Iran considers options over demands on nuke program
'We might escalate ... if Europe does'
By Cilina Nasser
Daily Star staff
Friday, July 09, 2004
BEIRUT: Iran will not press charges against European states for allegedly helping Iraq build up chemical weapons used against Iranians in the 1980s unless Europe steps up pressure on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, according to an Iranian official.
"We do not want to escalate our position against Europe," Mohammed Shariati, an adviser to Iranian President Mohammed Khatami, said in a telephone interview with The Daily Star Wednesday night.
"But if the Europeans escalate the situation, we might also escalate the situation," he added after being pressed on why Iran was filing a suit against Saddam in an Iraqi tribunal under a US-led occupation rather than in an independent international court.
Shariati, however, said that if Europe decided to increase pressure against Iran over its "peaceful nuclear program," then his country could be compelled to raise the issue of European support to Iraq's chemical weapons programs during the Iran-Iraq war in an international tribunal.
Iran is under massive international pressure over its nuclear program, which has been under investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency since February 2003 on suspicion it could be used to develop banned weapons.
Iran says its program is peaceful and aims at producing electricity for its fast-growing population.
During the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, European companies supplied former President Saddam Hussein with precursors of chemical weapons, according to Ali Shams Ardekani, who headed the Geneva-based UN Conference on Disarmament in 1988.
"German and other European companies gave him (Saddam) precursor (agents), which he only had to mix together to make chemical weapons," Ardekani said from Tehran.
According to the Washington-based Nuclear Threat Initiative's (NTI) website, mainly European companies, such as the Hamburg-based Karl Kolb and KBS Holland BV, had set up chemical plants in Iraq or supplied Saddam with precursor agents.
Such agents were thiodiglycol, chloroethyl, dimethylamine, phosphorous trichloride, phosphorous oxychloride, said NTI, which is co-chaired by CNN founder Ted Turner and former US Senator Sam Nunn.
The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) has thiodiglycol and some forms of chloroethyl and dimethylamine on its list of precursors of chemical weapons that are prohibited from being transferred to nonstate parties, according to a spokesman for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
But phosphorous trichloride and phosphorous oxychloride can be transferred to nonstate parties only after the national authority of the producing country issues an "end use certificate," said Peter Kraiser, head of Media and Public Affairs at the Hague-based OPCW.
The certificate allows the national authority to know the identity of the producer, the kind of quality and quantity of the agent to be transferred as well as the recipient's name and address. The authority also has to declare the chemical to be transferred was for legitimate use.
UN fact-finding missions to the Islamic Republic in 1984, 1986 and 1987 all confirmed that Iraq had used chemical weapons against Iranian forces.
"The secretary-general cannot but note with regret that the specialists (who visited Iran) have confirmed the use of chemical weapons by Iraqi forces against Iranian forces," said a report addressed to the UN Security Council in March 1986.
UN reports based their accusations on the Geneva Protocol of 1925, which prohibits the use of chemical weapons in war but does not prohibit retaliation in kind.
Iraq accused the Islamic Republic of using banned weapons in retaliation. But UN specialists who made a trip to Iraq in May 1987 said Iraqi forces had been affected by mustard gas and phosgene, but could not determine how the injuries were caused.
But CWC entered into force in 1997 - around nine years after the end of the Iran-Iraq war.
Although Iraq is not a state party to the CWC, which has no retroactive effect, Kaiser said the prohibition against the use of chemical weapons exists as a principle of international customary law.
"A breach of this norm can thus be alleged against any state, regardless of its accession or ratification of the CWC," said Kaiser from his office at OPCW, an independent, disarmament agency, which cooperates with the United Nations.
There are 164 state parties to the CWC, which bans the development, production, use, stockpiling and transfer of chemical weapons.
Iran said Sunday it would submit an indictment to the Iraqi court against Saddam's invasion and use of chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq war.
But an expert on international law, Shafiq al-Masri, said the Iraqi tribunal trying Saddam had jurisdiction to try him as an individual regarding crimes he ordered, oversaw, or allowed to happen to Iraqis and foreigners inside Iraqi territories.
It has no jurisdiction to determine compensations to countries harmed by actions carried out outside Iraq by Saddam in his capacity as head of state, Masri explained.
Besides waging war against Iran, Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990 but was forced by US-led allied forces to pull out its troops from its southern neighbor after seven months of occupation.
"In addition to an individual responsibility for these actions, there is also a governmental responsibility and the entire (former) Iraqi regime's responsibility," said Masri, a Beirut-based professor of international law.
The Iraqi tribunal, he noted, was specialized to try individuals, and cannot deal with accusations involving the entire state.
Besides Iran's political considerations, Masri said Iran lacked the legal requirements to take its case against Saddam to the International Criminal Court (ICC). "Iran has no right to file a suit at the ICC," said Masri.
Iran signed but has not ratified the Rome Statute, which paved the way for the establishment of the ICC to try war criminals. Therefore, Iran is not a beneficiary of the ICC, Masri said.
Another reason is that the Statute entered into effect in July 2002 and has no retroactive effect, thereby it cannot look into a conflict that occurred in the 1980s.
"This is an important loophole," Masri said.
Praying for you and all freedom-loving Iranians.
A MUST READ
This is LONG. But well worth the read.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Ultimate Guide To Terror
Convention Lecture | April, 2004 | Haim Harari
Posted on 07/08/2004 3:53:41 PM PDT by Southack
[ A View from the Eye of the Storm Talk delivered by Haim Harari at a meeting
of the International Advisory Board of a large multi-national corporation,
April 2004. Everyone must read and understand this essay. There will be a
test and we cannot afford to fail that test. Consider passing this to
everyone you think can get this message out. ]
[ HAIM HARARI, a theoretical physicist, is the Chair, Davidson Institute of
Science Education, and Former President, from 1988 to 2001, of the Weizmann
Institute of Science.
During his years as President of the Institute, it entered numerous new
scientific fields and projects, built 47 new buildings, raised one Billion
Dollars in philanthropic money, hired more than half of its current tenured
Professors and became one of the highest royalty-earning academic
organizations in the world.
Throughout all his adult life, he has made major contributions to three
different fields: Particle Physics Research on the international scene,
Science Education in the Israeli school system and Science Administration
and Policy Making. ]
"As you know, I usually provide the scientific and technological
"entertainment" in our meetings, but, on this occasion, our Chairman
suggested that I present my own personal view on events in the part of the
world from which I come. I have never been and I will never be a Government
official and I have no privileged information. My perspective is entirely
based on what I see, on what I read and on the fact that my family has lived
in this region for almost 200 years. You may regard my views as those of the
proverbial taxi driver, which you are supposed to question, when you visit a
I could have shared with you some fascinating facts and some personal
thoughts about the Israeli-Arab conflict. However, I will touch upon it only
in passing. I prefer to devote most of my remarks to the broader picture of
the region and its place in world events. I refer to the entire area between
Pakistan and Morocco, which is predominantly Arab, predominantly Moslem, but includes many non-Arab and also significant non-Moslem minorities.
Why do I put aside Israel and its own immediate neighborhood? Because
Israel and any problems related to it, in spite of what you might read or
hear in the world media, is not the central issue, and has never been the
central issue in the upheaval in the region. Yes, there is a 100 year-old
Israeli-Arab conflict, but it is not where the main show is. The millions
who died in the Iran-Iraq war had nothing to do with Israel. The mass murder
happening right now in Sudan, where the Arab Moslem regime is massacring its
black Christian citizens, has nothing to do with Israel. The frequent
reports from Algeria about the murders of hundreds of civilian in one
village or another by other Algerians have nothing to do with Israel. Saddam Hussein did not invade Kuwait, endangered Saudi Arabia and butchered his own people because of Israel. Egypt did not use poison gas against Yemen in the
60's because of Israel. Assad the Father did not kill tens of thousands of
his own citizens in one week in El Hamma in Syria because of Israel. The
Taliban control of Afghanistan and the civil war there had nothing to do
with Israel. The Libyan blowing up of the Pan-Am flight had nothing to do
with Israel, and I could go on and on and on.
The root of the trouble is that this entire Moslem region is totally
dysfunctional, by any standard of the word, and would have been so even if
Israel would have joined the Arab league and an independent Palestine would
have existed for 100 years. The 22 member countries of the Arab league, from
Mauritania to the Gulf States, have a total population of 300 millions,
larger than the US and almost as large as the EU before its expansion. They
have a land area larger than either the US or all of Europe. These 22
countries, with all their oil and natural resources, have a combined GDP
smaller than that of Netherlands plus Belgium and equal to half of the GDP
of California alone. Within this meager GDP, the gaps between rich and poor
are beyond belief and too many of the rich made their money not by
succeeding in business, but by being corrupt rulers. The social status of
women is far below what it was in the Western World 150 years ago. Human
rights are below any reasonable standard, in spite of the grotesque fact
that Libya was elected Chair of the UN Human Rights commission.
According to a report prepared by a committee of Arab intellectuals and published under
the auspices of the U.N., the number of books translated by the entire Arab
world is much smaller than what little Greece alone translates. The total
number of scientific publications of 300 million Arabs is less than that of
6 million Israelis. Birth rates in the region are very high, increasing the
poverty, the social gaps and the cultural decline. And all of this is
happening in a region, which only 30 years ago, was believed to be the next
wealthy part of the world, and in a Moslem area, which developed, at some
point in history, one of the most advanced cultures in the world.
It is fair to say that this creates an unprecedented breeding ground for
cruel dictators, terror networks, fanaticism, incitement, suicide murders
and general decline. It is also a fact that almost everybody in the region
blames this situation on the United States, on Israel, on Western
Civilization, on Judaism and Christianity, on anyone and anything, except themselves.
Do I say all of this with the satisfaction of someone discussing the
failings of his enemies? On the contrary, I firmly believe that the world
would have been a much better place and my own neighborhood would have been much more pleasant and peaceful, if things were different.
I should also say a word about the millions of decent, honest, good people
who are either devout Moslems or are not very religious but grew up in
Moslem families. They are double victims of an outside world, which now
develops Islamophobia and of their own environment, which breaks their heart
by being totally dysfunctional. The problem is that the vast silent majority
of these Moslems are not part of the terror and of the incitement but they
also do not stand up against it. They become accomplices, by omission, and
this applies to political leaders, intellectuals, business people and many
others. Many of them can certainly tell right from wrong, but are afraid to express their views.
The events of the last few years have amplified four issues, which have
always existed, but have never been as rampant as in the present upheaval in
the region. These are the four main pillars of the current World Conflict,
or perhaps we should already refer to it as "the undeclared World War III."
I have no better name for the present situation. A few more years may pass
before everybody acknowledges that it is a World War, but we are already
well into it.
The first element is the suicide murder. Suicide murders are not a new
invention but they have been made popular, if I may use this expression,
only lately. Even after September 11, it seems that most of the Western
World does not yet understand this weapon. It is a very potent psychological
weapon. Its real direct impact is relatively minor. The total number of
casualties from hundreds of suicide murders within Israel in the last three
years is much smaller than those due to car accidents. September 11 was
quantitatively much less lethal than many earthquakes. More people die from
AIDS in one day in Africa than all the Russians who died in the hands of
Chechnya-based Moslem suicide murderers since that conflict started. Saddam
killed every month more people than all those who died from suicide murders
since the Coalition occupation of Iraq.
So what is all the fuss about suicide killings? It creates headlines. It is
spectacular. It is frightening. It is a very cruel death with bodies
dismembered and horrible severe lifelong injuries to many of the wounded. It
is always shown on television in great detail. One such murder, with the
help of hysterical media coverage, can destroy the tourism industry of a
country for quite a while, as it did in Bali and in Turkey.
But the real fear comes from the undisputed fact that no defense and no
preventive measures can succeed against a determined suicide murderer. This
has not yet penetrated the thinking of the Western World. The U.S. and
Europe are constantly improving their defense against the last murder, not
the next one. We may arrange for the best airport security in the world. But
if you want to murder by suicide, you do not have to board a plane in order
to explode yourself and kill many people. Who could stop a suicide murder in
the midst of the crowded line waiting to be checked by the airport metal
detector? How about the lines to the check-in counters in a busy travel
period? Put a metal detector in front of every train station in Spain and
the terrorists will get the buses. Protect the buses and they will explode
in movie theaters, concert halls, supermarkets, shopping malls, schools and
hospitals. Put guards in front of every concert hall and there will always
be a line of people to be checked by the guards and this line will be the
target, not to speak of killing the guards themselves. You can somewhat
reduce your vulnerability by preventive and defensive measures and by strict
border controls but not eliminate it and definitely not win the war in a
defensive way. And it is a war.
What is behind the suicide murders? Money, power and cold-blooded murderous
incitement, nothing else. It has nothing to do with true fanatic religious
beliefs. No Moslem preacher has ever blown himself up. No son of an Arab
politician or religious leader has ever blown himself. No relative of anyone
influential has done it. Wouldn't you expect some of the religious leaders
to do it themselves, or to talk their sons into doing it, if this is truly a
supreme act of religious fervor? Aren't they interested in the benefits of
going to Heaven? Instead, they send outcast women, naive children, retarded
people and young incited hotheads. They promise them the delights, mostly
sexual, of the next world, and pay their families handsomely after the
supreme act is performed and enough innocent people are dead.
Suicide murders also have nothing to do with poverty and despair. The
poorest region in the world, by far, is Africa. It never happens there.
There are numerous desperate people in the world, in different cultures,
countries and continents. Desperation does not provide anyone with
explosives, reconnaissance and transportation. There was certainly more
despair in Saddam's Iraq then in Paul Bremmer's Iraq, and no one exploded
himself. A suicide murder is simply a horrible, vicious weapon of cruel,
inhuman, cynical, well-funded terrorists, with no regard to human life,
including the life of their fellow countrymen, but with very high regard to
their own affluent well-being and their hunger for power.
The only way to fight this new "popular" weapon is identical to the only way
in which you fight organized crime or pirates on the high seas: the
offensive way. Like in the case of organized crime, it is crucial that the
forces on the offensive be united and it is crucial to reach the top of the
crime pyramid. You cannot eliminate organized crime by arresting the little
drug dealer in the street corner. You must go after the head of the
If part of the public supports it, others tolerate it, many are afraid of it
and some try to explain it away by poverty or by a miserable childhood,
organized crime will thrive and so will terrorism. The United States
understands this now, after September 11. Russia is beginning to understand
it. Turkey understands it well. I am very much afraid that most of Europe
still does not understand it. Unfortunately, it seems that Europe will
understand it only after suicide murders will arrive in Europe in a big way.
In my humble opinion, this will definitely happen. The Spanish trains and
the Istanbul bombings are only the beginning. The unity of the Civilized
World in fighting this horror is absolutely indispensable. Until Europe
wakes up, this unity will not be achieved.
The second ingredient is words, more precisely lies. Words can be lethal.
They kill people. It is often said that politicians, diplomats and perhaps
also lawyers and business people must sometimes lie, as part of their
professional life. But the norms of politics and diplomacy are childish, in
comparison with the level of incitement and total absolute deliberate
fabrications, which have reached new heights in the region we are talking
about. An incredible number of people in the Arab world believe that
September 11 never happened, or was an American provocation or, even better, a Jewish plot.
You all remember the Iraqi Minister of Information, Mr. Mouhamad Said
al-Sahaf and his press conferences when the US forces were already inside
Baghdad. Disinformation at time of war is an accepted tactic. But to stand,
day after day, and to make such preposterous statements, known to everybody
to be lies, without even being ridiculed in your own milieu, can only happen
in this region. Mr. Sahaf eventually became a popular icon as a court
jester, but this did not stop some allegedly respectable newspapers from
giving him equal time. It also does not prevent the Western press from
giving credence, every day, even now, to similar liars. After all, if you
want to be an anti-Semite, there are subtle ways of doing it. You do not
have to claim that the holocaust never happened and that the Jewish temple
in Jerusalem never existed. But millions of Moslems are told by their
leaders that this is the case. When these same leaders make other
statements, the Western media report them as if they could be true.
It is a daily occurrence that the same people who finance, arm and dispatch
suicide murderers, condemn the act in English in front of western TV
cameras, talking to a world audience, which even partly believes them. It is
a daily routine to hear the same leader making opposite statements in Arabic
to his people and in English to the rest of the world. Incitement by Arab
TV, accompanied by horror pictures of mutilated bodies, has become a
powerful weapon of those who lie, distort and want to destroy everything.
Little children are raised on deep hatred and on admiration of so-called
martyrs, and the Western World does not notice it because its own TV sets
are mostly tuned to soap operas and game shows. I recommend to you, even
though most of you do not understand Arabic, to watch Al Jazeera, from time
to time. You will not believe your own eyes.
But words also work in other ways, more subtle. A demonstration in Berlin,
with people carrying banners supporting Saddam's regime and featuring
three-year old babies dressed as suicide murderers, is defined by the press
and by political leaders as a "peace demonstration." You may support or
oppose the Iraq war, but to refer to fans of Saddam, Arafat or bin Laden as
peace activists is a bit too much. A woman walks into an Israeli restaurant
in mid-day, eats, observes families with old people and children eating
their lunch in the adjacent tables and pays the bill. She then blows herself
up, killing 20 people, including many children, with heads and arms rolling
around in the restaurant. She is called "martyr" by several Arab leaders and
"activist" by the European press. Dignitaries condemn the act but visit her
bereaved family and the money flows.
There is a new game in town: The actual murderer is called "the military
wing," the one who pays him, equips him and sends him is now called "the
political wing" and the head of the operation is called the "spiritual
leader." There are numerous other examples of such Orwellian nomenclature,
used every day not only by terror chiefs but also by Western media.. These
words are much more dangerous than many people realize. They provide an
emotional infrastructure for atrocities. It was Joseph Goebels who said that
if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. He is now being
outperformed by his successors.
The third aspect is money. Huge amounts of money, which could have solved
many social problems in this dysfunctional part of the world, are channeled
into three concentric spheres supporting death and murder. In the inner
circle are the terrorists themselves. The money funds their travel,
explosives, hideouts and permanent search for soft vulnerable targets. They
are surrounded by a second wider circle of direct supporters, planners,
commanders, preachers, all of whom make a living, usually a very comfortable
living, by serving as terror infrastructure. Finally, we find the third
circle of so-called religious, educational and welfare organizations, which
actually do some good, feed the hungry and provide some schooling, but
brainwash a new generation with hatred, lies and ignorance. This circle
operates mostly through mosques, madrasas and other religious establishments
but also through inciting electronic and printed media. It is this circle
that makes sure that women remain inferior, that democracy is unthinkable
and that exposure to the outside world is minimal. It is also that circle
that leads the way in blaming everybody outside the Moslem world, for the
miseries of the region.
Figuratively speaking, this outer circle is the guardian, which makes sure
that the people look and listen inwards to the inner circle of terror and
incitement, rather than to the world outside. Some parts of this same outer
circle actually operate as a result of fear from, or blackmail by, the inner
circles. The horrifying added factor is the high birth rate. Half of the
population of the Arab world is under the age of 20, the most receptive age
to incitement, guaranteeing two more generations of blind hatred.
Of the three circles described above, the inner circles are primarily
financed by terrorist states like Iran and Syria, until recently also by
Iraq and Libya and earlier also by some of the Communist regimes. These
states, as well as the Palestinian Authority, are the safe havens of the
wholesale murder vendors. The outer circle is largely financed by Saudi
Arabia, but also by donations from certain Moslem communities in the United
States and Europe and, to a smaller extent, by donations of European
Governments to various NGO's and by certain United Nations organizations,
whose goals may be noble, but they are infested and exploited by agents of
the outer circle. The Saudi regime, of course, will be the next victim of
major terror, when the inner circle will explode into the outer circle. The
Saudis are beginning to understand it, but they fight the inner circles,
while still financing the infrastructure at the outer circle.
Some of the leaders of these various circles live very comfortably on their
loot. You meet their children in the best private schools in Europe, not in
the training camps of suicide murderers. The Jihad "soldiers" join packaged
death tours to Iraq and other hotspots, while some of their leaders ski in
Switzerland. Mrs. Arafat, who lives in Paris with her daughter, receives
tens of thousands of dollars per month from the allegedly bankrupt
Palestinian Authority while a typical local ringleader of the Al-Aksa
brigade, reporting to Arafat, receives only a cash payment of a couple of
hundred dollars, for performing murders at the retail level.
The fourth element of the current world conflict is the total breaking of
all laws. The civilized world believes in democracy, the rule of law,
including international law, human rights, free speech and free press, among
other liberties. There are naive old-fashioned habits such as respecting
religious sites and symbols, not using ambulances and hospitals for acts of
war, avoiding the mutilation of dead bodies and not using children as human
shields or human bombs. Never in history, not even in the Nazi period, was
there such total disregard of all of the above as we observe now. Every
student of political science debates how you prevent an anti-democratic
force from winning a democratic election and abolishing democracy. Other
aspects of a civilized society must also have limitations. Can a policeman
open fire on someone trying to kill him? Can a government listen to phone
conversations of terrorists and drug dealers? Does free speech protects you
when you shout "fire" in a crowded theater? Should there be death penalty
for deliberate multiple murders? These are the old-fashioned dilemmas. But
now we have an entire new set.
Do you raid a mosque which serves as a terrorist ammunition storage? Do you
return fire, if you are attacked from a hospital? Do you storm a church
taken over by terrorists who took the priests hostages? Do you search every
ambulance after a few suicide murderers use ambulances to reach their
targets? Do you strip every woman because one pretended to be pregnant and
carried a suicide bomb on her belly? Do you shoot back at someone trying to
kill you, standing deliberately behind a group of children? Do you raid
terrorist headquarters, hidden in a mental hospital? Do you shoot an
arch-murderer who deliberately moves from one location to another, always
surrounded by children? All of these happen daily in Iraq and in the
Palestinian areas. What do you do? Well, you do not want to face the
dilemma. But it cannot be avoided.
Suppose, for the sake of discussion, that someone would openly stay in a
well-known address in Teheran, hosted by the Iranian Government and financed
by it, executing one atrocity after another in Spain or in France, killing
hundreds of innocent people, accepting responsibility for the crimes,
promising in public TV interviews to do more of the same, while the
Government of Iran issues public condemnations of his acts but continues to
host him, invite him to official functions and treat him as a great
dignitary. I leave it to you as homework to figure out what Spain or France
would have done, in such a situation.
The problem is that the civilized world is still having illusions about the
rule of law in a totally lawless environment. It is trying to play ice
hockey by sending a ballerina ice-skater into the rink, or trying to knock
out a heavyweight boxer with a chess player. In the same way that no country
has a law against cannibals eating its prime minister, because such an act
is unthinkable, international law does not address killers shooting from
hospitals, mosques and ambulances, while being protected by their Government
or society. International law does not know how to handle someone who sends
children to throw stones, stands behind them and shoots with immunity and
cannot be arrested because he is sheltered by a Government. International
law does not know how to deal with a leader of murderers who is royally and
comfortably hosted by a country which pretends to condemn his acts or just
claims to be too weak to arrest him.. The amazing thing is that all of these
crooks demand protection under international law and define all those who
attack them as war criminals, with some Western media repeating the
allegations. The good news is that all of this is temporary, because the
evolution of international law has always adapted itself to reality. The
punishment for suicide murder should be death or arrest before the murder,
not during and not after. After every world war, the rules of international
law have changed and the same will happen after the present one. But during
the twilight zone, a lot of harm can be done.
The picture I described here is not pretty. What can we do about it? In the
short run, only fight and win. In the long run - only educate the next
generation and open it to the world. The inner circles can and must be
destroyed by force. The outer circle cannot be eliminated by force. Here we
need financial starvation of the organizing elite, more power to women, more
education, counter propaganda, boycott whenever feasible and access to
Western media, Internet and the international scene. Above all, we need a
total absolute unity and determination of the civilized world against all
three circles of evil.
Allow me, for a moment, to depart from my alleged role as a taxi driver and
return to science. When you have a malignant tumor, you may remove the tumor
itself surgically. You may also starve it by preventing new blood from
reaching it from other parts of the body, thereby preventing new "supplies"
from expanding the tumor. If you want to be sure, it is best to do both.
But before you fight and win, by force or otherwise, you have to realize
that you are in a war, and this may take Europe a few more years. In order
to win, it is necessary to first eliminate the terrorist regimes, so that no
Government in the world will serve as a safe haven for these people. I do
not want to comment here on whether the American-led attack on Iraq was
justified from the point of view of weapons of mass destruction or any other
pre-war argument, but I can look at the post-war map of Western Asia. Now
that Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya are out, two and a half terrorist states
remain: Iran, Syria and Lebanon, the latter being a Syrian colony. Perhaps
Sudan should be added to the list. As a result of the conquest of
Afghanistan and Iraq, both Iran and Syria are now totally surrounded by
territories unfriendly to them. Iran is encircled by Afghanistan, by the
Gulf States, Iraq and the Moslem republics of the former Soviet Union. Syria
is surrounded by Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Israel. This is a significant
strategic change and it applies strong pressure on the terrorist countries.
It is not surprising that Iran is so active in trying to incite a Shiite
uprising in Iraq. I do not know if the American plan was actually to
encircle both Iran and Syria, but that is the resulting situation.
In my humble opinion, the number one danger to the world today is Iran and
its regime. It definitely has ambitions to rule vast areas and to expand in
all directions. It has an ideology, which claims supremacy over Western
culture. It is ruthless. It has proven that it can execute elaborate
terrorist acts without leaving too many traces, using Iranian Embassies. It
is clearly trying to develop Nuclear Weapons. Its so-called moderates and
conservatives play their own virtuoso version of the "good-cop versus
bad-cop" game. Iran sponsors Syrian terrorism, it is certainly behind much
of the action in Iraq, it is fully funding the Hezbollah and, through it,
the Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad, it performed acts of terror at
least in Europe and in South America and probably also in Uzbekhistan and
Saudi Arabia and it truly leads a multi-national terror consortium, which
includes, as minor players, Syria, Lebanon and certain Shiite elements in
Iraq. Nevertheless,most European countries still trade with Iran, try to
appease it and refuse to read the clear signals.
In order to win the war it is also necessary to dry the financial resources
of the terror conglomerate. It is pointless to try to understand the subtle
differences between the Sunni terror of Al Qaida and Hamas and the Shiite
terror of Hezbollah, Sadr and other Iranian inspired enterprises. When it
serves their business needs, all of them collaborate beautifully.
It is crucial to stop Saudi and other financial support of the outer
circle, which is the fertile breeding ground of terror. It is important to
monitor all donations from the Western World to Islamic organizations, to
monitor the finances of international relief organizations and to react with
forceful economic measures to any small sign of financial aid to any of the
three circles of terrorism. It is also important to act decisively against
the campaign of lies and fabrications and to monitor those Western media who
collaborate with it out of naivety, financial interests or ignorance.
Above all, never surrender to terror. No one will ever know whether the
recent elections in Spain would have yielded a different result, if not for
the train bombings a few days earlier. But it really does not matter. What
matters is that the terrorists believe that they caused the result and that
they won by driving Spain out of Iraq. The Spanish story will surely end up
being extremely costly to other European countries, including France, who is
now expelling inciting preachers and forbidding veils and including others
who sent troops to Iraq. In the long run, Spain itself will pay even more.
Is the solution a democratic Arab world? If by democracy we mean free
elections but also free press, free speech, a functioning judicial system,
civil liberties, equality to women, free international travel, exposure to
international media and ideas, laws against racial incitement and against
defamation, and avoidance of lawless behavior regarding hospitals, places of
worship and children, then yes, democracy is the solution. If democracy is
just free elections, it is likely that the most fanatic regime will be
elected, the one whose incitement and fabrications are the most
inflammatory. We have seen it already in Algeria and, to a certain extent,
in Turkey. It will happen again, if the ground is not prepared very
carefully. On the other hand, a certain transition democracy, as in Jordan,
may be a better temporary solution, paving the way for the real thing,
perhaps in the same way that an immediate sudden democracy did not work in
Russia and would not have worked in China.
I have no doubt that the civilized world will prevail. But the longer it
takes us to understand the new landscape of this war, the more costly and
painful the victory will be. Europe, more than any other region, is the key.
Its understandable recoil from wars, following the horrors of World War II,
may cost thousands of additional innocent lives, before the tide will turn."