Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- August 15, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 08/14/2004 8:59:57 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.
Inside the Zarqawi Network
August 16, 2004
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Jonathan Schanzer, Soref Fellow
At least 13 Iraqis were killed in fighting with U.S. soldiers in the Iraqi city of Falluja on July 30, part of the ongoing U.S. offensive against fighters loyal to Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the man Bush administration officials claim is the most dangerous terrorist in Iraq today. Critics, however, contend that the Jordanian-born Zarqawi is a Washington-made bogeyman who is not worth the $25 million bounty on his head. They doubt the strength of Zarqawi's Tawhid and Jihad (Unity and Holy War) group, citing intelligence officials who generally agree that no more than 1,000 foreign fighters are active in Iraq.
A memo acquired by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy from Iraqi intelligence sources, however, provides a first glimpse into the configuration of Zarqawi's Iraqi network, which may be more dangerous than previously imagined. The memo, "Structure of Tawhid and Jihad Islamic Group," details several days of recent interrogations of one of Zarqawi's captured lieutenants. Umar Baziyani, Zarqawi's number four, a member of the Tawhid legislative council, and the "emir" of Baghdad, was captured by U.S. forces in late May 2004. The account of his confessions details the hierarchal structure of Zarqawi's group, its ties to Syria and Iran, the number of fighters it commands in Iraq, the names of the regional emirs, its media strategy, and more.
The memo explains that Zarqawi, who had allied himself with the Kurdish al Qaeda affiliate Ansar al Islam in northern Iraq, lost his lifeline to al Qaeda in January 2004 when U.S. intelligence arrested Hassan Ghul. Ghul, according to U.S. officials, was carrying a message from Zarqawi to Osama bin Laden. Ghul, who was reportedly a lieutenant of 9/11 planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was considered to be the top al Qaeda operative captured in Iraq. Baziyani explains that after Ghul's arrest, Tawhid and Jihad was cut off from al Qaeda. Recent reports, citing U.S. intelligence agencies, indicate that Zarqawi may have been trying to reconnect with bin Laden "in the last few weeks."
Baziyani explains, however, that Zarqawi's group did not wither when it fell from the al Qaeda vine. He claims that there are nine regional leaders of the Falluja-based Tawhid and Jihad under Zarqawi. His deputy, also based in Falluja, is known as Mahi Shami. If U.S. intelligence manages to catch up with these two top leaders, there are still regional "emirs" fanned out around Iraq, which could make the network incredibly difficult to break. For instance, Baziyani explained during his interrogation that he had been replaced as emir of Baghdad after his arrest. There are also regional emirs in the Kurdish north (Hussein Salim), the western Anbar province (Abdullah Abu Azzam), and the city of Mosul (Abu Tallah). In this way, Tawhid and Jihad can execute spectacular terrorist attacks throughout the country. These include the Baghdad-based bombing of the Jordanian embassy; suicide bombings against Shiites and an attack on Basra's oil infrastructure in the south; suicide bombings against Kurds in the north; attacks against police recruiting centers throughout the country; and the beheading of American Nick Berg in an unknown location.
In addition to its regional bases, Zarqawi's group has a specially designated media department. Baziyani claims that a man named Hassan Ibrahim heads this department, along with lieutenants Khadi Hassan and "Adil," who were responsible for taping and releasing the May 11 beheading of Berg.
Baziyani also details the military strength of Tawhid and Jihad. He lists seven military commanders under Zarqawi's control throughout Iraq with about 1,400 fighters at their disposal. Not surprisingly, Baziyani stated that the Falluja group, headed by Abu Nawas Falujayee, has the most fighters with 500. Second to Falluja is Mosul, with 400 fighters. (Analysts believe Mosul is a haven for former Ansar al Islam fighters.) There are also strongholds in Anbar (60 fighters), Baghdad (40 fighters), and Diyala, the province just northeast of Baghdad (80 fighters). According to Baziyani, most of the fighters in Tawhid and Jihad are Iraqi Arabs and Kurds -- not foreign jihadis -- which corroborates reports by U.S. intelligence that the foreign fighter presence is much smaller than previously imagined.
One senior administration official, however, doubts Baziyani's claim that Zarqawi has 1,400 fighters under his command. A more realistic figure, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity, might be 500. But the official admitted, "I'm not sure how anyone would really know. If we knew more, we would have probably rolled up this group by now. It could be wrong for us to think we know better than the man we debriefed."
Interestingly, Baziyani's interrogation reveals that Tawhid and Jihad maintains a strong military presence (150 fighters) in the town of al-Qaim, which is close to the Syrian border, just west of the Euphrates River. One Pentagon official believes that the number of fighters Baziyani put in al-Qaim is likely inflated, but says that the importance of the town cannot be overstated. Al-Qaim, to the bewilderment of U.S. officials, was where the Iraqi army put up some of its fiercest resistance during the 2003 Iraq war. A senior administration official calls Qaim "critical" and "the key to understanding how Syria is involved" in the insurgency.
With the help of Zarqawi, the town is said to be a depot for weapons, cash, and fighters supplied by Zarqawi's financiers -- the bulk of whom are now believed by U.S. intelligence to be operating out of Syria. Abu Muhamed, whom the memo fingers as the military emir of the Baghdad cell, is a former Lebanese military officer who once lived in Denmark. According to Baziyani, he was smuggled into Iraq via Syria. Many other fighters, including Zarqawi's driver and bodyguard, are of Syrian descent.
There are other foreign links. Baziyani explained to his interrogators that the Zarqawi network received a great deal of assistance from Iran. One Tawhid and Jihad militant, Othman, was reportedly responsible for transferring former Ansar al Islam fighters and other jihadis back and forth from Iran to Baghdad once the U.S. occupation was underway. In other words, Iran has been involved in supplying fighters to tangle with U.S. soldiers. This should come as no surprise, given the 9/11 Commission's recent report that Iran was a transit state for 9/11 plotters.
Looking back, Sunni-Shia enmity has never been a concern for Iran when it comes to providing logistics to al Qaeda, or even supporting Sunni groups such as Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza. Iran, it is also worth noting, provided assistance to the Sunni and Kurdish Ansar al Islam on the eve of the 2003 U.S. invasion. Tehran allowed Ansar fighters to cross the border to escape the U.S. assault. According to several Ansar prisoners, Iran allowed fighters to remain there, and then later helped them back into Iraq to join the insurgency.
Interestingly, the Baziyani memo is not all bad news. The captured militant says that U.S. forces have hammered the Falluja bases of his organization in recent months. This, he said, has caused the network's leadership to disperse. Thus, Baziyani states, some of Zarqawi's deputies have considered Samarra as a new base. According to one Iraqi source close to the new Iraqi security cabinet, there has been some indication of "command and control in the Samarra area." Several U.S. officials, however, believe this assertion to be untrue -- perhaps wishful thinking or even disinformation on the part of Baziyani.
The information in the Baziyani interrogation memo needs to be further vetted by U.S. and Iraqi intelligence. Still, the memo provides an unprecedented look into the mind of one of Zarqawi's lieutenants. It also provides a view of the small but powerful network that may or may not be at the center of the Iraqi insurgency, but has established itself as its brutal, public face.
Jonathan Schanzer is a Soref Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and author of the forthcoming Al-Qaeda's Armies: Middle East Affiliate Groups and the Next Generation of Terror.
Weekly Standard, August 16, 2004
Iran: OPEC Powerless to Lower Oil Price [Excerpt]
August 14, 2004
TEHRAN -- OPEC can do nothing to douse scorching oil prices when markets are already oversupplied by 2.8 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude, Iran's OPEC governor said on Saturday, warning that prices could fall sharply.
"Now there are more than 2.8 million bpd of crude more than demand," Hossein Kazempour Ardebili was quoted as saying on the Iranian Oil Ministry Web site.
"There is no reason for OPEC members to increase production," he added. "This organisation is unable to do anything at present."
Oil futures prices raced to record highs on Friday, further boosted by a U.S. refinery fire, underpinned in a long term rally but soaring demand led by China and fears of disruption to supply, particularly in Iraq.
U.S. crude oil futures hit $46.65 a barrel, the latest peak in a series of record highs in all but one of the last 11 trading sessions.
Iran is OPEC's second-biggest producer but like all its fellow members but for Saudi Arabia, it has no spare capacity left to contribute to a further rise in OPEC's production after the cartel's most recent 2.5 million bpd quotas hike agreed in June.
Iran's attempts to lift capacity further are weighed down by cumbersome investment deals.
"It seems that prices will continue to go up without taking into consideration the basic elements of the market, supply and demand," Kazempour said. "The current trend of prices stems from political and military developments."
He reiterated that oil prices could still crash if security fears subsided.
"If a calm political and military situation prevails in the market, the amount added to crude reserves will pressure the price," he said.
The Organisation of the Petrolem Exporting Countries, due to meet next on September 15, is already pumping at a 25-year high of 30 million bpd, casting aside the restraint of official quotas.
Saudi Arabia is producing around 9.5 million bpd, against a quota of 8.45 million bpd, and is expected to reach near 10 million bpd in September.
Iran, however, is straining to produce nearly four million bpd against a quota of around 3.8 million bpd. ...
Milk for Iraq Sold in Iran
August 14, 2004
Large quantities of powdered milk donated by international aid agencies to Iraq are being stolen and smuggled across the border to Iran for sale at bargain prices.
"We have had to cut down on production because of the smuggled milk that is sold for 8,000 rials (about one dollar) per kilogram," a Iranian dairy executive, Husayn Chamani, told reporters on Saturday.
Domestic powdered milk retails at 40,000 rials a kilo in Iranian pharmacies.
Chamani blamed lax border controls and said about 3000 jobs in the milk industry would be in jeopardy if smuggled milk kept flooding the Iranian market.
There are also health concerns over the inappropriate packaging of the smuggled milk in 25- and 50-kg bags, he added.
IRANS NEO-CONSERVATIVES POISED TO TAKE CHARGE OF POLITICAL AGENDA
By Kamal Nazer Yasin
Posted Saturday, August 14, 2004
In response to deepening domestic and social challenges, a neo-conservative movement is fast gaining influence in Iran, and now appears poised to take charge of shaping the countrys political agenda. This new force in Iranian politics features a blend of old-style devotion to the principles of the 1979 Islamic revolution with new-found pragmatism on nagging domestic issues.
Many leaders of Irans neo-conservative movement, including Tehran mayor Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nezhad, maintain close connections with the Revolutionary Guards, the chief enforcer of the Islamic Revolution. For much of the Islamic republics existence, there has been an effective taboo on the Revolutionary Guards involvement in politics. This taboo now appears to have been broken.
Neo-conservatives have grown increasingly assertive in recent months, especially after the controversial parliamentary elections in February that gave conservatives a stranglehold on the legislature. In March, a prominent neo-conservative and former Revolutionary Guards commander, Ezatollah Zarghami, was named to head Irans state television and radio network. Meanwhile, the head of the countrys judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Shahroudi, named a former Revolutionary Guards commander to be his legislative liaison.
According to political observers in Tehran, the neo-conservative movement is still taking shape. In particular, the movements leadership structure remains ill-defined. Perhaps as many as 80 MPs out of the 270-seat legislature are believed to be proponents of neo-conservative beliefs. The movement is believed to be steadily gaining adherents.
Many neo-conservatives are members of the second-generation of the Islamic revolution - people who were too young to play important roles in the 1979 overthrow of the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. In general, political experts say, the neo-conservatives share many of the same orthodox views held by the older generation of conservatives on the special, dominant role of Islam in Iranian society.
In sharp contrast to the older generation, however, the neo-conservatives seem unfazed by globalization issues and express a willingness to tackle the countrys myriad social and economic problems, especially unemployment. Irans old conservative guard, which is dominated by clerics, has largely avoided confronting the countrys daunting economic dilemmas.
There are indications that the Old Guard, including the countrys Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenehi, has tacitly encouraged the neo-conservatives to assert themselves. The Supreme Leaders office, along with other top Iranian institutions, has praised neo-conservative initiatives. On July 11, for example, Ayatollah Ali Meshkini, the head of the Assembly of Experts, lauded Ahmadi-Nezhad, the conservative Tehran mayor, saying; "not only the people of Tehran, but the entire Iranian nation is pleased that a new management team has come to power at the Mayors Office."
Such statements are being interpreted by Tehran political observers as an admission by the Old Guard that the younger generation now offers the best hope for defending the ideals of the Islamic revolution. Many neo-conservatives lack an extensive track record of public service, and thus are believed to be better able to gain the trust and support of a wary population.
In general, conservative forces can rely on the support of 20 percent or less of Irans population. Conservatives have been able to wrestle power from reformists in recent years in part through the manipulation of the countrys religious oversight bodies, in particular the Council of the Guardians, and by taking advantage of public apathy generated by the inability of reformist forces to push through their legislative agenda.
In another sign that the neo-conservatives are in the ascendancy, institutions closely identified with the Old Guard - such as the Society of Combatant Clergy and the Islamic Coalition Association (ICA) - have recently seen their authority scaled back. Throughout the Islamic republics history, the ICA managed billions of dollars in various economic projects with little or no accountability for expenditures. Rumours are now circulating in Tehran that some ICA-affiliated organizations may soon be the targets of an anti-corruption investigation.
Some observers consider former Majles Speaker Hojjatoleslam Ali-Akbar Nateq Nouri, who officially serves as Khamenehis chief of staff, as the chief liaison between the Old Guard leadership and members of the neo-conservative movement.
Influential conservative clerics appear to hope that the neo-conservatives will be able to restore the popular consensus for Islamic republican principles, which have eroded since 1997, following the election of reformist president Mohammad Khatami. The neo-conservatives are reputed to be strong supporters of Khameneis spiritual authority, and they currently enjoy a reputation of shunning corrupt practices. The also express a willingness to embrace new tactics, which are more in step with public preferences, in going about defending Irans Islamic orthodoxy.
The performance of Ahmadi-Nezhads mayoral administration in Tehran offers some insight into the neo-conservative movements operating methods. Its twin motto is "efficiency" and "clean government." Ahmadi-Nejad has sought to improve public services, including garbage collection, while seeking to reorient the citys cultural policies. Tehran officials have closed down youth centres and music and film clubs, and instead pressed ahead with efforts to organise new youth-oriented religious programs.
In addition to Irans political, social and economic problems, the confrontational stance adopted by the United States under the Bush administration has infused the neo-conservatives with a sense of urgency. The Bush administration, in which American neo-conservatives hold sway over Iranian policy, view Iran as a member of the "Axis of Evil," and, before US forces became bogged down in Iraq, often spoke of the need for regime change in Tehran.
Some observers in Tehran believe that the recent emergence of the Revolutionary Guards as a force in Iranian politics is a direct response to the countrys developing geopolitical challenges.
Given Irans complex political system, featuring elected and un-elected institutions, many observers say it is too early to tell whether the neo-conservative movement can gain enough traction, especially among the electorate, to successfully implement their agenda. At the same time, experts believe the neo-conservatives will soon have the opportunity to test their political leadership skills.
ENDS IRAN CONSERVATIVES 14804
Editors Note: Kamal Nazer Yasin is a pseudonym for a freelance journalist specializing in Iranian affairs.
Highlights, some ediding and phonetisation of names are by IPS
This article was published by EurasiatNet on 25 July 2004
Iranians are simply too smart to put up with the cleric-run government. I can understand a backlash against the Peacock Throne, but the backlash against its replacement is inevitable.
Thanks for your tireless work on this project. I have longed for Iran to be free since the Shah was force out and the Ayatollah moved in.
I hope Jimmy Carter rots in hell for withdrawing his support of the Shah, and refusing him medical treatment in the U.S., when he came down with cancer. Some Christian...
Renouned Zoroastrian Magi, Dr. Yazdi, was on Persian Satellite Television claiming he's had holy visions that Iran will be free in exactly 52 days. He's on RangaRang TV one of the over 20 stations beamed from California. He said that he's planning on going in with loads of people on 70 UN-chartered planes and is one hundred percent certain of the revolution due to his prophetic visions.
Sounds pretty crazy to me, but he's adamently sticking by his word. I'll post further later.
"I hope Jimmy Carter rots in hell for withdrawing his support of the Shah..."
Here,Here! I second that
"he's had holy visions that Iran will be free in exactly 52 days"
OKay....what's that date?
Kazemi lawyers appeal Iranian court verdict
CTV.ca News Staff
Lawyers in Iran have launched an appeal in the case of murdered Canadian photo-journalist, Zahra Kazemi.
A legal team representing Kazemi's mother -- who says she was forced by authorities to bury her daughter in Iran last year -- is appealing an Iranian court verdict from last month that acquitted the only defendant in the case.
"We appealed on Wednesday and expect the appeals court to invite Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi and Iran's Information Minister Ali Yunesi as witnesses," said Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, a member of the legal team.
Dadkhah told The Associated Press that Iranian government reports showed the named officials are well informed about the case, but the initial court didn't summon them to appear at the trial.
Kazemi, a Canadian freelance journalist who holds both Canadian and Iranian citizenship, died while under arrest in Iran on July 10, 2003. Kazemi was in detention for taking photographs of a student-led protest.
At first, the country's judiciary said she died of a stroke. But an inquiry later determined she died of a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage.
The sole defendant in the case, Mohammad Reza Aghdam Ahmadi, was charged with "semi-premeditated murder." But in July, a court in Tehran acquitted him.
The judiciary said Kazemi's death must have been an accident. It suggested Kazemi was weakened by a hunger strike, that her blood pressure dropped and she fell to the floor, striking her head on the ground.
Iran rejected the idea of Canadian observers attending the trial and barred the Canadian ambassador from attending the last session of the open trial.
Canada has already recalled its ambassador to Iran. A day after the ruling, Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew said he did not believe Iran's assessment.
"We are demanding Iran to go to the bottom of this thing," said Pettigrew. "We want the truth."
Pettigrew has also asked that Kazemi's body be returned to Canada. Kazemi's son, Stephan Hachemi, has made the same request.
"There are sentimental reasons of course for (her son) Mr. (Stephan) Hachemi but we want the body back in Canada as well because we could determine really whether she died the way we know she has," Pettigrew said. "It is a murder case here."
Hachemi has been critical of the response by the government. He wants diplomatic sanctions, and to see the case taken to the International Court of Justice at The Hague, Netherlands.
The Kazemi family's legal team is headed by 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi.
6,000-Year-Old Archeological Site Discovered in Sarvestan, Iran
While excavating Sarvestan Palace, one of the most magnificent monuments of the Sassanid era (226-651), Iranian archeologists have unearthed a vast archeological site south of Iran, Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency reported.
Housing Irans oldest brick cupola, the palace was built during the reign of Bahram "Gur" (The Zebra-Hunter, 420-438 A.D.) as a leisure mansion. Mehrnevsi, his well-known minister ordered the construction of this palace. It has one entrance corridor (ivan) and the dome is located in the center of the building.
The new discovery has revealed that the area was inhabited since 6,000 years ago, 4,500 years older than previous estimates, said Amir Pirooz Daghooghi, project manager. We have unearthed earthenware vessels in the site, clearly indicating the area was inhabitable since the 4th millennium BC, he added.
Located in Fars Province, it is made of brick, stone and plaster. Since 1956, major renovations took place. This monument has been registered on the list of National Monuments of Iran. The site was just explored prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, after which the work stopped.
I think it's between October 5th to 10th. I'll try to translate the exact date. He's been on the stations virtually everyday.
Iraqi Prime Minister welcomes invitation to visit Iran
Najaf, Aug 14, IRNA -- Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has welcomed an invitation to visit Iran despite a recent war of words which have dogged ties between the two neighbors. Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi announced Tuesday that Allawi had been invited to pay an official visit to Iran.
"We want establishment of good relations with neighboring countries, especially Iran, and believe that our bilateral ties are based on common interests," Allawi told IRNA reporter at this Iraqi holy city Saturday.
Allawi's conciliatory statements come in the wake of accusations levelled by few interim Iraqi government officials, including Defense Minister Hazem al-Shalaan, accusing Iran of interference in Iraq's domestic affairs.
The Iraqi prime minister stressed that 'the complaint` had only been made against 'unofficial figures` in Iran, saying, "We do not accuse the Iranian government of interference in Iraq's domestic affairs."
They also follow the arrest of several Iranians in Iraq, including four IRNA correspondents and a consular official.
Baghdad bureau chief Mostafa Darban and two Iraqi staff, Mohammed Khafaji and Mohsen Madani, have been arrested and Iranian officials say the fate of the fourth is still unaccounted for.
Tehran said one of its consular officials in Iraq, Fereidoun Jahani, had disappeared on August 4 on the road between Baghdad and Karbala.
A statement from a group, calling itself the Islamic Army in Iraq, has alleged that Jahani was 'detained for stirring sectarian strife and for activities outside his diplomatic duties'.
An unnamed source has been quoted as saying that the group had acted in collaboration with the US embassy in Iraq under direct supervision of US ambassador John Negroponte.
Iran has twice summoned Iraq's top diplomat to Tehran for explanation following the accusations, including allegations that four Iranian intelligence officers had been arrested on suspicion of spying and carrying out acts of sabotage in the country.
Iran starts training program for Afghan officials
Kabul, Aug 14, IRNA -- Iranian experts started training 60 officials of three Afghan ministries -- mines and industries, water and power and communications -- in Kabul on Saturday.
The training program is being conducted with the help of the World Bank, the Iranian embassy at the Afghan capital declared.
Iranian experts are to teach principles of management to the Afghan officials.
The one-month training program is being conducted in the premises of the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Industries.
It may be recalled that on August 3 some 45 personnel of the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock headed for Tehran to participate in an agricultural equipment and gardening training program.
Talking to IRNA, Minister of Agriculutre and Livestock Mohammed Sharif said: "Iran has contributed to Afghanistan's reconstruction in several areas, particularly in providing training for agricultural personnel."
Iran last year donated to the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture 211 agricultural machinery as well as fertilizers and pesticides worth US dlr 12 million, the official added.
Some 200 officials from Afghanistan's Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock had attended training programs in the first month of 2003 to expand the country's agriculture sector and increase its production of agricultureal products.
Isn't Oct. when Ledeen predicts something, too?
Coincidence? Or Plot? ; )
It was a shame.
I don't know how much choice he really had.
I guess the same goes for Iran:
Arabs Encounter Prejudice in Kurdistan
Visitors from the south of the country increasingly viewed with suspicion.
By Sarhang Hama Salih in Sulaimaniyah
Iraqi Press Monitor
Aug 10, 2004
The sight of Iraqi Arabs in their traditional dishdash and cars with license plates from central and southern governorates like Baghdad, Dyala and Anbar has become commonplace on the streets of Sulaimaniyah since the war.
Some Arabs visit Kurdistan as tourists; some come seeking jobs; others just want respite from the often dangerous conditions in the rest of the country.
Three Kurdish governorates have been semi-independent since 1992 when central government withdrew from the area and left the Kurds to govern themselves under the protection of US and UK warplanes.
But Iraqi Arabs who visit Iraqi Kurdistan increasingly claim they experience hostility and unfair treatment at the hands of their Kurdish hosts.
After the war, they were initially welcomed by hotel and restaurant managers who saw them as tourists with money to spend, but now Arabs are increasingly viewed with suspicion, especially by Kurdish security forces.
Those security forces are intent on keeping suicide bombers off their streets and they view Arab citizens as possible enemies.
"This my first visit in Kurdistan," said Tariq Ismail, 52, from Baquba. "But I regret coming here. The Kurds think every Arab is a Saddam Hussein."
Arab visitors increasingly find they are singled out as potential security risks.
Arabs who register at hotels must first get permission from local security, while Kurds and foreigners in Kurdistan do not have to obtain such a permit.
In other parts of Iraq, no one is even asked for security clearance.
Ismail said that when he and his wife and children tried to park their car in a garage, they were told they could not because as Arabs their car was suspect.
Another 25-year-old Baghdadi Arab, who shared a hotel in Sulaimaniyah with Ismail, said his experience with the Kurds was worse than under the Baath regime.
When he stopped at a security checkpoint, Sulaimaniyah officials thought his name was on a list of suspects. They took him into custody for several hours where he says he was treated "badly".
When he asked to use the toilet, he was told to urinate in his trousers. "Human beings should not be treated that way," he said.
Some Arab visitors submit to the additional scrutiny as an understandable, and even welcomed, precaution.
"Only Arabs are inspected at the checkpoints," said Ahmed Rasheed, 31, a Baghdadi, explaining that "the Kurds want to protect their security".
He surmises that the long-time Arab persecution has left the Kurds hostile. "Judging by their Baathist experience, the Kurds think all Arabs are occupiers," he said.
Not all Arab visitors feel hostility from Kurdish hosts.
"There is no discrimination," said Salah Kaduri, 35, from Baghdad, who often travels to Sulaimaniyah with his wife.
Kaduri says that Kurdish checkpoint officials are courteous, and he appreciates the safety and security in the Kurdish streets.
Some Arabs who have made Kurdistan their home think there are Kurds who harbour a deep-rooted animosity towards Arabs, and that it is increasingly articulated.
Jamal Abdul Kareem, 42, has lived in Kurdistan for 18 years and speaks Kurdish fluently.
He points to a complex of factors that leave the Kurds with a distrust of their Arab compatriots, including "the effect of Baath, cultural differences, and the Kurdish fear of the future".
He speculates that the Kurdish claim for concern for their security is "only a cover for the old grudge they bear".
Ala Najmadeen, 37, a dentist, recently left Baghdad because of the "bad security situation" and moved to Kurdistan to set up a practice.
He tried to rent a house for his family but found that Arabs must pay an additional security deposit on top of already high rental rates.
Frustrated, he returned to Baghdad after one month.
Najmadeen is one of scores of professionals who have moved to Kurdistan seeking a safer environment.
More than 250 university professors have been killed since the fall of the regime, and another 1,000 have fled the country. Many other professionals, doctors in particular, have also been targeted.
The problems encountered by Iraqi Arabs in Kurdistan are in many ways typical of newcomers anywhere. And many Kurds welcome Arab visitors.
"I believe in living together and accepting each other," said Abdullah Ahmed, 26, a Sulaimaniyah Kurd who works for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.
But it's not hard to find Kurdish voices who admit to a strong sense of animosity towards their compatriots.
"When I see an Arab walking in Sulaimaniyah, I cannot help hating him," said Rebaz Hama Salih, 24. He admits this feeling is not rational but said he cannot control his emotions.
All he can think about, he says, is the extensive suffering of the Kurds at the hands of Arab-majority Iraqi regimes.
But others say their antagonism is also directed towards the Arabs as a nationality.
"When Kurds were persecuted, it was the fault of the Arab nation not only the Iraqi government," said Wrya Sofi, 20, a Kurd from Kalar.
For Sofi, the recent expulsion of Kurds from several majority Arab cities in central Iraq is another reason for the Kurdish hatred towards the Arabs.
Thousands of Kurds have been forced out of cities like Fallujah and Samara simply because they are Kurds.
"When I see displaced Kurds who did not leave from fear of the Baath but rather from fear of the people of area," Sofi said, "I realise I hate Arabs, not the Baath."
Sarhang Hama Salih is editor-in-chief of Liberal Education, a youth-oriented newspaper in Sulaimaniyah.
Iran will be freed when some people can get rid of superstitions.
superstitions helped destroy Iran through history!
He received US $ 120000 from the government!
Have we thought of CIVIL WAR in Iran during the turmoils?
The Stealth Nuclear Threat [Excerpt]
August 15, 2004
Terror is understandably on everyone's mind, but there is yet another growing danger over the horizon: an Iran ambitious for nukes.
Who could have imagined that alliance management would be a hot election issue in America? But it is. John Kerry's repeated pledge to restore relations with America's allies has struck a chord. The trouble is, if he is elected president, Kerry is going to find that promise hard to keepat least with America's allies in Europe. Most of them would be delighted to see Kerry win, but that doesn't mean they will be more cooperative on policy issues. Terror is understandably on everyone's mind, but there is yet another growing danger over the horizon. Early into a Kerry administration, we could see a familiar sighta transatlantic crisisexcept this time it wouldn't be over Iraq but Iran.
The threat to America from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, if they ever existed, is in the past. Iran, on the other hand, is the problem of the future. Over the last two years, thanks to tips from Iranian opposition groups and investigations by the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has become clear that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons. In the words of the agency, Iran has "a practically complete front end of a nuclear fuel cycle," which leads most experts to believe it is two to three years away from having a nuclear bomb.
European countries were as worried by this development as Washington and, since the United States has no relations with Iran, Europe stepped in last fall and negotiated a deal with Iran. It was an excellent agreement in which Iran pledged to stop developing fissile material (the core ingredient of a nuclear bomb) and to keep its nuclear program transparent. The only problem is, Iran has recently announced that it isn't going to abide by the deal. As the IAEA's investigation got more serious, Tehran got more secretive. One month ago the agency condemned Iran for its failure to cooperate. Tehran responded by announcing that it would resume work in prohibited areas.
That's where things stand now, with the clock ticking fast. If Iran were to go nuclear, it would have dramatic effects. It would place nuclear materials in the hands of a radical regime that has ties to unsavory groups. It would signal to other countries that it's possible to break the nuclear taboo. And it would revolutionize the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and Egypt would feel threatened by Iran's bomb and would start their own search for nuclear technology. (Saudi Arabia probably could not make a bomb but it could certainly buy necessary technology from a country like Pakistan. In fact, we don't really know all of the buyers who patronized Pakistani scientist A. Q. Khan's nuclear supermarket. It's quite possible Saudi Arabia already has a few elements of such a program.) And then there is Israel, which has long seen Iran as its greatest threat. It is unlikely to sit passively while Iran develops a nuclear bomb. The powerful Iranian politician Ali Rafsanjani has publicly speculated about a nuclear exchange with Israel. If Iran's program went forward, at some point Israel would almost certainly try to destroy it using airstrikes, as it did Iraq's reactor in Osirik. Such an action would, of course, create a massive political crisis in the region.
In the face of these stark dangers, Europe seems remarkably passive. Having burst into action last fall, it does not seem to know what to do now that Iran has rebuffed its efforts. It is urging negotiations again, which is fine. But what will it tell Iran in these negotiations? What is the threat that it is willing to wield?
Last month the Brookings Institution conducted a scenario with mostly former American and European officials. In it, Iran actually acquires fissile material. Even facing the imminent production of a nuclear bomb, Europeans were unwilling to take any robust measures like the use of force or tough sanctions. James Steinberg, a senior Clinton official who organized this workshop, said that he was "deeply frustrated by European attitudes." Madeleine Albright, who regularly convenes a discussion group of former foreign ministers, said that on this topic, "Europeans say they understand the threat but then act as if the real problem is not Iran but the United States."
American policy toward Iran is hardly blameless. Washington refuses even to consider the possibility of direct talks with Iran, let alone actual relations. Europeans could present Washington with a plan. They would go along with a bigger stick if Washington would throw in a bigger carrot: direct engagement with Tehran. This is something Tehran has long sought, and it could be offered in return for renouncing its nuclear ambitions. ...
Najaf Update: Alert!
August 15, 2004
The attack against Sadr thugs in Najaf just started! The US/Iraqi forces moves toward the centre of the city where Sadr groups hide from two direction without resistance yet!
Iran; (Kadhem Al Haairi the God father for Sadr groups) issued Fatwa for the involvement of the Iraqi police and other forces not to attack Sadr groups.
Iran deeply involved!
At least 30 Iranian fighters captured near the border in Kut in their way to go with sadr militia. Also two trucks full with arms have been captured near Kut from Iran towards Sadr fighters.
Mortar attack hit Imam Ali shrine outside wall!
No one know from where this attack came but it can be from any one including Sadr fighters who may do this intentionally to attract more support for them.
Sadr and his thugs ever polluted Imam Ali shrine by converting it into a military camp and a hiding place for his timid personality.
Sadr and Iran responsible for all what is going to happen. He now should not be given and chance to play his game of the mouse and the cat again with thousands of innocent lives exposed to danger.
The UN and international community should do their duty to stop and punish Iran for its interference and causing death of many innocent Iraqis. Iran and Sadr are responsible of profaning the Shrine of Imam Ali.
Things get quite and the Iraqi National assembly will send delegates for talks to stop fighting in return for dissolution of the Militia.
The Najaf governor asked the journalists to leave the city as their life is in danger.
There is news from the Iraqi Ministry of Interior that there is about 20 foreign fighters (may be Iranian) heavily armed inside the Shrine of Imam Ali who threatened to blow the Shrine if the US/Iraqi forces commenced its advance towards the shrine.
Maqty still hiding their!
The next few hours seems to be decisive especially with the journalists ordered out of the Najaf!
In a different subject there is nearly certain information about the presence of Azit Al-Dori in the Syrian capital Damascus since last April. He is not in good health accompanied by a woman who may have been married her after the failure of the regime when he was in hiding.
Allawi Stand Eases Iran-Iraq Standoff
August 15, 2004
TEHRAN -- Irans official media yesterday hailed what it described as conciliatory remarks from Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi following a spate of angry accusations from other members of his US-backed government.
In an interview with the state IRNA news agency in Iraqs Shiite holy city of Najaf, Allawi welcomed an invitation to visit Iran and said he looked forward to constructive relations between the former foes.
We want establishment of good relations with neighbouring countries, especially Iran, and believe that our bilateral ties are based on common interests, IRNA quoted him as saying.
Allawi distanced himself from US-led accusations, voiced by some in his administration, of Iranian interference in the new Iraq, notably by abetting infiltration of militants across the border.
If there are any complaints, they are pointing to unofficial figures. We do not accuse the Iranian government of interference in Iraqs domestic affairs, the premier said.
Some individuals penetrate Iraqi territory through neighbouring states, and that is true for Iran too.
Relations between Tehran and Baghdad were severely strained earlier this month when Defence Minister Hazem Al Shaalan accused the Iranian authorities of trying to kill democracy in his country by fomenting unrest.
Shaalan also charged that Tehran had abandoned its longstanding favouring of the mainstream Shiite religious parties in Iraq and was arming the rebel militiamen of radical leader Muqtada Sadr in their deadly clashes with US-led troops.
IRNA also reported reassuring comments from Iraqs charge daffaires in Tehran, Khalil Salman Al Sabihi, about three of the news agencys journalists detained in Iraq.
The Iraq embassy is following the affair closely, IRNA quoted the envoy as saying.
We have asked the Iraqi foreign ministry for information about the circumstances of, and reasons for, the arrests, as well as the latest news of the three detainees.
IRNAs Baghdad bureau chief Mostafa Darban and journalists Mohammed Khafaji and Mohsen Madani were detained by Iraqi police on Monday night.
The news agencys foreign editor Hassan Lavasani said yesterday that he still had no idea why his staff had been detained. The Iranian journalists association demanded an explanation from the interim Iraqi government on why the three were detained, in a statement carried by IRNA, whose journalists also signed a petition seeking their release.
There has been no word either on the fate of an Iranian diplomat who went missing on the road from Baghdad to the Shiite holy city of Karbala on August 4 and whose kidnapping was later claimed by a Sunni militant group.
Relations between Tehran and Baghdad have also been inflamed over the past week by a US-backed offensive on militia strongholds in Najaf, which is revered by the Shiite majority in Iran as well as Iraq.
Iran TV Journalist Arrested in Najaf
August 15, 2004
Iran TV journalist arrested in Najaf Agence France-Presse Tehran, August 15
A journalist for the Arabic service of Iran's state broadcaster was detained live on television Sunday as US troops led a renewed offensive against Shiite Muslim militiamen in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf. Mohammad Kazem, an Iraqi correspondent of Iran's Al-Alam channel, was detained at gunpoint by Iraqi police during the live interview from a Najaf rooftop.
At 10 am (0600 GMT) on Sunday, Najaf police chief General Ghaleb al-Jazairi had given all journalists two hours to leave ahead of a renewed assault on militia positions in the city centre following the breakdown of truce talks the previous day.
It is not the first time that Al-Alam has fallen foul of the Iraqi authorities. Officials of the US-backed interim government have repeatedly taken issue with the Iranian television's coverage, along with that of the Gulf-based satellite channels Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya.
Earlier this month, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari accused all three channels of "incitement working against the interests, security and stability of the Iraqi people" and warned: "We will no longer tolerate this in the future."
In fact the director (who I think had only directed one picture-"The Apple"-before making this movie) received an award at the Cannes Film Festival for her work.
The remarkable thing is that there was only one professional actor in the entire cast.
Think about that!