Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- May 16, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 05/15/2004 9:11:13 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 Americans 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.
Israel urged to attack Iran nuke plant
Stategic report calls for second-strike capability
Posted: May 15, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2004 WorldNetDaily.com
A report submitted to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon calls for the Jewish state to plan pre-emptive strikes against Irans nuclear plant and nuclear second-strike capability as a deterrent against its hostile neighbors in the Middle East.
The report, "Israel's Strategic Future," says Israel must prevent its enemies from developing weapons of mass destruction through strikes against vital facilities.
Joseph Farahs G2 Bulletin, a premium, online intelligence newsletter published by WorldNetDaily, first reported Israel has already begun drawing up plans for a strike at Irans nuclear facilities that could come before the end of the summer.
The report says Israel has been threatened by a biological or nuclear first-strike that seeks to exploit Israel's small space and high population density.
"To meet its ultimate deterrence objectives -- that is, to deter the most overwhelmingly destructive enemy first-strikes -- Israel must seek and achieve a visible second-strike capability to target approximately 15 enemy cities," the report says. "Ranges would be to cities in Libya and Iran, and recognizable nuclear bomb yields would be at a level sufficient to fully compromise the aggressor's viability as a functioning state. All enemy targets should be selected with the view that their destruction would promptly force the enemy to cease all nuclear/biological/chemical exchanges with Israel."
The report also called on Israel to develop a multi-layered ballistic missile defense system.
Iran last month announced plans to begin building a heavy-water reactor that can produce weapons-grade plutonium, Israel began drawing up plans to demolish it much as it destroyed an Iraqi nuclear facility more than a decade ago.
While Tehran insists the facility is purely for research, the decision heightens concern about Iran's ability to produce nuclear aims.
The 40-megawatt reactor could produce enough plutonium for a nuclear weapon each year, according to sources.
While construction is set to begin in June, Iran already had previously announced plans to build such a reactor last year to the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency.
The reactor site is at Arak, next to an already built heavy-water production plant. It is to replace a reactor using non-weapons grade enriched uranium that the Iranians mothballed because they said it was outmoded and lacked fuel.
Because enrichment can be used both to generate power and make nuclear warheads, Iran has said it has suspended all enrichment activities to prove its peaceful intentions. It also cannot buy enriched fuel on legal markets because of international suspicions about its intentions.
Observers wonder out loud why Iran, a nation with vast oil reserves, is so intent on producing nuclear power.
Lack of Complete Trust Between Iran, Russia
TEHRAN May 15 (MNA) - Political analyst Daryush Mortazavi said here Saturday that currently there isnt complete trust between Iran and Russia, adding that mutual trust is essential for establishing strategic ties.
Mortazavi told the Mehr News Agency that the relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Russia have always been vague because both countries believe their relations to be impermanent.
He referred to nuclear cooperation and attempts to seek an ally toward the U.S. unilateral policy as important issues between Iran and Russia.
Russia apparently approves of Irans nuclear program but in fact tries to make Iran dependent in regard to the nuclear fuel cycle, Mortazavi said.
He said that Russia due to the economic benefits it gains from the Bushehr power plant calls for continuing Irans nuclear programs.
Iran-Russia ties have developed significantly in many regional and international issues, the two countries have joint cooperation in regard to the UN role in world crises, resolving the issue of Iraq, Afghanistan and Middle Eastern issues and the campaign against terrorism, Mortazavi said.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the analyst referred to President Mohammad Khatamis recent trip to Russia in March 2001 where he signed a contract on reciprocal ties and cooperation with the Russian federation.
The agreement marked an important stage in the two countries relations but this has not yet led to complete trust, he said.
Russia Will Adopt Neutral Stance Toward Iran: Khorram
TEHRAN, May 15 (MNA) Foreign Ministry advisor Ali Khorram said here Saturday that Russia will not adopt an anti-Iranian stance but will probably adopt a neutral stance toward Iran in line with its political and economic interests.
Khorram told the Mehr News Agency that all countries pursue their own national interests and Iran should expect the same of Russia and should not expect more.
He went on to say that the United States and Israel are putting a great deal of pressure on Iran.
Europe may try to prevent Iran from acquiring or developing nuclear technology, even for peaceful purposes, without necessarily acting like the United States, he added.
Khorram said that the U.S. and Europe are acting in harmony to pressure Iran using a carrot and stick policy.
He added that Russia also intends to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons power, stressing that if Russia reached the conclusion that Iran would be able to use its civilian nuclear program to develop technology enabling it to construct nuclear weapons, it would discontinue its nuclear cooperation with the country.
In conclusion, Khorram said that Russia is pursuing its own economic objectives in its cooperation with Iran.
Congressional Challenger Touts Iranian Heritage
May 15, 2004
The Associated Press
SALEM, Ore. -- A TV campaign ad opens with a photo of Goli Ameri as a young girl in Iran, then switches to images of the 1979 Iranian revolution.
Ameri "learned about evil in ways most politicians never will Goli watched radicals in Iran persecute her family and destroy a nation," an announcer intones.
Ameri is one of three Republicans seeking the right in Tuesday's primary to run against three-term Democratic incumbent Rep. David Wu.
Her main GOP rival, Tim Phillips, has been responding to Ameri's TV ads by appealing to Oregonians' distaste for wasteful government spending and touting his support for President Bush's tax cuts.
Ameri's use of her Iranian heritage has boosted her name familiarity in the race in the 1st Congressional district.
"It's a good ad in that it introduces her to voters as an American success story," said Portland pollster Tim Hibbitts.
Phillips, however, contends voters are more interested in education and getting Oregon's economy going again than his rival's Iranian background.
"Nowhere does the ad mention cutting wasteful spending or promoting education reform. That's what's important to Oregon," said Phillips, who owns a Portland brokerage firm.
Phillips, 37, also takes issue with Ameri accepting a majority of her campaign money from out-of-state donors, most of them Iranian-Americans.
Ameri, 47, so far has raised about $1 million, including $550,000 from Iranian-Americans from throughout the country, according to her campaign.
"They want to support me because they think I have a good head on my shoulders and they know I understand tyranny and how to fight it," said Ameri, who runs a high-tech consulting business.
Ameri left Iran for the United States as a college freshman in 1974, became a U.S. citizen and has lived in this country ever since.
Her parents were living in France during the 1979 Iranian revolution that toppled the shah. The Islamic fundamentalists who took power confiscated her parents' property and threw one of her uncles in jail.
Phillips has also been running a strong race. He has raised $700,000, and his economic message could well resonate with voters.
The third Republican in the race is software executive Jason Meshell, who has lagged far behind the other two in fund-raising and who has run no TV ads.
Whoever wins Tuesday's election will face a tough battle with the Taiwan-born Wu. Like Ameri, Wu has collected a lot of out-of-state money, much of it from Chinese-Americans. Wu, who is uncontested in the Tuesday's Democratic primary, already has $1.3 million in campaign cash on hand.
There is also a lively GOP race in Oregon's 5th Congressional District. Two Republicans are in a battle to run against four-term Democratic Rep. Darlene Hooley. State Sen. Jackie Winters of Salem and Lake Oswego lawyer Jim Zupancic have been sparring mainly over Winters' support for an $800 million tax hike in last year's Legislature. Voters rejected the tax hike this past February.
So far, political observers are giving the edge to Hooley, regardless of which GOP candidate wins on Tuesday.
Aghajari's death sentence saga continues in Iran
May 16th, 2004
Iranian reformist academic Hashem Aghajari, whose death sentence for blasphemy in 2002 led to mass protests, is unlikely to be executed although a provincial court has upheld the sentence, his lawyer said on Saturday.
"The death sentence will definitely be quashed by the Supreme Court, if legal principles are taken into account," Aghajari's lawyer Saleh Nikbakht told Reuters.
Iranian newspapers on Saturday reported Zekrollah Ahmadi, judiciary chief in the western province of Hamadan where the sentence was reviewed, as saying Aghajari's case had been sent to the Supreme Court although no appeal had been lodged.
KOFI THE KING
By AMIR TAHERI
KOFI THE KING
By AMIR TAHERI
Iran movie-makers reluctantly withdraw hit tale of thief-turned-cleric
May 15th 2004
TEHRAN, May 15 (AFP) - The makers of Iranian box office smash "The Lizard" have reluctantly decided to withdraw their film in the face of opposition from the clerical regime to its tale of a thief-turned-cleric, the student news agency ISNA reported Saturday.
"The judiciary and the culture ministry have not banned the movie, except in a few towns, but they have advised us to stop screening it," the film's financier Manushehr Mohammadi told ISNA.
"As a result, the film has been withdrawn from cinemas in provincial towns since yesterday (Friday) and will be pulled from movie theatres in the capital between now and next Friday."
Mohammadi said he and producer Kamal Tabrizi had taken the decision reluctantly but had "seen no obvious alternative."
The film shattered box office records here, grossing more than eight billion rials (around 930,000 dollars) since its release on April 21 as an estimated 900,000 people rushed to see it before its widely expected withdrawal.
The movie was only formally banned in a handful of cities, including the northeastern pilgrimage city of Mashhad, as well as the towns of Kerman, Urumieh and Rasht.
But its irreverent subject matter offended several influential hardline clerics, including Ayatollah Ahmad Janati, head of the Guardians Council, a statutory watchdog charged with enforcing Iran's Islamic constitution.
Awarded the prize from the public at the Tehran international film festival in February, the film is the story of Reza (The Lizard), who got caught one time too many and is sentenced to life in jail.
Injured in a prison brawl and hospitalized, Reza takes the chance to change his identity by stealing a cleric's robe and turban and slipping out undetected. Quickly realizing the benefits of being a cleric in Mashhad, he decides to carry on with the charade.
He preaches in the prisons and even at weekly prayers on Fridays, the main day of worship for Muslims, to crowds captured by his goodness and simplicity.
Little by little, and against his grain, Reza becomes not only a man who his respected, but one who respects the principles of religion.
The Arab Concept of Victory and Beheading Civilians
by James Dunnigan
May 16, 2004
A Sunni Arab terrorist group in Iraq, claiming to be working for al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, displayed a video on an al Qaeda website (the Arab language Muntada al-Ansar Islamist Web site) showing the beheading of American businessman Nick Berg who was apparently kidnapped in Iraq earlier. Bergs body was found on May 9th outside Baghdad. The beheading was announced as retaliation for the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by American troops. Al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian, has been the most active, and most senior, al Qaeda operator in Iraq. The United States is offering a ten million dollars reward for his capture. Many of al-Zarqawis followers are in Fallujah and currently fighting American marines.
The Muntada al-Ansar web site regularly announces which terrorist group is claiming responsibility for attacks. The recent suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia were announced on the site. The use of videos of attacks and murders of captives is considered a recruiting tool and good propaganda. The videos are rarely shown on English language web sites, as they are intended for the hard core terrorist audience. Al Qaeda knows that such videos will turn off many in the West, but has found that it does wonders for al Qaeda recruiting and contributions. Al Qaeda has been unable to win any meaningful victories, so they invent success by declaring the slaughter of people via suicide bombings, or beheadings, to be a victory over the enemy. Historically, this doesnt work, and such atrocities simply inflame the opposition. Consider, for example, the September 11, 2001 attacks and what the United States has done to al Qaeda since then.
Al Qaeda is taking advantage of a uniquely Arab concept of victory. Having been on the losing side of history for so many centuries, most Arabs accept just about anything as a victory. For example, Saddam Hussein declared himself the winner of the 1991 Gulf War because he was still running Iraq after it was over. Of course, the main, and widely publicized, reason he was still in power was because Arab nations refused to join the coalition to drive the Iraqis out of Kuwait unless the U.S. agreed NOT to invade Iraq and depose Saddam. Earlier, Saddam gained much perverse praise from the Arab world for getting Iran to agree to stop the war that had raged between the two nations throughout the 1980s. This war began when Iraq invaded Iran in 1980, in an attempt to grab some Iranian oil fields while Irans armed forces were in disorder following a revolution in which Islamic radicals overthrew the king (Shah) of Iran. The Iranians quickly got their act together, pushed the Iraqis out of Iran and spent the next eight years trying to get to Saddam. For thousands of years, the Iranians (or Persians or Parthians or whatever) have been pounding Arab armies into the ground. So Saddams ability (via the use chemical weapons and billions of dollars worth of Russian arms) to stop (if not exactly defeat) the Iranians, was, to many Arabs, a real victory.
Now all this Iran/Arab stuff plays a special role in Iraq. To the surprise of many Sunni Arabs, the Shia Arabs fought, during the 1980s, to defend Iraq from the Shia Iranians. Actually, about three percent of Irans population is Arab, so in some cases you had Shia Arabs fighting Shia Arabs in this war. But the Iraqi Shia Arabs (over half the population), via a combination of fear, nationalism and financial incentives, were compelled by Saddam (a Sunni Arab) to serve in the war against Iran. What was being played was the race card. The Iranians are an Indo-European people, and have been defeating, and generally lording it over the Arabs, a Semitic people, for thousands of years. Memories are long in this part of the world, and in this case, ethnic memory trumped religion. Normally the Sunni and Shia Moslems do not get along very well. Conservative Sunnis consider the Shia heretics. And the fact that most Shia are Iranians does not help matters either.
Al Qaeda is a basically a Sunni Arab organization that attracts recruits who are not Arabs, but who MUST be Sunni. Al Qaeda was founded by members of the conservative Wahabi form of Islam found in Saudi Arabia. To a Wahabi, even contact with infidels (non-Moslems) is forbidden, and it is the duty of all Moslems to convert or kill the infidels. One should not lose sight of al Qaedas core values and goals. When you do focus in on those values and goals, the video of an American civilian being beheaded makes some kind of perverted sense.
Jaffar Panahi is probably one of my favorite directors in the world of cinema. Anyone who wants to get a short-hand lesson in what the despots who dictate Iran's domestic policy are really like, should check out any of his three major feature films, especially "The Circle", which I believe was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Film category.
"The people of Iraq want to rule themselves, and that requires free and fair elections. Who could best help them achieve that - the United States, Britain and their other democratic allies, or the United Nations, a majority of whose member-states do not believe in free elections and people's rule? "
It's building, the second revolution is coming.
This just in from a student inside of Iran...
"The Radio just reported that leader of the Islamic Republic will not accuse him [Hashem Aghajari] of being a renegade any more, that is the reason they announced.
The reason is obvious because the leadership of the Islamic regime in Iran decided not to engage masses of people in the coming June & July.
Every one here believed that his execution would result mass protests in Iran."
More Threats From Tehran
May 16, 2004
The Washington Times
On Tuesday, the Iranian official in charge of stonewalling international inspections of its atomic weapons program once again warned Israel against launching a military strike against the Islamist regime's nuclear facilities. "If such an incident happens, it will meet a resolute response from our side," said Hassan Rowhani, Iran's chief negotiator with the International Atomic Energy Agency on nuclear matters.
Mr. Rowhani has yet to specify what form such a response might take. But in December, Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani declared that Iran would retaliate with long-range missiles if Israel attacked its nuclear facilities. Mr. Shamkhani said that Iran's Shahab-3 missile which is based in part on technology acquired from North Korea and has an 800-mile range would be one of the weapons used.
In truth, the Rowhani and Shamkhani statements are just the latest in an ongoing series of threats directed against Israel. In a Dec. 14, 2001, speech, former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said that it might be a good thing to strike Israel with nuclear weapons. "The application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel, but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world," Mr. Rafsanjani said. "Jews shall expect to be once again scattered and wandering around the globe the day when this appendix [Israel] is extracted from the region and the Muslim world."
Ever since the toppling of the shah a quarter-century ago, Iran has been committed to the destruction of Israel, a commitment it has backed up until now by supporting terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah and Hamas. Since Israel withdrew from Lebanon in May 2000, Hezbollah has stepped up its coordination with Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups.
This has been a relatively low-cost proposition for Iran, which confines itself to writing checks and allows the terrorist organizations to do the dirty work, but a very high-cost proposition for Israel, which has lost nearly 900 people to this terrorist violence since September 2000. Even though Iran has been financing terrorism against Israel since the early 1980s, Israel has never launched a retaliatory strike against the regime.
One of Israel's biggest foreign policy nightmares is the possibility that Tehran will acquire atomic weapons and find the means to deliver them to Tel Aviv or other locations in Israel's industrial heartland. With such a deterrent capability, Iran could be tempted to think it could step up the level of terrorist violence against Israel in the Palestinian territories at no cost to itself. That would leave Israel with two high-risk options: launching a pre-emptive strike in the hope of decapitating Iran's nuclear weapons infrastructure; or hoping that a popular revolution topples the regime in Tehran very, very soon.
Leader Condemns Holy Sites Sacrilege
May 16, 2004
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting
Tehran -- The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei referred to the US insolence to the Muslim and Shi'ite sanctities as an impudent, shameless and imbecile act and said that the world Muslim community and the Iraqi people will not remain silent against the insolents because the events are very important and we should not remain indifferent.
Addressing theological students, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution referred to the sublime stance of the Imam Ali (AS) and Imam Hossein (AS) stature in the heart of the world Muslims and Shi'ites and said that Muslims can not tolerate the insolent US agression into the holy sites in the Vadi-Al-Salam area in Najaf and Kerbela, also a resting places for Muslim prophets and saints.
Despite such impudents and the crimes committed, the US forces are so shameless that they claim human rights and democracy, the Leader said.
The apple of discord sown by Americans in Iraq will bear the bitter effect of hatred for decades, the leader said.
The recent US scandal in the Abu Ghraib prison, also erupted to be ongoing in other prisons is a brand on the US government that would not be recuperated for years, the Supreme Leader said.
He referred to the US official's allegations on unawaring of the Abu Ghraib prison tortures as a "blatant lie" and said that the White House officials lie so openly, while the Intenational Red Cross have already warned the US officials of the inhumane tortures.
The Supreme Leader termed the ruling US administration as a system of tyranny, hatred and indifferent to the human greatness and said that the US Iraq occupation, mistreating the people, appointing an American administrator, torture, and their sacrilege to the holy sites are a string of wrong-doings which trap the United States in a quagmire which would sank them further, the more they strive.
The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution said that the June 30 power handover deadline set by the US-led coalition forces is a deception, and called on the Iraqi think-thanks and statesmen to know that any of them who comes to power would be a US stooge and would be detested as much as the Americans.
The real power transfer is when the Iraqi people enjoy the right to choose, otherwise a plan laid out by a person dictated by a US would not mean a power transition, the Supreme Leader added.
Today, the US administration in Iraq and the occupying Zionists in Palestine commit the most horrendous crimes. These crimes, gives a justified right to the Iranian people to cry out "down with the US", "down with Israel", the Leader said.
The European states should condemn the recent US crimes, if they claim to be defendant of democracy, and the condemnation should be ratified in light of a resolution adopted by the UN Security Council, otherwise their human rights claims would be of no value, the Leader concluded.
The Summer of Discontent Looming in Iran
May 13, 2004
The US Alliance for Democratic Iran
With summer fast approaching, Irans security forces are gearing up to crackdown on anti-government demonstrations which usually escalate in the months of June and July.
There have been many protests in Irans major cities already. In March, violent anti-government protests erupted in Fereydoun Kenar, Marivan, Boukan, and Isfahan.
And earlier this month, teachers in Tehran and elsewhere staged demonstrations that led to the closure of many schools across the country. Moreover, more than 20,000 people took part in a protest by tea growers in northern Iran last week. The state-run media reported the arrest of 18 tea growers.
To stem the rising momentum of popular protests, Irans theocratic rulers are undertaking pre-emptive measures by deploying the security forces in Tehran and other major cities. Special units of the Revolutionary Guards Corps regularly take position in many of the capitals major intersections and streets. Roaming around in groups of four or five, they harass particularly the students and young people, making their presence felt.
In an editorial entitled, The Guards must keep their guard up, the state-controlled daily, Ressalat, expressed concern over the spread of popular uprisings. Certainly, the psychological atmosphere of June and July requires the vigilance of the Hezbollah as never before, it wrote last week.
The mullahs security forces have also executed searches at many internet service centers. Another sate-controlled daily Sharq wrote over the weekend that 20 such centers had been searched and that at least 12 shut down.
The number of executions including public hangings has been on the rise in recent weeks. Agence France Presse reported today that three people were hanged in Tehran and in the northeastern city of Mashhad. The clerical regime hanged four prisoners in city of Khorramabad (western Iran), and city of Ahwaz (southwest), Tehran and Karaj last week. Two women and six men in Arak and Karaj have also received death sentences.
Clearly, the mullahs, anticipating a long and hot summer of discontent, are banking on the international communitys ambivalence as they implement their pre-emptive measures to keep the democracy movement at bay. Without doubt, the United Nations Human Rights Commissions indifference toward the deteriorating state of human rights in Iran, reflected in the European Unions failure to table a censure resolution against Iran in the Commissions April session in Geneva, emboldened Irans ruling tyrants.
Irans democracy movement offers the only chance for real change in Iran through peaceful means. The United States security concerns could only be alleviated if and when the rule of law and democracy prevail in Iran. We should, therefore, give priority to efforts aimed at ensuring respect for the human rights of Irans citizens and Iranian dissidents striving to establish secular and representative governance in that country.
The Summer of Discontent Looming in Iran
May 13, 2004
The US Alliance for Democratic Iran
Who Is Abu Zarqawi?
May 15, 2004
Robert S. Leiken & Steven Brooke
Who killed Nicholas Berg? His grief-stricken family blames the U.S. government for the appalling videotaped beheading of their son in Iraq. A more fitting object of outrage is the executioner. For the terrorist who claims credit for the killing of the Jewish-American civilian is no walk-on, no lackey or even lieutenant of Osama bin Laden. Instead, he is an independent operator with a long history in global jihad--sometimes coordinated with al Qaeda, sometimes not--who may be challenging bin Laden for the leadership of global Sunni terrorism.
Abu Musab al Zarqawi is hot right now. He masterminded not only Berg's murder but also the Madrid carnage on March 11, the bombardment of Shia worshippers in Iraq the same month, and the April 24 suicide attack on the port of Basra. But he is far from a newcomer to slaughter. Well before 9/11, he had already concocted a plot to kill Israeli and American tourists in Jordan. His label is on terrorist groups and attacks on four continents.
Zarqawi was first thrust into the global media spotlight in February 2003, before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, when Secretary of State Colin Powell at the U.N. called him an "associate and collaborator" of bin Laden and part of a "sinister nexus between Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network." Zarqawi, however, is not Osama's man, and still less was he Saddam's.
Zarqawi was born Ahmed al-Khalayleh to a Palestinian-Jordanian family in 1966 and grew up in a shabby two-story dwelling in a dusty mining town 17 miles north of Amman. The town was called Zarqa--hence the nom de guerre. But while we know the details of bin Laden's privileged youth, we know next to nothing about Zarqawi's impoverished early years. His parents are dead, and few near relatives have been uncovered by the press. His passport picture is on a U.S. poster offering a $10 million reward for him, but his height and weight are listed as "unknown." Nor do we know what he studied in school; only that he dropped out of high school and locals say he was "pious." Until recently, the mystery man rarely claimed credit for his terrorist exploits. U.S. intelligence once thought he'd been injured in the American assault on Afghanistan and had taken refuge in northern Iraq, later traveling to Saddam's Baghdad to have his leg amputated; now they're not so sure.
We do know that like thousands of Muslim youths he rallied to the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan and gained renown as a fighter. Returning to Jordan after the Soviet withdrawal, he may have joined the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which merged with al Qaeda in 1998. While in Jordan he also associated with Hizb ut Tahrir, an angry, anti-Semitic conclave devoted to the restoration of Islamic rule. Released in 1997 after five years in a Jordanian prison for plotting to replace the monarchy with an Islamic state, Zarqawi fled to Europe. He returned to Afghanistan in 2000 and built his own network of training camps near Herat, seizing control of the clandestine routes between Iran and Afghanistan.
In his camps, Zarqawi dispensed his specialized knowledge of chemical weapons and poisons to loyal followers, who then dispersed to the Middle East and Europe. The week of April 19, Jordanian police broke up a Zarqawi-financed and orchestrated plot they estimate would have detonated 20 tons of chemicals and released a cloud of poisonous gas into central Amman. The blast could have killed some 80,000 civilians and destroyed the U.S. embassy and Jordanian intelligence headquarters. In a videotaped confession shown on Jordanian TV, the head of the cell admitted, "I took explosives courses, poisons high level, then I pledged allegiance to Abu Musab al Zarqawi, to obey him without any questioning."
ABU ZARQAWI knows no limits and many continents. Investigating the Hamburg cell after September 11, German authorities came across another terrorist group called al-Tawhid (unity), made up mainly of Palestinian militants trained in Zarqawi's Afghan camps. Tawhid operatives told investigators they got their start in Europe selling stolen and forged documents to militants traveling between the Middle East and Western Europe.
With the outbreak of war in Iraq, Tawhid converted its alien-smuggling and document-forgery ring into a two-way underground railroad between Western Europe and the Middle East. According to European press reports, networks in Spain, Italy, and Germany send recruits into Iraq via Syria. U.S. military officials in Iraq now blame the most heinous terrorist attacks on "the Zarqawi network." But Zarqawi's alien-smuggling system also dispatches Middle Eastern jihadis into Europe via Spain, Turkey, Italy, and Greece. In November 2003, Italian wiretaps recorded two Tawhid operatives speaking of "the jihad part" and its "battalion of 25-26 units" of suicide bombers.
If Zarqawi's underground railroad demonstrates the terrorist uses of illegal immigration, the investigation into the Madrid bombings reveals new connections to Zarqawi every week. Zarqawi's lieutenant, a 36-year-old Moroccan named Amer el Azizi, planned the Madrid terror and is the living link between al Qaeda, the Zarqawi network, and the Moroccan immigrant cell that set the Madrid bombs. Azizi also organized and presided over the 2001 meeting in Spain where Mohammed Atta and al Qaeda leaders put the finishing touches on the September 11 plan.
Azizi fled Spain in November 2001 as Spanish authorities dismantled the al Qaeda logistics cell. He jetted to Afghanistan via Iran, where Zarqawi's cross-border networks helped him elude the coalition. While falling in with Zarqawi, Azizi kept an eye on Spain and his Moroccan colleagues, who managed to set off bombs in Casablanca in May 2003. Shortly before the Madrid 3/11 train bombings, Azizi left Iran via Turkey and slipped into Spain to witness the carnage firsthand. He is still at large.
PROBABLY THE MURKIEST and most intriguing feature of this man of many mysteries is the question of Zarqawi's relations with Osama bin Laden. Though he met with bin Laden in Afghanistan several times, the Jordanian never joined al Qaeda. Militants have explained that Tawhid was "especially for Jordanians who did not want to join al Qaeda." A confessed Tawhid member even told his interrogators that Zarqawi was "against al Qaeda." Shortly after 9/11, a fleeing Ramzi bin al-Shibh, one of the main plotters of the attacks, appealed to Tawhid operatives for a forged visa. He could not come up with ready cash. Told that he did not belong to Tawhid, he was sent packing and eventually into the arms of the Americans.
Zarqawi and bin Laden also disagree over strategy. Zarqawi allegedly constructed his Tawhid network primarily to target Jews and Jordan. This choice reflected both Zarqawi's Palestinian heritage and his dissent from bin Laden's strategy of focusing on the "far enemy"--the United States. In an audiotape released after the recent foiled gas attack in Amman, an individual claiming to be Zarqawi argued that the Jordanian Intelligence Services building was indeed the target, although no chemical attack was planned. Rather, he stated menacingly, "God knows, if we did possess [a chemical bomb], we wouldn't hesitate one second to use it to hit Israeli cities such as Eilat and Tel Aviv."
The Tawhid cell uncovered in Hamburg after 9/11 scouted Jewish targets, including businesses and synagogues. Zarqawi's operatives have been implicated in an attack on a Mombassa hotel frequented by Israeli tourists and an attempt to shoot down an Israeli jetliner. He is also suspected to have played a role in the Casablanca bombings of a Jewish community center and a Spanish social club. In February 2002, a Jordanian court sentenced him in absentia to 15 years' hard labor for his involvement in a failed plot to kill American and Israeli tourists at the turn of the millennium, a scheme coordinated with Abu Zubaydah, a top lieutenant of bin Laden. And another Jordanian court sentenced him, again in absentia, to death for the assassination of U.S. diplomat Laurence Foley. Zarqawi is also the prime suspect in the August 2003 truck bombing of the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad.
Zarqawi has been associated with other groups besides Tawhid. Most notorious is Ansar al Islam, a largely Kurdish organization operating out of Northern Iraq, which U.S. officials have linked to al Qaeda. Before the war, Ansar al Islam ran chemical warfare camps in northern Iraq. Last year British counterterrorist investigators traced poisonous ricin found in Manchester to those camps. Zarqawi has been linked with two less-known al Qaeda splinter groups, Beyyiat el-Imam, implicated in attacks in Israel as well as the November 2003 attack on a synagogue in Turkey, and Jund al-Shams, a Syrian-Jordanian group blamed by Jordanian authorities for the assassination of Foley. Zarqawi has also been linked to Chechen jihadis, and Indian intelligence says he belongs to Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), a Pakistani Sunni group responsible for slaying hundreds of Shias in South Asia.
The slaughter of Shias touches on another Zarqawi beef with bin Laden. While both men follow the strict code of Salafi Islam, which reckons Shias as apostates, bin Laden prides himself on being a unifying figure and has made tactical alliances with Shia groups, meeting several times with Shia militants. Zarqawi, by contrast, favors butchering Shias, calling them "the most evil of mankind . . . the lurking snake, the crafty and malicious scorpion, the spying enemy, and the penetrating venom." American military officials hold Zarqawi responsible not only for assassinating Shia religious leaders in Iraq, but also for the multiple truck bombings of a Shia religious festival this past March, which killed 143 worshippers.
But though bin Laden and Zarqawi differ on strategy, Zarqawi too cloaks his plans for mass murder in the language of the religious zealot. To Zarqawi, "religion is more precious than anything and has priority over lives, wealth, and children." He considers Iraq ideal for jihad especially because "it is a stone's throw from the lands of the two Holy Precincts [Saudi Arabia] and the al Aqsa [mosque, in Jerusalem]. We know from God's religion that the true, decisive battle between infidelity and Islam is in this land [Greater Syria and its surroundings]. . . ." On the tape of the beheading of Nick Berg, entitled "Sheikh Abu Musab Zarqawi executes an American with his own hands and promises Bush more," Zarqawi rages, "Where is the compassion, where is the anger for God's religion, and where is the protection for Muslims' pride in the crusaders' jails? . . . The pride of all Muslim men and women in Abu Ghraib and other jails is worth blood and souls."
The CIA has verified that Zarqawi himself spoke on the tape and personally beheaded Berg. Similarly, the videotaped beheading of Daniel Pearl of the Wall Street Journal in February 2002 was carried out directly by another jihadi leader, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The latter, like Zarqawi, never swore allegiance to bin Laden. In this bloodthirsty crowd, it appears that slitting the throat of an American Jew wins laurels.
IN JANUARY 2004, Iraqi Kurds captured a message from Zarqawi in Iraq to bin Laden. Zarqawi offered bin Laden a chance to expand al Qaeda's role in Iraq. Victory, Zarqawi instructed, meant fomenting sectarian war between Shiites and Sunnis. There are no indications that bin Laden responded, and there are now signs of cooperation between some Iraqi Shia and Sunni militants. Are bin Laden and Zarqawi running competing terrorist organizations in Iraq?
Zarqawi's letter is addressed to a colleague or even a potential competitor rather than to one he regards as his sheikh or emir. He offers darkly, "We do not see ourselves as fit to challenge you." Zarqawi gives bin Laden two choices: "If you agree with us . . . we will be your readied soldiers, working under your banner, complying with your orders, and indeed swearing fealty to you publicly and in the news media. . . . If things appear otherwise to you, we are brothers, and the disagreement will not spoil [our] friendship."
Zarqawi exemplifies Sunni terrorism after 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq, what some call "al Qaeda 2.0." The Western counteroffensive decimated al Qaeda's leadership, stripped the organization of safe havens and training camps, and disrupted its command and control. Former al Qaeda subsidiaries became franchises, receiving inspiration from bin Laden's occasional messages but operating independently. Historically speaking, the dynamic of revolutionary movements favors the most radical faction--the Jacobins, not the Girondists, the Bolsheviks, not the Menshiviks. If this dynamic prevails in contemporary Sunni terrorism, Abu Musab al Zarqawi represents the future.
Robert S. Leiken, author of Bearers of Global Jihad? Immigration and National Security after 9/11, is the director of the Immigration and National Security Program at the Nixon Center. Steven Brooke is a program assistant at the Nixon Center.
From the May 24, 2004 issue: What we know about the terrorist leader who murdered Nicholas Berg.
05/24/2004, Volume 009, Issue 35
Iranian Protesters Rally at British Embassy
May 16, 2004
TEHRAN -- Hundreds of students have rallied outside the British Embassy in Tehran, witnesses say, as Iran's clerical elite turns up the rhetoric against the U.S. and British occupation of Iraq.
A Reuters cameraman said about 200 people chanting "Death to Britain, Death to America" pelted the building with stones and burnt British flags. A British diplomat said the crowd on Sunday was small.
The demonstration came after supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for U.S. forces to leave Iraq and condemned the United States for their "shameful and stupid" actions in Shi'ite holy cities.
Senior cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Gerami, a source of emulation for Shi'ites, was quoted by the ISNA students news agency on Saturday as saying that war damage to Shi'ite holy sites justified attacks on British and U.S. interests worldwide.
The United States has no embassy in Iran. Diplomatic relations were severed in 1980, after radical students held more than 50 Americans hostage for 444 days following the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Iran's Shi'ite clerical leadership had until recently been relatively muted in its criticism of the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of its western neighbour, while calling repeatedly for the occupying forces to leave Iraq as soon as possible.
But revelations about the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. personnel and the incursion of U.S. military forces close to some of the holiest Shi'ite shrines in the Iraqi cities of Najaf and Kerbala this week have stirred Iranian anger.
"The Americans' military aggression against holy Shi'ite sites is a rude, shameful and stupid measure," Khamenei said in a speech, extracts of which were reported by the official IRNA news agency.
"Muslims and Shi'ites in Iraq and other places will not remain silent regarding this aggression and rudeness," he added.
Khamenei also called plans to hand over control to the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council on June 30 "deceitful".
"Iraqi politicians should know that any of them who come to power, if they are appointed by the Americans, they will be just as hated as the Americans," he said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told a weekly news conference on Sunday U.S, forces should leave Najaf and Kerbala as soon as possible.
"Otherwise the American government will be responsible for the consequences of disrespecting holy places," he said.
Clashes rock Shahinshar in Esfahan province
SMCCDI (Information Service)
May 15, 2004
Violent clashes rocked, on Friday evening, the center of the industrial City of Shahinshar located in Esfahan province opposing hundreds of protesters to the Islamic regime forces.
Tens of protesters were arrested and other were injured, including several security agents, during these clashes in this city which seemed to have been pacified following the Soccer Movement riots few years ago. Public buildings, buses and several Patrol vehicles were damaged by the angry crowd who retaliated to the clubs, chains and Tear gas by using pieces of stones and Molotov Cocktails.
The security forces had to close the Ferdowsi area in order to avoid loosing the control of the city.
The clashes erupted as groups of young residents opposed the arrest of several women for not fully complying with the mandatory veil.
The situation in the city nearing the rebellious City of Esfahan is very tense and security measures have been increased especially around the industrial area which is one of Iran's main centers.
Ferdowsi's official commemoration leads to Kaveh's popular riot in Toos
SMCCDI (Information Service)
May 15, 2004
Clashes rocked, yesterday, the Northwestern City of Toos as many residents sized the occasion offered by the official commemoration of Ferdowsi, the father of Iranism born in 940 AC, in order to protest against their poor conditions and the official corruption.
The clashes erupted as the security forces intended to close the perimeters leading to Ferdowsi's Mausoleum and to break brutally the peaceful protest demo in order to allow the officials to organize the ceremony. Clubs and chains were used against the residents who retaliated by throwing pieces of stones to the regime's agents and their vehicles.
Several were injured and arrested during these clashes.
It's to note that Toos, located near Mashad, is the born place of the most respected of all times Iranian poets and scholars and its residents, who cherish like millions of Iranians the legacy of the one known as the "Father of Iran", were upset about the misuse of his name by the Islamic regime.
The Mullahcracy which tried, till few years ago, to oppose Ferdowsi's legacy and even intended to destroy his statues, is trying, in our days and by such celebration, to reverse a little bit its increasing unpopularity and to play the national feelings of some naive Iranians especially living abroad.
Hakim Ferdowsi was the author of the famous Shahnameh ("The Epic of Kings"), and the Persian national epic, to which he gave its final and enduring form, although he based his poem mainly on an earlier prose version.
The new born Islamic republic regime faced a fiasco trying to ban Ferdowsi's book as for nearly a thousand years, Persians have continued to read and to listen to recitations from his masterwork in which the Persian national epic found its final and enduring form. It is the history of Iran's glorious past, preserved for all time in sonorous and majestic verse. The language, based as the poem is on a Pahlavi original, is pure Persian with only the slightest admixture of Arabic.
His great epic, The Shahnameh (The Epic of Kings), to which he devoted most of his life, was originally composed for the Samanid princes of Khorasan. During Ferdowsi's lifetime, the dynasty was conquered by the Ghaznavid Turks, and there are various stories in medieval texts describing the lack of interest shown by the new ruler of Khorassan, Mahmoud Ghaznavi, in Ferdowsi and his lifework.
The Shahnameh is one of the definite classics of the world. It tells hero tales of ancient Persia. The contents and the poet's style in describing the events takes the readers back to the ancient times with a sense and feel the events. Ferdowsi worked for thirty years to finish this masterpiece.
Compiled during the poet's early adulthood in his native Tus, the Shahnameh contains 60,000 rhyming couplets making it more than seven times the length of Homer's Iliad. The poem deals first with the legendary Persian kings: Gayumart; Hushang; Tahmuras; and the most famous of the group, Jamshid, who reigned for 500 years.
The evil rule of the Arab Dahhak, or Zohak followed this happy period. Dahhak was tempted by Ahriman, his own blood relative. As a result, Dahhak fell into sin, becoming more and more evil until Kaveh, an old Iron smith, rebelled and established his leather apron as the banner of revolt. Finally, the tyrant was bound and confined beneath Mount Damavand. Many Iranians are making the analogy between the rule of Dahhak and Rooh-ollah Khomeini and his dark legacy and ideals having resulted to the creation of the Islamic republic regime.
Soon after this point in the poem, an episode of considerable beauty is inserted; it recounts the love of Zal, of the royal line of Persia, and Roudabah, the daughter of the king of Kabul. Their union resulted in the birth of the hero Rustam, who occupies a position in Iranian legend somewhat analogous to that of Hercules in Greek and Latin literature. The epic progresses through Persian legend to historic times, tracing the reigns of the Sassanian kings down to the Muslim conquest and the death of Yazdegerd III in 651.
In addition to his poetic incentive, Ferdowsi had a distinctly patriotic motive in writing the Shahnameh. He desired to keep alive in the hearts of his people the faith of their ancestors and the glories of their deeds so that the Persians would not forget their heritage.
The Shahnameh is perhaps best known to English readers through Sohrab and Rustum, a poem by English poet Matthew Arnold that is based on the Persian epic.
Opposition members protest against Ebadi's presence at UCLA
SMCCDI (Information Service)
May 15, 2004
Tens of Iranian activists protested, yesterday, against Shirin Ebadi's presence at the UCLA and her controversial stands in line with the Islamic regime's so-called "reformist" faction and foreign policy.
Protesters distributed templates and tracts while shouting slogans against Ebadi and in condemnation of the Islamic regime's persistent rights abuses outside the conference room. In addition, several of them were able to introduce themselves in the closed door meeting and to shout slogans and questions to which an embarrassed and interrupted Ebadi did not respond. These questions were mainly focused on the evil nature of the Islamic regime and it's repressive policies or asking from Ebadi to respond clearly if she's rejecting the rights abuse in Iran.
Each time the security forces rushed to oust out the protesters and also those who deployed tissue banners denouncing the Islamic republic's crimes. Several opponents were brutalized by young naive Iranians supporting Ebadi and who are blinded by her Iranian adjective. An Iranian woman activist was reported as agressed by Kazem Alamdari, one of the speech organizers who does frequent travel to Iran and who has obtained the authorization from the repressive Islamic regime to publish his books in Iran. The latter and his wife Nayere Tohidi, both UCLA professors, were in their younger age part of a Marxist guerilla group involved in several murders and which contributed to the victory of the Islamic revolution.
But instead of any real compassion for the genuine rights activists, Ebadi contented to make a monologue stating, "Democracy is a long process than can be compared to a flower that needs constant arosing". She omitted to mention somehow that the flower of Iranian Democracy has been arosed, for the last 25 years, by the blood of thousands of Iranians and that many are executed each month under false labels. Ebadi who's brother is the special adviser to Mr. Aref, the current Vice President of the Islamic regime, evidently tries to buy more time for the ruling theocracy.
Responding to a question on the hot subject of women's mandatory veil, Ebadi even declared that any action or way of living, inside Iran, must be according to the laws existing in the boundaries under the control of the Islamic republic. She added that as an Iranian she has to respect the mandatory veil while being in Iran. Such shameful statement is in total disrespect of Iranian women's well known struggle against sexual discrimination and it's Ebadi's official declaration of submission to the laws of a well recognized repressive and unreformable regime. Of course, she omitted this time to interfere in France's internal affair and to reiterate her opposition against the French law banning the Islamic veil from public schools.
Make note that Ebadi's astonishing submission to the current bad laws of Iran is in total contrast with the position she had in the late 70's when she endorsed the Islamic revolution.
Many regular participants also protested to the fact that their written question about the regime and rights abuses were not read and answered while "some" selected questions on US-Iraq and Israel-Palestine issues were. These participants were stating loud that they are hearing the same type of propagandas by viewing the regime's Satellite TV network and radio and that they were hoping that Ebadi would have shown another face than the one portrayed by the opposition which seems, now, to be correct.
Ebadi, known for her anti-US rethorics and claiming to speak for the World and not just Iran, slammed the US presence in Iraq but avoided to condemn the presence of the Islamic regime's militiamen in Iraq and Lebanon spreading unrest. Instead, she focused, as expected, most of her speech on US, Israel, Iraq and Palestine rather than defending her own countrymen who are subject to a terrorist and tyrannical regime. She spoke about Guantanomo bay and Iraqi prison abuse scandal while she did not mention the case of the beheaded American hostage, the names of the Iranian students held at Evin or the public executions, amputations, stonings or tortures carried in Iran by the Islamic regime.
Looking as if defending the well known repressive and terrorist rule of the overthrowned Taliban regime, she pushed forward in her usual demagogic speeches and went ahead by slamming some US media. She stated, "US media is affiliated to lobbies which created the psychological ground for the US attack against Afghanistan by making fear to Americans about the danger of chemical substances." She avoided to talk about the responsibilities of the Taliban in the 9/11 tragedy and well known repression of Afghanis especially their women.
In addition to the yesterday's protest at the UCLA, many Iranians are expressing their anger by calling Iranian Talk radio and TV shows and denouncing the Nobel laureate's rejectable stands. Of course it was by knowing the big possibility of such of reactions, especially in a city where thousands of Iranian exilees are residing, that Ebadi in contrast to her speech made at Harvard in Boston, refused to have this time the Islamic Republic's flag behind her during the UCLA speech. Her picture making the Harvard speech beside the illegitimate Islamic republic flag has fueled the already existing angers among the Iranian Diaspora and many of those living in Iran.
To better understand the situation, one must remember that many Iranians first welcomed Ebadis sudden nomination for the Nobel Peace Price by believing that she could be a catalyst for change. Tired of nearly a quarter of a century of a dictatorial and theocratic rule by Iranian mullahs and deceived by seven years of empty promises on even small possibilities of "reforms within the frame of their current regime," many Iranians preferred to see her as a light glowing at the end of a dark tunnel by not discussing the strange conditions of her rushed nomination coinciding with a short three-day trip to France. Her nomination was all the more tarnished by Polands 1983 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Lech Walesa's critique and the Nobel Committees advanced excuses of not being able to reach her sooner, which were at first ignored by many Iranians.
SMCCDI had raised concerns following Ebadi's sudden nomination last year. A Statement entitled "The Nobel Peace Prize and an Historic Mission" warned, on October 13th, Ms. Ebadi on any kind of future deviation from the aspirations of the Iranian people striving for Freedom and Democracy. A Persian copy of the statement was emailed to Ms. Ebadi and a hard copy of it was remitted to her at the Paris Airport by the Movement's representative in France telling her that "She's carrying the hopes of many Iranians and may that she doesn't deceive them". The English translation of the Movement's prediction was posted on the SMCCDI's webiste and mas emailed. http://www.daneshjoo.org/article/publish/article_3080.shtml
Back from her short trip, thousands of Iranians sized the occasion by gathering at Tehran Airport and shouting slogans in favor of freedom and against Iran's current leadership including its "reformist" President. But deception soon took place when Iranians witnessed that their "Angel of Freedom" started to shift from many of her initial positions by becoming more of a governmental speaker than a rights activist like the brave and courageous Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar. Many Iranians were shocked when Ms. Ebadi stated that "she kisses the hands of the Islamic Parliament members" and called for a "massive participation for their re-election of the very same MPs" that saw their mass rejection in the boycott of Iran's last elections by a majority of Iranians tired of such games. Ebadi's countrymen's deception reached its culmination when they heard her saying that "she would have voted for Mr. Khatami if he could have run again." In their minds, their first Nobel peace prize recipient became the advocate of the very same rejected and incompetent President asked to resign by thousands of Iranian demonstrators defying his brutal and evil regime.
Worst, they saw her taking the defense of Taliban and Al-Qaeda members held at the afar Guantanamo Bay for mass murder and terror while she kept silent about the fate of hundreds of brave Iranians and students held at her nearby Evin and Qhasr prisons for the crime of aspiring for freedom and democracy. The only prisoners having benefited from Ms. Ebadi's public support were at a certain point part of the 1979 revolution or close to moderate religious circles. Held secularists or those calling, like many Iranians, for a Referendum were not able to benefit from her public support as they have put to question the existence of the regime in its totality. Maverick Iranian women also saw their hope in Ms. Ebadi dashed when she intervened on several occasions against the French law on the ban of the Islamic veil and any religious signs in France's traditional secular public schools. They were astonished at how she affirmed on several occasions her obeisance to her countrys repressive law of the mandatory wearing of the veil by women and her keeping her silence on the fate of thousands of her sisters killed, injured, arrested or fined for having chosen to defy the discriminatory and cruel law existing in Iran.
SMCCDI issues a second statement, on December 9th and at the occasion of the December 10th "International Human Rights Day", in which it criticizes sharply Ebadi for her stands and statements. http://www.daneshjoo.org/article/publish/article_3102.shtml
Most likely, knowing the deception she has caused among a young population aspiring for secularism and tired of seeing its genuine aspirations to be somehow labeled by foreign diplomats as variances of Religious Protestantism or Reformist Islamism, and especially the big possibility of a popular hostile demonstration were the main reasons behind the organization of her second return to Iran in a very silent and strange manner. This time, despite having officially received the Nobel award, she returned by one of the Tehran airport's small doors. The official invoked the reason was the fear for her life due to a tract attributed to one of the several hard-line Islamist groups which Iranian leaders and their strategists have shown so many times as their Savoir de faire in their sudden opportune creations.
Of course, it is of note that in any case Ms. Ebadi would not have risked her precious life if she would have only kept her initial word of staying afar from political issues instead of choosing to become an advocator of rejected factions of the current regime and Iran's minor soft opposition from within the Islamic republic.
I think that it's too - too late an action. The second revolution is coming. Yes it is.
Britain doesn't believe in Democracy for others - only for themselves.
Brits are great allies, but I don't trust the British with any form of foreign policy - they don't believe in spreading democracy - they're content with aiding dictatorship as long as it doesn't get in their way.
Yeah, they're sneaky.
I was really agreeing with the last part of that.... "the United Nations, a majority of whose member-states do not believe in free elections and people's rule? " Like THAT group is gonna be a big help forming a democratic gov't in Iraq.
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