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Iranian Alert -- April 19, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 4.19.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 04/18/2004 10:08:46 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.

DoctorZin


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: alsadr; armyofmahdi; ayatollah; cleric; humanrights; iaea; insurgency; iran; iranianalert; iranquake; iraq; jayshalmahdi; journalist; kazemi; khamenei; khatemi; moqtadaalsadr; persecution; politicalprisoners; protests; revolutionaryguard; rumsfeld; satellitetelephones; shiite; southasia; southwestasia; studentmovement; studentprotest; terrorism; terrorists; wot
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 04/18/2004 10:08:47 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin”

2 posted on 04/18/2004 10:11:00 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Blaming U.S., Iran Says Truce Effort in Iraq Fails

By NAZILA FATHI
Published: April 18, 2004

TEHRAN, April 18 — Iran said today that the United States' "iron fist policy" in Iraq and a lack of security had foiled Tehran's efforts to end a stand-off in Iraq between American troops and Iraqi rebels. The statement came after a senior Iranian diplomat was fatally shot in Baghdad on Thursday.

"From the very beginning of the crisis, Iran tried to help ease tension," Hamid Reza Assefi, the spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, said today at a news conference here. "But Washington's employment of an iron fist policy complicated the situation."

He added that because of security problems, the Iranian delegation that traveled to Iraq this week was not able to meet with the Shiite cleric leading the rebellion, Moktada al-Sadr, or with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a Shiite leader.

Mr. Assefi blamed the United States' "wrong policies and lack of knowledge about the region and the Iraqi people" for the crisis and said that the best solution was for the occupying forces to leave Iraq.

After endorsing the delegation last week, Iran's foreign ministry distanced itself from the mediating role when a top diplomat at Tehran's embassy in Baghdad was assassinated outside the mission.

Analysts here said that Iran interpreted the assassination as a warning and adjusted its stance to reduce its profile.

The Etemad daily wrote on Saturday that the assassinated envoy, Khalil Naimi, was a victim of the mediation effort especially because he was in charge of the delegation's plans.

Mr. Assefi said today that Iran still had no clue who assassinated Mr. Naimi but had asked the Iraqi Governing Council to increase security around its embassy.

"Surely those who thrive on Iraq's instability had something to do with the assassination," he said.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/18/international/worldspecial/18CND-TEHR.html
3 posted on 04/18/2004 10:16:23 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Oppose Islamic regime's Soccer policy on US soil

SMCCDI (Urgent Action)
Apr 18, 2004

" To sin by silence, when we should protest, makes cowards out of men. The human race has climbed on protest. Had no voice been raised against injustice, ignorance and lust, the inquisition yet would serve the law, and guillotines decide our least disputes. The few who dare, must speak and speak again, to right the wrongs of many..." - ( Ella Wheeler Wilcox )

Fellow Iranians and Americans,

Two international soccer games are scheduled to be played by Iran's National Team on the US soil. The first game is scheduled to be played against the USA's Galaxy Team in the Rose Bowl Stadium located in Pasadena, California on Wednesday April 28, 2004, from 07:30 PM PST; And the second game against Guatemala's National Team in the RFK Stadium located in Washington DC on Saturday May 1, 2004, from 08:00 PM EST.

More games on the US soil are planned for September 21st and as we will be approaching the US Presidential election...

Some among us are still, unfortunately, unaware of the political impact this type of controversial games and benefits the Islamic regime will try to derive at Iranians and Americans expense. Indeed, Living in the free American society and afar from the Motherland tend to blind, or promote ignorance amongst a few members of the Iranian Diaspora which would be not found in the Iranian population subject to mullahs' oppressive rule and demagogy.

After all, most our countrymen still remember how the very same Iranian National Team was forced to loose to Bahrain in order to put a stop to the consecutive massive protest actions made in the frame of what became famous as "Iran's Soccer Demos"...

We do remember? Don't we?...

Yes we do... Most of us do!!!

But, those few of us that will still be excited to go to these new games just for the pleasure of enjoying and revitalizing their "National feelings", need to remember that this is the 2nd time that the Rose Bowl stadium is to be used as a political platform by the Mullahs. It is mostly anoher desperate attempt by the Mullahs and a few misguided American officials and legislators to promote "soccer policy" between the U.S. and a collapsing tyrannical and terrorist sponsoring regime that is already dead on arrival (DOA).

Just as a reminder, the first U.S.-Iran soccer game was played on Sunday January 29, 2000, and opened the way for several pro-regime oriented organizations to orchestrate meetings by so-called Iranian-American or American-Iranian councils and their political action committees (PACs). Regime officials used these illegitimate entities to claim wide support within the Iranian Diaspora and to justify visits to the U.S. by the Islamic foreign minister and president, and to solicit "political" donations. Many of you remember the meetings held at: The Dana Point Ritz Carlton (on September 9, 2000 with the regime's FM Kamal Kharazi as official guest and leading to a massive protest action in Orange County); Seton Hall University (on November 9, 2001 with Mohamad Khatami as guest speaker); The illegal Islamic presidential election ballot boxes on U.S. soil in June 2001; New York's New School University (on May 9, 2002 with Kamal Kharazi as guest speaker); San Francisco Ritz Carlton (on June 1, 2002 with John Kerry present along controversial Iranians and talking about "success of reforms in Iran" and "need to cancel sanctions law and establish formal ties with the regime"); Various other objectionable actions, such as, fund raising for Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) at the Los Angeles based IMAN Islamic center in year 2002); "Apology" offered by the Clinton Administration to the Islamic regime by the voice of Madeleine Albright; US legislators and Mehdi Karoubi talks on the US soil; US-Islamic regime negociations in Turkey and Cyprus; And various gatherings claimed to be supported by Iranians living in the US.

These were just few "results" following the first episode of "Soccer Policy"..... Few results giving "more Time to a tyrannical and terrorist regime"... More time to repress, kill and plan future misdeeds...

Fellow People of Conscience,

This is not a request for boycotting these games. In contrary, it's an invitation for a massive and lucid participation. It's an invitation to participate, enjoy, support the National Team but above all to respond to part of our moral duties...

The new game scheduled to be played in California has been planned for a "Wednesday" (4/28/04 till further notice). Still till this time, issuing moment of this Urgent Action, the Galaxy's management has not reconfirmed the game but ticket's are being sold... Most likely the game will take place as scheduled as it's especially confirmed on the US Soccer Association's official website...

This Hush Hush policy seems to be just a desperate tactic intending to avoid a massive Iranian presence and an adversarial crowd that will protest the brutal Islamic republic regime as it did on January 2000.

They fear, the Mullahs' regime and their controversial counterparts in America, that the big number of Iranian freedom lovers residing in California and many Americans will expose them to the world while they attempt to manipulate the media during this U.S. election year.

The Mullahs and their US based counterparts recognize that, in these times of public awareness, it will be impossible for anyone to invite regime officials without expecting wide scale protest from millions of Iranians and Americans. The regime is returning to it's first "reforms" step and is organizing this game which will most likely be "blacked-out" but a preview of future events the despots will promote to secure ties with America. Times and strategies force the Mullahs to change staged future events that will surely include controversial internationally recognized figures that will attempt to promote the regime's agenda with "new types of reforms from within". Controversial figures, like Ebrahim Yazdi and his National-Religious gang, and the so-called Nobel Peace Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi will continue to be exploited by the mullahs.

Keep in mind that millions of Iranians and freedom lovers' displeasure over Iran's first Nobel Peace Prize winner who till very recently defended the Islamic terrorists being held in Guantanamo prison. Yes, sadly, Iran's first Nobel Peace Prize winner is now defending the terrorists' 9/11 genocidal atrocity in America and their barbarian rule in Afghanistan. Compounding her complicity, Shirin Ebadi, refused till last week to utter a word against the inhumane treatment of our fellow students and freedom lovers and the fate of those being held, or killed in the theocratic regime's prisons. She, Shirin Ebadi, was too busy protesting against France's decision to ban the veil from secular public schools than defending Iranian women forced and beaten, for a quarter of a century, to wear the mandatory veil. Since last week, she has started, FINALLY, to speak.... Most likely in order to calm the Iranian Diaspora as she has been planned to make speeches in Canada and in the US...

Yes, be assured, the Mullahs next charade will be to invite their "second generation of reformists," like Shirin Ebadi who has also shamefully stated "she is kissing the hands of the Islamic Majiles (Parliament) members and thanking President Khatami for what he has done."

Outrageously shameful! Yes, just more despotic Islamic masquerading and manipulation!!!!

When will these acts of demagoguery written with Iranian blood cease?

Fellow Good Men and Good Women of Integrity and Principles,

The Islamic regime can no longer suggest, or claim gradual democratization is occurring, or report any "progress of reforms" to anybody with a brain. Do not, therefore, allow their agents of deceit lull you, or your friends, into thinking that the Mullahs have changed.

The Mullahs' new game uses U.S. based lobbyist groups, especially those associated with the questionable actions of John Kerry's presidential election bid. Promising to "repair the damage done by the Bush Administration," U.S. Senator John Kerry has already taken campaign donations from these sources headed by controversial individuals of Iranian origin. The very same John Kerry who supported the theory of sham Regime reforms to Americans and helped to bought time for the Islamic regime, will benefit from their support and donations. For the record, Senator Kerry also considers the Islamic regime a "democratic entity" and has qualified a fanatic, such as, Moghtada Al-Sadr as a "legitimate leader" during an interview with NPR. Intent upon winning The White House, the American Democratic Party leadership cares not what happens to, or the sacrifices made by Iranians and Americans' sons and daughters in the region. It is obvious that Senator Kerry is following the same self-deluding and destructive path that the previous Democrat administration advocated. That Clinton administration actually apologized to the regime and accepted responsibility for past rights abuses and terrorism.

This is wrong and contrary to all ethics!!!! We must not allow such things to ever happen again! We must seize the occasion and expose this regime's autocratic and evil nature!

Iranians living in the despotic hell the Mullahs have created have paid heavy prices to expose the despotic Mullahs' fascism and backward mentality. Opposing the Mullahs, near helpless Iranians resist the despots with their bare hands at times to the death. The U.S. Iranian Diaspora and American freedom lovers must reiterate that the Mullahs' despotic actions will not be tolerated.'

Fellow Freedom Lovers,

Many of you still remember the SMCCDI's Urgent Call To Action of January 12, 2000, (see: (http://www.daneshjoo.org/article/publish/article_54.shtml) and the dramatic effect of the demonstration that took place at the first Rose Bowl soccer game. Recall, please, how the collaboration of a few Islamic regime's opponents succeeded in turning the regime's agenda against its' promoters and organizers. Thousands of our fellow compatriots and Americans, responding to their moral duty, seized the occasion to bow the regime's official anthem and were able to focus attention on the plight of Iranians struggling for freedom, secularity and democracy.

Yes, due to awareness, the game played out against the regime itself!!!

This is to be done again!!!

The time has come again, along with our countrymen who are fighting openly in Iran, to remind yourselves that the Iranian soccer team is not our enemy, the mullahs and their regime are.

Remind yourselves on your way to the Rose Bowl Stadium and while there, that the Iranian athletes and team are different from the Islamic regime, and how the game might be of benefit to the tyrants and terrorists if you are passive. You must understand that while you can enjoy the game and be proud of your players, you have a moral duty to protest against the Islamic regime, promoters and lobbyists.

Remember, the promoters and lobbyist are the ones intent upon using the soccer game as a platform to praise the existence of a nightmare called the "Islamic Republic."

Also, you must not allow Americans to forget how the Islamic republic is illegitimate, tyrannical and that it poses grave dangers to their sons and daughters, to its neighbors and to the World's stability and peace!!!

In light of these facts, please remember:

SUPPORT THE TEAM BUT NOT THE REGIME..........

This is how:

1- Try to participate in each game you can. If you are unable to obtain tickets, as tickets will be selectively sold, or already massively "bought out," you're invited to take the day off and join the demonstration in front of the stadium.

2- Do not accept or wave the Islamic Republic flag which is usually distributed at the entries of such organized gatherings. Our national flag is without the Islamic Republic emblem.

The regime has on several occasions exploited young, or naive people in the U.S. and European countries by placing the Islamic Republic flag in their innocent hands. Innocent young, or naive people will wave any flag that has been given to them not knowing the political ramifications of the regime's intentions. Such false images of regime support are shown then by governmental TV and press to our enchained countrymen. The mullahs use naivety and irresponsibility as propaganda tools while simultaneously taking the lives of Iranian children....

Do not give the impression that we approve of the Mullahs' repression of students, imprisonment of teachers, journalists and other freedom lovers!

3- Conceal under your clothing the banned "Lion and Sun" flag or get one from freedom lovers who will try to distribute them at the entry door areas of the Stadium. Show your support of your historical heritage by displaying and actively waving the "Lion and Sun flag". The Lion and Sun Flag has become a symbol of rejection of the Islamic regime by millions of Iranians.

4- Write on long white paper sheets (e.g. butcher paper) in very thick and bold RED or BLACK "English" and "Persian" letters these slogans: "Free Political Prisoners in Iran" (Zendani e Siassi Azad bayad gardad), "Down with Islamic Republic" (Marg bar Jomhoori e Eslami), "No to Theocracy (in Red) Yes to Democracy (in black)", (Hokoomat e Mazhabi NA, Mardomsalari ARI), "Down with Tyranny" (Marg bar Estebdad), "Freedom for Iran" (Azadi baraye Iran), "Referundum for Iran", (Referundum baraye Iran) "Down with the Mullah regime" (Nabood bad Regime e Mollayan), "Down with Terrorsists" (Marg bar Terrorist), "Kerry, Iran is NO Democracy" (Kerry, Iran Democracy nist), "Kerry don't talk to the terrorists" (Kerry ba terrorist goftegoo na).

Roll, or fold the long sheets of paper and conceal them under your clothing to get it inside the stadium. If discovered, somebody will take your banner from you. Once inside the stadium and after the start of the game wait for an appropriate moment to vigorously display your sign.

Live television images sent from the stadium for Americans must resonate your message of regime rejection and support for Iranians seeking freedom. Do not in any way allow it to appear that you support the regime and its' lobbyists.

5- When the American national anthem is played, please rise and pay respect.

6- When the Islamic Republic anthem is played, sit down, or turn your back and bow low in a sign of protest. Cut out eye and mouth holes (so you can breath) in plastic grocery bags, if you wish not to be identified.

7- Bring black gloves, if you have them. Point your fists to the sky while the Islamic republic anthem is played. This protest action was first demonstrated by members of the American Black community during the 1960 Olympic games in Mexico; to protest against discrimination and is well known to all freedom lovers...

8- At the end of the regime's anthem, everybody rise and together sing "EY IRAN EY MARZ-E-POR GOHAR." (Oh. Iran). This song was sung by the students during the July 1999 protest movement and has since been considered by the absolute majority of Iranians as their legitimate National Anthem.

9- In the event this song, O Iran, is played by the Stadium Band rise and sing it. If the Stadium band does not play our anthem do not forget to follow the guidance of number 8 (above).

10- Send faxes and e-mails to John Kerry and declare your dismay at his statements and actions, in reference to the Islamic regime. 202-224-8525; 323-935-3579; 617-523-2033; 212-213-9230; info@johnkerry.com

11- Send e-mails and faxes to US officials, lawmakers and also to California's Governor (CG) state representatives of your rejection of the regime and any action promoted by controversial entities claiming to act on behalf of Iranians and Iranian-Americans while pushing for "dialogue" and "establishment of ties with the repressive and terrorist regime."

President Bush: 202-456-246 , president@whitehouse.gov

CG: 916-445-4633 , governor@governor.ca.gov

12- Send a copy the following message to all American media sources (FOX, ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC.

13- Send copies of your messages to SMCCDI's fax and e.mail. 972-491-0866; smccdi@daneshjoo.org

Fellow Men and Women of Good Will,

Show the world and especially the US Presidential candidates that you have not forgotten your homeland, and have not forgiven the regime for its' tyranny. Show the world that while some of you may be too young and do not have personal memories of the revolution you care and compassionately know that years of tyranny cannot be whitewashed away with a soccer game. More importantly, show that you are politically aware and care for your Iranian brothers and sisters.

The time for another fight for TRUTH, PRINCIPLES, FREEDOM, and an END TO TYRANNY AND TERROR has come once again. Together we stand, divided we fall. Never more true. It is time to stand together and support our team - NOT the regime!

Remember you can accelerate the Iranian freedom process and save lives by showing your support...Thousands of innocent eyes are looking for your responsible actions...

God bless you all...

The "Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran" (SMCCDI)

http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_5789.shtml
4 posted on 04/18/2004 10:21:05 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC CONTINUE CRACKDOWN OF THE PRESS AND JOURNALISTS

PARIS 18 Apr. (IPS)

The Islamic Republic of Iran added insult to injury last week by awarding the prize of "Merit" and "Best Servant" to Mr. Sa’id Mortazavi, a judge responsible for the closure of more than one hundred newspapers, magazines and publications and the arrest of dozen of leading journalists on the orders of his boss, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i.

The decision was greeted with increased concern among Iranian press, scholar and intelligentsia circles seeing in it the regime’s intention to continue crackdown on the press and free expression, already drastically limited, as seen by the 18 months imprisonment a court in the north-eastern city of Tabriz cut for Mr. Ensafali Hedayat, an independent reporter, accused of "espionage, propaganda against the Islamic Republic" and "insulting the regime’s officials, including the leader".

"The award of this title to Mortazavi would be the height of absurdity if the situation were not so tragic", the Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF, or Reporters Without Borders) said, adding that the Islamic Republic was "just highlighting its arbitrary and repressive nature by celebrating this travesty of justice".

Mr. Mortazavi, promoted some months ago by Mr. Khameneh'i to the rank of both Tehran and Islamic Revolution Tribunal Prosecutor, is one of the men suspected of having personally interrogated and tortured Ms. Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-Canadian photojournalist who died in a military hospital in Tehran after being hit on the head with a heavy object during interrogations.

The 51 Hedayat had been arrested last January on his return from Berlin, where, like many other colleagues, he had covered the meeting of Iranian republicans, attended by more than 800 participants, including a delegation from Iran itself.

However, in his trial, the judge dropped the espionage accusation, but kept the two other charges.

During the trial, Mr. Hedayat told the open court that though he never insulted any body let alone the leaders, but if propaganda against the regime means not being a yeas man to the authorities and writing only what they like to read, then he accepts the accusation.

"My duty is not writing and reporting what the authorities and official say, but to inform and tell the people what is happening, exposing the wrong doings, the shortcomings, the real problems the country faces", he told the audience.

Mr. Hedayat was previously arrested on 16 June 2003 at Tabriz University while covering student protests. He utterly angered the authorities after he published the circumstances of his arbitrary detention by security and intelligence services, the horrible condition of his detention, the long hours of interrogations while in solitary confinement and physical and psychological tortures he endured.

While his many supporters among Iranian journalists, scholars and intellectuals outside as well as international and Iranian press organisations called on the authorities to free Mr. Hedayat unconditionally, deploring the 18-month prison sentence passed on him they also expressed concern on the situation of Mr. Siamak Poorzand, an old veteran journalist imprisoned since March last year on charges of espionage, collaboration with foreign-based media and organisations, including monarchist movements and propaganda against the Islamic Republic.

In a statement released last week, the international press watchdog voiced concern about the state of health of jailed 75-year-old Poorzand and also expressed "outrage" at the UN Human Rights Commission's failure to condemn the Islamic Republic during its 60th session.

The organisation warned that Poorzand's life could be in great danger if he is not released immediately and given appropriate treatment. He has been paralysed for months and suffered a heart attack on 31 March that left him in a coma for 36 hours.

"The refusal to free him on medical grounds suggests that the authorities have failed to learn any lesson from the death of photojournalist Zahra Kazemi on 10 July 2003 from a beating received in detention", the organisation said, calling for the release of all 12 journalists currently imprisoned in Iran.

"Amid these sinister developments, it is outrageous that none of the member countries of the UN Human Rights Commission, not even the countries of the European Union, has until now tabled a resolution condemning Iran", Reporters Without Borders added.

A freelance contributor to several independent newspapers and the animator of an artistic centre, Mr. Poorzand is bedridden with osteoarthritis of the neck and disk problems that need an operation. He went into a coma after a heart attack two weeks ago. He spent months in solitary confinement and was forced to confess on television by means of psychological pressure and torture.

Poorzand was previously arrested on 24 November 2001 and sentenced in May 2002 to eight years in prison for "actions against state security and links with monarchists and counter-revolutionaries".

He had been allowed home in December 2002 before been returned to prison in March 2003.

"With 12 journalists detained, Iran is the biggest prison for the press in the Middle East and Mr. Khameneh'i one of the world’s most dangerous predator of press freedom", the RSF said.

ENDS ENSAFALI HEDAYAT CONDEMNED 18404

http://www.iran-press-service.com/articles_2004/Apr_04/ensafali_hedayat_condemned_18404.htm
5 posted on 04/18/2004 10:32:18 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
This sounds like a warning to the press in anticipation of the annual demonstrations coming up in June and July.

They may be very violent this year.
6 posted on 04/19/2004 5:16:06 AM PDT by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ( President Bush 3-20-04))
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To: DoctorZIn
"Very Bad Joke of The Year", Iran mullahs host a human rights conference

Apr 19, 2004
Persian Journal

In a one-day conference to be held in Tehran on April 25, numbers of lawyers and prominent activists of human rights from Iran and abroad will participate, including Maria Terresa Doutli, Deputy Secretary General of International Committee of Red Cross in Legal Affairs, Can you believe it?

Ms. Doutli will make a speech titled:" National Execution of Humanitarian Law". She will convey her 25 years experiences on facing the wars and conflicts to Iranian governmental and non-governmental organizations.

http://www.iranian.ws/iran_news/publish/article_2076.shtml
7 posted on 04/19/2004 7:06:45 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" Kerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: DoctorZIn
Official's car destroyed

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Apr 19, 2004

The car of an official of Hamadan was set ablaze, today, during an attack which seems to be due to the popular exasperation in this city. The car was belonging to Khalili, head of the Hamadan Fiscality Department.

Witnesses saw a motobiker who dropped an incendiary susbtance on the parked car and set it on fire before escaping from the scene. No one has been arrested yet.

Attacks and actions against official's propreties are in constant raise and mark the impatience of many to see the Islamic regime ousted from power.

http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_5801.shtml
8 posted on 04/19/2004 8:44:58 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Berlusconi, Kharazi Meet As Italy Seeks Hostages' Freedom

April 18, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
AP

ROME -- Premier Silvio Berlusconi met with Iran's foreign minister Sunday evening as the Italian government continued to work for the release of three Italian hostages in Iraq.

A fourth Italian who was among the private security guards kidnapped on April 12 has been executed, the first known killing of a foreign captive in Iraq.

After the meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi for about an hour at Chigi Palace, the premier's office said that Berlusconi expressed the hope that Iran can continue to play "a positive role in the process of stabilization in Iraq and in the more general context of the Middle East region."

Kharrazi gave Iran's assessment of various current issues including "the recent sharpening of violence" in Iraq, the premier's office said in a statement, without specifically referring to the kidnappings.

The meeting highlighted good Italian-Iranian relations. Berlusconi confirmed that Italy would continue its efforts to favor Iran's moving closer to the European Union and accepted an invitation to visit Iran sometime this year, the statement said.

Earlier in the day, Berlusconi's special diplomatic envoy, Gianni Castellaneta, just back from Iran and Syria as part of the efforts for the hostages, was seen entering the premier's office.

Working diplomatic channels with Iran and Syria was part of efforts to get the captives free, Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has said.

There was no immediate word on the envoy's progress.

Kharrazi, on a two-day visit to Italy, expressed willingness to further improve economic and trade ties, as did Berlusconi, the premier's office said.

On Sunday, the father of one of the hostages told reporters that he understood that there were efforts to try to exchange Islamic extremists jailed in Italy for the three Italians, but the premier's office quickly denied that. The family member, Angelo Stefio, later said he was misunderstood and that he was only suggesting such an exchange.

Families of the hostages made a plea to the captors which was broadcast Saturday on the Arabic news network Al-Jazeera. Berlusconi has telephoned families to assure them the government was doing everything it could to try to get the hostages out.

The militants who seized the hostages issued a videotape of the captives, then sent footage of the execution to Al-Jazeera, which said the captors threatened to kill them one after the other if their demands aren't met.

The group has demanded the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, an apology from Berlusconi, and the release of religious clerics held in Iraq.

Italy's government backed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Italy sent in some 3,000 troops after the conflict for reconstruction. Berlusconi's government says it won't pull its troops out early.

European Affairs Minister Rocco Buttiglione has raised the possibility of paying for the hostages' release, but Frattini has stressed that Italy won't pay a ransom.

http://framehosting.dowjonesnews.com/sample/samplestory.asp?StoryID=2004041819190001&Take=1
9 posted on 04/19/2004 8:46:36 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Israeli, American Officials Discuss Limiting WMD in Mideast

April 19, 2004
Ha'aretz
Aluf Benn

Israeli and American officials were due to discuss on Monday limiting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. The officials hold the talks every so often, and this round of discussions will focus on "diplomatically foiling" the Iranian nuclear program.

U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, John R. Bolton is in Israel and will meet with Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, Mossad chief Meir Dagan and other officials from the Foreign Ministry and nuclear energy committee.

The talks are expected to focus on the exchange of information and coordinating positions ahead of an expected discussion on the Iranian program by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=417064&contrassID=1&subContrassID=1&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y
10 posted on 04/19/2004 8:48:50 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Never Requested Italy's Mediation to Mend Fences with US: Asefi

April 19, 2004
Kuwait News Agency
KUNA

TEHRAN -- Iran Monday denied it sought Italy's mediation to repair ties with the United States.

Hamidreza Asefi, the Foreign Ministry's spokesman, said that improving ties with the United States depends on a changed Washington policy towards hisþcountry.

The state-run news agency (IRNA) quoted Asefi, who accompanies Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi on his visit to Italy, as saying that his country "hasþnot requested the Italian side to play a mediation role to normalize relations between Tehran and Washington."

An Italian newspaper had reported that Tehran informed Rome that it was ready to intervene to achieve calm in Iraq in return for an Italian mediation efforts between Iran and the United States.

During his two-day visit to Italy, Kharrazi will discuss the Iranian nuclear file, the situation in Iraq and bilateral relations.

http://www.kuna.net.kw/English/Story.asp?DSNO=623238
11 posted on 04/19/2004 8:50:16 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
al Qaeda's Saudi War

April 19, 2004
New York Post Online
Amir Taheri

With local disturbances in Iraq dominating the headlines, international opinion may be neglecting a potentially more dangerous conflict in Saudi Arabia.

This month alone at least 11 policemen and government security agents have been gunned down by suspected Islamist terrorists. An undisclosed number of others have been killed or wounded in almost daily armed clashes with what the authorities describe as "a deviant movement" - a code name for al Qaeda-style groups.

This wave of violence started last spring after a taped message from Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda's de facto leader, called on Islamists to focus their energies on seizing power in the oil-rich kingdom. A series of terrorist operations followed, including two major bomb attacks that killed 52 people in the capital Riyadh in May and November 2003.

Al-Zawahiri's appeal was later spelled out in more detail last September in a posthumously published book by Yussuf al-Ayyeri, the al Qaeda chief ideologist who was killed in a gun-battle with Saudi security men in June. Al-Ayyeri identified Iraq and Saudi Arabia as "the final battlefields" in the war of Islam against "kufr" (unbelief) represented by the United States.

Last spring, the United States decided to withdraw its forces from the kingdom, in the hope that a U.S. military presence in the newly-liberated Iraq suffice to ensure the security of the region. No one in Washington imagined that the closing of Saudi bases could act as a signal for the start of what now looks like a direct Islamist power grab in Saudi Arabia.

After initial hesitations due to internal disagreements, the Saudi leaders last year decided to hit back at the radicals.

Since then, dozens of alleged militants have been killed in more than 80 engagements with the security forces. Among them were four of al Qaeda's most notorious military commanders, including Khalid al-Haj, a Yemeni regarded as the overall commander of the terror movement in the Persian Gulf region. Almost 1,000 other militants have been captured in a nationwide sweep against "the deviant movement" in the past six months.

Until earlier this year, the Saudi authorities were adamant that what they faced was a series of sporadic attacks undertaken by small and isolated groups with no overall strategy. Now, however, they admit that the kingdom is threatened by a well-organized and highly motivated army of terrorists with the clear aim of toppling the regime.

It is clear that the Islamists are fomenting what looks like a low-intensity guerrilla struggle in pursuit of three goals:

The first of these is to terrorize the regime's coercive forces, notably the police and the National Guard, that are in the front line of the war against terror. The murders in Jeddah of several policemen in February and March have set a pattern that has since been repeated in Riyadh as well as the cities of Buraidah and Unizah in the Najdi heartland.

The second aim is to create no-go areas for the security forces, thus enabling the terrorists to establish safe havens and, later, a number of "liberated zones." The militants seem to have focused on the Qassim region, where the Hanbali brand of Sunni Islam is strong. At least two remote spots in al-Shamsiyah and Um-Sadrah, some 45 kilometers east of Buraidah, have been identified as logistics points for terrorists.

The terror campaign's third aim is to disrupt the modest program of political reform announced by Crown Prince Abdullah last year. The program includes the holding of the kingdom's first-ever elections: Though modest - limited to municipal councils - these could strengthen the regime by broadening its support base.

The "deviant movement" is also unhappy about other developments, including the creation of the first independent human-rights commission in the kingdom and a systematic purging of school textbooks of anti-West sentiments.

The Saudis have been surprised by the deep roots that the Islamists had struck within some institutions, especially mosques and Koranic schools. Although thousands of mosque preachers and Koranic teachers have been purged in recent months, there is still evidence that both institutions remain breeding grounds for recruiting and training future militants.

No one knows how many militants may be involved in the current war; figures cited by officials vary between 600 and 5,000. We do know the terror movement has stocked its arsenal well: The police have seized a wide variety of arms - including sophisticated surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles.

It is also clear that the militants are well-funded. The Islamist movement is supported by scores of charities, many of them directly financed by the state, and apparently innocuous social, cultural and religious associations. And the Saudi police (supported by the American FBI) have uncovered dozens of front companies set up to fund terror inside and outside the kingdom.

Having started their current campaign as a series of bomb attacks designed to kill foreigners, especially Americans, the Islamist terror movement in Saudi Arabia has now entered a new phase that could only be described as a full-scale guerrilla campaign.

The terror leaders hope to frighten many Saudis into sending their money abroad, thus aggravating the acute economic crisis that the kingdom has suffered since the mid 1990s. They also hope that the more opportunistic elements of society will either side with them or, at least try to hedge their bets, by providing moral and financial support for the terrorists on the sly.

Whatever happens in Iraq in the next few months will have a direct impact on the current struggle for the control of Saudi Arabia.

www.benadorassociates.com

E-mail: amirtaheri@benadorassociates.com

http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/22894.htm
12 posted on 04/19/2004 8:51:43 AM 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; ...
al Qaeda's Saudi War

April 19, 2004
New York Post Online
Amir Taheri

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1120207/posts?page=12#12
13 posted on 04/19/2004 8:53:21 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
"Betrayal", Iraqis are Hesitant to Trust the U.S.

April 19, 2004
National Review Online
Michael Rubin

“We love Bush" reads the graffiti scrawled on the bombed-out remains of the former Baathist security compound in the southern Iraqi town of Nasiriyah. U.S. precision bombing destroyed the hated symbol of the former regime in the first days of the war. The site of a major battle during the march to Baghdad, residents of Nasiriyah nevertheless embraced Coalition occupation, albeit with the frustration over the slow pace of reconstruction projects. Rather than embrace Iranian infiltrators and Muqtada al-Sadr's brownshirts, local officials have sought to capture and transfer them to American or Italian forces. Locals complain not about the presence of the Coalition military, but rather that the U.S. treats saboteurs and infiltrators too leniently. "Don't worry about being liked," one local cleric advised when I first visited the town in July, "Worry about being respected." In Nasiriyah, the Coalition is respected. Soon after the November 12, 2003, car-bomb attack against the Italian military-police headquarters, locals hung banners proclaiming, "Yes, yes to peace; no, no to terrorism," from mosques, walls, and windows in the overwhelmingly Shii city. Following the most recent outbreak of violence, Wael al-Rukadi, vice secretary general of the Council of Iraqi Tribes and a prominent Shii leader, told an Italian journalist, "Any withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq at this time before a transition of power, elections, and return to stability would only lead to chaos and all-out civil war in Iraq."

While Iraqis remain grateful for their liberation, there is great suspicion of U.S. intentions, not because al-Jazeera commentators suggest we came for oil, but rather because they doubt Washington's commitment to democracy. Speaking before the National Endowment for Democracy on November 6, Bush declared that U.S. commitment to democracy in the Middle East would be "a focus of American policy for decades to come." But, in recent days, Iraqi democrats and liberals complain that State Department and National Security Council officials charged with implementing Bush's vision work not to enforce it, but rather to undermine it.

Iraqis are obsessed with American betrayal. When explaining why they are hesitant to trust American political leaders, Iraqi Kurds cite 1975, the year Secretary of State Henry Kissinger brokered the Algiers Accords between Tehran and Baghdad. As part of the agreement which addressed border disputes between the two countries left unresolved since the 1847 Treaty of Erzurum, Washington and Tehran agreed to withdrawal their support from Iraqi Kurdish rebels. The Kurdish uprising, led by Masud Barzani's father Mullah Mustafa, collapsed in a blood bath, sending tens of thousands of refugees into Iranian Kurdistan.

Iraqi Arabs and Kurds both point to March 1991 as evidence that American rhetoric is insincere. On February 15, 1991, speaking to a crowd of workers on the floor of a U.S. munitions factory, President George H. W. Bush declared, "...The Iraqi military and the Iraqi people [should] take matters into their own hands and force Saddam Hussein the dictator to step aside." Iraqis rose to the president's challenge, quickly seizing 14 of Iraq's 18 governorates. The president, counseled by his national-security adviser and then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell, stood by as Saddam's Baathist regime and its senior military officers massacred tens of thousands of civilians. "It wasn't so much that you didn't help," one Kurdish political leader told me in 2000, "but rather that you helped Saddam. Why else would you release the Republican Guard prisoners just in time for them to rearm and regroup." Heading into an election year, White House strategists decided to let politics trump principle.

And so, from an Iraqi perspective, history repeats itself. Iraqis today say they face another betrayal. While many Americans know U.N. Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi only as the facilitator of the Afghanistan Loya Jirga process, Iraqis have greater experience with the former Algerian foreign minister. A staunch Nasserist, they say Brahimi is much more interested in rehabilitating former senior Baathist officers than in promoting democracy. Brahimi has demonstrated disdain not only for Iraq's Kurdish minority, but also for Iraq's Shia majority. As undersecretary of the Arab League between 1984 and 1991, Brahimi stood silent as Saddam massacred more than 100,000 Iraqi Kurds, and then perhaps 400,000 Iraqi Shia. As Iraqis discover and excavate new mass graves every week, there are constant reminders of Brahimi's silence. Visiting Baghdad on U.N. business in 1997, Brahimi added insult to injury, as Iraqi television showed Brahimi embracing Saddam's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, a man whom Iraqis hope to try for crimes against humanity.

A U.N. affiliation may lend Brahimi legitimacy on the streets of Washington and London, but it does not in Basra, Baghdad, or Erbil. After more than three decades of strict censorship, Iraqis now enjoy free speech. They publish more than 170 newspapers. Children hawk tabloids and broadsheets at intersections across Baghdad. Like taxi drivers in New York, newspaper vendors in Basra, Baghdad, and Mosul readily opine on local political trends based on which papers sell on which days.

Al-Mada has become the center of much discussion, not just among Iraqis but also among Western correspondents. Al-Mada has gained a reputation for cutting-edge investigative reporting after publishing a series of oil-ministry documents — now authenticated — which show the complicity and corruption of senior U.N. officials involved in the Oil-for-Food program. The greed and graft of U.N. workers is legend in Baghdad and across Iraq. Iraqis are furious that, despite rhetoric about encouraging Iraqi self-government, in recent weeks Coalition Provisional Authority administrator L. Paul Bremer has moved to derail, de-fund, and administratively block the Governing Council's investigation into U.N. corruption. Holding the United Nations accountable for its crimes in Iraq might interfere with the National Security Council and State Department plan to devolve responsibility to a bureaucracy unaccountable to any electorate.

The sense of Iraqi betrayal extends beyond the fact of U.N. involvement to the substance of the Brahimi plan. Kurdish and Shia leaders say privately that the Brahimi plan is dead-on-arrival. Brahimi's call for a national conference duplicates the Bremer plan already dismissed by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

Bremer's April 14 claim that Brahimi's recommendation was based on "broad consultations with hundreds of Iraqis from across the country" rings hollow, and reinforces the Iraqi perception of Bremer as insincere and arrogant. The 70-year-old Brahimi was in Baghdad for slightly more than a week, during which time he did not travel widely because of security concerns. Even if Brahimi neither ate nor slept, he would have had little time to speak with "hundreds" of Iraqis. Sources say that Brahimi had drawn up his plans well in advance of any consultations. Iraqis get upset when U.S. diplomats and U.N. insult their intelligence. In reality, Brahimi caucused mostly with Adnan Pachachi, an octogenarian former foreign minister remembered most for his regime's brutal suppression of both Shia and Kurds, and for his impassioned attacks on Kuwait's right to exist. President George W. Bush's recognition of Pachachi by name in this year's State of the Union address was popular in Foggy Bottom, but it backfired on the streets of Baghdad. While Iraqis will respect Pachachi as an elder, many say he sacrificed any claim for leadership when he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in subsidy from the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and when he subordinated himself and kissed the hand of UAE President Shaykh Zayid bin Sultan al-Nahyan on al-Arabiya television.

In the Middle East — as in Washington — perception is more important than reality. Iraqis say that Brahimi has an agenda, but do not believe it involves democracy. Brahimi used his April 14 press conference to defend top-tier Baathist collaborators. "It is difficult to understand that thousands upon thousands of teachers, university professors, medical doctors, and hospital staff, engineers, and other professionals who are sorely needed, have been dismissed within the de-Baathification process," Brahimi said. What Brahimi did not say, but what many Iraqis know, is that Iraqi ministers have hired thousands upon thousands of teachers, professors, medical doctors, and hospital staff who had refused to collaborate with Saddam's regime. Upon liberation, Iraq had a glut of unemployed schoolteachers, many of whom had never compromised themselves morally.

I became convinced of the need for de-Baathification when I accompanied an Iraqi friend into a repository of Baathist-party documents hidden under the shrine of Michel Aflaq, the man who, inspired by European fascism and national socialism, founded the Baath party in 1944. Amid musty books and scattered documents, an Iraqi scholar showed me a ledger containing the names of every secondary-school child, notes about his ethnic and sectarian background, and political details regarding their extended family. Marks next to names indicated that that child would be blacklisted upon graduation. Baathist schoolteachers, at least those in the upper-four levels of the hierarchical party, were not benign opportunists as Brahimi alleges, but rather the enforcers of one of the world's most evil regimes.

Iraqis also object to Brahimi's facile claim that Iraq is full of underutilized technocrats, dismissed in post-liberation purges. Under Saddam Hussein, employees won promotion not on technocratic ability, but rather for political loyalty. The previous Iraqi regime systematically discriminated against Shia and Kurds many of whom now seek positions on their individual merit for the first time. It is a betrayal of liberty, democracy, and freedom to abandon them now.

Glossed over by Foggy Bottom, but seized upon by many Iraqis was Brahimi's statement, "The issue of former military personnel also needs attention." Alarm bells in Iraq are also ringing over the redeployment of Major-General David Petraeus, a critic of de-Baathification, to train and screen the new Iraqi military and security forces. Speaking at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on April 7, 2004, Petraeus argued that the Coalition should encourage reconciliation and reintegrate former Baathist officials into leadership positions. While Petraeus, who seldom misses an opportunity for a media interview, says that his reconciliation policy in Mosul proved successful, facts on the ground fail to support his assertion. Mosul today contains the most organized anti-democratic resistance. Petraeus's empowerment of radical Islamists may very well have cost American lives. On several occasions, Iraqis handed me lists of dozens of top-tier Baathists protected by Petraeus. "How can I go to the police, when the police chief tortured my brother in [Saddam's] prison," one Kurd asked me.

Speaking at the National Endowment for Democracy, President Bush said, "The progress of liberty is a powerful trend. Yet, we also know that liberty, if not defended, can be lost... The sacrifices of Americans have not always been recognized or appreciated, yet they have been worthwhile." We promised Iraqis democracy, and we should deliver. Many career diplomats seek to cut-and-run by transferring authority to the U.N. To do so would not only betray Iraqis, but it will cost American lives as we cast aside the goodwill of Iraq's Shia majority, Kurdish minority, and a good portion of its Arab Sunni population as well. Iraqis respect Bush for standing up for democracy and universal principles. He should not sell his legacy for short-term expediency. The credibility of America depends upon fulfillment of our promises.

— Michael Rubin is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

http://www.nationalreview.com/rubin/rubin200404190843.asp
14 posted on 04/19/2004 8:54:49 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Very Different Playbooks

April 19, 2004
National Review Online
Michael Ledeen

Them vs. us.

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill came over and addressed Congress. He asked, rhetorically, "Who do they think we are?" It was an important question, because we must understand what our enemies think about us. Churchill's implicit answer was "They think we're suckers, and they think we won't be able to beat them."

The fascists believed that we had become soft and effeminate, that we were so hooked on materialism and self-indulgence that they, the representatives of a younger, more virile, and more spiritually robust race (or nation), would easily dominate us and impose their will on us.

The terror masters have the same contemptuous vision of us. And if you look at the way they deal with our governments, you will see a mixture of contempt and bemusement, as they repeatedly get us to go for the same tricks and deceptions.

In the past few days there has been a great to-do about a possible Iranian role in Iraq, mediating between us and Moqtada al Sadr. In the end, it came to nothing. Iran's deputy foreign minister was either unwilling or unable to deliver Moqtada, blamed us for the "failure," and went back to Tehran. But the point of the exercise was not to solve a problem for us — on the contrary, the Iranians intend to create ever greater problems on the ground — but to deliver a message to the restive Iranian people: "The Americans are so weak and impotent that they have to turn to us for help. So just forget about any American help to get rid of us."

If we can't manage Iraq without the mullahs, we certainly can't be strong enough to help the Iranian people get rid of the mullahcracy and achieve freedom.

It would have been embarrassing enough if this were the first time the Iranians had played such a game. But this was a humiliating replay of the "We've got al Qaeda guys for you" joke that they played on us at least twice in the last year. Remember when Deputy Secretary of State Armitage announced that his Iranian buddies were going to deliver al Qaeda terrorists in a matter of weeks? That never happened either, and again, the main point of the game was to demonstrate that the Bush administration was perfectly willing to negotiate with the mullahs. And therefore the United States wasn't going to remove them.

There is an additional stratagem involved in these little games: The mullahs figure that, if they can keep us engaged in the games, we won't crack down on their nuclear program. And the more time they can gain, the greater their chances of building an effective supply of atomic bombs. It's working.

As I have long argued, they may be crazy, but they are anything but stupid.

The "keep the Americans talking to us" game exploits one of our main weaknesses: the belief that when foreign leaders talk to our top officials, they will generally tell the truth. No doubt the secretary of State and our top diplomats know they have been lied to from time to time, but a more realistic team would have concluded long since that you can't trust anything that comes out of Tehran. It seems they haven't.

In like manner, the terrorists present the world with an endless supply of lies, which generally take the form of accusing us of what they do (and we don't). Many of their actions are staged precisely for the benefit of reporters (like the horror scene of the four dead American contractors a couple of weeks ago). They brought in the television cameras the other day to film the execution of an Italian hostage, Fabrizio Quattrocchi, but something went wrong. After forcing him to dig his own grave, they put a hood over his head and ordered him to kneel so he could be killed. He wouldn't go for it. He tried to remove the hood, and defiantly yelled at them "I will show you how an Italian dies." The scene was a propaganda disaster for them, and good old al Jazeera, the modern mother of lies, announced that they had the tape but wouldn't release it because it was too terrible to witness. It was terrible, but not in the way al Jazeera wanted us to think. It showed Western bravery, not Arab domination, so they couldn't show it.

Take the case of another hostage, the Canadian aid worker, Fadi Fadel. He was shown on Arab television, saying he was an Israeli and a spy. But after his release, Fadel said the audio portion of the videotape was doctored and that he never said anything of the sort, even when they stubbed their cigarettes onto the bare skin of his neck and back.

"I never said I was working with Israel," he said.

"It was dubbed."

He shouldn't have found it necessary to say it, because the "story" on Arab television was obviously a lie. His captors would never release an Israeli spy unless they got the release of one thousand terrorists in exchange.

But I didn't hear any American TV commentator make this obvious point, nor did I read it in any American newspaper, nor did I hear any Canadians say any such thing. I'll bet that lots of them thought it might have been true.

That's why they think we're suckers and losers.

Our other great weakness — remember we are looking at ourselves through the eyes of the terror masters, not passing judgment — is respect for individual human beings, and a great reluctance to take military action that will likely kill innocent civilians, especially women and children. A couple of weeks ago, an Italian general who commands the national peacekeeping force in Nassiriyah told journalists about the enemy's method of fighting. First they launch a surprise attack. The Italians take some initial casualties and fight back, gradually gaining the upper hand. At that point, small children start walking toward the Italian positions, followed by women draped in black. The Italians stop shooting. The terrorists regroup. The women and children go away. The terrorists start shooting again.

Marine sharpshooters are reporting that when enemy fighters move through the streets of Fallujah, they drag women and children in front of them, so that if the Marines shoot, they will likely kill the innocents.

This tactic goes back a long way. Once the terrorists realized that we (and the Israelis) would balk at attacking targets that contained innocent civilians, they took care to locate themselves in such areas. In the Eighties, for example, most every time Hezbollah attacked us, its leaders quickly repaired to villages and neighborhoods with lots of hospitals, churches, mosques, and schools. That was an effective deterrent. Both we and the Israelis made the painful decision to accept higher casualties on our side, in order to prevent killing women, children, nurses, priests, and other noncombatants.

The terrorists hate that, and they do everything in their power to make the world believe that we are like them, that we lie, that we kill indiscriminately, that we do not care about innocent lives. Thus, in recent weeks, reports attributed to sources in Fallujah hospitals have spoken of huge numbers of women and children shot in the head by U.S. Marines (one particularly imaginative version had it that Fallujah doctors were digging out bullets from the brains of the victims in order to prove our criminal acts. That one was racing around the web for a while, until some militarily unchallenged bloggers noted that our ammunition would go right through the heads, and wouldn't be stopped by brain tissue). And the BBC came up with some casualty figures showing that more than 90 percent of the dead in Fallujah were innocents. That too, was changed after a while. But the lies continue.

We're not going to start the mass murder of Iraqi civilians, and we're not going to shoot at a jihadi who's holding a child in front of him, and that's going to cost American lives and limbs. We must explain all this to a world, and above all to an American public, that is inevitably swayed by the torrent of lies.

As in the war itself, we cannot win this thing by playing defense. We're not going to get help from the Iranians, who plan to be our gravediggers in Iraq, just as they were years ago in Lebanon. We have to expose the hollowness of the mullahcracy and support the Iranian people. And we have to answer Churchill's question, and show that our enemies are still wrong.

The president put it nicely the other day when someone asked him about our exit strategy. He said that the only acceptable exit strategy was to win.

Faster, please.

http://www.nationalreview.com/ledeen/ledeen200404190846.asp
15 posted on 04/19/2004 8:56:27 AM 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; ...
Very Different Playbooks

April 19, 2004
National Review Online
Michael Ledeen

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1120207/posts?page=15#15
16 posted on 04/19/2004 8:58:11 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Great editorial. One of Ledeen's best. (IMHO)

Points are right-on.

A Must Read
17 posted on 04/19/2004 11:12:53 AM PDT by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ...( Azadi baraye Iran)
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To: DoctorZIn
Shiraz refinery damaged by fire

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Apr 19, 2004

Shiraz refinery has been damaged by fire believed to be more of an arson than a incident.

Security forces closed all perimeters, yesterday, in order to avoid the presence of the crowd while most of the city's fire workers were rushed to the facility in order to combat the fire.

Shiraz was the scene of violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrators, few months ago, and sabotage in the regime's facilities seemed to had been stopped following identification and crackdown on underground groups among Industrial workers.

http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_5802.shtml
18 posted on 04/19/2004 1:12:47 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Imprisoned Veteran Journalist chained to bed after heart attack

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Apr 19, 2004

The imprisoned prominent veteran journalist, Siamak Pourzand aged 74, has been chained to his hospital bed following a coronary heart attack on Saturday. The heart attack happened as Mr. Pourzand was mistreated, again, by the regime's Intelligence at the Evin Political jail located in N. Tehran.

Pourzand was rushed to the Modaress Hospital, more by fear of the consequences for the regime than his life, and chained from his hands and ankles to his bed while being placed under the close watch of two strongly build Intelligence officers.

On April 7, Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action Call on the case of the veteran journalist and slammed the Islamic republic for his mistreatment.

As of today, no real articles have been allocated by "pro-reform" US newspapers, such as, New York Times or Washington Post on the case of their Iranian colleague let to be die in order to avoid disturbing the chances of the regime's reformists. Only few principled US media sources, such as, the National Review have published articles on the case of Mr. Pourzand.

The article published by the National Review was written by Banafshe Pourzand, the journalist's daughter, and entitled "Let My Father Go!".

http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_5807.shtml
19 posted on 04/19/2004 1:13:24 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Abadan "Cinema Rex" 's Commercial Center damaged by fire

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Apr 19, 2004

A fire believed to be an arson damaged, today, several shops located in the Abadan's "Cinema Rex" Commercial center. Security forces closed the perimeters while Fire workers were rushed to the scene.

The today's fire remembered the tragedy of summer 1978 during which over four hundred persons died in an arson which destroyed the very same Cinema Rex. All facts showed, years later, that several clerics ruling today Iran, were the real masterminds of this mass murder which intended to put the blame on the former Iranian regime.

http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_5806.shtml
20 posted on 04/19/2004 1:14:24 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Egypt refuses to remove Iranian "Lion and Sun" flag

Persian Journal ^ | 4/19/04 | Persian Journal
Posted on 04/19/2004 3:12:22 PM PDT by freedom44

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1120653/posts
21 posted on 04/19/2004 3:29:35 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
It is also clear that the militants are well-funded. The Islamist movement is supported by scores of charities, many of them directly financed by the state, and apparently innocuous social, cultural and religious associations. And the Saudi police (supported by the American FBI) have uncovered dozens of front companies set up to fund terror inside and outside the kingdom.

Hitlery Smoocher of Suha tried to disguise a contribution from American Muslim Council as being from American Museum Council.

Time to shut down these charities--and take out Iran and Syria.

Saddam used to finance this stuff--before he got in the hole.

22 posted on 04/19/2004 4:21:58 PM PDT by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: DoctorZIn
It is also clear that the militants are well-funded. The Islamist movement is supported by scores of charities, many of them directly financed by the state, and apparently innocuous social, cultural and religious associations. And the Saudi police (supported by the American FBI) have uncovered dozens of front companies set up to fund terror inside and outside the kingdom.

Hitlery Smoocher of Suha tried to disguise a contribution from American Muslim Council as being from American Museum Council.

Time to shut down these charities--and take out Iran and Syria.

Saddam used to finance this stuff--before he got in the hole.

23 posted on 04/19/2004 4:22:16 PM PDT by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: DoctorZIn
The president put it nicely the other day when someone asked him about our exit strategy. He said that the only acceptable exit strategy was to win.
24 posted on 04/19/2004 4:43:37 PM PDT by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: DoctorZIn
Hundreds of protests sent to Mr. Kerry and Galaxy team might cancel Soccer game

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Apr 19, 2004

Hundreds of emails, faxes and phones of protests sent by supporters of Iranian Freedom cause to John Kerry and the Galaxy Soccer team's offices seem to have produced an unprecedented result and Galaxy team's management shall declare the cancellation of the game, scheduled for April 28th, in the next few hours.

The organizers of the "sportive" event and its real masterminds seem to have understood about the impact of an organized demo against the Islamic regime during the game and the wide scale negative impact that it will create inside the US.

The protest emails and faxes which some of them have been copied as well for SMCCDI, are denouncing the Democrat Presidential hopeful's controversial contacts and his position on the Islamic republic regime; And also are slamming the Galaxy's management about making of itself a tool at the service of the Islamic regime's propaganda machine.

SMCCDI issued an Urgent Action Call in the first hours of April 18th by calling on all "Fellow men and Women of Principles" to denounce the promotion of a "Soccer Policy" between the US and clerical administrations. The call was posted on the Movement's website and sent to thousands of emails.

Several US based Public radios mentioned the scheduled game, between Galaxy and Iran's National team, in their Sunday and today's programs and mentioned the protest made against it by the Movement.

http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_5808.shtml
25 posted on 04/19/2004 6:27:38 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
In Search of Hezbollah

April 19, 2004
New York Review of Books
Adam Shatz

Beirut used to be known as the Paris of the Middle East, and in the well-to-do Christian and Sunni quarters of the city, the capital of Lebanon still manages to cast a spell. The central business district—a battleground on the dividing line between Christian East Beirut and Muslim West Beirut during the Lebanese civil war—has been rebuilt by a construction firm whose largest shareholder is Lebanon's prime minister, Rafiq Hariri, a billionaire entrepreneur. The cafés are thick with smoke and conversation in Arabic, English, and French, techno music blares from clubs until four in the morning, and everywhere there are women in miniskirts. The old, pre-war Beirut, the sophisticated world where it mattered to people to be seen, seems to have been resurrected.

But "Haririgrad," as downtown Beirut is sometimes called, is hardly representative of the country. If you take a ten-minute drive to the city's southern suburbs, a series of dingy, overcrowded slums, you will see another country, where hejabs are more common than miniskirts, liquor is hard to find, and you're less likely to see posters of Prime Minister Hariri than of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the forty-four-year-old secretary-general of Hezbollah, the Party of God. A prominent Shiite cleric, shrewd militia leader, and political strategist, Nasrallah is admired throughout the Arab world for leading a campaign of resistance to Israel's occupation of southern Lebanon, which ended in May 2000, and for his successful dealings with the Israeli government. Most recently, after three years of on-and-off negotiations through a German mediator, Nasrallah persuaded Ariel Sharon to hand over 429 prisoners, as well as the bodies of fifty-nine Hezbollah fighters killed in combat, in exchange for freeing an Israeli businessman kidnapped by Hezbollah and returning the remains of three Israeli soldiers killed in Lebanon. The deal sparked a day of national celebration in Lebanon, and has been seen by some as a vindication of Hezbollah's use of violence for political leverage.

Most of the residents of southern Beirut, where Nasrallah has his headquarters, are Shiites, who account for 40 percent of Lebanon's population, outnumbering both Christians and Sunnis. Until the 1960s, Lebanon's Shiites were a neglected, invisible community, oppressed by feudal landlords and disdained by their fellow Lebanese. Today, they are a rising political force, thanks in large part to the militant political movement Hezbollah. It is now a virtual state-within-a-state, with an army of several thousand men, an extensive social service network, a popular satellite television station called al-Manar ("the Beacon of Light"), and an annual budget in excess of $100 million, much of which comes from Iran, Hezbollah's major patron.

The movement first emerged during Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, in which between twelve and nineteen thousand Lebanese died, most of them civilians and many of them Shiites. Militant followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini, Hezbollah's original cadres were organized and trained by a 1,500-member contingent of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, who arrived in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley in the summer of 1982, with the permission of the Syrian government. For Iran, whose efforts to spread the Islamic revolution to the Arab world had been stymied by its war with Iraq, Hezbollah provided a means of gaining a foothold in Middle East politics.

Syria's vehemently secular leader Hafez Assad, for his part, had no affection for Hezbollah's religious ideology but keenly grasped its potential as a proxy militia. For Syria, whose principal goal has been to reclaim the Golan Heights, captured by Israel in the 1967 war, Hezbollah is the only "card" it has to pressure its far more powerful neighbor. Unlike the leftist Lebanese forces that, until that point, had led the resistance to the Israelis, Hezbollah guerrillas could not be penetrated by Israeli intelligence. And in their discipline and willingness to die for their cause they had few rivals, as the world was to discover the following year, when members of the clandestine "Islamic Resistance" (a precursor to Hezbollah, which did not yet officially exist) launched a series of terrifying suicide attacks in Lebanon against American, French, and Israeli targets.

Following the bombings, the Western forces made a fast exit from Beirut; in 1985, faced with fierce resistance from Hezbollah fighters, Israel withdrew to a so-called security zone, a strip of territory along Lebanon's southern border that soon became known as its "insecurity zone." Over the next fifteen years, Hezbollah waged an efficient, disciplined, and popular guerrilla war against the Israeli military.

In May 2000, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak decided to bring an end to an occupation that had cost more than one thousand Israeli lives, and ordered a unilateral withdrawal from southern Lebanon. The withdrawal did not include a formal peace agreement with Lebanon, and the Israeli army continued to occupy the patch of border territory called the Shebaa Farms, which Hezbollah regards as part of Lebanon. But Lebanese Shiites (as well as a number of Barak's Israeli critics) saw the withdrawal as a major Hez- bollah victory—"the first Arab victory in the history of Arab-Israeli conflict," as Hezbollah often proclaims.[1] It is an event that has helped make Nasrallah, Hezbollah's leader, one of the most important men in Lebanon.

Hezbollah now has some 100,000 supporters, about half of whom are party members. When Nasrallah raises his voice, the Lebanese pay close attention to what he says, whether or not they like him. Bashar Assad, Syria's young leader and Hezbollah's other major sponsor, is said to revere him.[2] Although Nasrallah depends on Iranian arms and Syria's support for his military operations, he has achieved a significant degree of autonomy from both parties, which may complicate future efforts to disband it. Hezbollah, which adheres to the principle of wilayat al-faqih, or rule by the Islamic jurist, regards Iran's supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as its ultimate leader, and maintains close ties to Iran's leadership, especially to the hard-line clerics who helped organize the party in the early 1980s.[3] It was Khamenei who reportedly influenced Hezbollah's decision to maintain its armed wing rather than devote all its energies to Lebanese politics after Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000. But Hezbollah has long ceased to be an Iranian-controlled militia. (The last remaining Revolutionary Guards left the Bekaa Valley in 1998.) Although Hezbollah is believed to coordinate foreign policy matters with Iran's Revolutionary Guards, the Lebanese and Western experts I've talked to say it reaches most of its everyday decisions without consulting Iran. Moreover, they say, Khamenei has never overruled Nasrallah.

Syria's control of Hezbollah has also declined, and it is widely believed that Bashar Assad—a weak, inexperienced leader who has inherited his father's airs but not his authority—depends more on Nasrallah's "endorsement" than Nasrallah does on his support. For, in the eyes of many Arabs, Hezbollah has succeeded where Syria, which has long prided itself on being a redoubtable opponent of Israeli ambitions, has failed: in defeating Israel on the battlefield. Nasrallah is one of the most resourceful adversaries Israel has ever faced, and his successful guerrilla war against Israel in southern Lebanon has strongly impressed Palestinians and made him a hero in the Occupied Territories, particularly in the refugee camps.

Although Lebanese Shiites have often regarded the Palestinian population in southern Lebanon with suspicion, Hezbollah's ties to Palestinian groups go back more than a decade. In late 1992, Israel expelled to Lebanon 415 leading members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and during the following year, they received training from Hezbollah in both combat strategies and the ideology of martyrdom. In the 1980s, Hezbollah had endorsed suicide attacks as a legitimate and efficient resistance strategy—and some experts argue that the group helped introduce the technique to Israel in 1993, while the exiled Palestinian extremists were in Lebanon.[4]

More recently, Nasrallah has deepened his party's involvement in the second intifada. Hezbollah has offered logistical support and training in the use of explosives and anti-tank missiles to Palestinian extremists, particularly members of Islamic Jihad, and has attempted to smuggle arms into the Occupied Territories to various groups, from the Palestinian Authority to Hamas.[5] In June 2002, shortly after the Israeli government launched Operation Defensive Shield, which culminated in the invasion of the Jenin refugee camp, Nasrallah gave a speech in which he defended and praised suicide bombings of Israeli targets by members of Palestinian groups for "creating a deterrence and equalizing fear." Although he did not claim that Hezbollah had been directly involved in the attacks, he said, "We [Hezbollah] are trying to find a way for this weapon to become more developed, effective, and capable, leading the resistance movement in Palestine to a new and exceptional phase." He continued, "This weapon is today the most powerful weapon the Palestinian people...could ever have." Israeli officials have also alleged that Hezbollah is recruiting Israeli Arabs and trying to organize Iranian-funded terrorist cells in Palestine known as the Return Brigades, though no attacks have been tied to such a group.

Nasrallah's struggle with Israel did not end with the withdrawal of Israeli troops. On March 22, hours after the Israeli assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas, Hezbollah demonstrated its solidarity with the Palestinian group by firing more than sixty-five rockets at six different Israeli military positions in the occupied Shebaa Farms. The Israeli air force responded by sending warplanes into Lebanon and firing at suspected Hezbollah bases, reportedly foiling in one case a second Hezbollah rocket attack. According to Haaretz, the Israeli Defense Force has also placed Nasrallah, along with Yasser Arafat, on a list of targets for future assassinations.

Hezbollah has vigorously responded to other Israeli activity along the border. In January, a month after Israeli commandos killed two Lebanese men who had wandered into Israeli territory, Hezbollah guerrillas fired on an Israeli bulldozer which had crossed several yards into Lebanese territory to dismantle roadside bombs, and killed one Israeli soldier. As the Lebanese scholar Amal Saad-Ghorayeb underscores in her perceptive new book, Hizbu'llah: Politics and Ideology, Hezbollah views the conflict with Israel as "'an existential struggle' as opposed to 'a conflict over land.'" In the words of Sheikh Naim Qasim, Hezbollah's deputy secretary-general, "Even if hundreds of years pass by, Israel's existence will continue to be an illegal existence."

Although Hezbollah has denounced attacks on Western civilians—Nawaf al-Musawi, the party's foreign minister, told me in no uncertain terms that he viewed September 11 as an act of terrorism—it makes an exception in the case of Israel. As Nasrallah puts it, "in occupied Palestine there is no difference between a soldier and a civilian, for they are all invaders, occupiers and usurpers of the land." When Nasrallah was asked whether he was prepared to live with a two-state settlement between Israel and Palestine, he said in interviews with both Seymour Hersh and me that he would not sabotage what is finally a "Palestinian matter."[6] But until such a settlement is reached, he will, he said, continue to encourage Palestinian suicide bombers. Israel has found him to be a credible, although exasperatingly tough, negotiator. (Nasrallah has voiced similar respect for Israeli leaders, praising their determination to get back their soldiers' remains. "These values are our values too," he told his followers after the recent prisoner exchange.) It is clear, on the other hand, that he thrives on ambiguity about his intentions toward Israel, and enjoys the confusion it sows across Lebanon's southern border.

Some secular Palestinians, for their part, make plain their anger at the efforts of Nasrallah and Hezbollah to influence the Palestinian cause. I recently talked to a ranking Palestinian official who strongly disputed the analogy between occupied Palestine and South Lebanon. "There were no Israeli settlers in South Lebanon," the official said, and "Israel would have eventually left, with or without Hezbollah." The Palestinian, who declined to be identified, criticized Hezbollah for encouraging Hamas and Islamic Jihad to make suicide attacks against Israeli civilians. "I do not consider this resistance," the official said.

Like most of Hezbollah's leaders, Nasrallah studied both at religious seminaries in Najaf, with Iraqi clerics close to the pro-Iranian Islamic Dawa party, and in the Iranian holy city of Qom, with Iranian disciples of the late Ayatollah Khomeini. But he is a modern Lebanese politician, and the language he speaks is that of nationalism, albeit one saturated with the elements of Shiite theology that emphasize resistance to persecution and martyrdom. The Shia cult of martyrdom is part of a tradition going back to Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of the prophet Muhammad, who was slaughtered, along with a small number of his followers, by the army of the hostile caliph Yazid at Karbala in 680 AD. During the Israeli occupation of Lebanon, Hezbollah used the cult of Hussein to glorify self-sacrifice among its fighters and to launch suicide attacks, or "martyrdom operations," against the Israeli army. Since the Israeli withdrawal, Hezbollah's culture of victimhood has given way to celebrations of victory, but the group has used its satellite channel, al-Manar, to promote the same ideology of resistance and martyrdom among Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.

Nasrallah, who wears the full beard, dark turban, and robes of a Shia cleric, spoke with me in his office in the southern suburbs of Beirut, the so-called Belt of Misery. The office is in an apartment building in a gated courtyard on Abbas Musawi Street, named for Nasrallah's predecessor, who was assassinated in Lebanon in 1992 in an Israeli helicopter gunship attack that also killed his wife and son. The reception room where we spoke was decorated with portraits of Musawi, the Ayatollah Khomeini, and his successor Ayatollah Khamenei; all the blinds were drawn for security. On the wall just outside hung a portrait of Nasrallah's son, Hadi, who was killed six years ago at age eighteen while fighting Israeli soldiers.

A short, plump man with boyish features his beard does little to conceal, Nasrallah is not impressive-looking but he is a stirring speaker. His speeches —detailed examinations of Arab politics, and of Hezbollah strategy—are analytical rather than flowery. He seldom makes claims he cannot defend —a rarity in the region, where the relationship between words and deeds is sometimes comically tenuous. Nasrallah knows how to address ordinary Lebanese Shiites because he is one of them. Born in 1960 in East Beirut, he is the son of a grocer who was a follower of the Imam Musa Sadr, an Iranian cleric who settled in Lebanon in the late Fifties and awakened the long-quiescent Shiite population.

If Israel's leaders hoped that, by killing Sheikh Abbas Musawi, they would get a more pliable, or less capable, adversary, they badly miscalculated. Not only did Nasrallah prove to be a more effective military leader than Musawi, he has adroitly translated his military successes into political gains for Hezbollah and its Shiite constituents. Immediately upon assuming power in 1992, he decided that Hezbollah should openly take part in Lebanon's "confessional" political system, in which parliamentary seats are allocated according to religious identity. Radicals accused him of betraying his party's revolutionary principles, but Nasrallah argued that Hezbollah was better off working within the political system than protesting from the sidelines. His gamble paid off. Hezbollah became the biggest of Lebanon's many political factions, commanding the largest single bloc in the country's parliament, and its leader emerged stronger than ever.

Today Hezbollah has nine of the twenty-seven seats reserved for Shiites in the 128-member Lebanese parliament; it also controls three additional seats held by allied parties and occupied, respectively, by a Christian and two Sunnis. Were it not for Syrian backing not only of Hezbollah but of Hezbollah's principal Shiite rival, Amal, Hezbollah would have even more. (The first major Shia organization in Lebanon, Amal was created in 1974 and, along with Hezbollah and other groups, fought against the Israeli occupation in the 1980s. Although it has shared Hezbollah's hostility toward Israel, Amal is far more secular in its politics. It was never as close to Iran, and fought a bloody turf war with Hezbollah over southern Lebanon between 1985 and 1989. Today it has eight delegates in the Lebanese parliament, and maintains a strong following among Shiite professionals, who depend on the extensive patronage network run by Amal's leader, Nabih Berri, the speaker of parliament.)

After Israel's withdrawal, some analysts predicted—and many Lebanese hoped—that Hezbollah would soon wind down its military operations and become a purely political party. But Nasrallah has greater ambitions than to win more seats in Lebanon's parliament, and he has had the firm backing of Iran and Syria. At once a determined radical and an astute pragmatist, he views Hezbollah both as a Lebanese party committed to assuring the welfare of its constituents and as a vanguard in the pan-Islamic struggle to destroy Israel and restore Palestine to its native inhabitants.

Nasrallah is not about to surrender power that he believes he might end up needing in the future. Although Hezbollah is a liability for Syria and Iran in their present efforts to improve relations with the American government, the party's arsenal of long-range Katyusha rockets provides it with a defensive shield against Israel. Instead of choosing between politics and "resistance," Nasrallah is pursuing both tracks at once, with a combination of extreme rhetoric and tactical caution that has made Hezbollah the most enigmatic and successful guerrilla organization in the Middle East. Which aspect of Hezbollah's identity he chooses to emphasize will depend, to a large extent, on what happens in the region.

If anything has convinced Nasrallah that now is not the time to disarm, it is intensified American hostility since September 11. In early September 2002, Richard Armitage, the US deputy secretary of state, characterized Hezbollah as "the A-team of terrorists," while "maybe al-Qaeda is actually the B-team," and promised to "go after them just like a high school wrestler goes after opponents." Before the US invasion of Iraq, Democratic senator Bob Graham, a former Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, had told 60 Minutes that Hezbollah represented a graver threat than Saddam Hussein. Dick Cheney's new adviser on Syrian policy, David Wurmser, a pro-Likud ideologue, is an open advocate of preemptive war against Syria and Hezbollah, a position favored by neoconservatives in and close to the Bush admin- istration, such as Douglas Feith, John Bolton, and Richard Perle. Perhaps not coincidentally, there have also been lurid accounts of Hezbollah in the American press. Jeffrey Goldberg, writing in The New Yorker, called Hezbollah an "organization devoted to jihad, not to logic," one that "might attack American interests regardless of American interests in Lebanon."[7]

Hezbollah's reputation for violence against the West is well deserved. The group was behind some of the worst attacks against Western military and diplomatic targets of the 1980s, including the October 1983 bombing of the US Marine barracks in Beirut (in which 241 servicemen died) and the 1985 hijacking of a TWA flight (in which an American serviceman on board was brutally beaten, then killed and dumped on the tarmac). Western intelligence officials also believe that in the mid-1980s the group participated in the kidnapping and assassination of American citizens in Lebanon, such as Terry Anderson and CIA station chief William Buckley, who was tortured before he was killed. A Lebanese terrorist group called Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for many of these attacks, but the group shared many of the same leaders as Hezbollah, and US intelligence officials allege it was merely a cover for Hezbollah's military wing.

In the early 1990s, Hezbollah members were connected to two notorious attacks in Buenos Aires: the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy, which killed twenty-nine people, ostensibly in retaliation for Israel's assassination of Sheikh Musawi; and the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center, which killed eighty-five civilians. American and Saudi officials have also implicated Hezbollah in the 1996 truck bombing of Khobar Towers, a US military base in Saudi Arabia, which killed nineteen US servicemen, although their evidence has been questioned by some experts.[8] According to Western officials, many of these attacks were organized by Imad Mughnieh, a shadowy pro-Iranian terrorist who is said at the time to have led Hezbollah's "external security apparatus," an extremist wing of the party that has organized Hezbollah cells and raised funds abroad. Reportedly based in Tehran, Mughnieh is one of three Hezbollah members who remain on the State Department's list of "23 Most Wanted Terrorists." He is alleged to run a network of terrorist cells and training camps in Asia, Europe, and along South America's "triple frontier," where the borders of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil intersect, and may have had some contact with al-Qaeda in the early 1990s.[9]

In view of these attacks, the concerns of the American government are understandable. And Hezbollah's ideology—a fiery mixture of revolutionary Khomeinism, Shiite nationalism, celebration of martyrdom, and militant anti-Zionism, occasionally accompanied by crude, neo-fascist anti-Semitism—only exacerbates concern about the organization's potential for violence. Nevertheless, there has been little evidence of violence sponsored by Hezbollah itself against Western targets in recent years and the extent of Mughnieh's current ties with Hezbollah's political leadership remains in doubt. Several experts on Hezbollah I spoke to believe that Mughnieh now works solely on behalf of Iran.

Hezbollah's announced long-term objectives—the establishment of an Islamic republic in Lebanon, and the elimination of the State of Israel— have not changed. But it interprets its founding principles with considerable suppleness, as when Nasrallah says he will not sabotage an Israeli–Palestinian peace agreement. Today it is not only prominent in Lebanese politics; it is also a major provider of schools, where the principles of Islam according to Ayatollah Khamenei and Hezbollah ideology are folded into a normal curriculum that is approved by the Lebanese government. It also provides an impressive range of social services such as hospitals and job training to the Shiite community.

In a country mired in patronage and back-room dealing, Hezbollah is respected for its lack of corruption. Although the party's yellow-and-green flag—depicting a fist brandishing a Kalashnikov, posed against a globe— still advocates "the Islamic Revolution in Lebanon," Hezbollah has recently said little about an Islamic state, and begun to build alliances across religious lines, particularly at the municipal level and in professional unions. In 1999, for example, Hezbollah members of Lebanon's engineering syndicate formed a coalition with the Phalange Party, a rightist Christian group, and the National Liberal Party, both allies of Israel during the civil war. Another change that is impossible to ignore is the growing prominence of female activists in the party, a development that makes the party progressive by Islamist standards. "One would have to be blind not to notice the changes Hezbollah has undergone," says Joseph Samaha, a secular Christian writer for the daily as-Safir. "Has Hezbollah tried to ban books or impose sharia? Not once. Their electoral program is [an] almost social democratic [one]. So we're confronting a very different kind of Fundamentalist party."

Moreover, as Daniel Byman, an analyst at the Brookings Institution, points out in his article "Should Hezbollah Be Next?" in Foreign Affairs, over the last decade Hezbollah's military wing has concentrated most of its efforts on strengthening its defensive capacity; according to Byman, Hezbollah has not been linked to a "single attack on a US target" since the 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers. In its guerrilla war with Israel in southern Lebanon, it targeted soldiers, not civilians, although it is said to provide both financing and training for Hamas.

While Iran continues to supply Hezbollah with money and arms, including Katyushas that arrive through Syrian ports, it has shown increasing restraint since the mid-1990s, when it used Hezbollah agents to strike at American and Jewish targets outside Israel. Iran's foreign minister, Kamal Kharazi, has urged Nasrallah to avoid giving Israel a pretext for attacking Lebanon. Although American officials have called attention to the presence of about a hundred Hezbollah members in Iraq, few believe that they are organizing violent resistance.[10] Every Hezbollah official I spoke to vehemently denied such reports, some indicating that they would welcome diplomatic relations with the United States.

Observing these changes, a growing number of American scholars, notably Augustus Richard Norton of Boston University, Judith Harik of the American University in Beirut, and Sami Hajjar of the US Army War College, argue that the party has undergone a genuine transformation, that it cannot be regarded as a terrorist group comparable to al-Qaeda, and that it would be pragmatic to engage in talks with Hezbollah and test its intentions. Their views are shared both by European diplomats such as Giandome-nico Picco, former assistant secretary-general for political affairs at the United Nations, and by retired American diplomats, such as Richard Murphy at the Council on Foreign Relations, and by some officials in the State Department. Dennis Ross, the Middle East envoy under the first Bush and Clinton administrations, has stated that Hezbollah's resistance to the Israeli occupation, unlike its past activities aimed at Western targets, is not terrorism.[11] While the United States, Israel, and Canada classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, European allies of the US, including Britain, say a distinction should be made between Hezbollah's political wing and the terrorist "external security apparatus." In their view Nasrallah and his Lebanese political organization are giving support to Palestinian extremists but are not directly involved in international terrorism.

The difference between American and Arab perceptions of Hezbollah is even wider. Michel Samaha, Lebanon's minister of information, insists that Hezbollah has been an important ally in the war against terrorist groups like al-Qaeda. According to Samaha, who is close to the Syrian government and often meets with Nasrallah, Hezbollah has been providing the Lebanese government with intelligence on Sunni extremists operating in refugee camps in southern Lebanon. "What astonishes us is the American attempt to link Hez- bollah to al-Qaeda," Samaha said in his Beirut office. While al-Qaeda is known throughout the Arab world as a terrorist outfit, Hezbollah is just as widely seen as a legitimate resistance organization that has defended its land against the Israeli occupying force, and consistently stood up to the Israeli army.

Which is not to say that Hezbollah is universally well-liked in Lebanon. Although support runs high among Shiites, patience with the party is wearing thin among many Christians and some Sunnis. While they may have cheered Hezbollah's guerrilla war against Israeli troops in southern Lebanon, they are decidedly less enthusiastic about Nasrallah's decision to continue "the resistance" after the Israeli withdrawal. Lebanon has been at peace since the signing of the Taif Accords in 1991, but at the price of losing its sovereignty to Syria, which maintains thousands of troops in the Bekaa Valley and exerts veto power over Lebanese foreign policy. By Syrian design, Hezbollah's is the only militia that was not dismantled after the Lebanese civil war ended, and its refusal to disarm after Israel's withdrawal is a cause of growing irritation among some Lebanese. "We want to go back to normal life," Samir Qassir, a journalist for the daily paper an-Nahar, told me. "Hezbollah is using the struggle with Israel as leverage to gain power in Lebanon."

Last August, a teenager in northern Israel was killed by a Hezbollah anti-aircraft missile, fired after Ali Hussein Saleh, a liaison between Hezbollah and radical Palestinian groups, died in a car bomb explosion in the southern suburbs of Beirut, an apparent "message" from Mossad, Israel's foreign intelligence service. Saleh, who was a Hezbollah security official and a driver for the Iranian embassy in Beirut, was suspected of channeling funds to Pal-estinian militants, possibly with Iranian assistance, although his actual role remains unclear. Within days, Israeli planes flew over Beirut and created a deafening "sonic boom." Many people in Beirut fled the city, terrified of an invasion. It was a false alarm, but the Lebanese fear that events such as this could easily spiral out of control.

If Hezbollah is, to many Lebanese, a painful reminder of their truncated sovereignty, it also raises more visceral fears of Iran's influence over young Shiites—some of whom march in Hezbollah demonstrations in full military dress, with red bandannas and rifles. "These people are an Iranian import," said Gebran Tuení, the conservative, Orthodox Christian editor of an-Nahar. "They have nothing to do with Arab civilization." Like many Christians, particularly Maronites who have seen their numbers and power decline in recent years, Tuení believes that Hezbollah's evolution is cosmetic, concealing a sinister long-term strategy to Islamicize Lebanon and lead it into a ruinous war with Israel. "Ask Mr. Nasrallah whether there would be a place for Christians in the Islamic Republic of Lebanon," he said, "You might remind him that we are not an external force. We've been here longer than the Muslims—we are not Afrikaners!"

Tuení's fears are understandable, but they may be exaggerated. Although Hezbollah has repeatedly shown its readiness to engage in hostile action on the Israeli border, it has until now avoided large-scale attacks that might result in a broader conflict. Hezbollah's parliamentary representatives and mayors have avoided appeals to religion; they have worked instead to raise the standard of living in poor Shiite communities. After Israel's withdrawal, Nasrallah took steps to ensure that there were no revenge killings against Christians in the south, and that Christians who had fled to Israel during the war could return home safely, although some were sentenced to short terms in prison by the Lebanese government. When I asked Nasrallah about his views on an Islamic state, he said,


We believe the requirement for an Islamic state is to have an overwhelming popular desire, and we're not talking about fifty percent plus one, but a large majority. And this is not available in Lebanon and probably never will be.


While Nasrallah's pan-Islamic message of fighting the Israelis until the "liberation of Jerusalem" appeals to Hezbollah's soldiers, the roots of Hezbollah's popularity among Shiites lie elsewhere. Judith Harik's surveys of Shiite opinion have shown that "deep religiosity and strong support of Islamic goals were not significant as a determinant of popular support for Hezbollah." What is significant, in addition to the party's success in ending a hated occupation, are its social services, especially in the southern suburbs of Beirut, the Bekaa Valley, and in the south, a region of some 250 small villages recovering from two decades of war. By emphasizing public works over piety, Hezbollah has succeeded in embedding itself deeply into Lebanese society, a fact that anyone seeking to confront its military wing will have to face. Hezbollah's growing popularity in Lebanon will be the subject of a second article.

—March 31, 2004



[1] See, for example, "Hezbollah 2, Israel 0," by Israel's former defense minister Moshe Arens, Haaretz, February 16, 2004. "It is Hezbollah's second vic- tory over Israel," Arens wrote of the recent prisoner exchange. "Its first victory over Israel was when Ehud Barak decided to pull the IDF out of southern Lebanon."

[2] By contrast, Bashar's father, the late dictator Hafez Assad, held Hezbollah officials at arm's length, punishing them harshly when they defied his wishes. In 1987, when Hezbollah refused to hand over its bases in West Beirut to Syria, Syrian troops killed twenty-three Hezbollah fighters.

[3] According to the International Crisis Group, in its briefing paper "Hizbollah: Rebel Without a Cause?," the Lebanese cleric Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah was considered Hezbollah's spiritual leader through the early 1990s but has distanced himself from the party's leadership in recent years. Fadlallah, who was the first cleric in the Islamic world to condemn publicly the attacks of September 11, is believed to agree with Hezbollah on most political issues but diverges on religious doctrine. According to some reports, he has emerged as a rival to Hezbollah for influence in the Lebanese Shiite community, although some experts believe he remains a mentor to members of Hezbollah.

[4] According to Christoph Reuter in My Life Is a Weapon, the first suicide attack in Israel took place in April 1993. Jessica Stern also suggests Hezbollah taught suicide bombing to the Palestinians in Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill (Ecco, 2003), p. 47.

[5] In 2002, Israel intercepted a ship carrying arms that had embarked from Iran with a Hezbollah-trained crew, the so-called Karine A shipment; Hezbollah agents have also tried to smuggle wea-pons into the West Bank via Jordan.

[6] Seymour Hersh, "The Syrian Bet," The New Yorker, July 28, 2003.

[7] Jeffrey Goldberg, "In the Party of God," The New Yorker, July 14 and 21, 2002.

[8] Of all the charges made against Hezbollah, the connection to the Khobar bombing is the least persuasive. In his recent book Against All Enemies (Free Press, 2004), Richard A. Clarke cites a Saudi who claimed to the FBI that the Khobar attack was partly directed by a leader of "Saudi Hezbollah" —an Iranian-sponsored Saudi Shiite group; although Clarke suggests that some members of Saudi Hezbollah may have received training in the Bekaa Valley, he does not accuse the Lebanese party of planning the Khobar attack. When I spoke to Robert Baer, a former CIA analyst stationed in Beirut and an expert on terrorism, he expressed strong doubts that Lebanese Hezbollah participated in Khobar, which he believes to have been the work of Saudi Hezbollah, backed by Iran and possibly al-Qaeda as well.

[9] According to court testimony by Alie Abdelseoud Mohammed, an al-Qaeda member and former US Army sergeant who was arrested in September 1998, Mughnieh met with Osama bin Laden in the early 1990s.
[10] "Hezbollah, in Iraq, Refrains from Attacks on Americans," The New York Times, November 24, 2003.

[11] Ross stated in the daily as-Safir that the US included Hezbollah on its list of terrorist groups for Hezbollah's past activities, not for its ongoing resistance to Israel. See Sami Hajjar, "Hizballah: Terrorism, National Liberation, or Menace?," p. 48.

Volume 51, Number 7 · April 29, 2004

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/17060#fn2
26 posted on 04/19/2004 6:31:34 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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27 posted on 04/19/2004 9:04:59 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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