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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 03/21/2004 9:02:03 PM 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 03/21/2004 9:05:12 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
ElBaradei: Nuclear Probers Still Dubious On Iran Plans

March 21, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency said Sunday that its inspectors remain skeptical about the intentions of Iran's nuclear program because of Tehran's past secrecy.

Mohammed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, urged Iran to be completely "transparent" about its nuclear program if it wants to clear itself of suspicions that it is developing nuclear weapons.

ElBaradei said the IAEA has made "very good progress" in learning details of the Iranian nuclear program.

"Iran has agreed to fully suspend its enrichment program as a confidence-building measure, so we have to acknowledge we have made a good headway along our effort to make sure that Iran's program is completely for peaceful purposes," said ElBaradei, in an interview on CNN's "Late Edition."

However, ElBaradei said Iran hasn't yet been able to remove all doubts because "we have discovered...that this is a sophisticated program, it's an extensive program and it's a program that has been undeclared for over 15 years."

"There's still a lot of skepticism that something might still be hidden," he added. "The fact that they have not declared to us some of the R&D lately has increased that skepticism."

ElBaradei said he hoped to visit Iran in the next couple of weeks.

He said he intended "to make it very clear to them that transparency is an absolute key if they want to clear their name, and for us to be able to conclude that the program is completely for peaceful purposes."

Earlier this month, Iran barred U.N. nuclear inspections for two weeks after the IAEA adopted a resolution deploring recent discoveries of uranium enrichment equipment and other suspicious activities that Tehran had failed to reveal. However, Iran later agreed to allow the inspections to resume March 27.

ElBaradei has said he hopes to have a more definitive assessment of Iran's nuclear activities by June, when he is due to give his next report to the IAEA Board of Governors.

Iran says its nuclear activities are designed to generate electricity.

ElBaradei, who met last week with U.S. President George W. Bush and his national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, said it is important to learn the right lessons from the experience of U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq.

ElBaradei said the Iraqi experience showed that "an inspection takes time, that we should be patient, that an inspection can, in fact, work." But at the same time, he faulted Saddam Hussein's regime for not being open in its cooperation with U.N. inspectors.

"If a country really wants to show to the world that its programs are peaceful...they ought to be transparent, they ought to take a proactive approach," he said.

ElBaradei took exception to remarks made by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney a year ago during the buildup to the Iraq war that IAEA inspectors had consistently underestimated or missed what Saddam was doing to reconstitute his nuclear weapons program.

ElBaradei said he hadn't seen any evidence prior to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq to support Cheney's conclusion that Iraq had resumed its nuclear weapons program after it was dismantled in 1997.

"I was thinking that he was not really saying what I see on the ground," ElBaradei said. "I haven't seen anything on the ground at that time that supports Mr. Cheney's conclusion...and I thought to myself, well, history is going to be the judge."

ElBaradei was joined on the CNN program by Hans Blix, the former chief U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq, who said that evidence brought forward by the Bush administration about Saddam's weapons-of-mass destruction programs "was rapidly falling apart" just before the U.S. attacked Iraq.

Blix said the Bush administration had initially given the U.N. inspectors "a lot of support and information" but "lost their patience much too early."

After Secretary of State Colin Powell presented the U.S. case against Saddam to the U.N. Security Council, Blix had his experts look into it and reported back to the council that the "evidence was shaky."

"I told that to Condoleezza Rice, as well, so I think they were aware of it, but I think they chose to ignore us."
3 posted on 03/21/2004 9:06:55 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Survey Finds Hope in Occupied Iraq

March 16, 2004
BBC News

Read the full results of the poll.

An opinion poll suggests most Iraqis feel their lives have improved since the war in Iraq began about a year ago.

The survey, carried out for the BBC and other broadcasters, also suggests many are optimistic about the next 12 months and opposed to violence.

But of the 2,500 people questioned, 85% said the restoration of public security must be a major priority.

Opinion was split about who should be responsible, with an Iraqi government scoring highest.

Creating job opportunities was rated more likely to improve security effectively than hiring more police.

However on various issues, there were stark differences of opinion according to region or ethnic group.

About 6,000 interviews were carried out in total, half in Autumn last year and half this Spring, in a project run by Oxford Research International.

Seventy per cent of people said that things were going well or quite well in their lives, while only 29% felt things were bad.

And 56% said that things were better now than they were before the war.

Th poll company's director Dr Christoph Sahm, said Iraqis trained as interviewers travelled around the country to speak to randomly selected people in their homes.

The survey reflected Iraq's distribution of population, balance between men and women, and religious and ethnic mix.

Dr Sahm said: "I would call it very extensive; It is a national survey and it is also representative... the key finding is that Iraqis don't want to break up the country."

Meanwhile, an ICM poll of British attitudes about the Iraq war for BBC Newsnight's special programme, One Year On - Iraq, reveals that 48% of those questioned thought taking military action was the right thing to do; 43% thought it was not.

There is an almost even split on whether the war was legal, while 34% of interviewees believe the war has contributed to the security of the UK against 55% who believe it has not.

US 'will take heart'

In the poll of Iraqis, nearly 80% favoured a unified state with a central government in Baghdad; only 14% opted for a system of regional governments combined with a federal authority.

The majority was even bigger among Iraqi Arabs, but for the Kurdish minority, the situation was reversed, with more than 70% backing a federal system.

There is an existing Kurdish regional government in the north, the powers of which were recognised by Iraq's interim constitution, signed last week.

BBC diplomatic correspondent Barnaby Mason says the American and British governments will take some comfort from the results.

The survey shows overwhelming disapproval of political violence, especially of attacks on the Iraqi police but also on American and other coalition forces.

But among Arabs, nearly one in five told the pollsters that attacks on coalition forces were acceptable.

About 15% say foreign forces should leave Iraq now, but many more say they should stay until an Iraqi government is in place or security is restored.

Looking back, more Iraqis think the invasion was right than wrong, although 41% felt that the invasion "humiliated Iraq".

But by ethnicity, only one in three Arabs believed their country was liberated - compared to four out of five Kurds.

Safety conscious

Dan Plesch, a security expert at Birkbeck college in London said that the poll was good news for the leaders of countries who began the invasion a year ago this week.

"This poll indicates that Iraqis strongly support a unified country with strong leadership. They don't want to see the country divided up and they don't want to see an Islamic government."

Regaining security is rated as by far the highest priority at 85%, followed by holding elections for a national government (30%), ensuring the majority of Iraqis can make a decent living (30%) and reviving the economy (28%).

And only just over a third of people report that their electricity supply is good.

A key concern for the Americans as they prepare to hand over power in June is the unpopularity of the people they are putting in place.

Leaders unloved

Their favoured son Ahmed Chalabi had no support at all, while Saddam Hussein remains one of the six most popular politicians in the country.

Dr Mustafa Alani of the Royal United Services Institute said that the Iraqis wanted a strong leader, but had not found one yet.

"The main point is that the Iraqis are now looking for a strong leader who can save the day.

"As long as the governing council is considered illegitimate and illegal in Iraq, I think they will have to work hard to find something more legitimate and more legal before they disengage from the country."
4 posted on 03/21/2004 9:08:02 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Arms to Iran: Detente or Treason?

March 21, 2004
The Jerusalem Post
Arieh O'Sullivan

The fact that Israeli arms dealers could be suspected of selling weapons parts to Iran at first seems not only incredible but treasonous.

The fact that the pair being investigated has been investigated repeatedly in the past raises questions about the seeming two-faced character of the dubious world of arms trading, particularly when it comes to Iran.

Illicit Israeli military sales to the staunchly anti-Zionist Shi'ite state which is aggressively seeking nuclear weapons are hardly a new phenomenon.

"Life is complicated. Israel, like the US, has a complex policy vis- -vis Iran. There is a certain amount of flexibility," said Dr. Gerald Steinberg of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, and an expert on the arms industry, without referring specifically to Eli Cohen and Avihai Weinstein.

Clandestine contacts have served Israel's intelligence if not strategic interests for decades, said Aharon Kleiman, a Tel Aviv University professor of political science and author of Israel's Global Reach: Arms Sales as Diplomacy.

Steinberg noted that in the past arms sales, beyond being lucrative, also served to forge diplomatic ties. India was a case in point. "But after so many connections with Iran, one wonders if you can make that argument today," Steinberg said.

"Still, Israel is trying to preserve options in working with the Iranian government and individuals who are pragmatic and open doors, rather than have an ideological approach which says there is nothing to talk about with Iran," Steinberg said.

The policy is that Iran is a threat, not an enemy, he explained.

In the past, for example, Israel continued to illicitly sell parts for Phantom jets to Iran even after Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979.

At the time, the revolution caught the West, particularly the US, off guard.

But because of Israel's close ties with the Iranian military and its operatives there, Israel became a valued intelligence source for the Americans.

For this reason, Israel became a key player in the so-called Iran-Contra affair, or "Irangate," in the mid 1980s. Then US national security council staffer Col. Oliver North took the fall for arranging Israeli arms dealers connected to the Israeli government to supply Iran with over 1,000 LAW anti-tank missiles and parts to Hawk anti-aircraft batteries in a deal worth $100 million. The proceeds of this trade were then funneled into the coffers of the Contra rebels in Nicaragua.

Meanwhile, the US and Israel tried to leverage these sales by asking Iran to pressure Shi'ite groups in Lebanon to release Western hostages.

According to reports, much of the arms trading was conducted through a private Israeli company called International Desalination Equipment, Ltd., then run by Ya'acov Nimrodi, who from the 1950s until the shah of Iran was overthrown in 1979, was Israel's military attache in Teheran. Nimrodi was often aided and counseled by then-prime minister Shimon Peres's adviser on counterterrorism, Amiram Nir, the first husband of Judy Nir-Moses who is today married to Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom.

Nir, who also had close connections with North, later died in a mysterious plane crash in Mexico.

Conversely, Nahum Manbar sold arms to Iran with the knowledge and even blessing of the defense establishment, who were hoping it would lead to information on missing airman Lt.-Col. Ron Arad, downed over Lebanon in 1986.

Manbar is currently serving a 16-year sentence for attempting to sell Iran materials to produce mustard and nerve gas.

"If one wanted to make an argument in favor of arms sales to Iran, they would say we are very guarded in what we sell and nothing that poses a direct threat to Israel would be tolerated," said Kleiman.

"The defense establishment says nobody can move nuts and bolts without their approval, but on the other hand there is a laxity in the murky world of arms dealing it's hard to keep track of." There are some 2,000 weapons dealers, but they are not required to report on their activities. The Defense Ministry refuses to make them public for security and business reasons.

Ironically, the Defense Ministry promised the previous Knesset to crack down on weapons dealers after two men, none other than Cohen and Weinstein, were arrested on suspicion of selling spare parts for APCs to Iran.

Police said that Cohen had his arms license revoked in 1994. Defense Ministry spokeswoman Rachel Naidek-Ashkenazi said that both Cohen and Weinstein do not currently hold any defense license.

Despite this, they were caught allegedly selling arms or spare parts to the Iranians in complex deals that pass through Europe and the Far East, which proves one does not need a license to remain in the arms business.

"This is one of the first scandals we have heard in a number of years. There has been some tightening, but one never knows how much winking is going on," Steinberg said.
5 posted on 03/21/2004 9:09:03 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
This just in from a Muslim student inside Iran...

I have talked to some people here about the attack on Hamas Leader.

All I talked to were very happy to hear that news.
I am very happy now today."
11 posted on 03/22/2004 10:06:21 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
India Delivers Ultimatum to Iran

March 22, 2004

The Indian government is planning to give a four-month ultimatum to Iran to keep its part of the 'oil-for-gas' deal proposed under a memorandum of understanding signed last year.

Under the MoU, India agreed to buy gas through the LNG route from Iran, and in return, Iran has said that it would allow Indian national oil companies to participate in its oil blocks on a preferential basis.

"There has been so far no preferential treatment for Indian companies. Further, the yield is not good enough to compensate for the cross-subsidy in the sale of LNG to consumers in India at administered rates. ONGC sells gas at a price of less than $ 3 per million metric British thermal units. The current market rates of LNG are way above this and therefore the returns from the exploration block should be good enough to compensate the subsidy encountered in selling gas in the domestic gas," a senior official at ONGC said.

In this backdrop, the Petroleum Secretary, Mr B.K. Chaturvedi, convened a meeting with the chief executives of ONGC, Indian Oil Corporation and GAIL (India) Ltd on Thursday to discuss the pace of progress of the MoU with Iran.

Following the meeting, it was decided that a four-month period would be given to the Iranians to revert with viable proposals to pursue the MoU. The MoU is being operationalised through a Joint Working Group (JWG) that has met twice so far. The JWG will now be meeting again shortly when the Indian Government's position would be put forth.

According to officials, if Iran does not come up with viable options, the MoU will die a natural death and the oil companies will pursue commercial deals on an individual basis.
12 posted on 03/22/2004 10:07:00 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Will Yassin's Death Weaken Palestinian War or Spur New Fighting Unity?

March 22, 2004
DEBKAfile Special Report

Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has fired the Israel-Palestinian war up to a new plane. The targeted assassination of Hamas founder, leader and moving spirit, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Monday, March 22, was the prime minister’s thunderous reply to the critics who argue that his disengagement strategy would hand the Gaza Strip over to Hamas control.

It signals his determination to purge Gaza of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists ahead its evacuation. Yassin’s death is but the precursor to liquidating the violent movement he founded in 1987 to "cleanse" Middle East of Jewish sovereignty and replace it with an Islamic republic.

This cleanout of Hamas strength will take time. Until it is done, Israel cannot pull out of the Gaza Strip or even begin the process of disengagement.

Sharon’s action was addressed in particular to Washington. He was irked by the sharp message he received from the White House this week, which DEBKAfile’s political sources reveal here for the first time:

It consisted of eight main points which are paraphrased hereunder:

1. After listening to Sharon’s aides Dov Weisglass and other emissaries, we find that there is no properly-formed disengagement and evacuation plan. The prime’s proposals are “at best, an agenda.”

2. We don’t know what Israel wants. We are confused. Weisglass and Eiland (head of Israel’s national security council in the prime minister’s office) speak in two languages.

3. “If you wanted us to endorse your plan why did you publish it before discussing it with us? We might have offered observations.

4. We must ask the prime minister if (as part of his disengagement plan) he is prepared to hand over to the Palestinians all the routes to the Gaza Strip. We understand that what is proposed is action to remove only the civilian population. That is okay, but don’t call it disengagement. Evacuating Gush Katif and redeploying Israeli forces around the Gaza Strip would only create a sort of bull pen and leave Israeli responsible for its Palestinian population.

5. According to our information, not a single Israeli settler was killed in the Gaza Strip in 2003. So why the sudden rush?

6. After trying to bring some order to what we (the White House) are told by Weisglass, it appears that you (Israel) are seeking our backing for the British security plan aimed at Palestinian security forces bringing order to the streets of the Gaza Strip at the same time as Israel cracks down on Hamas and removes Jewish settlers. We don’t necessarily accept this plan but it least it has a certain innate logic. What we don’t understand is whether all air, land and sea approaches to the Strip will be laid open to Hamas and the foreign terrorists present there.

7. (DEBKAfile’s analysts rate this as the key paragraph in the White House message to Sharon). If what you intend is to prevent the activation of Gaza port and airfield and cushion the Philadelphi highway route (running parallel to the border with Egypt) with a one-kilometer wide buffer strip and at the same time leave people free to move between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and allow Palestinians to work in Israel – what would be different from the present situation? We don’t see any difference.

8. What we do see is that your plan or the talk abound it means that instead of dialogue with Arafat or Dahlan, you will have to address the Hamas.

DEBKAfile’s Washington sources report that the White House shot off the message to Jerusalem after accepting the finding of the National Security Council that Sharon’s proposals for disengagement and removal of settlements are unreal and his actions are confused and governed by the pressures of the investigations against him and his sons and his falling popular ratings as registered in the latest American-backed samplings. Sharon’s visit to Washington, reportedly postponed again until after Passover, has been consequently removed from the presidential engagement diary in the foreseeable future.

It was in the shadow of this message from the White House that the prime minister brushed off hostile questions on his disengagement intentions from his Likud ministers Sunday, March 21. Finance minister Binyamin Netanyahu, one of the few present who was aware of the American rejection, disappointed the critics by refraining from turning against the prime minister. He simply posed three conditions for accepting Sharon’s strategy:

Before pulling out of the Gaza Strip, Israel must finish building its West Bank security fence to include also the main Jewish settlement blocs, Modiin and the Modiin-Jerusalem Highway 443; the Bush administration must formally repudiate the Palestinian “right of return” demand for the 1948 refugees and Israeli must retain control of international crossing points and its freedom of self-defense to fight terrorists everywhere.

After the thunderbolt of the Hamas leader’s death, what happens next will hinge very much on how two quarters react: First, the Hamas leaders, who will have to decide quickly how to channel the fury of their following, whether against Israel or against the Palestinian Authority. If the latter, the fundamentalist group would have to drive all the way in their takeover of the Gaza Strip by kicking the PA and its head Yasser Arafat out of the territory. If the former, the Hamas would opt for a coalition with Arafat and his terrorist arms to wage an all-out war of revenge against Israel. In that case, Hamas would seek guarantees from Arafat for a power-sharing arrangement in Palestinian government.

Before Yassin’s death, the Hamas was moving in the opposite direction, boycotting the PA and Arafat and accepting collaboration only with his Fatah-al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades for suicide attacks against Israel.

The other party to watch now is Arafat himself. He may decide to take advantage of Hamas disarray and move in on the Gaza Strip and Gaza City where his people have been pushed to the sidelines in recent weeks. It is doubtful that he can muster the strength for a takeover on this scale. He may therefore hold up Palestinian unity as the crisis watchword and call on Hamas remnants to join forces with PA security units to beat Israel into the ground.

This Sharon government would then be confronted with a Palestinian front fighting for a single slogan: We are all Hamas! This would signal a new stage in the Israel-Palestinian war.
13 posted on 03/22/2004 10:08:33 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Tehran Strongly Condemns the Murder

March 22, 2004
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting

Tehran -- Tehran on Monday strongly condemned massacre of Palestinians and assassination of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin by Israeli forces, calling the "criminal" move as an instance of Zionist regime's barbarism.

Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said on Monday that the act is a clear instance of "state terrorism", indicating that for Zionist regime of Israel there is no difference between a Palestinian activist and an ordinary citizen or a spiritual leader.

Asefi said that the move further indicates that Israel is enemy of each Palestinian. He said, "undoubtedly, such move would unveil the ugly and unpleasant face of them (Israelis) before all the world people."The Zionist regime will gain nothing from s uch crimes and would further sink in the crisis it has itself created, added Asefi.

Unfortunately, said Asefi, the global community's indifference towards the injustices, committed against the oppressed Palestinian people, had made Israel more impudent, tempting it to repeat its crimes.

The global community and international organizations are expected to be more responsible than the past and confront Israel so as to halt its crimes, concluded Asefi.

Israel on Monday assassinated Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. An Israeli warplane fired several missiles at Yassin's car shortly after he performed the dawn prayer at a central Gaza mosque.

Sheikh Yassin and two of his aides were killed instantly. Following his death, thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip took to the streets, shouting "God is great."

Hamas has vowed to avenge Yassin's death and the movement's leaders said the retaliation would be thunderous.

The Zionist regime claimed responsibility for the murder.
14 posted on 03/22/2004 10:09:37 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Russia's Nuclear Boss Says Iran Plans Back on Track

March 22, 2004
The New York Times

MOSCOW -- Russia's plans to finish an atomic reactor in Iran are back on track after a pause that followed a tough new resolution on Iran by the U.N. nuclear watchdog, Russia's top atomic official said Monday.

Earlier this month, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) passed a resolution that deplored Iran's failure to declare sensitive nuclear technology which could be used to make bomb-grade uranium.

``A certain pause in Russia's cooperation with Iran happened because of an IAEA board meeting where this new resolution on Iran was passed,'' Alexander Rumyantsev, head of the Atomic Energy Agency, was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.

``But the question of construction of the Bushehr power plant in Iran has never been revised.''

The row between Iran and the IAEA prompted industry insiders to suggest Russia, wary of U.S. criticism of its nuclear ties with Iran, could ditch the $800 million project altogether.

Iran later vowed to continue to cooperate with the IAEA as long as Washington, which accuses Iran of seeking atomic arms, does not push its case up to the U.N. Security Council.

``Technical cooperation with Iran on construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant is continuing, and I do not see any reason why we should limit this cooperation,'' Rumyantsev said.

Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, has been locked in months of tough talks with Iran over the project.

The first generating unit of the 1,000-megawatt plant was originally due to have begun full operation in 2003. But as negotiations dragged on, the launch was rescheduled to 2006.

Rumyantsev said ``a number of financial issues'' had yet to be settled, but did not elaborate.

He did not say whether a key bilateral deal requiring Iran to return spent nuclear fuel to Russia -- a measure aimed to alleviate some U.S. concerns -- would be signed during his visit to Iran over coming months.

``The Iranian side wants a few months to study what other countries normally do when it comes to returning spent nuclear fuel,'' he said. ``They have, however, said they are in principle ready to sign this document.''
15 posted on 03/22/2004 10:10:32 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Creeping Democracy

March 22, 2004
The New York Times
William Safire

WASHINGTON -- "Democratic creep" is not a derogation of a liberal candidate. On the contrary, it is the process — now well under way — by which free nations will win the world war on terror.

In Afghanistan, once a hotbed of Qaeda training and Taliban tyranny, nobody can deny we helped bring forth the beginnings of democratic government. Afghans, including newly liberated women, are helping track down fugitive killers.

In Iraq, we mourn our losses this past year, which now approach 2 percent of U.S. casualties in the Korean conflict. Many Iraqis died, too, but literally tens of thousands are alive today because Saddam did not have the power to torture and execute them — as mass graves tell us he did every year of his savage misrule.

Nobody can be certain that Iraq will remain whole and free after we turn over sovereignty on June 30. But prospects look far better than predicted by defeatists who claimed a year ago that political freedom had no chance of taking root in hostile Arab soil.

Free electricity keeps TV sets and air-conditioners humming, oil is flowing, schools and businesses have come to life. Unemployment, now over 30 percent, will surely drop as the $18 billion appropriated by the U.S. Congress — part of the $87 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan — begins to flow heavily next month into reconstruction by Iraqi workers. (The W.P.A. lives.)

We are training a civilian defense corps, twice the size of a joint Shiite-Sunni-Kurdish army, to take over free Iraq's battle against the Ansar-Qaeda terrorists and Baathist diehards. With the transfer of political power to a transitional Iraqi government, public fury at the mortar and rocket attacks on "soft target" civilians will be a nationalizing, not a destabilizing, force — directed not at occupiers but against the terrorist invaders.

Next year, a trio of local politicians will emerge to lead the country. "Three John Edwardses are out there awaiting their chance," says one observer.

Optimistic? In the grand design to uproot the causes of the rise of radical Islamic terrorism, defeat is no option. We have to believe in the popular success of a combination of democracy and prosperity. In this generation, the world has seen the power of the human desire for freedom.

From Kuwait to Qatar, the coalition's overthrow of Saddam has been a political tonic. Libya's dictator is making weaponry concessions lest his economy be wrecked and he be ousted. Repressive Iran is ripening for revolution. Egypt's boss and Saudi Arabia's princes are nervous because an arc of democracy bids fair to extend from Turkey through Iraq to Israel, with literate, enterprising populations blazing a path to liberating prosperity in the greater Middle East.

Syria's sullen Bashar al-Assad is feeling the heat. He benefited most from Saddam's corruption, probably provided a hiding place for Iraqi weapons and a route of entry into Iraq for Qaeda killers. His troops illegally occupy Lebanon; he supports Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists in rocket attacks and suicide bombings. His so-called intelligence sharing has been singularly unproductive.

A million and a half Kurds live in Syria, despised by the rulers in Damascus. After Syrian Kurds saw the blessings of freedom flow to their ethnic comrades in Iraq, some were emboldened to respond to Arab taunting at a soccer game. Bashar's goons, remembering his father's bloody "Hamas rules," shot a score of the unarmed protesters as a warning to the quarter-million Kurds the dictator keeps stateless.

Congress, more hawkish than President Bush on this state sponsor of terror, passed the Syria Accountability Act four months ago with large majorities; this week, he is expected to put some of its authorized economic squeeze on Bashar. He should consider that Step One.

This unified American message — substantial largess for free Iraq contrasted with the start of serious sanctions for despotic Syria — will not be lost on the Arab League meeting in Tunisia.

Success of democracy in Iraq is the key to democratic reform throughout the greater Middle East. When that reform dawns in Ramallah, there can be an independent, contiguous Palestine. When creeping democracy gradually brings a better life to people of the region, the basis for hatred and terror will erode and the suicide bomber will pass from the scene.

16 posted on 03/22/2004 10:11:42 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
'Any Action That Weakens...The Islamic Republican State Is Not Permissible'

March 22, 2004
Radio Free Europe
Bill Samii

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responded to a journalist's question regarding the permissibility of labor strikes on 15 March by saying that "any action that weakens the sacred Islamic republican state is not permissible," ILNA reported.

"They can go through legal channels and report on the matter to senior officials in order to obtain their rights," Khamenei added.

Labor unrest has wracked Iran in recent weeks. The country's teachers ended a one-week strike over pay and living conditions on 13 March, newspapers reported the next day, according to Reuters. An anonymous teacher told Reuters, "We were threatened with being fired if we continued the protests."
20 posted on 03/22/2004 11:58:00 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
The Moor's Last Laugh

March 22, 2004
The Wall Street Journal
Fouad Ajami

In the legend of Moorish Spain, the last Muslim king of Granada, Boabdil, surrendered the keys to his city on January 2, 1492, and on one of its hills, paused for a final glance at his lost dominion. The place would henceforth be known as El Ultimo Suspiro del Moro -- "the Moor's Last Sigh." Boabdil's mother is said to have taunted him, and to have told him to "weep like a woman for the land he could not defend as a man." An Arab poet of our own era gave voice to a historical lament when he wrote that as he walked the streets of Granada, he searched his pockets for the keys to its houses. Al Andalus -- Andalusia -- would become a deep wound, a reminder of dominions gained by Islam and then squandered. No wonder Muslim chroniclers added "May Allah return it to Islam," as they told and retold Granada's fate.

The Balkans aside, modern Islam would develop as a religion of Afro-Asia. True, the Ottomans would contest the Eastern Mediterranean. But their challenge was turned back. Turkey succumbed to a European pretension but would never be European. Europe's victory over Islam appeared definitive. Even those Muslims in the Balkans touched by Ottoman culture became a marked community, left behind by the Ottoman retreat from Europe like "seaweed on dry land."

* * *

Yet Boabdil's revenge came. It stole upon Europe. Demography -- the aging of Europe on the one hand and, on the other, a vast bloat of people in the Middle East and North Africa -- did Boabdil's job for him. Spurred by economic growth in the '60s, which created the need for foreign laborers, a Muslim migration to Europe began. Today, 15 million Muslims make their home in the European Union.

The earliest migrants were eager to hunker down in this new and (at first) alien world. They took Europe on its own terms, and lived with the initial myth of migration that their sojourn would be temporary. But for the overwhelming majority, Algiers and Casablanca and Beirut and Anatolia became irretrievable places. In time, there would be slaughter and upheaval in Lebanon and Iran, sectarian warfare in Syria, and a long era of sorrow and bloodshed in Algeria, just across the sea from Marseilles. Economic destitution would cut a swath of misery through the lands whence they came. Birth rates worked their way like a wrecking ball: It became impossible to transmit culture and civility and the old familiar world to the young. Migration became the only safety valve.

In the '80s, terrible civil wars were fought in Arab and Islamic countries -- with privilege on one side, militant wrath on the other. The despots and the military caste in Algeria and Tunisia and Syria and Egypt won that struggle. Their defeated opponents took to the road: From Hamburg and London and Copenhagen, the battle was now joined. If accounts were to be settled with rulers back home, the work of subversion would be done from Europe. Muslim Brotherhoods sprouted all over the Continent. There were welfare subsidies in the new surroundings, money, constitutional protections and rules of asylum to fight the old struggle.

"The whole Arab world was dangerous for me. I went to London." The words are those of an Egyptian Islamist, Yasser Sirri. In London, Sirri runs an Islamic "observation center" and agitates against the despotism of Hosni Mubarak. But Sirri, a man of 40, is wanted back home. Three sentences have been rendered against him in absentia: One condemns him to 25 years of hard labor for smuggling armed terrorists into Egypt; the second to 15 years for aiding Islamic dissidents; and the third to death for plotting to assassinate a prime minister. Sirri had fled Egypt to Yemen. But trouble trailed him there, so he moved to the Sudan, but it was no better. He turned up in London -- there, he would have liberties, and the protections of a liberal culture. There would be no extradition for him, no return to the summary justice of Cairo.

Sirri was not working in a vacuum. The geography of Islam -- and of the Islamic imagination -- has shifted in recent years. The faith has become portable. Muslims who fled their countries brought Islam with them. Men came into bilad al kufr (the lands of unbelief), but a new breed of Islamists radicalized the faith there, in the midst of the kafir (unbeliever).

The new lands were owed scant loyalty, if any, and political-religious radicals savored the space afforded them by Western civil society. But they resented the logic of assimilation. They denied their sisters and daughters the right to mix with "strangers." You would have thought that the pluralism and tumult of this open European world would spawn a version of the faith to match it. But precisely the opposite happened. In bilad al kufr, the faith became sharpened for battle. We know that life in Hamburg -- and the kind of Islam that Hamburg made possible -- was decisive in the evolution of Mohammed Atta, who led the "death pilots" of Sept. 11. It was in Hamburg where he conceived a hatred of modernity and of women and of the "McEgypt" that the Mubarak regime had brought into being. And it was in Hamburg, too, that a young "party boy" from a secular family in Lebanon underwent the transformation that would take him from an elite Catholic prep school in Beirut to the controls of a plane on Sept. 11, and its tragic end near the fields of Shanksville, Penn. In its economic deterioration, the Arab world is without cities where young Muslims of different lands can meet. A function that Beirut once provided for an older elite had been undone. European cities now provide that kind of opportunity.

Satellite TV has been crucial in the making of this new radicalism. Preachers take to the air, and reach Muslims wherever they are. From the safety of Western cities, they counsel belligerence and inveigh against assimilation. They forbid shaking hands with women examiners at universities. They warn against offering greetings to "infidels" on their religious holidays, or serving in the armies and police of the new lands. "A Muslim has no nationality except his belief," wrote an intellectual godfather of radical Islamism, the Egyptian Sayyid Qutb, who was executed by Nasser in 1966. While on a visit to Saudi Arabia in 2002, I listened to a caller from Stockholm as he bared his concerns to an immensely popular preacher. He made Qutb's point: We may carry their nationalities, he said, but we belong to our own religion.

Radical Islamism's adherents are unapologetic. What is laicite (secularism) to the Muslims in France and their militant leaders? It is but the code of a debauched society that wishes to impose on Islam's children -- its young women in particular -- the ways of an infidel culture. What loyalty, at any rate, is owed France? The wrath of France's Muslim youth in the banlieues (suburbs) is seen as revenge on France for its colonial wars. France colonized Algeria in the 1830s; Algerians, along with Tunisians and Moroccans, return the favor in our own time.

France grants its troubled Muslim suburbs everything and nothing. It leaves them to their own devices, and grants them an unstated power over its foreign policy decisions on Islamic and Middle Eastern matters; but it makes no room for them in the mainstream of its life. Trouble has come even to placid Belgium. In Antwerp, Dyab Abu Jahjah, a young Lebanese, only 32, has stepped forth to "empower" the Muslims of that country. Assimilation, he says, is but "cultural rape." He came to Belgium in 1991, and he owns up to inventing a story about persecution back home; it was a "low political trick," he says, and in the nature of things. The constitution of Belgium recognizes Dutch, French, and German as official languages. Abu Jahjah insists that Arabic be added, too.

Europe's leaders know Europe's dilemmas. In ways both intended and subliminal, the escape into anti-Americanism is an attempt at false bonding with the peoples of Islam. Give the Arabs -- and the Muslim communities implanted in Europe -- anti-Americanism, give them an identification with the Palestinians, and you shall be spared their wrath. Beat the drums of opposition to America's war in Iraq, and the furies of this radical Islamism will pass you by. This is seen as a way around the troubles. But there is no exit that way. It is true that Spain supported the American campaign in Iraq, but that aside, Spain's identification with Arab aims has a long history. Of all the larger countries of the EU, Spain has been most sympathetic to Palestinian claims. It was only in 1986 that Spain recognized Israel and established diplomatic ties. With the sole exception of Greece, Spain has shown the deepest reserve toward Israel. Yet this history offered no shelter from the bombers of March 11.

* * *

Whatever political architecture Europe seeks, it will have to be built in proximity to the Other World, just across the Straits of Gibraltar and in the grip of terminal crisis. There is no prospect that the rulers of Arab lands will offer their people a decent social contract, or the opportunities for freedom. It is a sad fact that the Arab peoples no longer make claims on their rulers. Instead the "drifters," such as the embittered terrorists who blew into Madrid, now seek satisfaction almost solely in foreign lands.

You can't agitate against Mubarak in Cairo, but you can do it from the safety of Finsbury Park in London. The ferocity of the debate in the Arab world about France's decision to limit Islamic headgear in public schools is a measure of this displaced rage. Spain may attribute the cruelty visited on it to its association with America's expedition into Iraq. But the truth is darker. Jacques Chirac may believe that he has spared France Spain's terror by sitting out the Iraq war. But he is deluded. The Islamists do not make fine distinctions in the bilad al kufr.

Europe is host to a war between order and its enemies, fuelled by demography: 40% of the Arab world is under 14. Demographers tell us that the fertility replacement rate is 2.1 children per woman. Europe is frightfully below this level; in Germany it is 1.3, Italy 1.2, Spain 1.1, France 1.7 (this higher rate is a factor of its Muslim population). Fertility rates in the Islamic world are altogether different: they are 3.2 in Algeria, 3.4 in Egypt and Morocco, 5.2 in Iraq and 6.1 in Saudi Arabia. This is Europe's neighborhood, and its contemporary fate. You can tell the neighbors across the Straits, (and within the gates of Europe) that you share their dread of Pax Americana. But nemesis is near.

Five centuries ago, the Castilians took Granada from Boabdil. They were a hardy breed of sheep-herders driven by a Malthusian logic, outgrowing their grazing lands, pushing southward -- and into the New World from Seville -- to answer Castile's needs. Today there is great turmoil in Islamic lands, and a Malthusian crisis. Were it only true that those in harm's way in Europe are solely the friends of the Americans. The New World is a demon of this Islamism, it is true. But that old border between Europe and Islam has furies all its own.

Mr. Ajami, a professor at Johns Hopkins, is the author of "The Dream Palace of the Arabs" (Vintage, 1999).
21 posted on 03/22/2004 11:58:46 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Argentina's Cover-up for Iran

March 18, 2004
United Press International
Martin Arostegui

BUENOS AIRES -- A wreath-laying ceremony took place Thursday at an empty lot in the center of Buenos Aires that marks the spot where the Israeli embassy was blown up by a truck bomb 12 years ago. Two years later, in 1994, a building housing the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association, known as AMIA, was also destroyed in an even worse bombing that killed more than 100 people.

Despite being the most deadly attacks allegedly carried out by Islamist extremists in Latin America, investigations into the incidents remain mired in political and diplomatic controversy amid accusations of a cover-up by Argentine and Iranian officials.

"God willing, these acts will never happen again," said President Nestor Kirchner, who compared the atrocities that shocked Argentina a decade ago to last week's horrifying train bombings in Spain. But Israel's ambassador to Buenos Aires, Benjamin Oron, questions the government's seriousness. He told reporters, "There are a lot of empty holes in the investigations" on the onslaught against the Argentine Jewish community.

"There is a lack of political will to investigate the case," said Marta Nercellas, a lawyer representing families of victims. While she said that Kirchner has been more cooperative in pursuing the investigations than previous presidents, "an official cover-up has been underway for the past 10 years" she claimed.

The case carries major international implications which touch on the highly sensitive relations between Argentina and Iran, whose officials are seriously implicated along with high-level members of Argentina's security services.

Police Chief Juan Jose Ribelli, who was a second in command of the Buenos Aires police force, is accused of taking a $2.5 million bribe for providing a van in which explosives were fixed by Hezbollah terrorists. He has just been brought to trial in the last few months. Lawyers allege that Ribelli has been protected by senior colleagues who have misled investigations, destroyed key evidence, and made witnesses disappear.

"It's now officially conceded that there was police involvement but the plot reaches much higher to the very top of the government," said Nercellas. She pointed to clues indicating at least passive participation by the national intelligence service or State Intelligence Secretariat, known as SIDE, and former President Carlos Menem who is currently under investigation on corruption charges.

Following the '92 bombing against the Israeli embassy, SIDE had much of the Hezbollah infrastructure in Buenos Aires under surveillance, according to intelligence files turned over to investigating attorneys. Key Iranian Embassy personnel, suspected militants and safe houses, including a meat warehouse, were being watched. Somehow, the targets were "lost" during a 24- to 48-hour period preceding the second attack on AMIA.

It's further alleged that Menem, took a $10 million bribe from Iran whose ambassador to Argentina at the time, Heine Soleimonpour, and other Iranian security and diplomatic officials figure on a list of 14 indictments issued by Argentine courts. Former Argentine Foreign Minister Carlos Ruckauf actually made a public apology to Iran when the indictment were announced in 2003. It's believed that he was under pressure from major food exporters to mend fences with Teheran.

"We are going to be able to prove that the Menem government obstructed investigations," said Nercellas, who bases her claims on testimony by a defector of Iran's intelligence service, Abolahem Mesbahi. He has worked with Germany's intelligence services, but is considered unreliable by U.S. counter-terrorist officials.

Mesbahi has said a close assistant to Menem attached to the Argentine Embassy in Teheran, George Ruben D'Ellis, acted as courier in negotiating the bribe which was deposited through accounts in Switzerland used by Iran's intelligence agencies to launder funds for extremist operations.

Menem, who now lives in Chile where he is avoiding court citations on other charges, strongly denies any wrongdoing. An Argentine security official who directed international operations for the Interior Ministry, Mario Baizan, told United Press International that the accusations are false.

"It's ridiculous to think that Menem would have implicated himself in international terrorism by taking a bribe from the Iranians. He was a close ally of the United States who cooperated very much against rogue governments such as Cuba," he said.

Baizan believes that the charges are a part of an effort to scapegoat the former president, possibly by corrupt elements within Argentina's security services who are trying to cover their own tracks.

D'Ellis was working for Yoma Karim, a powerful Arab-Argentine businessman who was selling submarine technology and enriched uranium to Iran, according to Baizan. Menem blocked those sales and froze relations with Teheran, he insists.

D'Ellis is not available to testify, having died in a mysterious car accident in Buenos Aires two years ago.

Cover-up efforts seem to have persisted until very recently. Late last year, British authorities detained Soleimonpour while he was passing through England. According to Argentine officials who participated in the negotiations to obtain his extradition, the British Home Office released the Iranian diplomat because Argentine judges would not move quickly enough with evidence to sustain charges.

The U.K. government may have also caved into pressure from Iran which threatened to attack British interests. The Foreign Office issued a travel alert for Argentina after specific threats were received by British Embassy in Buenos Aires while the diplomatic mission in Teheran was the target of a drive-by shooting during the time that Soleimonpour was held in London.

"For Iran, it's of vital importance to keep the lid on this case," said a counter-terrorism analyst. "Its full exposure would seriously compromise Iran's support for terrorist networks".

Imad Moughnieh who is accused of having arranged the logistics for the '94 attack in trips between Argentina and the tri-border region with Paraguay and Brazil, is allegedly one of Hezbollah's top operatives who is believed to be the main liaison with al-Qaida. According to officials involved in the investigations, Moughhieh arranged visits to Teheran by top al-Qaida leaders, including al-Zawahiri, a chief lieutenant of Osama bin Laden.

Teheran has rejected appeals by Argentine Foreign Minister Rafael Bielsa to arrange a trial for accused Iranian officials in a neutral country.

During last month's summit of G-15 Third World leaders hosted by President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, an expected meeting between Kirchner and Iranian President Jatami never took place.

According to reports in the Israeli press, Jatami called off the session because he did not want to discuss the Buenos Aires bombings.
22 posted on 03/22/2004 11:59:33 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Bahrain Rioters Hit Streets, Torch Cars of Arab Playboy Boozers

March 22, 2004

ABU DHABI -- Shi'ite attacks against foreigners are now targeting playboys from neighboring Arab states who come to Bahrain for the more readily available alcohol.

Western diplomatic sources said last week's street violence appears to have shifted its focus from Westerners to Gulf Arab nationals who use Bahrain as the watering hole of the region. The kingdom is the only Gulf state that approves the public sale and consumption of alcohol, banned by Islam.

Most of the patrons in the La Terrasse restaurant, one of the targets of last week's rampage, were Gulf Arabs, particularly Saudi nationals. Two cars owned by Saudi nationals were torched.

The diplomatic sources said the Shi'ite vigilante campaign appears to be supported by members of Bahrain's parliament, dominated by fundamentalists. Many parliamentarians have called for a ban on alcohol and the expulsion of the U.S. military presence in the kingdom.

Bahraini police and security forces have been unable to quell Shi'ite attacks against foreigners, including those from other Gulf Cooperation Council states, Middle East Newsline reported.
The diplomatic sources said police have often seemed unwilling to respond to complaints of attacks by Shi'ites against Westerners or other GCC nationals said to have been in violation of Islamic law.

Last Wednesday, Arab and Western expatriates came under attack by Shi'ite militants in the capital Manama. Shi'ites torched cars and attacked patrons in a restaurant in what was termed a campaign against the sale of alcohol in the kingdom.

Scores of Shi'ites, armed with knives and batons, attacked customers, looted and vandalized restaurants and torched cars. At least three people were injured and several of the attackers were arrested.

The rampage began with attacks on suspected Asian alcohol dealers in Manama. Shi'ite rioters, who sought to break bottles of alcohol, clashed with Bahraini security forces throughout the night as the violence spread toward the affluent suburbs.

"I doubt that I will continue to operate in Bahrain after what happened," J.J. Bakhtiar, the co-owner of La Terrasse restaurant said. "Customers are afraid, and I had to spend all day today convincing the customers who had reserved places at the restaurant that it was safe for them to come here and enjoy a meal."

This was the second Shi'ite attack in as many weeks in what was termed an Islamic campaign against alcohol. In early March, hundreds of Shi'ite youngsters rampaged through the Asian section of Manama, beating expatriate laborers and destroying property. Bahrain has a Shi'ite majority that regards itself as close to neighboring Iran, but is ruled by a Sunni royal family.
23 posted on 03/22/2004 12:00:16 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
EU Freezes Iran Trade Talks Over Nuclear Worries

March 22, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
The Associated Press

BRUSSELS -- The European Union urged Iran on Monday to demonstrate to the U.N. that it's not developing nuclear weapons. The E.U. foreign ministers discussed Iran's nuclear program at a meeting and found that "a number of questions ... remain outstanding."

Iran insists its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.

In a statement, the European ministers called on Tehran "to provide full and proactive cooperation" with the International Atomic Energy Agency. The U.N. body recently discovered uranium enrichment equipment and other suspicious activities that the government in Tehran failed to reveal.

Iran later agreed to allow inspections to resume Saturday. The IAEA hopes to have a definitive assessment of Iran's nuclear activities by June.

Iran's problems with the IAEA have come to interfere with E.U. plans for a free trade agreement. Negotiations were halted last June as allegations gathered strength that Iran was developing nuclear weapons.

The E.U. has said the talks can only resume if Iran makes a convincing case its nuclear program serves peaceful ends, it improves its human rights record and contributes more to the search for peace in the Middle East.
24 posted on 03/22/2004 3:34:17 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”

27 posted on 03/22/2004 9:02:40 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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