Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- July 24, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 07/23/2004 11:59:43 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
The US media still largley 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.
TEHRAN FEARS POSSIBLE TOUGH MEASURES FROM BUSH
By Safa Haeri
Posted Friday, July 23, 2004
PARIS 23 July (IPS) Is Washington really planning a tough action against the Islamic Republic?
The question haunts many Iranian political analysts inside and outside, with most of them giving a positive answer.
Deducting from what comes out from Washington these last weeks and days, I seriously would say that the Bush Administration is considering serious measures against Iran, one prominent analyst told Iran Press Service on condition of anonymity.
He was referring to the latest report released on Thursday 22 July by the bi-partisan, independent 9/11 Commission pointing to contacts between Iranian security officials and senior al-Qaeda operatives.
According to the 19 months long investigations, the Islamic Republic allowed eight to 10 of the Sept. 11 hijackers to pass through its territory on their way from Afghanistan and other countries without stamping their passports.
"We believe this topic requires further investigation by the U.S. government", the commissioners said, adding however that no evidence had been found that the Iranian government was aware that the terrorist network was planning the attacks on New York and Washington.
The internet newspaper Baztab that belong to Mr. Mohsen Rezai, the former Commander of the Revolutionary Guards has warned that the report might serve (the Americans) as a pretext for preparing a military action against the Islamic Republic.
The report also says that there are signs indicating that the Iranian supported Lebanese Hezbollah organisation had a role in the bombings in 1996 at the Khobar Towers housing complex in Dharan, Saudi Arabia.
Following the operation, American press, quoting unidentified intelligence community sources, cited a high-ranking Revolutionary Guards officer as the coordinator of the Khobar attack.
President George W. Bush on Monday said Washington was probing the possibility that Tehran had offered assistance to some of the terrorists who conducted the 11 September attacks against the United States.
The United States is investigating possible ties between Iran and al-Qaeda, and wants to know if the Iranian government played a role in the attacks, President Bush said, adding, "We will look to see if the Iranians were involved".
However, he made it clear that there was no definite proof yet that this had occurred, and he didn't mention any possible consequences for Iran.
Shooting back, former Iranian president Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said on Friday 23 July that the United States created al-Qaeda to destabilise the Islamic Republic and Americans should blame their government for failing to uncover the plot and protect Americans instead of pointing fingers at others.
"Every day, thousands of people come and go. ... Such people usually carry false passports. Moreover, many can illegally cross the border. It has been always like this", Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani, considered as the regimes number two man after Ayatollah Ali Khamenehi said, referring to the report.
Not only the report says it was not certain that the hijackers passed through the country, but also even if it's true that they have passed through Iran, can you really incriminate Iran with this bit of information? he asked worshippers bussed to the traditional Friday Prayer in Tehran amidst chants of "Death to America!"
In fact, the Commission's report points also to "deep institutional failings" and missed opportunities to thwart the hijacking by al-Qaeda of four American airliners crushed on the World Trade Center twin towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, killing more than 3,000 people.
While rejecting all links with the al-Qaeda, Tehran has admitted the arrest of up to 450 operatives of al-Qaeda that had fled Afghanistan immediately after the massive military intervention of American forces.
However, the Islamic Republic is suspected to shelter some senior al-Qaeda leaders, including Sad Ben Laden, the elder son of Osama Ben Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda and Saif al Adl, the Organisations intelligence boss.
Commission Chairman Thomas Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, said of Iran and al-Qaeda, "We know of a relationship. We don't know how deep that relationship is and whether it exists to this day".
The Shiia Muslim Iran was at odd with the staunchly anti-Shiate Taleban who had killed nine Iranian diplomats and a journalist when they stormed the northern city of Mazar Sharif on August 1998.
As well as its concerns about Irans support of terrorism, Washington also accuses the Iranian ruling ayatollahs to be in the process of creating a nuclear arsenal aimed at destroying Israel.
Tehran rejects the charges and insists that the atomic project it has under construction, including facilities for enriching uranium, is for civilian uses, mostly producing electricity.
But both the Americans and the Israelis do not accept the explanations, claiming that the nuclear-powered plant that is under construction in the Persian Gulf port of Bushehr with Russian help is a cover for developing an atomic bomb.
ENDS IRAN QAEDA 23704
Rice says US may not go to war with Iran
www.chinaview.cn 2004-07-24 03:53:48
WASHINGTON, July 23 (Xinhuanet) -- US national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said on Friday that the decision by the Bush administration to go to war with Iraq did not necessarily entail asimilar war decision with Iran.
"I do not think that the decision to go to war in Iraq necessarily means that you have to make a similar decision in Iran," Rice said during an interview with the National Broadcasting Corporation.
Rice said that every situation was different and Saddam Husseinwas a "unique" circumstance who was accused of defying the international community, and having used weapons of mass destruction.
Moreover, the United States had a regime-change policy toward the Saddam regime, Rice said.
Nonetheless, Rice expressed concerns about Iran's ties to terrorism and its nuclear program. "We have said all along that weare concerned about Iran's ties to terrorism. We have said all along and are working with the international community to deal with the fact that Iran is not living up to its international obligations on its nuclear program," Rice said.
The Sept. 11 commission, in its final report on Thursday, said there was no evidence suggesting any Iranian role in the Sept. 11,2001 terror attacks. Enditem
US highlights Libya as model to solve NKorea, Iran nuclear crisis
TOKYO (AFP) Jul 23, 2004
A top US arms control official Friday urged North Korea and Iran to follow the example of Libya, as Japan and the United States agreed to tighten cooperation on preventing nuclear weapons proliferation.
At a semi-annual arms control meeting in Tokyo, Japanese and US officials reiterated the need for tighter expert-level cooperation to ensure Pyongyang drops its nuclear ambitions, as well as focusing on Tehran's nuclear programme, said a Japanese diplomat who attended the session.
US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton, who headed the US delegation, told the half-day meeting that North Korea would only benefit by disarming itself, according to the Japanese diplomat.
Bolton cited the example of Libya, which agreed in December to dismantle the country's nuclear, chemical and biological warfare programs and renounce the pursuit of such weapons.
In return, Washington lifted most sanctions against Tripoli in April.
"I think the point of the Libyan model is that Colonel Moamer Kadhafi, who is the central decision maker in Libya as Kim Jong-Il is the central decision maker in North Korea, took a very calculated look at the status of Libya in the world," Bolton said, repeating his point at a press conference.
"He made a cost-benefit analysis that came to the conclusion that Libya would be much safer renouncing the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. In fact, that was an accurate decision on his part.
"I think the Libyan example demonstrates we can move very quickly" to dismantle weapons of mass destruction and to deliver economic incentives elsewhere, Bolton said.
"That could be a way ahead both for North Korea and for Iran," he said.
The top US arms control official made a similar comment in a brief meeting earlier with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, telling her that "the international community must continue to call on North Korea" to disarm, according to the Japanese foreign ministry.
Bolton, considered one of Washington's most hawkish critics of Pyongyang, said the United States believed there "isn't any peaceful aspect to North Korea's nuclear program."
"I think the ball is in North Korea's court," Bolton said, urging Pyongyang to make a "substantive response" in the next, September round of the six-nation talks, which would bring together the two Koreas, China, the United States, Japan, and Russia, to discuss ways to solve Pyongyang's nuclear crisis.
During the Tokyo weapons control meeting Bolton said that Iran must cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has conducted more than a year of inspections related to suspicions it is seeking to develop a nuclear bomb under cover of its efforts to generate nuclear power.
Iran has been the subject of a string of IAEA resolutions criticising its level of cooperation with the IAEA.
In the meeting, Japan reiterated at the meeting that Washington should ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and expressed its concerns over US research on so-called mini-nuke small nuclear weapons, the Japanese diplomat said.
Well, it might be more believeable without that whole "Death to America" stuff. Talk about poking a tiger in the eye.
What to do About Iran?
The 9/11 Commission cites limited Qaeda-Iran ties. But has the Iraq invasion strengthened Tehran's hand?
By TONY KARON
Thursday, Jul. 22, 2004
The 9/11 Commission's suggestion that Iran may have had more to do with al-Qaeda than Iraq ever did has prompted a wave of speculation about the possibility of U.S. action against Tehran. The Commission's report notes that some of the hijackers went through Iran en route to the U.S. from al-Qaeda's Afghan training facilities, and that while no operational relationship existed, an element in Iran's leadership may have created a permissive environment for Osama bin Laden's men on the basis that despite their sharp differences they shared a common enemy in the U.S. President Bush earlier in the week suggested these revelations would be looked into, although the U.S. government has obviously been aware of this information for at least the past two years. And neo-conservative ideologues who had first promoted the Iraq invasion took it as an opportunity to put regime-change in Tehran firmly onto the agenda of the next Bush administration (should it win reelection). But despite the enthusiasm of those who most aggressively championed the Iraq war for taking on Iran, the results of the Iraq war may, paradoxically, have actually strengthened the position of the Mullahs in Tehran, by making their cooperation essential to achieving U.S. objectives.
Divining the direction of U.S.-Iran relations has, in recent years, been greatly complicated by the deep policy divisions in both governments. In Tehran, the reins of formal government are held by Islamist reformers who want to extend individual freedoms and achieve a rapprochement with the West. But the real power remains in the hands of conservative mullahs who insist on maintaining an authoritarian clerical regime and who remain innately hostile to the U.S. and its allies. Tension between those two camps has resulted in often confusing signals emanating from Tehran on key security issues, from its nuclear program to its attitude towards al-Qaeda. And the buildup and aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq has seen the balance shift more decisively towards the hard-liners.
But just as Tehran is divided over how to deal with Washington, so is Washington split over how to deal with Tehran. The neo-conservative ideologues in the in the Bush administration have never made any secret of their desire to see the U.S. military pursue "regime change" in Tehran next. "Real men go to Tehran" was one of their playful slogans during the buildup to Operation Iraqi Freedom. And they took Iran's inclusion in President Bush's rhetorical "Axis of Evil" as a sign that their agenda might prevail. The neo-con view is that the Iranian regime is incapable of significant reform but is also inherently brittle, and might crumble from within under even minimal application of force. The administration should therefore commit itself unambiguously to a policy of regime-change, and direct its actions accordingly.
The "realist" camp in the Bush administration, as personified by Secretary of State Colin Powell, was deeply skeptical of the Iraq invasion because of the dire consequences they believed it would beget. And on Iraq, they have long advocated greater engagement with the regime in Iran as the only way to address U.S. concerns, insisting that talk of regime-change is hopelessly optimistic and dangerously naïve. This perspective is outlined in a new report from the Council on Foreign Relations whose authors include top security officials from the Carter and Reagan administrations. It argues that the regime in Tehran is basically stable. Nor is direct military intervention by the U.S. in pursuit of regime change a plausible option Iran is three times the size of Iraq, and likely to be as hostile, if not more so to foreign occupation. The U.S. military is already stretched to its limits by its commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and an attack on Iran would almost certainly spark a mass Shiite uprising against the U.S. in Iraq. Absent options for changing the regime in Tehran by force, they argue, the U.S. needs to expand efforts to win cooperation in areas of mutual concern.
If the Iraq invasion helped tilt the balance in Tehran in favor of the hard-liners, its aftermath had the opposite effect in Washington. The failure of the wildly optimistic projections of the neocons to pan out in Iraq has seen the balance in the U.S. foreign policy shift inexorably back towards the realist camp. Where the State Department had initially been shut out of postwar planning by the Pentagon, by the beginning of 2004 it was effectively in charge of the Iraq mission.
And whereas hawkish ideologues had hoped that the presence of tens of thousands of U.S. troops and the installation of U.S.-dependent regimes in Kabul and Baghdad would leave Iran feeling surrounded and crank up the pressure on the Mullahs in Tehran, if anything the opposite appears to have occurred. The conduct of the hard-liners from stealing the most recent parliamentary election in broad daylight to their defiant handling of the International Atomic Energy Agency's investigation of Iran's nuclear program and their hardball negotiations with the U.S. over the fate of al-Qaeda leaders in Iranian custody suggests, if anything, that they're feeling rather lucky.
And the reason for their cockiness may rest in the sense that, from a strategic perspective, Iran has been among the greatest beneficiaries of the U.S. military operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Both the Taliban regime and Saddam Hussein were bitter enemies of Tehran Iran fought a bloody eight year war with Iraq, and had backed Afghanistan's Northern Alliance against the Taliban and even came close to sending in its own troops in 1998. The U.S. has now disposed of two of Iran's most irksome regional enemies, but at the same time, the security burden inherited by Washington in both places has undermined its ability to apply similar pressure on that country.
Iran's cooperation in its traditional sphere of influence in northwestern Afghanistan has been cited, even by U.S. officials, as essential to the effort to stabilize the country under the new government of President Hamid Karzai. And given Iran's relationships with the most important political groupings among Iraq's Shiite majority, its cooperation there may be essential to help the U.S. realize its basic objectives. Tehran could, in fact, be argued to win either way in Iraq: If democratic elections are held on schedule next January, the resulting Shiite triumph will greatly enhance Iranian influence in Baghdad; but if the security situation prevents elections and the process is bogged down, then U.S. forces remain preoccupied and less able to threaten Iran. Both in Iraq and in Afghanistan, Iranian mischief which they have largely refrained from making could make life considerably more difficult for the U.S. and its allies.
Tehran, for its part, appears inclined to use the al-Qaeda operatives currently on its soil in custody, Tehran claims as a bargaining chip in its dealings with the U.S. It has reportedly offered to hand them over to the U.S. or its allies for interrogation, but only in exchange for some 400 members of the Iraq-based Mujahedeen Khalq, an Iraq-based Iranian opposition guerrilla movement branded "terrorist" by both Tehran and the U.S. But the hawkish element pushing for a policy of regime-change in Washington sees the group as a valuable proxy force to use against Tehran, and opposes handing them over. And the message from the mullahs in Iran appears to be that they won't play ball unless regime-change is taken off the table of U.S. policy options.
Even if the two sides could come to some form of modus vivendi in Iraq, Afghanistan and even on the question of dealing with al-Qaeda which, being an extremely sectarian Sunni movement remains, after all, a natural enemy of the Shiite regime in Tehran even if they share a common enemy in the U.S. it's far from clear that the path of engagement can yield the desired result in terms of Iran's nuclear program. Analysts fear that Tehran may now be racing headlong to build a nuclear weapon despite international pressure to desist, possibly sparking a preemptive military response from Israel, which views any challenge to its presumed nuclear monopoly in the region as an intolerable threat.
Regardless of what transpires in Iraq and in relation to al-Qaeda, developing a coherent policy response to the growing power of Iran may be the top national security priority of whichever administration occupies the White House next January. It's unlikely there will be any easy options.
Former Iran president: Roots of terrorism - in the US
Former Iranian president and the current Expediency Council (EC) Chairman, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Friday said that terrorism is a problem that has its roots in the West and the US.
Speaking at the weekly Friday Prayers gathering in Tehran University campus, he referred to the US-backed Mujahedeen Khalq Organization (MKO) as responsible for the killing of many Iranian officials. "Even today, the MKO is supported by the US. If it did not have the support of Washington, its members would never have been allowed to stay in Iraq. "The fact that the MKO and supporters of the former dictator Saddam Hussein had been killing innocent Iraqis over the past 10-12 years means they had the support of the US as they would not have been able to continue committing crimes that long," he added, according to IRNA.
Rafsanjani was hopeful the US has learned its lesson from Iraq by now and that this would have an impact on a whole generation of Americans. (albawaba.com)
Rafsanjani Says U.S. Has Only Itself To Blame For 9/11
AFP - World News
Jul 23, 2004
TEHRAN -- One of Iran`s most powerful clerics made a stinging rebuttal Friday of allegations from the United States that the Islamic republic may have been linked to the September 11, 2001 attacks.
In his weekly Friday sermon, former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani also accused the United States of ignoring Iranian warnings of a growing Al-Qaeda and Taliban threat before the strikes on New York and Washington.
The comments from the charismatic cleric, still one of Iran`s most influential figures, came after a national commission in Washington probing hijackings spotlighted alleged ties between Al-Qaeda and Iran.
The panel said Tehran operatives maintained contacts with Al-Qaeda for years and may have provided transit for at least eight of the 19 hijackers.
Rafsanjani said the allegations had arisen from Washington`s "failure to provide security for its own people, as well as its failure to achieve its aims in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."
The administration of US President George W. Bush, he said, was made up of "egoists who need to blame other people".
"We are not sure if they are telling the truth. But suppose these eight people did pass through Iran. How many other countries did they pass through on their way to America?" he told thousands of worshippers at Tehran University in a sermon carried live on state radio.
"The big question we have to ask America is, assuming they (the hijackers) passed through Iran, who put them in Afghanistan and who supported them in the first place," he said.
"This is no big secret. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban were created and nurtured by America in order to weaken the Islamic Republic of Iran."
During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan during the 1980s, Osama bin Laden`s network of foreign fighters was one of the beneficiaries of CIA and Saudi funds channelled through Pakistan`s Inter-Service Intelligence.
The ISI went on to be one of the key backers of the Taliban, which were also recognised by Saudi Arabia and courted by US firms.
Rafsanjani said that during Iranian contacts with US officials, "we said openly that what you created will turn on you and cause trouble for you."
"But they did not pay attention to our advice," he added.
The cleric did not specify when those contacts took place.
Iran and the US severed diplomatic ties after the 1979 Islamic revolution here, but maintain contacts via the Swiss embassy here and have on occasions engaged in secret direct talks.
The US commission said Al-Qaeda and Iranian operatives struck an accord in late 1991 or 1992 to provide training for assaults on Israel and the United States, and terrorist leaders and trainers went to Iran for instruction in explosives.
It said "intelligence indicates the persistence of contacts between Iranian security officials and senior Al-Qaeda figures" after bin Laden returned to Afghanistan from Sudan in 1996.
"They have a superficial attitude, and they take people for fools," Rafsanjani said of the latest US allegations.
From 1996 to 2001, Iran was engaged in running weapons and cash to Afghan forces battling the Taliban, whose ranks had been swelled with foreign fighters. It also nearly invaded Afghanistan in 1998 after the Taliban executed a group of Iranian diplomats in northern Afghanistan.
"America cannot ignore its own responsibility and pin its own crimes onto others. They can make these claims, but nobody believes them."
And he also pointed to the continued presence in Iraq of the People`s Mujahedeen, the main Iranian armed opposition group, which was sheltered by Saddam Hussein.
"There is nobody more terrorist than them. But they are under the patronage of the Americans," Rafsanjani alleged. "We hope people of Iraq will bring them back to their senses for at least one generation."
Rafsanjani was Iranian president from 1989 to 1997, and currently heads the Expediency Council, the Islamic`s top political arbitration body.
Public expression of gratitude toward Senator Rick Santorum
Jul 23, 2004
Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran (SMCCDI)
by Amir Taheri
July 23, 2004
July 23, 2004 -- SERGIO Vieira de Mello, the U.N. envoy killed by terrorists in Baghdad al most a year ago, was no cynic. But he recognized cynicism where he saw it. Soon before his tragic death, he described attempts at putting the United Nations at the center of things in Iraq as "a cynical ploy" by powers not prepared to give it meaningful support.
De Mello had been sent to Iraq with instructions to steer as clear of the Americans as possible. He was even ordered to refuse American military protection for himself and his staff. The Americans were lepers to be avoided at all cost.
So when the terrorists arrived to destroy the U.N. building and kill de Mello and dozens of his staff, there was no one to stop the tragedy.
A year later, the lessons of de Mello's fate remain unlearned.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has named a new envoy to Baghdad: Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, an experienced diplomat and Pakistan's ambassador to Washington. And once again the United Nations insists on going to Iraq not as a partner of the U.S.-led Coalition and the newly installed interim Iraqi government, but as what would amount to an official opposition to both.
It would be criminal to send Qazi and his staff to Baghdad where, deprived of adequate protection, they would be easy targets of the terrorists.
For the U.N. to treat the Coalition as lepers is bad politics, to say the least. The United States and its 33 partners account for some 60 percent of the U.N.'s total budget. The Coalition is made up of nations from all continents, including two of the five veto-holding members of the Security Council.
Yet the U.N. bureaucracy insists that no one associated with the Americans should have a role in protecting its Iraq mission.
It was to avoid the American "lepers" that the Security Council voted seven weeks ago to create a special international force to protect the U.N. mission in Iraq. So far, however, not a single country has offered to join. And the French, Germans and Russians (who had most opposed the use of U.S. troops for the purpose) are not even prepared to contribute money for such a force. Worse still, they are pressuring other countries not to offer troops.
Annan's office speaks of "difficulties to be sorted out." That is not good enough. What we have here is an attempt at sabotaging Iraq's progress toward free elections.
The U.N. mission in Iraq is to help convene a national conference this summer and pave the way for elections by next January at the latest. The clock is ticking and, with a maximum of 24 weeks to achieve its goals, the mission can't afford to waste a day.
Those who are delaying the start of the U.N. mission's work surely know that the most effective means of defeating the terrorists and stabilizing Iraq is the creation of a government chosen by the people in free and fair elections. Indeed, it is also the shortest route to ending the Coalition military presence.
Thus, those who are trying to sabotage the holding of elections are helping to prolong both the terrorist campaign and the U.S. military presence in Iraq.
According to plans worked out by U.N. experts, Ambassador Qazi's mission would need a protection force of 4,000 men. Is it too much to ask that France, Russia, Germany and China, who do not want the Americans and their allies around, to offer 1,000 men each?
And would it not be nice if Spain's new premier, Jose Luis Zapatero, proposed to send back his country's recently repatriated 1,200 troops to Iraq, this time as part of the U.N. protection force?
Several Arab countries have offered to join the proposed U.N. force. But the Iraqis don't want Arab troops on their soil: Most Arab states have despotic regimes and would lack credibility as protectors of a process of democratization in Iraq.
Ambassador Qazi's own country, Pakistan, is also offering troops. There are reports that President Pervez Musharraf is even prepared to provide all the 4,000 men needed. But Pakistan can't finance such an operation while Russia, China, Germany and France refuse to foot even part of the bill.
And those who refuse to pay also insist that the proposed force not be financed by the Americans, either. As a French spokesman put it the other day, the U.N. force should not be seen as "a U.S.-financed show."
All this leads us to a crucial question: Does Iraq really need the complications caused by the dirty power politics played at the United Nations?
Most Iraqis don't want the U.N. to meddle in their affairs. For them, the U.N. is associated with 13 years of sanctions that wrecked many lives while enriching Saddam Hussein and his Tikriti mafia. Almost daily revelations about the extent of corruption generated by the U.N.-led Oil-for-Food program only add to the mistrust of the Iraqi people.
A discredited U.N. has no legitimacy to bestow on anybody in Iraq. The only way for the U.N. to remake its image in Iraq is to accept the liberation of that country as a positive event and to distance itself from circles that suffer from nostalgia for Saddam's despotic regime.
When all is said and done, the U.S.-led Coalition bears primary responsibility for seeing Iraq through its transition from dictatorship to democracy. The U.N.'s self-inflicted paralysis and the Byzantine games played by the opponents of the liberation do not absolve the United States and its allies of that responsibility.
So far, the Coalition and the new Iraqi leadership have met all the deadlines they have fixed for themselves. A draft constitution was published at the time promised and the handover of power to an interim government completed on schedule. There is no reason why U.N. maneuverings should upset the established timetable for the holding of elections.
The interim Iraqi government should stick to the timetable and hold elections with or without the United Nations.
Those who still regret Iraq's liberation may well hoot and jeer at such elections, as they have done at every measure taken by the Coalition and its Iraqi allies so far. What matters, however, is what the Iraqi people think, and that can only be ascertained through elections.
I'm personally looking forward to the day the Iranian people tear the Shiite mullahs to pieces with their bare hands. I plan to buy the video and watch it again and again. But, that's just me. ;')Iran Protests Enter Third DayHundreds of protesters called for the death of Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei as thousands of onlookers watched early Friday, the third day of demonstrations in the capital despite threats by the hard-line regime to crack down to end the disturbances... They shouted chants including, "Khamenei the traitor must be hanged," "Guns and tanks and fireworks, the mullahs must be killed," and "student prisoners must be freed," witnesses said... Before they dispersed, police had prevented some two dozen pro-Khamenei vigilantes on motorcycles - at times chanting "oh the exalted leader, we are ready to follow your instructions," - from confronting the students. Thousands of people looked on, sometimes clapping with the protesters and taking up their chants. Residents near the university hospital left their doors open so that demonstrators could find quick shelter if the authorities cracked down... Khamenei, in a speech broadcast on state television and radio, referred to violence in 1999 when security forces and extremist supporters of hard-line clerics attacked students protesting media restrictions. At least one student was killed and the clash touched off the worst street battles since the 1979 revolution that ousted the U.S.-backed shah. "If the Iranian nation decides to deal with the (current) rioters, it will do so in the way it dealt with it on July 14, 1999," Khamenei said.
by Ali Akbar Dareini, AP
06/13/03 04:50 EDT
George W. Bush will be reelected by a margin of at least ten per cent
It is to be hoped that the Iranian people will take care of the Mullah's on their own - only as a very last resort should we ever consider military action by the United States against Iran; the people of Iran are America's allies in the War on Terrorism, and I'd not have Iranians and Americans shedding each other's blood unless, say, the Mullah's got a nuclear weapon and we had to act very fast.
We could be doing much more - and, truth be told, we're probably doing more behind the scenes than is coming out.
Iran Ranks 2nd in Int'l Physics Olympiad
Jul 23, 2004
Iran's student physics team earning two gold, one silver and one bronze medals, ranked second in the 2004 International Physics Olympiad held this year in Pohang, South Korea.
In the 35th International Physics Olympiad, Mehrtash Babadi and Behrouz Abiri were awarded gold medals. It added that Farhad Pashalu won a silver medal and Hamid-Reza Chalabi brought home a bronze medal.
The Iranian students competed against contestants from 73 countries and teams from China, Iran and South Korea ranked first to third. The Iranian team earned two gold and three silver medals ranking the fourth last year. Meanwhile, during the 2001 International Physics Olympiad, Iranian students ranked the second winning five gold medals.
Quick! What is the resultant vector from the summation of Vector One and Vector Two!
...(I told you we should have taken the heat absorbtion topic instead!)...
I'm sure that when the smoke cleared, we would be left with the 'Shiite gratitude'
UK Wants a Piece of Pie of Iran's South Pars Project
Jul 23, 2004,
The British government's export credit guarantee department (ECGD) is continuing its main focus on Iran's oil, gas and petrochemical business, which it hopes will lead to future participation of UK companies in South Pars huge gas field.
In its latest annual report, ECGD listed credit guarantees being approved for nine Iranian petrochemical projects worth a total of pnds 76 million (dlrs 136 m) in the year ending March 2004.
The success follows the UK continuing to support opportunities in Iran agreed under pre-under written limits set for the National Petrochemical Company and has led to several contracts being concluded with small and medium-sized British companies.
The large South Pars 9 and 10 project, which will increase Iran's production of LPG and gas condensate, is nearing conclusion and ECGD said it was supporting the UK element in the contract for goods and service provided by Man and Saltzgitter Trading UK.