Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

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 04/07/2004 10:15:32 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies ]

To: All
Rank Location Receipts Donors/Avg Freepers/Avg Monthlies
32 Utah 225.00

Thanks for donating to Free Republic!

Move your locale up the leaderboard!

2 posted on 04/07/2004 10:16:25 PM PDT by Support Free Republic (Hi Mom! Hi Dad!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

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”

3 posted on 04/07/2004 10:19:46 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: DoctorZIn
U.S. Creating Obstacles in Way of Iran's Development: Rafsanjani

TEHRAN (IRNA) -- Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani here Tuesday said Washington is creating obstacles in the way of Iran's development and the country's peaceful utilization of nuclear technology by imposing several challenges.

During a meeting with the visiting Singaporean Minister of Trade and Industry Yong Boon George Yeo, he said the U.S. is also laying obstacles to Iran's membership in international bodies such as the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Underlining the importance of greater collaboration with the Southeast Asian island state, he called for promotion of Iran-Singapore economic and trade ties, particularly between their private sectors.

He further voiced Iran's readiness to facilitate travels to Iran of Singaporean nationals and thereby boost bilateral tourism and trade relations.

Rafsanjani also called on all Asian nations to establish closer relations in order to spur further development.

For his part, Yeo praised Iran's economic development over the past two decades and called for expansion of all-out ties between the two countries.

He noted that Singaporean companies are relatively newcomers in the Iranian market and are interested in increasing their investment in this country.

He called on Iranian companies to also invest in different projects in his country.
4 posted on 04/07/2004 10:26:29 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: DoctorZIn
Iran to begin construction of heavy water reactor

* Reactor may be used in fuel cycle to produce bomb-grade plutonium

TEHRAN Iran is to begin work in June on constructing a heavy water reactor which could eventually be used as part of a fuel cycle to produce bomb-grade plutonium, diplomats said in Vienna Wednesday.

This step is almost certain to raise concern about Iran’s intentions at a time when the international community is calling on the Islamic Republic to fully cooperate on answering charges it is hiding a programme to develop nuclear weapons, the diplomats said.

“Iran is to announce soon that it will be beginning work in June on a heavy water research reactor in Arak,” 200 kilometres (120 miles) southwest of Tehran, a diplomat close to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.

IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei returned to Vienna Wednesday from Tehran, where he had hammered out an agreement for Iran to adhere to a timetable to answer the agency’s questions about its nuclear activities. The reactor to be built at Arak would not be in violation of safeguards which the IAEA enforces under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the diplomat said. Iran has been saying since July that it wants to build such a reactor.

But another diplomat said going ahead with the reactor now could send the wrong political signal. “This is not an accident,” the diplomat said, referring to the fact that construction is to begin in June, the same month the IAEA will hold a board of governors meeting on Iran.

He said the Iranian government wanted to assert its independence, as it claims it has the right to make nuclear fuel, and also had to appease hardliners at home who object to yielding to IAEA demands. Iran has said the Arak reactor would be for research and the production of radioisotopes for medical and industrial use.

Iran told the IAEA, according to an agency report in November, that “it had tried to acquire a reactor from abroad to replace” a 30-year-old research reactor in Tehran. The first diplomat said the reactor, which is to have thermal power of 40 megawatts, could produce enough fuel to make “more than one significant quantity of plutonium per year,” a “significant quantity” referring to the amount needed to make an atomic bomb.

But due to US and other Western nations’ sanctions, Iran was not able to buy a new reactor, and so wanted to build one of its own which could use domestically produced fuel such as uranium dioxide. The diplomat said, however, that the heavy water reactor could produce depleted uranium which could then be reprocessed into plutonium, for instance in so-called hot cells that would be also used to make radio-isotopes.

It is this connection, at a time when the United States is raising alarms about Iran’s possible nuclear weapons potential, that the IAEA would like Iran to desist from starting work on the reactor, even if in June the Iranians would only begin digging the hole for the building.

“Once they have started to build it, it’s as if it exists,” he said, referring to problems the international community has already had with Iran’s resumption in March of uranium conversion, another part of the nuclear fuel cycle that is not forbidden by NPT safeguards but which raises concerns.

Such technically legal activites could damage confidence Iran is doing everything necessary to prove it is not secretly developing nuclear weapons, diplomats said.

“It’s still something that can be fixed, namely by putting another type of reactor at Arak and giving them the fuel for it,” the diplomat said. But he said this depended on Iran cleaning up the IAEA’s questions about its nuclear programme. AFP
5 posted on 04/07/2004 10:29:05 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: DoctorZIn
Cooperating on Iran

Moscow Times - By Nikolas Gvosdev and Ray Takeyh
Apr 8, 2004

As the Bush administration wrestles with changes in the U.S.-Russia relationship, the issue of Iran's nuclear proliferation has re-emerged as the most important source of tension between the two states. This past weekend, the U.S. State Department imposed sanctions against two Russian firms based on "credible information" that they were selling equipment that could assist Iran in its quest for weapons of mass destruction.

The bogeyman of Russians providing Iran with "the bomb" remains alive and well in Washington. Indeed, at a hearing convened by the House International Relations Committee on March 18, the question of Russian support for Iran's nuclear program was repeatedly raised by members of Congress and cited as a major stumbling block for the development of partnership between the two countries. Successive U.S. administrations have viewed Russia as Iran's foremost nuclear supplier and thus believe that getting Moscow to cease all cooperation with Iran -- even in areas permitted under the Non-Proliferation Treaty -- is the principle counter-proliferation measure.

However, given Iran's rapid pace toward self-sufficiency, cutting off Russian assistance will no longer have a material impact on Iran's nuclear path. Iran can cross the nuclear threshold without receiving a single addition piece of Russian-manufactured dual-use technology.

Over the past few years, a series of revelations have revealed that the Islamic Republic is increasingly employing its civilian nuclear research program to gather sufficient knowledge and expertise to achieve a nuclear weapons capacity. The first shock came in August 2002, when U.S. intelligence reported that Iran had built extensive facilities for enrichment of uranium in Natanz. The Natanz installation currently contains 160 centrifuges needed for this purpose, with another 1000 under construction. The plan is to have 5000 operational centrifuges within three years.

In addition, it appeared that Tehran was completing another facility at Arak for heavy water production. The most recent IAEA inspection team has ominously found many traces of concentrated fuel suggesting that Iran has largely completed an indigenous fuel cycle. Given the sophisticated nature of Iran's program, traditional tools of counter-proliferation such as pressuring Russia and other countries not to engage in trade with Iran and instituting a more rigorous export control policy are unlikely to succeed.

Given that neither IAEA's more intrusive inspections nor pressure on Iran's suppliers is likely to obstruct Tehran's path, Washington has to devise a new strategy of pressure where Russia is an active participant. Tehran will only abandon its WMD program if it is made clear that violation of clearly demarcated red-lines -- including the testing and deployment of nuclear weapons -- would lead to Iran's total economic and diplomatic isolation.

The Islamic Republic remains vulnerable to multilateral economic pressure, particularly from its more reliable commercial partners such as the EU and Russia. Indeed, it was only after the European states suspended their trade discussions with Iran that the mullahs agreed to sign the additional protocols.

And this is a threat that the regime cannot ignore. Increasingly pressed to provide economic opportunities to a more and more restive (and young) population, Tehran needs trade and investment for survival much more than nuclear arms. As long as U.S. economic sanctions remain in place, Iran's Moscow connection is a vital lifeline and so gives Russia a good deal of influence.

If the United States is serious about preventing an Iranian nuclear breakthrough, Russia has to be a major part of the solution. A U.S. policy of continuously decrying Russian conduct and imposing sanctions and penalties is guaranteed to lead to Kremlin intransigence, at a time when cooperation is needed.

Moreover, the sanctions have no practical impact. The companies sanctioned are not seeking any investment from U.S. sources nor have any prospects for business deals with American firms. The only tangible result is an irritated Russian Foreign Ministry. Meanwhile, the Iranian government hopes to exploit dissension between the United States and its key partners in Europe and Asia to deflect attention away from its WMD programs.

Shifting the focus away from Russia's business deals onto Iran's treaty obligations is an appropriate first step. The onus should not be placed on Russian companies to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that technology they legally sell to Iran is being used for nefarious purposes. Russia cannot be expected to accept U.S. calls for isolating Iran, especially when nothing substantive is being offered in return.

Both Moscow and Washington, however, want a non-nuclear Iran. So rather than pressing the Kremlin to abandon all ties between Russia and Iran, the Bush administration would be best served by enlisting Russian help to monitor the situation in Iran, and, if necessary, to serve as an intermediary between Washington and Tehran.

Russian-American cooperation has helped to defuse the tensions on the Korean peninsula. There is no reason this model could not work in the Persian Gulf as well.

Ray Takeyh is a professor of national security studies at the National Defense University and adjunct scholar at the Center for American Progress. Nikolas Gvosdev is a senior fellow for strategic studies at The Nixon Center.
6 posted on 04/07/2004 10:31:07 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: DoctorZIn
Germany Waiting for Iran-EU Gas Pipeline

Tehran Times - Economy Section
Apr 8, 2004

TEHRAN -- Germany is an economic power in the world.

The biggest crude importer, Germany is also the second largest purchaser of natural gas among the West European nations.

Oil consumption hit 2.7b bpd in this country in 2002.

Germany has turned out to be the third largest oil importer in the world.

Germany, home to the European Central Bank, joined euro currency in Jan 1999.

Germany is also a nuclear power with 19 atomic power plants accounting for 20 percent of electricity generation there.

Economic and trade cooperation between Iran and Germany dates back to long time ago.

German companies are mainly involved in Iran's petrochemical sector.

Germany is a major purchaser of Iran's non-oil products.

We have conducted an interview with German ambassador to Tehran Paul Von Maltzahn. Q: Is Germany mulling over any plan to expand its economic and trade cooperation with Iran, notably in oil and gas sectors?

A: As you know our petrochemical cooperation with Iran dates from long time. But Germany has never been active in oil and gas recovery anywhere in the world. Germany is scarcely involved in oil and gas industries. We prefer downstream industries to upstream sectors and oil recovery. Germany is active in petrochemical sector. We were spearheading production of synthetic materials in the 19th and 20th centuries. Q: Can you tell us of oil and gas cooperation between the two countries?

A: We rarely maintain direct oil contact with Iran. That is no loss for Iran and the only problem is that level of economic transactions is not balanced. The important point is that Germany is the top importer of non-oil products from Iran. We are also the biggest importer of natural gas in the world. We import oil and gas from the Netherlands, Norway and Russia. If Iran can pump gas to Europe via a pipeline we can benefit a lot. Iran holds big oil and gas reserves and it can export its resources to many countries in the world. Q: What do you think of economic cooperation between Iran and Germany?

A: Economic and trade ties between Iran and Germany show positive perspective. Taking into account the figures on German exports to Iran, we find out that German exports to Iran have yielded 2.7b euros. It indicates well the desire of Iranian state-run and private companies to expand trade with Germany. Germany mainly exports machinery for chemical production to Iran. We are also cooperating with Iran Khodro to set up an automaking factory in Tabriz. We have joint ventures with the National Petrochemical Company in Assaluyeh Petrochemical Complex. I hope that NPC chief Mr Nematzadeh would offer more projects to Germany. Q: German companies armed Iraq with chemical warfare in its war against Iran through 1980-1988. Do you think that powerful countries can interfere in the global conflicts?

A: Germany is the main producer of chemicals in the world but I am not sure if it armed Iraq with chemical arms. Now we have strict control system and we supervise our exports. In response to second part of your question, I say that the United States made a mistake in unleashing war on Iraq. Washington launched its military action under pretext of finding weapons of mass destruction.
7 posted on 04/07/2004 10:31:52 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: DoctorZIn
Amnesty slams the regime on case of veteran journalist

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Apr 7, 2004

Amnesty International (AI) slammed, yesterday, the Islamic republic regime on the case of Siamak Pourzand, a veteran journalist, held illegaly in prison despite his critical health conditions.

The famous Rights Watch body stated in its Urgent Action that: "Siamak Pourzand was allowed out of Evin prison on leave in November 2002, but rearrested in April 2003. He has been held in solitary confinement since then, in appalling conditions, and is being denied medical treatment for a condition that will leave him confined to a wheelchair if left untreated. Around 31 March 2004, he fell into a coma. He was not treated until another prisoner went to the prison medical facility and insisted that someone examine him. The doctors allegedly told him they had given up on Siamak Pourzand over six months earlier, and would not take responsibility for anything that happened to him. When he insisted, they treated Siamak Pourzand, and after 36 hours in a coma he regained consciousness. "

AI described then the conditions in which Mr. Pourzand was arrested and condemned by the regime's judiciary force by stating: " Siamak Pourzand is serving an 11-year sentence, handed down in 2002 after a closed trial that fell short of international standards. In a televised ''confession'' he admitted to a range of accusations including ''having links with monarchists and counter-revolutionaries'', ''spying and undermining state security'' and ''creating disillusionment among young people''. On 5 April 2004, Tehran's Chief Prosecutor visited him in prison and told him that he would not be released early, reportedly telling him that if he was released he would ''make too much noise''.

According to a diagnosis given on 30 July 2003 by the Pezeshk-e Qanoun, (a doctor employed by the Judiciary to carry out assessments of prisoners' health), at the Imam Khomeini hospital in Tehran, Siamak Pourzand is suffering from spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal which causes pinching of the spinal cord: left untreated, it could lead to organ failure, notably of the bowels and bladder, and paralysis, leaving Siamak Pourzand dependent on a wheelchair. In October 2003, Siamak Pourzand's medical records were reviewed by a doctor in the US who concluded that he required immediate surgery on his spine. To date he has not received medical treatment for this condition.
When he was released on leave in November 2002, he was able to tell members of his family about the conditions he was held in. He was rearrested in April 2003 by agents of the Edare-ye Amaken, an organisation reportedly responsible for the enforcement of accepted moral codes in companies and other offices. During interrogation he was reportedly urged to implicate film critics detained at that time in unspecified ''acts against Iran'', to appear in ''another television program'' possibly a reference to his televised ''confession'', and to sign a book about singers, artists and film makers who had ''acted against Iran''. He reportedly refused, and was released. While he was in custody four of his ribs were reportedly broken.

Approximately two weeks after his release he was summoned to a court, where he was reportedly asked again whether he would cooperate and appear in the television program. When he refused a second time, he was taken back to Evin prison, stopping first at his sister's house to collect his personal effects, but not the medicine he requires. "

Amnesty called then on all its members and freedom lovers to start a campaign of awarness on the veteran journalist's case by writing and protesting beside the regime's officials.
8 posted on 04/07/2004 10:33:20 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: DoctorZIn
Democrats fear for Iranian deportee's safety

Apr 8, 2004

The Australian Democrats say the Federal Government has effectively signed a "death warrant" for an Iranian asylum seeker.

The party's South Australian refugees spokeswoman, Kate Reynolds, says she has been told that an Iranian man was secretly moved from the Baxter detention centre to Perth last night for deportation.

Ms Reynolds says the man's lawyers are angry they were not told and believe the man still had legal options to obtain residency.

She says it is likely the man, who fled Iran after converting to Christianity, has already been flown out of Australia.

"It's very dangerous to be a Christian convert and to be sent back to Iran," she said.

"We are particularly concerned for this man because we believe he's been unrepresented through some of the legal process, so he's not in fact exhausted all of the legal avenues open to him."
9 posted on 04/07/2004 10:41:52 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: DoctorZIn
Iran may fall off Iraq tightrope

By Martin Sieff
Washington (UPI) April 7, 2004

The explosion of violence in Iraq sparked by the U.S. move to crack down on Moqtada Sadr and his militia offers both opportunity and danger for neighboring Iran, and could undermine the growing secular, democratic movement there.
Reports are emerging claiming -- predictably but probably not inaccurately -- that Sadr, the firebrand young 30-year-old Iranian cleric and his Mehdi Army have been strongly supported both financially and with weapons by Iran's Revolutionary Guard and the Lebanon-based Shiite Hezbollah, or Party of God guerrilla organization with which the Guards are closely allied.

A former Iranian intelligence officer identified only as Hajj Saeedi told the London-based Al-Sharq al-Aswat newspaper in an interview published Saturday that before the latest uprising Iran had successfully infiltrated hundreds of agents from its religious movement, the Pasdaran, into Iraq through Kurdish areas. Saeedi also claimed that Iran was subsidizing underground operations in Iraq "to the tune of $70 million a month," the paper said.

And on Wednesday, The Washington Times cited U.S. "military sources with access to recent intelligence reports" as saying that Sadr was "being supported by Iran and its terror surrogate Hezbollah." Sadr "has traveled to Iran and met with its hard-line Shiite clerics," the paper said. It reported that according to U.S. military sources, Sadr was also "being aided directly by Iran's Revolutionary Guard."

Given Sadr's fierce and unrelenting anti-U.S. position and rhetoric, and the Revolutionary Guards' long history of extremely close and highly successful cooperation with Hezbollah in Lebanon, such a relationship appears extremely likely. But there is much more to the story than that.

First, the Iranian hard-liners, including the Revolutionary Guards and their leading supporters, Supreme Guide Ali Kamenei and former President Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, have often been at odds, and occasionally have been reined in by more cautious forces led by President Mohammed Khatemi.

Khatemi, and his more cautious pragmatists -- it may be misleading to call them moderate -- were very much in the saddle during and after the three-week conquest of Iraq by U.S. and allied forces a year ago. American military prowess was so overwhelming that Iranian leaders, as they discussed in their own media, were genuinely alarmed that U.S. leaders, boosted by their easy success, would turn on them next.

Since then, public Iranian diplomacy has been and so far continues to be highly cautious towards the United States while seeking closer ties with the European Union. Indeed, on Tuesday, International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohammed ElBaradei announced in Tehran that Iran had agreed to a timetable for international inspections of its nuclear facilities.

This was a diplomatic coup for Britain, Germany and France. All three nations have urged Iran to accept such a deal and Tehran has taken their calls seriously. For Iranian leaders appear to regard continued warm and stable ties with major European nations as a crucial diplomatic defense against being attacked by the United States.

Also, Tehran has been working closely with Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the Iranian-born religious leader of Iraq's Shiites, who comprise 65 percent of the total population. And Sistani, like the Tehran government, has been cautiously following a policy of dealing with the United States and the U.S. Coalition Provision Authority, while taking independent stands, but so far avoiding any direct clashes.

However, in recent weeks, there have been signs that more aggressive elements have been on the rise in Tehran's governing circles regarding Iraq. The main reason for this, Middle East diplomatic sources said, was Iran's concern -- and anger -- over its leaders' belief that hundreds of millions of dollars was already flowing in business kickbacks to Ahmed Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress and that this money was expected to be used to fund efforts to spread American-style democracy in Iran and destabilize the structure of the Islamic Republic there.

However, amid these swirling murky waters of claim and counter-claim, it appears clear that the drama of events within Iraq itself is the central dynamic driving events. Sadr's Mehdi Army only rose up after U.S. forces directed by CPA chief administrator L. Paul Bremer sought to close his newspaper and crack down on him.

As United Press International reported Tuesday, top civilian policymakers in the Pentagon did not take Sadr seriously, even if they were in possession of the claims of Iranian support that The Washington Times and Al-Sharq al-Aswat have reported.

The scale of the Sadr uprising and the enthusiasm with which Sunni Islamist guerrillas have made it a common cause certainly took the Bush administration totally by surprise. It has been an article of faith in White House and Pentagon civilian circles that Sadr's Shiite extremists in southern Iraq and the Sunni ones in central Iraq would never find themselves in agreement with each other.

But they have. And the fact should not have come as a surprise at all. For the Shiite Hezbollah in Lebanon has long enjoyed excellent relations with the Sunni Islamic Jihad and Hamas, also known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, in their fierce intifada campaigns against Israel.

Far from cynically, secretly and single-mindedly building up Sadr and his Mehdi Army, Iran has followed a complex and generally cautious multi-pronged policy towards Iraq and its U.S. occupiers over the past year.

The real danger for the overstretched and undermanned U.S. forces now facing major risings throughout the center and south of Iraq is that Iran may be propelled into a far more confrontational and unified position that could lead to a direct clash or even full-scale war with the United States.

That could happen if the current uprising does spectacularly well, which does not at the moment appear likely. However, a much more likely and potentially more dangerous scenario would be if U.S. forces kill Sadr and he then becomes a charismatic martyr figure among Shiite believers, whose religious culture has also thrived on such symbolism of heroic sacrifice and suffering. Then events could really get out of control on all sides.
18 posted on 04/08/2004 6:27:36 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: DoctorZIn
No Other Option

April 08, 2004
The Wall Street Journal
Larry Diamond

In the past 10 days, the U.S.-led effort to rebuild Iraq as a stable, democratic state has fallen into crisis. The most alarming aspect is not the Baathist-inspired violence in Fallujah, bloody and horrific though that fighting has been. This has been a limited uprising from the minority Sunni section of the country, many of whose politicians have now entered the peaceful political game. It does not threaten the overall viability of the political transition.

The Shiite uprising that began a few days ago is another story. Scholars and historians of Iraq have long warned that an uprising among the Shiite would spell doom for the coalition, and for any hope of peaceful transition. We are not yet facing a generalized Shiite resistance. Rather, we are locked in a confrontation with a ruthless young thug, Muqtada al-Sadr, who leads an Iranian-backed, fascist political movement that spouts a shallow mix of Islamist and nationalist slogans in a bid to conquer power.

Among most Shiites -- including, crucially, Iraq's most widely revered religious leader, Ayatollah Sistani -- Sadr is a reviled figure. A crude man with no religious qualifications or positive political program, he has used coercion and intimidation as a substitute for genuine religious authority. Yet since the coalition began a crackdown on his organization 10 days ago, Sadr has maneuvered brilliantly to portray himself as the leader of a broader nationalist and Islamist insurgency. Now, growing numbers of marginalized young Iraqi men -- including some Sunni elements -- are rallying to his cause.

If we do not confront this new resistance in a politically agile and militarily forceful and adept manner, everything we have done to help Iraqis rebuild their country as a democracy could unravel in a matter of weeks.

* * *
The democratic transition is moving forward in many inspiring ways. With U.S. assistance, civil society is organizing, political parties are beginning to mobilize, and hundreds of "democracy dialogues" are discussing the country's constitutional structure and future. Two U.N. teams are consulting with Iraqis on how to structure the interim government that will assume power on June 30, and how to administer the elections for a transitional government, due by December or January. However, elections can only go forward and the transition succeed if the agents and means of violence are brought under control.

Underlying the current upsurge in violence has been the problem posed by heavily armed militias in the Shiite south. Loyal to political parties and religious militants; riven by factional divides; determined to impose an Iranian-style theocratic dictatorship; and lavishly armed, funded, and encouraged by various power factions in Iran, these Islamist militias (as well as Sunni and Kurdish militias in the north) have been casting a long shadow over the political process in Iraq. In many provinces, the militia fighters outnumber and certainly outgun the new Iraqi armed forces.

Unless the militias are demobilized and disarmed, a transition to democracy in Iraq will become impossible. Rather, at every step of the way -- from the formation of parties, to the registration of voters, to the election campaign, to the casting and counting of votes -- the democratic process will be desecrated by fear and fraud.

Key officials within the Coalition Provisional Authority have begun to recognize the urgency of this issue. Over the last three months, a plan has been negotiated for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of all the major militias. But this plan, which relies heavily on financial and employment incentives for voluntary compliance by the militias, can only work if all the militias are disarmed. Those forces that will not negotiate and cooperate must be confronted and disarmed by force.

This brings us to the events of the last week, to the person of Muqtada al-Sadr, and to the biggest, most ruthless militia that stands indefatigably outside any process of voluntary disarmament. Sadr knows how to mobilize and intimidate, and in recent months, his militia -- the al-Mahdi Army -- has been growing alarmingly in size, muscle and daring. They have seized public buildings, beaten up professors, taken over classrooms, forced women to wear the hijab, and set up illegal sharia courts and imposed their own brutal penalties. All of this street action and thuggery is meant to create the sense of an unstoppable force, and to strike absolute fear into the hearts of people who would be so naïve as to think they could shape public policy and power relations by peaceful, democratic means.

In recent weeks, Sadr's propaganda, both in his oral statements and through his weekly newspaper, Hawza, have become increasingly incendiary, propagating the most outrageous lies (for example, that the U.S. was responsible for recent deadly bombings) deliberately designed to provoke popular violence. On March 28, after months of costly delay, the coalition finally began to move against him. Ambassador Paul Bremer ordered the closure of Hawza, and Sadr reacted by ordering his followers to rise up violently. Perhaps in response, the coalition ordered the arrest on April 4 of a senior Sadr aide, Mustafa al-Yacoubi, and 24 others -- including Sadr himself -- for the murder last year of an ayatollah, Abdel Majid al-Khoei.

Now there is no turning back. If any kind of decent, democratic and peaceful political order is to be possible in Iraq, the coalition will need to arrest Sadr, crush his attempt to seize power by force, and dismantle his Mahdi army.

We are now embarked on a dangerous and bloody campaign in which, tragically, many more American, other coalition, and Iraqi lives will be lost. But if we do not confront this military challenge now -- while we work to rebuild a broader consensus among Iraqi political forces on the rules of the game and the shape of the new political system -- we will lose the second war for Iraq, with frightening implications not only for the peace and stability of that country and the wider region, but for our own national security.

Mr. Diamond, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, has served as a senior adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad.
19 posted on 04/08/2004 7:51:33 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: DoctorZIn
Learning from Sadr

April 08, 2004
National Review Online
Michael Rubin

Listen to the Iraqis.

As violence provoked by Muqtada al-Sadr's fringe Jaysh al-Mahdi militia enters its third day, Washington remains in a frenzy of misplaced panic. Senator Edward Kennedy (D., Mass.), in remarks rebroadcast throughout the Arab world on the al-Jazeera satellite television, declared "Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam and this country needs a new president." Senators Richard Lugar (R., Ind.) and Joseph Biden (D., Del.) raised the spectre of civil war in separate April 6 interviews. Speaking on the floor of the U.S. Senate on April 7, Robert Byrd (D., W.Va.) went further, calling on the United States to pull out of Iraq.

Allies and adversaries alike interpret such statements as weakness. For Arab liberals, they raise the spectre of American abandonment, an obsession brought on by our failure to support Iraqi freedom in 1991. For militant Islamists and potential Jihadist recruits, the senators' statements reinforce the notion that Americans will reward violence, just as did the Spanish electorate in the wake of the March 11 train bombings. While headlines may scream doom and gloom, more telling is the reaction of the Iraqi street. Muqtada al-Sadr's uprising and the fighting in Fallujah and Ramadi have put Iraq to the test. And Iraqis have passed with flying colors.

Take the news out of Najaf where Governing Council member Sayyid Muhammad Bahr al-Ulum, himself a Shia cleric, has said that Muqtada al-Sadr refuses to speak with representatives of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani's religious establishment: Muqtada's petulant behavior counters any suggestion that he and Iraq's religious establishment will unite in a common front. Indeed, on April 7, Sistani's office issued a statement calling for calm, pointedly refusing to endorse Muqtada. News from other cities is also positive. In Nasriyyah, a predominantly Shia town famous as the site of the rescue of PFC Jessica Lynch, leading local Shia cleric, Wael al-Rukadi, explained, "Triggering the violent incidents were people from the outside, to be exact, from Fallujah and the Western part of the country... A withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq at this time would lead to an all-out civil war."

Muqtada al-Sadr is a desperate man. The youngest son of Grand Ayatollah Muhammad al-Sadr, Muqtada was never able to acquire the religious legitimacy of his father or brothers, murdered by Saddam Hussein in 1999. Nevertheless, Muqtada has remained fiercely ambitious and has sought to cash in on his family name. On October 10, 2003, he declared himself president of a parallel government, only to find that Iraqis wanted nothing to do with him. Muqtada al-Sadr did initially have some support in Sadr City, a sprawling slum on the outskirts of Baghdad named not after Muqtada, but after his father. However, Muqtada's support has hemorrhaged over the past several months as Shia politicians like Ibrahim Jaafari of the Dawa party and Abdul Aziz Hakim of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, make inroads. I visited Sadr City often between July 2003 and March 2004, walking through markets and along apartment blocks. Posters of Muqtada al-Sadr, once omnipresent, faded or disappeared, replaced by posters of late ayatollahs like Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim, killed in an August 29, 2003, car bomb. This week's violence appears to have less to do with Iraqi sentiment than with Muqtada al-Sadr's quest for power. Abu Muhammad Sadiq, a self-described leading figure in Muqtada's militia, told the Arabic daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat on April 6, 2004, that the goal of the movement was to give Muqtada "an opportunity to lead Iraq."

The reason for the Iraqi Shia community's aversion to Muqtada goes beyond his lackluster scholarship, to the very nature of his character: Iraqis see Muqtada as a murderer. On April 10, 2003, he ordered the murder of moderate cleric Majid al-Khoei, who was subsequently hacked to death in the Shrine of Imam Ali, one of the world's holiest Shia shrines. Muqtada later published a list of 192 Iraqi figures "to be killed." Several subsequently were.

Rather than see Muqtada as a grassroots leader, most Iraqis see him as a proxy of the Iranian government. Muqtada receives funding through Ayatollah Kazem al-Haeri, a close confidant of the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ali Khameini. Unlike many of Iraq's traditional clergy who believe that clerical rule in a secular world would by nature corrupt religion (as it has in Iran), Muqtada al-Sadr subscribes to Khameini's vision of clerical dictatorship.

Iraqis are not without complaint with regard to the American action. It has been more than a half-year since an Iraqi magistrate issued a warrant for Muqtada al-Sadr's arrest on charges stemming from the Khoei assassination. Contrary to off-the-cuff statements by some pundits, the magistrate was not a Coalition-appointee, but rather an ordinary, non-political judge with several years of service. Many Iraqi judges used the collapse of Saddam's regime to reinvigorate their defense of the law, no longer intimidated by Baath-party political commissars. Nevertheless, nervous hand-wringing in Washington prevented Coalition forces from taking any action. An April 7, 2004, open letter to Coalition Provisional Authority administrator L. Paul Bremer signed by 19 Iraqi intellectuals, both Sunni and Shia, lauded "the decision of the Coalition Forces to capture and remove destructive cells, which are enemies to law and order," but added, "It would have been preferable had these forces been captured before the recent events. This is the only way to deal with violent protests that bring harm to both our country and the establishment of democracy."

The path to democracy is not easy. A successful Iraq creates a crisis of legitimacy for remnants of Saddam's regime, as well as Iraq's decidedly undemocratic neighbors: Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, and the proxy groups they fund, equip, and train. But, if there is a lesson to Muqtada al-Sadr's rise and violent fall, it is not to ignore a challenge, or to cut-and-run, but to meet challenges head on in defense of freedom and democracy.

— Michael Rubin is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He spent 16 months in Iraq, most recently as a Coalition Provisional Authority governance adviser.
21 posted on 04/08/2004 7:54:03 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: DoctorZIn
China willing to further overall cooperation with Iran: President Hu 2004-04-08 20:11:56

BEIJING, April 8 (Xinhuanet) -- China is willing to enhance exchange and cooperation with Iran in all aspects and to push the friendly cooperation ties, which was long-term stable and rich in content, to a new high, said Chinese President Hu Jintao here Thursday.

Hu told visiting Iranian Vice-President Mohammad Setarifar thatthe China-Iran ties progressed further in the new century with the care and promotion from the two countries' leaders.

Common consensus between China and Iran in regional and international affairs were increasing, Hu said.

The two countries' exchange in all fields and aspects was more active. Trade and economic cooperation expanded quickly, Hu said.

The cultural dialogue between China and Iran also served to promote understanding and friendship between the two peoples, the Chinese president said.

As developing countries, China and Iran were both endeavored to make economic progress and improve the people's living standards and were facing the common task of maintaining and promoting regional peace, stability and development, Hu acknowledged.

Iran and China share long-term friendship and they kept sound relationships and good cooperation in all fields, Setarifar said.

The two countries' consensus in many aspects were conducive forthem to realize economic development and maintain world peace.

Potential in economic cooperation between the two countries wasalso huge and Iran will enhance cooperation with China on oil and natural gas, mining and traffic, Setarifar said.

Setarifar was here to co-chair a China-Iran commission meeting for economic, trade, scientific and technological cooperation, which was spoke highly of by the Chinese president. Enditem
23 posted on 04/08/2004 9:05:42 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: DoctorZIn
Negotiations Begin with Radical Shiite Leader

April 08, 2004
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report

Since Wednesday, April 7, four Shiite delegations have been in secret negotiation with radical Shiite leader Moqtada Sadr in Najef for an end to the uprising he instigated five days ago in a half a dozen Iraqi cities including Baghdad. This is reported exclusively by DEBKAfile’s intelligence and Iraqi sources. The four groups represent the Shiite Dawa Party, the Islamic Action Party, Shiite members of the provisional Iraq Governing Council and SCIRI, the faction headed by council member Abdel Aziz al Hakim, brother of the Grand Ayatollah who was assassinated last year in Najef. No Americans are in direct talks with the outlawed Shiite firebrand, but the negotiating teams are in continuous communication with US administration heads in Baghdad.

America’s handling of the radical Shiite uprising is going forward on two levels:

The military level:

Fresh US divisions newly arrived in the country are overlapping with the divisions which have been held back from ending their one-year stint in order to boost the coalition’s military effort to stamp out spiraling Sunni and Shiite violence. Coalition strength stands now at 145,000-strong, of which 125,000 are US troops. They are availed of immense armored and aerial firepower for combat against the Shiite militia in the south, the Sunni insurgents in central Iraq and al Qaeda and foreign combatants on both fronts. There are also the first makings of anti-US Sunni-Shiite coordination, as confirmed by Iraqi commander Gen. Ricardo Sanchez in his press briefing Thursday, April 8 - in Baghdad, northern parts of the Sunni Triangle near Kirkuk and a number of East Iraqi cities in the vicinity of the Iranian border.

The administrative-political level:

The four Shiite teams talking to Sadr in Najaf is one channel. Another is the instigation of a stream of missives from a group of Iranian ayatollahs centered in the holy city of Qom and jointly opposed to the hard-line regime in Tehran. These respected clerics are urging Sadr to give up violence and reach terms with the US-led coalition. DEBKAfile’s Tehran sources report the first of these letters has been sent out by Ayatollah Hosseini Shirazi.

The four Shiite teams talking to the maverick cleric in Najef are pitching the following arguments:

US intelligence has evidence that the hands behind the Shiite uprising belong to Iran and the Lebanese Hizballah, operating through the veteran Lebanese arch terrorist Imad Mughniyeh. They advise the 31-year old Shiite rebel to look over his shoulder, because he will then discover that he was tossed onto the Iraqi warfront to fight alone without the promised support structure for himself and his Mehdi Army militia. He is warned most solemnly that if he continues along the road of fire and blood, the Americans are determined to eliminate him with the hard core of his following and his militia. The continuation of the US offensive against his forces will leave a bloody mark on the entire Iraqi Shiite community and Sadr will be blamed for the calamity.

This line of persuasion rests on two US intelligence assessments:

1. Indications that Sadr and his men are themselves overwhelmed by the consequences of their revolt and reluctant to press on with fresh military initiatives. That judgment was refuted almost as soon as it was formulated by initial reports of a Shiite radical strike Wednesday against a new target, Japanese forces, in a new location, the Sunni Triangle city of Samarra.

2. The Mehdi Army was seen to fall back on more than one front. While retaining its grip on Najef, Diwaniyeh and al Kut, its commanders struck deals in Nasseriyeh with the Italians and Basra with British forces to hand over town centers. Furthermore, on Wednesday, April 7, Shiite forces managed to besiege the Polish base in Karbala and were poised to move in to attack when at the last moment they pulled back. They had heard that US fighter jets and helicopters were on their way to strike them. US analysts misread those signals. On Thursday, the Shiite withdrawals turned out to have been tactical. Shiite militiamen returned to the battle against Polish and Bulgarian troops and opened up new war arenas.

It is clear to the negotiating teams and the Americans that no real momentum will be achieved in the talks before the Shiite Arbain observance in the coming weekend, where between two and three million pilgrims are awaited in Karbala, most of them Iranian. Many will also step over to visit the shrines of Najef, obliging the Americans to leave a clear field for Sadr in the two Shiite shrine cities and the roads linking them.

For the moment, the Shiite rebel leader has four large incentives for dragging out the negotiations as long as possible:

A. The opening day of the Arbain observance is proclaimed only after authorized imams determine the moon has reached the correct angle over Iraq. This leaves the Arbain date up in the air and at the discretion of Sadr and his ability to obtain a determination that fits his strategy.

B. He also needs time to see if the Iranians make good on their promise to pump reinforcements and arms to his militia under cover of the mass pilgrimage. He will not get his answer before the weekend or early next week.

C. A spark could inflame the millions of Shiite pilgrims and send them on a jihadist rampage against US and coalition bases across southern Iraq. The Americans, pinned down by Sunni insurgents north and west of Baghdad, do not command sufficient strength close by to stem a mass stampede of potential suicides. That threat Sadr still holds over coalition heads.

D. The Shiite cleric will profit from extra time also to continue to cultivate his militia’s operational ties with Sunni insurgent forces battling the Americans, especially in Fallujah and Ramadi. Gen. Sanchez confirmed Thursday there is coordination “at the lowest level” and said it must be contained.

Also Thursday, mixed Sunni-Shiite groups in Baghdad and surrounding cities began organizing for a march to bring food and aid to the “injured and hungry” population of besieged Fallujah. Muezzins of Baghdad’s Sadr City called on Shiites to donate blood. Aid convoys began flowing to the embattled Sunni Triangle town. They are believed to be the advance guard for tens of thousands of civilians to swarm through the city and disrupt the US anti-insurgency offensive. Any interference would be condemned at once as “human rights abuses.” General Sanchez hastened to assure the assembled media Thursday that “the people of Fallujah would not be cut off from humanitarian aid.”

On all four grounds, it is hard to imagine US-backed Shiite negotiating process getting very far before early next week.

The Sunni warfront focuses mainly on Fallujah where Thursday saw intense street combat between US Marines, who suffered 3 dead and many wounded, and a new Iraqi guerrilla force. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the new Al Farouk Battalions are made up of ex-officers and NCOs from crack units of Saddam’s Special Republic Guards, who were barred from joining the New Iraqi Army, and al Qaeda elements. They have recently acquired advanced rocket-propelled grenades smuggled in from Lebanon and Syria.
26 posted on 04/08/2004 12:26:10 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: DoctorZIn

27 posted on 04/08/2004 12:27:52 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: DoctorZIn

28 posted on 04/08/2004 12:28:31 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: DoctorZIn
Islamic Republic of Iran Operates 18 Spy Centers in Iraq

April 08, 2004
Middle East Newsline

Iranian intelligence has been operating at least 18 covert centers in Iraq as well as targeting Shi'ites deemed as aligned with the United States in a nearly $1 billion effort to prevent the spread of democracy in that Arab country.

A former Iranian official in Teheran's intelligence community publicly disclosed the first details on Iran's intelligence presence in Iraq. The defector said Iran has bolstered its intelligence presence throughout Iraq where Teheran has sought to exacerbate ethnic tensions and encourage a nationwide revolt against the United States.

The centers have been located in Baghdad, Basra, Karbala, Najaf, Nasseriya and Suleimaniya, the Iranian defector said. The centers, operating under the cover of charities, have also been used to recruit Iraqis to spy for Iran.

The defector, identified as Haj Saidi and who fled Iran in late 2003, told the London-based daily A-Sharq Al Awsat on April 3 that Iran has sent hundreds of intelligence agents into Iraq over the last 18 months. Many of them came under the guise of Iranian pilgrims and Iraqi refugees. He said more than 300 Iranian agents -- benefiting from about 2,700 safe houses in 14 cities -- were operating in Iraq.
29 posted on 04/08/2004 12:29:31 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: DoctorZIn

31 posted on 04/08/2004 12:32:01 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

To: DoctorZIn
Any recommendations on how to handle the mullahs in Persia who are instigating the trouble in Iraq?


32 posted on 04/08/2004 2:47:22 PM PDT by M Kehoe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

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”

41 posted on 04/08/2004 9:02:02 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies ]

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

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