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World blasts Yassin killing
By HERB KEINON
Mar. 22, 2004
Many of the world's leaders, from Britain to Iran, were quick to condemn Israel's killing of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin with the United States one notable exception.
AFP quoted a State Department official as urging "all sides to remain calm and exercise restraint."
The official said the US Government was aware of reports of the incident and was following developments in the region. "We are looking into the circumstances and are in touch with Israeli and Palestinians authorities," the official said.
Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief, issued a statement saying that "The European Union has consistently condemned 'extra judicial killings'. In this particular case, the condemnation has to be even stronger. These type of actions do not contribute to dialogue and peace in the region. Neither will they bring less violence. The actions of today are bad news for the peace process."
Solana said the killing of Yassin "will not facilitate a positive outcome" to discussion about a possible withdrawal from Gaza.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, in Brussels for a meeting of European Union foreign ministers, condemned the attack, saying it is "unlawful" and "unjustified."
Israel, Straw told reporters, "is not entitled to go for this kind of unlawful killing, and we therefore condemn it. "It's unacceptable, it's unjustified, and it's very unlikely to achieve its objective."
French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin echoed the sentiment, saying, "France condemns the action against Sheikh Yassin. At a time when it is important to mobilize for the re-launch of the peace process, such acts can only fuel the cycle of violence."
Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Lydie Polfer said she fears the attack will lead to "new violence, and the Danish Foreign Minister, Per Stig Moeller, said Denmark is "against assassinations like this. This is not the way ahead. There's only one way ahead, and that is political."
Poland's Foreign Minister, Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz , whose country will join the EU on May 1, said he recognizes Israel's right to defend itself, but that this is not the way to do it.
"I understand that Israel defends its own country. However the picture of a wheelchair-bound person who was killed with a rocket is probably not the best way of promoting Israeli security," Reuters quoted Cimoszewicz as saying at a press breakfast in Brussels.
Cimoszewicz said he is afraid the assassination " may have very, very negative consequences not only in terms of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but I'm afraid that the threat of terrorist attacks also on other countries, including European (ones), is growing."
In the Arab world, the condemnations were even more strident.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in reaction to the assassination of Hamas spirtutal leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, directed his country's representatives not to take part in activities the Knesset and Foreign Ministry is planning this week to mark 25 years to the signing of the peace agreement with Egypt.
Kuwait's National Assembly (NA) speaker, Jassem Al-Kharafi, was quoted in the Albawaba web site as saying that the killing will "aggravate the crisis, escalate reactions and bring to a state of despair all those who worked hard to forge just and permanent solutions." He said "the Arab and Islamic people would never forget the principles of struggle that Sheikh Yassin ingrained within the Palestinian ranks."
The Jordanian news agency quoted Jordanian Prime Minister Faisal Al Fayez as saying this "is another crime that is added to the crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinian people, and forms a flagrant violation of all charters and norms."
"We in the government," Al Fayez was quoted as saying, "condemn this ugly crime and affirm that such behavior would increase the cycle of violence and instability in the region, lead to more bloodshed and undermine the opportunities of achieving just and comprehensive peace that the region's peoples seek to achieve."
Iran also weighed in with its own condemnation with Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamid-Reza Asefi, saying that Israel engaged in "state terrorism."
Asefi, according to Albawaba, said the assassination ""would unveil the ugly and unpleasant face of them (the Israelis) before all the world's people." http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1079929448130
posted on 03/22/2004 5:52:03 AM PST
by F14 Pilot
(John Fedayeen Kerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
Should U.S. Make Deal With Iran?
LONDON, March 22, 2004
First Afghanistan. Then Iraq. Which country will be the next Islamic domino to fall?
A good bet is Iran, and the Bush administration is deeply divided over what to do about it.
No one in Washington is suggesting that America should invade Iran, although in Tehran you can find young people who say they would be happy to see the Marines land and sweep away their dysfunctional government.
Instead, the debate within the Bush administration is whether you do a deal with a charter member of the Axis of Evil and reap the benefits, as the U.S. has done with Libya. Or whether the United States should give Irans unpopular, undemocratic, regime a shove and wait for it to collapse. Both are possible.
There have been public hints for several years that the more pragmatic of Irans conservatives are ready to reestablish relations that were broken a quarter century ago, after the Islamic Revolution and the seizure of the American embassy.
Last May, we now know, those hints hardened into a secret Iranian proposal. It was a so-called grand bargain transmitted to Washington through the Swiss ambassador, who represents American interests in Tehran. According to a newly published report in Londons Financial Times, the offer was a road map to normal relations.
Iran would address most of Washingtons major concerns. It would coordinate policy on Iraq, stop promoting terrorism by cutting off support to the militant Palestinian organizations, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, stop using Hezbollah in Lebanon to attack Israel, and consider a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What was not clear was whether Iran would give up its uranium enrichment program.
What was asked of Washington in return was recognition of Irans security interests, lifting of sanctions, forgetting about regime change and eventually re-establishing full relations.
The offer came from a senior Iranian official with the blessing of Irans supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Washington accepted it as authentic, but is still thinking about it.
Why the foot dragging?
Primarily because the administration is of two minds. Realists want to seize the opportunity and cut a deal that could eliminate Iran as a threat to reform in Iraq and perhaps get rid of its fledging nuclear weapons program. The hawks, or neo-cons as they are known these days, believe the Iranian regime is on the verge of collapsing and do not want to do anything to rescue it.
The recent Iranian legislative elections were a farce. The hard-line conservatives won because the small minority of Iranians who still support them were about the only ones who turned out to vote. The rest of the country stayed home because reform candidates had been barred from running.
But Iranians are not apathetic. They are increasingly resentful and even angry. Seventy percent of Iranians are under the age of 30, and no longer willing to bow to the strict rules of a theocracy that has tried to take all the fun out of life and cannot even offer them the prospect of finding jobs. Barred from getting rid of their unwanted rulers by democratic means, Iranians are increasingly ready to take to the streets.
What is the Bush administration likely to do? Nothing, in an election year when any attempt to do business with Iran could backfire as dangerously as the Reagan administrations ill-fated Iran-Contra affair. Iran will stay on the back burner.
The chances are that change, when it comes to Iran, will be violent. It will come from within that country, and perhaps with a little push from Washington if President Bush is re-elected. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/03/17/opinion/fenton/main606832.shtml
(CBS) Tom Fenton, in his fourth decade with CBS News, has been the networks' Senior European Correspondent since 1979. He comments on international events from his "Listening Post" in London.
posted on 03/22/2004 6:55:17 AM PST
by F14 Pilot
(John Fedayeen Kerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
To: F14 Pilot
posted on 03/22/2004 8:03:42 AM PST
(Be Well~Be Armed~Be Safe~Molon Labe!)
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