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Iranian Alert -- December 15, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 12.15.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 12/15/2003 12:01:24 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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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”

1 posted on 12/15/2003 12:01:24 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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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”

2 posted on 12/15/2003 12:04:03 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Two dead near Iran nuclear plant

December 15, 2003
The Age, Australia

At least two civilians were killed and 13 injured when anti-aircraft manoeuvres went wrong near a nuclear power plant being built in southern Iran.

Officials said the incident occurred when anti-aircraft cannon shells fired into the air during a drill failed to explode in the air as expected.

Instead, they shells plunged back to earth, exploding on impact with a minibus and a residential area.

The incident occurred in Bushehr, during a drill at a military airbase situated adjacent to the site where the Islamic republic's first nuclear power station is currently under construction.

Asghar Zareii, an official in the public relations office of Bushehr's governor-general said two people were killed and 13 were injured.

"But there are reports that the number of dead could be as high as seven," Zareii said, adding.

"We are investigating it".

Zareii said one of the dead was decapitated.

The two people known to have been killed, and most of the injured, were in the minibus.
3 posted on 12/15/2003 1:45:47 AM PST by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; freedom44; nuconvert; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; onyx; Pro-Bush; ...
Uzi Arad: Iraq threat behind us, Iran is looming large

Dec. 15, 2003
Jerusalem Post

Israel's greatest strategic threat is Iran, Herzliya Conference chair Uzi Arad said Monday.

Speaking a day before the opening of the fourth annual conference organized by the Institute of Policy and Strategy of the Interdisciplinary Center, Arad said that one of the focuses of last year's conference was the missile threat from Iraq.

"The Iraq threat is behind us - this year we are still looking foreword, and unfortunately we are looking at Iran as a huge threat – and we will be putting an emphasis on that," he told Army Radio.

The three-day event is scheduled to bring together the cream of the military, political, academic, and economic establishment.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is expected to give a seminal address at the conference on Thursday night. "Last year the Prime Minister chose this platform to present his stance on the 'road map' peace plan."

"I don't expect there will be a huge deviation or breakthrough from what he has said recently," Arad said, regarding the media speculation over Sharon's speech, and the policy thinking underpinning it.
4 posted on 12/15/2003 1:50:45 AM PST by F14 Pilot
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To: All
Discovery Channel Show on Iran

In Their Own Words With Sir David Frost

The troubled legacy of the Shah of Iran is revisited in this unusually candid and strangely haunting conversation between the late Shah and Sir David Frost.

Dec 15 2003 @ 11:00 AM
5 posted on 12/15/2003 2:07:03 AM PST by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran draws up Saddam war charges

BBC News
Monday, 15 December 03

The Iranian Government says it is preparing a dossier of charges against the ousted Iraqi president.

Saddam Hussein must be tried before a "competent international court," Iranian Government spokesman Abdollah Ramazanzadeh told reporters.

Saddam Hussein, who was captured in northern Iraq on Saturday, sent Iraqi troops into Iran in 1980, triggering a bitter and bloody eight-year war.

About a million people died in the war, and thousands are still missing.

Who armed Saddam?

"The Iraqi people are first in line to file a complaint against Saddam... but it doesn't mean others do not have the right to file a complaint to international bodies," the Iranian spokesman said.

Mr Ramazanzadeh said the Iranian foreign ministry "is doing the necessary work and has already gathered documents, and we hope that in the right place we could exercise our right".

He said an international court "should determine who equipped this dictator to disrupt our region" - a reference to the support Saddam Hussein once enjoyed from Western countries, mainly the United States.

Right-wing Iranian newspapers have emphasised the US role in backing Saddam Hussein during the war.

One carries the headline "Saddam returns to the arms of America", while another argues that if Saddam Hussein is put on trial, the Americans should also be in the dock with him as accomplices in his war crimes.

But Iranian reformists and hardliners have chosen to draw different lessons from Saddam Hussein's capture, says the BBC's Jim Muir in Tehran.

"I hope this [the capture] will be a lesson for all those who do not listen to the will of their own people," said the Iranian Government spokesman - representing the reformists.

Reformist papers have stressed the unpopular, dictatorial nature of Saddam Hussein's power, our correspondent says.


In May, Iran released a group of 59 Iraqi prisoners held since the war in what the Red Cross said could be the last such release.

The International Committee of the Red Cross estimated that 70,000 people were still missing.

There is also a strong feeling in Iran that Iraq should pay compensation for the damage that it caused, estimated at billions of dollars.

"Regarding war reparations, the future of relations between the two countries will be determined by how we are going to deal with them," Mr Ramazanzadeh said.
6 posted on 12/15/2003 6:11:20 AM PST by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn

by Amir Taheri
New York Post
December 15, 2003
December 15, 2003 -- 'HE is in the bag, singing like a canary!"

This is how news of Saddam Hussein's capture spread throughout Iraq yesterday. The deposed dictator had claimed that he would fight his "Mother of All Battles" to the bitter end, and would not be captured alive. 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."

The self-styled "Arab knight," often depicted on murals in Iraq riding a white horse in battle against "The Infidel," turned out to be a shaky coward, hiding behind a bushy beard.

Saddam's arrest has triggered scenes of jubilation that Iraq has 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 forever."

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-law, two of his grandsons, a supposedly "favorite" uncle and several cousins.

His victims included not only Shi'ites, 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 Ba'ath Party was a victim of Saddam's terror. Of the 16 members of the top Ba'athist 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 Ba'athist criminals who might hope for a restoration. But others could continue their terror to plunge the country into chaos and escape punishment for their crimes.

There are also dozens of non-Iraqi 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 that, having lost control of the black market that was created by the U.N. 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 Shi'ites 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, which did not wish to see Saddam return to power in any form, may also adopt a more hostile attitude toward 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 may provide 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 will have to move fast to set a timetable for the trial of the Ba'athist 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 Ba'ath 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 Ba'ath Party's 35-years 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. 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 chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix in his last report on March 7, 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, 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 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.

7 posted on 12/15/2003 7:16:35 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; ...

by Amir Taheri
New York Post
December 15, 2003 -- 'HE is in the bag, singing like a canary!"
8 posted on 12/15/2003 7:18:30 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Notes From Saddam in Custody

December 14, 2003
Times Online Edition
Brian Bennett

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
9 posted on 12/15/2003 7:20:25 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
U.S. Could Target Iran, Syria in Stage 3

December 11, 2003

The United States is expected to target the regimes in Iran and Syria in the next stage of the war against Islamic insurgents. A report by the U.S. Institute for Peace has warned that the war that began with Afghanistan and then Iraq could include multiple targets. The most likely targets are Iran and Syria.

The institute, which is under the auspices of Congress and contains leading U.S. analysts, said in the report that Stage 3 of the U.S. war against terrorism would be significantly different from previous phases. The next stage of the war would be challenging, the report said, with targeted regimes more resilient than Afghanistan and Iraq.

Iran and Syria have populations that are more committed to their nations than the people in Afghanistan and Iraq, Middle East Newsline reported. The report said U.S. pressure on Damascus and Teheran could increase the determination of those governments and their people.

The report, entitled "Phase Three in the War on Terror," said the United States would not find many terrorist targets for an air or missile attack in either Iran or Syria. This, despite that both countries are on the State Department list of terrorist sponsors.

"Limited bombing would almost certainly fail to disrupt the terrorist infrastructure significantly," the report said. "There is simply too little to bomb. As the U.S. cruise missile attacks on Sudan and Afghanistan in 1998 demonstrated, limited attacks usually have a negligible effect on terrorists and can even lead to their lionization. Putting boots on the ground is necessary to root out terrorists, and even then they are more likely to be displaced than destroyed. "

At that point, the United States might decide on a ground invasion of Iran or Syria. The report warned that such a move would encounter significant resistance by the militaries in Damascus and Teheran.

As a result, the United States would require a much larger military force than that used in Iraq. Iran is a much larger state than its Iraqi neighbor and Teheran's military is much more ferocious.

"For Iran, the number of forces needed to occupy Iranian territory would dwarf those required for the Iraq campaign, given the country's large size and the probable hostility of the population," the report, authored by analyst Daniel Byman, said. "The military effort in Syria could be far less massive, but here too occupation would be difficult given the nationalism of the Syrian people."

A U.S. invasion of Syria would require fewer troops than those deployed in the war against Iraq. But the report said Damascus would resist and a U.S. invasion of Syria would damage Washington's interests in the Arab world.

"Although the clerical regime in Teheran is unpopular, and the Baath regime in Damascus is widely scorned, they are not universally loathed as was Hussein's regime," the report said. "Moreover, both countries' populations are highly nationalistic and are likely to unite behind their government in the event of a crisis. U.S. pressure might strengthen the hands of the regimes we oppose."

The report raised the prospect that Iran and Syria would use Hizbullah to strike U.S. interests in the Middle East and other regions. Hizbullah is more lethal than Al Qaida, the report said, with a presence in Asia, Europe and South America. The report did not rule out a Hizbullah attack on the continental United States.

As a result, the United States would be forced to invade Lebanon as well as Syria, the report said. The report cited the heavy Hizbullah presence in Lebanon, where the organization controls the southern portion of the country.

"To have any chance of success, a military effort would require a sustained counter-insurgency effort in Lebanon," the report said. "Israel has tried a military solution to the Hizbullah problem for 20 years, but its efforts only made the group stronger, strengthening its resolve and increasing its political appeal to many Lebanese. Meanwhile, Hizbullah would activate its cells in Asia, Europe, and Latin America — and probably unknown cells in the United States -- to strike at Americans worldwide."

The report urged regime change without a military invasion. The institute said Washington has significantly changed the policy of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia toward Al Qaida without hostile U.S. action.

The Peace Institute recommended heavy U.S. pressure on Syria to halt Hizbullah actions. The report said Syria exploits Hizbullah and does not see the Shi'ite group as an ally.

"The Lebanese Hizbullah is best countered indirectly," the report said. "Syria alone has the intelligence on Hizbullah and the forces in Lebanon to shut down the group completely. Hizbullah is a tactical tool for Damascus, not an ideological soulmate. The right combination of carrots and sticks would lead it to crack down on Hizbullah, pushing it to become a relatively tame Lebanese political organization. Pressure on Iran, while less effective, would also help cut Hizbullah's global network and might make it more prone to focus its efforts on Lebanese politics, not anti-American jihad. For both countries, pressure should also include demands that Hizbullah halt its efforts to arm and train Palestinian groups."
10 posted on 12/15/2003 7:21:32 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
The Humiliation of a Bloody Tyrant

December 15, 2003
The Financial Times

The video footage aired yesterday was worth so much more than the toppling of any statue. Saddam Hussein, one of the vilest leaders of modern times, was plucked from a hole in the ground. Iraqis, traumatised by decades of war and tyranny, saw a grubby and dishevelled figure, the intimidatory hauteur replaced by the hunted look of a captured fugitive. The dictator, taken without a shot in his defence, has been humiliated in front of the Iraqi people.

The capture of Mr Hussein brings an end to one of the most hellish chapters in Arab history, ending the grotesque posturing of a murderous brigand who presented himself as the reincarnation of Saladin and Nebuchadnezzar. That video has broken the psychological grip he held on Iraq, beginning a process of political exorcism. It is a badly-needed triumph for the US-led occupation authority, certainly, but above all it is a huge boost for Iraqis, a cultured and wealthy people the Saddam regime brutalised and reduced to penury. Once the celebratory gunfire that crackled across Baghdad yesterday has died away, the task will be to find ways of using this welcome coup to reinvigorate the postwar transition in Iraq.

In the eight months since the regime crumbled, the occupation forces have faced escalating guerrilla attacks and suicide bombings, targeting US troops and their Iraqi and international allies. Initially, Washington and the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad insisted these attacks were the last hurrah of desperate regime diehards, the dying thrashes of a mortally wounded animal. When suicide-bombings started to proliferate, they then placed disproportionate blame on pan-Islamist militants, perhaps under the inspiration of that other fugitive, Osama bin Laden.

More recently, some commanders on the ground have confessed that they do not have a clear picture of who they are fighting, simply because they do not have enough intelligence to go on. But the temptation now will be to feel that the enemy - whatever his precise ideological complexion - has been decapitated. Such triumphalism would be a serious mistake.

Some of those fighting the US and their allies are undoubtedly displaced members of the regime but there are many more people with reasons to hate the occupation. It is now acknowledged that it was a mistake to disband the army in May, leaving 400,000 armed and trained men without pay but with a grudge. Along with some of the leading tribes of the Sunni Muslim minority - which has always ruled Iraq but now fears it will be swept aside by the downtrodden Shia majority - these forces are probably the backbone of the resistance. Their numbers have swollen amid postwar lawlessness and the recklessness with which US soldiers keep firing at half-perceived threats and causing civilian deaths.

Even though Mr Hussein appears periodically to have been able to communicate via audio-tapes broadcast over Arab satellite stations during the past six months, it looks unlikely he was able to co-ordinate anything from his miserable hide-out. More to the point, there is almost nothing to suggest that the war of attrition against the occupation is an attempt to restore

Mr Hussein. The common thread of the insurgency - leaving aside the contribution of Islamist jihadis drawn to Iraq's target-rich environment - is the defence of Sunni privileges.

It follows that the occupation authorities should use the capture of Mr Hussein as an opportunity to embrace the alienated Sunni community and assure them of their rights. Tony Blair, the prime minister, struck this tone, rightly, when he appealed to Sunnis "whose allegiance Saddam falsely claimed" to claim their rightful place in the new Iraq.

Because as Washington, the authority and the appointed Iraqi governing council wrestle with what form the transition should take, the main danger they face is an implosion into sectarian strife of the type that destroyed Lebanon in 1975-90 - and sucked in all its neighbours. Managing the transition to ensure the Shia, the Sunni and the Kurds all believe in its legitimacy and that they own their rightful stake is still going to be horrendously difficult - some might say impossible. But the capture of the tyrant can only help, by making Iraqis believe they can at last start believing in a future.
11 posted on 12/15/2003 7:23:42 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn

TEHRAN 15 Dec. (IPS)

Iran demanded on Monday that former Iraqi President Saddam Hoseyn, who led a destructive war against the Islamic Republic between 1980 and 1988, is tried at an international court.

"We want that the crimes of Iraq’s dictator are examined at a competent international court and he is put on trial" Government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh told reporters at a weekly press briefing.

His comment came more than 24 hours after the announce of the capture of the Iraqi tyrant by American Special Task Forces supported by Kurdish Peshmergas from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan of Jalal Talabani, with so far not a single high-ranking Iranian official having made any statement on the historic event.

While almost all Iranian media, including news agencies, both the State-controlled IRNA and the independent students news agency ISNA, as well as many internet news websites had covered the capture from the outset – IRNA even claims to be the first to have broke out the news worldwide --, the conservatives-controlled Radio and Television were lagging behind, broadcasting it with certain incredulity.

Pictures of the toppled Iraqi dictator showing a beggar-looking man, unshaved, dirty and haggard when captured in his "rat hole", or an American Army doctor checking his mouth decorated Iran’s Monday newspapers front pages.

However, Mr. Hamid Reza Asefi, the Iraqi born senior spokesman of the foreign Affairs Ministry had earlier expressed "Iranian people’s satisfaction" at the capture, saying that the Iranian people shares the joy of its Iraqi brothers".

"We are glad to see a man who has committed innumerable crimes against both his own people as well as those in the region is captured and for this reason he should be tried in an open court", Mr. Asefi told reporters without commenting further.

"It must be clarified in the court who were those equipping the Iraqi dictator to impose three big crises on the region," the official said, recalling the Ba’ath regime’s invasion of Iran, as well as its attack on Kuwait which entailed in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the second Persian Gulf war, which led to his fall.

Ramezanzadeh said, "I hope Saddam’s fate will serve a lesson for those who do not succumb to the will of people".

"The contemptible submission of Saddam indicated that whoever does not submit to the will of people, will be forced to succumb to foreign pressures", he added in echo to some lawmakers from the reformist majority warning indirectly what happened to the Iraqi dictator awaits other ruling dictators.

Other politician and personalities said Iran should take advantage to push for its due war damages from Iraq, damages estimated at hundreds of billions US Dollars that the captured Saddam never accepted to compensate.

"Saddam and his henchmen have a notorious record for their crimes, including gassing Iranian forces during the 1980-1988 war as well as the Kurdish population, and brutally repressing Shi’ite and Kurdish uprisings in the aftermath of the 1991 Persian Gulf War", IRNA, the official news agency of Iran commented.

Tens of thousands of people also disappeared during his 24-year rule.

Mr. Adnan Pachachi, a former Iraqi Foreign Affairs Minister and an independent member of the American-approved Provisory Governing Council said in Baghdad Sunday that a court would be set up to conduct the trial of the former dictator, referring to the special tribunal the Council set last week to try all the Iraqi officials who served with Mr. Hoseyn for crimes against humanity and war crimes.


12 posted on 12/15/2003 7:34:47 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: F14 Pilot
Freedom ~ Now!
13 posted on 12/15/2003 7:34:51 AM PST by blackie
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran to upgrade medium-range missiles - official

15 Dec 2003 14:42
TEHRAN (Reuters)

Iran will upgrade its medium-range Shahab-3 missiles that analysts say can hit Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf rather than develop a new, longer range weapon, a senior official was quoted as saying on Monday.

Acting Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan denied reports Iran intended to build a new missile, Shahab-4, with a 2000-kilometre range, but said the Shahab-3 would be improved.

"We will be optimising our Shahab-3 instead," he was quoted as saying in the hardline Siyasat-e Rouz newspaper.

Shahab is Persian for shooting star.

It was not immediately clear whether "optimising" meant improving the weapon's accuracy, range or its firepower. Defence Ministry officials were not immediately available for comment.

Tehran test-fired the Shahab-3 in June. It is thought capable of carrying a warhead of more than a tonne about 1,300 kilometres.

Analysts viewed June's test as sabre-rattling while international pressure mounted on Iran to prove claims that its nuclear programme was peaceful.

The missile was later deployed by the country's elite Revolutionary Guards.

Six Shahab-3 missiles were paraded in Tehran in September carrying banners which read: "We will wipe Israel from the map".

According to the International Crisis Group, an independent organisation funded by numerous governmental and private donors, Iran is developing a new rocket with a 2000-km range and a payload of up to 1.4 tonnes - the so-called Shahab-4.

Iranian opposition group, the National Council of Resistance in Iran spread word of this new missile in 2002.

In response to a question about this aspect of Iran's ballistic ambitions, Dehghan replied: "Such allegations are part of the U.S. and Israeli psychological war against the Islamic Republic".
14 posted on 12/15/2003 8:21:08 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Ex-spy to enlist US in ousting Iran's leaders

Monday, December 15, 2003 - ©2003

WASHINGTON, Dec 14, (AFP) -- A controversial Iranian ex-spy said he has discussed with the Pentagon using some of Saddam Hussein's hidden cash to launch a peaceful revolution against Tehran's clerical regime, Newsweek magazine reported Sunday.

Manucher Ghorbanifar told the weekly he has been meeting with senior defense officials to discuss unseating Iran's Islamic regime, and said he knows how to find 340 million dollars in Saddam's cash.

Ghorbanifar said he proposed using half the cash to finance an Iranian resistance and giving the other half to the US government, Newsweek said.

A Defense official told Newsweek that any discussion about regime change with Ghorbanifar -- a controversial figure with whom the Pentagon has cut off contact -- was a "one-way conversation."
15 posted on 12/15/2003 8:38:21 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Did Ledeen have contact with Ghorbanifar?
16 posted on 12/15/2003 8:46:16 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife ("Your joy is your sorrow unmasked." --- GIBRAN)
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To: DoctorZIn
17 posted on 12/15/2003 8:47:18 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife ("Your joy is your sorrow unmasked." --- GIBRAN)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
18 posted on 12/15/2003 11:07:39 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
"Ghorbanifar told the weekly he has been meeting with senior defense officials to discuss unseating Iran's Islamic regime, and said he knows how to find 340 million dollars in Saddam's cash."
"Ghorbanifar said he proposed using half the cash to finance an Iranian resistance and giving the other half to the US government, Newsweek said. "

Why is he telling Newsweek this?
19 posted on 12/15/2003 12:00:54 PM PST by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's population to increase by one million next year
Iran's population is expected to increase by one million to 67,500,000 in the next Iranian year (to start on March 20) from 66,500,000 this year, said an official in Tehran on Sunday, IRNA reporeted.

Head of the Population Studies Department at Iran's Statistics Center Mohammad Esmaeel Nasehi told IRNA here on Sunday that 28.4 percent or about 19 million of the population are under 15 years of age.

Nasehi said 71.6 percent or about 47,500,000 are hence above the age of 15.

The official put population growth rate in Iran at nearly 1.75 percent in the 1986-1996 period.

He said that about 3 to 3.5 million Iraqis and Afghans flocked to Iran in the 1976-1986 period, while 2.5 million Iranians left the country in the period.

He added that 48 percent of foreign immigrants were under the age of 15, while 11 percent of Iranian immigrants were under 15 years of age.

The official said most of foreigners immigrating to Iran were illiterate but the Iranians leaving the country were educated.

Based on official statistics, the number of Iranians residing abroad stood at about 1.8 million, while based on non-official figures it was 2.6 million in the year 2000, the official concluded.
20 posted on 12/15/2003 12:20:05 PM PST by freedom44
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