Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; nuconvert; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; onyx; Pro-Bush; BlackVeil; ...
Devaluing Arab WMDs

By George Perkovich/Avner Cohen
January 19, 2004
The Washington Times

The Bush and Blair administrations have made enormous strides in either forcing or persuading these major Middle Eastern states to step toward abandoning nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs. Whether or not Iraq actually possessed these weapons, Washington and London's determination to remove doubts made other regional leaders question the cost-benefit trade-off in their own weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs.

To thwart the WMD programs of all three countries is already an impressive achievement. Other Arab power centers in the region — Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt — are all carefully watching this dramatic reversal. It has the potential to trigger new regional dynamics that would devalue WMD. These dynamics are not the result of a fruitful process of multilateral arms control, like the one that started and stalled in the 1990s, but are largely a reaction to American hegemony.

But implementing Libya's disarmament decision and persuading Iran's factious government to permanently abandon nuclear weapon production capabilities requires more than coercion. Both countries will want a phased process of reciprocal inducements, leading to a removal of U.S. and international economic sanctions. No less important, Iran, along with Libya and other Arab states, also wants fairness. These states and their populations have repeatedly invoked with disdain the double standard by which Israel's possession of nuclear, chemical and perhaps biological weapons is tolerated.

Israel's leadership and media have recognized this, to their credit, even if Washington officials and think tanks still shy from acknowledging it. Since Libya and the United States and Britain announced the agreement to roll back Libya's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons capabilities, Israelis have begun to debate how their government can contribute to the process. The Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, in what some noted as veiled rebuke of governmental silence, referred publicly to the Libyan move as "serious, very serious." He noted that this could be part of a "domino effect" following the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and that combined with Iran's agreement last month to accept additional nuclear inspections, it had created the beginnings of a changed regional landscape and lowered the strategic threats facing Israel.

Indeed, over the New Year, the Israeli inner cabinet was convened by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to review these developments and to consider whether and how Israel should contribute to the dynamics. While there is a national consensus in Israel that the nuclear issue is non-negotiable at the present time — prior to comprehensive regional peace — there are voices in Israel, in and out of government, saying that the nation should join the process of banning WMD in a meaningful way.

Israel possesses nuclear weapons, not for prestige or offensive purposes, but solely to deter against threats to its existence. Yet, over the long-term, Israel's arsenal of taboo weapons will prompt its adversaries to seek countervailing capabilities that could test the durability of deterrence. Strategically, Israel would be better off in a region where no one possessed any weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, Israeli leaders have acknowledged this by endorsing annually at the United Nations, for the last two decades, the idea of making the Middle East a zone free of all WMD. Israel insists, however, that peace should precede disarmament.

The surprise Libyan disarmament announcement, following the removal of Saddam Hussein and the cornering of Iran's nuclear program, creates a unique opportunity to augment momentum toward the distant goal of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East. Elimination of Syria's large arsenal of chemical and biological weapons should be the next target of the Bush administration. Syria is actively seeking better relations with the United States, but unlike Libya, Syria would not do it unilaterally. Israel would have to be part of the deal.

Israel signed, but has not ratified, the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention. Israel has never signed the largely symbolic 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, nor did it ever explain the reasons behind its abstinence. It is time for Israel to show its good will by explicitly joining the ban over these two categories of WMD. On the nuclear issue, not to be forgotten, Israel should also find a way to engage more actively with the nonproliferation regime, even though it is clear that it cannot sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty itself.

Much more remains to be done in a campaign that ultimately will be measured in decades rather than years. But each of the steps along the process will be eased if Arab and Iranian societies see that Israel too acknowledges that its own arsenal is part of the problem.
The United States, as chief cop on the block and Israel's main protector, also must demonstrate fairness. The Iranian and Arab polities crave fairness as they perceive it has been denied to them. Their perceptions may be debatable, and Israel's existential security cannot be traded away, but some Israeli contribution to regional disarmament is imperative.
7 posted on 01/19/2004 5:20:27 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Is there any truth in that, senor?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies ]

To: All
Iran’s fading traditions

Monday January 19, 2004
The Star, Malaysia

IT’S A TIME honoured tradition on wedding days in Iran’s countryside. Radiant in her white wedding dress, the bride arrives at her new home on a richly decorated horse. The groom welcomes her by taking a pomegranate – long a symbol to Iranians of a healthy and happy life – and smashing it against the wall before she steps through the doorway.

Then, at a joyous party, comes the day’s fateful moment in male-dominated Iran. The couple retires to the bedroom, with women relatives waiting outside until a bloodied handkerchief – proof of the bride’s virginity – is passed through the door.

Shouts and whistles erupt at the party, and everyone joins folk dances that continue late into the night. Some men and women dance opposite each other – a challenge to Islamic strictures against public mixing of the sexes – but the couples never touch and the women are veiled. Young men gawk at the dancing girls, hoping to spot future brides.

Yet times are changing in this country where conservative Islamic clerics have held sway since Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was ousted in 1979. In the cities, and even some rural areas, couples are drifting away from the traditions seen at this recent wedding in Baghejar, a village near the fast-growing city of Sabzevar, about 700km east of Tehran.

Urban brides are more likely to take limousines to the wedding party, followed by a parade of cars full of friends and relatives. Any dancing is private, away from prying eyes.

And rarely do families ask for public proof of virginity. It’s considered a private matter, though almost all grooms insist their brides have no sexual experience before the wedding night.

Even talk of sex is taboo in Iran, where strict Islamic rules allow little socialising between the sexes. Young Iranians have been jailed and flogged just for dancing together at birthday parties.

Not only wedding traditions are changing. With more people acquiring illegal satellite TV dishes – bringing them glimpses of life elsewhere – social changes have sped up.

Birth control is available under Iran’s programme to cut a burgeoning birth rate, and more women are breaking the rules against premarital sex. Some have simple surgery to rebuild their hymens before marriage.

“A cultural genocide is taking place in Iran. Wedding ceremonies have changed because it has lost its previous significance,” says Mahdis Kamkar, a psychiatrist in Tehran who criticises the liberalisation.

Kamkar says Iran’s younger generation no longer views marriage as a sacred contract. “Lack of trust and commitment to married life are among the reasons for traditional values disappearing,” she says.

A Tehran physician who specialises in the hymen operation says she performs the surgery three or four times a week. She agreed to discuss the procedure only if granted anonymity because it is illegal in Iran.

Some women who have had the operation say they lost their virginity because of incest or rape, but many concede they simply had sex with boyfriends.

“I couldn’t wait for years having no sex until I get a husband. You never know when you die. I didn’t want to die before experiencing sex,” says Nazanin, 17, who declined to reveal her family name.

Kamkar, the psychiatrist, calls such attitudes a “behavioral disease” that Iranians are catching from Western culture. “Unfortunately, it’s spreading like flu. The young generation breaks cultural taboos partly as a sign of modernism,” she says.

Sociologist Shahla Ezazi, however, says only a small number of Iranian women have sex before marriage and adds that almost all men insist on their brides being virgins. “In Iran’s religious society, men like to have sex before marriage but never want their wife to have experienced the same,” Ezazi says.

More than half of Iran’s estimated 67 million people are younger than 30. By government estimate, more than 1 million women of marriageable age will remain without husbands in the next five years.

“Some girls ignore the taboo and have sex because they have no hope to get a husband,” Ezazi says.
8 posted on 01/19/2004 5:22:59 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Is there any truth in that, senor?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies ]

To: F14 Pilot; dennisw
Israel has been threatened with destruction by its neighbors since 1948. It is the sole democracy and ally of the U.S. in the region.

Syria remains a terrorist state--as is Iran. These two are vocal, vehement enemies of the U.S., and tyrannies to boot.

There is no peace sans the aggressive use of force; hence Palestinians continue to wage a war of terror absent a good ass-kicking.

When composing odes to some rapturous treaty-induced peace, be sure to include a line of tribute to the Treaty of Versailles.

Which, together with the Naval Treaty, did precisely nothing to prevent World War II.

The main incentive to not having WMDs is that the U.S. will come in and make sure you do not--not some document with ribbons and seals.

32 posted on 01/19/2004 6:52:51 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies ]

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson