have believed it," said an incredulous Jahida Mohammad, 45, mother of eight children.

Tikrit governor Hussein Jassem Gebara said it was unfortunate that foreign forces had caught Saddam. "I would have liked Iraqi police to get him," said the governor.
32 posted on 12/14/2003 8:47:34 AM PST by nuconvert
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To: nuconvert
Awesome post.
33 posted on 12/14/2003 9:31:29 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
I just received this from a student inside of Iran regarding the capture of Saddam...

"People are happy & shocked here.

Most say that the regime should review itself... It is a turning point for Iran too. Mullahs can see Saddam now and think about their own destiny.

One Taxi driver said here: Mr.Bush is the 12th Imam of Shiites, God bless him. "

34 posted on 12/14/2003 9:36:22 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
What Bush Said

The Scotsman
By PA News Reporters

The following is the full text of US President George Bush’s televised White House statement on the capture of Saddam Hussein:

“Good afternoon. Yesterday, December 13th, at around 8.30pm Baghdad time United States military forces capture Saddam Hussein alive.

“He was found near a farmhouse outside the city of Tikrit in a swift raid conducted without casualties and now the former dictator of Iraq will face the justice he denied to millions.

“The capture of this man was crucial to the rise of a free Iraq.

“It marks the end of the road for him and all who bullied and killed in his name.

“For the Baathist hold-outs largely responsible for the current violence there will be no return to the corrupt power and privilege they once held.

“For the vast majority of citizens who wish to live as free men and women this event brings further assurance that the torture chambers and the secret police are gone forever.

“And this afternoon, I have a message for the Iraqi people: You will not have to fear the rule of Saddam Hussein ever again.

“All Iraqis who take the side of freedom have taken the winning side.

“The goals of the Coalition are the same as your goals. Sovereignty for your country, dignity for your great culture and, for every Iraqi citizen, the opportunity for a better life.

“In the history of Iraq a dark and painful era is over. A hopeful day has arrived.

“All Iraqis can now come together and reject violence and build a new Iraq.

“The success of yesterday’s mission is a tribute to our men and women now serving in Iraq.

“The operation was based on the superb work of intelligence analysts who found the dictator’s footprints in a vast country.

“The operation was carried out with skill and precision by a brave fighting force.

“Our servicemen and women, our Coalition allies, have faced many dangers in the hunt for members of the former regime and in their effort to bring hope and freedom to the Iraqi people.

“Their work continues. And so do the risks.

“Today, on behalf of the nation, I thank the members of our armed forces and I congratulate them.

“I also have a message for all Americans.

“the capture of Saddam Hussein does not mean the end of violence in Iraq.

“We still face terrorists who would rather go on killing the innocent than accept the rise of liberty in the heart of the Middle East.

“Such men are a direct threat to the American people and they will be defeated.

“We have come to this moment through patience and resolve and focused action and that is our strategy moving forward.

“The war on terror is a different kind of war, waged capture by capture, cell by cell and victory by victory.

“Our security is assured by our perseverance and by our sure belief in the success of liberty and the United States of America will not relent until this war is won.

“May God bless the people of Iraq and may God Bless America.”
35 posted on 12/14/2003 10:21:35 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
“May God bless the people of Iraq and may God Bless America.”

Very appropriate. Our destinies are entwined for the rest of time. May God bless Geo.W.Bush.

36 posted on 12/14/2003 12:41:34 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife ("Your joy is your sorrow unmasked." --- GIBRAN)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranians celebrate Saddam's capture

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Dec 14, 2003

Millions of Iranians, still remembering the Iraqi agression of 1980-88, celebrated Saddam's capture and thousands honked their cars' horns while many distributed pastries in the streets.

The long awaited expected news on the one who caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iranians and the destruction of several cities lead to public cheers and congratulations which were made in the streets or by phones with often allusions to what will always be the end of "tyrans and butchers".

Reports from the southern cities of Abadan and Khorramshahr, which were turned into gravel by the Iraqi soldiers, are stating about public gatherings and even collective dances that took place in many squares under the eyes of security forces staying affar and even showing signs of approval.

Several tracts were seen in Esfahan and Tehran giving the hope for a future Liberation of Iran and the end of the ruling regime "by joining its Iraqi model in the dust bin of history".
37 posted on 12/14/2003 1:23:59 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Cowardly Loser
Saddam, in the bag.

By Amir Taheri
National Review Online
December 14, 2003, 2:39 p.m.

And, yet, this was not how Iraqis, and beyond them the whole world, saw him yesterday.

Saddam Hussein had claimed that he would fight his "Mother of Battles" to the bitter end, and would not be captured alive.

In one of the recent audiotapes attributed to him by the Arab satellite television channel al Jazeera, Saddam promised to fight the Americans until his death on the battlefield.

"I have a gun and I shall use it," he had warned.

In the event, however, not a single shot was fired during his arrest. Not only did he not fight but he immediately offered his "cooperation."

"He is in the bag, singing like a canary!"

This is how news of Saddam Hussein's capture spread throughout Iraq yesterday.

The image that Iraqis saw yesterday was one of a shaky coward, hiding behind a bushy beard, and emerging from a rat hole somewhere near his hometown of Tikrit.

Saddam's arrest has triggered scenes of jubilation that Iraq had not seen since its liberation six months ago.

"This is splendid news," said Adnan Pachachi, current president of the Iraq Governing Council. "It shows that the enemies of the people can run but cannot hide for ever."

It was not only in Baghdad, Basra, and Erbil that the news prompted scenes of euphoric joy. People were dancing in the streets even in the so-called Sunni Triangle which some have wrongly described as a base of support for the fallen dictator.

It may take months for the full impact of the final demise of Saddam to become fully apparent in Iraq and other Arab countries. His was the most brutal of the one-party regimes that the Arabs developed from the 1950s onwards. His rule affected almost every Iraqi. There is hardly an Iraqi family that did not lose at least one, member to Saddam's death machine. And that includes Saddam's own family. He murdered dozens of his own relatives, including both his sons-in-laws, two of his grandsons, a supposedly "favorite" uncle, and several cousins.

His victims included not only Shiites, Kurds, the Marsh Arabs and the Yazidis, but also Arab Sunnis. The Iraqi army itself was one of his victims; he killed thousands of officers. Even the ruling Baath party was a victim of Saddam's terror. Of the 16 members of the Baath top leaders in 1968, only one was alive in 2003: Saddam Hussein. All others had been murdered by him inside or outside Iraq.

Some wonder why was Saddam captured at this time.

One reason is that it was only three or four weeks ago that the U.S.-led Coalition began seriously looking for him. A special task force was assigned to hunt down Saddam and the remaining figures on the notorious "pack of cards."

Another reason is that the hunt, previously confined to the Coalition, was reorganized to give Iraqis a greater role. The actual, arrest was carried out by American troops. But the intelligence that led to it came from Iraqi individuals, including Sunni Muslims, both Kurds and Arabs. This was a joint U.S.-Iraqi operation, and an example of what could be achieved when the two work together.

Will Saddam's arrest bring the current terrorist campaign to an end?

Not necessarily.

Hidden in his hole, Saddam could not have exercised effective leadership over the terror networks. His capture could dishearten some of the Baathist criminals who might hope for a restoration. But others would continue their terror to plunge the country into chaos and escape punishment for their crimes. There are also dozens of non-Iraq Arab terrorists who have gone to Iraq to kill Americans because it is becoming harder for them to do so in other places, including the U.S. itself. To these must be added Mafia-style groups who, having lost control of the black market that was created by the UN sanctions, have an interest in preventing stabilization.

Saddam's arrest may have other effects, some negative, and some positive.

First the negative possible effects:

The removal of the fear that he may one day come back to power could end the restraint that many Iraqis have exercised in expressing themselves since liberation. They may now wish to come out with the 1,001 grievances that they have accumulated over decades, posing demands that would be hard to meet in a short time.

The Shiites and the Kurds who had measured their every move so as not to weaken the Coalition may now become bolder in pursuit of their own political agendas. With the unifying fear of Saddam gone they may be tempted to put their sectarian agendas above a broader national strategy.

For the same reason, Iran and Syria, who did not wish to Saddam return to power in any form, may also adopt a more hostile attitude towards the Coalition. Their hope would be to force the U.S. out and thus seize control of the agenda for a future Iraqi government.

The Arab powers, which also did not wish to see Saddam restored, may now throw their weight behind an alternative Arab Sunni leadership and try to play the ethnic-sectarian card in Iraqi politics.

On the positive side: Saddam's arrest could persuade many Iraqis that it is now safe to come out and work with the Coalition and the Governing Council. An Arab proverb says: He who congratulates the victor on the first day is a fool, he who does so on the second day is an opportunist, but he who does it on the third day is a wise man. Saddam's arrest may persuade many Iraqis that the "third day" has dawned. This is especially true of Sunni Arabs some of whom had adopted a wait-and-see attitude.

The arrest could provide valuable information that only Saddam possessed. His was a highly centralized power-structure in which only the chief knew exactly what was going on. The information that he is apparently offering could lead to a speedier dismantling of the terror organizations.

The end of the Saddam saga could persuade some Arab powers, notably those in the Persian Gulf, that it is time to recognize the Governing Council in Baghdad as the legitimate authority in Iraq. This could come as early as next week when the Gulf Cooperation summit is held in Kuwait.

Several European powers, notably France and Russia, may now realize that there is no possibility of Saddam or any of his supporters returning to power in Baghdad and that it is in their best interests to help with Iraq's stabilization, or at least, refrain from acts designed to undermine it. By the same token, some countries that hesitated to contribute peacekeeping troops to Iraq may now be more willing to do so, if only out of pure opportunism.

The Governing Council and the Coalition would have to move fast to set a timetable for the trial of the Baathist leaders, including Saddam. Ideally, the trials should begin early next year, and certainly before power is transferred from the Coalition to a new Iraqi transition government. The special tribunal set up by the Governing Council last week is the perfect framework within which to hold the trials.

Some Western nostalgics of Saddam in Paris and London have suggested that the fallen tyrant be tried by the recently created International Criminal Court.

Their suggestion is prompted by two considerations. First, the United States is not included in the ICC, and thus would not be able to play a part in interrogating Saddam. The second is that the ICC would not be able to try Saddam for all his crimes since July 17, 1968, the date at which his Baath party seized power in a military coup d'etat. (The ICC's remit is limited to crimes committed since its own creation in 2002.)

Saddam has countless questions to answer.

Some are of special interest to the people of Iraq. Most urgently, he must provide information on the fate of some 13,000 Iraqis classified as "missing" after being arrested by his secret police.

Then he must provide his narrative of 35 years of criminal rule that led to four foreign wars, two civil wars, and countless smaller conflicts in which some 1.5 million people, including many Iranians and Kuwaitis, died. So far the United Nations has discovered some 300,000 corpses in mass graves throughout Iraq. But many more corpses are still missing, including victims of chemical weapons. He is also responsible for driving some 4.5 million Iraqis, almost a fifth of the nation's population, out of their homes. In the Kurdish areas alone he presided over the destruction of over 400 villages in the 1980s.

Saddam must also tell the Iraqis what he did with their money. During the Baath party's 35-year rule, Iraq earned nearly $300 billion from oil exports. It also received some $50 billion in the form of gifts from the Arab oil-states of the Persian Gulf. And, yet, when Saddam fell Iraq had a foreign debt of over $120 billion. Bearing in mind that he built virtually no infrastructure apart from his 25 palaces, he will have a lot of explaining to do.

The outside world would be interested in what Saddam would have to say on other issues as well.

First, Saddam must provide answers to the 29 questions asked by Hans Blix, the chief U.N. weapons' inspector in his last report on 7 March 2003, about Iraq's missing weapons of mass destruction. Saddam should tell the world where those weapons are and, if they did not exist, why had he refused to answer Blix's questions, thus pretending that they did exist.

Second, Saddam should tell the world which Western governments and corporations helped him build his death machine. He must also tell the world which European, and Arab, politicians, businessmen, bankers, media people, and so-called "peace activists" he bribed over the years.

Finally, he should tell all he knows about the two dozen or so terrorist organizations that he trained, financed, and sheltered for decades. Initially, Saddam may not have had a direct link with the al Qaeda gang. But several of the groups that he supported, and allowed headquarters in Baghdad, certainly did. And it is almost certain that, after the year 2000, he allowed at least one al Qaeda affiliated group, the Ansar al-Islam, to set up two bases in Iraq.

All those questions, however, must be left for another day.

"I don't want to talk politics today," said an Iraqi a friend reached over the telephone in Baghdad yesterday.

He quoted lines by Jahiz, an Arab poet of the pre-Islamic era:

The dragon that hid the moon is gone, The bloodsucker has vanished into the abyss. Let me taste this day like the ripest of dates, And come tomorrow to talk about the days to come.
The sentiment was shared by many Iraqis. Some Arabs, however, felt despondent not because they had any affection for Saddam Hussein but because, prompted by tribal reflex, did not wish to see an Arab chief captured like a thief, although they know he was one.

Nevertheless, attempts at putting the machine of conspiracy theories in full gear failed quickly. Claims by some Arab TVs that the man captured was one of Saddam's doubles were quickly laughed of screen. Then came the rumor that Saddam had not fought because he had made a deal with the U.S.-led Coalition. But what deal? The Arab answer was: a deal under which Saddam will be tried by an international court, rather than an Iraqi tribunal. But that, too, quickly proved false as the Governing Council announced it would try Saddam in Baghdad. Yet another rumor was that a Kurdish group had managed to drug the kebabs sent to Saddam in his hole, which explains why the dictator appeared somewhat dazed when captured.

But that rumor, too, did not fly. There was no way that any Kurdish group would organize a take-away kebab service for Saddam. But when his trial opens there will be many Kurds who would have many questions to ask him.

— Amir Taheri is an Iranian author of 10 books on the Middle East and Islam. He's reachable through
38 posted on 12/14/2003 1:36:07 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
TIME Exclusive: Notes from Saddam in Custody
Saddam is talking, but he isn't cooperative. New details on his capture and his first interrogation

Sunday, Dec. 14, 2003

Saddam Hussein was captured on Sunday without a fight. But since then, according to a U.S. intelligence official in Iraq, the fallen dictator has been defiant. “He’s not been very cooperative,” said the official, who read the transcript of the initial interrogation report taken during the first questioning session.

After his capture, Saddam was taken to a holding cell at the Baghdad Airport. He didn’t answer any of the initial questions directly, the official said, and at times seemed less than fully coherent. The transcript was full of “Saddam rhetoric type stuff,” said the official who paraphrased Saddam’s answers to some of the questions. When asked “How are you?” said the official, Saddam responded, “I am sad because my people are in bondage.” When offered a glass of water by his interrogators, Saddam replied, “If I drink water I will have to go to the bathroom and how can I use the bathroom when my people are in bondage?”

The interrogators also asked Saddam if he knew about the location of Captain Scott Speicher, a U.S. pilot who went missing during the first Gulf War. “No,” replied the former Iraqi president, “we have never kept any prisoners. I have never known what happened.”

Saddam was also asked whether Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. “No, of course not,” he replied, according to the official, “the U.S. dreamed them up itself to have a reason to go to war with us.” The interrogator continued along this line, said the official, asking: “if you had no weapons of mass destruction then why not let the U.N. inspectors into your facilities?” Saddam’s reply: “We didn’t want them to go into the presidential areas and intrude on our privacy.”

The official is doubtful that the U.S. will get a significant amount of intelligence from Saddam’s interrogations. “I would be surprised if he gave any info,” he said. Other high-ranking regime members, he said, have by and large remained mum. “Tariq Aziz [former deputy prime minister] hasn’t really spoken,” he said, “and Abid Mahmoud [Saddam’s former personal secretary] hasn’t really given any information.”

The raid on the farm in al-Dawr, a village 15 miles from his hometown of Tikrit, initially came up empty, the official said. There was no Saddam Hussein in sight. Then one man on the property, apparently realizing the game was up, pointed out a bricked-in wall inside the basement of a small house on the property. Saddam is in there, he told the special forces operators from Task Force 121, who took down the farm with the aid of soldiers from the 1st Brigade of the Fourth Infantry Division. Saddam was bricked into his hiding place, he added. “They couldn’t get him out at first and had to dig, from either side of the hole,” said the official. The soldiers finally made a large enough passageway to drag him out. When he came out, he looked bedraggled, said the official: “He looked like a homeless man at the bus station.”

Along with the $750,000 in cash, two AK 47 machine guns and pistol found with Saddam, the U.S. intelligence official confirmed that operatives found a briefcase with Saddam that contained a letter from a Baghdad resistance leader. Contained in the message, the official said, were the minutes from a meeting of a number of resistance leaders who came together in the capital. The official said the names found on this piece of paper will be valuable and could lead to the capture of insurgency leaders around the Sunni Triangle.

The official said it may soon be clear how much command and control over the insurgency Saddam actually had while he was in hiding. “We can now determine,” he said, “if he is the mastermind of everything or not.” The official elaborated: “Have we actually cut the head of the snake or is he just an idiot hiding in a hole?”,8599,561472,00.html
39 posted on 12/14/2003 1:40:48 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife ("Your joy is your sorrow unmasked." --- GIBRAN)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Cowardly Loser
Saddam, in the bag.

By Amir Taheri
National Review Online
December 14, 2003, 2:39 p.m.
40 posted on 12/14/2003 1:52:14 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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