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Iranian Alert -- December 22, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 12.22.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 12/22/2003 12:04:25 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
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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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 12/22/2003 12:04:25 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 12/22/2003 12:13:46 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran and Syria are Next to Feel the Heat

December 22, 2003
Benedict Brogan and Anton La Guardia

Tony Blair will seek to use the diplomatic breakthrough with Libya to secure similar concessions on weapons of mass destruction from Iran and Syria. Ministers believe that his New Year offensive will restore his fortunes.

Secret "back channel" talks, which have been going on for months with both countries, will be stepped up as London and Washington try to capitalise on the surprise U-turn by Col Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan dictator.

The capture of Saddam Hussein and Libya's announcement on Friday that it would dismantle its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programmes were being seen in Downing Street as vindication of the Prime Minister's strategy for tackling the threat of WMD.

Officials refused to comment publicly, but the events were regarded at Westminster as a significant help to Mr Blair as he prepared for next month's publication of Lord Hutton's report on the suicide of the arms expert David Kelly.

Libya said last night that it would allow snap inspections by United Nations nuclear arms experts in a further step towards ending its diplomatic isolation and US sanctions.

Shokri Ghanem, the prime minister, added to the pressure on Syria and Iran to follow suit when he said: "We are turning our swords into ploughshares and this step should be appreciated and followed by all other countries."

In London, ministers were confident that Col Gaddafi's move made similar deals with Iran and Syria more likely.

Progress towards persuading Syria, Iran and North Korea to accept international conventions on arms inspections would strengthen Mr Blair's hand against his Labour critics, who will use what are expected to be criticisms in the Hutton report to undermine his position.

Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, praised Libya's decision as a "personal diplomatic triumph" for Mr Blair. He said: "I don't think you can separate out the relevance of military action in Iraq from the decision that the Libyans have taken.

"We showed after Saddam Hussein failed to co-operate with the United Nations that we meant business. Libya, and I hope other countries, will draw that lesson."

The painstaking negotiations with Libya led by diplomats and MI6 officials culminated in a six-hour secret meeting last week in the Travellers' Club in Pall Mall.

There were signs also that Syria was preparing to co-operate with the coalition to improve security in Iraq by providing intelligence, tightening borders and extraditing suspects involved in crime in Iraq.

Whitehall sources predicted that, barring an unexpected crisis, America would begin restoring relations with Libya "in a matter of weeks".

A restoration of relations and lifting of American sanctions are likely to lead to a speedy return of US oil companies to Libya.

"It is not just about oil," a source said. "The Libyans want irrevocably to get over the rupture with the western world caused by Gaddafi's coup in 1969."

Besides the impact on the Arab world, British officials hope that Col Gaddafi's move could help to resolve some of the crises in Africa, where Libya has been working hard to win influence.

In particular, it has been a major provider of oil to Zimbabwe. "I would expect the contract to come under considerable pressure now," a Whitehall source said.

Several Arab countries, not including Syria, spoke in praise of Libya's move.

Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, said: "We welcome the decision. Now Israel [with an estimated 100 to 200 nuclear warheads] must also eliminate its weapons of mass destruction."

Peter Kilfoyle, a former defence minister and a critic of Mr Blair, rejected the idea of a link between the war in Iraq and Libya's announcement.

He said: "It seems a very odd situation that one country with WMD can be negotiated with, but with another country which does not appear to have them it was necessary to go to war. It just does not ring true to me."
3 posted on 12/22/2003 12:14:46 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn

Pakistani scientists helped Iran: WP

By Khalid Hasan

WASHINGTON: “Evidence discovered in a probe of Iran’s secret nuclear programme points overwhelmingly to Pakistan as the source of crucial technology that put Iran on a fast track toward becoming a nuclear weapons power,” the Washington Post reported on Sunday quoting US and European officials familiar with the investigation.

The 2,500-word exclusive report filed from Vienna, headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) relies heavily on briefings and reports provided by the agency officials as well as material supplied by the Washington-based Institute of Science and International Security, a nuclear watchdog headed by David Albright, a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq.

According to the report, the serious nature of the discoveries prompted a decision by Pakistan two weeks ago to detain three of its top nuclear scientists, including Farooq Mohammed, for several days of questioning, “with US intelligence experts allowed to assist”. The scientists have not been charged with any crime and Pakistan continues to insist that it never wittingly provided nuclear assistance to Iran or anyone else, the report notes.

The story claims that documents provided by Iran to UN nuclear inspectors since early November have exposed the outlines of a “vast, secret procurement network that successfully acquired thousands of sensitive parts and tools from numerous countries over a 17-year period”. It adds that while Iran has not directly identified Pakistan as a supplier, Pakistani individuals and companies are “strongly implicated as sources of key blueprints, technical guidance and equipment for a pilot uranium-enrichment plant”.

“Although the alleged transfers occurred years ago, suggestions of Pakistani aid to Iran’s nuclear programme have further complicated the relationship between the United States and Pakistan, a key ally in the war against terrorism,” says the newspaper. Another article in the same issue on Sunday by columnist Jim Hoagland says, “The United States has exerted heavy pressure on Pakistan to halt its clandestine nuclear cooperation with Iran”.

“Iran’s pilot facility, which is now functional, and a much larger uranium-enrichment plant under construction next door are designed to produce enough fissile material to make at least two dozen nuclear bombs each year. China and Russia also made significant contributions to the Iranian programme in the past, the IAEA documents show. Both countries were the focus of a long-running US campaign to cut off nuclear assistance to Iran,” according to the Post.

The blueprints of the uranium enrichment facility, which the IAEA has reviewed, “depict a type of centrifuge that is nearly identical to a machine used by Pakistan in the early years of its nuclear programme, according to US officials and weapons experts familiar with the designs. The plans and components, which were acquired over several instalments from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s, allowed Iran to leapfrog over several major technological hurdles to make its own enriched uranium, a necessary ingredient in commercial nuclear fuel and nuclear weapons.”

“The possession of detailed designs could allow Iran to skip many difficult research steps,” David Albright told the newspaper.

Last month, in the face of mounting international pressure, Iran’s leaders agreed to open the country’s nuclear facilities to surprise inspections and to turn over hundreds of pages of documents to the IAEA. These documents show that Iran was intent on keeping its nuclear acquisitions secret, and that it sought a range of technologies far beyond those typically found in countries with commercial nuclear power programmes.

A draft report by Albright’s group, based on experts familiar with the Iranian machine, describes the Iranian plant as a “modified version of a centrifuge built decades ago by Urenco, a consortium of the British, Dutch and German governments. The design is one of several known to have been stolen in the 1970s by a Pakistani nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan. Pakistan modified the Urenco design and manufactured a number of the machines before abandoning the centrifuge for a sturdier model,” said Albright. The blueprints obtained by Iran show distinctive modifications similar to the ones made by Pakistan. Traces of highly enriched uranium on centrifuge components in Iran indicated they had been used before. Most of the contaminants are of a type of highly enriched uranium believed to be “consistent with material produced in Pakistan,” Albright said.

The Post report goes on to suggest, “The evidence collectively supports a view widely held among nuclear experts and non-proliferation officials that Iran obtained cast-off parts and designs from a centrifuge that was no longer needed by Pakistan.”

“The particular machine that Iran is using is not the mainstay of the Pakistani programme,” said Gary Samore, now the director of studies at the Institute for International Strategic Studies in London. “Pakistan had these used aluminium-rotor machines that it no longer needed. The most plausible explanation for what happened is that Pakistan sold its surplus centrifuges, which have now turned up in Iran.” Albright also believes that “Iran appears to have secretly achieved self-sufficiency in centrifuge manufacturing”.

The Washington Post recalls that in early December, there were reports in Pakistan about the disappearance of nuclear scientist Farooq Mohammed, a colleague of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan in the creation of Pakistan’s atomic bomb. First thought to be missing, government officials later confirmed he had been detained by Pakistani security officials for extended questioning. Two subordinates were also picked up, according to a western official knowledgeable about the incident. “A Central Intelligence Agency spokesman denied that any Americans were involved in rounding up the scientists, but other officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the US government was aware of the incident and had been allowed to participate in the questioning. The episode followed what one official described as high-level requests by both the IAEA and the US government asking Islamabad to respond to new evidence suggesting that Pakistan’s nuclear secrets had been passed to Iran,” said the American source.

Some experts see the detention of the scientists as a hopeful sign, suggesting that Pakistan is preparing to increase its cooperation with IAEA investigators. “The Pakistanis know the Iranians have fingered them,” said Samore. “They know the IAEA is asking questions. This could be the beginning of what Richard Nixon used to call a limited hangout operation,” he said.

4 posted on 12/22/2003 12:17:20 AM PST by Pro-Bush (Homeland Security + Tom Ridge = Open Borders --> Demand Change!)
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To: DoctorZIn


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."
5 posted on 12/22/2003 1:16:27 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
The following is a photo of Ahmad Batebi.

6 posted on 12/22/2003 1:18:24 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
WP: "N.K., Iran Will Closely Examine What Libya Gains Through Cooperation with U.S."

Just days after Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi agreed to abandon plans to develop chemical and nuclear weapons, the United States is hoping that North Korea and Iran will follow in Libya's footsteps. For the Bush administration, the Libyan agreement marked the second major foreign policy achievement in less than a week, following the capture of Saddam Hussein.

Sunday's edition of the Washington Post reported nations around the world especially North Korea and Iran, will no doubt be watching what Libya gains through cooperation with the United States.

U.S. President George W. Bush was quoted as saying in the latest edition, leaders who abandon the pursuit of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them will find an open path to enhance relations with the United States and other free nations.

The U.S. daily said if Libya keeps its promises Washington will lift economic sanctions promptly, even if some families of Pan Am victims object.

Libya took responsibility for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland which killed more than 200 people aboard the plane, mostly Americans.

The paper reported if agreed transactions occur, Iran and North Korea may accept similar arrangements as Libya.

But the Post noted the breakthrough came only when the United States and Britain demonstrated in Iraq that evasion and defiance of a demand for disarmament would invite armed intervention.

Arirang TV
7 posted on 12/22/2003 1:31:54 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; freedom44; nuconvert; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; onyx; Pro-Bush; ...
Khatami brushes aside raid on Iran

IRIB English News

Tehran, Dec 22 - President Mohammad Khatami on Monday brushed aside speculation about a likely US attack against Iran and Syria, while he laughed off Israeli defense minister's revelation about the Zionist regime's plan to destroy Tehran's nuclear capabilities.

"He made a damn mistake," the Iranian president retorted with a smile, when asked to comment on the statements made by Shaul Mofaz who had been cited as saying that 'the necessary steps will be taken if a decision is made to destroy Iran's nuclear capability'.

Khatami also said, "America is not in a position to realize its threats against Iran and Syria".

"If America manages to pull out safe from the storm which it has started in Iraq, it will be acknowledged as having done a great job," he added.

Khatami described relations between Tehran and Damascus as "very good", playing down the US and Israeli threats against them.

"There have always been threats against these two countries. But we must remain together and do not give any pretext to them."

Iran has been demonized under the Bush administration, while Syria has been slapped with new series of unilateral American sanctions.
8 posted on 12/22/2003 6:55:32 AM PST by F14 Pilot (A wise man changes his mind, a fool never does.)
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To: F14 Pilot
Can a wedge be placed between Iran and Syria? Can their relationship be exploited or put under stress, in any way?
9 posted on 12/22/2003 7:47:33 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Submitting approval for the CAIR COROLLARY to GODWIN'S LAW.)
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To: DoctorZIn
Rafsanjani Hit out at Israeli Threats

December 22, 2003
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting

Tehran -- Chairman of the Expediency Council (EC) Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani here on Sunday played down the recent Israeli threats to attack Iran, stressing that Iran's response would be very strong.

Rafsanjani, in an interview with the Saudi daily `al-Riyadh', said Israel's attacks would bear no result, and vowed that the Islamic Republic would strongly respond to any possible Israeli blitz.

"If Israel takes an `unwise' measure to attack Iran, it will not be able to do an important thing, and will receive a response that would make it regret what it has done," he said.

Rafsanjani's remarks follow those by Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz on Sunday that Israel may take military action to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities.
10 posted on 12/22/2003 8:01:45 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Good Nukes, Bad Nukes

December 22, 2003
The New York Times
Ashton Carter, Arnold Kanter, William Perry and Brent Scowcroft

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is arguably the most popular treaty in history: except for five states, every nation in the world is part of it. For more than three decades, it has helped curb the spread of nuclear weapons.

Since 9/11, however, and especially in the last several months, the viability of the treaty has been called into question. Some say it is obsolete. Others say it is merely ineffective. In support of its argument each side cites the situation in Iran, which has been able to advance a nuclear weapons program despite being a member of the treaty.

The Iranian nuclear program — and, to a lesser extent, the activities of Libya, which has also signed the treaty but announced last week it would give up all illegal weapons programs — highlight both the utility and the limitations of the treaty. It is not obsolete; if the treaty did not exist, we almost certainly would want to invent it. At the same time, it would be a mistake to rely on it exclusively to address the problem of nuclear proliferation.

Those who say the treaty is useless argue that the bad guys either don't sign the treaty, or they do and then cheat. The good guys sign and obey, but the treaty is irrelevant for these countries because they have no intention of becoming nuclear proliferators in the first place.

This all-or-nothing argument is wrong. First, it fails to acknowledge that there is an important category in between good guys and bad guys. For these in-betweens — countries like Ukraine, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Argentina or South Korea — the weight of international opinion against proliferation expressed in the treaty has contributed to tipping the balance of decision-making against having nuclear weapons.

Second, the treaty does have an impact even on "bad guys" like Iraq, Iran and North Korea. When the United States moves against such regimes, it does so with the support of the global opprobrium for nuclear weapons that the treaty enshrines.

This consensus undergirds the multilateral approach that is under way to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, and was at the heart of the international pressure that persuaded Tehran to increase the transparency of its nuclear program. Even in the divisive case of Iraq, no one argued that Saddam Hussein should be left alone with weapons of mass destruction.

Yet the treaty is not perfect. It allows, for example, nations that forswear nuclear weapons to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes. Signatories may build and operate nuclear power reactors, and they are permitted to produce enriched uranium that fuels the reactors, to store the radioactive spent fuel from those reactors, and to reprocess that spent fuel. The only specific obligations are that signatories declare these plants to the International Atomic Energy Agency and permit the agency to inspect them.

The problem is that this "closed fuel cycle" gives these countries the inherent capacity to produce the fissile material required for a nuclear weapon. Facilities used to produce enriched uranium for power reactors can also be used to produce enriched uranium for weapons. Reprocessing spent fuel yields plutonium that can be fashioned into nuclear weapons.

As North Korea and Iran demonstrate, regimes that intend to violate the treaty's ban on nuclear weapons can exploit this right to operate a nuclear power plant. While seeming to remain within the terms of the treaty, they can gather all the resources necessary to make nuclear weapons. Then they can abrogate the treaty and proceed to build a nuclear arsenal.

The world should renew its determination to curb the spread of nuclear weapons by supplementing the current treaty with additional inducements and penalties. The key is to draw a distinction between the right to a peaceful civilian nuclear power program and the right to operate a closed fuel cycle. The first should be preserved — and perhaps enhanced — but the second should be seriously discouraged, if not prohibited.

How might such a system work? In addition to their treaty obligations, those countries seeking to develop nuclear power to generate electricity would agree not to manufacture, store or reprocess nuclear fuel. They also would agree to submit to inspections (probably under the atomic energy agency) to verify their compliance.

Those countries that now sell peaceful nuclear technology in accordance with the treaty, meanwhile, would agree not to provide technology, equipment or fuel for nuclear reactors and related facilities to any country that will not renounce its right to enrich and reprocess nuclear fuel, and agree not to sell or transfer any equipment or technology designed for the enrichment or reprocessing of nuclear fuel. At the same time, these countries would agree to guarantee the reliable supply of nuclear fuel, and retrieval of spent fuel at competitive prices, to those countries that do agree to this new arrangement.

We might also consider sanctions on those countries that nevertheless choose to pursue a closed fuel cycle. Whatever the precise content and form of these undertakings, it would probably be better to treat them as a companion to that treaty, rather than embark on the complicated and controversial process of amending it.

Why would any countries that want to develop a peaceful nuclear power program agree to such a bargain? One blunt answer is that if these restrictions were put in place, these countries would have virtually no choice, because developing the necessary technology from scratch is a daunting task. Refusing the arrangement would open them up to international scrutiny and pressure. On the other hand, any country that was truly interested in developing nuclear power for peaceful purposes would undoubtedly welcome a guaranteed supply of nuclear fuel.

And why would countries that now supply nuclear technology be interested? First, no nation in this category has any interest in adding any country to the roster of the world's nuclear states. Second, over time, there probably is more money to be made in nuclear fuel services than in nuclear reactors.

Iran provides an excellent opportunity to test this approach. Building on the progress recently announced in Tehran, the United States should propose that Russian plans to help Iran build a network of civilian nuclear power reactors be permitted to proceed — provided that Iran enters into a verifiable ban on its enrichment and reprocessing abilities, and into an agreement to depend instead on a Russian-led suppliers' consortium for nuclear fuel services.

The Russians would be likely to embrace such a proposal for commercial and political reasons, and the Iranians would be confronted with a clear test of whether they harbor nuclear weapons ambitions. Britain, France and Germany, whose foreign ministers recently proposed a similar scheme to Iran, would need only to avoid the temptation to undercut the Russians on behalf of their own nuclear industry. And the United States could reap the benefits of offering a constructive initiative to address the Iranian nuclear problem.

Of course, this new arrangement would hardly be a cure-all. And making it work would be difficult. But at a time when its effectiveness and relevance are being questioned, such an approach would strengthen the treaty by furthering its goals: preventing the spread of nuclear weapons while promoting the development of peaceful nuclear energy.

William J. Perry and Ashton B. Carter were secretary of defense and assistant secretary of defense, respectively, in the Clinton administration. Brent Scowcroft and Arnold Kanter were national security adviser and under secretary of state, respectively, in the administration of George H. W. Bush.
11 posted on 12/22/2003 8:03:50 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Inquiry Suggests Pakistanis Sold Nuclear Secrets

December 22, 2003
The New York Times
William J. Broad, David Rohde and David E. Sanger

WASHINGTON -- A lengthy investigation of the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan, by American and European intelligence agencies and international nuclear inspectors has forced Pakistani officials to question his aides and openly confront evidence that the country was the source of crucial technology to enrich uranium for Iran, North Korea and possibly other nations.

Until the past few weeks, Pakistani officials had denied evidence that the A. Q. Khan Research Laboratories, named for the man considered a national hero, had ever been a source of weapons technology to countries aspiring to acquire fissile material. Now they are backing away from those denials, while insisting that there has been no transfer of nuclear technology since President Pervez Musharraf took power four years ago.

Dr. Khan, a metallurgist who was charged with stealing European designs for enriching uranium a quarter century ago, has not yet been questioned. American and European officials say he is the centerpiece of their investigation, but that General Musharraf's government has been reluctant to take him on because of his status and deep ties to the country's military and intelligence services. A senior Pakistani official said in an interview that "any individual who is found associated with anything suspicious would be under investigation," and promised a sweeping inquiry.

Pakistan's role in providing centrifuge designs to Iran, and the possible involvement of Dr. Khan in such a transfer, was reported Sunday by The Washington Post. Other suspected nuclear links between Pakistan and Iran have been reported in previous weeks by other news organizations.

An investigation conducted by The New York Times during the past two months, in Washington, Europe and Pakistan, showed that American and European investigators are interested in what they describe as Iran's purchase of nuclear centrifuge designs from Pakistan 16 years ago, largely to force the Pakistani government to face up to a pattern of clandestine sales by its nuclear engineers and to investigate much more recent transfers.

Those include shipments in the late 1990's to facilities in North Korea that American intelligence agencies are still trying to locate, in hopes of gaining access to them.

New questions about Pakistan's role have also been raised by Libya's decision on Friday to reveal and dismantle its unconventional weapons, including centrifuges and thousands of centrifuge parts. A senior American official said this weekend that Libya had shown visiting American and British intelligence officials "a relatively sophisticated model of centrifuge," which can be used to enrich uranium for bomb fuel.

A senior European diplomat with access to detailed intelligence said Sunday that the Libyan program had "certain common elements" with the Iranian program and with the pattern of technology leakage from Pakistan to Iran. The C.I.A. declined to say over the weekend what country appeared to be Libya's primary source. "It looks like an indirect transfer," said one official. "It will take a while to trace it back."

There are also investigations under way to determine if Pakistani technology has spread elsewhere in the Middle East and Asia, but so far the evidence involves largely the exchange of scientists with countries including Myanmar. There have been no confirmed reports of additional technology transfers, intelligence officials say.

The Pakistani action to question Dr. Khan's associates was prompted by information Iran turned over two months ago to the International Atomic Energy Agency, under pressure to reveal the details of a long-hidden nuclear program. But even before Iran listed its suppliers to the I.A.E.A. — five individuals and a number of companies from around the world — a British expert who accompanied agency inspectors into Iran earlier this year identified Iranian centrifuges as being identical to the early models that the Khan laboratories had modified from European designs. "They were Pak-1's," said one senior official who later joined the investigation, saying that they were transferred to Iran in 1987.

Pakistani officials said the sales to Iran might have occurred in the 1980's during the rule of the last American-backed military ruler, Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq. They acknowledge questioning three scientists: Mohammed Farooq, Yasin Chohan and a man believed to be named Sayeed Ahmad, all close aides to Dr. Khan.

A senior Pakistani intelligence official said Mr. Farooq was in charge of dealing with foreign suppliers at the Khan laboratory, run by Dr. Khan until he was forced into retirement — partly at American insistence — in the spring of 2001. At the laboratory, where much of the work was done that led to Pakistan's successful nuclear tests in 1998 and its deployment of dozens of nuclear weapons, Mr. Chohan was in charge of metallurgical research, according to senior Pakistani officials.

Contacted by telephone last week, relatives of Mr. Farooq said he was still being questioned. Mr. Chohan's family said Sunday that Mr. Chohan had been released and was at home.

Pakistani officials have insisted in that if their scientists and engineers had done anything wrong, it was without government approval. They said their bank accounts and real estate holdings were also being investigated. A senior Bush administration official, while declining to comment on what was learned when Pakistani officials questioned the men, said that all three had been "well known to our intelligence folks." Another official said the United States had steered Pakistani officials to the three, in hopes it would further pressure Dr. Khan.

Dr. Khan declined several requests in November for an interview, routed through his secretary and his official biographer, Zahid Malik. However, Mr. Malik relayed a statement from Dr. Khan that he had never traveled to Iran. "He said, `I have never been there in my life.' " A European confidante of Dr. Khan's, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the Pakistani scientist put the blame for transfers on a Middle Eastern businessman who he said was supplying Pakistan with centrifuge parts and, on his own, double-ordered the same components to sell to Iran. "There is evidence he is innocent," the confidante said of Dr. Khan in an interview. "I don't think he is lying, but not perhaps telling the whole truth."

Iran has insisted that all of its centrifuges were built purely for peaceful purposes, and last week it signed an agreement to allow deeper inspections.

But for 18 years Iran hid the centrifuge operations from the agency's inspectors.

In Pakistan, the disclosure of the investigation is already complicating the political position of General Musharraf, who narrowly escaped an assassination attempt a week ago. An alliance of hard-line Islamic political parties has already assailed him for questioning the scientists, saying the inquiry shows he is a puppet of the United States.

Any attack on Dr. Khan, hailed as the creator of the first "Islamic bomb," is likely to be seized by the Islamist parties as a major political issue. Many Pakistanis opposed the American-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as what is seen as the United States' one-sided support of Israel. Many also perceive the United States as trying to dominate the Muslim world — and through pressure on the nuclear scientists, to contain its power.

While General Musharraf was responsible for sidelining Dr. Khan nearly three years ago, he has also praised him. When the nuclear and military establishments of Pakistan gathered for a formal dinner early in 2001 to honor Dr. Khan's retirement, General Musharraf described him this way, according to a transcript of his speech in a Pakistani archive: "Dr. Khan and his team toiled and sweated, day and night, against all odds and obstacles, against international sanctions and sting operations, to create, literally out of nothing, with their bare hands, the pride of Pakistan's nuclear capability."

European and American officials have a different view of Dr. Khan, from his work from 1972 to 1975 in the Netherlands at a centrifuge plant, Urenco.

At the plant, Dr. Khan gained access to centrifuge designs that were extremely sensitive, records from a later investigation show. Suddenly, around 1976, Dr. Khan quit and returned to Pakistan. Not long after, Western investigators say, Pakistan started an atom bomb program that eventually began to enrich uranium with centrifuges based on a stolen Dutch design.

Investigators in the Netherlands found a letter he wrote in the summer of 1976, after having returned to Pakistan, to Frits Veerman, a technician friend at the plant. "I ask you in great confidence to help us," Dr. Khan wrote, according to an article by David Albright, a nuclear expert, in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. "This is absolutely urgent."

Dr. Khan asked for help on how to etch special grooves on a Dutch centrifuge's bottom bearing, a critical part. The grooves were to aid the flow of lubricants. He also asked if Mr. Veerman might like to vacation in Pakistan "and earn some money at the same time?"

Suspicious, Mr. Veerman gave the letter to officials at Urenco. It was eventually used against Dr. Khan when he was put on trial in absentia in the Netherlands. In 1983, he was sentenced to four years in prison for stealing nuclear secrets. The conviction was later overturned, however, on a legal technicality.

By 1986, American intelligence had concluded that Pakistan was making weapons-grade uranium. And Dr. Khan was making no secret of his expertise: he published two articles that advertised his knowledge. He did so, he wrote, "because most of the work is shrouded in the clouds of the so-called secrecy" controlled by Western nuclear powers.

At around the same time, Iran made its secret deal and obtained basic centrifuge designs, the ones that now bear Pakistan's technological signature.

But it was in the mid- to late 1990's, as American sanctions tightened, that Pakistan made its biggest deal — with North Korea, American intelligence officials have said. Though Pakistan continues to deny any role, the laboratories are believed to have been the centerpiece of a barter arrangement of nuclear technology for missiles. South Korean intelligence agents discovered the transactions in 2002 and passed the information to the C.I.A. In the summer of that year, American spy satellites recorded a Pakistani C-130 loading North Korean missile parts in North Korea.

Earlier this year the State Department barred American transactions with the Khan laboratory because of the missile deal.

Pakistani officials say that since Dr. Khan's retirement, he has no longer been officially affiliated with the laboratory that bears his name. Still, one former Pakistani military official described him as a proud nationalist who saw himself as a Robin Hood-like character outwitting rich nations and aiding poor ones. Dr. Khan, he said, "was not that sort that would think it was a bad thing" to share nuclear weapons technology. "In fact, he would think it was a good thing."

David Rohde reported from Pakistan and Boston. William J. Broad and David E. Sanger reported from Vienna, New York and Washington.
12 posted on 12/22/2003 8:05:33 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Russian-Iranian Trade Turnover to Reach $1 bln in 2003

December 22, 2003

MOSCOW -- Russian-Iranian trade turnover will total $1 billion in 2003, Yevgeny Primakov, president of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told a roundtable session of Russian and Iranian businessmen.

The chamber's materials circulated during the session put the two countries' 2002 trade turnover at $803 million. This figure will grow 25% in 2003.

Iran is Russia's largest trade partner in the Middle East. It also offers an extensive market for Russian machinery, equipment, vehicles and metal products. These goods account for 80% of Russia's exports.

"Russia's exports [to Iran] are several times higher than imports from Iran," the materials say.
13 posted on 12/22/2003 8:07:39 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's 1st Nuke Power Station Operational in 2005

December 21, 2003

TEHRAN -- Iran's first nuclear power reactor, which it is building with Russian help in the southern city of Boushehr, will become operational in 2005, state media quoted Russia's atomic energy minister as
saying Sunday.

"The opening of the Boushehr nuclear power station, that is to say the transfer of nuclear fuel to the station, will take place in 2005 ... and the station will be linked up to the country's energy grid in 2006," the IRNA news
agency quoted Alexander Rumyantsev as saying.

"With all the delays in building the first section of the Boushehr station, it would be better to wait until it is up and running before talking about building a second part," he added.

The project has been repeatedly delayed because of negotiations over an agreement under which Tehran would pledge to return spent fuel from the plan to Russia.

Rumyantsev on Sunday denied that he would sign the deal on an imminent visit to Iran.

Last week, Iran's vice president and head of its atomic energy organization, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, told Russia's RIA Novosti news agency that the accord would be signed during "the upcoming visit" by Rumyantsev.

Officials in Moscow quoted by the news agency said the visit will take place at the end of January, but Rumyatsev said Sunday that no date had been fixed for his next trip to Iran.

Russia has dragged its feet on the deal, insisting that Iran first sign a protocol allowing UN inspectors to stage surprise inspections of suspect nuclear sites.

Iran signed that protocol on Thursday, bowing to international pressure to allow suprise UN inspections of all its nuclear installations. In exchange, Iran wants Western countries to help furnish it with the technology necessary for developing civilian atomic energy.

Rumyantsev also said that Russia would make no moves to help build another nuclear power station in Iran until Tehran issued an international call for tender for such a project.

And he said Iran's decision to master the cycle of nuclear energy was "neither necessary or economically justifiable, since it would have to have at least ten nuclear stations, and Iran doesn't even have one station yet."
14 posted on 12/22/2003 8:08:32 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn

by Amir Taheri
National Post
December 22, 2003

'He is almost in from the cold." This is how British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw described the latest position of the Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Straw described Gaddafi as "a statesman" and "a man we could do business with."

An hour earlier, British Prime Minister Tony Blair had telephoned the Colonel in Tripoli to relay similar sentiments. Unusual words of praise also came from President George W. Bush.

But why this sudden warmth for a man who was described as a terrorist mastermind only a week ago? What is it that caused this strangest of political epiphanies?

The answer coming from British and American officials is that, thanks to months of patient diplomacy, Gaddafi has been persuaded to abandon his quest for weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear arms, and will also terminate support for terrorist organizations. In exchange, Britain and the United States will persuade the United Nations to lift sanctions against Libya after the Lockerbie tragedy almost exactly 15 years ago. The United States will also end the separate set of sanctions imposed under the Iran Libya Sanctions Act, passed under the Clinton administration. Within months, if not weeks, Libya would be open for massive Western investment in its ailing oil industry, its decrepit infrastructure and its moribund agriculture.

Nevertheless, many questions remain, not the least being: Can anyone trust Gaddafi?

This is not the first time Gaddafi has promised to change course and "come in from the cold."

The first time came in 1982 when he met French president Francois Mitterrand in Cyprus and promised that Libya would stop funding the Irish Republican Army and cut links with terror organizations attacking U.S. military targets in West Germany. By 1984, however, the British had established that Libya had, in fact, doubled its support for the IRA. As for U.S. targets, Libyan-backed groups stepped up their attacks, killing and wounding a number of U.S. troops in West Germany.

The next time Gaddafi promised to mend his ways was in 1986 after U.S. president Ronald Reagan had ordered the bombing of Tripoli. At that time the go-between was Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak, who informed the Americans that Gaddafi had pledged his "Arab honour" that he would stop all anti-American terrorist activities. Well, two years later came the destruction of the Pan-Am jetliner, the single biggest anti-American terror attack before the Sept. 11 tragedies.

Will this will be third time lucky with Gaddafi?

It is too early to tell. Some British and Arab sources claim this time will be different for at least two reasons.

The first is that the Libyan leader has seen Saddam Hussein's dental examination on television. The liberation of Iraq has put the fear of God in many Middle Eastern despots.

Earlier this month, the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad closed the offices of various terror organizations in Damascus and announced the end of the Baath Party's monopoly on power. That was followed by the Sudanese jackboots who agreed to sign an American-brokered program to end the civil war and move towards elections. Then we had the mullahs of Tehran putting their signature to a protocol that could hamper their quest for nuclear weapons. Thus it is perfectly possible that Gaddafi, too, got scared and decided to do what he needs to do to avoid a Saddam-like dental check.

The second reason why this time may be different is that Gaddafi's return from the cold has been negotiated over more than three years and with great care. The first phase was handled by Nelson Mandela, the former South African president and a personal friend of the Libyan dictator. In that, Mandela was assisted by Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to Washington who has close political ties to the Bush family. The second phase of the negotiations was handled by the British, under Blair's personal supervision.

The argument, therefore, is that we should take Gaddafi's latest policy reversal as a strategic change and not a tactical move by a frightened man.

Nevertheless, a strong dose of skepticism is in order. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of Gaddafi's career would be familiar with his capricious and sudden policy changes. Soon after he seized power in a military coup d'etat in 1969, Gaddafi flew to Cairo and almost forced the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdul-Nasser to absorb Libya into Egypt as the first step towards Arab unification. Three years later, however, Gaddafi branded Egypt as "an enemy of the Arab nation" and called for the murder of its new leader, Anwar Sadat.

Between 1973 and 1993, Gaddafi tried to make a union with a variety of other Arab states, including Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, and ended up supporting terrorist groups against all three.

In 1991 he flirted with Saddam Hussein, whose invasion of Kuwait looked like another recipe for achieving Gaddafi's dream of Arab unity.

By the year 2000, however, Gaddafi had quarrelled with almost all Arab leaders and was looking to black Africa for partners. In 2002 he announced Libya was no longer an Arab nation and should emphasize its "African identity." He played a key role, mostly by signing cheques, in the creation of something called the African Union, and, having bribed enough African leaders, managed to promote himself as the leader of the black continent. He also announced that any Libyan who marries a black African would get a cash gift of US$5,000.

The least that one can say is that Gaddafi is an unstable maverick who could change policy anytime and as his pleases. With an ego the size of Everest, Gaddafi believes himself to be the world's greatest philosopher. In recent years he has also taken to writing short stories, and has so far published two collections. He has also directed television documentaries, and designed what he calls "the modern Arab tent." In 1998 he also exhibited a handmade sports car that he said he had designed to drive Ferraris and Porsches out of the market.

To describe Gaddafi as a "statesman" is as accurate as calling Mae West a nun.

Surely, British and American politicians cannot be so naive as to believe that a man like Gaddafi, and a system like the one he has created, can ever pursue a rational policy.

In his speech in London last month, President Bush went to the heart of the matter when he declared that the problem with the Middle East is the absence of democracy. A totalitarian state such as the one Gaddafi has built can never become a true friend and partner of the Western democracies. The potentate who has ordered a halt to a policy of terror and weapons of mass destruction could easily order a resumption anytime he likes.

The ultimate test of any regime is the way it treats its own people. A regime's foreign policy is the natural extension of its domestic policies. As long as the Libyan people have absolutely no say in decision-making, anything that Gaddafi might say should be taken with a pinch of salt.

The United States and Britain should not allow the prospect of juicy contracts in Libya to divert attention from what President Bush has identified as the vital imperative of democratization. Real change in Libya will come only if political prisoners are released, the censorship of the media is stopped, and the ban on political parties lifted. Libya needs a constitution -- it is the only country in the world without one -- providing for free elections. Until that happens, Gaddafi will always be able to revert to his shenanigans and laugh at Bush and Blair as he laughed at Mitterrand and Mubarak in the past.

© National Post 2003
15 posted on 12/22/2003 8:24:57 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: F14 Pilot
Freedom ~ Now!
16 posted on 12/22/2003 8:26:02 AM PST by blackie
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To: DoctorZIn
"But most American’s are unaware that the Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT supported by the masses of Iranians today."

Exactly. In fact, most Americans have never been aware of the real story of Iran, especialy for the past 20 years. This has led to the fiction that Iran is the model Muslim-state democracy, when in fact there's never been anything democratic about it, unless defined in the true socialist sense of the word.

First we had the Shah, then a revolution nobody understood because it seemed to come from nowhere (I personally admired him) then the hostages and demonstrations with signs helpfully written for the Islamists by the American media.

Then the Democrats, who wanted power, got involved and played on the confusion of the public, creating Iran-Contra, blending that into a confusing story about how corrupt the Shah was, how he needed to be overthrown, and how much better off the people of Iran were now that they were "free." That morphed into the "Only Example of Muslim Democracy" fiction which is still mostly in place today. While the mad mullahs continued down a path of incresing oppression and terrorist enabling. Thankfully, that fiction has been practically debunked in the past two years, but it's still infesting much of Western thought. Heck, some people still don't know where Persia is.

17 posted on 12/22/2003 12:53:24 PM PST by cake_crumb (UN Resolutions = Very Expensive, Very SCRATCHY Toilet Paper)
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To: DoctorZIn
"The authorities at the prison summoned him twice to carry out the death sentence."

That defies...yes, it's possible to sputter in anger with a keyboard. The UN...AI...lefties...where were the humanitarians? Why'd we have Clinton protecting the mullahs instead?

18 posted on 12/22/2003 12:57:49 PM PST by cake_crumb (UN Resolutions = Very Expensive, Very SCRATCHY Toilet Paper)
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To: DoctorZIn
I Remember Muammar

December 22, 2003
The New York Times
William Safire

WASHINGTON -- As American tanks began to roll through Iraq to overthrow Saddam, Libya's longtime terrorist, Muammar Qaddafi, came up with a strategy to avoid being next on the regime-change list: pre-emptive surrender.

Nobody calls it that, of course. Diplomats and doves want to treat the dictator's epiphany as the result of patient negotiation stretching back for decades. Some Republicans claim he was softened up by a bomb dropped his way in the Reagan years. But three years after that, his terrorists murdered 270 people in the bombing of Pan Am 103.

Subsequent sanctions led to economic pain and the threat of a coup. After acknowledging Libyan responsibility, he has been trying to get U.S. oil companies back by promising to pay damages to the families of his victims.

That was not what caused this tyrant suddenly to confess to buying and developing chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and to promise to reveal all to inspectors. He was transformed into a pussycat by the force of American arms in stopping the spread of mass-destruction weaponry.

Why did Qaddafi have his spy chief, Musa Kussa, approach Britain's Tony Blair — not France, Germany or the milquetoast U.N — to get off George W. Bush's short list of rogue nations? The reason: Britain was America's primary ally in the war against Saddam and was the bridge to Washington. This shows that it pays to be a staunch friend of the U.S. in extending freedom and does not increase a nation's strategic importance to be America's political adversary.

France's Jacques Chirac and Germany's Gerhard Schröder may at last be taking this lesson to heart.

Only because American antiterrorist resolve in Iraq was not lost on the ayatollahs of Iran, and because tens of millions of young Persians hunger for the democracy they can see in store for neighboring Arabs, were French and German diplomats able to elicit vague promises of W.M.D. restraint in Teheran.

And because unemployed French and German workers were angry at Chirac and Schröder when the Pentagon announced that no Iraqi reconstruction jobs would come their way from U.S. taxpayer funds, those erstwhile foot-draggers last week rushed to embrace Bush envoy James Baker. The awful prospect of missing out on a chunk of our huge investment in rebuilding Iraq made them eager to consider forgiving billions in odious loans they had happily extended to Saddam's tyranny.

Not all rogue nations have gotten the word. North Korea, the source of missiles to both Libya and Iraq, remains intransigent as China vainly tries to induce the U.S. to appease Pyongyang again. Syria, reported to be concealing billions of Saddam's money, claimed last week it shook $23 million out of Qaeda money smugglers, but won't let us interrogate them and wants to keep the proceeds in Syrian-occupied Lebanese banks.

On the whole, however, the post-9/11 Bush foreign policy — to remove the global threat of terror enabled by regimes opposing freedom — is succeeding. Events are proving that we and our coalition allies were right to root out the sources of terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. As the skin-saving démarche of Qaddafi demonstrates, introducing freedom to countries long denied it has a powerful effect on the actions of regional neighbors.

The euphoria of my fellow Wilsonian idealists, though understandable after this early winter of our discontent, is premature. Casualties will continue over there; Al Qaeda will likely attack us over here. Vladimir Putin, given a free pass by Bush and triumphant in Russian elections, will continue to ship nuclear fuel and scientific know-how to Iran, making it easier for those ayatollahs to break their promises to overly trusting Europeans.

I remember Colonel Qaddafi's underground poison-gas factory — "Auschwitz in the Sand" — and wonder where he bought Libya's present stock of centrifuges. As a Syracuse University dropout and trustee, I visit the memorial on campus to the 35 college students aboard Pan Am 103 whose blood can never be washed from his hands.

It may be, "for reasons of state" — like Musa Kussa's help in penetrating terrorist-protecting parts of Syrian and Saudi intelligence services — we should ultimately permit our investors to revive Libya's oil industry. But we should verify and never trust, and neither forget nor forgive Muammar Qaddafi.
19 posted on 12/22/2003 12:59:40 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
US Making Progress in Reshaping the Region

December 21, 2003
Jonathan Wright

CAIRO -- Libya has put Syria on the spot and added to Middle Eastern anxiety about U.S. and Israeli military dominance with its decision to give up programs to develop weapons of mass destruction, analysts said on Sunday.

Egypt and Iran overtly welcomed the Libyan decision announced on Friday but the analysts said that behind the scenes Arab governments would interpret it as a sign the United States might be making progress in plans to reshape the region.

The silver lining was that Arab leaders could press more readily for reciprocal action by Israel, which is widely believed to possess some 200 nuclear warheads. The Israeli government refuses to say whether it has nuclear weapons.

Another mitigating factor is that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi probably acted mainly for reasons particular to Libya -- such as his desire to improve the domestic economy and pave the way for his son Saif al-Islam to succeed him, they added.

But the analysts doubted the United States would start to make any noise soon about Israel's programs, which Washington does not see as a threat to its regional interests.

With Libya neutralized, the Bush administration is more likely to shift its attention to Syria, which senior State Department official John Bolton has accused of actively pursuing plans to make chemical and biological weapons, they added.

Hard-liners close to the Bush administration have named Syria as a leading candidate for "regime change" of the kind the United States brought about in Baghdad, even if Washington's problems in Iraq have put a damper on their ambitions.

"Gaddafi has put the Syrians in a critical corner. If the Americans saw in him the example of the good guy, the Syrians will be under very intense pressure," said Diaa Rashwan, an analyst at the al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, a Cairo think tank.

"But I doubt the Syrians will take the same decision because they are in a state of war and their land is under occupation," added Rashwan, who heads the comparative politics unit.

"It will affect everybody (in the Arab world) very badly because it is unilateral. It puts everyone in a bad position," said Mohamed al-Sayid Said, the deputy director of the center.

Prominent Syrian political analyst Imad al-Shuaibi predicted that Washington would use the Libyan example to put pressure on other countries other than Israel.

"Libya acted in isolation and wasted a card which was a pressure tool without a regional gain...but it's not in the interest of Arabs to have an extreme reaction," he added.

The anxiety was reflected in the Middle East press, which put the emphasis on a need for Israeli reciprocation.


Egyptian commentator Galal Duweidar said the Libyan decision was in line with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's longstanding campaign for a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction.

"But of course that was never meant to be taken on the basis of a double standard or to be applied selectively...The aim was that all the states in the region should submit to it without exception," he wrote in the mass-circulation newspaper al-Akhbar on Sunday.

"The only that we are living in a world of political hypocrisy," he added.

In Tehran, the hardline English-language newspaper Kayhan International said it was the United States which must disarm.

"It (the pressure on Libya) is part of an intricate plot to pressure independent Third World countries to drop whatever meager defenses they have against the big powers' aggression and stand naked against the onslaught of the armed-to-the-teeth U.S., Britain and Zionists (Israel)," it said in an editorial.

"The truth is that the world will be a safer place to live only when the Great Satan (the United States) is stripped of all its WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) and brought to trial for its sanguine crimes against humanity," it added.

The analysts said the decision, which took most of the region completely by surprise, was characteristic of Gaddafi, who is well known for his dramatic gestures.

"It is shocking and in a way really novel. It constitutes a fundamental turn away from the revolutionary politics of the 1980s and 1990s," said Mohamed al-Sayid.

But others said Gaddafi was already abandoning his old role as champion of Arab and Palestinian nationalism, and outspoken opponent of the United States in the Middle East.

Many analysts agreed with the international consensus that Gaddafi's main motive was to improve the economy by opening Libya to foreign investment in the oil industry and to protect foreign assets that Libya has accumulated abroad.

"It's also related to the succession," said Rashwan. "There are rumors that he favors his son and needs to take precautions against any American or British objections, to guarantee a secure succession."

(Additional reporting by Inal Ersan in Damascus and Paul Hughes in Tehran)
20 posted on 12/22/2003 1:00:51 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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