Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- August 20, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 08/19/2004 9:00:36 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
The US media still largely 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.
Iranian Militia Commander Wounded By Rebels
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Aug 19, 2004
A notorious militia commander was wounded and his aid killed in an ambush organized by armed individuals that successfully escaped from the scene of the attack.
The armed attack occurred in the center of the rebellious City of Esfahan just few minutes after the feared commander, notorious for conducting brutal interrogations, left militia headquarter for his home.
A motorbike carrying two masked passengers approached the militia car and started shooting through the driver's window resulting in the death of the bodyguard driver and wounding the despotic commander.
The unidentified assailants left the scene unharmed.
The armed struggle against the Islamic regime is in constant escalation. Many Iranian youths are shifting toward the belief that the Mullahcracy probably will not give up it's illegitimate rule by peaceful democratic means.
Movement protests against AFP's false report
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Aug 19, 2004
The Movement made, today, a formal protest against an AFP report in which this well known French news agency's Bahraini reporter had tried to misuse of the AFP's name in order to promote the false label of (Arabian) Gulf instead of the historically and internationally known name of the "Persian Gulf". The public protest letter was endorsed by Kaveh Mohseni, the Movement's Representative in France, and was sent to Mr. Bertrand Eveno who's the President of the AFP in Paris.
In this letter, while the Movement slammed the desperate tries of some of the Persian Gulf's Sheikhdoms in order to falsificate some established and well known international facts, it warned also the AFP on the consequences of allowing some local reporters to use of the name of the credible news agency in order to promote their illegitimate agenda.
Mohseni, who was writing on behalf of the Movement, hoped that the AFP President will follow up the affair and will avoid such future grave mistake, which while unable of making any real effect, would fuel more anti European and especially hostile feelings against France among the majority of Iranians.
A copy of a detailed document, in French, which proves the demagogy of the AFP reporter was attached to the letter in order to help the news agency's editors to have a better knowledge of the region and its true history. This document treats on the subject of the "Persian Gulf" and the legitimate ownership of three Iranian islands of Abou Moossa and the Lesser and Greater Thombs.
The English version of this document is available at the following link: http://www.daneshjoo.org/article/publish/article_2385.shtml
Too bad he was only wounded. Next time they'll get him.
IRANIAN THREATS MUST BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY, ANALYSTS SAYS.
By Safa Haeri
Posted Thursday, August 19, 2004
Paris, 19 Aug. (IPS) Iranian analysts on Thursday 19 August 2004 expressed serious concern about Iranian Defence Ministers latest declaration warning that Iran might launch a pre-emptive strike against the United States or Israel to prevent an attack on its nuclear facilities.
"We will not sit (with arms folded) to wait for what others will do to us. Some military commanders in Iran are convinced that preventive operations which the Americans talk about are not their monopoly", Admiral Ali Mr Shamkhani told the Qatari satellite television Al Jazira when asked about the possibility of a US or Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.
"America is not the only one present in the region. We are also present, from Khost to Qandahar in Afghanistan; we are present in the (Persian) Gulf and we can be present in Iraq", he said, speaking in Farsi to the Arabic-language news channel through an interpreter.
A day before, a high-ranking Revolutionary Guards commander had stated that in case Israel attack Iranian nuclear facilities, it should permanently forget about Dimona nuclear centre, referring to Israels best-known nuclear site.
If Israel fires one missile at Booshehr atomic power plant, it should permanently forget about Dimona nuclear centre, where it produces and keeps its nuclear weapons, and Israel would be responsible for the terrifying consequence of this move, the acting Revolutionary Guards Commander General Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr warned.
But in his interview with Al-Jazira, Shamkhani said "It's certain to us that Israel won't carry out any military action without a green light from America". So, you can't separate the two".
Such statements are mirror image of American officials threats against the Islamic Republic, parroting President Bushs warnings, but the difference is that the United States not only can strike against Iran, but it has pre-emptive plans for such operations, commented Mr. Hooshang Amir Ahmadi, a professor of Middle Eastern affairs at New Jerseys Rutgers University.
In the interview, Mr. Shamkhani also said that by their presence in the Persian Gulf, the Americans are in fact hostage to their own presence.
"The US military presence in Iraq and the Persian Gulf will not become an element of strength at our expense. The opposite is true, because their forces would turn into a hostage" in Iranian hands in the event of an attack, he pointed out.
According to some Iranian analysts, radical circles in the clerical-ruled establishment are in fact trying their best to provoke both the United States and Israel for limited action against Iran.
Well aware of their isolation both at home and abroad, hard-line elements in the political establishment think a foreign attack would mobilise the public opinion behind them, as it happened after the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein attacked Iran in 1980, one scholar in Tehran told Iran Press Service on condition of anonymity.
However, he added, the big difference is that a good percentage of Iranians, mainly the young generation, is also hoping for such a military action, in the hope to see the Americans topple the present Mollahrchy, as they did with the Taleban in Afghanistan and Saddam in Iraq.
Other pundits said the danger with the Iranian officials, including the militaries, is that often they do not weigh the consequences of their pronouncements.
Its like children when they menace to go over board. It is out of ignorance. This is the case with most of Iranian decision-makers, an Iranian journalist observed.
Although most Iranian military commanders among the ayatollahs Praetorian Guards are known for grandiose, if not childish, -- some would say rubbish statements, but the danger is that their declarations are taken seriously in the western capitals.
These kind of statements are dangerous because they provide the pretext for the enemies of Iran to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran, Dr. Amir Ahmadi noted further in an interview with the Persian service of Radio France International, referring indirectly to a recent declaration by the Defence Minister describing Israel as najes, an Arabic word meaning dirty, foul, or untouchable.
When he says that Iran is present from Khost to Qandahar (in Afghanistan) and can be present in Iraq, this run hundred per cent against Iranian government stated policy of non-interference in other nations internal affairs, he added.
"The moment the Great Satan (America) decides to take military action against us, that moment will be the end of all our nuclear obligations", Shamkhani said, referring to Iran's cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog.
For his part, Mr. Zolqadr had said that Israeli and American menaces are aimed at introducing a fear factor among some Iranian officials, coercing them to abandon Irans right to nuclear technology.
Given the internal crises in the Zionist regime and its military, security and geographical vulnerability, Israel is not capable of attacking Iran and its threats are only propaganda and are aimed at depriving Iran of its indisputable right to nuclear technology for peaceful ends.
The points raised by the two senior Revolutionary Guards officer came at a time that the United States and some European nations are pushing hard for taking Iranian controversial nuclear issue from the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
But international news agencies reported Wednesday that in their report to the next meeting of the international nuclear watchdogs Board of Directors, IAEAs inspectors would not single out the Islamic Republic for its nuclear activities nor would they recommend that the case be referred to the UNs Security Council.
ENDS SHAMKHANI THREATS 19804
Security Forces Arrest Prisoners' Families and Activist in Tehran Rally
August 19, 2004
Radio Farda Newsroom
Security forces arrested political prisoners family members and student activists who had participated in a rally on Tuesday in front of the UN offices in Tehran, but the Islamic Republic police and Tehran judiciary told the families of the arrested demonstrators that neither had records of their arrests.
The organ which has arrested the demonstrators may have done so without judicial warrants, using special powers given to it by law, spokesman of the independent opposition group the Democratic Front (Jebheh-ye Demokratik-e Iran) Hassan Zarezadeh tells Radio Fardas broadcaster Golnaz Esfandiari.
The intelligence ministry has already transferred the detainees to a cellblock in the Evin prison, and we have news that some have been released, including the family of jailed student Mohammad Ahmadi who is held in Karaj, he adds.
The demonstrators managed to speak to UN officials in Tehran, but unfortunately they do not pay attention to these things in Iran, Zarezadeh adds.
The demonstrators asked the UN to condemn human rights violations in Iran, including the judiciarys treatment of student activists and journalists, he adds.
Iran Must Comply with International Laws
August 19, 2004
U.S. Department of State
White House Report
The United States continues to focus on the need for Iran to comply with their international obligations, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan told reporters August 19 in Crawford, Texas.
Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran has the right to develop nuclear power with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) supervision; however, there are mounting concerns that Iran's program may divert into weapons production.
Recently, Iran has expressed growing disquiet over the U.S. troop presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
When asked about a statement by Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani, hinting that Iran may launch a pre-emptive strike to protect its nuclear facilities, McClellan responded, "The Iranians say a lot of things. But what the Iranian government needs to do is end its pursuit of nuclear weapons. That's what our priority is when it comes to Iran."
"Germany, France and the British are making it very clear to the Iranians, as well," he said, "They need to fully comply with their international obligations and abide by what they said they would do."
IRAQ GOVERNMENT TOUGH ON AL-SADR
The Iraqi government has made clear that Muqtada al-Sadr must abide by the nation's laws, said McClellan.
"The Iraqi government has made it clear that he needs to leave the Shrine of Ali, that he needs to disarm and disband the militia. And so they're working to bring a resolution to this situation," he said.
Al-Sadr, a radical Shiite cleric, and his loyalists began attacks against a combined U.S.-Iraqi force nearly two weeks ago in Najaf, Iraq. The insurgency remains one of the biggest challenges to Iraq's interim government.
"This is a serious security problem that the Iraqi government is working to address," said the press secretary, "and they are taking a very firm and tough stand with Sadr and his militia."
On August 18, the Iraqi government sent a delegation to the National Conference in Baghdad to negotiate with al-Sadr. Although al-Sadr accepted a peace plan, he defied the agreement on August 19.
McClellan reiterated U.S. cooperation with the interim government and said that multinational forces are actively supporting the efforts of the interim government.
"We need to see action by [Sadr] to follow through on [Iraqi] demands," he said.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
IRI is a Bad Sport
August 20, 2004
The International Herald Tribune
The decision taken in Tehran for the Iranian athlete Arash Miresmaeili to avoid competing against the Israeli athlete Ehud Vaks ("Ruling postponed in Iran judo case," Aug. 17) once again demonstrates Iran's inability to be a respectable member of the international community.
It is nonpolitical activities such as sports or music that can help break down the political barriers and bring interaction between people among which political relations may be wanting. Furthermore, to deprive its star athlete of a chance to win a gold medal is an alarming reminder of the sacrifices individuals must make in Iran for the so-called greater good.
Ariel M. Ezrahi, London
>>Iran might launch a pre-emptive strike against the United States or Israel >>
Should Iranian athletes boycott matches with Israeli opponents? [News]
-- No 78.16 % (494)
-- Yes 18.83 % (119)
-- Not Sure 3.01 % (19)
Total Votes: 632
Persian women tend to be very attractive --- probably the most attractive women of any Islamic country and you can see why they don't want to hide their faces as though they're ashamed of them. It's difficult to understand why Islamics would beat or kill these women for the way they're dressed.
Look at how georgeous those young women are. Why on earth would the mad mullahs try to hide them and make them look like little blackbirds?
Local Iranians Counsel Congress
by Karmel Melamed
As Irans fundamentalist regime has increased its persecution of Jews and become a major sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East, local Iranian Jewish leaders have stepped up efforts to inform U.S. officials of the increasing danger posed by the Islamic nation.
"Were at the forefront of keeping the people in the U.S. government aware of what Iran is doing and trying to highlight alternative types of government to the current regime there," said Pooya Dayanim, president of the Iranian Jewish Public Affairs Committee, a nonprofit organization working on behalf of Iranian Jews outside Iran.
Both Dayanim and Frank Nikbakht, public affairs director of the Council of Iranian American Jewish Organizations (CIAJO), have been the primary forces in educating lawmakers on Capitol Hill about Iran, facilitating meetings between several pro-democracy Iranian opposition groups and U.S. officials.
"In April 2003, I helped coordinate informal meetings between Reza Pahlavi and members of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nuclear Nonproliferation and Human Rights," Dayanim said.
Aside from informally advising the Constitutionalist Party of Iran (supporters of a constitutional monarchy), Dayanim said he has also educated other pro-democracy Iranian opposition groups, such as the Marse Porgohar Party (supporters of a secular government), on how seek assistance from key U.S. policymakers.
Last May, Dayanim said he collaborated with Rep. Brad Shermans (D-Sherman Oaks) staff in drafting the Iran Democracy Support Act of 2003, a bill calling for an international referendum on regime change in Iran.
"The bill passed in the House. It was supposed to provide $50 million to dissident political parties, people supporting regime change in Iran and opposition media," Dayanim said. "At the last minute, the Rules Committee stripped this funding at the request of the White House, which really took the muscle out of the legislation."
Despite U.S. lawmakers and officials support for regime change in Iran last year, the current mood for action against the Iranian government has dramatically changed as the U.S. war in Iraq has continued, Dayanim said.
"Iraq didnt turn out the way the administration wanted it to. They wasted their political capital there, and by this fall everything fell apart," Dayanim said. "Iran is the real hub of terror and is keeping the U.S. tied up in Iraq by supporting [Moqtada] al-Sadr, so the U.S. wouldnt go after Iran next."
Dayanim also said key U.S. government departments are split on whether to endorse a policy of regime change in Iran or to engage Tehran in dialogue and ease U.S. sanctions. As a result of this division and the war in Iraq, President Bush has yet to take a stronger stance again Iran, Dayanim said.
"The president has always been steady in voicing his support for the freedom of the people of Iran, and actuality it has been a moral support, but we need more action, because Iran could become a nuclear power very soon and destabilize the region," Dayanim said.
Even though Irans terrorist activities have taken a back seat as the conflict in Iraq continues, Congress has not totally ignored the country. Recently the House passed a unanimous resolution calling for U.S. action to stop Irans nuclear proliferation efforts, Dayanim said. Likewise, a Senate bill has been drafted, calling for regime change in Iran, Dayanim pointed out.
"Two weeks ago, Sen. [Rick] Santorum and Sen. [John] Cornyn introduced a new bill which is more explicit in its terms and will make it the policy of the U.S. government to have regime change in Iran," Dayanim said. "At this time, Im trying to get other senators to support this legislation."
Iranian government officials are monitoring the U.S. elections closely this year, because they believe that a Kerry administration would be more willing to negotiate with Iran without making any demands on its nuclear and terrorist-sponsoring activities, Dayanim said.
Both Dayanim and Nikbakht broke the historical taboo in the Iranian Jewish community of voicing opposition to mistreatment of Jews in Iran, when in 1999, they, along with numerous other Jewish organization, launched a campaign to publicize the plight of 13 Jews from Shiraz facing execution on false charges of spying for Israel and the United States.
"Generally the Iranian Jewish leaders have had a ghetto mentality by trying to keep everyone silent, because theyre afraid it will make the situation worse," Nikbakht said. "In 1999, we broke that silence with our campaign for the Shiraz 13, and that vocal pressure saved those Jews lives."
Nikbakht, who is also director of the Committee for Religious Minority Rights in Iran an informal local group consisting of Iranian Jews, Zoroastrians, Christians and Bahais said that after the international community condemned Irans treatment of the Shiraz Jews in 1999, the Iranian government halted its campaign of systematically executing Jews.
"For the five years before the Shiraz 13 incident, the Iranian government was executing one Jew per year to keep the Jews in line," Nikbakht said. "But now all this exposure has caused changes in Iran, and Jewish leaders there have been able to openly write letters to Iranian officials to voice their disagreement with anti-Semitic legislation and Nazi-like propaganda from the regime, which they couldnt do before."
Nikbakht said that for the past five years, the U.S. State Department has been incorporating his detailed reports about widespread discrimination against religious minorities in Iran into its annual report on Iran.
"Were demanding equal rights for all Iranians, regardless of their religion," Nikbakht said. "Were basically asking people in the U.S. government to put any pressure they can on Iran, including intensifying sanctions until they improve human rights in Iran for these minority groups."
Dayanim said his recent request for funding on a project to extensively document the large-scale persecution of religious minorities in Iran was rejected by the State Department, despite federal funds available for such research.
"We can only do this through federal funding, and its obvious that the issue of religious freedom for minorities was not important to them," Dayanim said.
George Harounian, CIAJO president, said the situation for Jews in Iran has deteriorated over the last 10 years. Between 1994 and 1997, 12 Iranian Jews were imprisoned and their fates are currently unknown, Harounian noted. He said they had attempted to flee the country by crossing the border into Pakistan.
Many Iranian Jewish leaders who are in contact with U.S. policymakers said they were optimistic about the U.S. governments future actions with regards to Iran. They said they will continue to keep the light on Irans activities, as long as it continues to threaten the world with terrorism and potential nuclear war.
"I think the [Bush] administration wants to help, but the election has to pass and things in Iraq have to settle," Dayanim said. "Im also meeting with foreign policy advisers to Kerry to argue that support [for] true democracy in Iran should be their policy as well."
THEY ARE WHORES! They are exactly like these jahilliyah sluts who prance about naked on the streets of Cairo. Who, by the way, ARE WHORES!!! Besides, they do not match the peerless beauty of my former defense attorney, Lynn Stewart. SHE IS NOT A WHORE KAFIR!!! I do not traffic in mukrah tramps.
(Nods head. Adjusts falling turban.)
That is right, my brother. WHORES! Showing a lock of hair? WHORE!!!
-good times, G.J.P. (Jr.)
I was thinking more along the lines of Adam Carolla.
Good times man, good times.
Iran has some real beauties ~ freedom in Iran ~ now!
Iran Missiles Sharpen Aim with U.S. Technology
August 20, 2004
Geostrategy-Direct Intelligence Brief
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps last week demonstrated the integration of a system that turns the Shihab-3 intermediate-range ballistic missile from a flying metal tube into a deadly weapon against Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States, reports Geostrategy-Direct, the global intelligence news service.
The Shihab-3's problem has not been its range, but its accuracy. With a range of 1,400 kilometers, it can reach anywhere in Iraq, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
But the missile, based on the North Korean No Dong, was not accurate.
The Iranians appeared to have changed all that. Tehran has procured and integrated a Chinese missile navigation system into the Shihab-3 apparently based on the Global Positioning System, or GPS.
In one test, the Iranians skipped a generation in technology and posed a threat to U.S. interests throughout the Middle East.
As WorldNetDaily reported, in 1995, the Clinton administration approved the sale of GPS technology directly to a company owned by the Chinese Air Force.
"The Iranians wanted to overcome the lack of accuracy in their missiles so they didn't have to target cities," a U.S. intelligence source said.
"Although the Iranians talked tough, targeting cities posed a political problem for them. Now the Iranians can strike Israeli military and U.S. military targets in Iraq if Teheran's nuclear weapons program is struck. Naturally, the Iranians are ecstatic."
The Shihab-3 could incorporate a nuclear weapon and Teheran has been working hard to develop its first indigenous atomic bomb. Iran has been getting plenty of assistance from China, North Korea, Pakistan and Russia.
North Korea has been the greatest of help, and many in the U.S. intelligence community have concluded that Iran and North Korea have informally linked both their long-range missile as well as nuclear weapons programs.
The next step will probably be a launch of the new Shihab-3 missile. This could occur in a few weeks if the Iranian leadership feels it would help deter Israel and the United States. Stay tuned.
Inside the Battle: why Najaf Matters
August 18, 2004
The Washington Times
Why is the storming of Muqtada al-Sadr's base in Najaf and other locations in Iraq a major development? Is it a risky move, and why is it taking place? These are important questions to be raised as U.S. and Iraqi forces encircle the militant cleric in the Shi'ites' holiest shrine in Iraq.
The stakes are indeed high, as a number of analysts fear a general collapse of the Allawi government's power if the operation fails, and by ripple effect, the U.S. role in that country. The situation is also complex as observers are focusing on the real attitude of the Shi'ia community in Iraq. Who are they really with? Who are they really against? And what would they actually do if matters in Najaf turn badly?
Some wonder whether Muqtada is a real leader to reckon with or a stooge of greater powers. My understanding is that he may be both: a real leader of a faction heavily linked to a greater power in the region, namely Iran. In short, this young Shi'ite cleric whose looks and gestures amazingly resemble the current leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah owes his current career to two other men: his late father, Mohammed al-Sadr, and the latter's Iranian friend, Imam Qazim el-Haeri.
The Sadrs are one of the most revered clans in Shi'ite Iraq. Imam Mohammed al-Sadr led a fierce opposition to Saddam Hussein's regime for almost two decades. But his struggle against the Ba'athist dictator was mostly inspired by the jihadist ideology in neighboring Iran. A classmate of the Ayatollah Khomeini, Muqtada's father aimed at replacing Saddam's Pan-Arabism with an Islamist Republic. In 1999, Muqtada's father was executed by Saddam's regime, leaving his followers, including his son Muqtada, on the run.
Thanks to the U.S.-led invasion and the toppling of the Ba'athist regime, the Sadrists made it back to Iraq from Iran. Muqtada was suddenly projected as the "new leader" of the al-Sadr clan. According to sources in Iran, Imam Haeri "lobbied" for the young cleric to become the man to be supported by the Khamanei power in Tehran, so that he would become the potential Hassan Nasrallah of Iraq. (Sheikh Nasrallah is the Iranian-backed head of Lebanon's Hezbollah.) Iran's plans for post-Saddam Iraq plans coordinated with Damascus is to develop the local power of Sadr within the Shiite community and project the young cleric as the real strong man in the country.
The rise of Muqtada to prominence was rather bloody. Immediately after the removal of Saddam, a competitive clerical exile (who was just returning from Britain), Abdul Majid al Khoei, was assassinated by al Sadr followers in Najaf. In August of 2003, another important leader, Imam Baqer al-Hakim, was killed by a car bomb as he stepped out of his mosque. Other Shi'ite figures were assassinated too. All were Muqtada's political competitors. He was able to move up the ladder by the elimination of all potential spiritual leaders, with the exception of Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani.
On the ground, Muqtada and his advisers, from the Pasdarans (Iran's Revolutionary Guards) and Hezbollah, formed a militia, the Jaish al-mahdi. The "Mehdi army" was essentially a tool of terror against fellow Shi'ites. To counter the mainstream popular force of the Shi'ites, the al Badr Brigades, the militiamen of Muqtada, deployed in the holy shrines, stated that they are "protecting them" and imposed embryonic "militia-rule" in the areas under control.
Hence, the collision between the pro-Iranian force inside Iraq and the coalition were doomed to happen. Tehran wants a vassal power in Iraq from Sadr City to Basra, and Muqtada al Sadr is her man. The main battles seem to be between Iraqi Shi'ites and American Marines. In fact, deep down, the war is between two forms of Shi'ism. The Khomeinists on the one hand and the moderates on the other. The United States is obviously on the side of the latter.
Walid Phares is a professor of Mideast Studies and an Iraq/Terrorism analyst for MSNBC and Fox News.
Iran's Brinkmanship . . .
August 20, 2004
The Globe and Mail
Is Iran headed for war with the United States and Israel? Judging by recent news reports, one could be forgiven for thinking so.
In the past several days, sabre-rattling, primarily from the Iranian side, has grown deafening. Iran "will not sit with arms folded to wait for what others will do to us," Iranian Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani said on Al-Jazeera television Wednesday. In a direct reference to U.S. President George W. Bush's doctrine of pre-emption, Rear Admiral Shamkhani threatened an Iranian first strike in the event that Iranian commanders believe a U.S. or Israeli assault on Iran's nuclear facilities is imminent. "America is not the only one present in the region," he said. "We are also present, from Khost to Kandahar in Afghanistan; we are present in the Gulf and we can be present in Iraq."
Earlier, a senior Iranian military officer said that if Israel bombed its emerging nuclear facility at Bushehr, in a repeat of Israel's pre-emptive strike on Iraq's Osirak nuclear facility in 1981, Iran would attack Israel's nuclear reactor at Dimona. (Though Israel neither confirms nor denies its nuclear status, the Dimona plant is thought to provide weapons-grade plutonium for an estimated 200 Israeli nuclear warheads.) Amid growing international concern over Iran's burgeoning nuclear program, there has been much speculation that Israel contemplates just such a pre-emptive strike. The result, if the threats and counterthreats are to be believed, would be the catastrophic wider Middle Eastern war that the more pessimistic analysts have feared for the past three years.
The public war of words must be taken with a grain of salt. Many analysts believe an Osirak-style strike on Iran is a practical impossibility, both because the country's nuclear facilities are widely dispersed and because the United States, which already has its hands full in Iraq, would oppose it. The last thing President Bush wants in an election year is a broader Mideast war. The U.S. stance so far has been one of pointedly diplomatic bellicosity. John R. Bolton, the U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, is pressing for the matter to be brought before the United Nations Security Council in hopes of isolating Iran economically, not of launching an invasion.
That said, there is cause for concern. Last June, Iran reneged on a commitment to suspend its uranium enrichment program. Last month, according to the United States, Iranian officials said the country could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to build a nuclear bomb within a year. (Most international estimates suggest an Iranian nuclear bomb is between three and five years away.) A week ago, Iran tested the Shahab-3 missile, which has a range of 1,300 kilometres.
Clearly Iran is engaging in brinkmanship, almost certainly predicated on the assumption that the looming presidential election and the war in Iraq have tied the United States' hands. The fact that the mullahs are probably bluffing -- Iran would stand no chance in a military showdown with Israel, let alone the United States -- does not make their posturing any less dangerous. For the U.S. election will be over in November, and Iraq is moving, albeit haltingly, toward greater democracy and stability. Saddam Hussein bluffed, allowing the world to believe he posed an imminent threat. He's now locked in a cell.
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