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Iranian Alert -- April 24, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 4.24.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 04/23/2004 9:00:28 PM PDT by DoctorZIn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 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
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Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

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

1 posted on 04/23/2004 9:00:32 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 04/23/2004 9:03:00 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Tetchy Neighbours

April 22, 2004
The Economist

It was an anti-climax. Iran sent a mission to Iraq last week, avowedly to help the Americans resolve their standoff with Muqtada al-Sadr, Iraq's most prominent Shia Muslim rebel.

The Americans received the Iranians coolly, though Colin Powell, America's secretary of state, had privately endorsed the mission. Unidentified assailants showed their appreciation by murdering an Iranian diplomat. But not everyone distrusts Iraq's neighbour.

America's British allies bridled when Donald Rumsfeld, the American defence secretary, recently accused Iran of “meddling”. If you ask the British, the Iranians are behaving. Iranian agents in Iraq are spying, as expected of a neighbour, but apparently not fomenting violence. Hizbullah, an Iranian-backed Lebanese group, may have removed its agents from Iraq.

It would be odd if the Iranians, who are Shias, like most Iraqis, were not trying to win friends across the border. They enjoy good relations with some members of Iraq's American-appointed Governing Council, and are cosying up to moderate Shia groups such as the Dawa party. Long before the uprising started, Mr Sadr, as the scion of a distinguished clerical family, was received by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Mr Rumsfeld says that Mr Sadr gets Iranian cash. That may account for the restraining influence that Iran could perhaps exert over him. The Spanish government, for one, is thankful to Iran for helping to persuade Mr Sadr to rein in his fighters after they fired on Spanish troops in Najaf earlier this month. The Iranians, who were upset to be included in President George Bush's “axis of evil”, enjoy America's discomfort. But they also fear Mr Sadr.

In Qom, Iran's main seminary town, Mr Sadr's few supporters rally around Ayatollah Kazem Haeri, the cleric to whom, at least notionally, Mr Sadr defers in matters of theology and law. Mr Haeri's entourage complains that none of Iran's ten-odd grand ayatollahs has condemned America's recent shedding of Shia blood.

Racial discrimination

Race is a factor. The silent clerics regard Mr Sadr as a pan-Arabist bigot, and fear that he plans to end a long tradition of Iranian influence over Iraq's main Shia seminary, in the town of Najaf. They much prefer Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Najaf's senior ayatollah, who is of Iranian origin.

Qom's future depends partly on events in Najaf. Half the 3,000-odd Iraqi clerics who took refuge in Iran for fear of Saddam Hussein are back home. So holy is Najaf that, given stability, Iranian clerics could follow. An exodus of senior ones to Iraq would embarrass Mr Khamenei.

Mr Sadr's anti-Iranian chauvinism, and his unpredictability, make him an impossible ally. But the choice is limited. For any Iraqi leader, too close an association with Iran is a liability. Mr Khamenei would love to have Mr Sistani, the grandest of all ayatollahs, in his pocket, but he is not co-operating. He disapproves of Iran's theocracy. Mocked by Mr Sadr's supporters for his Iranian accent and birth, he is keeping his distance from Iran's establishment.

Despite their current troubles, the Americans seem determined not to ask Iran for help. The Iranians have modest influence and a lot of local knowledge, but America mistrusts them. It is unclear whether the Americans warned Iran's delegation not to go to Najaf; in the event, the Iranians did not get close. A few days before the Iranian mission, one of Tehran's more reliable newspapers reported that American moves are afoot to have Iran's chargé d'affaires in Baghdad expelled.
3 posted on 04/23/2004 9:06:21 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Muscular Shias Return to Roots

April 22, 2004
BBC News

Shia Islam is typically portrayed by the international media as a creed of intolerance and angry fundamentalism. Journalist Mark Irving travelled to Shah-e-Rey in Iran to see a different face of Shia Islam.

There are two cliches about Iran: one of them is about Persia - intricate gardens, wall tiles, poetry and complex codes of courtesy.

The oriental picture is alluringly exotic, but the other - contemporary Shia Islam - is less so.

It's not a soft focus subject. Instead, with its easily distilled radicalism, it's a frequent hostage to prejudice within the Western press.

It's in a quest to explore another side of Shia faith that I find myself squeezed inside a taxi with three other men on a night-time journey to Shahr-e-Rey, a satellite town an hour's journey south of the Iranian capital Tehran.

Our destination is a small low building set behind a nondescript block of flats.

One-storey high, its only notable external feature is a steep dome at its centre.

It looks like a mosque, but it isn't. The building is a zoorkhaneh or "house of strength" and I have been brought here to witness the varzesh-e pahlavani, or ritual martial arts training.

Burst of drums

The ritual goes to the very heart of traditional Iranian ideals about masculinity, religious devotion and physical prowess.

Inside the door, after making my ritual ablutions, I join the men gathering in the short corridor that leads to a curiously low wooden door painted a bright forest green.

It is closed tightly shut. Suddenly, the door latch rattles as a burst of drums explodes from the other side and a man's high-pitched clear voice pierces the air, rising and falling in swallow dives of song.

"It's low so that every man who comes here is made the same by having to stoop through this door. No one is more important than any one else", whispers my Iranian friend Massy.

Inside, about 20 men are standing in an octagonal pit lined with panels of grey-white marble.

They wear red and orange striped cotton cloths gathered up through the legs and fixed in a giant knot.

Some sport snazzy brown leather knee-breeches embroidered with paisley designs.

All wear T-shirts - gone are the days when men would be bare-chested, such are the proscriptive rules in Iran today concerning displays of nakedness.

Women are traditionally not allowed in the zoorkhaneh.

Humble warriors

In his booth, decorated with coloured lights and situated above the door, sits the morshed, the conductor of the exercise rituals.

Wearing a shawl around his bare shoulders, he chins his face towards a microphone, his hands arching above his drums.

The morshed flicks open a page of the book resting in front of him and starts singing.

The men move as one, lowering their bodies to the ground in a flash, their legs spread wide apart, their hands gripping the bar that rests a few inches off the floor in front of them.

When the drums start, they lift their bodies up and down in time with the rhythmic beat.

"He's reciting from Iranian poetry", Massy tells me. "The verse he's singing right now is about the apple tree which, when it's full of fruit, lowers its head to the ground. It's a way of demonstrating that a good man should not be proud".

Central to these songs is the Shahnameh or Book of Kings, written by Ferdowsi in the 10th Century.

One of the most important literary texts in the Iranian cannon, it charts the exploits of Iran's great Shahs and warriors.

The semi-mythical figure Rostam plays a central role in the narrative.

A wrestler who overcomes all his opponents, he represents a prototypical model for those training in the zoorkhaneh and for Iranian men in general.

The men have now taken up large wooden clubs called meels.

They can weigh anything from 5-30kg (10 to 60lb) and can be up to 1.5m (4.5ft) long.

The men are swinging them in unison over one shoulder and then another, matching the musical rhythm set by the morshed.

Derived from ancient maces, they are made of walnut wood and can be made even heavier by inserting lead balls inside the timber.

Other men start spinning round and round to the admiration of their peers.

The eyes of the spinners roll into their sockets as they approach spiritual ecstasy and physical exhaustion.

Traditional discipline

For Iranians, the zoorkhaneh is a unique place where the improvement of men's physical fibre is seen as a vital step towards their moral and spiritual enlightenment.

"They're exercising their muscles and brains to be ready to help the poor and weaker at any point in their life" says Massy, with feeling.

"It becomes sweeter if you understand more about the music and rhythm.

"The verses we're hearing are about the way the older have to lead the younger men.

"For the past 25 years, all these people have gone to war and there are massive changes in society now," explains Massy.

"There's no discipline and this tradition gives a massive foundation to society".

But how will it withstand change, I ask?

"It's difficult, I admit, especially since there's now this cult of bodybuilding gyms spreading across Iran which has nothing to do with being a pahlavan (a charitable man of physical and moral strength). It's all about pride in the body and nothing else."
4 posted on 04/23/2004 9:07:13 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
LUKoil Sees US Green Light on Iran Oil Deal

April 23, 2004
World Markets Research Centre
Catherine Hunter

LUKoil has said that its lawyers have receiived tacit approval from the US State Department to do business with Iran, even though LUKoil is listed on the US stock exchange and is subject to the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA), reports Energy Compass.

The Russian company is planning to bid for three exploration blocks in Iran (see Iran: 15 April 2004: LUKoil Expresses Interest in Iranian Oil Tenders).

Significance: LUKoil seems to play the media game quite well, as it has shown in Iraq where it has done everything possible to convince the world that its rights to the West Qurna oilfields are still extant. If LUKoil has received tacit approval to bid in Iran, this is really an acknowledgement that ILSA is dead, at least for non-US companies. This seems to be part of a wider low-level approach to improve US relations with Iran following very public disputes over the country's nuclear programme. The US suspension of sanctions on the transfer of goods and funds agreed after the Bam earthquake in December 2003 has apparently been extended for another three months.
5 posted on 04/23/2004 9:07:53 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Newspaper Director Sentenced for Act Against Iranian Security

April 23, 2004
Agence France Presse

The director of Iran's twice-weekly paper Aban, close to the liberal opposition, has been given a suspended jail sentence of six months and barred from working in the press for two years, the Iranian student news agency ISNA said on Friday.

Mohammed Hassan Alipour has 20 days in which to appeal the sentence, imposed for an act against the security of the regime, the agency said, without detailing the offence.

Iran's liberal opposition, which preaches separation of politics and religion and whose unity are one of the bases of the Islamic Republic, is regularly hit by such sentences for undermining state security.

On April 15, Tabriz revolutionary tribunal in northwest Iran, sentenced journalist Ensafali Hedayat to 18 months in prison for insulting the country's leaders and for propaganda against the Islamic regime.

The official IRNA news agency said on April 20 that another journalist, Siamak Pourzand, serving eight years for "action against the security of the state through his links with monarchists and counter-revolutionaries", was taken to hospital because of deterioting health.

Pourzand, aged 75, suffers from heart and lung problems.

A dozen Iranian journalists are at in jail, while the conservative-controlled judiciary in recent years has closed more than 100 papers, mostly reformist or close to the liberal opposition.
6 posted on 04/23/2004 9:08:26 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Mahan Pays $270 Mln in Cash for 8 Airbus

April 23, 2004
Turkish News Digest
AII Data Processing Ltd

Iranian private airline Mahan, based in Kerman, the capital of Kerman Province in southeastern Iran, has paid $270 mln (226.43 mln euro) for eight Airbus aircraft in cash in several tranches, an informed source at Iran Roads and Transport Ministry was quoted as saying on April 23, 2004.

Thanks to the new acquisition the company's passenger turnover has jumped by 64 pct year-on-year in the third quarter of the past Iranian calendar year ended March 19, 2004.

The company evidently had no problems buying aircraft despite the U.S ban on such sales introduced in 1995, the source said. It only proved to show that a competent management is capable to overcome any obstacles connected with the embargo in order to secure reliable aircraft fleet for Iran.

Started back in 1991 with only two Russian made Tupolev-154, Mahan now employs over 1,000 and services 20 regular destinations in 10 countries in Europe, the Far East, the Indian sub-continent and Persian Gulf.

(Editor's note: Since its inauguration in 1991, the private Iranian airline has carried over 4.4 million passengers on domestic and international flights and is expecting to carry more than 1.3 million passengers in 2004.)
7 posted on 04/23/2004 9:09:02 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
The Fruits of Appeasement

By Victor Davis Hanson
City Journal | April 23, 2004

Imagine a different November 4, 1979, in Teheran. Shortly after Iranian terrorists storm the American embassy and take some 90 American hostages, President Jimmy Carter announces that Islamic fundamentalism is not a legitimate response to the excess of the Shah but a new and dangerous fascism that threatens all that liberal society holds dear. And then he issues an ultimatum to Teheran’s leaders: Release the captives or face a devastating military response.

When that demand is not met, instead of freezing Iran’s assets, stopping the importation of its oil, or seeking support at the UN, Carter orders an immediate blockade of the country, followed by promises to bomb, first, all of its major military assets, and then its main government buildings and residences of its ruling mullocracy. The Ayatollah Khomeini may well have called his bluff; we may well have tragically lost the hostages (151 fewer American lives than the Iranian-backed Hezbollah would take four years later in a single day in Lebanon). And there may well have been the sort of chaos in Teheran that we now witness in Baghdad. But we would have seen it all in 1979—and not in 2001, after almost a quarter-century of continuous Middle East terrorism, culminating in the mass murder of 3,000 Americans and the leveling of the World Trade Center.

The twentieth century should have taught the citizens of liberal democracies the catastrophic consequences of placating tyrants. British and French restraint over the occupation of the Rhineland, the Anschluss, the absorption of the Czech Sudetenland, and the incorporation of Bohemia and Moravia did not win gratitude but rather Hitler’s contempt for their weakness. Fifty million dead, the Holocaust, and the near destruction of European civilization were the wages of “appeasement”—a term that early-1930s liberals proudly embraced as far more enlightened than the old idea of “deterrence” and “military readiness.”

So too did Western excuses for the Russians’ violation of guarantees of free elections in postwar Eastern Europe, China, and Southeast Asia only embolden the Soviet Union. What eventually contained Stalinism was the Truman Doctrine, NATO, and nuclear deterrence—not the United Nations—and what destroyed its legacy was Ronald Reagan’s assertiveness, not Jimmy Carter’s accommodation or Richard Nixon’s détente.

As long ago as the fourth century b.c., Demosthenes warned how complacency and self-delusion among an affluent and free Athenian people allowed a Macedonian thug like Philip II to end some four centuries of Greek liberty—and in a mere 20 years of creeping aggrandizement down the Greek peninsula. Thereafter, these historical lessons should have been clear to citizens of any liberal society: we must neither presume that comfort and security are our birthrights and are guaranteed without constant sacrifice and vigilance, nor expect that peoples outside the purview of bourgeois liberalism share our commitment to reason, tolerance, and enlightened self-interest.

Most important, military deterrence and the willingness to use force against evil in its infancy usually end up, in the terrible arithmetic of war, saving more lives than they cost. All this can be a hard lesson to relearn each generation, especially now that we contend with the sirens of the mall, Oprah, and latte. Our affluence and leisure are as antithetical to the use of force as rural life and relative poverty once were catalysts for muscular action. The age-old lure of appeasement—perhaps they will cease with this latest concession, perhaps we provoked our enemies, perhaps demonstrations of our future good intentions will win their approval—was never more evident than in the recent Spanish elections, when an affluent European electorate, reeling from the horrific terrorist attack of 3/11, swept from power the pro-U.S. center-right government on the grounds that the mass murders were more the fault of the United States for dragging Spain into the effort to remove fascists and implant democracy in Iraq than of the primordial al-Qaidist culprits, who long ago promised the Western and Christian Iberians ruin for the Crusades and the Reconquista.

What went wrong with the West—and with the United States in particular—when not just the classical but especially the recent antecedents to September 11, from the Iranian hostage-taking to the attack on the USS Cole, were so clear? Though Americans in an election year, legitimately concerned about our war dead, may now be divided over the Iraqi occupation, polls nevertheless show a surprising consensus that the many precursors to the World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings were acts of war, not police matters. Roll the tape backward from the USS Cole in 2000, through the bombing of the Khobar Towers and the U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998, the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the destruction of the American embassy and annex in Beirut in 1983, the mass murder of 241 U.S. Marine peacekeepers asleep in their Lebanese barracks that same year, and assorted kidnappings and gruesome murders of American citizens and diplomats (including TWA Flight 800, Pan Am 103, William R. Higgins, Leon Klinghoffer, Robert Dean Stethem, and CIA operative William Francis Buckley), until we arrive at the Iranian hostage-taking of November 1979: that debacle is where we first saw the strange brew of Islamic fascism, autocracy, and Middle East state terrorism—and failed to grasp its menace, condemn it, and go to war against it.

That lapse, worth meditating upon in this 25th anniversary year of Khomeinism, then set the precedent that such aggression against the United States was better adjudicated as a matter of law than settled by war. Criminals were to be understood, not punished; and we, not our enemies, were at fault for our past behavior. Whether Carter’s impotence sprang from his deep-seated moral distrust of using American power unilaterally or from real remorse over past American actions in the cold war or even from his innate pessimism about the military capability of the United States mattered little to the hostage takers in Teheran, who for some 444 days humiliated the United States through a variety of public demands for changes in U.S. foreign policy, the return of the exiled Shah, and reparations.

But if we know how we failed to respond in the last three decades, do we yet grasp why we were so afraid to act decisively at these earlier junctures, which might have stopped the chain of events that would lead to the al-Qaida terrorist acts of September 11? Our failure was never due to a lack of the necessary wealth or military resources, but rather to a deeply ingrained assumption that we should not retaliate—a hesitancy al-Qaida perceives and plays upon.

Along that sad succession of provocations, we can look back and see particularly critical turning points that reflected this now-institutionalized state policy of worrying more about what the enemy was going to do to us than we to him, to paraphrase Grant’s dictum: not hammering back after the murder of the marines in Lebanon for fear of ending up like the Israelis in a Lebanese quagmire; not going to Baghdad in 1991 because of paranoia that the “coalition” would collapse and we would polarize the Arabs; pulling abruptly out of Somalia once pictures of American bodies dragged through the streets of Mogadishu were broadcast around the world; or turning down offers in 1995 from Sudan to place Usama bin Ladin into our custody, for fear that U.S. diplomats or citizens might be murdered abroad.

Throughout this tragic quarter-century of appeasement, our response usually consisted of a stern lecture by a Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, or Bill Clinton about “never giving in to terrorist blackmail” and “not negotiating with terrorists.” Even Ronald Reagan’s saber-rattling “You can run but not hide” did not preclude trading arms to the Iranian terrorists or abruptly abandoning Lebanon after the horrific Hezbollah attack.

Sometimes a half-baked failed rescue mission, or a battleship salvo, cruise missile, or air strike followed—but always accompanied by a weeklong debate by conservatives over “exit strategies” and “mission creep,” while liberals fretted about “consultations with our allies and the United Nations.” And remember: these pathetic military responses were the hawkish actions that earned us the resignation of a furious Cyrus Vance, the abrogation of overflight rights by concerned “allies” such as France, and a national debate about what we did to cause such animosity in the first place.

Our enemies and Middle Eastern “friends” alike sneered at our self-flagellation. In 1991, at great risk, the United States freed Kuwait from Iraq and ended its status as the 19th satrapy of Saddam Hussein—only to watch the restored kingdom ethnically cleanse over a third of a million Palestinians. But after the murder of 3,000 Americans in 2001, Kuwaitis, in a February 2002 Gallup poll (and while they lobbied OPEC to reduce output and jack up prices), revealed an overwhelming distaste for Americans—indeed the highest levels of anti-Americanism in the Arab world. And these ethnic cleansers of Palestinians cited America’s purportedly unfair treatment of the Palestinians (recipients of accumulated billions in American aid) as a prime cause of their dislike of us.

In the face of such visceral anti-Americanism, the problem may not be real differences over the West Bank, much less that “we are not getting the message out”; rather, in the decade since 1991 the Middle East saw us as a great power that neither could nor would use its strength to advance its ideas—that lacked even the intellectual confidence to argue for our civilization before the likes of a tenth-century monarchy. The autocratic Arab world neither respects nor fears a democratic United States, because it rightly senses that we often talk in principled terms but rarely are willing to invest the time, blood, and treasure to match such rhetoric with concrete action. That’s why it is crucial for us to stay in Iraq to finish the reconstruction and cement the achievement of our three-week victory over Saddam.

It is easy to cite post-Vietnam guilt and shame as the likely culprit for our paralysis. After all, Jimmy Carter came in when memories of capsizing boat people and of American helicopters lifting swarms of panicked diplomats off the roof of the Saigon embassy were fresh. In 1980, he exited in greater shame: his effusive protestations that Soviet communism wasn’t something to fear all that much won him the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, while his heralded “human rights” campaign was answered by the Ortegas in Nicaragua and the creation of a murderous theocracy in Iran. Yet perhaps President Carter was not taking the American people anywhere they didn’t want to go. After over a decade of prior social unrest and national humiliation in Vietnam, many Americans believed that the United States either could not or should not do much about things beyond its shores.

As time wore on and the nightmare of Vietnam began to fade, fear of the Soviet Union kept us from crushing the terrorists who killed our diplomats and blew up our citizens. These were no idle fears, given the Russians’ record of butchering 30 million of their own, stationing 300 divisions on Europe’s borders, and pointing 7,000 nukes at the United States. And fear of their malevolence made eminent sense in the volatile Middle East, where the Russians made direct threats to the Israelis in both the 1967 and 1973 wars, when the Syrian, Egyptian, and Iraqi militaries—trained, supplied, and advised by Russians—were on the verge of annihilation. Russian support for Nasser’s Pan-Arabism and for Baathism in Iraq and Syria rightly worried cold warriors, who sensed that the Soviets had their geopolitical eyes on Middle East oil and a stranglehold over Persian Gulf commerce.

Indeed, these twin pillars of the old American Middle East policy—worry over oil and fear of communists—reigned for nearly half a century, between 1945 and 1991. Such realism, however understandable, was counterproductive in the long run, since our tacit support for odious anti-communist governments in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and North Africa did not address the failure of such autocracies to provide prosperity and hope for exploding populations of increasingly poor and angry citizens. We kept Russians out of the oil fields and ensured safe exports of petroleum to Europe, Japan, and the United States—but at what proved to be the steep price of allowing awful regimes to deflect popular discontent against us.

Nor was realpolitik always effective. Such illegitimate Arab regimes as the Saudi royal family initiated several oil embargoes, after all. And meanwhile, such a policy did not deter the Soviets from busily selling high-tech weaponry to Libya, Syria, and Iraq, while the KGB helped to train and fund almost every Arab terrorist group. And indeed, immediately after the 1991 Iraqi takeover of Kuwait, U.S. intelligence officers discovered that Soviet-trained Abu Nidal, Abu Abbas, and Abu Ibrahim had flocked to Baghdad on the invitation of the Baathist Saddam Hussein: though the Soviet Union did not interrupt Western petroleum commerce, its well-supplied surrogates did their fair share of murdering.

Neither thirst for petroleum nor fear of communists, then, adequately explains our inaction for most of the tumultuous late 1980s and 1990s, when groups like Hezbollah and al-Qaida came on to the world scene. Gorbachev’s tottering empire had little inclination to object too strenuously when the United States hit Libya in 1986, recall, and thanks to the growing diversity and fungibility of the global oil supply, we haven’t had a full-fledged Arab embargo since 1979.

Instead, the primary cause for our surprising indifference to the events leading up to September 11 lies within ourselves. Westerners always have had a propensity for complacency because of our wealth and freedom; and Americans in particular have enjoyed a comfortable isolation in being separated from the rest of the world by two oceans. Yet during the last four presidential administrations, laxity about danger on the horizon seems to have become more ingrained than in the days when a more robust United States sought to thwart communist intrusion into Arabia, Asia, and Africa.

Americans never viewed terrorist outlaw states with the suspicion they once had toward Soviet communism; they put little pressure on their leaders to crack down on Middle Eastern autocracy and theocracy as a threat to security. At first this indifference was understandable, given the stealthy nature of our enemies and the post–cold war relief that, having toppled the Soviet Union and freed millions in Eastern Europe, we might be at the end of history. Even the bloodcurdling anti-American shouts from the Beirut street did not seem as scary as a procession of intercontinental missiles and tanks on an average May Day parade in Moscow.

Hezbollah, al-Qaida, and the PLO were more like fleas on a sleeping dog: bothersome rather than lethal; to be flicked away occasionally rather than systematically eradicated. Few paid attention to Usama bin Ladin’s infamous February 1998 fatwa: “The rule to kill Americans and their allies—civilians and military—is a sacred duty for any Muslim.” Those who noticed thought it just impotent craziness, akin to Sartre’s fatuous quip during the Vietnam War that he wished for a nuclear strike against the United States to end its imperial aspirations. No one thought that a raving maniac in an Afghan cave could kill more Americans in a single day than the planes of the Japanese imperial fleet off Pearl Harbor.

But still, how did things as odious to liberal sensibilities as Pan-Arabism, Islamic fundamentalism, and Middle Eastern dictatorship—which squashed dissent, mocked religious tolerance, and treated women as chattel—become reinvented into “alternate discourses” deserving a sympathetic pass from the righteous anger of the United States when Americans were murdered overseas? Was it that spokesmen for terrorist regimes mimicked the American Left—in everything from dress, vocabulary, and appearances on the lecture circuit—and so packaged their extremism in a manner palatable to Americans? Why, after all, were Americans patient with remonstrations from University of Virginia alumna Hanan Ashrawi, rather than asking precisely how such a wealthy Christian PLO apparatchik really felt about the Palestinian Authority’s endemic corruption, the spendthrift Parisian Mrs. Arafat, the terrorists around Arafat himself, the spate of “honor killings” of women in the West Bank, the censorship of the Palestinian press, suicide murdering by Arafat affiliates, and the lynching of suspects by Palestinian police?

Rather than springing from realpolitik, sloth, or fear of oil cutoffs, much of our appeasement of Middle Eastern terrorists derived from a new sort of anti-Americanism that thrived in the growing therapeutic society of the 1980s and 1990s. Though the abrupt collapse of communism was a dilemma for the Left, it opened as many doors as it shut. To be sure, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, few Marxists could argue for a state-controlled economy or mouth the old romance about a workers’ paradise—not with scenes of East German families crammed into smoking clunkers lumbering over potholed roads, like American pioneers of old on their way west. But if the creed of the socialist republics was impossible to take seriously in either economic or political terms, such a collapse of doctrinaire statism did not discredit the gospel of forced egalitarianism and resentment against prosperous capitalists. Far from it.

If Marx receded from economics departments, his spirit reemerged among our intelligentsia in the novel guises of post-structuralism, new historicism, multiculturalism, and all the other dogmas whose fundamental tenet was that white male capitalists had systematically oppressed women, minorities, and Third World people in countless insidious ways. The font of that collective oppression, both at home and abroad, was the rich, corporate, Republican, and white United States.

The fall of the Soviet Union enhanced these newer post-colonial and liberation fields of study by immunizing their promulgators from charges of fellow-traveling or being dupes of Russian expansionism. Communism’s demise likewise freed these trendy ideologies from having to offer some wooden, unworkable Marxist alternative to the West; thus they could happily remain entirely critical, sarcastic, and cynical without any obligation to suggest something better, as witness the nihilist signs at recent protest marches proclaiming: “I Love Iraq, Bomb Texas.”

From writers like Arundhati Roy and Michel Foucault (who anointed Khomeini “a kind of mystic saint” who would usher in a new “political spirituality” that would “transfigure” the world) and from old standbys like Frantz Fanon and Jean-Paul Sartre (“to shoot down a European is to kill two birds with one stone, to destroy an oppressor and the man he oppresses at the same time”), there filtered down a vague notion that the United States and the West in general were responsible for Third World misery in ways that transcended the dull old class struggle. Endemic racism and the legacy of colonialism, the oppressive multinational corporation and the humiliation and erosion of indigenous culture brought on by globalization and a smug, self-important cultural condescension—all this and more explained poverty and despair, whether in Damascus, Teheran, or Beirut.

There was victim status for everybody, from gender, race, and class at home to colonialism, imperialism, and hegemony abroad. Anyone could play in these “area studies” that cobbled together the barrio, the West Bank, and the “freedom fighter” into some sloppy global union of the oppressed—a far hipper enterprise than rehashing Das Kapital or listening to a six-hour harangue from Fidel.

Of course, pampered Western intellectuals since Diderot have always dreamed up a “noble savage,” who lived in harmony with nature precisely because of his distance from the corruption of Western civilization. But now this fuzzy romanticism had an updated, political edge: the bearded killer and wild-eyed savage were not merely better than we because they lived apart in a pre-modern landscape. No: they had a right to strike back and kill modernizing Westerners who had intruded into and disrupted their better world—whether Jews on Temple Mount, women in Westernized dress in Teheran, Christian missionaries in Kabul, capitalist profiteers in Islamabad, whiskey-drinking oilmen in Riyadh, or miniskirted tourists in Cairo.

An Ayatollah Khomeini who turned back the clock on female emancipation in Iran, who murdered non-Muslims, and who refashioned Iranian state policy to hunt down, torture, and kill liberals nevertheless seemed to liberal Western eyes as preferable to the Shah—a Western-supported anti-communist, after all, who was engaged in the messy, often corrupt task of bringing Iran from the tenth to the twentieth century, down the arduous, dangerous path that, as in Taiwan or South Korea, might eventually lead to a consensual, capitalist society like our own.

Yet in the new world of utopian multiculturalism and knee-jerk anti-Americanism, in which a Noam Chomsky could proclaim Khomeini’s gulag to be “independent nationalism,” reasoned argument was futile. Indeed, how could critical debate arise for those “committed to social change,” when no universal standards were to be applied to those outside the West? Thanks to the doctrine of cultural relativism, “oppressed” peoples either could not be judged by our biased and “constructed” values (“false universals,” in Edward Said’s infamous term) or were seen as more pristine than ourselves, uncorrupted by the evils of Western capitalism.

Who were we to gainsay Khomeini’s butchery and oppression? We had no way of understanding the nuances of his new liberationist and “nationalist” Islam. Now back in the hands of indigenous peoples, Iran might offer the world an alternate path, a different “discourse” about how to organize a society that emphasized native values (of some sort) over mere profit.

So at precisely the time of these increasingly frequent terrorist attacks, the silly gospel of multiculturalism insisted that Westerners have neither earned the right to censure others, nor do they possess the intellectual tools to make judgments about the relative value of different cultures. And if the initial wave of multiculturalist relativism among the elites—coupled with the age-old romantic forbearance for Third World roguery—explained tolerance for early unpunished attacks on Americans, its spread to our popular culture only encouraged more.

This nonjudgmentalism—essentially a form of nihilism—deemed everything from Sudanese female circumcision to honor killings on the West Bank merely “different” rather than odious. Anyone who has taught freshmen at a state university can sense the fuzzy thinking of our undergraduates: most come to us prepped in high schools not to make “value judgments” about “other” peoples who are often “victims” of American “oppression.” Thus, before female-hating psychopath Mohamed Atta piloted a jet into the World Trade Center, neither Western intellectuals nor their students would have taken him to task for what he said or condemned him as hypocritical for his parasitical existence on Western society. Instead, without logic but with plenty of romance, they would more likely have excused him as a victim of globalization or of the biases of American foreign policy. They would have deconstructed Atta’s promotion of anti-Semitic, misogynist, Western-hating thought, as well as his conspiracies with Third World criminals, as anything but a danger and a pathology to be remedied by deportation or incarceration.

It was not for nothing that on November 17, 1979—less than two weeks after the militants stormed the American embassy in Teheran—the Ayatollah Khomeini ordered the release of 13 female and black hostages, singling them out as part of the brotherhood of those oppressed by the United States and cloaking his ongoing slaughter of Iranian opponents and attacks on United States sovereignty in a self-righteous anti-Americanism. Twenty-five years later, during the anti-war protests of last spring, a group called “Act Now to Stop War and End Racism” sang the same foolish chorus in its call for demonstrations: “Members of the Muslim Community, Antiwar Activists, Latin-American Solidarity Groups and People From All Over the United States Unite to Say: ‘We Are All Palestinians!’ ”

The new cult of romantic victimhood became gospel in most Middle East departments in American universities. Except for the courageous Bernard Lewis, Daniel Pipes, and Fouad Ajami, few scholars offered any analysis that might confirm more astute Americans in their vague sense that in the Middle East, political autocracy, statism, tribalism, anti-intellectualism, and gender apartheid accounted for poverty and failure. And if few wished to take on Islamofascism in the 1990s—indeed, Steven Emerson’s chilling 1994 documentary Jihad in America set off a storm of protest from U.S. Muslim-rights groups and prompted death threats to the producer—almost no one but Samuel Huntington dared even to broach the taboo subject that there might be elements within doctrinaire Islam itself that could easily lead to intolerance and violence and were therefore at the root of any “clash of civilizations.”

Instead, most experts explained why violent fanatics might have some half-legitimate grievance behind their deadly harvest each year of a few Americans in the wrong place at the wrong time. These experts cautioned that, instead of bombing and shooting killers abroad who otherwise would eventually reach us at home, Americans should take care not to disturb Iranian terrorists during Ramadan—rather than to remember that Muslims attacked Israel precisely during that holy period. Instead of condemning Wahhabis for the fascists that they were, we were instead apprised that such holy men of the desert and tent provided a rapidly changing and often Western-corrupted Saudi Arabia with a vital tether to the stability of its romantic nomadic past. Rather than recognizing that Yasser Arafat’s Tunisia-based Fatah organization was a crime syndicate, expert opinion persuaded us to empower it as an indigenous liberation movement on the West Bank—only to destroy nearly two decades’ worth of steady Palestinian economic improvement.

Neither oil-concerned Republicans nor multicultural Democrats were ready to expose the corrupt American relationship with Saudi Arabia. No country is more culpable than that kingdom in funding extremist madrassas and subsidizing terror, or more antithetical to liberal American values from free speech to religious tolerance. But Saudi propagandists learned from the Palestinians the value of constructing their own victimhood as a long-oppressed colonial people. Call a Saudi fundamentalist mullah a fascist, and you can be sure you’ll be tarred as an Islamophobe.

Even when Middle Easterners regularly blew us up, the Clinton administration, unwilling to challenge the new myth of Muslim victimhood, transformed Middle Eastern terrorists bent on destroying America into wayward individual criminals who did not spring from a pathological culture. Thus, Clinton treated the first World Trade Center bombing as only a criminal justice matter—which of course allowed the United States to avoid confronting the issue and taking on the messy and increasingly unpopular business the Bush administration has been engaged in since September 11. Clinton dispatched FBI agents, not soldiers, to Yemen and Saudi Arabia after the attacks on the USS Cole and the Khobar Towers. Yasser Arafat, responsible in the 1970s for the murder of a U.S. diplomat in the Sudan, turned out to be the most frequent foreign visitor to the Clinton Oval Office.

If the Clintonian brand of appeasement reflected both a deep-seated tolerance for Middle Eastern extremism and a reluctance to wake comfortable Americans up to the danger of a looming war, he was not the only one naive about the threat of Islamic fascism. Especially culpable was the Democratic Party at large, whose post-Vietnam foreign policy could not sanction the use of American armed force to protect national interests but only to accomplish purely humanitarian ends as in the interventions in Haiti, Somalia, and Bosnia.

Indeed, the recent Democratic primaries reveal just how far this disturbing trend has evolved: the foreign-policy positions of John Kerry and Howard Dean on Iraq and the Middle East were far closer to those of extremists like Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich than to current American policy under George W. Bush. Indeed, buffoons or conspiracy theorists like Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, and Al Franken often turned up on the same stage as would-be presidents. When Moore, while endorsing Wesley Clark, called an American president at a time of war a “deserter,” when the mendacious Sharpton lectured his smiling fellow candidates on the Bush administration’s “lies” about Iraq, and when Al Gore labeled the president’s action in Iraq a “betrayal” of America, the surrender of the mainstream Democrats to the sirens of extremism was complete. Again, past decorum and moderation go out the window when the pretext is saving indigenous peoples from American oppression.

The consensus for appeasement that led to September 11, albeit suppressed for nearly two years by outrage over the murder of 3,000, has reemerged in criticism over the ongoing reconstruction of Iraq and George Bush’s prosecution of the War on Terror.

The tired voices that predicted a litany of horrors in October 2001—the impassable peaks of Afghanistan, millions of refugees, endemic starvation, revolution in the Arab street, and violations of Ramadan—now complain, incorrectly, that 150,000 looted art treasures were the cost of guarding the Iraqi oil ministry, that Halliburton pipelines and refineries were the sole reason to remove Saddam Hussein, and that Christian fundamentalists and fifth-columnist neoconservatives have fomented a senseless revenge plot against Muslims and Arabs. Whether they complained before March 2003 that America faced death and ruin against Saddam’s Republican Guard, or two months later that in bullying fashion we had walked over a suddenly impotent enemy, or three months later still that, through incompetence, we were taking casualties and failing to get the power back on, leftist critics’ only constant was their predictable dislike of America.

Military historians might argue that, given the enormity of our task in Iraq—liberating 26 million from a tyrant and implanting democracy in the region—the tragic loss of more than 500 Americans in a year’s war and peace was a remarkable sign of our care and expertise in minimizing deaths. Diplomats might argue that our past efforts at humanitarian reconstruction, with some idealistic commitment to consensual government, have a far better track record in Germany, Japan, Korea, Panama, and Serbia than our strategy of exiting Germany after World War I, of leaving Iraq to Saddam after 1991, of abandoning Afghanistan to the Taliban once the Russians were stopped, of skipping out from Haiti or of fleeing Somalia. Realist students of arms control might argue that the recent confessions of Pakistan’s nuclear roguery, the surrender of the Libyan arsenal, and the invitation of the UN inspectors into Iran were the dividends of resolute American action in Iraq. Colonel Khadafy surely came clean not because of Jimmy Carter’s peace missions, UN resolutions, or EU diplomats.

But don’t expect any sober discussion of these contentions from the Left. Their gloom and doom about Iraq arises precisely from the anti-Americanism and romanticization of the Third World that once led to our appeasement and now seeks its return. When John Kerry talks of mysterious prominent Europeans he has met (but whose names he will not divulge) who, he says, pray for his election in hopes of ending George Bush’s Iraqi nightmare, perhaps he has in mind people like the Chamberlainesque European Commission president Romano Prodi, who said in the wake of the recent mass murder in Spain: “Clearly, the conflict with the terrorists is not resolved with force alone.” Perhaps he has in mind, also, the Spanish electorate, which believes it can find security from al-Qaida terrorism by refuting all its past support for America’s role in the Middle East. But of course if the terrorists understand that, in lieu of resolve, they will find such appeasement a mere 48 hours after a terrorist attack, then all previously resolute Western democracies—Italy, Poland, Britain, and the United States—should expect the terrorists to murder their citizens on the election eve in hopes of achieving just such a Spanish-style capitulation.

In contrast, George W. Bush, impervious to such self-deception, has, in a mere two and a half years, reversed the perilous course of a quarter-century. Since September 11, he has removed the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, begun to challenge the Middle East through support for consensual government, isolated Yasser Arafat, pressured the Europeans on everything from anti-Semitism to their largesse to Hamas, removed American troops from Saudi Arabia, shut down fascistic Islamic “charities,” scattered al-Qaida, turned Pakistan from a de facto foe to a scrutinized neutral, rounded up terrorists in the United States, pressured Libya, Iran, and Pakistan to come clean on clandestine nuclear cheating, so far avoided another September 11—and promises that he is not nearly done yet. If the Spanish example presages further terrorist attacks on European democracies at election time, at least Mr. Bush has made it clear that America—alone if need be—will neither appease nor ignore such killers but in fact finish the terrible war that they started.

As Jimmy Carter also proved in November 1979, one man really can make a difference.

Visit City Journal at
8 posted on 04/23/2004 9:11:13 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
UN, Britain Laud Iran Role to End Iraq Crisis

PARIS (Dispatches) -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Adviser Lakhdar Brahimi and British government lauded Iran’s positive and effective role to help put an end to the Iraqi crisis. In a meeting with Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamal Kharrazi on Wednesday, Brahimi called for continuation of the efforts. The two officials reviewed the latest developments in the war-torn Iraq, including transfer of power in that country, the Daily Times reported

Expressing his concern over the current critical situation in Iraq and massacre of innocent people there, Kharrazi said the crisis is a result of wrong policies being adopted by Washington.

Kharrazi further noted that in suggesting plans for transfer of power in Iraq, viewpoints of people as well as of religious and political authorities should be considered.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair thanked Kharrazi Thursday for Iran's continuing cooperation with regard to Iraq, IRNA reported.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Kharrazi following his talks with Blair, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said that "progress" was also made over the agreement on Iran's nuclear program.

The Iranian foreign minister stopped over in London to meet the British prime minister and hold discussions with Straw as part of his tour of European capitals that started in Rome on Monday. He has since been to Brussels, Dublin and Paris.

He said that he held "very good discussions on difficult issues," including the situation in Iraq and the Palestinian issue. Other bilateral issues were also raised.

Straw said that he thanked Kharrazi for the "cooperation and continuing cooperation we receive in respect of Iraq." The British government was "grateful for the cooperation and constructive role played by Iran," he said.

"There has to be a major role for all six neighboring countries and that of the Arab and Islamic world" in helping to stabilize the difficult situation in Iraq, he said.

Kharrazi criticized the military role of the U.S. in Iraq, saying that it could not achieve its goals by only using force. "Recent developments have proved that the wrong policies have been exercised in Iraq," he said.

Straw added that force had to be used in "certain circumstances," but warned that it had to be "proportionate" and used along side the political process.

On the wider issue of the Middle East, the Iranian foreign minister emphasized the importance of the Palestinian issue, saying that it would be a central issue as long as injustices remained.

Regarding Iran's nuclear program, he said that his country was working "very hard" with the European Union (EU) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and that "big steps" had been taken.

He said that further discussions would continue and expressed hope that the issue could be finalized very soon.
9 posted on 04/23/2004 9:19:14 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's FM regards EU trip successful

Apr 24, 2004, 04:22

Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said on Thursday that he had held "useful talks" over nuclear issues with British and French officials in his European tour.

Kharrazi said in France and Britain together with Germany that were involved in nuclear talks with Iran have stressed continuing cooperation with the Islamic Republic over its atomic energy program.

"The European states should realize that the only way in this regard is promotion of cooperation as well as mutual respect to Iran's viewpoints," he said.

"We expect the European states to live up to their commitments so that mutual confidence is formed as a bilateral approach."
10 posted on 04/23/2004 9:23:26 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: DoctorZIn
Palestinians Turn on Hamas

April 22, 2004: Israel has managed to terrorize the terrorists. Killing two leaders of the major Palestinian terrorist group Hamas within a month has shaken up the organization. But it’s not just the death of the two leaders. Over the last few months, dozens of Israeli raids have arrested lower ranking leaders and technical experts, and shut down workshops and supply dumps for bomb making. The smuggling of explosives and weapons into the Palestinian territories has been interrupted with greater frequency.

But Hamas faces a larger problem. The Palestinian people are becoming disillusioned with the terror tactics. The main reason for the disillusionment is poverty. Before the current “intifada” (uprising) began in late 2000, some 20 percent of Palestinians lived in poverty. Now that figure is over 80 percent. Per capita income for Palestinians is about a thousand dollars (although 30 percent of that comes from foreign aid). Business investment in the Palestinian territories (and their 3.5 million population) is only about ten percent of what it was before the intifada. The Palestinian economy depends on Israel for jobs and trade. By sending suicide bombers into Israel, the movement of Palestinians and Palestinian goods into Israel was interrupted. Israel has also suffered, with tourism way down, immigration reduced by over 60 percent and economic growth cut by nearly as much. But compared to the Palestinians, the Israelis are prospering.

Hamas has cultivated support among Palestinians with their extensive social welfare operations. But this work is supported by charitable donations, and a portion of that money is diverted to terrorist operations. So, in the last few months, Israel has interrupted the flow of money to Hamas. This has resulted in social programs being stalled, or even stopped. Hamas has lost public support because of this. Palestinians are becoming less grateful to Hamas for helping them get through their poverty, and increasingly blaming Hamas for causing all the misfortune.

Hamas, and Palestinian, media continue to hammer away with the need to destroy Israel, and repeat allegations that Jews are trying to take over the world, the Nazi extermination campaign against Jews during World War II was a myth and that the Christian world is making war on the Islamic community and Moslems must fight back. But these stories are less often accepted by their audience. Palestinian opinion surveys (conducted by Palestinians) have been tracking this decline in support for the intifada. As a result of that, the Palestinian pollsters have been physically attacked by terrorist groups. This has further turned off Palestinians.

While popular support for Palestinian terrorists is declining, the terrorists themselves will not go away. Their inability to launch many suicide bomb attacks has not diminished the dedication of the remaining terrorists. But deprived of their much of their leadership and technical experts, there is greater risk that the terrorism will be more frequently turned against “disloyal” Palestinians. When the terrorists cannot strike out, they tend to look for internal enemies. Given the large number of Israeli informers in the Palestinian territories, and increasing number of Palestinians who do not agree with the terrorism tactics, Hamas and other terrorist groups have lots of potential victims close at hand.

April 19, 2004: After nearly a thousand Israelis killed by Hamas, and other Palestinian, terrorist attacks, Israel has decided to wage all out war against the Palestinian organizations. This appears to include going after Hamas leaders living outside of Israeli controlled territories. Much of the Hamas leadership and administrative apparatus (especially fund raising) is done outside Israel. Many countries do not see Hamas as a terrorist organization and allow it to operate openly. Even nations (especially in Europe) that do, technically, list Hamas as a terrorist operations, tolerate Hamas operations in their territory. The new Israeli program might involve killing Hamas leaders in countries like Syria, which still hosts many terrorist organizations. Syria also hosts the Iran supported Hizbollah terrorist organization, which has been trying to help Hamas recover from Israeli attacks.
12 posted on 04/23/2004 9:41:05 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn; nuconvert; Eala; freedom44
Straw: UK grateful for Iran's mullahs

Persian Journal
Apr 24, 2004

British Prime Minister Tony Blair thanked Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi Thursday for Iran`s continuing cooperation with regard to Iraq. Speaking at a joint press conference with Kharrazi following his talks with Blair, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said that "progress" was also made over the agreement on Iran`s nuclear programme.

The Iranian foreign minister stopped over in London to met the British prime minister and hold discussions with Straw as part of his tour of European capitals, that started in Rome on Monday. He has since been to Brussels, Dublin and Paris. He said that he held "very good discussions on difficult issues," including the situation in Iraq and the Palestinian issue.

Other bilateral issues were also raised. Straw said that he thanked Kharrazi for the "cooperation and continuing cooperation we receive in respect of Iraq." The British government was "grateful for the cooperation and constructive role played by Iran's mullahs," he said.
13 posted on 04/23/2004 10:08:17 PM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" Kerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: F14 Pilot
"British Prime Minister Tony Blair thanked Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi Thursday for Iran`s continuing cooperation with regard to Iraq."

I'm going to hope that he's just being diplomatic.
14 posted on 04/23/2004 10:10:35 PM PDT by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ...( Azadi baraye Iran)
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To: nuconvert
Sadr shakes Shia hierarchy

NAJAF: Firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr upsets Iraq's Shia religious hierarchy almost as much as he annoys US-led occupation forces. Sadr, holed up in Najaf , is a headache for top Shia clerics who worry that his presence might provoke a US military assault on one of Shia's holiest cities.

The Shia hierarchy based in Najaf desperately needs to settle the crisis over Sadr, whose uprising implicitly challenges their power and threatens their policy of promoting Shia power in postwar Iraq by peaceful means.

US-led forces have rolled back this month's revolt by Sadr's Mehdi Army militia in many southern towns, but know bloodshed in Najaf might enrage the Shia majority or deter it from cooperating in US plans for Iraq's political future.

"We feel it's stable down there. We're not going to conduct provocative operations down there," a senior military official in Baghdad said of the Najaf standoff on Thursday. British officials say the idea is to let senior Shia clerics take the lead in resolving the impasse.

Under one proposal, Sadr, who is wanted in connection with the murder of a moderate Shia cleric in Najaf last year, could give himself up to Iraqi religious or other authorities to face trial after the occupation formally ends on June 30.

The officials say US-led authorities could accept this, provided the Mehdi Army militia disarms. Top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani had expanded his already considerable influence in recent months.

Time and again he has forced Washington to revise plans that fell short of his demands for early direct elections for a government reflecting the numerical strength of Iraq's 60 per cent Shia majority for the first time in modern history.

VOICE FOR MODERATION: While extracting political concessions from Washington, Sistani and other top clerics have urged Shias to shun anti-US violence such as that adopted by Sunni insurgents.

Now Sistani and other senior clerics are under fire from some voices within their own community for failing to confront Sadr decisively or even criticize him publicly. Sistani commands no militia or political party, but has a traditional following which eclipses that of his upstart rival, whose powerbase is among the young, poor and deprived.

"The ayatollah doesn't believe in militias, but he could easily have called on his supporters to confront the Mehdi militia," said one cleric close to Sistani. Last year Sistani's followers drove Sadr's men out of Karbala when they tried to occupy that city's holy shrines.

Yet with talks under way on a transitional government to take power on June 30, Sistani and mainstream Shia politicians want to avoid any violence that would damage the image of communal unity they seek to project.

So clerics, including Sistani's son and adviser Mohammed Riza, met Sadr last week to press him to seek a negotiated settlement with the US-led administration. In Najaf's dusty alleys, clerics and laymen debate the crisis. Some blame Sistani as well as Sadr and the Americans.

"It's all Ayatollah Sistani's fault. He should have bluntly opposed Sadr, who is leading our community into a disastrous confrontation," said a seminary student chatting to other clerics in a small bookshop.

It makes them furious to watch Sadr's ragtag militiamen patrolling streets near the homes of top clerics or stopping and searching men, women and even bearded religious scholars. -Reuters
Comment: Sadr will soon be gone.
15 posted on 04/23/2004 10:57:28 PM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: nuconvert
Prime Minister Blair must stop supporting The Mullahs' Regime ASAP!
16 posted on 04/23/2004 11:14:29 PM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" Kerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: DoctorZIn
For $20 billion a year, EU let mullahs of Iran continue human rights abuse

Apr 23, 2004, 20:23

Trade between Iran's mullahs and the European Union reached a record Euro 16.7 billion ($20 bn) last year. EU exports to Iran rose to Euro 9.8 bn from Euro 8 bn in 2002, while imports from the Islamic Republic grew by 23 per cent to Euro 6.9 bn. The increase in Iranian exports was due to a rise of Euro 1.3 bn in oil sales.

Iran's mullahs total trade with the world's largest trading group has more than doubled since 1998, during which time the EU has reversed the previous surplus in Iran's mullahs favor.

The latest figures show a consolidation in Iran's position as the EU's third largest trading partner in the Middle East, closing the gap behind Saudi Arabia and Israel.

The increase in exports to Iran was led by Germany, whose sales grew from Euro 2.2 bn to Euro 2.7 bn last year. French exports rose by Euro 500 million to Euro 2.1 bn and sales from Italy increased from Euro 1.8 bn to Euro 2 bn.

The three main trading partners totaled nearly 70 per cent of the EU exports to Iran, increasing their lead over the UK, whose sales grew by a modest Euro 50 m to Euro 685 m.
17 posted on 04/23/2004 11:22:04 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Baha'i U.N. delegate says Iran razed holy site

23 Apr 2004 17:33

GENEVA (Reuters) - Authorities in the northern Iranian town of Babul have bulldozed a religious site important to the minority Baha'i faith, the Baha'i representative to the United Nations said on Friday.

The gravesite of Quddus (The Most Holy), a prominent figure in early Baha'i history, was razed in recent days despite Baha'i protests. Iran's Interior Ministry has not responded to requests for the remains, said Diane Ala'i, U.N. representative in Geneva.

"Now we are worried that we're not able to get ahold of the remains in order to preseve them in the manner appropriate," Ala'i told Reuters.

The house-like structure marked the grave of Quddus, the foremost disciple of the Bab, the prophet of the monotheistic Baha'i faith. Baha'is claim five million believers worldwide, of whom 300,000 live in Iran.

Ala'i said persecution of Baha'i members had increased in Iran over the past two years, in part because international attention to their plight -- including at the U.N.'s key Commission on Human Rights -- was fading.

"If international attention is not kept on the Iranian government, they are able to resume the persecutions that had not stopped but that had decreased in the past several years," she said.
18 posted on 04/23/2004 11:23:17 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's Iraq war

WAR ON TERROR: Not-so-secret support for Iraqi radicals is a gambit that, for now, is paying off in violence and chaos

By Mindy Belz

A year ago no one outside of Najaf had heard of Moqtada Sadr. Today in Iraq he is Enemy No. 1.

Search the newspaper databases and you won't find one article on the 30-year-old Shiite demagogue before April last year. No one outside the cloistered clerical circles of Najaf knew much about either pedigree or ambition of the black-turbaned cult figure who calls the 9/11 attacks "a miracle of God." Yet a year later he has raised an army, taken over the Shiites' most holy city, challenged the longtime spiritual leadership of Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, and successfully mounted attacks on U.S. forces.

With fierce fighting afoot in the south and tensions high in Fallujah, coalition strategists are looking hard at Mr. Sadr's rapid rise. In a country where clerics are respected for the gray hairs in their beard, how did this young maverick so quickly win fear and a following?

Most likely with the help of Iran.

Observers say it is an open secret that Iran is supporting insurgency militias with dinars as well as dogma. Hardliners in Iran's 25-year-old fundamentalist theocracy see poetic justice in the rise of a radical of their own in Najaf, where the founder of their own revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, once studied.

Mr. Sadr receives orders directly from Iran's head of state, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to a briefing prepared by Italian intelligence and defense forces for the Italian parliament earlier this month. (At least four Italians have been kidnapped in southern Iraq, one killed.) The report said Mr. Sadr could not have mounted simultaneous attacks in the past month—from Baghdad to Basrah—without political, military, and financial support from the ayatollah.

Agents from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards have infiltrated Iraq in recent months to arm and organize Mr. Sadr's troops, working under cover of Islamic charity groups in Baghdad, Karbala, Najaf, and Kufa. The Italians say Ayatollah Khameini's government is spending $70 million a month to prop up the front organizations. Coordinating the efforts is Iranian cleric Mohammad-Hossein Haeri, an ally to Mr. Khamenei.

British intelligence agents say they also have evidence of Iran's role in the most recent fighting: documents from two Iranian intelligence agents who recently defected in London.

What is puzzling is why U.S. forces have not done more to secure Iraq's vast border with Iran, where as many as 10,000 Iranians cross per day. Also baffling is why the Bush administration is negotiating with Iranian leaders—summoning Iran's deputy foreign minister from Tehran to Washington—to negotiate a deal to capture Mr. Sadr.

The Bush administration may believe it can play hardliners against moderates in Iran, but there is no question whose side Iranian leaders are on. Not surprisingly, the diplomatic effort failed—just as they would like the overall U.S. campaign in Iraq to fail.

Mr. Sadr's fighters, known as the Mehdi Army, are behind repeated attacks on U.S. forces in Sadr City, a dusty enclave of donkey carts and open sewage in Baghdad. There the Shiite slumlord recruited a militia of as many as 1 million men, mostly by promising welfare on the cheap through Tehran-backed charities.

Saddam Hussein, who executed Mr. Sadr's father in 1999, punished his Shiite opponents by impoverishing them. At night Sadr City is a lampless void from which businesses have fled but crime flourishes. Now every young jobless man's anger has turned to America.

"A year ago, I killed the Italian soldier who owned this rifle," a guard boasted to British reporters outside Mr. Sadr's headquarters in Najaf, 110 miles south of Baghdad, where Mr. Sadr and much of his militia preside. "If God is willing, I shall use it to finish off the Americans in Iraq."

After skirmishes in Fallujah and the string of car bombings in Basrah, U.S. forces expect a battle in Najaf. But they are showing unusual restraint in the face of Sadr militants, putting up a strong show of force only outside the city. "If the Americans invade Najaf, it won't only be Moqtada Sadr's people who fight—all the people will fight," Dawa Party leader Walid Hilli told the BBC. "Najaf doesn't belong to Moqtada Sadr. It doesn't even belong to the Shias. It belongs to all Muslims. It is like invading the Vatican," he said.

Sadr-inspired threats finally persuaded Spanish forces in southern Iraq to an early but not unexpected exit from Iraq. Honduran troops followed. If Mr. Sadr knows he is vulnerable to U.S. seizure, in the alleyways of southern Iraq he has appeared to be Teflon-coated.

But Mr. Sadr is not assured of popular support among Iraqi Shiites and is rejected by most Shiite leaders as too youthful and uneducated. In fact, he has used similar guerrilla tactics on Shiite rivals as on coalition forces. Last October he surrounded the Najaf mosque controlled by Mr. Sistani and a shrine in Karbala, incursions thwarted by U.S. forces. Iraqi authorities have a warrant for his arrest in the assassination of another Shiite leader, Ayatollah Abu Qasem Khoie, and he is suspected in the murder of Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim.

Shiites hold a slight majority in Iraq (60 percent), while they have near-complete dominance (93 percent) in Iran. Long disenfranchised from Iraqi politics, Shiite clerics see the current instability as a rare opportunity to expand political control in the region. To accomplish it, they will need help from Tehran.

But in the wider Muslim world Shiites are a decided minority. Known as the dissenters, they broke with more traditional Sunni Muslims in the years following the prophet Muhammad's death over how to choose his successor. Sunnis favored choosing by consensus while Shiites demanded a successor from the family line. To this day Shiites favor debate and revolution over consensus politics. For every three Shiites, one observation goes, come six opinions.

That may be the best way to explain the Bush administration's frustrated diplomacy over the latest fighting and terrorism. But it doesn't move Iraqis closer to prospects for a stable handover, or ease mounting coalition casualties while Mr. Sadr is on the loose.
19 posted on 04/23/2004 11:24:39 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
House Committee Unanimously Passes Anti-Iran Nukes Resolution

American Daily
23 Apr 2004

The House International Relations Committee by unanimous voice vote recently approved a resolution aimed at halting Iran's nuclear program.

Committee Chairman Henry Hyde (R-IL) and Ranking Member Tom Lantos (D-CA) cosponsored the resolution, which "expresses the concern of Congress over Iran's development of the means to produce nuclear weapons."

This resolution also urges President Bush and the international community "to use all appropriate measures" to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Reps. Hyde and Lantos are joined by six of their colleagues as original co-sponsors: Reps. Howard Berman (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). The entire House is expected to vote on the resolution within the next few weeks.

Learn more about this legislation and urge your members of congress to support it.
20 posted on 04/23/2004 11:38:04 PM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" Kerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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