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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 12/23/2003 12:03:58 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 12/23/2003 12:06:28 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn

PARIS, 22 Dec. (IPS)

The Islamic Republic of Iran and its archenemy Israel have engaged in a bitter war of words, following remarks by the Israel Defence Minister quoted as having threatened to attack Iran’s nuclear installations.

Commander of the Iranian Air Forces warned Monday Israel that it would "dig its own grave" if it attacks Iran.

General Reza Pardis was reacting to Mr. Shaul Mofaz who, according to the Israeli influential newspaper Ha’aretz of Sunday, in a radio chat from Jerusalem with Iranian listeners both inside and outside the country, had stated that Israel is considering an operation to destroy the nuclear capabilities of Iran.

"An operation to destroy Iran's nuclear capabilities if necessary is under consideration, Ha’aretz had quoted Mr. Mofaz as having said last week on Israel Radio’s Persian service, adding that if the need arises to destroy Iran's nuclear capability, "the necessary steps will be taken so that Iranian citizens will not be harmed".

The comments unleashed a flurry of violent reactions from Iranian officials, both military and clerics, including President Mohammad Khatami who said, "Israel can’t do no damned thing on Iran".

But Israel Persian service, replaying parts of the talks, said on Monday that the Iranian-born Mofaz’s had been misquoted by Ha’aretz and reactions from Iranian leaders to his remarks were "erroneous".

To a question of a listener wanting to know what Israel would do if threatened by Iranian nuclear bomb, Mofaz assured "Israel knows how to defend its citizens without harming Iranian people", according to the tape released by Israel Radio.

Mofaz welcomed Iran’s signing of the Additional Protocol to the Non Proliferation Treaty, but at the same time voiced suspicions, saying that despite the document, Iran would not stop at reaching nuclear bomb.

"The threats of the Zionist regime hold no value or credit for us. The Zionist regime knows that the armed forces of the Islamic republic, in particular our air force, have reached such high capabilities that if one day it makes such a mistake, it would regret it as it would be digging its own grave in the region", Pardis said, adding "An attack by Israel would have serious consequences beyond the imagination of Israeli leaders".

Mofaz was born in Tehran and left Iran with his family when he was at the age nine. He said Israel bears no animosity toward the Iranian people. "The two countries had good relations until a few years ago, he noted, saying Israel has no aggressive plans against Iran".

With a community of more than 25.000, Iran has the largest Jewish population in the Middle East. Officially recognised as religious minority, Jews in Iran are represented at the Majles and have their own schools and synagogues. The community, whose story in Iran dates to at least 4.000 years ago, was estimated at more than eight thousands before the Islamic revolution of 1979.

General Pardis was joined by Iran’s Defence Minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani, warning Mofaz that he "must know that if ever these threats become reality, no place in Israel will be safe for the leaders of the country, and the Zionist regime will pay a particularly high price".

"Although Mofaz’s statements were rapidly corrected by the Zionist regime’s radio, such threats are generally unrealistic and very unlikely, given that regime’s estimation of Iran’s capability of a response", he added.

However, Shamkhani, quoted by the official news agency IRNA, described Mofaz's threats as "unreal and improbable" to him, because, he added, "Israel has full knowledge of Iran's capacity to respond".

Chairman of the Expediency Council (EC) Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Sunday played down the recent Israeli threats to attack Iran, stressing that Iran’s response would be "very strong".

Hashemi 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.

Though Iran’s air force, a mix of ageing F-4 and Phantoms bought from the United States under the previous regime and various types of Russian-made war planes and bombers is not a great match to that of Israel, but it has developed a range of well-advanced missiles capable of carrying a nuclear device to Israel, military experts says.

Tehran, joined by most Arab leaders, has increased its pressures on the Jewish State to also sign the NPT and it is generally admitted that Israel has at least 200 atomic bombs in its sophisticated arsenal.


3 posted on 12/23/2003 12:11:55 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Taskhiri of the Islamic Propagation Organization met in Khartoum on 14 December with Sudanese President Umar Hassan al-Bashir, IRNA reported the next day. Taskhiri was in Sudan to participate in a conference on Islam and the West, "Jomhuri-yi Islami" reported on 16 December. Taskhiri presented a paper during the conference that said, in part, "Western imperialism is formulating a comprehensive strategy to suppress Islamic awakening, generate discord, and create deviationism among religious movements in Islamic states." Taskhiri said that the West gave Islamic states superficial independence and is using other means to achieve its ends. Speaking at the same conference, University of Al-Azhar scholar Yusef al-Qaradawi reportedly said that "martyrdom-seeking operations" (suicide bombings) were based on the Koran and Koranic thought.

Taskhiri is an aficionado of suicide bombings, too, having said at a conference in Amman, "For the Palestinian people, who are subject to the Zionist oppression and daily witness to the killing, demolition of houses and siege of their cities and villages, the only way is the continuation of the Intifada and martyrdom operations," according to IRNA on 6 August 2002. (Bill Samii)

source: RFE/RL Iran Report Vol. 6, No. 49, 22 December 2003
4 posted on 12/23/2003 12:39:14 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn
A Model for Successful Pressure Against Rogue Nations?

Deutsche Welle, Germany

It's likely economic considerations motivated Gadhafi to change course.

Libya's leader, Moammar Gadhafi, has done an about face, and agreed to give up his weapons of mass destruction. But the case of Libya is different from that of Iran and North Korea, argues Peter Philipp.

It seems Moammar Gadhafi, the president of Libya, has managed a U-Turn in the 34th year of his dictatorship. After he unexpectedly agreed to stop producing weapons of mass destruction and submit to unlimited international inspections on Friday, a wayward pariah, as he is considered and handled by many including some of his Arab neighbors, is attempting to emerge as an honorable member of the international community.

The announcement from Tripoli came just one day after Iran signed the additional protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in Vienna, thereby succumbing to mounting international pressure that seems to have irritated some leaders in Teheran. In Libya, the opposite is the case. British and American emissaries negotiated for nine months with Gadhafi without word leaking out. And the negotiations came at the personal initiative of Gadhafi himself. In March, at the start of the war in Iraq, the Libyan leader approached Washington and London and asked them to subject his country to stricter controls.

Britain and America are celebrating the successful conclusion of the negotiations with Gadhafi, as well they should. They are glorifying him as an example for other "rogue states," who they expect to follow Gadhafi's example. But, in the case of Iran, things are very different. For years Teheran has granted inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access, while continuing to secretly work on diverse prohibited programs without managing to develop weapons ready for operation. North Korea is another case. There, such weapons exist, or could be produced quickly. In Libya, by contrast, these weapons, with the exception of a few chemical weapons that Gadhafi is said to have employed in Chad years ago, do not exist -- at least that's how international weapons experts assess the situation.

Libya, despite Gadhafi's at times bizarre politics and his admitted involvement in international terrorism in the past, no longer represents a threat. And as proud as Britian and America are of their "negotiated success," one should be just as proud of every land that resists the temptation to develop weapons of mass destruction and swears them off. In the case of Libya, this did not happen because Gadhafi transformed himself from Saul to Paul, but because he realized he could not otherwise deliver his country from the economic misery it has suffered since its role in the bombing of a plane over Lockerbie and a disco in Berlin.

In August, Libya took responsibility for Lockerbie and the bombing of a French airliner and paid retributions, and the United Nations lifted its sanctions. If he signs the additional protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, so it would seem Gadhafi's calculations go, the US would also lift its sanctions and invest in Libya. That is what's likely to happen, and that is how it should be. Even reputed rogues should be given the right to redeem themselves -- better late than never.,3367,7549_A_1066195_1_A,00.html
5 posted on 12/23/2003 12:56:48 AM PST by F14 Pilot (A wise man changes his mind, a fool never does.)
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To: DoctorZIn
Kadhafi says North Korea, Iran and Syria should follow Libya's lead

WASHINGTON : Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi said that his government had taken "corrective" action in renouncing weapons of mass destruction and that nations such as North Korea, Iran and Syria, suspected of having nuclear arms, should follow its lead.

"In my opinion I should believe that they should follow the steps of Libya, take an example from Libya, so that they prevent any tragedy being inflicted upon their own people," Kadhafi said in an exclusive interview with CNN late Monday.

Kadhafi reasoned that such a step would "tighten the noose around the Israelis, so they would expose their programs of" weapons of mass destruction.

Libya on Friday took the world by surprise admitting after years of denial that it had weapons of mass destruction and vowing to renounce them.

Kadhafi, however, told CNN that Libya did not posess nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

"We have not these weapons," he told CNN's Andrea Koppel during his interview in a tent a half an hour's drive outside the Libyan capital Tripoli.

The programs to be dismantled, Kadhafi said, "would have been for peaceful purposes -- but nevertheless we decided to get rid of them completely."

In its official statement, Libya on Friday said it had "formally decided of its own free will to renounce all these substances, equipment and programmes, to become a country free of weapons of mass destruction."

US officials on Saturday said that during secret visits to Libya in October, US intelligence agents found a more advanced uranium enrichment program than publicly disclosed but no evidence of actual production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.

Asked if US sanctions had impacted his decision to renounce weapons of mass destruction, Kadhafi replied: "The important thing is what we have done. It is the correct -- corrective action.

He said the idea was "to improve relations between our respective countries," adding that he expected cooperation in "the technology industry" and in acquiring industrial equipment.

"We wish American companies and these rich companies to cooperate with us and use them together for peaceful purposes," the Libyan leader said.

The US government banned the import of Libyan crude oil in 1982 and in the following years imposed extra trade, export and investment bans. More sanctions were imposed in 1986 for Libya's alleged support for terrorism, including a total import-export ban, and expanded economic and travel embargos.

Libya is also on a US blacklist as one of seven states accused of supporting terrorism.

Libya's surprise announcement last week came days after US troops captured former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein near his home town of Tikrit.

But Kadhafi said images of a bedraggled and bearded Saddam shown after he was found in an underground bolthole only served to create sympathy for the ousted dictator.

"By the way he was shown, the way he appeared, meant everybody sympathizing with him," Kadhafi said.

Kadhafi denied Saddam's fall had anything to do with the timing of his decision.

"Why do we have to set an example, set Iraq as an example? When we have on the other side so many countries (with) nuclear programs and actually some of them have weapons of mass destruction.

"Such countries actually dismantling these programs in a transparent way, in a legal way," he said.

6 posted on 12/23/2003 1:01:20 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Foreign Minister confirms al-Qaeda bombing threats against Iran


Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi on Monday confirmed bombing threats made by al-Qaeda against Iran to avenge what has been rumored as Tehran having given tips to capture former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, IRNA reported from Tehran.

"Iran has always been a victim of terrorism, especially posed by al-Qaeda," he told reporters here on the fringes of an international conference on the challenges facing the Islamic world.

Kharrazi said the Islamic Republic 'will take any necessary step to protect the country's security'.

Tehran is still reeling from a destructive war between 1980 and 1988, imposed under Saddam and marked by the Baath regime blatantly using chemical and biological weapons against Iranians as well as the Iraqi Kurds.

"Saddam, with his actions and aggression, trampled the rights of the Iraqi, Iranian and Kuwaiti nations," Kharrazi said, referring to the 1990 invasion of the tiny sheikdom, which led to the first Persian Gulf war of 1991.

The Iranian foreign minister said it was up to the Iraqi people to decide how and where to try Saddam for his crimes against humanity.

Asked to comment on a protocol which Iran signed recently to open its nuclear sites to unannounced inspections of UN inspectors, Kharrazi said, "Iran has fulfilled its commitments over joining the Additional Protocol and honoring it; it is now the European countries' turn to live to their commitments."

Iran apparently received assurances from Europe during the visit of British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and his French and German counterparts Dominique de Villepin and Joschka Fischer to Tehran in October that prompted the country to sign up to an unfettered inspections of its nuclear facilities.

Tehran is under a de facto nuclear embargo, which bans the sale of nuclear know-how, including goods with double use, to the Islamic Republic.

On Sunday, Iran sent a veiled warning to Europe to meet its pledges towards Tehran.

"The Islamic Republic has not given any body a signed blank check; like what we did, the global community, especially Europe, must take steps for necessary facilities for Iran's legitimate use (of the nuclear technology)," Foreign Ministry spokesman said at a weekly news briefing.


Kharrazi also renewed Iran's denunciation of unilateral US sanctions against the Islamic Republic as well as Washington's free-wheeling policies regarding international terrorism.

"Sanctions are not effective tools against countries; they are politically-motivated," he said, adding "America is acting in a discriminatory fashion in dealing with world countries". "America believes in the policy of 'you are either with us or against us'. This is a wrong policy.

"America must respect the beliefs, expediency and national interests of all countries in order to take steps for more cooperation (of world countries)," he added.

Kharrazi also poured scorn at a decision taken by the French government to ban Muslim girls from wearing hijab at school. "Hijab is the symbol of women's chastity; any prevention in this regard amounts to ignoring human rights," he said.

"It is surprising that Europe, which boasts of respecting human rights, is resisting hijab as the primary right of Muslim women," Kharrazi added.
7 posted on 12/23/2003 1:04:10 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Source: Bin Laden in Iran - Islamic leader says terror kingpin staying in nation with 'consorts'

Posted: December 23, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2003

Terror leader Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida "consorts" are in Iran, a respected Islamic leader told WorldNetDaily.

According to the source, who requested anonymity, a group of Arabs recently spent time in the desert area shared by Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, claiming the most wanted man in the world is "definitely in Iran."

WND has reason to believe the information is credible due to the caliber of the sources.

The report comes just as the U.S. government raised the national threat warning from yellow, the midpoint on its five-color scale, to orange due to indicators of potential terror attacks on the American homeland during the holiday season.

Focus on the whereabouts of bin Laden has increased in the wake of ex-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's capture on Dec. 13.

On Friday, excerpts of a 10-minute tape purportedly to be made by Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's deputy, were broadcast by satellite television channel Al-Jazeera.

As WND and Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin reported in August, intelligence sources agree Iran's claim that al-Qaida fugitives "escaped" from Tehran to an unknown destination is false, believing Zawahiri is still in Iran.

The sources claim he is in Iranian territory in the border area with Pakistan, where he reportedly is being assisted by the Pakistani Secret Service ISI, which previously had assisted many ex-Taliban and al-Qaida fugitives to find safe harbor.

Democratic presidential candidate Gen. Wesley Clark criticized President Bush on Sunday for being "afraid" to go after bin Laden after the September 11 attacks, instead pursuing Hussein.

"[Bush] did a bait-and-switch on us and substituted Saddam Hussein, and boom, $150 billion, 460 American lives and no telling how much more of our Treasury before this is all over," Clark told ABC's "This Week."

"This administration didn't have the heart to put the effort and the innovation and the ingenuity into fighting terror," Clark said, saying he "wouldn't have been afraid to try" to kill bin Laden, had he been president in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001.
8 posted on 12/23/2003 1:05:36 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Khatami: US can't attack Iran, Syria

22-12-2003, 15:10

Iran's 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 his country`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 quoted as saying that 'the necessary steps will be taken if a decision is made to destroy Iran`s nuclear capability.'

According to IRNA, Khatami added "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 created in Iraq, it will be acknowledged as having done a great job," he conveyed.

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 states. But we must remain together and do not give any pretext to them." (
9 posted on 12/23/2003 1:08:01 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Gadhafi Urges Nations to OK Inspections

Tuesday December 23, 2003 5:46 AM

NEW YORK (AP) - Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is urging other nations to follow his lead and allow international inspections for weapons of mass destruction.

``In my opinion they should follow the steps, or take the example of Libya, so that they prevent any tragedy from being inflicted on their peoples,'' Gadhafi told CNN in an interview broadcast Monday.

The interview came after Gadhafi's government agreed Friday to dispose of its weapons of mass destruction and open the door for inspections. Libya will tell the United Nations nuclear watchdog about current nuclear programs, adhere to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and sign an additional protocol to allow wide-ranging inspections on short notice.

In the interview, Gadhafi didn't refer to any other Muslim nations but he said such openness would put pressure on Israel to reveal its nuclear capabilities. Israel is the only Mideast nation believed to posses nuclear arms.

``This would tighten the noose around the Israelis so that they would expose their programs and their weapons of mass destruction,'' he said.

Libya imported centrifuges for uranium enrichment and admitted that it was seeking to develop weapons of mass destruction, but has stopped short of an enrichment program.

Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he could make his trip Libya sometime next week. He has said that much of Libya's technology came from abroad, but declined to say whether there was a common source for Libya, Iran or prewar Iraq - or whether the three nations exchanged equipment and expertise.

On Iraq, Gadhafi objected to the way ousted leader Saddam Hussein was shown on television after his capture.

``Irrespective of who is with Saddam or who is against Saddam, the way he was shown, the way he appeared made everybody sympathize with him,'' he said. ``I said that to (British prime minister Tony) Blair.'',1280,-3539325,00.html
10 posted on 12/23/2003 1:09:23 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Warns Israel Against any Attack on its Interests

December 23, 2003
Yossi Melman

Iranian officials have warned Israel that there will be painful consequences if it attacks Iran in any way.

The head of the Iranian air force, General Seyed Reza Pardis, told the Mehr news agency on Monday that if Israel launches an attack on Iran, it will be "digging its own grave."

President Mohammad Khatami has also warned that Israel would be making a mistake if it carried out its threat to destroy Tehran's nuclear capabilities.

The warnings follow comments from Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz last week that an operation to destroy Iran's nuclear capabilities if necessary is under consideration. Speaking in Persian on Israel Radio, Mofaz said that if the need arises to destroy Iran's nuclear capability, "the necessary steps will be taken so that Iranian citizens will not be harmed."

Pardis also warned that an attack would have serious consequences beyond the imagination of the Israeli leadership. Whether these threats are serious or not, he said, Iran's armed forces are totally prepared to defend sensitive sites and the country's airspace.

The air force chief warned that "the Zionist leadership know that the Iranian Republic's armed forces, particularly its air force, has such impressive abilities that if a military strike is launched against Iran, it will be digging their own grave."

Iran's Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani was quoted by the Iranian students news agency as saying that "the minister of war of the Israeli leadership should know that if these threats are ever realized, there will be no safe place for the country's leaders and the Zionist regime will pay a very heavy price." He added that he did not believe that Mofaz's threats were real since "Israel knows Iran's defense capabilities very well."
11 posted on 12/23/2003 8:29:41 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Summons Swiss Envoy Over US Decision

December 23, 2003

TEHRAN -- The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the Swiss ambassador, who heads the US interest section here, to protest remarks by US Iraq overseer Paul Bremer that People's Mujahedeen members would not be expelled to Iran but sent to third countries, the press reported Tuesday.

Iran "is deeply concerned about the aftermath of such irresponsible remarks," the ministry's director general of American affairs, Mohammad Hasan Fadaie Fard, was quoted as telling Swiss envoy Tim Guldimann.

"If they provide safe havens for them, they will not only further promote terrorism, but also violate the articles of the UN Security Council Resolution 1373, which is a dangerous precedent that can be taken advantage of by other supporters of international terrorism."

On Monday, Iran's reformist President Mohammad Khatami proposed that members of the Iraq-based People's Mujahedeen, the main Iranian armed opposition, return home, vowing they would be treated with leniency.

"The majority who did not commit a crime and do not have blood on their hands are like our children and we must act with leniency towards them, but those who committed crimes will be tried with fairness," he added.

On Sunday, Iranian officials reacted angrily after the US ruler of Iraq, Paul Bremer, said Mujahedeen members would not be expelled to Iran but to third countries. The US-installed interim Governing Council announced on December 9 that it planned to deport the People's Mujahedeen group by the end of this month.

Two days later, council member Nurredin Dara proposed expelling them to Iran, a move the group protested would amount to a war crime. The group mounted attacks inside Iran from neighbouring Iraq when Saddam Hussein was in power, but surrendered to the coalition in May, when US troops disarmed more than 3,800 of them.

They are now guarded by US troops at their base in Camp Ashraf, northeast of the Iraqi capital.
12 posted on 12/23/2003 8:30:39 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Invitation to September 11

December 22, 2003
Insight Magazine
Kenneth R. Timmerman

The spider holes where terrorists and the nation-states who back them hide from public view lie in the murkiest recesses of the murky world of intelligence. Rarely do victims of terrorist attacks get to face their attacker, let alone know his identity, especially when the attacker is a foreign government. Individual terrorists such as Osama bin Laden or Ilich Ramirez Sanchez (aka "Carlos the Jackal") - who openly boast of their evil deeds and thus can be tracked, targeted and eventually taken out - are the exception, not the rule.

Or so said the conventional wisdom until a recent groundbreaking public trial in a federal courtroom in Washington that blew the lid off the world's most elusive terrorist sponsor: the Islamic Republic of Iran. That legal action was brought by the families of the 241 U.S. Marines who were killed when terrorists crashed an explosives-filled truck into their barracks near the Beirut airport on Oct. 23, 1983. It raises disturbing questions concerning some of our most basic assumptions about the war on terror.

New intelligence revealed at the March 2003 trial, and independently confirmed by Insight with top military commanders and intelligence officials who had access to it at the time, shows that the U.S. government knew beyond any reasonable doubt who carried out the bombing of the Marine barracks 20 years ago and yet did nothing to punish the perpetrators. Even more disturbing is the revelation, which Insight also confirmed independently, that intelligence then available and known within the government gave clear forewarning of the attack. But this warning never was transmitted to operations officers on the ground who could have done something to prevent or reduce the impact of the devastating assault.

Among the intelligence information initially uncovered by Thomas Fortune Fay, an attorney for the families of the victims, was a National Security Agency (NSA) intercept of a message sent from Iranian intelligence headquarters in Tehran to Hojjat ol-eslam Ali Akbar Mohtashemi, the Iranian ambassador in Damascus. As it was paraphrased by presiding U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth, "The message directed the Iranian ambassador to contact Hussein Musawi, the leader of the terrorist group Islamic Amal, and to instruct him ... 'to take a spectacular action against the United States Marines.'"

Rear Adm. James "Ace" Lyons was deputy chief of naval operations for plans, policy and operation at the time and remembers well when he first learned of the NSA intercept. It was exactly two days after terrorists had driven a truck laden with military explosives into the fortified Marine barracks complex just outside the Beirut airport and detonated it, producing the largest, non-nuclear explosion in history, the equivalent to 20,000 pounds of TNT. "The director of naval intelligence carried the transcript to me in a locked briefcase," he tells Insight. "He gave it to me, to the chief of naval operations, and to the secretary of the Navy all in the same day."

At trial, Lyons described the general contents of the message. In a personal tribute to the slain Marines and their families, he had obtained a copy of the NSA transcript and presented it in a sealed envelope to the court. "If ever there was a 24-karat gold document, this was it," Lyons said, "This was not something from the third cousin of the fourth wife of Muhammad the taxicab driver." Lamberth accepted the still-classified NSA intercept into evidence under seal to protect NSA sources and methods. It was the first time in nearly a dozen cases brought against the government of Iran by victims of terrorism that material evidence emanating directly from the U.S. intelligence community was brought forward in such a direct manner.

The existence of this intercept - just one of thousands of messages incriminating the governments of Iran, Syria and Saddam Hussein's Iraq (among others) in deadly terrorist crimes against Americans - long has been rumored. Insight reported in May 2001 on similar electronic intelligence that unequivocally revealed how Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat personally ordered Palestinian terrorists to murder U.S. diplomats Cleo Noel and George Curtis Moore after a PLO commando took them hostage in Khartoum, Sudan, in March 1973 [see "Arafat Murdered U.S. Diplomats," June 25, 2001].

Then as now, the release of such information shocks many Americans who find it hard to believe that the U.S. government could have had such clear-cut indications of impending terrorist acts and done nothing to stop them or to punish those responsible. And yet that is precisely what the intelligence indicates. And the reasons, far from some dire government conspiracy, appear to be the laziness and incompetence of intelligence officials and bureaucratic gatekeepers who failed to pass on information to the political appointees or Cabinet officers making the decisions.

The message from Tehran ordering Iranian-backed terrorists to attack the U.S. Marines in Beirut was picked up "on or about Sept. 26, 1983," Lamberth said, noting it was nearly four full weeks before the actual bombing. With all that lead time, why did no one take steps to protect the Marines or to head off the attack? "That's a question I've been waiting 20 years for someone to ask," Lyons tells this magazine.

Insight has learned that the CIA station in Damascus received a copy of the terrorist message almost as soon as it was intercepted and transmitted it back to CIA headquarters in Langley, Va. "The response I heard back from headquarters was, 'The Marines? We don't want to know about the Marines,'" a former CIA officer who saw the intercept and was involved in transmitting it to his superiors tells Insight.

Marine Col. Tim Geraghty, commander of the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit then stationed at the Beirut Airport, tells Insight that he never received a warning or even a report based on the message, although he was well aware that his Marines had become "sitting ducks" to hostile militias on the ground. "Generally, yes, we knew the problem," he said, "but we never received anything specific."

This was not because the CIA was stonewalling him, Geraghty believes. "I became personal friends with Bill Buckley, who was CIA station chief in Beirut, and he was giving me everything he had. But we never got a warning mentioning a possible attack on the barracks or mentioning Iran." And yet, as Geraghty himself learned at the trial, such warnings indeed had been picked up and they were very specific indeed.

For one thing, there was no other place but the barracks near the airport where a "spectacular operation" could have been carried out. It was the only major Marine bivouac in all of Lebanon. And then, there was the mention in the intercept of Hussein Musawi by name and the group he then headed, Islamic Amal - a precursor of what later became known as Hezbollah. Both were under direct Iranian-government control. But as former CIA officer Robert Baer tells Insight, in this case the warning "did not mention a specific time or place and so was not considered [by CIA managers] to be actionable." Because of this, the warning never was sent on to Beirut, where Buckley could have passed it on to Geraghty. Until 9/11 such a lack of specificity was a standard excuse.

Michael Ledeen, author of The War Against the Terror Masters, was working as a consultant to the Department of Defense at the time of the bombing. The failure to share intelligence "drove a change in the structure of the intelligence community," he said at trial, "because what they found was that we should have seen it coming, we had enough information so that we should have seen it coming [but] we didn't because of the compartmentalization of the various pieces of the intelligence community. So the people who listen to things weren't talking to the people who looked at things weren't talking to people who analyzed things and so on." That failure, he said, led CIA director William Casey to establish the Counter-Terrorism Center, a new, cross-discipline unit whose sole purpose was to prevent terrorism and, when that failed, to fight back against terrorists.

After the Beirut attack the intelligence on Iran's involvement all of a sudden looked different. And yet, despite evidence that Ledeen categorized as "absolutely convincing," the Reagan administration not only didn't fight back, but within three months of the attack secretary of defense Caspar Weinberger ordered the Marines to leave Beirut altogether, opening the United States to accusations that it had "cut and run" and inviting terrorists to have at Americans with impunity.

Exactly why that happened is still a mystery to many of the participants, Insight discovered in interviews with Weinberger, former Navy secretary John F. Lehman, former deputy chief of naval operations Lyons, Geraghty, former CIA officer Robert Baer and others. To Baer, a self-avowed "foot soldier" in the war on terror, "The information we had on the Iranians in 1983 was infinitely better than anything we had on Saddam Hussein." The failure to retaliate for the attack "was all politics."

For example, the CIA managed to identify the Hezbollah operative who built the bomb in the truck. "His name was Ibrahim Safa. He was working with the Pasdaran - the Iranian Revolutionary Guards - out of the southern suburbs of Beirut," Baer tells Insight. "In the hierarchy of things, he was just a thug who'd found God. He'd been a bang-bang man in the civil war in the 1970s who knew explosives."

One option available to military planners was to target the actual planners of the operation, such as Safa, but that was rejected because of the congressional ban on assassination. "Assassination was forbidden, so we couldn't target individuals, the heads of Hezbollah," Ledeen recalls. "We would have had to go after Hezbollah training camps and kill a lot of innocent civilians." That was something Weinberger says neither he nor the president wanted to do.

Soon the primary target became the Sheikh Abdallah barracks in Baalbek, the capital of Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. A former Lebanese-army barracks, it had been taken over by Iran's Pasdaran and was being used to train Hezbollah and house Iranian troops stationed in Lebanon. "We had the planes loaded and ready to take out the group," says Lyons, referring to Hezbollah and their Iranian masters in Baalbek, "but we couldn't get the go-ahead from Washington. We could have taken out all 250 of them in about one-and-a-half minutes."

President Ronald Reagan was demanding retaliation, and asked the U.S. Navy and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to draw up target lists, Lehman tells Insight. According to several participants, the Syrian government also had played a role in the plot and several named Syrian officers were suggested as potential targets, as was the Syrian defense ministry.

"It is my recollection that I had been briefed on who had done it and what the evidence was," Lehman says. "I was told the actual names of the Syrians and where they were. I was told about the evidence that the Iranian government was directly behind it. I was told that the people who had done it were trained in Baalbek and that many of them were back in Baalbek. I recall very clearly that there was no controversy who did it. I never heard any briefer or person in the corridor who said, 'Oh maybe we don't know who did it.'"

Insight has learned that, within three weeks of the attack, enough intelligence had been gathered to determine exactly where and how to hit back, and a counterstrike package was briefed directly to the president. Planners say it included eight Tomahawk missiles launched from the battleship New Jersey against the Syrian defense ministry and other command targets in Syria. Carrier-based A6-A Intruders were assigned to bomb the Sheikh Abdallah barracks in Baalbek in a joint strike with the French, who had lost 58 marines when their own barracks, known as the "Drakkar," was bombed just minutes after the U.S. Marines. It also included selected "snatches" of Syrian officers based in Lebanon who had helped carry out the operation.

Coordinates already were being programmed into the Tomahawks, and the A6 pilots and snatch teams were being briefed, say the intelligence and defense officials Insight interviewed, when someone pulled the plug. By all accounts, that someone was Weinberger.

In his memoirs, Weinberger made clear that he had opposed deployment of the Marines to Beirut in the first place because they were never given a clear mission. He also expressed regret - which he repeated in an interview with Insight - that he had not been "persuasive" enough at White House meetings to convince the president to withdraw the Marines before the October 1983 attack occurred. "I was begging the president to take us out of Lebanon," he tells Insight. "We were sitting right in the middle of the bull's-eye."

Weinberger believed the United States should only deploy U.S. troops in situations where "the objectives were so important to American interests that we had to fight," at which point, the United States should commit "enough forces to win and win overwhelmingly." Those conditions were not present in Lebanon in 1983, he argued. But Weinberger was overpowered by secretary of state George Shultz, who argued at the White House meetings that the United States could not afford to give the impression it would "cut and run" after the attack since that would only encourage the terrorists. As it soon did.

Speaking with Insight, Weinberger insists today that the only reason the United States did not retaliate for the October 1983 attack on the U.S. Marines "was the lack of specific knowledge of who the perpetrators were. We had nothing before the bombing, although I had warned repeatedly that the security situation was very bad. We were in the middle of the bull's-eye, but we didn't know who was attacking the bull's-eye."

Weinberger insists that he has "never heard of any specific information. If I had known, I wouldn't have hesitated" to approve retaliatory action. "Clearly the attack was planned. But it was hard to locate who had done it out of all the different groups. The president didn't want some kind of carpet bombing that would kill a lot of innocent civilians. There were so many groups and not all of them were responsible to the government of Iran. All we knew was that they were united in their hatred of America."

Weinberger's account surprised several other participants who had firsthand knowledge of the intelligence information. "Perhaps Weinberger was never given the intercept by his staff," one participant suggested.

At the time highly classified NSA material such as the Damascus intercept would have been given to the chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, Gen. John Vessey, and to the military aide to the secretary of defense, who would determine whether the secretary would be apprised of the information personally. Weinberger's aide at the time was Maj. Gen. Colin Powell.

But Vessey tells Insight he has "no recollection" of seeing the intelligence on Iran's involvement in the attack. "It is unbelievable to me that someone didn't bring it through the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency up to me and the secretary of defense." Somewhere along the line, the system broke down. "I just don't know what happened," Vessey says. Sources close to Powell suggest the intercept never made it into the president's daily briefing.

On Nov. 16, 1983, Weinberger received a telephone call from Charles Hernu, the French minister of defense, informing him that French Super-Etendard fighter-bombers were getting ready to attack Baalbek. In his memoirs, Weinberger states that he "had received no orders or notifications from the president or anyone prior to that phone call from Paris," which he said gave him too short a notice to scramble U.S. jets.

This reporter was covering the fighting between Arafat and Syrian-backed PLO rebels in Tripoli, Lebanon, at the time, and vividly recalls watching the French planes roar overhead en route to Baalbek. The raid was a total failure.

Whatever the reasons behind the refusal of the United States to join that French retaliatory raid, there can be no doubt that the terrorists and their masters took the U.S. failure to retaliate as a sign of weakness. Just five months later, Iran's top agent in Beirut, Imad Mugniyeh, took CIA station chief William Buckley hostage and hideously tortured him to death after extracting whatever information he could. Since then, notes former Navy secretary Lehman, Osama bin Laden has "directly credited the Marine bombing" and the lack of U.S. retaliation as encouraging his jihadi movement to believe they could attack the United States with impunity.

"The first shots in the war on terror we are in now were fired in Beirut in October 1983," says Geraghty. "The [Bush] administration is now doing exactly what we need to be doing, attacking the enemies of freedom where they live instead of letting them attack us in our home." But the failure to strike back against Iran and Syria in 1983 was a dreadful mistake, he says. "This was an act of war. We knew who the players were. And, because we didn't respond, we emboldened these people to increase the violence."

Never again.

Kenneth R. Timmerman is a senior writer for Insight magazine.
13 posted on 12/23/2003 8:32:43 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Khatami Asks France to Revoke Ban on Headscarves

December 23, 2003
Agence France-Presse
Hindustan Times

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami asked the French government on Tuesday to cancel President Jacques Chirac's "wrong decision" in backing a move to ban Islamic headscarves and other conspicuous religious signs at schools.

"I hope the French government, which claims to be avant-garde in liberty, equality and fraternity, will cancel this wrong decision," Khatami told reporters after submitting next year's budget bill to the Iranian parliament.

"This decision is not final yet and I hope that our parliament gives a message to the parliament in France not to approve this law, which is against liberty and the guidelines of democracy," he added.

Khatami said the "hijab (headscarf) is a religious necessity and its restriction is a sign of a kind of extreme nationalistic tendency."

On Sunday, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Iran criticized Chirac's "extremist decision."

"We regard this as an extremist decision aimed at preventing the development of Islamic values" in France.

After months of heated debate, France's Stasi committee of experts last week recommended banning "conspicuous" religious insignia -- including the Muslim headscarf, the Jewish kippa and large crucifixes -- from state schools, which are in principle strictly secular.

In a speech Wednesday, Chirac came out in favour of the ban, which he wants written into law by the start of the next academic year.,00050004.htm
14 posted on 12/23/2003 8:33:36 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn


HE is almost in from the cold." This is how British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw described the latest position of the Libyan dictator Col. Moammar Khadafy. Straw called Khadafy "a statesman" and "a man we could do business with."

An hour earlier, Prime Minister Tony Blair had phoned the colonel in Tripoli to relay similar sentiments. Unusual words of praise also came from President Bush.

Why this sudden warmth for a man described only a week ago as a terrorist mastermind? British and U.S. officials say that, thanks to months of patient diplomacy, Khadafy has been persuaded to abandon his quest for weapons of mass destruction, and would also terminate support for terrorist organizations.

In exchange, Britain and the United States will persuade the United Nations to lift the sanctions enacted against Libya after the Lockerbie tragedy 15 years ago. America will also end the sanctions imposed under the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act. Within months, Libya would be open for massive Western investment in its ailing oil industry, decrepit infrastructure and moribund agriculture.

Yet many questions remain, not the least being: Can anyone trust Khadafy? This is not the first time he has promised to "come in from the cold."

* In 1982, Khadafy met with then French President Francois Mitterrand in Cyprus and promised that Libya would stop funding the Irish Republican Army and cut links with terror groups attacking U.S. military targets in West Germany.

Yet by 1984, the British had established that Libya had, in fact, doubled its support for the IRA. And Libyan-backed groups stepped up their attacks on Americans, killing and wounding a number of U.S. troops in West Germany.

* Khadafy next promised to mend his ways in 1986 after President Ronald Reagan had ordered the bombing of Tripoli. The go-between was Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, who told the Americans that Khadafy had pledged his "Arab honor" that he would stop all anti-American terrorist activities.

Two years later came the destruction of Pan Am 103, the single biggest anti-American terror attack before 9/11.

Will this will be "third time lucky" with Khadafy? It is too early to tell.

Some British and Arab sources claim that this time will be different for at least two reasons.

First, the Libyan leader has seen Saddam Hussein's dental examination on TV. The liberation of Iraq has put the fear of god in many Middle Eastern despots.

Second, this time Khadafy's return 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 Khadafy, assisted by Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to Washington who has close political ties to the Bush family. The second phase was handled by the British, under Blair's personal supervision.

The argument, therefore, is that we should take Khadafy'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 Khadafy's career would be familiar with his sudden, capricious policy changes.

Soon after he seized power in a military coup in 1969, he flew to Cairo and almost forced the Egypt's Gamal Abdul-Nasser to absorb Libya into Egypt as the first step toward Arab unification. Three years later, however, Khadafy branded Egypt "an enemy of the Arab nation" and called for the murder of its new leader, Anwar Sadat.

Between 1973 and 1993, Khadafy 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.

By 2000, Khadafy had quarreled with almost all Arab leaders and was looking to black Africa for partners. In 2002 he announced that Libya was no longer an Arab nation and should emphasize its "African identity." He played a key role (mostly by signing checks) in creating something called the African Union, and, having bribed enough African leaders, managed to promote himself as its leader. He also announced that any Libyan who married a black African would get a cash gift of $5,000. (Our sources report that fewer than a dozen people have taken advantage of the offer so far.)

The least that one can say is that Khadafy is an unstable maverick who could change policy any time and as he pleases. With an ego the size of Everest, he 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 TV documentaries, written scripts for feature films 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 Khadafy as a "statesman" is as accurate as calling Mae West a nun.

One thing must be said for the Libyan leader. He regards the Western leaders with the utmost contempt and believes that he can fool them whenever he so desires. Earlier this year, he explained his decision to write a check for $2 billion in compensation for the Lockerbie attack, by referring to "the unquenchable thirst of the West for money."

"They want money?" he asked on television. "We give them money. What is money? Nothing. We will make 10 times more money later by selling them our oil at a higher price."

Nor did he express any remorse for the death of so many innocent people aboard Pan Am 103; he had the temerity to deny that Libya had been involved at all. He claimed that he had agreed to hand over two of his intelligence officers for trial on charges of involvement in the Lockerbie attack not because they were involved but in order to "deprive our enemies of an excuse to continue sanctions against us."

Khadafy is also explaining his latest decision in his typical way.

First he has presented the decision to abandon weapons of mass destruction as one taken by his minions, not himself. "I found your decision courageous," he told his foreign minister, as if in a dictatorship like Libya a minion would have any authority on such matters.

Surely, British and American politicians cannot be so naive as to believe that a man like Khadafy 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 Khadafy has built can never become a true friend 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.

America 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 ended and the ban on political parties lifted. Libya needs a constitution (it is the only country in the world with none) providing for free elections.

Until then, Khadafy 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.

17 posted on 12/23/2003 2:16:36 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Pakistan Admits Having Rogue Scientists

December 23, 2003
The New York Times
The Associated Press

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistan said Tuesday that rogue scientists driven by ``ambition and greed'' may have spread nuclear technology to Iran -- Islamabad's most explicit acknowledgment of such help, prompted by questioning from the U.N. atomic watchdog.

The admission, after months of denials, is the latest in a wave of nuclear disclosures, following revelations from Libya and Iran.

Pakistan said it was cooperating with the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency after the agency's inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities showed that international and ``Pakistani-linked individuals'' had acted as ``intermediaries and black marketeers.''

The IAEA has also approached Pakistan and other countries in connection with traces of weapons-grade plutonium discovered on nuclear equipment in Iran, a diplomat familiar with the investigations said.

The contamination ``certainly was one of the reasons they would be in contact with Pakistan and not a few other countries as well,'' the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

Those traces, discovered earlier this year, raised alarm bells at the IAEA and in Washington over fears Tehran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran said the equipment was contaminated before being imported in Iran -- prompting an IAEA search into where the equipment came from.

Pakistan, a close U.S. ally in the war on terror, has long been suspected of proliferation during its 30-year odyssey to build nuclear weapons as a deterrent against nuclear rival India. The two nations tested their first nuclear weapons in 1998.

Islamabad strongly denies allegations it sent nuclear technology to North Korea's communist regime in exchange for missiles or helped Libya or Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. A middleman claiming to represent Pakistan's top nuclear scientist offered Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq help in building an atomic bomb on the eve of the 1991 Gulf War, according to U.N. documents shown to The Associated Press last year.

But a sudden new openness about secret nuclear programs could raise new questions about Pakistan's role.

Libya over the past week has made a dramatic turn-around, promising to shut down its program to develop nuclear weapons and allowing IAEA to inspect its facilities. Under intense international pressure, Iran agreed this month to allow intrusive inspections of its nuclear facilities and to answer IAEA questions about a program Tehran insists is for peaceful purposes.

A Pakistani spokesman insisted Tuesday that the government never authorized technology transfers to Iran.

``The IAEA has asked us for our cooperation. Based on that request, we are investigating individuals who might have violated Pakistani laws for individual commercial gains,'' Foreign Ministry spokesman Masood Khan told The Associated Press.

He did not elaborate on how they profited and what technology was involved, but he said among those being questioned was the founder of Pakistan's nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer Khan -- a national hero and 1990 winner of Pakistan's ``Man of the Nation Award.''

Some Pakistani scientists ``might have been motivated by personal ambition or greed,'' he told a press conference earlier. ``But let me add we have not made a final determination. Let's not jump to conclusions.''

Pakistan started investigating several scientists at its top nuclear laboratory, the Khan Research Laboratories, last month. Mohammad Farooq, the lab's former director general and aide to Abdul Qadeer Khan, remains in detention. The questioned scientists could not be reached for comment.

The revelations about Iran could revive the allegations over North Korea and Libya.

``Even if irresponsible individuals were behind it (the alleged proliferation to Iran), it can't be ruled out that the same did not happen with North Korea,'' said Dr. A. H. Nayyar, a physicist at Islamabad's Quaid-e-Azam University who has closely followed his country's nuclear program.

Masood Khan made repeated references in his press conference to the current strong ``command and control system'' governing Pakistan's nuclear program, an apparent hint that any nuclear leak happened before President Gen. Pervez Musharraf seized power in 1999.

The White House on Monday said Musharraf -- a key U.S. ally in the war on terror -- has assured the United States that Pakistan is not currently offering technology related to weapons of mass destruction to Libya and Iran.

Nayyar saw two scenarios: The proliferation took place either during the late 1980s -- when trading nuclear technology ``was not the taboo it is today'' -- or in the 1990s, when Pakistan faced sanctions from the United States because of its nuclear program and its coffers were empty.

Pakistan itself is believed to have developed its program from the early 1970s onward using technology imported from China and from Western firms.

``It's very possible that individual scientists are being made scapegoats and there was some kind of state involvement,'' Nayyar added.
19 posted on 12/23/2003 4:39:44 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Pakistan Gets Radioactive

December 24, 2003
Hindustan Times

In another time, another place, it would have been almost ludicrous — the way Pakistan’s military masters are desperately trying to rub off their muddy tracks from the carpet of nuclear proliferation. Pakistan’s top nuclear scientist, the self-proclaimed ‘father of the Pakistani bomb’, A.K. Khan — hailed as a national hero till yesterday — now suddenly finds himself out of sync with the powers-that-be. His fall from grace probably has a lot to do with Islamabad’s inability to sustain the litany of non-proliferation lies it fed the world for so many years, even as it passed on nuclear and missile technology to countries like North Korea, Iran and Libya. Islamabad obviously finds itself in an awkward position as it tries to change its fingerprints.

In fact, successive Pakistani military regimes had perfected the art of nuclear proliferation to such an extent that not even the most astute proliferation sleuths could detect it. And whenever it was detected, a benevolent Uncle Sam looked the other way, which left little choice for the IAEA than to glibly enjoy the ride offered by Islamabad. But September 11 changed all that. A sleeping world was jolted awake by the clear and present danger from weapons of mass destruction and Islamabad began to feel the heat of western intelligence agencies taking a closer, harder look at the sinister web of proliferation it had cleverly woven.

Islamabad has a lot of explaining to do and the general seems to be in a mood to let Dr Khan do much of that, the way in which the latter is being ‘investigated’. With Iran agreeing to let IAEA inspectors poke around its nuclear facilities, and Libya now coming clean on its WMD programmes, it was only a matter of time before the spotlight swung towards the subcontinent. That it happened now indicates the level of concern the N-word evokes in world capitals. The post-Cold War world is still a very risky place to live in with nuclear weapon arsenals of countries in the rapid launch mode. The last thing you need is an odd proliferator like Pakistan loading on more dice for terror merchants.,0012.htm
20 posted on 12/23/2003 4:40:31 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's Careful Pursuit of Nuclear Weapons

December 23, 2003
Erich Marquardt

On November 26, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) condemned Iran for an 18-year cover-up of its nuclear research program. Iran’s failure to disclose certain details of its nuclear research program has raised speculation that Tehran is attempting to research and develop nuclear weapons.

The leadership in Tehran, on the other hand, considers nuclear weapons a strategic goal, because the country is located in a volatile region that has been historically manipulated by outside powers due to the huge oil and gas reserves found there.

In recent years, Iran has stood by idly as the United States has projected its influence into the Middle East. At the end of 2001, the Bush administration launched a military invasion of Afghanistan. Afghanistan has now become an outpost for US forces, giving Washington the ability to influence political events throughout Central Asia and the Middle East. Then, in March of 2003, the Bush administration overthrew Saddam Hussein’s Ba’thist government in Baghdad and established a large-scale US occupation in the strategically significant state.

The US invasion of Iraq demonstrated to the world that the Bush administration was prepared to risk the political, economic and military fallout connected with a large-scale invasion of a Middle Eastern country. The symbolism of Washington effectively executing a policy of “regime change” in one member of its “axis of evil” proved to Tehran that the United States was a serious threat.

In addition to the United States, Iran also has concerns over the state of Israel, a country that has military dominance in the Middle East and has shown that it will forcefully limit the growing power of rival Middle Eastern states. This commitment was best displayed by Tel Aviv’s attack on Baghdad’s Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981. Tehran, which does not want to accept any outside restraints on its power, realizes that by acquiring nuclear weapons it will be better able to achieve its foreign policy interests.

Washington is justifiably concerned over Tehran’s covert activities. The Bush administration has tried to get the UN Security Council to place sanctions on Tehran for failing to comply with its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. For Washington, it would become a foreign policy dilemma if Tehran were to acquire nuclear weapons; a nuclear-armed Iran would greatly reduce Washington’s foreign policy leverage in shaping developments in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Indeed, Washington officials have admitted as much. In September, State Department official Paula DeSutter said, “The impact of a nuclear-armed Iran in an already volatile region cannot be underestimated. As President Bush had made clear, that cannot be allowed to happen.” Tel Aviv has issued similar proclamations; Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz recently warned that “under no circumstances would Israel be able to abide by nuclear weapons in Iranian possession.”

Unfortunately for Washington and Israel, other powerful states do not share their geopolitical interests. The European Union, for instance, has important diplomatic and economic ties with Tehran; the bloc is Iran’s biggest trading partner. This relationship explains why the UK, France and Germany sent their foreign ministers to help negotiate Iran’s decision to comply with the IAEA. Rather than join the US in referring Iran’s transgressions to the UN Security Council, the three states promised Tehran that if it complied with IAEA demands, the EU would be willing to actually assist Iran’s nuclear research program.

Tehran applauded the EU’s decision. Hassan Rowhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, confrontationally exclaimed: “The United States did not achieve a single one of its objectives concerning Iran’s nuclear activities.”

Russia does not share Washington’s interests in weakening Iran, either. Moscow has been the integral force behind Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Russian engineers are building the Iranian nuclear reactor at Bushehr. Moscow is also Iran’s major military supplier; in the past decade, it has provided Tehran with MiG-29 fighter aircraft, Su-24 fighter bombers, T-72 tanks, and Kilo class attack submarines.

Moscow doesn’t want the US heavily involved in the Middle East and Central Asia anymore than Tehran does. Since the September 11 attacks, Washington has been increasing its influence all across Russia’s southern borders, establishing military bases in former Soviet republics. Moscow has found itself having to compete with Washington in areas often considered part of Russia’s backyard. These diverging strategic interests between the two superpowers explain Moscow’s support for Iran’s nuclear research program.

The differing interests between regionally significant states will make it tough for any form of international consensus on Iran to form. As long as Tehran proceeds carefully and works with the European Union and Russia, it will come closer to acquiring the technology and resources needed to develop nuclear weapons. Because a nuclear-armed Iran would seriously threaten US and Israeli interests in the region, it will be vital to watch the countermeasures to this program devised in Washington and Tel Aviv.
21 posted on 12/23/2003 4:41:19 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
This thread is now closed.

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”

22 posted on 12/24/2003 12:02:42 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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