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Iranian Alert -- April 6, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 4.6.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 04/05/2004 9:00:14 PM PDT by DoctorZIn

The US media almost entirely ignores news regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. As Tony Snow of the Fox News Network has put it, “this is probably the most under-reported news story of the year.” Most American’s are unaware that the Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT supported by the masses of Iranians today. Modern Iranians are among the most pro-American in the Middle East.

There is a popular revolt against the Iranian regime brewing in Iran today. I began these daily threads June 10th 2003. On that date Iranians once again began taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Today in Iran, most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy.

The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movement in Iran from being reported. Unfortunately, the regime has successfully prohibited western news reporters from covering the demonstrations. The voices of discontent within Iran are sometime murdered, more often imprisoned. Still the people continue to take to the streets to demonstrate against the regime.

In support of this revolt, Iranians in America have been broadcasting news stories by satellite into Iran. This 21st century news link has greatly encouraged these protests. The regime has been attempting to jam the signals, and locate the satellite dishes. Still the people violate the law and listen to these broadcasts. Iranians also use the Internet and the regime attempts to block their access to news against the regime. In spite of this, many Iranians inside of Iran read these posts daily to keep informed of the events in their own country.

This daily thread contains nearly all of the English news reports on Iran. It is thorough. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary. The news stories and commentary will from time to time include material from the regime itself. But if you read the post you will discover for yourself, the real story of what is occurring in Iran and its effects on the war on terror.

I am not of Iranian heritage. I am an American committed to supporting the efforts of those in Iran seeking to replace their government with a secular democracy. I am in contact with leaders of the Iranian community here in the United States and in Iran itself.

If you read the daily posts you will gain a better understanding of the US war on terrorism, the Middle East and why we need to support a change of regime in Iran. Feel free to ask your questions and post news stories you discover in the weeks to come.

If all goes well Iran will be free soon and I am convinced become a major ally in the war on terrorism. The regime will fall. Iran will be free. It is just a matter of time.


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iaea; iran; iranianalert; iranquake; protests; southasia; southwestasia; studentmovement; studentprotest
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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To: DoctorZIn
UN Atomic Watchdog Wants More Iranian Cooperation

April 06, 2004
Francois Murphy

TEHRAN -- The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog meets President Mohammad Khatami and other Iranian officials in Tehran on Tuesday for talks he hopes will lead to better cooperation to prove Iran is not seeking atomic weapons.

"Iran has been actively cooperating, but I sense some slowdown in the process," Mohamed ElBaradei told reporters in Frankfurt on Monday before flying to Iran.

"Basically, I would like to discuss with our Iranian counterparts how to get accelerated cooperation," said ElBaradei, head of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Hardline commentator Hossein Shariatmadari, appointed editor of the conservative daily Kayhan by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said any hope of a positive result from the meetings was "wishful thinking."

He wrote in the Siyasat-e Rouz newspaper that Tehran should set the IAEA a deadline to close its case and should follow North Korea in pulling out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if inspectors wanted to continue beyond that date.

The United States accuses Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons program, but Tehran says its nuclear ambitions are confined to generating electricity.

Iran promised Britain, France and Germany last October it would suspend uranium enrichment and accept snap atomic checks.

If enriched to a low level, uranium can be used to fuel nuclear power stations. But if enriched further, to weapons grade, it can be used in warheads.

Last year the IAEA reported finding traces of weapons-grade uranium at the Natanz enrichment plant and a workshop at the Kalaye Electric Company.

A Western diplomat told Reuters last week on condition of anonymity that highly enriched uranium had been found at other sites. Several other diplomats said the same.

But ElBaradei denied this report, saying he had not heard that the IAEA had found traces of enriched uranium in Iran at sites other than the two already named. "We haven't seen or heard anything about new contamination," ElBaradei said.


Last month, the IAEA passed a resolution deploring Iran's failure to declare potential arms-related activities. Iran initially blocked U.N. inspectors after the resolution but said on Sunday a new team would arrive in two weeks.

Hawks in Washington are trying to get the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran for breaching IAEA commitments.

During his talks in Tehran, ElBaradei is expected to focus on Iran's omissions of key atomic technology from an October statement that included undeclared research on advanced "P2" centrifuges that can make bomb-grade uranium.

"It is in the interests of Iran to show from now until June maximum transparency, maximum accelerated cooperation," he said.

The IAEA's board of governors meets in June when it will issue a fresh report on the status of inspections in Iran.

On Sunday, Iran said it had no nuclear sites hidden from U.N. inspectors.

A group of Western diplomats who follow the IAEA had said recent intelligence has prompted suspicion Iran had not stopped enriching uranium but had moved enrichment activities to smaller sites out of view from the United Nations.

"We haven't seen any indication, nor have we got any information that they have been moving (enrichment activities)," said ElBaradei.
21 posted on 04/06/2004 3:11:21 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Blames US for Instability

April 05, 2004
The Financial Times
Gareth Smyth

Influential Shia leaders in the Middle East criticised the US for continued instability in Iraq. However, they stopped well short of endorsing the young radical Shia cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, whose forces clashed with coalition forces for the second day on Monday.

"The direct responsibility for this insecurity lies with the occupiers who should immediately leave Iraq and return sovereignty to the Iraqi nation," said Hamid Reza Asefi, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, in his weekly press briefing.

Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, Lebanon's most influential Shia cleric, denounced the "horrible massacres" committed by US forces while also calling on Iraqis to exercise restraint in any response.

In Iran, television showed graphic clips from both Baghdad and Najaf, but described them calmly as "clashes between demonstrators and occupiers".

Iran's state-owned media has generally portrayed events in neighbouring Iraq as a result of US insensitivity and has stopped short of endorsing Mr Sadr.

Tehran has links with most Iraqi political leaders, including Mr Sadr, but its closest relationship is with the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Its leader, Abdulaziz Hakim, sits on the interim Governing Council which opposes Mr Sadr's militia.

On Sunday, Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari, Iran's interior minister, stressed that the "return of security and stability in Iraq" was in the interests of all its neighbours, and called for a greater UN role "to enable the Iraqi nation to exercise its legitimate rights".

In meetings with Nouri Badran, the Iraqi interim interior minister who is on a four-day visit to Tehran, Mr Lari agreed the importance of ending unauthorised migration over the countries' shared 1,500km border.

At least 40 Iranian pilgrims were killed in last month's bombing of Shia shrines in Karbala and Baghdad.
22 posted on 04/06/2004 3:12:13 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Crunch Time in Baghdad

April 06, 2004
The Wall Street Journal
Review and Outlook

The next few days in Iraq may be the most critical since President Bush ordered the invasion a year ago. Millions of Iraqis, and millions of Americans, are waiting to see if the U.S. is still fighting in Iraq to win.

Marines were digging in around Fallujah yesterday, in anticipation of a military response to last week's mutilation of four U.S. civilians in that part of the Sunni Triangle. Meanwhile, the coalition announced that an Iraqi judge had issued a murder arrest warrant for the Shiite Muslim cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, who ordered the riots on Sunday that resulted in the deaths of eight Americans and a Salvadoran. If Mr. Bush fails to show that there is a price to pay for killing Americans, he might as well bring everyone home today.

Americans will support their President in war -- far more than liberal elites appreciate. But they won't support a President who isn't fighting with enough force and the right strategy to prevail. Unlike Mr. Bush's determination to topple Saddam Hussein, the transition back to Iraqi rule has been marked in recent months by drift and indecision. Especially in the runup to the transfer of power on June 30, the worst Iraqis are rushing in to exploit this uncertainty.

What's needed now is a reassertion of U.S. resolve, notably on security but also on the transition to Iraqi sovereignty, and even if it means no drawdown of American forces any time soon. The coalition had hoped to turn over more of this task to Iraqis, and this remains both desirable and inevitable. But they clearly aren't yet up to that task in the face of well-armed insurgents or private militias.

Partly this is America's fault for not arming Iraqis on our side with enough firepower soon enough. The State Department (rather than the Pentagon) is responsible for disbursing the small arms that are now available, while Congress's desire to micromanage Defense procurement has delayed contracts from being let for more and better equipment. If Senate soundbite kibbitzers Richard Lugar and Joe Biden want to be constructive, this is a problem they could work on. In the meantime, U.S. forces will have to re-enter such cities and towns as Fallujah and work with Iraqis friendly to the coalition to restore order and kill or arrest those who target Americans.

This has to include Mr. Sadr. The young cleric has been stirring trouble for months, but with Sunday's riots he has crossed a line that makes him an urgent threat to the coalition and any new Iraqi government. Yesterday's judicial warrant implicates him in the mob slaying of another Shiite leader, the moderate Abdel-Majid al-Khoei, shortly after he had returned to Najaf from exile in London in April 2003.

Unlike Grand Ayatollah Sistani, Mr. Sadr never mentions the word "democracy" in his fatwas and talks openly of creating an Iranian-style Islamic Republic in Iraq. Mr. Sadr has visited Tehran since the fall of Saddam, and his Mahdi militia is almost certainly financed and trained by Iranians. Revolutionary Guards may be instigating some of the current unrest. As recently as last Friday, Mr. Sadr declared that "I am the beating arm for Hezbollah and Hamas here in Iraq." Hezbollah has been financed by Iran for years.

Having let Mr. Sadr's militia grow, the coalition now has no choice but to break it up. It should also warn the Dawa Islamic political party that its dealings with Iran won't be tolerated. As for Tehran, we would hope the Sadr uprising puts to rest the illusion that the mullahs can be appeased. As Bernard Lewis teaches, Middle Eastern leaders interpret American restraint as weakness. Iran's mullahs fear a Muslim democracy in Iraq because it is a direct threat to their own rule. If warnings to Tehran from Washington don't impress them, perhaps some cruise missiles aimed at the Bushehr nuclear site will concentrate their minds.

Proof of U.S. resolve is especially important as the transfer of sovereignty on June 30 nears. Millions of Iraqis are grateful for their liberation from Saddam and are willing to help us finish the job. But too many Iraqis already suspect that June 30 has more to do with our elections than with theirs. If they now see the U.S. failing to respond forcefully to the past week's unrest, they will conclude that the Americans are preparing to leave. Then the mayhem and jockeying for power will only get worse.

Yesterday, Mr. Bush reiterated his support for the June 30 transfer. But the timing is less important than the fact that the U.S. still has no plan for what will happen on that date. The current non-plan is for U.S. regent L. Paul Bremer to toss the ball to U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and hope he can figure it out.

With elections put off for some months anyway, the default transfer plan will probably involve retaining the Iraqi Governing Council in some form. The coalition is better off doing this on its own and leaving the U.N. out of it. It isn't as if Kofi Annan is offering any troops, and Mr. Brahimi -- a Sunni Arab nationalist close to nations that coddled Saddam -- makes Shiites nervous. This latest Bush Administration dance with the U.N. is just one more signal to many Iraqis that the U.S. is eager to get out.

While we're at it, Mr. Bush can send an important signal with his choice of who should succeed Mr. Bremer as U.S. ambassador to Iraq. The worst choice would be a career diplomat. We'd recommend Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy Defense secretary, who has his own reputational stake in Iraq's success and would be seen by Iraqis as someone committed for the long haul. He also wouldn't need on-the-job training. Rudy Giuliani would also be a serious choice.

We trust that Mr. Bush knows that his reaction to Fallujah and Mr. Sadr matters far more to his re-election prospects than does Richard Clarke's book tour. Americans realize that the current 20-20 Beltway hindsight over 9/11 is mostly political. But they also know that Iraq was Mr. Bush's undertaking, and they will hold him responsible for any failure of will.
23 posted on 04/06/2004 3:12:46 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Crunch Time in Baghdad

April 06, 2004
The Wall Street Journal
Review and Outlook
24 posted on 04/06/2004 3:13:30 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
UN Temporarily Halts Return Of Iraqi Exiles From Iran

April 06, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
The Associated Press

GENEVA -- The U.N. refugee agency said Tuesday that spiraling violence and other security threats had forced it temporarily to halt the return of Iraqi exiles from Iran.

"This is a worrisome development. But we hope it will be resolved quickly," said Peter Kessler, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. The agency has been running convoys three times a week from Iran to the southern city of Basra for Iraqis who have chosen to go home.

Monday, Basra and nearby Amarah were the scenes of clashes between U.K. troops and Shiite militiamen. Shiites who seized the governor's office in Basra and traded fire with U.K. forces.

Although UNHCR is able to truck refugees as far as Basra, Kessler said local transporters who take the exiles onward to their homes are refusing to carry passengers beyond the city, fearing hijacking and harassment at checkpoints set up by militiamen. This has caused a bottleneck in UNHCR's Basra transit center, which is too small to house large groups of stranded returnees, he said.

Citing continuing insecurity since the fall of Saddam Hussein a year ago, UNHCR hasn't launched a large-scale refugee return program for Iraqis. Last month, the agency reiterated that governments shouldn't send rejected asylum seekers back to Iraq because of the dangers they may face.

However, many who fled Saddam's regime are eager to go home and UNHCR tries to help anyone who expresses a clear wish to return to Iraq.

Kessler said some 202,000 Iraqis were living as refugees in Iran before Saddam's ouster. Most were Shiites who fled during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s or amid Saddam's crackdown in southern Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War.

UNHCR has helped 10,000 go home to the south - 5,000 from Iran and the rest from Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

Many more are believed to have gone back to Iraq on their own, Kessler said. Local authorities in southern Iraq have registered 120,000 people in a food aid program for returning exiles.

Kessler said security problems also were hampering UNHCR's attempts to help rebuild the communities to which the refugees return - including villages in three southern provinces hit by recent flooding.

"Despite the enormous humanitarian needs, agencies are increasingly working to keep their profiles as discreet as possible," he said. "This is seriously affecting the amount of assistance that can be provided."

U.N. aid operations have been run by local staff and non-U.N. aid organizations since the global body withdrew its foreign employees after a deadly bomb attack on its Baghdad headquarters last August.
25 posted on 04/06/2004 3:14:36 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Free Iran's Jewish hostages!

April 06, 2004
National Review Online
Pooya Dayanim

Last night Jews all around the world sat around their Seder tables to celebrate Passover, which marks the Jews' liberation from their bondage in Egypt more than 3,000 years ago. It is thus timely to tell another story of innocents held captive, one that has lasted far too long, and that now must come to an end: the story of the eleven Iranian Jewish hostages in Iran.

In the years since Islamic extremists took over Iran (with the blessing of the Carter administration), the number of Jews there has dropped from 100,000 to 20,000. Nowadays, Iranian Jews are accused daily of being spies for Israel and the United States (as in the case of the "Shiraz 13" in 1999). Government-controlled newspapers point fingers at Jews, claiming they use the blood of young Muslim children to make their Passover matzos. Jews are scapegoated for poisoning the water supply, bringing AIDS into Iran, and all the other social maladies plaguing the Islamic Republic.

In the 1980s and 1990s many Jewish refugees were forced to flee Iran by foot through the dangerous borders of Turkey and Pakistan to seek haven in the United States, Israel, and other countries that would accept them. Such was the situation of four groups of Jews who attempted to flee Iran between 1994 and 1997 by crossing the Iranian border with Pakistan. These eleven Iranian Jews never made it to the other side: They were detained by the Islamic Republic's goons. And their story has never been fully told.

From 1995 to 1999, the cries of the families of these eleven hostages were stifled by Iranian Jewish groups with suspicious connections to the Islamic regime. These organizations counseled the families to remain silent so that they could better engage in "quiet diplomacy." It was only in 1999 — when my colleagues and I started a worldwide campaign to save the lives of the Shiraz Jews — that we discovered that the U.S. government and major American Jewish organizations such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center had not even been notified of this human tragedy. (It was only in 2002 that the State Department was convinved to include this matter in its annual human-rights report on Iran.)

No concrete action or step has been taken by any government or international human-rights organization to give these Jews their freedom. Information from various sources suggests that several (if not all) of these hostages are being kept in private prisons under the control of the Revolutionary Guard Corps (the same group that has purportedly sheltered bin Laden's son and other al Qaeda terrorists), so that they may some day be traded for one of the Islamic Republic's terrorist comrades.

The despicable behavior of the Iranian regime toward its own citizens must come to an end. The Simon Wiesenthal Center has joined our campaign to publicize the plight of Iranian Jewish hostages. You can sign various petitions to join the fight to free these Iranian Jews. I hope that you will also join the more important struggle to win freedom for all Iranians held hostage by their Islamic regime.

Iranian mullahs: Let my people go.

— Pooya Dayanim is the president of the U.S.-based Iranian Jewish Public Affairs Committee.
26 posted on 04/06/2004 3:15:10 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran "Promises" to Stop Making Centrifuges

AP - World News (via Yahoo)
Apr 6, 2004

TEHRAN - Tehran made yet another promise Tuesday to rein in its nuclear program, and the visiting chief U.N. weapons inspector said he had received assurances Iran knows it has to step up cooperation with his agency.

Mohamed ElBaradei's trip to Iran came amid indications of continued nuclear cover-ups and signs that even previously reluctant U.S. allies were moving closer to the United States' view that Tehran should be penalized.

Appearing at a news conference with ElBaradei, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said the country would "voluntarily" suspend its centrifuge work starting April 9. That appeared to contradict a March 29 announcement from Iran that it already had stopped building centrifuges for uranium enrichment. Such ambiguities are among the reasons the international community views Iran's nuclear ambitions with increasing skepticism. Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful.

Iran wants as quickly as possible "to bring this case to a close," Aghazadeh said Tuesday.

ElBaradei, who arrived early Tuesday, welcomed Aghazadeh's announcement on centrifuges and said a new team of inspectors would come to Tehran on April 12 to verify that all uranium enrichment activities had stopped.

"We agreed that we need to accelerate the process of cooperation," ElBaradei said. "Mr. Aghazadeh committed that Iran will do everything possible to accelerate the process of resolving the outstanding issues. I hope during the course of my visit that we can develop an action plan that can have a timeline."

Aghazadeh said he expected Iran's nuclear dossier would be closed by June, at the next meeting of the IAEA's board of governors.

"We will do our best (for) ... our relationship with the agency to be normalized," he said.

ElBaradei , who was to return to Vienna on Wednesday, said he would address two key points with top Iranian officials: the origins of traces of highly enriched uranium found in the country, and details on Iran's advanced P-2 centrifuges — equipment that could be used to enrich uranium for use in a weapon.

Vienna-based diplomats familiar with the IAEA's activities in Iran, where experts have been examining nuclear sites and programs for signs of past and present weapons ambitions, said there is lingering doubt about whether Iran is revealing all of its activities.

Iran says its nuclear program is geared only toward producing electricity. The United States and other nations contend it masks a covert effort to build a nuclear weapon, and an IAEA resolution last month censured Iran for hiding suspicious activities.

ElBaradei said last month's resolution showed that the board is "getting a little bit impatient and they would like to see progress."

On Sunday, Iran denied it has hidden any nuclear facilities by shifting them to easier-to-conceal sites.

Iranian officials were responding to alleged intelligence from the United States and an unnamed country suggesting that within the past year, Iran had moved nuclear enrichment programs to less detectable locations.

ElBaradei said last month that Iran has much to do before the IAEA can declare Tehran's nuclear program peaceful.

Iran's nuclear ambitions first came under international scrutiny last year, when the IAEA discovered that Tehran had not disclosed large-scale efforts to enrich uranium, which can be used in nuclear warheads. Finds of traces of weapons-grade uranium and evidence of suspicious experiments heightened concerns.

Critics say that Iran since has reneged on commitments to win international trust — such as a promise to suspend enrichment — as IAEA inspectors have discovered new evidence of past experiments that could be used to develop weapons.

"There is a growing feeling that the Iranians are playing games instead of honoring pledges of full disclosure," one diplomat said Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Adding to the skepticism was Iran's announcement last month that it inaugurated a uranium conversion facility in Isfahan, 155 miles south of Tehran, to process uranium ore into gas — a crucial step before uranium enrichment.

Iran insists the move does not contravene its pledge to suspend enrichment. But Britain, France and Germany — which have blunted past U.S. attempts to come down hard on Iran — were critical. They said the Isfahan plant sent the wrong signal.

Last year, the three secured Iran's agreement to suspend enrichment and cooperate with the IAEA in exchange for promised access to western technology. They have stymied U.S. attempts to have Tehran brought before the U.N. Security Council for allegedly violating the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
27 posted on 04/06/2004 3:17:15 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Ayatollah struggles to regain initiative from young firebrand

Financial Times - By Nicolas Pelham
Apr 6, 2004

Iraq's leading Shia cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, struggled yesterday to retain his relevance as his call for a peaceful transition to a democratic sovereign Iraq is overtaken by a violent bid for control of southern Iraq by Moqtada al-Sadr, the young firebrand preacher.

Yesterday Mr Sistani, a 74-year-old recluse, appealed for calm, calling on Mr Sadr's followers to exercise self-restraint, while denouncing "provocation" by US troops.

"Ayatollah Sistani does not support blood-letting and heated gatherings in the streets, but he supports the freedom of speech and the right to express one's opinion publicly as long as it is logical," said Mohammed Haqqani, a Najaf-based adviser to Mr Sistani.

By contrast, Mr Sadr urged his supporters "to terrorise the enemy", saying peaceful protests had become useless.

Until now, millions of Iraq's Shias who make up Iraq's urban poor have recognised Mr Sistani as their paramount spiritual guide, but sympathise increasingly with the radical way of Mr Sadr. Now they are faced with the dilemma of whom to follow.

The power struggle risks breaking what until now have been the relatively united ranks of the country's Shia majority. The Shia Islamic parties in the Governing Council who depend on Mr Sistani for legitimacy appealed for an immediate cessation of violence.

"Confrontation is rejected by the religious authorities, Al-Hawza [the Shia religious seminary led by Mr Sistani, a name also claimed by Mr Sadr] and the Governing Council," said Sadr al-Din al-Qabbanji, a Najaf-based official with the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, an Iranian-backed party represented on the Governing Council.

But television broadcasts from outside Iraq portrayed the uprising as already shifting in Mr Sadr's favour. Hizbullah television's al-Manar claimed that Mr Sadr's militias in conjunction with local tribes had taken over government buildings in Kut and in Nasiriyah, saying Ukrainian and Italian forces had pulled out of the town.

"The struggle of Islam is bigger than Sistani and bigger than Sadr," said a militiaman in Mr Sadr's Mahdi's Army. "Sistani has no choice but to support Mr Sadr's struggle."

As events threaten to spin out of control, Mr Sistani's appeal for US administrator Paul Bremer to amend the Transitional Administrative Law seems almost prosaic.

Mr Sistani's posters appealing for the amendments are plastered across government offices, but he is rarely seen in Sadr City, and other strongholds of Mr Sadr.

In an apparent effort to retain his constituency, in recent weeks Mr Sistani began issuing increasingly critical statements against the US-led transition. But he has failed to shrug off accusation from Mr Sadr's more radical acolytes that he is providing the cover for the US occupation of Iraq.

Mr Sadr's followers contrast their liberation theology, which they call al Hauza al-Ilmiya, and Mr Sistani's non-violent civil protest, which they call al Hauza al-Samita, or the silent Hauza.

They accuse Mr Sistani of deflating an uprising against Saddam Hussein which followed the 1999 assassination of Mr Sadr's father, Ayatollah Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr, a long-standing rival of Mr Sistani's, by refusing to bless the insurrection. Mr Sistani will not be allowed to spoil their revolt a second time, they say.

Mr Sadr's father had aspired to create a theocracy based on Wilyat al-Faqih, or governance of the cleric, similar to the political ideology which the Iranian Ayatollah, Ruhollah Khomeini, coined during his studies in Najaf and applied in Iran. Like Khomeini, he named himself as the Wali al-Faqih shortly before he was killed.

Mr Sistani opposes the Shia clergy assuming a direct political role in the state, a theology he calls Wilaya Juziya, or limited authority.
28 posted on 04/06/2004 3:18:35 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

29 posted on 04/06/2004 3:20:54 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn


April 6, 2004 -- SUNDAY'S deadly riots look like the worst nightmare of Iraqis coming true: a Shiite uprising that could trigger not only a clash with the forces of occupation but also a civil war in the newly liberated country.

There is no doubt that the recently created Iraqi police force and the Coalition troops were taken by surprise, giving the armed rioters an initial advantage. For a few hours, parts of the affected cities looked like war zones.

But take a deep breath: This is not the start of the much-predicted Iraqi civil war.

The riots were orchestrated by a group led by Muqtada al-Sadr, a 30-year-old cleric nicknamed by his friends as "al-qunbulah" (the bomb). Sadr hails from one of the seven clans who have led Iraq's Shiite community for two centuries. He was propelled to the top of the clan's pyramid when most of its senior members, including his father and uncle, were murdered by Saddam Hussein or driven into exile.

But Muqtada is too young to claim the coveted theological title of "Marjaa al-Taqlid" (Source of Emulation) for himself. Nor can he circumvent the two dozen or so senior ayatollahs who dominate the Shiite seminaries throughout Iraq. He is, therefore, trying to make up for his lack of theological gravitas by flexing his political muscles.

To play a political role, Sadr needs a role in the script written by the Coalition Provisional Authority. But Sadr has been excluded from that script and almost forced to act as a loose cannon. Last year, when the Iraqi Governing Council was being set up, Sadr at first excluded himself because he believed he could seize control of the Shiite heartland and present the Coalition with a fait accompli. When he realized that this wouldn't happen, he sought a place in the council. But those who had already joined refused to have him, and the Coalition sided with them.

Yet the Coalition meanwhile turned a blind eye while Sadr raised an army of almost 5,000 men and turned parts of northern Baghdad into no-go areas for the new Iraqi police. Sadr has also set up a network of charities, patterned on those created in Lebanon by the Hezbollah, to win support among poor Shiites, especially in Baghdad.

Sadr has received some support from the Lebanese Hezbollah and Iran's ruling mullahs. But it would be wrong to dismiss him as an Iranian stooge or as the local agent of the global Hezbollah movement.

What was Sadr trying to do by organizing the riots? Three things:

1) Position himself as the most uncompromising Shiite leader in dealing with an increasingly unpopular occupation.

Almost all Shiite leaders have allied with the Coalition in exchange for a promise of free elections that would allow the Shiite community, some 60 per cent of the population, to dominate the government. Excluded from this alliance, Sadr is trying to operate in the only area left: opposition to the Coalition.

2) Win the support of all who wish the Americans to fail in Iraq. He is especially keen to persuade Iran to put its chips on him rather than on Ibrahim Jaafari and his Al-Daawah (The Call) Party. But Iran still regards Sadr as a temperamental egomaniac who might not be able to play a major role in a delicate anti-U.S. power play.

3) Perhaps most important: Ward off what he sees as a Coalition plan to dismantle his organization.

In February, a Najaf prosecutor issued arrest warrants for 12 men on charges of planning and carrying out the murder of Abdul Majid Khoei in Najaf in March 2003. Khoei, son of the late Grand Ayatollah Abol-Qassem Khoei, had entered Najaf ahead of the Coalition forces and was trying to wrest away control of the city from the remnants of the Saddamite regime when he was murdered by a mob. The Khoie family have blamed Sadr for the murder. Sadr denies the charge - but his name is on the arrest list issued by the Iraqi prosecutor.

The leak of the list last month was followed by the closure of Sadr's newspaper in Baghdad and by raids on several money-changing shops suspected of channeling funds to Sadr. He may have decided that attack was the best defense and ordered his "Army of the Messianic Guide" into action.

Sadr lacks the strength to disrupt plans for the handover of power to an interim government, but he may produce headlines that neither President Bush nor Prime Minister Tony Blair wants to see - each is coming up on an election.

As one Hassan Nasrallah, a Sadr relative and leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah, succinctly put it: "We may be unable to drive the Americans out of Iraq. But we can drive George W. Bush out of the White House."

What to do with Sadr? He and his intimates must not be allowed to ignore the prosecutor's warrant. While it is not at all certain that Sadr played a role in Khoie's murder, it is important for Iraqi justice to establish the truth. (The balance of evidence as far as I can make out is that Sadr was not involved in the murder.) Last December, Sadr offered to answer questions provided any interrogation took place in his own office. There is no reason why a compromise should be dismissed out of hand.

The decision to shut Sadr's newspaper was ill-advised to say the least, as any move to impose censorship often is. Having made its point, the Coalition should now allow the paper to resume publication.

The broader political picture also needs to be reviewed. Sadr's militia must be disarmed, by force if necessary. But the young mullah and his supporters must also be offered a place in the emerging political spectrum in Iraq ahead of general elections.

Like all who use violence in pursuit of political aims, Sadr knows he would fare badly in any free election. This is why, shut out of the process, he will do all he can to disrupt elections. The best way to counter Sadr and other anti-democratic figures and groups in Iraq is to speed up the electoral process and bring forward the date at which Iraqis will be able to choose their rulers for the first time.

30 posted on 04/06/2004 4:02:45 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...

31 posted on 04/06/2004 4:03:29 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: F14 Pilot; Grampa Dave; SAMWolf; DoctorZIn; MeekOneGOP
Still reeling from their defeat, the reformists are debating the way forward.

The more strident among them are considering forming a unified "front" that would openly advocate a secular state without superior authority invested in the Shia clergy.

Clergy schmergy, dictorship by old crusty men.

"Strident" means "loud, harsh, shrill"--hardly descriptive of democracy advocates.

The fuerher and his willing handmaidens promise utopia "on the Japan plan", "in the China style"--a little glasnost here a little perestroika there--

Then a crackdown--

Obviously the rich and powerful want it to stay that way, want to share it with as few as possible.

The Khamenei meanies are bound for the ash heap of history.

They should do everyone a favor and kill themselves now.

32 posted on 04/06/2004 5:28:46 PM PDT by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: DoctorZIn
"Last year, the three secured Iran's agreement to suspend enrichment and cooperate with the IAEA in exchange for promised access to western technology"

And now we know how secure that agreement was!
Maybe they can get Iran to make another agreement? And another? And eventually get Iran not to attack them with nuclear weapons after the regime's done making them?
33 posted on 04/06/2004 7:01:25 PM PDT by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ( President Bush 3-20-04))
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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”

34 posted on 04/06/2004 9:02:22 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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