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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 12/30/2003 12:10:01 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 12/30/2003 12:13:24 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
British rescue workers’ shock at learning former colleague was among those killed

Scotsman - By John Innes
Dec 30, 2003

A BRITISH former firefighter who died in the Iranian earthquake was pulled from the rubble by UK rescue workers on Sunday and quickly buried, it was revealed yesterday.

Gavin Sexton, from Southampton, quit his job to travel round the world. The 36-year-old left Britain last August for his year-long trip and had bought a motorbike in Asia to bring home.

Due to the huge number of dead being recovered from the ruins of the city, Mr Sexton was buried immediately by the Iranian authorities.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said the local authorities decided "to bury all the bodies for public health reasons".

A Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said Mr Sexton’s body was discovered among the debris by British rescue workers on Sunday. His next of kin have been informed.

David Askew said: "Mr Sexton joined the fire service in 1991 and was a leading firefighter serving Southsea then Redbridge, Southampton.

"He left Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service in August 2003 to fulfil a long-standing ambition to travel the world and is believed to have been en route from India to Turkey when the earthquake struck.

"Mr Sexton has been buried in Bam and the Hampshire firefighters will hold a simple ceremony at the graveside today."

Peter Cook, a Hampshire firefighter who is part of the 68-strong UK rescue team, told of the moment when they realised the missing Briton was in fact an ex-colleague.

"It was a miraculous coincidence, a bit of a shock, I suppose," he said. "We knew there was a British citizen involved in the earthquake and we heard a rumour he was a firefighter but it never, ever occurred to us that he was a Hampshire firefighter - let alone someone we worked directly with. It was a big surprise."

Mr Cook said all Mr Sexton’s personal belongings would be brought back to the UK including the motorbike.

In Fareham, Hampshire, a male relative who did not wish to be named, spoke of Mr Sexton’s love of motorbikes.

"He was into motorbikes along with a group of them at the fire station.

"He was a young man who wanted to travel, who left the fire brigade because he wanted to travel.

"I think he was going to try to rejoin when he got back. At one stage, I heard he was going to try to get back home for Christmas but he was held up in southern Iran.

"It takes that kind of guy to get up and go - he was free and he was single."

With no hope of finding any more survivors, UK rescue team leaders decided yesterday it was time to leave to allow aid workers access to the tens of thousands who have been made homeless by the disaster.
3 posted on 12/30/2003 12:17:23 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Powell: U.S. Open to Idea of Talks with Iran -- Post

Tue December 30, 2003 01:30 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is open to restoring a dialogue with Iran after "encouraging" moves by the Islamic republic in recent months, Secretary of State Colin Powell said in an interview published on Tuesday.
"There are things happening and therefore we should keep open the possibility of dialogue at an appropriate point in the future," Powell said in a interview with The Washington Post.

This month, in a European-brokered deal, Iran agreed to snap U.N. inspections of its nuclear facilities, which the United States says are a front for building an atom bomb. Tehran also welcomed international humanitarian aid for victims of Friday's devastating earthquake.

The first U.S. military aircraft to land in Iran in more than 20 years arrived over the weekend carrying disaster response experts and tons of emergency supplies for survivors of the Bam earthquake, U.S. officials said on Monday.

"All of those things taken together show, it seems to me, a new attitude in Iran in dealing with these issues -- not one of total, open generosity. But they realize that the world is watching and the world is prepared to take action," Powell told The Washington Post.

"We still have concerns about terrorist activities, of course, and there are other issues with respect to al Qaeda and other matters that we'll have to keep in mind," Powell said.

Other U.S. officials said Powell's public assessment comes as the administration is reviewing its policy on Iran for the third time since President Bush took office, the newspaper reported.

The Washington Post cited a senior Iranian official as saying that if Washington is willing to look at the situation "more realistically," then Iran is willing to reciprocate. "What is needed for any cooperation is confidence," the official was quoted as saying.

The United States, which has been torn between engaging or isolating Tehran, generally takes a harder line against oil-rich Iran than its Western allies. But the Bush administration's compromise in accepting U.N. inspections was seen by some conservatives as a softening of its anti-Iran stance.

The United States has had tense relations with Iran for more than two decades. Washington broke diplomatic relations with Iran in 1979 after militant students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

In January 2002, Bush said Iran, pre-war Iraq and North Korea made up an "axis of evil." Washington has accused Iran's government of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons.
5 posted on 12/30/2003 12:23:07 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran clarifies the Middle East

Dennis Prager
December 30, 2003

If you want to understand the Middle East conflict, Iran has just provided all you need to know.

A massive earthquake kills between 20,000 and 40,000 Iranians, and the government of Iran announces that help is welcome from every country in the world . . . except Israel.

This little-reported news item is of great significance. It begs commentary.

Israel not only has the world's most experienced crews in quickly finding survivors in bombed out buildings, it is also a mere two-hour flight from Iran. In other words, no country in the world would come close to Israel in its ability to save Iranian lives quickly.

But none of this means anything to the rulers of Iran. The Islamic government of Iran has announced to the world that it is better for fellow countrymen and fellow Muslims -- men, women and children -- to die buried under rubble than to be saved by a Jew from Israel.

That is how deep the hatred of Israel and Jews is in much of the Muslim world.

Hundreds of millions of Muslims -- Arab and non-Arab, Sunni and Shi'a -- hate Israel more than they love life. Leaders of the Palestinian terror organization Hamas repeatedly state, "We love death more than the Jews love life." And now, Iran announces that it is better for a Muslim to asphyxiate under the earth than be rescued by a Jew from Israel.

Naive Westerners -- which includes most academics, intellectuals, members of the international news media, and nearly all others on the Left -- refuse to acknowledge the uniqueness of the Arab/Muslim hatred of Israel and Jews. Yet, there is no hatred in the world analogous to it. Not since the Nazi hatred of Jews has humanity witnessed such hate.

That is why finding survivors from earthquakes, creating a Palestinian state and life itself are all far less important in much of the Islamic and Arab worlds than killing Jews and destroying the little Jewish state.

That is why Arab newspapers run articles by Arab professors describing how Jews butcher non-Jewish children to use their blood for holiday meals.

That is why Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad could get a standing ovation from the heads of every Muslim country when he told them "the Jews rule the world by proxy."

That is why Palestinian parents celebrate the suicide terror of their sons -- the joy of killing Israeli families far outweighs the pain of the death of their child.

Western naifs like to believe platitudes such as "Deep down, all people are really the same," "All people want peace," and the great untruth of multiculturalism that no culture is morally superior to another. That is why they choose not to face the truth about the Nazi-like hatred that permeates the Arab/Muslim world and the consequent moral gulf that exists between it and Israel. It shatters too many of their illusions.

Surely the Iranian refusal of rescuers from the Jewish state ought to help all these people acknowledge the unique hatred that is at the root of the Arab-Israeli dispute and recognize that it is therefore a conflict unlike any other on earth.

So, too, the immediate and sincere Israeli offer of rescuers to Iran should make the moral gulf between Israel and its enemies as clear as day. Despite the fact that Iran is the greatest backer of anti-Israel (and anti-American) terror and despite the fact that Iran repeatedly declares that Israel must be annihilated (in other words, seeks a second Jewish Holocaust), Israel offered to send its people to save Iranian lives.

The two reactions -- Iran's preference for Iranian deaths to Israeli help and the Jewish state's instinctive offer to help save Iranian lives -- ought to be enough anyone needs to understand the source of the Middle East conflict. But they won't. Because those who are anti-Israel or "evenhanded" are not so because of the facts, but despite them.
7 posted on 12/30/2003 1:17:09 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Plays Down Political Impact of U.S. Quake Help

Dec 30, 9:41 AM (ET)
By Parisa Hafezi
KERMAN, Iran (Reuters)

President Mohammad Khatami said Tuesday U.S. aid to earthquake victims in Iran, while welcome, would not alter the state of relations between the two arch foes who broke off ties nearly a quarter century ago.

"I don't think this incident will change our relations with the United States," Khatami told a news conference in the capital of southeastern Kerman province where officials say up to 50,000 people were killed in a quake that struck Friday.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said in an interview with the Washington Post published Tuesday that Washington was open to restoring a dialogue with Iran after "encouraging" moves by the Islamic Republic in recent months.

Powell referred to Iran's willingness to accept U.S. aid for the earthquake relief effort, paving the way for the first U.S. military planes to land in Iran in over 20 years.

"There are things happening and therefore we should keep open the possibility of dialogue at an appropriate point in the future," Powell said.

But Khatami, who is viewed as a foreign policy moderate in Iran, played down the importance of the U.S. assistance.

"In incidents like this governments normally do not consider their differences," he said. "But this has got nothing to do with political issues. The problems in Iran-U.S. relations are rooted in history."

"Nevertheless, I thank all...those who helped us and showed sympathy despite our different viewpoints," Khatami said.

Washington broke ties with Iran shortly after the 1979 Islamic revolution when radical students stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held 52 hostages for 444 days.

President Bush last year included Iran along with North Korea and Iraq under Saddam Hussein in an "axis of evil" developing nuclear and chemical weapons and supporting terrorist groups.

U.S. and Iranian officials held talks over Afghanistan and Iraq in Geneva earlier this year. But Washington halted those meetings after accusing Iran of harboring al-Qaeda members linked to suicide bomb attacks in Saudi Arabia in May.

Khatami said that for Iran to restore ties with Washington it would "have to see a change in its methods ... to create a kind of hole in the wall of mistrust between the two countries."

However, he pointed out that humanitarian aid from nongovernmental organizations in the United States "shows there is no enmity between the people of Iran and the American nation."|top|12-30-2003::09:45|reuters.html
14 posted on 12/30/2003 8:27:13 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Expert: Tehran Doomed if 'Big One' Hits

December 29, 2003

TEHRAN, Iran -- An earthquake that may one day strike Tehran could kill hundreds of thousands and destroy most of the buildings in the capital city of 12 million, a top Iranian scientist warned Monday .

Bahram Akasheh, professor of geophysics at Tehran University and a government adviser, said a quake as strong as the one that flattened the southeastern city of Bam could kill many times more than the 30,000 people who are feared dead there.

"The building codes are almost universally ignored in Iran and Tehran is especially vulnerable to quakes because there is a major fault line running across it," Akasheh told Reuters. "The ground conditions in parts of Tehran are unfavorable: too soft, too brittle and too dangerous to build on. Rules are ignored."

Northern Tehran is sitting on a major fault about 47 miles long and about 100 smaller fractures, Akasheh said.

He and other researchers estimate that a repeat of the last big quake to hit Tehran, which killed 45,000 in 1830, would today kill six percent of the capital's population.

"The destruction to Tehran would be immense. About 80 percent of the buildings would be damaged or destroyed. Tehran is not ready for a big one."

In 1830, most of the damage was to buildings up to 60 miles to the east of Tehran, which then had a population of just 10,000.

"All the villages were destroyed," Akasheh said. "And you must keep in mind there were only one-story buildings then. There was no big city. But everything was still destroyed."

The 1830 shock is thought to have measured seven on the Richter scale. The quake in Bam was 6.3.

The moderate Sharq newspaper said Sunday a million or more could die in a Tehran quake. It reported only five of the 32 fire stations are built to withstand a powerful earthquake.

Capital move recommended

In studies prepared for President Mohammad Khatami and his predecessor Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Akasheh recommended moving the sprawling capital to a safer region further south.

Akasheh concluded that even if government building codes were enforced and ramshackle buildings reinforced or torn down, Tehran would still not be safe from a big tremor.

"Mr Khatami asked me to work on the issue and I recommended moving the capital. But apparently it is not possible. Pakistan and Brazil were able to do it. Why not here?"

Friday's quake shook a region with a population of 200,000. Officials warn the death toll, now at 25,000, could hit 30,000. Another 30,000 have been injured and 100,000 made homeless.

In 1990, some 35,000 were killed when earthquakes of up to 7.7 on the Richter scale hit the northwest of Iran.

Akasheh said there had not been a major quake in Bam in 2,000 years. "All of a sudden the first major earthquake in the city's history destroys Bam," he said.

He said there is daily seismic activity in Tehran and on average three to four identifiable tremors of up to three on the Richter scale -- every day. But there have only been two quakes as high as 4.5 in the last 100 years.

"I've forecast that there is the potential for an earthquake of between 7 and 8," he said, adding that a long term Japanese study of Tehran came to similar conclusions.
15 posted on 12/30/2003 8:29:54 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Relief Workers Call for More Aid for Iran Quake

December 30, 2003
Edmund Blair and Parisa Hafezi

BAM, Iran -- Aid workers in Iran pleaded on Tuesday for more clothing, blankets and medicines for tens of thousands left bereaved and homeless by Friday's earthquake that killed up to 30,000 people.

As search and rescue teams began to abandon the hunt for any more survivors trapped beneath the rubble in the ancient Silk Road city of Bam, 600 miles southeast of Tehran, relief workers said operations had moved into a new phase.

"We're in a transition period from search and rescue to humanitarian assistance," Jesper Lund, team leader of United Nations Disaster And Assessment Coordination (UNDAC) which was coordinating relief efforts from a military base outside of Bam.

Armies of street cleaners using brooms, shovels and wheelbarrows began to sweep up debris in the near deserted streets.

Assad Najafi, 24, loaded with merchandise salvaged from a car accessories shop he ran in Bam, said: "This town has been destroyed. I'm taking my belongings to Tehran."

Friday's pre-dawn quake, which measured 6.3 on the Richter scale and killed entire families while they slept, was the deadliest in the world for more than a decade.

The scale of the disaster, which toppled virtually every building in Bam and outlying villages, prompted swift pledges of aid, even from several countries which have shaky ties with the Islamic Republic.

Washington, which labeled Tehran as part of an "axis of evil" and is in turn referred to as the "Great Satan" by hard-liners in Iran, has sent several planeloads of medical and humanitarian supplies as well as relief experts.

U.S. military planes, which began arriving at the weekend, were the first to land in Iran since the end of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1981 in which 52 Americans were held for 444 days at the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

Six of Iran's Arab Gulf neighbors late Monday pledged $400 million to help Tehran with relief and rebuilding. Non-Arab Iran has had uneasy relations with many Gulf neighbors since the 1979 revolution although ties have improved in recent years.

Despite the massive international response, aid workers said more was needed to assist an estimated 100,000 people left homeless and thousands more injured in the quake.


"There has been quite a bit of aid coming in but there is not enough. There are still gaps to be filled," said Rob MacGillivray, emergency adviser for Save The Children at the Bam relief center.

"There are still a significant number of people without shelter, particularly in outlying areas. There are too many people staying in one tent. We want to try to thin the numbers down so living conditions are reasonable for the circumstances."

MacGillivray said restoring primary healthcare services was a priority after Bam's two main hospitals were destroyed by the quake. Blankets, children's clothes, soap, cooking sets and large cans to store drinking water were also badly needed.

President Mohammad Khatami, whose government has come under fire for failing to enforce building controls and foresee such a disaster, was to hold a cabinet meeting in the provincial capital of Kerman Tuesday to discuss the relief effort.

Some 28,000 bodies have been recovered and buried so far. Many were placed in mass graves with little ceremony and no time for full identification.

At the cemetery Tuesday there were few mourners and Revolutionary Guards Colonel Heshmatallah Moshtarshid, who has taken part in around 2,000 burials since the quake struck, said only three bodies had been buried that morning.

"It's been a very difficult time," he said as mechanical diggers rolled dusty earth over the large burial pits.

Amid the death and destruction, there was a sliver of joy on Monday when rescuers announced that a six-month-old baby girl had been pulled alive from the embrace of her dead mother beneath the wreckage of her home.

But most rescue teams, who dashed to Iran from 28 countries, had packed up by Tuesday morning, despairing of finding any more survivors beneath homes whose mud-brick walls had crumbled to fine dust, leaving no pockets of air to breathe.
16 posted on 12/30/2003 8:32:05 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
FrontPage Interview: Michael Ledeen

December 30, 2003
Jamie Glazov

Frontpage Magazine: Today, our guest is Dr. Michael Ledeen, a Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of the new book The War Against the Terror Masters. Welcome, Dr. Ledeen. It is a pleasure to have you join us.

First, let's talk about the big news: Saddam's capture. Tell us a bit of how and where you heard about it and your initial reaction. What do you think is the significance of this development?

Ledeen: I was on a plane from New York to Tel Aviv when it happened. When I landed I called home and heard the good news. It's very important--I always disagreed with those who said that our failure to get Saddam didn't really matter--above all because it stands as a concrete warning to the other tyrants in the region, and, at the same time, encourages those who wish to be free. It has seriously frightened the likes of Rafsanjani, Khamenei, Assad and Qadaffi, and it has given an infusion of hope to the freedom fighters.

FP: So can we safely say that Qadaffi's new spirit of "co-operation" with the U.S. on WMDs is, in large part, a direct result of the "Saddam effect"? In other words, he has probably been up at night visualizing himself sleeping in a hole in the ground with rats and mice and decided it's all not worth it?

Ledeen: No, I don't think so, since the talks had been going on for many months before Saddam was captured, and indeed I think that Qadaffi has been looking for a way out for many years. Berlusconi reported several months ago that Qadaffi was frightened, very frightened, and the event that intensified his fear was the invasion of Iraq. The first event that focused his mind was obviously when President Reagan bombed Tripoli in 1986.

FP: You have really distinguished yourself in your forceful arguments for "regime change" in Iran and other Mideast rogue states. Tell us a bit about your philosophy in this area. What, for instance, would you advise the U.S. to do right now vis-à-vis Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia?

Ledeen: In almost all my books I have argued that the global mission of the United States is to support freedom and fight tyrants. I think this mission is inescapable, because even when--alas, all too frequently--we shrink from it, the tyrants come after us and force us to do the right thing.

We didn't want to engage in any of the world wars of the last century, but we were dragged in by our tyrannical enemies. Ergo, we should support democratic revolution throughout the Middle East, above all in the countries that support the terror network.

FP: Yes, we must support democratic revolution throughout the Middle East. But in the cases of places like Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran, where the terror network is clearly being fertilized, is there some legitimacy in going in there militarily if "regime change" is taking too long?

Ledeen: There is no general answer to this question, or if there is, I don't know it. You would have to look at each case. On Iran, I suppose the question is whether the West should wait if we believe the mullahs are about to get an atomic bomb.

FP: I would like to ask you a few personal questions about your life if you don't mind. Looking back at your youth, what molded you to become a Conservative?

Ledeen: I lived in Italy for many years, at a time when the Communist Party seemed on the verge of taking power. Watching the Communists up close put an end to any illusions about the Left.

FP: Illusions about the Left? Do you mean that, at one time, as a young man, you had some socialist impulses or interests? Could you talk a bit about these? And how they ultimately came crashing down?

Ledeen: Well, I was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin in the early sixties, when Wisconsin was the epicenter of the Left. "Studies on the Left" was published in Madison, the great guru of a large part of the New Left, William Appleman Williams, taught there (and we played tennis together a good deal), and the Port Huron Statement that founded SDS was done by Wisconsin students. Many of them were my friends, and I was at the time working on a Master's thesis on Bakunin.

So I was intellectually working through many of those issues. I was opposed to the Vietnam War, indeed I signed a petition against it in 1962, but my opposition wasn't ideological. I agreed with Walter Lippmann that it was a mistake to engage in a land war in Asia. I never cared for the Viet Cong, and was never tempted by communism. My parents were left-wing Republicans. They lived in New Jersey and voted for people like Clifford Case. I think they voted for Eisenhower at a time when I was enamored of Adlai Stevenson, but they didn't like Nixon ever (I was born in Los Angeles and we knew a lot about Nixon that we didn't like) and voted for Kennedy in 1960.

So my own political convictions were, and are, fairly boring. My basic views have remained pretty constant for a long time: I dread mass movements, I hate tyranny, I think small government is preferable to big government even though I believe there are some things government must do, and I believe America must fight for freedom, constantly.

Does that make me a conservative? I dunno. Was Jefferson a conservative? Can one be a conservative and advocate democratic revolution at the same time?

FP: You have been a major player in the shaping of certain American foreign policies, and you were involved in some of the most well-known missions of U.S. diplomacy in the late 20th century. Could you tell us about a few "missions" in which you were involved and that, in retrospect, you are proud of having been a part of?

Ledeen: I was Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for a bit more than a year, when Alexander Haig was Secretary, and my job was really "ambassador at small" (General Walters was ambassador at large, in all respects).

We were having trouble with some of the key players in the Socialist International, especially Willi Brandt, and Haig, in his usual concise way, ordered me to "do something." So I started meeting with Socialist leaders, mostly in Western Europe, to try to find areas of agreement with at least a handful of them, on those questions that were annoying us in Washington.

I was able to develop really good working relations with the likes of Mario Soares, Felipe Gonzales and Bettino Craxi, along with some Israelis and French, and that led to a real change in policy by the West European Bureau of the Socialist International (SI).

The happiest moment came when Brandt denounced me by name, and accused me of having sabotaged SI policy on Central America.

Most of the other happy moments had to do with counter-terrorism, when we were able to work well with many of the same people. The Achille Lauro operation, for example, that led to the capture of some of the murderers of Leon Klinghoffer, would not have been possible without Craxi, with whom I spent most of the night on the telephone working out the arrangements.

At a certain point I had to translate Reagan into Italian during a conversation he had with Craxi, and on two occasions I felt that Reagan would have preferred a slightly different answer, so I did some "creative translation."

The next morning he wrote me a little note to thank me...proving once again that character is the most important quality in a great leader. We would never have been able to issue the arrest warrants without the help of the Israelis, who declassified enormous quantities of sensitive intelligence so that we could take it to a judge in Washington.

All of this convinced me that personal friendship is much more important in international affairs than the intellectuals would have us believe--certainly much more than I believed before getting involved in government--and ever since I have argued strenuously for rewarding real experts in the bureaucracy.

We badly need people who devote decades to a single region, and who grow up with a new generation of leaders, so that we will have these friendships when we need them. I despair at the current practice, which is to move people around from subject to subject and region to region. On Iran, for example, we lack real expertise, and have lacked it for at least twenty-five years. I think we absolutely must have real China experts, young ones, who will get to know young Chinese leaders. And so forth.

FP: Tell us an individual (or some individuals) who played an instrumental role in shaping your intellectual journey/political career. Did you have a mentor of some sort that, in retrospect, you are very grateful to?

Ledeen: I've had several mentors, of whom three were very important for me. The first is Richard D. Heffner, a professor at the New School (where I spent the first semester of my junior year), the editor of the best abridged edition of Tocqueville's "Democracy in America," and the general manager of the first public television station in New York City. I worked for him there the summer after my junior year, and learned a lot about media (he had been one of Edward R. Murrow's fair-haired boys). I wanted to go into public tv, but he insisted I go to graduate school, at least through the Master's. That was a blessing, because he was fired, and I would have been fired along with him.

The second was George L. Mosse, the great historian. He was my major professor at Wisconsin and took me as his research assistant. I worked with him on two fundamental books about National Socialism, and he encouraged me to go to Italy to work on fascism. George was one of the most brilliant, and most tolerant people I have ever known.

The third was Renzo De Felice, the great biographer of Mussolini. Renzo really took me under his wing when I started working in the Fascist archives in Rome, and in those years it was very hard to get the archivists to turn over the most important material unless you had a track record with them. Renzo walked me through the process. A few years later he chose me to be the interviewer for a book called "Interview on Fascism," which was the first serious critique of the Marxist theory of fascism published in post-war Italy. It kicked off a firestorm of condemnation, but in retrospect turned out to have been fundamental in making it possible to treat fascism as an historical phenomenon rather than an ongoing evil.

FP: In looking back at your years in foreign diplomacy, who are some figures that earned your trust and admiration? What American officials do you think did a priceless job in defending and promoting American interests?

Ledeen: The best was Scoop Jackson, and some of his proteges too: Richard Perle and Jim Roche for example. And of course Reagan. Jeane Kirkpatrick did a lot of terrific things.

That said, I don't have many heroes. It's hard to conduct foreign policy in a democracy, and we all come up short most of the time. After living in Italy for a long time, I learned that God placed man on earth so that man would screw up. And so we do.

FP: Could you name an author, or a few authors, who left an indelible mark on your intellectual development?

Ledeen: Lots and lots of them: Walter Lippmann, my childhood hero and still my model for expository writing. Freud and Jung. Elias Canetti and Friedrich Durenmatt. Ray Bradbury, Alfred Bester, J.R. Tolkein and Jonas Huizinga.

FP: What are your own personal future plans? What do you still hope to accomplish?

Ledeen: I'm trying to finish a book on Naples. I would like to play more tournament bridge, and Barbara is very keen to go to Burma.

FP: Let's return to politics now. When we examine the Left's behavior during the Iraq War and in the post 9/11 era in general, we certainly see a frightening pathology at work. What, in your view, is at the root of this horror movie? What do you think explains, for instance, a radical feminist screaming anti-Bush slogans at a rally and siding with enemies who extinguish every feminist right that could possibly exist in their own societies?

Ledeen: It's an Hegelian process. Hegel pointed out that the world changes all the time, and that ideas therefore "age." The Left's ideas no longer explain the world (as they once did) and so they are constantly frustrated and often enraged at their inability to deal with the real problems. They have therefore resorted to character defamation and "the politics of personal destruction" to maintain a grip on the bits and pieces of power they still control.

Finally, the Left has not recovered from the defeat of the Soviet Empire (in which so many of their passions were invested), and they will never forgive those of us who had a role in it.

FP: Tell us how you view, in general, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and what you would advise the Israelis and the U.S. to do.

Ledeen: I don't follow it, as you know. I doubt I have anything much to add to this overpopulated field of pundits.

In general, I don't think it is possible for anyone to do anything meaningful about it until we have defeated the terror masters in Tehran, Damascus and Riyadh, because the terrorism against Israel gets a lot of support from those
evil people.

In other words, you can't solve it in situ, it's part of a regional war.

Maybe, once we have liberated the Middle East and the peoples have a chance to make their own decisions, it will be easier.

But maybe not. Fascism was enormously popular in Western Europe, after all.

FP: If you were asked to describe Yasser Arafat in one sentence, what would you say?

Ledeen: Really, really ugly.

FP: In terms of our post-9/11 war, let me ask you this: (1) what if Gore had become president instead of Bush (2) What if a Democrat, someone like Howard Dean, beats Bush in 2004 and becomes President?

Ledeen: I'm an historian, and I don't do "what ifs."

Look at Dubya: nobody in his right mind could have predicted the amazing transformation of this man, seemingly overnight, from an ambitious and interesting person to a determined and effective leader. I voted for him
without any great enthusiasm, primarily because I feared that Gore would give the Left a stranglehold on the judiciary, from the Supreme Court down. But Dubya's turned out to be a very impressive man in foreign policy, and he was arguably very poorly prepared for that task.

Try explaining that!

It's hard enough to figure out what has actually happened, without consuming our little grey cells on what might have happened.

The same applies to Dean, although it does seem pretty certain that Dean would be even slower than our current administration to prosecute the war against terrorism. And the courts would be in the hands of the Left for a generation--unless somehow the Republicans retained enough of the Senate and developed sufficient will to filibuster, a tough parlay--which truly terrifies me.

FP: Let us suppose that tomorrow you are brought into Bush's inner circle regarding Iraq and the War on Terror. The President asks you what concrete steps he should take next. What do you say?

Ledeen: Support the democratic revolutionaries in Iran and the Iranian-American broadcasters in California. Now, not tomorrow. That is the key to the entire war, in my opinion. There will never be peace in Iraq so long as the mullahs are in power in Tehran, and their favorite Assad reigns in Damascus.

Then tell the Saudis that they have to shut down the global network of radical schools and mosques, or we will make great trouble for them in the Shi'ite regions of the Kingdom (which happen to be the major oil producing regions as

FP: Thank you Dr. Ledeen for joining Frontpage Interview. We are most grateful for you sharing your wisdom and fascinating life experience with us.

You stated earlier that the Left has never forgiven individuals such as yourself for having played a role in the destruction of the Soviet Empire. I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank you for the role you played in that wonderful and joyous historic development. As a son of Soviet dissidents, I don't need to expand on why I have so much admiration and respect for you. Thank you.

I hope you will come back and visit us again soon. Take care for now.

Ledeen: One of the many great things about being an American is the singular pleasure of watching people--especially young people--from tyrannical countries become invaluable contributors to the United States. So it's my pleasure, Jamie.
17 posted on 12/30/2003 8:37:00 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
The Year America Stood Up

December 30, 2003
The Wall Street Journal
George Melloan

As we look back on the year 2003 in America, it is clear that many things remained the same. Broadway fell back on revivals, "Gypsy," "Wonderful Town," etc. (again) and Hollywood on blood and guts "Master and Commander," "Cold Mountain," etc. (again). The same names, Tom Clancy, Danielle Steel, etc. were on the fiction bestseller lists.

But if American culture seemed stuck in a time warp, the same could hardly be said for the American view of its role in the world. It was a time of self-assertion, effectively expressed in the pre-emptive conquest of Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Whereas the Clinton administration had tried to win friends through accommodation, the Bush administration put a higher value on winning world respect for American power.

Nothing is ever certain in politics, but that effort appears to have had positive results. By the end of the year, Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, who had specialized in trouble making for a quarter century, was promising the U.S. that he would, hereafter, be a good boy. Russia was promising to forgive Iraqi debts if the U.S. let it continue to pursue business interests in post-Saddam Iraq. China, heavily dependent on U.S. trade thanks to a forward-looking U.S. grant of normal trade relations, was quietly supplying some help in keeping North Korea's Kim Jong Il in line.

In Europe, the two guys who made things tough for President Bush in the weeks leading up to the Iraq war are in eclipse. Gerhard Schroeder, the German chancellor who won re-election by exploiting the antiwar sentiments of Germans, is now trying to win his way back into the good graces of Washington. In his recent visit to New York, he told Wall Street Journal editors that he too favored the forgiveness of Iraqi debts as a German contribution to reconstruction.

The dreams of France's Jacques Chirac to be the putative leader of all Europe came crashing down, in part because of his efforts to sabotage the U.S. Iraq campaign in the United Nations Security Council. Eight national leaders in Europe responded with a letter to this newspaper supporting the U.S., effectively repudiating Messrs. Chirac and Schroeder.

If this sounds like American triumphalism, it is unintended. Events, mainly the 9/11 terrorist attacks, conspired to awaken the U.S. out of its slumber. It fell to George W. Bush to respond to international terrorism in a way demanded by outraged Americans. The degree of success he has enjoyed is owed to the quality of his foreign-policy team, the effectiveness of the U.S. military and to those national leaders who chose, at some political cost, to remain allies of the U.S. Opponents like President Chirac, Chancellor Schroeder, and Vladimir Putin -- all three motivated in part by commercial relationships with the butcher of Baghdad -- didn't realize that they were not just facing an American president, but the anger of an entire nation.

As the U.S. moves into a presidential election year, the Bush administration will be under pressure to consolidate its foreign-policy gains. American politics no longer ends at the water's edge, if in fact it ever did. The Democratic Party, particularly if Howard Dean becomes its standard-bearer, will be trying to prove throughout the year that American ventures into such inhospitable precincts as Iraq and Afghanistan were fools errands.

And indeed, Mr. Bush and his team will now find themselves dealing with not only the politics of the U.S. but also of Iraq and Afghanistan. In Kabul, a "loya jirga" constitutional assembly is trying to shape the narrow ambitions of a collection of warlords into a political system that will be capable of peaceful economic and cultural development. In Iraq, a provisional government is attempting something similar.

The best thing the U.S. has going for it in both cases is the terrible memories of the peoples of both nations of how much suffering previous regimes have brought them. The secret of success in both places will be in empowering those people to protect themselves against future demagogues and tyrants by giving them the right to select their leaders in regular elections.

That effort will be aided by frequent demonstrations that democratic societies offer a better life. One such demonstration is under way right now in Iran, yet another country suffering under a benighted leadership, in the midst of the massive earthquake devastation in the city of Bam. Rescue workers from all over the world have flocked to Bam to help dig out survivors and supply them with food, water and medical treatment. The U.S. has been in the forefront of that effort, despite its differences with the traditionalist theocrats who are trying to maintain their iron grip on the country.

Sometimes people need food, shelter and medicine. Sometimes they need military intervention to save them from a tyrannical leadership. The U.S. interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan started out as defensive counterstrikes against terrorists and a Saddam bent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction. But in the doing, there proved to be a mission just as compelling, making it possible for millions of humans to lead decent lives. American soldiers have found that to be a mission worth risks, just as the relief workers in Bam know that saving lives is an ennobling pursuit.

With its soldiers spread throughout the world, America is often said to have become the greatest imperial power in history. Perhaps so. But the test of an empire is always whether it preserves its welcome. The challenge for America in successfully managing the new responsibilities it has shouldered in 2003 will lie in whether it can, despite formidable obstacles put up by defenders of the status quo, make life better for all those who have come under the protection of the stars and stripes.
18 posted on 12/30/2003 8:38:42 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Israeli Group Looks To Send Aid To Iran Via 3rd Party

December 29, 2003
The Associated Press
Dow Jones Newswires

JERUSALEM -- An Israeli humanitarian group said Monday that it wanted to ship earthquake relief to Iran anyway, through a third party, despite Iran's refusal to accept aid from Israel.

Following the devastating tremor Friday in the Iranian city of Bam, Iran said it was willing to accept aid from any nation, except Israel.

Israeli officials have recently branded Iran the number one danger to Israel because of its nuclear weapons program. Iran doesn't recognize Israel as a legitimate state.

Brushing aside the Iranian refusal, the Israeli humanitarian group Latet said it would try to ship aid to Iran some other way.

"We are checking to see how we can send (the aid) through a third party," said Jenny Perelis, a spokeswoman for Latet, which means "to give" in Hebrew.

Latet's international project director, Raanan Amir, said a deal was already lined up.

"There is no real wait. We are just checking the best and most effective way to send the help," Amir said.

However, neither Perelis or Amir would name the third party, for fear any publicity would torpedo the deal.

Perelis said that her group, which has supplied disaster relief to 17 countries in the last decade, has been inundated with offers of donations from Israelis for the Bam victims.

"We have been offered equipment, blankets, money and food but we have told the people to wait until we can be sure we can deliver," she said.

The Jerusalem Post daily quoted Latet Director Eran Weintrob as saying that the aid could be sent through an international organization like the International Red Cross or Oxfam.

But both groups said they have no knowledge of any such deal.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, which is coordinating relief efforts in Iran said it hadn't been approached.

"Nobody contacted us to provide a bridge between this group and Iran ," said Rudolf Muller, who is heading the Iran operation at OCHA. "But they may be working through another independent organization - you can't rule that out," he said.

Iranian officials said that more than 25,000 bodies have been recovered since Friday's 6.6-magnitude earthquake shook the city, and some have expressed fears that the death toll could rise as high as 40,000. At least 10,000 were injured.

Latet organizers said they were unconcerned by Iran's pre-emptive refusal of Israeli aid.

"Our obligation is to help when there are humanitarian disasters, to help people in need around the world," Amir said.

"Officially there is an unwillingness to accept Israeli aid," said Amir. "But in a quiet way we are hearing that they would be happy to receive this help," he said.

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Jonathan Peled said that while the government had no connection to any aid project, there were no objections to Israeli groups aiding the Iranians on "a people-to-people basis."

"We have no problems with the Iranian citizens," Peled said, adding that while Israel hadn't officially offered aid, it had sent its condolences to the Iranian people.
19 posted on 12/30/2003 8:39:44 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Messages To The Iranian People

December 30, 2003
The Post and Courier

There's nothing like a massive natural disaster for testing the leadership of a nation's government and its ability to render aid to its people. On that score, the massive earthquake in Iran has tested that nation's theocratic leaders and found them sadly wanting. Three entire days passed before supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mohammad Khatami visited the devastated city of Bam, where at least 25,000 people have died in the worst earthquake recorded in the past decade.

While the ayatollahs were deciding whether to make the 600-mile flight to the once fabled but now flattened city on the ancient Silk Road to the East, aid was arriving from all over the world, but most of all from the West and most of that from the United States -- in Iran aka "The Great Satan." In 1990, when 40,000 Iranians lost their lives in an earthquake, all international aid was refused. This time the relatively moderate President Khatami did make a heart-rending appeal for international help, acknowledging that his government simply could not handle a disaster of such huge proportions.

The United States responded immediately. A Charleston-based C-17 cargo jet left Saturday to pick up medicines and rescue equipment, joining seven U.S. Air Force C-130s that landed in Bam and Kerman, the provincial capital, with disaster teams and relief supplies.

A Reuters news agency reporter said that the residents of Bam welcomed help from any quarter, even the United States, quoting one man who lost his family in the quake as saying, "When our own government cannot help, let the Great Satan help us. We pay taxes and yet in cases like this, there is no one to help us."

Survivors complained that the government failed them and contended that bulldozers were used to clear the rubble when search teams could have saved lives. Criticism was so harsh that late on Monday President Khatami called a full Cabinet meeting for today in Kerman to try to demonstrate that the government is doing its utmost to help. Obviously President Khatami has not forgotten that the inadequate response of the shah to the 1978 quake that killed 15,000 people contributed to his downfall a year later.

Even the state-controlled Iran Daily reported that the high death toll was caused by the government's failure to enforce building codes or learn from previous disasters and noted that the Bam earthquake was about the same intensity of the quake that struck California last week, causing only two deaths.

By immediately offering aid and speeding help to the stricken victims, Washington has sent an important message to the Iranian people that the United States puts humanitarian concern above politics. President Bush was describing the rulers of Iran, not the Iranian people, when he included their nation in the "axis of evil," along with Iraq and North Korea. On a more practical level, the rapid response to the earthquake by the United States sent another important message: democracies handle natural disasters far better than repressive authoritarian regimes.
20 posted on 12/30/2003 8:40:51 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iraqis Should Fasten Their Seatbelts

December 30, 2003
National Review Online
Amir Taheri

With Saddam Hussein under arrest, a power struggle has begun within the remnants of his Baathist regime, Iraqi sources report.

At least three rival groups are positioning themselves to fight for the control of what they call "popular resistance" (al-muqawemmah al-shaabaiyah).

The issue is attracting broader Arab interest with some pan-Arabists, Islamists, and other radical groups focusing on the Iraqi insurgency as the vanguard of a broader struggle against the West led by the United States.

What looks like a consensus is emerging in sections of the Arab media that regarded the toppling of Saddam Hussein as a catastrophe for Arab nationalism. The consensus, set by the antiwar daily Al Quds, published in London, is that Saddam's arrest would enable other "resistants" to come forward and fight "the occupation."

The paper's editor-in-chief, Abdul-Bari Attwan, a British citizen of Palestinian origin, believes that many Iraqis did not fight the Coalition because they did not want to be regarded as Saddam's fedayeen.

"With Saddam out of the picture, the resistance can mobilize all of Iraq's Arab nationalistic energies," Attwan says.


Inside Iraq, however, the power struggle within the insurgency is fought around more mundane issues. At stake is some $400 million in cash that Saddam and his entourage took away from the Iraqi Central Bank in Baghdad on April 8, only hours before the U.S. Marines arrived. (The original sum taken was over $1 billion of which more than half was later found by the GIs in a cache close to the Tigris River.) The fallen regime is also believed to have stashed away billions of dollars in foreign, mostly Swiss, French, and Austrian, banks. Until 2002, these were managed by Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, a half-brother of Saddam who is now believed to be held by the Coalition forces.

The rival groups are also fighting over control of large quantities of weapons that Saddam and his henchmen looted from army depots and barracks last April and May. One of the last orders Saddam gave to his loyalists on April 8 was to "seize and secure" as many weapons as they could. Later, he confirmed the order in an audiotape broadcast by al Jazeera in July. In it he described "all forms of weapons" as "parts of Iraqi national property" and asked his followers to "take as much as you can for safe-keeping." It is not clear whether any weaponized chemical and/or bacteriological substances were included in what was looted by pro-Saddam elements in the first few weeks after the liberation. According to Iraqi sources, however, there are enough arms in secret locations to supply the needs of the insurgency for months if not years.


The three main groups involved in the power struggle are organized along tribal and clan lines covered by a thin veneer of Baathist ideology.

What is possibly the largest group is led by Colonel Hani Abdul-Latif al-Tilfah al-Tikriti, a former head of the Secret Services Organization (SSO) and a cousin of Saddam. Hani and his younger brother Rafi are reportedly trying to maintain the cohesion of what is left of the Tikriti clan that provided Saddam with his principal support base for 30 years. Although both brothers feature in the deck of cards issued by the U.S.-led Coalition, there are indications that they are still able to operate with some freedom within the so-called "Sunni Triangle." Their group includes Sabaawi Ibrahim al-Tikriti, a half brother of Saddam, and Lt. General Tahir Dalil Harboush, a Soviet-trained expert in intelligence.

According to Iraqi sources this group includes several hundred former members of the presidential guard and special commando units once led by the late Qusay Hussein, Saddam's second son.

The nominal head of the second group is Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, who was number-two in Saddam's Revolutionary Command Council (RCC). This group has absorbed the remnants of the Baath party's secret military organization, of which Duri was leader since 1986. It is also possible that some members of the Fedayeen Saddam organization, led by the deposed dictator's eldest son, the late Uday Hussein, have rallied to the group.

The Coalition has identified Duri as the ultimate leader of the current insurgency. But most Iraqi sources reject that hypothesis. Duri has been seriously ill for years. In fact, in the year 2000, he received treatment for leukemia in Austria. What is more probable is that is that one faction is using Duri's name, and prestige as Saddam's closest aide for 20 years, to deny the Tikriti faction exclusive control over the remnants of the party and regime.

According to Iraqi and other Arab sources the faction built around Duri is, in fact, led by Major-General Seyfallah Hassan Taha al-Rawi, a former chief of staff of he presidential guard. The Rawi clan has a long history of uneasy relations with Saddam's Tikriti clan.

In the 1970s one of the al-Rawis, General Abdul-Ghani, defected to Iran, provoking revenge killings ordered by Saddam against the clan. The blood feud ended in 1990 when Saddam promoted several al-Rawi officers in a bid to weaken another rival clan, the Juburis. Two cousins, Muhammad Zamam Abdul-Razzaq al-Saadoun and Abdel-Baqi Abdelkarim Abdallah al-Saadoun are believed to be the group's major contact men with various Sunni Arab tribes, especially in regions close to the Syrian border.

The third group could be described as the civilian wing of the insurgency and presents itself as "the true Baath." It is led by Muhsin Khudhair al-Khafji who has just declared himself president of the Iraqi section of the pan-Arab Socialist Baath party.

A former security officer, al-Khafji who spent some time studying in France, is clearly trying to provoke bloody clashes between Iraqi civilians and the occupation forces in Baghdad and some of its Sunni suburbs in the west and north.

The civilian wing of the Baath can count on scores of businesses and associations that acted as facades for its presence in all walks of Iraqi life. The nature of these businesses and those who ran them would be known to very few individuals, including Saddam himself.

Last week al-Khafji succeeded in setting up website, possibly with the help of Baathist elements in Algeria. He also seems to have restored contacts with Baath-party branches created by Iraq in Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Morocco.

Al-Khafji has also maintained contacts with more than a dozen non-Iraqi, mostly Palestinian, terrorists, and guerrilla organizations that Saddam had financed and supported over the years. His contact man with some of those groups is one Khamis Sarhan al-Muhammad, once head of the Baath branch in Karbala, in central Iraq.

The group's principal contact man with the tribes is believed to be Rashid Maan Kadhim who was last seen in the Mosul area in June.

In a statement published Monday, al-Khafji claimed that Saddam's capture had been the result of "betrayal by mercenaries." The statement claimed that Saddam Hussein remained secretary general of the pan-Arab Baath party which has branches in eleven Arab countries. (One rival branch of the Baath is in power in Syria.)

It is not clear who the "mercenaries" mentioned in the statement are. But some Iraqis see a broad hint that the al-Rawi clan is the target of the accusation. This is because it was information provided by one of the al-Rawis, captured by the U.S., that ostensibly led to the discovery of the hole where Saddam was hiding.

The "true Baath" group is trying to patch up relations with Syria, mostly through contacts in Europe. It wants Damascus to agree to a reunification of the Baathist movement throughout the Arab world, and throw its support behind a campaign to end the occupation of Iraq. Syria would love to regain control of the pan-Arab Baath movement, which it lost in the 1970s largely because of Saddam's rising power in Baghdad. Syria's President Bashar al-Assad still claims to be the nominal leader of all branches of the Baath party in the Arab world, including Iraq. But it is not clear whether he would wish to risk a confrontation with the US by actually taking the remnants of the Iraqi Baath into his tent.


Differences among the three groups over the strategy to pursue have become clearer in the past two weeks.

The so-called "true Baath" group favors a strategy of urban guerrilla by small units plus civil disobedience by groups still loyal to the party. It hopes that, at some point, it would force the coalition, or the transitional government that is to be installed next June, to seek some accommodation with it. This strategy is based on Baath's experience over more than half a century. On several occasions the Baath was formally banned in Iraq and had to go underground. Each time it managed to re-emerge thanks to a campaign of violence while its political enemies were divided among themselves. Each time the Baath allied itself with whichever faction it deemed necessary in order to strike against others and gain a share of power. The Iraqi Baath party has changed alliances many times, from Communists to Islamists and passing by Nasserists and nationalists.

Al-Khafji and his theoreticians hope that history will repeat itself and that the enemies of the Baathists will soon start fighting one another, enabling the party to rebuild itself and reemerge as a force that could tip the balance one way or another.

For its part, the Tikriti clan appears intent on organizing sporadic attacks on the Coalition in the hope of killing as many American soldiers as possible. It appears to have succeeded in creating several operational units, some consisting of up to 25 men. The clan is in a strong position because it is believed to control the bulk of the money stolen on Saddam's orders plus secret funds controlled by various security organizations.

The clan rejects the strategy of the "true Baath" as one that is based on an illusion. The U.S.-led Coalition has announced the dissolution of the Iraqi Baath and is unlikely to allow it to re-emerge in any form anytime soon.

Although the remnants of the Iraqi Baath may enjoy some sympathy in Moscow and Paris it is unlikely that demands made by Russia and France for a "broad-based government in Baghdad" would extend to them. Nor could one imagine the new Iraqi transitional government, expected to be sworn in next June, allowing the Baath party to rebuild itself in any form.

The al-Rawi clan is apparently trying to rally some tribal elements, especially within the areas controlled by the Duwailim and the al-Shamar tribal confederations in the Sunni areas. It believes that, by playing the tribal card, it would gain a place at the negotiating table over the shape of the new Iraq.

The situation is further complicated by the presence of half a dozen other groups, some of them consisting almost entirely of non-Iraqi Islamist militants, who have their own agendas and pursue their own strategies.

The largest of these groups is known as Ansar al-Sunnah (Victorious Soldiers of Tradition) and is close to the religious leaders in Fallujah and Baaquba.

Another group is known as Lajnat al-Iman (the Committee of the Faith) which has a presence in Baghdad and Mosul. Both include non-Iraqi militants and have contacts with pan-Islamist movements in other Arab countries, notably Algeria and Saudi Arabia. The use of car bombs, a Lebanese specialty, in the current campaign of violence may indicate a Lebanese presence in one or both of these groups. Some elements of the Ansar al-Islam (Victorious Soldiers of Islam), a group with close ties to al Qaeda, are also present in the Sunni Triangle, although their importance has been widely exaggerated by the Americans.

Also operating in the context of the instability that prevails in the Sunni Triangle are mafia-style groups that once controlled the black market created by United Nations sanctions. These groups have absorbed some of the criminals who Saddam released from prison on the eve of his own downfall. These gangs pursue no particular political agenda and switch alliances from one former Baathist outfit to another.

The Coalition cannot deal with all these groups in exactly the same way. Different tactics and strategies are needed to take into account the specific form of threat each poses. Some groups must be regarded as terrorists and hunted down without mercy. There are also individuals who must be captured and tried for crimes against humanity. But there are also groups and/or individuals who could be treated politically. These include Sunni mullahs, tribal leaders, and even some members of the Baath party who have not been personally involved in criminal activities.

A mixture of patient police work, tough counter-insurgency action, and deft political maneuvering is needed to help Iraq negotiate the dangerous phase of the transition in the next few months.

With Saddam in the can, the situation in Iraq may get more complicated, at least for a while. The idea is to fasten seatbelts for the bumpy road ahead. With the head of the snake chopped off the rest of it will also be destroyed. What is needed is patience and resolve.

Amir Taheri is a NRO contributor, Iranian author of ten books on the Middle East and Islam. He's reachable through
21 posted on 12/30/2003 8:43:24 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's Political Quake

December 30, 2003
New York Post
Amir Taheri

IT may take months before we know the exact number of people who died during the recent earthquake in Bam, south-eastern Iran. The authorities have cited the figure of 30,000 dead and more than 50,000 injured. Local sources, however, speak of double those numbers.

It would take weeks before all the affected small towns and villages, numbering in hundreds, are reached. The hasty burial of corpses in mass graves renders any exact estimates that much more difficult. Also, thousands of people who have lost their homes are already leaving the region in search of temporary or permanent refuge elsewhere in the province.

One thing is certain: The earthquake has dealt a serious blow to the dwindling fortunes of the so-called pro-reform coalition led by President Muhammad Khatami. The anger it has provoked throughout the country is unlikely to ebb soon.

It may, in fact, overshadow the general election that is now less than two months away. What is already known as "the Bam effect" could produce either a mass boycott of the polls or an unexpected victory for the more hard-line Khomeinists who insist that Khatami's talk of reform has led the country into an impasse.

Khatami was able to take the measure of things himself when he was booed and boycotted during his whirlwind visit to the stricken regions four days after the quake. In fact, he had to cancel the best part of his program because the local authorities could not ensure his security. At least two of Khatami's ministers, visiting the affected areas, narrowly escaped being beaten up by angry survivors.

To be sure, blaming Khatami for a natural disaster is unfair. But he represents a regime that, to many Iranians, is at least partially responsible for the tragedy.

The ancient city of Bam, the epicenter of the quake, has a long history of destruction. It was first destroyed in an earthquake almost 1,900 years ago. But such is the unexplainable magnetism of Bam that, almost eight centuries later, it had become an important trading center with a cosmopolitan population of Muslims, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians.

The city was again almost totally razed by an earthquake in 1911. But by the 1930s it had reemerged as a trading center and a producer of dates and pistachios. Then came other earthquakes in 1950 and 1966.

By the early 1970s, the government had decided not to allow people to build new houses in Bam itself. The city's ancient monuments were declared part of the heritage of mankind under UNESCO and no new buildings permits were issued for almost six years.

The revolutionary turmoil of 1978-79 provided racketeers with an opportunity to seize large chunks of land in Bam and use it for poorly designed and badly constructed houses and shops. The racket was backed by a group of powerful mullahs who, in exchange for a cut in the proceeds, issued fatwas (religious opinions) that canceled government orders that banned house-building in the city.

The mullahs claimed that the shah had wished to keep Bam empty because of a secret plan under which the city would be turned into a Zoroastrian center. They also dismissed warnings from the National Seismological Center in Tehran that opposed the repopulation of Bam. The mullahs claimed that the Hidden Imam would protect the new inhabitants of the city against all disasters.

Thus, more than half of those who died in the earthquake could be regarded as victims of a racket ran by mullahs and their associates with the help of religious prejudice and superstition.

Most Iranians knew nothing of the racket that the earthquake has exposed. The discovery that so many people died because cynical developers and bribe-taking mullahs sought a fast buck has sent a shock wave throughout the country.

The earthquake has also revealed the abject poverty of parts of Iran. Bam and most of its satellite towns and village lacked the minimum infrastructure of urban and rural life in the 21st century. There were only 250 hospital beds and 31 doctors for a population of over 150,000. The region's one small airport could not take in even medium-sized aircraft bringing in relief. And when relief arrived, there were no vehicles and certainly no roads to carry them to those most in need.

That level of poverty, often associated with sub-Saharan African states, comes as a shock when it is observed in an oil-rich country like Iran. A nation that has earned almost $500 billion in oil revenues alone in the past 25 years finds it hard to believe that some of its regions were as undeveloped as Burkina Faso.

The earthquake also focuses attention on the nuclear power plant that Iran is building on the Bushehr Peninsula. The plant is on the same geological fault line that destroyed Bam. Each year, thousands of tremors of various degrees of intensity are recorded on that fault line.

Bushehr itself has thrice been destroyed by earthquake in recent times (1877, 1911 and 1962). It is not hard to imagine what an earthquake that destroys a nuclear power plant could do to the entire Persian Gulf area.

The Germans who designed the Bushehr plant and the Russians who are building it assure everyone that it could withstand tremors of up to 7.2 on the Richter scale. That is almost one degree higher than the tremor that destroyed Bam. Also, the available historical data show that the region has not known tremors of more than 7 on the Richter scale. But there is no guarantee that a higher-intensity tremor will not strike in the future.

The Persian Gulf, through which passes almost half of the world's imported crude oil, is a shallow body of water that consists entirely of the continental shelf. (On average it does not go deeper than 90 meters). The destruction of a nuclear plant by earthquake in so shallow and narrow a waterway could create a disaster many times larger than that of Chernobyl. It would affect eight coastal countries directly, while dealing a severe blow to world trade by halting oil exports for months if not years.

The Bushehr plant may have made some sinister sense under Iran's program to develop nuclear weapons. Last month, however, Tehran announced that it had suspended that program and would open the country to meaningful inspection of all its nuclear sites in the future.

If the Tehran leadership is sincere, it must also review the necessity of building the plant at Bushehr. All the economic and political arguments are against the completion of the plant. The Bam earthquake has added a scientific argument: Iran should do nothing that could produce the world's biggest nuclear disaster if and when earthquake strikes Bushehr again.

22 posted on 12/30/2003 8:44:32 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Now Wait For The Political Tremors

December 30, 2003
The Economist
The Economist print edition

Disaster could hardly have struck at a worse time or taken a less anticipated form. Before dawn on December 26th, a Friday, the Muslim day of rest, the sleeping town of Bam was all but razed by an earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale. More than one-third of the town’s 80,000 inhabitants were killed, either immediately, or later in the rubble of their homes. The authorities were ill-prepared. It was Bam’s first big quake in a millennium.

New and old, public and private, the buildings of Bam had one thing in common: their disregard for anti-earthquake regulations. Even the swankiest homes collapsed: the governor was the only senior official to survive. Two hospitals were destroyed. Prisoners fled a wrecked jail on the edge of the town. One man, forewarned by a subterranean rumbling, had spent the night in his car. He survived but lost about 40 relations. Fearing after-shocks, survivors clogged the road to Kerman, the provincial capital.

In Tehran, Iran’s capital, more than 1,000km (621 miles) north-west, sclerotic state organs lumbered into action. The Iranian Red Crescent was hindered by the concentration of its stores and people in the quake-prone north. As a result, thousands of survivors in Bam spent two freezing nights without the tents they had been promised. The few bulldozers that arrived promptly to sift through the rubble stopped working at nightfall. Most “rescue” operations were in fact exhumations by the bereaved, using their bare hands.

On the whole, the Iranians seemed unable to co-ordinate the emergency teams that were dispatched from 26-odd countries, including the United States, the Islamic republic’s bitter enemy. Would-be rescuers were stuck in their own countries, while the Iranians got around to issuing them with formal invitations. When they arrived at Bam’s tiny airport, no one was on hand to guide them to those parts of the town where they would be of most help.

On Sunday evening, as supplies rolled belatedly into Bam, the authorities abandoned hope of finding more survivors, and foreign helpers prepared to go home. The interior minister said that more than 15,000 bodies had been buried; by Tuesday an official said the final death toll would exceed 28,000, though it was unclear whether that figure included the many casualties in villages nearby.

For a few days, the reformist supporters of President Muhammad Khatami and their rivals in the clerical establishment, which rallies around Iran’s “supreme leader”, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, gave up their vicious politicking. In scenes reminiscent of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, ordinary Iranians responded to the disaster by piling up food and clothes at collection points across the country.

In a trip to Bam on Monday, Mr Khamenei pledged that the town would be rebuilt, “stronger than ever”. That would be some feat. The town lost its Persian-speaking middle class long ago, to gradual migration. It, in turn, was replaced by tribal Baluchis, whom Persians tend to look on with distaste, partly for their reputation as traffickers of drugs.

More recently, the authorities tried to develop Bam by rebuilding the ancient town as a tourist attraction and by building a car factory on the edge of the desert. The plant still stands but the celebrated mud-brick citadel was ruined in the quake. As for the palms that produce Bam’s famously succulent dates, they survived. But the underwater channels that irrigated them may have collapsed.

Iran’s brief unity may not engender lasting good sense. Bam is too distant, its concerns too peripheral, for its agony to have much effect on building techniques in vulnerable cities like Tehran, where developers and regulators pay scant attention to best practice.

But the catastrophe may have one benign effect: a lessening of the Islamic republic’s distrust of foreigners. That distrust was evident in 1990, when the Iranians turned down many offers of outside help in the aftermath of a previous catastrophic quake and officials denounced sniffer dogs as “unclean”. Mr Khatami, in recent days, has showed no such qualms, appealing for help from all bar Israel. Some people in Bam were rescued thanks to the once-reviled canines.

Mr Khatami’s conservative rivals have mixed feelings about foreign help. During his trip to the area, the supreme leader did not deign to mention the mainly western countries that had rushed to Iran’s aid, let alone thank the rescuers in person. That is not untypical of Iran’s stand-offish conservatives. Last Friday, while survivors of the disaster surveyed the wreckage of their lives, Mr Khamenei found time to extol at length the merits of making the pilgrimage to Mecca.
29 posted on 12/30/2003 3:03:31 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Sharon to Convene Ministers to Discuss Iran's Nuke

December 30, 2003
Aluf Benn

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will convene a special ministerial forum on Wednesday to discuss Iran’s agreeing to expand international monitoring on its nuclear facilities.

The ministers are expected to focus on Israel’s possible options in wake of the decision, to insure that Iran live up to its commitments.

The ministers taking part in the meeting will be Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, Minister of Industry and Trade Ehud Olmert, Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Justice Minister Yosef Lapid and Minister without portfolio Uzi Landau.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Tuesday in an interview to the “Washington Post” daily that recent conciliatory moves by Iran could lead to restoring a dialogue between the two countries.

Political sources in Jerusalem said on Tuesday that Israel is not considering softening its policies towards Iran.
30 posted on 12/30/2003 3:04:15 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
UN Agencies Say More Cash Donations Needed for Relief in Iran

December 30, 2003
UN News Center
UN News

With United Nations relief agencies having already contributed $500,000 from their emergency funds to help the victims of last week’s massive earthquake in Bam, Iran, a senior UN official said today more donations are needed to help the ongoing humanitarian operation.

“We badly need cash grants,” Rashid Khalikov, Deputy Director of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said at a press conference in Geneva.

Mr. Khalikov said the UN is coordinating 34 search and rescue teams in Bam from 30 countries, as well as the relief supplies that are pouring in. “Relief items continue to arrive [at] the airports, both in Bam and Karman, [and they] have been used to capacity, and we are approaching the stage that it is very difficult to accommodate incoming aircraft,” he said.

The UN is working with the Government of Iran to identify further needs, Mr. Khalikov added, such as shelter in the form of tents and plastic sheeting, as well as heaters to stave off the freezing temperatures.

According to initial estimates, the earthquake killed 20,000 people, injured 30,000 others and left 70,000 people homeless – of whom some 40,000 are still living on the streets. The death toll could top 50,000.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today called for nearly $1 million in emergency funds to help children who survived last week’s earthquake.

“Tens of thousands of children watched their world crumble around them," UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said. “Their needs are vast and urgent – everything from food, clean water, and shelter from the cold to assistance finding relatives and overcoming the trauma of the experience.”

The flash appeal for $990,000 is intended to help UNICEF ensure the availability of clean water and sanitation facilities; provide emergency health kits, essential medicines, basic clinical and obstetric equipment and emergency shelter and blankets; identify children who have been separated from their families and reunite them with surviving relatives; assist with trauma; and establish schools and other safe environments for children.

The agency has already flown in over 400 “school-in-a-box” kits, which each enable teachers to educate up to 80 students in the absence of outside structures. Ensuring ongoing learning is a key way to restore a sense of normalcy among children, and UNICEF pledged to focus its attention on this goal once immediate survival needs are met.
31 posted on 12/30/2003 3:05:00 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn


President Mohammad Khatami of Iran on Tuesday cold shouldered new American overtures to Iran by repeating that nothing would change in Iran-US relations until Washington changed "basically" its policy and repeated past mistakes.

Speaking to reporters in Kerman, the Capital city of the Province of the same name where is also situated the old city of Bam that was destroyed by a strong earth shake early Friday, the powerless Khatami was answering questions about the possible warming of relations between the two nations following U.S. aid to earthquake victims.

Mr. Khatami welcomed the relief assistance dispatched by the United States but said this must not be mixed with political considerations.

"I don't think this incident will change our relations with the United States", Khatami added, referring to the US Foreign Affairs Minister Collin Powell telling "The Washington Post" on Tuesday that Washington was open to restoring a dialogue with Iran after "encouraging" moves by the Islamic Republic in recent months, including Iran's willingness to accept U.S. aid for the people of Bam, where officials say up to 50,000 people may have been killed.

Since Washington cut off all relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran on November 1979, American military planes landed in Iran, bringing tons of much needed foodstuff, drinking water and light equipments.

Though the American help was much less important compared to that provided by most of other nations that came to the rescue of the grieved people, but it captured the attention of the international media that coined it as "earthquake diplomacy".

"There are things happening and therefore we should keep open the possibility of dialogue at an appropriate point in the future", Powell said.

"In incidents like this governments normally do not consider their differences", Khatami observed, adding, "This has got nothing to do with political issues. The problems in Iran-U.S. relations are rooted in history".

"Nevertheless, I thank all...those who helped us and showed sympathy despite our different viewpoints", he said.

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami’s meetings with Jordan's King Abdullah and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak have encouraged U.S. officials.

In two meetings since with Bush, King Abdollah II of Jordan who has visited Tehran has pressed Washington to consider resuming talks to Iran under U.N. auspices, officials said.

"All of those things taken together show, it seems to me, a new attitude in Iran in dealing with these issues -- not one of total, open generosity, said Powell told The Washington Post".

But President Khatami said Iran couldn’t trust the statement. "The Americans want to change our regime and at the same time they want to talk to us. Besides, the Americans say a lot of nonsense and when they make sense, often they are not accompanied by deeds, if they do not go on the oppsite. Dialogue for what, if there is no trust and so far, the Americans have done nothing rebuilding confidence", he pointed out.

President Bush last year included Iran along with North Korea and Iraq under the former dictator Saddam Hoseyn in an "axis of evil" that is developing nuclear and chemical weapons and supporting terrorist groups.

"The world is a world of terror, violence and war," he said. "Yet beyond all that a spirit of humanity and kindness is alive. Foreigners came (to Iran) during their holidays and festive season and worked alongside our people. This should be lauded."

Meanwhile, as all hopes to find survivors, Iranian and international relief officials said actions must now be directed towards sheltering people from the freezing cold and preventing diseases to spread.

However, a young Swiss man who was in the city when the earthquake took place and was rescued in his hotel with two other friends thanked the local people. "Though they had lost everything, but the people treated us as if we also were from Bam, giving us hot drink and food they needed themselves", he told a French journalist.

Mr. Khatami put the number of dead people at over 28.000, but others said the toll could reach 30.000 and more.

As Mr. Khatami promised to rebuild Bam and its landmark, the "Arg", a fortress dating to more than 2.000 years ago its past glory, most journalists and international relief officials said the situation was getting "more under control".

"Security is restored. There is a semblance of coordination with the Iranian authorities who control better the situation. Electricity is coming back, though slowly and many injured are treated in field hospitals", one official from the International Red Cross said.

33 posted on 12/30/2003 3:34:30 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
White House - No Change in US Policy on Iran

December 31, 2003
Ample News

CRAWFORD, Texas -- The US' policy towards Iran has not changed, a White House spokesman said Tuesday, adding that a lasting thaw in US-Iran ties requires Tehran to address US worries over Iran's support for terrorism and pursuit of unconventional weapons.

Spokesman Trent Duffy downplayed talk of warming relations after Washington sent aid to Iran following the devastating earthquake in Bam, saying "the US has a clear and consistent policy towards Iran and that policy is not changed."

"We have made clear to the Iranian government on many occasions our grave concerns regarding its support for terrorism, pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and other activities," he told reporters.

"The Iranians are well aware of the steps we look to them to overcome these concerns," he said as US President George W. Bush planned to usher in the new year at his ranch near this tiny Texas town.

Asked about remarks by US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who hinted that dialogue broken off after Iran's 1979 revolution could emerge from the ruins of the Bam earthquake, the spokesman denied any inconsistency in policy.

"Our policy remains that we're willing to engage with Iran on specific issues of mutual concern and in an appropriate manner if and when the president decides it is in the interests of the United States to do so," said Duffy.

"Secretary Powell was expressing the views the president expressed, that the future of Iran will be decided by the people of Iran," he said.
36 posted on 12/30/2003 7:40:06 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Rebuff of Israel Angers Iranians

December 29, 2003
The New York Sun
Benni AvniVNI

Many Iranians are outraged with their government’s handling of the devastating earthquake - which claimed at least 22,000 victims - criticizing everything from the slow reaction by the leadership to its refusal to accept Israeli aid.

"The citizens displayed good spirit but the leadership was absent," wrote the Iranian newspaper Shargh yesterday in a typical, but unprecedented, rebuke of the mullah regime.

Although the government has under its command half a million Revolutionary Guards and 2 million Bassij volunteers, and though the military is equipped with heavy machinery like bulldozers and earth-moving vehicles, Shargh added in an editorial, it was the ordinary citizens who had to dig "with their fingernails" into the ground to find any survivors.

"All our callers from Iran yesterday opened their remarks with criticism of the government," Menashe Amir, who heads Israel Radio’s Farsi broadcasting arm, told The New York Sun. "They all were also extremely complimentary of Israel."

Israel, which has vast experience in rescue operations, was the only nation excluded by Iran from joining the international humanitarian effort around the city of Bam, where the death toll continues to climb.

Israelis nevertheless set up bank accounts for donations that would be transferred to Iran through third parties.

The latest government death toll stood yesterday at 22,000, but rescue experts said they expected the numbers to reach at least 30,000.The leader of an Iranian relief team, Ahmad Najafi, told the Associated Press the toll could reach 40,000.

Mr. Amir noted that, decades later, previous earthquakes in Iran still don’t have reliable casualty estimates, and that the numbers in this case would probably will never be known.

Part of the problem, he said, was that the government, slow to react in the first place, and set up its rescue teams where most of the foreign press was concentrated, the city of Bam. Neighboring villages were left unattended, with the casualties uncounted.

International aid continued to pour into Bam yesterday. Rescuers and aid came from 35 nations, including America, despite Washington’s strong political differences with the regime it considers part of the "axis of evil." America was expected to send 75 tons of medical supplies and about 200 rescue and medical experts, officials said.

"The reception was beyond expectations," Air Force Master Sergeant Jeff Bohn, who was on the first American plane to land in Iran in over a decade, told Associated Press."The warmth that the Iranian military and civil aviation workers gave us was truly incredible."

"Everyone is doing their best to help, but the disaster is so huge that I believe no matter how much is done we cannot meet the people’s expectations," said President Hatami, who has been criticized by many Iranians for his own failure to appear at the earthquake site.

But not all foreign aid was welcome. A spokesman for the interior ministry said that unlike in an earthquake a decade ago, when Iran refused Western aid, this time it would accept aid from all. But he added that would not include "the Zionist entity."

The interior minister, Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari, told the AP that Iran accepted U.S. government help and not Israeli help because Tehran considers America a legitimate government, but opposes Israel for its actions against Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel "is a force of occupation," he said. As for Americans, Mr. Lari said. "I believe it is possible that they have a humanitarian sensibility in such a dramatic situation."

In a statement issued in Jerusalem, the foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, said Israel sent condolences to the people of Iran, adding that in moments like this the entire international community should help.

A spokesman for the United Nations team responsible for coordinating international effort, Alain Pasche, refused to directly refer to Israel’s rebuffed help offer. But he told the Hebrew Web site, Y-Net, that after two days on the ground he senses "a huge difference between the authorities and the citizens," on that and other issues.

Mr. Amir, who beams his radio show in Farsi from Jerusalem in a broadcast that has become extremely popular in Iran, told the Sun the failure of the regime to deal with the earthquake dominated the calls in his call-in show yesterday.

The failure of the government to accept aid from Israel was emblematic of the public’s anger at the government, he added.

Some callers were sarcastic, saying, "Why should Iran ask for international aid, when it was going to turn the money to Palestinian terrorists anyway," Mr. Amir said. Others simply extolled Israel as an enlightened nation offering help to the Iranian people.

An avid follower of internal Iranian trends, Mr. Amir said that the amount of criticism in the Iranian press in the wake of the earthquake was unprecedented.

Iranian papers compared last week’s California’s earthquake, which was almost as powerful but resulted in two casualties, to the tens of thousands dead Iranians. Others criticized Mr. Hatami for failing to appear at the scene. Yesterday, Mr. Hatami appeared on national TV, "begging for forgiveness," according to Mr. Amir. The president noted that he sent no less than five cabinet ministers to Bam.

But Mr. Amir doubts that the public anger, though more vocal than ever in the past, would turn the physical earthquake into a political one.

"The government failure is clear to all," he said. "But this dictatorial regime has a strong hold over the country,and this event would not remove it."

Also yesterday, an Iranian navy helicopter crashed 30 miles southwest of Bam after delivering tents and blankets,the regional governor’s office said. All three crewmen were killed, he said. The AP also reported that looters grabbed food from warehouses and grocery shops.

DEVASTATION A man carries a child who was killed after their home collapsed in a massive earthquake that hit Bam, Iran, killing tens of thousands.

37 posted on 12/30/2003 7:41:09 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”

43 posted on 12/31/2003 12:18:20 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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