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Iranian Alert - November 10, 2004 [EST]- IRAN LIVE THREAD - "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Regime Change Iran ^ | 11.10.2204 | DoctorZin

Posted on 11/09/2004 9:15:27 PM PST 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.” As a result, most American’s 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. In fact they were one of the first countries to have spontaneous candlelight vigils after the 911 tragedy (see photo).

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.

DoctorZin



TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: armyofmahdi; ayatollah; binladen; cleric; humanrights; iaea; insurgency; iran; iranianalert; iraq; islamicrepublic; journalist; kazemi; khamenei; khatami; khatemi; lsadr; moqtadaalsadr; mullahs; persecution; persia; persian; politicalprisoners; protests; rafsanjani; revolutionaryguard; rumsfeld; satellitetelephones; shiite; southasia; southwestasia; studentmovement; studentprotest; terrorism; terrorists; wot
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin

1 posted on 11/09/2004 9:15:32 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!


2 posted on 11/09/2004 9:17:37 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Powell to Meet Iranian Officials



9 November 2004
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Secretary of State Colin Powell says he expects to meet Iranian officials later this month at the Egyptian-hosted international conference aimed at building support for elections in Iraq. At a news conference in Mexico City, Mr. Powell also defended the decision to retake the Iraqi city of Fallujah from insurgents.

Though the United States and Iran have not had diplomatic relations for a quarter-century, there have been occasional political contacts between them in recent years on issues of mutual concern including Afghanistan.

At a press appearance capping the annual meeting of the U.S.-Mexican Bi-National Commission here, Mr. Powell said he expects Iranian officials to attend the November 22nd conference on Iraq in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.  The conference will also be attended by other neighboring states of Iraq, the G-8 industrial powers and China.

"Since we'll all be at the same conference, I expect that I would be talking to everybody at that conference to include the Iranians, Syrians and others, just as I have done in the past when we had Six-Plus-Two meetings when we were dealing with the problems in Afghanistan," he said.  "And so we will have an opportunity to talk. But we haven't arranged any particular meetings. Nothing's been set up, therefore there is no agenda to discuss yet."

The United States and Iran have been engaged in a bitter dispute over that country's nuclear program, which U.S. officials say has a covert weapons component. But only last week, the U.S. Librarian of Congress, James Billington, held talks with his counterparts in Tehran in what is believed to have been the first visit by a U.S. official of that rank in 18 years.

At the news conference, Mr. Powell also defended the drive by U.S. and Iraqi government forces to retake the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, while acknowledging the operation would cause casualties among civilians. "Iraqi forces, alongside coalition forces, have assaulted Fallujah for the purpose of putting down this insurrection, to putting down this insurgency and reasserting control," he noted.  "Our troops will conduct this mission in a way that minimizes loss of civilian life, damage to civilian property. But it is a military action, and lives will be lost, on our side, on the side of the insurgents, and regrettably innocent people who would just as soon not have this insurgency in their city."

Mr. Powell said the insurgents had been denying Fallujah residents and other Iraqis the opportunity to participate in the political process leading to elections in January, and said he hopes Iraqi and world opinion will understand the necessity of the operation in Fallujah. He said in addition to concerns about civilian losses in Fallujah, there should be equal concerns expressed about lives lost in attacks by the insurgents, who he said murder dozens of people each day in an effort to deny Iraqis democracy and a better life.

3 posted on 11/09/2004 9:18:50 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Nov. 8, 2004 21:28  | Updated Nov. 9, 2004 11:54

The Region: Six Mideast challenges for a second-term Bush

By BARRY RUBIN

President George W. Bush's reelection signals a strong continuity in United States policy.

A half-dozen major issues in the Middle East require tough decisions. And the Arab-Israeli one, even with Yasser Arafat's semi-death, is the easiest.

On each of these six challenges – Iraq, weapons of mass destruction (which means Iran), the Arab-Israeli conflict, democratization, war on terrorism, and Europe – the Bush administration has to set and implement a complex policy.

But Bush has a clear, consistent idea of what he wants to do.

Bush's team is guided by a clear philosophy. It is strongly committed to this philosophy, it has withstood great pressure to sustain it, and it can now argue that Bush has a mandate to continue. Experience has reinforced this thinking.

For example, "everyone" tells them that the Israel-Palestinian issue must be settled right away. But even with Arafat going out the door, the White House knows well that the basis for diplomatic progress is not in place.

The same point applies to Europe, which has been hostile toward Bush and unhelpful generally on Iraq.

While Bush wants to improve relations with Europe, his guaranteed four years in office frees him from having to take any major steps against US – or Israeli, for that matter – interests to appease his European critics.

(Knowing that they must deal with him for the next years in fact puts more pressure on them to try to get along with America.)

Finally, the most likely personnel changes that will take place will probably strengthen Bush's commitment to current policies and his ability to do what he wants.

So US Middle East policy is going to be governed by a strong, coherent government that knows what it wants to do. It may not understand the region so well or implement the president's strategies so effectively, but that factor is hardly unusual for American administrations.

The reelected president faces six major issues about which difficult choices and urgent responses must be made. They include:

Iraq: This is going to preoccupy US global policy for the next year.

The US must somehow find a way out of the deadlock, allowing it to show that an Iraqi government is taking hold, violence is declining, and American troops can be withdrawn.

A failure here will doom the administration's overall image, power, and support domestically.

The turning point will come in the second half of 2005, when it will probably be clear that the government does not control the country, the war is continuing, and there is no easy way out.

War on terror: The Bush administration will continue its measures to block terrorist attacks and root out the enemy wherever possible. But being so overextended in Iraq will probably prohibit any new commitments or escalations elsewhere – the idea of US military action against Syria or Iran is extremely unlikely.

Capturing Osama bin Laden must be high on the agenda, and succeeding or failing will be a major issue.

If the US effort can prevent any serious attack on its soil or major terrorist strike against US interests elsewhere, it will be judged a success.

Iran's nuclear weapons: It seems likely that Teheran will get the bomb during Bush's term. US policy takes a tough stand against this proliferation, but what exactly can Bush do about it? He isn't going to attack Iran, and the Europeans are not going to go along with any meaningful sanctions.

Democratization: The administration will continue to support the idea of promoting political change within Arab countries, but this is going to be a lower priority, as it is clear the US can do little on this front.


4 posted on 11/09/2004 9:19:31 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran cracks down on Internet: rights watchdog


Tue Nov 9, 1:14 PM ET
Add to My Yahoo!  Technology - AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Iran is cracking down on Internet communications, one of the country's last forums for free speech and a crucial tool for local social activists, Human Rights Watch said.

According to the New York-based watchdog, the Iranian authorities are arresting activists and "bloggers," or weblog writers, in order to cripple a growing network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

"The Internet has been a gateway for outreach and information sharing with the Iranian public," said Joe Stork, director of Human Right Watch's Middle East and North Africa Division.

"With so many NGO activists arrested or under surveillance, the remaining members of civil society fear for their safety," Stork said.

In the case of Internet-related arrests, Human Rights Watch said the authorities were detaining contributing journalists and technicians rather than higher-profile political leaders under whose names the websites operate.

Iranian judicial authorities have given differing reasons for the arrests, citing spreading propaganda, inciting national unrest and "moral crimes."

"The only criminal behavior here appears to be that of Iran's judiciary officials," Stork said. "They seem to be ready to defy the country's own laws as well as its international human rights obligations in solidifying their hold on power."

5 posted on 11/09/2004 9:19:53 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Advancing Democracy

Posted on Tuesday, November 09 @ 08:00:00 EST by ramin
Atash

Despots have long formed coalitions on the international stage. Democracies are finally responding.

Paula J. Dobriansky
The National Interest
Fall 2004
Painting by Manouchehr Atash, Iranian-American artist and medical doctor (1932-1997)

The end of the Cold War and the attendant U.S.-Soviet nuclear stand-off have created a geostrategic landscape in which there is an unprecedented opportunity for the promotion of democracy. In fact, the United States is already pursuing this course. As President Bush stated in his introduction to the National Security Strategy released in 2002, America seeks "to create a balance of power that favors human freedom" and "will actively work to bring the hope of democracy, development, free markets, and free trade to every corner of the world."

President Bush is committed to these objectives because they are the right thing to do: The advent of democracy--backed up by the rule of law, limited government and civil society--advances human freedom and human dignity while empowering individuals and societies to reach their greatest potential...

Notwithstanding Iran's disappointing recent Majlis elections, which regime stalwarts manipulated to ensure their victory, the country's people are pressing for change. The Islamic Republic's young population increasingly seeks freedom from its repressive government and has grown disillusioned with the role of the conservative clerics, who control the police and security forces. Despite setbacks, this movement continues to advance and demonstrates that Iranians will not tolerate the status quo indefinitely.

In the Summer 2004 issue of The National Interest, Adrian Karatnycky called for "an effort to press democracy's expansion" that would take advantage of what he described as "an opening in history when there is a chance utterly to vanquish and banish the worst forms of tyranny and autocracy and replace them with an order rooted in the rule of law and democratic accountability before the people."

He is correct that the end of the Cold War and the attendant U.S.-Soviet nuclear stand-off have created a geostrategic landscape in which there is an unprecedented opportunity for the promotion of democracy. In fact, the United States is already pursuing this course. As President Bush stated in his introduction to the National Security Strategy released in 2002, America seeks "to create a balance of power that favors human freedom" and "will actively work to bring the hope of democracy, development, free markets, and free trade to every corner of the world."

President Bush is committed to these objectives because they are the right thing to do: The advent of democracy--backed up by the rule of law, limited government and civil society--advances human freedom and human dignity while empowering individuals and societies to reach their greatest potential.

The United States has a moral imperative to advocate that individuals around the world have the freedom to pursue their dreams in a secure, prosperous and peaceful environment. Promoting democracy also advances other important interests worldwide. Most immediately, it is an indispensable component of any viable strategy for winning the global war against terrorism, which poses a grave threat to international security in the 21st century. Democracy facilitates the establishment of legitimate and law-based political systems in states that may become sponsors or havens for terrorists, creates peaceful channels to reconcile grievances that can otherwise fuel bloody and destabilizing conflicts within nations, and instills hope, replacing the sense of powerlessness and despair that sometimes transforms ordinary people into willing terrorist recruits. It can also contribute to broader prosperity, which enhances stability and creates opportunities to expand trade and investment ties between nations.

Democracy-building is a protracted process, and one or two free elections do not a democracy make. A mature democracy requires far more than periodic holding of even free and fair elections. It calls for limited government, with many of the economic, social and cultural issues being handled within a private sphere. The rule of law is another must, with a particular emphasis on ensuring governmental accountability. Even though building a mature democracy may take a long time, we should pursue such a goal with vigor and dispatch.

While we believe that our constitutional structure and political philosophy contain unique insights into how to build and manage a multi-ethnic and diverse democracy, and while we are happy to share our experience, promoting democracy does not mean imposing the American political and constitutional model on other countries. On the contrary, citizens in emerging democracies must be free to develop institutions compatible with their own cultures and experiences. The desire for freedom, the rule of law and a vibrant civil society, and for a voice in one's government, is universal, but the specific institutional expressions of democracy will naturally vary by country.

Under this administration, U.S. efforts to promote democracy have taken several forms. Indeed, they have been as comprehensive and varied as the numerous challenges involved in democratization. One of our most exciting--and perhaps lesser known--endeavors is the Community of Democracies (CD), an unprecedented network of over 130 established and emerging democratic countries committed to strengthening democratic institutions and spreading democratic values worldwide. At its founding meeting in Warsaw in June 2000, an extraordinary group of ministers affirmed these principles in the Warsaw Declaration. Two years later, at the subsequent Ministerial Conference in Seoul in November 2002, the CD moved from affirmation to action, devising an ambitious and practical blueprint for its work. Known as the Seoul Plan of Action, this document spells out concrete areas for cooperative action among the participants, ranging from developing regional human rights and democracy-monitoring mechanisms, to promoting good governance practices and responding to threats to democracy.

Some recent activities of the Community of Democracies illustrate its practical approach and underscore its tremendous potential and growing impact. In June 2003, for example, government officials and NGO leaders from 14 African, Latin American and Caribbean democracies, as well as representatives of the African Union, the Organization of American States (OAS), and other regional organizations, met in Miami to discuss how they could most effectively address local threats to democratic governance. One of the most compelling moments during this gathering was a ten-minute speech by El Salvador's then-president, Francisco Flores, who movingly enumerated his country's enormous achievements during the last 15 years and described them as

"eloquent proof that El Salvador has discovered the path to defeat poverty and to attain prosperity. This path is called democracy, and it is based on this essential concept: that Salvadorans know how to resolve their problems; they just needed a chance to do it."

It is one thing for American officials to deliver this message, as we often do, but it is something else entirely for leaders in developing democracies to hear it from their peers. This discussion has intensified in the Western Hemisphere, where leaders of OAS member states participating in the special Summit of the Americas in Monterrey, Mexico, earlier this year explicitly recognized the Community of Democracies' work and urged the body to continue its efforts to strengthen democratic institutions.

A May 2004 initiative to assist East Timor in developing its nascent democracy likewise illustrates what the Community of Democracies can do to assist other countries. In this case, the CD sent a multinational delegation of local and national officials experienced in the nuts and bolts of democratic institutions to share the challenges they overcame and the lessons they learned in building and practicing democracy in their own countries. In addition to a Chilean public defender and an American judge (from American Samoa), the group included, among others, an Australian police official, a Cape Verdean election commissioner, and an Israeli local governance expert.

Beyond being action oriented, the Community of Democracies is distinctive and valuable in several other respects. First and foremost, unlike virtually all international organizations, it is not based on the principle of universal membership. Dictators and rogue states "need not apply." While the aim of the CD is to be inclusive rather than exclusive, participants and observers must make a demonstrable commitment to democratic governance and democratic values. Only countries with shared values are able to work together effectively to advance them.

Second, the CD is structured as a flexible network, not as a traditional international organization with an elaborate bureaucratic structure. Indeed, it does not even have a permanent staff. Its objective is to facilitate purposeful interaction among interested participants. The Convening Group, a core group of ten especially committed and active governments, is a coordinating rather than a governing body. Discussions on expanding this body and rotating the participating countries are now underway.

Third, the Community of Democracies is guided by a multinational group that represents the economic and regional diversity of the democratic landscape. It is not an American-run effort. The United States is an active member of the Convening Group; Poland, South Korea, and now Chile--which will host the 2005 meeting--have chaired it.

Fourth, by its very nature, the Community of Democracies inherently recognizes--even celebrates--the many forms that successful democracies can take. It does not promote one particular model of democracy, but instead seeks to strengthen democratic principles and institutions that reflect them.

Finally, by linking these diverse democracies, some mature, with centuries of democratic experience under their belt, and others quite new, the Community of Democracies not only allows for exchanges of views and information between new and established democracies, but also creates unique opportunities for newer democracies to share experiences with one another. This interaction among governments that in some ways have more in common with one another than they do with older democracies can be extraordinarily valuable, as these states often face similar challenges--and their leaders often have to make similar tough decisions.

The Community of Democracies is also working to have a wider long-term impact, by influencing efforts to promote democracy and human rights within the United Nations and its component parts. Working closely with Chile, Poland, Italy and others, we are gradually building a caucus of democracies within various UN bodies. This democracy caucus has established a network in which democracies can coordinate their support for resolutions and initiatives and work together to elect more democracies to lead or participate in relevant institutions. We view this as an essential component of broader efforts to reform the UN, bolster the influence of democratic voices within international institutions and diminish the influence of non-democratic states.

These efforts are already bearing fruit. During the annual session of the UN Commission on Human Rights earlier this year, members of the CD's Convening Group and other democracies joined forces to support a resolution emphasizing the importance of good governance in protecting and promoting human rights. This group also backed resolutions on the incompatibility of democracy and racism and the need to strengthen the role of regional organizations in promoting democracy. Although many governments regularly support their neighbors (or avoid antagonizing them) and align along socioeconomic lines, the emerging democracy caucus has established a complementary mechanism that, while respecting existing institutions, can also advance democratic values as a basis for cooperative action. Increasing coordination among democracies--and persuading them to vote together as democracies--can make a difference.

The recent establishment of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) is another creative American policy that will contribute to the expansion of democracy. Announced two years ago by President Bush, this innovative initiative rewards developing nations that "make the right [governance] choices"--measured by their performance on 16 indicators--by offering the opportunity for additional U.S. assistance. Congress authorized $1 billion for this purpose in 2004; the president has requested $2.5 billion for 2005 and is committed to seeking $5 billion for 2006. Full funding for the MCA would mean adding 50 percent to the $10 billion that America provided through core development programs when the program was announced in 2002. In May 2004 the Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation--the implementing organization, chaired by Secretary of State Colin Powell--announced a list of the first 16 countries eligible to apply for these funds.

The core logic of our approach is that, in the absence of political will to advance proven political and economic approaches, traditional development assistance cannot produce sustained progress on its own. Providing assistance without a strong commitment by the receiving government to improve citizen's lives is often unproductive, if not counterproductive, by helping leaders to continue business as usual. This situation has led some critics to question the value of foreign aid. However, from the very beginning, the Bush Administration has maintained that we need to reform the way development assistance is provided, focusing new attention on lasting development progress through partnership and mutual effort. The MCA builds on fifty years of experience by supporting those governments that have already demonstrated a commitment in three crucial areas: governing justly, investing in their people and encouraging economic freedom. Helping countries that have good laws and effective and transparent policies makes sense; they are best able to take advantage of U.S. assistance and, eventually, should no longer need it.

Compacts negotiated in partnership with participating governments are a cornerstone of this program. In addition to specifying objectives and priorities, evaluation criteria, and financial and accounting plans, recipients of MCA funds will identify the top challenges to their growth and development goals and are required to engage civil society groups and the private sector in their overall program. This not only promotes national ownership of the program, but further strengthens civil society and enhances democratic governance.

More fundamentally, the MCA promotes democracy in three essential ways. First, it helps to consolidate democracy in the countries selected to receive assistance by rewarding good policies and supporting partnership between government and civil society to accelerate growth. Governments that sign compacts make a public commitment to sustaining and improving their performance in the three critical areas covered by the selection indicators. Second, governments that do not live up to those commitments will lose MCA assistance, providing a strong incentive for continued improvement and avoidance of backsliding. Finally, the assistance they receive--and the success we ultimately expect--will serve as a powerful example to countries that do not yet meet the eligibility criteria. A similar approach by other key international donors, something we strongly encourage, would substantially magnify the impact of this initiative.

Needless to say, the United States also provides financial support to projects around the world that advance the development of civil society, free media and political parties and that promote human rights. The Department of State provides assistance directly through grants from programs like its Human Rights and Democracy Fund, which has more than tripled in size between 2001 and 2004, rising to $43 million. These funds go to important grassroots projects, such as legal assistance and human rights education in Uzbekistan, NGO development in China and the only independent radio station in Angola.

The Agency for International Development works to advance democracy as well through its Democracy and Governance programs, which focus on the four key areas of the rule of law, elections and political processes, civil society and governance.

Finally, the U.S. government works closely with a variety of domestic and international non-governmental organizations, such as the National Endowment for Democracy, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and the Council for a Community of Democracies, among others. These groups are vital partners, contributing enormously to worldwide efforts to promote democracy and human rights.

During this administration, the United States has given special attention to promoting democracy in the broader Middle East and North Africa. Indeed, this effort is a key component of our broad strategy toward the region. We believe that strengthening democracy plays a valuable role in winning the war against terrorist groups and the regimes that support, harbor or generate them, wherever they are located. We are also motivated by the increasingly evident and deplorable gap in democracy and development between the Middle East and North Africa and much of the rest of the world. The respected NGO Freedom House identified this "democracy gap" in its 2002 Freedom in the World annual survey. Likewise, the Arab scholars who wrote the United Nations Development Program's Arab Human Development Report in the same year argued that "there is a substantial lag between Arab countries and other regions in terms of participatory governance" and explicitly linked this lag to lower income, slower growth, weaker education and healthcare, and many other problems plaguing the region. When not channeled into democratic processes, the grievances fuelled by these problems can also contribute to radicalism and violence.

Some have argued that attempting to introduce greater democracy to the Middle East is futile and that Islam and democracy are fundamentally incompatible. This is demonstrably false. On the contrary, as Freedom House has pointed out, the majority of the world's Muslims live under democratic governments in countries like Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey and in western Europe and North America. One should not make the mistake of believing that there is anything inherent in Islam, or any other faith or culture, that will prevent the emergence of democracy. Similar assumptions, held widely decades ago, have already collapsed in Latin America and Asia, where democracies are flourishing. Iraq's fledging democracy could begin the same process in the Middle East and North Africa.

And in fact, there have been a variety of encouraging developments in the region. The emir of Bahrain has announced that his nation will conduct parliamentary as well as municipal elections that will permit women candidates to run for office. This is a significant step forward for women's rights, political and economic reform, and broader political participation in Bahrain.

Notwithstanding Iran's disappointing recent Majlis elections, which regime stalwarts manipulated to ensure their victory, the country's people are pressing for change. The Islamic Republic's young population increasingly seeks freedom from its repressive government and has grown disillusioned with the role of the conservative clerics, who control the police and security forces. Despite setbacks, this movement continues to advance and demonstrates that Iranians will not tolerate the status quo indefinitely.

Algeria's first contested multiparty presidential election this year suggests that the country is successfully emerging from a decade of terrorism and violence. These generally peaceful and transparent elections were an important step toward democracy.

Morocco's King Mohammed VI has taken an unprecedented move in the field of human rights in the Arab Middle East by establishing the region's first Justice and Reconciliation Commission to examine past human rights abuses by the state and compensate victims. The commission is led by a former political prisoner who suffered 17 years' imprisonment in the country. Morocco's king has also recently articulated a "vision for the future" that embraces numerous internal reforms to be implemented during the next five years.

More broadly, democracy has become a more frequent topic of discussion in the region. Yemen recently hosted a major international conference on democracy in the Middle East that brought together delegates from more than 50 countries as well as international and regional organizations. The final declaration stressed that "human rights [and] application of the rule of law" are "compatible with all faiths and cultures" and essential to "any meaningful conception of democracy."

One of the newer U.S. responses to the challenge of developing democracy in the Middle East is the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), announced by Secretary Powell in December 2002. The aim of the initiative is to build ties among NGOs, private businesses and governments in the Middle East and America and the rest of the world with a view to advancing reform in four specific areas: MEPI's economic, political, education and women's "pillars." The United States has committed more than $200 million to support projects between 2002 and 2004.

Goals in the political pillar include strengthening democratic practices and civil society, promoting the rule of law and government accountability, and enhancing the role of free and independent media. One of the projects announced most recently is a training program for parliamentary staff from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Lebanon conducted by the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL), which will also link participants to the African Network of Parliamentary Personnel established last year with assistance from the NCSL. In 2003, Bahrain hosted the Arab Judicial Forum to stimulate discussion of sound judicial systems and develop plans to address common issues. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor addressed delegates from over a dozen Middle Eastern countries.

Given the extent to which women's rights have been generally neglected throughout the Middle East and North Africa, activities sponsored by the women's pillar address an area essential to democracy and development in the region. As Morocco's king, Mohammed VI, said in implementing major reforms substantially improving the status of women in his country,

"How can society achieve progress while women, who represent half the nation, see their rights violated and suffer as a result of injustice, violence, and marginalization, notwithstanding the dignity and justice granted to them by our glorious religion?"

The women's pillar aims squarely at this problem with projects to reduce and eventually eliminate the legal, regulatory, economic and political barriers to women's full participation in society and government. These have ranged from training in the organization of political campaigns to building a regional women's network and strengthening the capacity of NGOs working on legal issues. Enhancing opportunities for women's economic participation is another key way to facilitate their political engagement. In August of this year, I had the pleasure of joining Secretary Powell as he welcomed the courageous and impressive participants in a business internship program for young Middle Eastern women.

In June the governments of the Group of Eight (G-8) countries committed themselves to a Partnership of Progress and a Common Future with the Region of the Broader Middle East and North Africa. Recognizing that successful and durable change will come only from within, this effort expressed strong support--"a generational commitment"--for reform in partnership with governments, business leaders, and civil society groups in the region. The Partnership is to concentrate on assisting the region in the political, economic and social spheres; G-8 leaders gave special emphasis in the political sphere to guarantees for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as state reform and good governance. The G-8 specifically agreed to adopt a Plan of Support and to establish a Forum for the Future as a platform for ongoing dialogue among G-8 partners and countries of the region on reform efforts, including democracy and public participation. The G-8 also committed to a Democracy Assistance Dialogue, the first session of which is to be organized this year by co-sponsors Turkey, Yemen and Italy. This is a mechanism for democracy-promotion organizations in the G-8 and other nations to interact with countries in the broader Middle East region, comparing "what works" and collaborating to increase the effectiveness of their joint efforts.

No discussion of democracy in the Middle East and North Africa can be complete without some discussion of democracy's historic advance in Afghanistan and Iraq. While each country continues to face expected and unexpected challenges, both have made enormous strides since the United States and our coalition partners liberated their combined population of 50 million individuals from uniquely despicable regimes.

Most dramatic in Afghanistan is the fact that voter registration for the country's national elections has already far exceeded expectations. Over 10 million Afghans--41 percent of whom are women--have demonstrated their enthusiasm for democracy by registering to vote despite sometimes dangerous conditions. During my last trip to Afghanistan, in February, I met a group of Afghan women who had walked miles to register to vote. More recently, elements of the former Taliban regime have singled out female election workers for murderous attacks. The fact that over 4 million women have still registered is a particularly powerful statement.

Iraq's new interim government has shown an impressive commitment to national reconciliation, an essential step toward creating a successful democracy in a country sharply divided along ethnic and religious lines. Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi played an important personal role in this process, reaching out to skeptical and even hostile groups to persuade them to take part in Iraq's National Conference in August. For their part, Iraq's people have displayed a similarly impressive excitement about their new freedom. Substantial majorities (75 to 95 percent) of Iraqis in seven cities surveyed said that it is "very important" to vote in the country's forthcoming elections; NGOs have flourished in post-Saddam Iraq.

Afghanistan and Iraq illustrate the broader reality that the global success of democracy and democratic values is far from automatic. In both countries--and everywhere else--building and maintaining democracy requires a very substantial effort on the part of national leaders and close partnership with other nations. As President Bush has said, "The success of freedom is not determined by some dialectic of history. [It] rests upon the choices and courage of free peoples, and upon their willingness to sacrifice." The United States has made its choice.


6 posted on 11/09/2004 9:20:24 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

WARGAMING IRAN

Tue Nov 9, 8:06 PM ET
Add to My Yahoo!  Op/Ed - William F. Buckley

By William F. Buckley Jr.

If you can do it, forget Fallujah for just a minute. Think Iran (never mind its negotiations with the Europeans). A productive way to do this is to read James Fallows in the current issue of The Atlantic Monthly. The title of the article is, "Will Iran Be Next?" The subtitle gives away the conclusions, and so will here be suppressed.

William F. Buckley
William F. Buckley

 

Not so the structure of Mr. Fallows' extraordinarily ingenious exploration of the challenge. We all know that "war games" are conducted at many levels. At the most rudimentary level, you and your constant companion can have agreed to basic rules: You will agree to act as Peerless Leader Kim Jong Il, your partner as president of the United States. Peerless Leader moves aggressively, the president counters the move; the colloquy proceeds, and in the end -- something happens, as in chess.

Imagine a war game in which there are seven actors, each one of them hugely experienced in government, whether as sometime head of the CIA (news - web sites), national security adviser to the president, U.S. representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, secretary of defense, and so on.

The meeting among these people has the objective of formulating a recommendation to the president on how to cope with the advances in Iran toward aggressive nuclear armament. The plot thickens at a great and readable pace.

Assumptions are sought and accepted. The question was asked: "Should Iran be likened to Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s Iraq (news - web sites), in whose possession nuclear weapons would pose an unacceptable threat, or to Pakistan, India, or even North Korea (news - web sites), whose nuclear ambitions the United States regrets but has decided to live with for now?" The immediate answer: The United States cannot "tolerate Iran's emergence as a nuclear power."

Here is another postulate in the war game. "At some point, relatively soon, Iran will have an arsenal that no outsiders can destroy, and America will not know in advance when that point has arrived."

Think back, as everyone in the room did, to Israel in 1981, when Menachem Begin sent planes to destroy the nuclear reactor Saddam Hussein was building at Osirak. That set back Saddam's nuclear program what proved to be indefinitely. Why couldn't Israel do the same thing against Iran?

But in the current scenario, Israel doesn't know where exactly the nuclear laboratories are, any more than we do. Add to that, the problem of Israel's military in getting to those we reasonably suspect as warranting destruction. "Israeli planes would have to fly over Saudi Arabia and Jordan, probably a casus belli in itself given current political conditions; or over Turkey, also a problem; or over American-controlled Iraq," which would require (and signal) U.S. approval of the mission. Add this: There isn't any way Israeli air demolitionists could get back from their mission. The targets are too far away.

So, the war-gamers conclude, a strike would need to be undertaken by the United States. Here three stages are envisioned. The first, a bombing mission targeting Revolutionary Guard concentrations. That, actually, is easy to do, a 24-hour assignment using existing resources.

Next in gravity would be taking on the destruction of known and likely nuclear sites. To do this comprehensively would mean targeting 350 points, and to execute such an operation would take days.

To move on to Stage 3, a regime change, we would have to use U.S. ground troops. And to do either the second or the third stage, you would need air bases far beyond anything now available. "Compared with Iraq, Iran has three times the population, four times the land area, and five times the problems," one gamesman pointed out.

Pause and think retrogressively. "About Iran's intentions there is no disagreement. Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, and unless its policy is changed by the incentives it is offered or the warnings it receives, it will succeed."

Moreover, if we undertook preliminary military moves, what makes us certain that the Iranians would sit still for it? "'We never "red-celled" the enemy in this exercise' (that is, let him have the first move) (one participant warned). 'What if they try to pre-empt us? What if we threaten them, and the next day we find mines in Baltimore Harbor and the Golden Gate, with a warning that there will be more?'"

Resolved: (1) Israel can't handle the challenge. (2) The U.S. can't abjure military action -- there must be the threat that we will act. (3) Gaining time does not necessarily enhance our leverage.

So? What happens is going to depend on a quick judgment by the president of the United States. What we can learn from Iraq is that he needs to be counseled on the consequences of alternative actions. He needs to avoid such as what we are contending with in Iraq.

7 posted on 11/09/2004 9:36:30 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
DoctorZin Note: Thought you might find it valuable to see the kind of terror we are up against. To view the video requires you will need Real Player.

VIDEO: TORTURE AND BEHEADINGS DURING SADDAM's REGIME

Benador Associates
November 31, 2004

Message from Eleana Benador

******************

Dear Friends:

When I got hold of the videos that you are about to see, I was hesitant on what to do. As the days have gone by, it became clear that there was only one choice.

As a responsible American citizen, I have decided that it is my duty to present these videos showing the horrors of torture committed by the Saddam regime to his own people, the Iraqi people who during decade after decade were submitted to this kind of monstrous treatment, without any word, not even from their Arab brethren --who, because they spoke their same language, could not be stranger to what was going on inside Iraq.

Videos like the present one are to be found in the streets of Iraq.

They are the testimony to the world and to History of what the Iraqis endured during the Saddam years of terror.

Witnesses are also the thousands of mutilated Iraqis that walk free now in the streets of their liberated country.

Witnesses are also the hundreds of thousands bodies found in the many mass graves in Iraq.

So, now, let's not allow anyone pretend that liberating Iraq could have been postponed, let's not allow anyone try to convince us that success in Iraq could have waited, because the way the extremists are trying to fight so fiercely to make this effort fail, it only means how big are the stakes and how doomed they will be when the Iraqi way of Democracy is finally full in force.

PLEASE MAKE SURE NO CHILDREN ARE AROUND WHEN YOU WATCH THE VIDEOS.

Bear with me, and let's watch these videos in the spirit of search for freedom and justice, not only for Iraq, but also for the rest of the world.

http://www.benadorassociates.com/media/r9der1.ram

http://www.benadorassociates.com/media/p5osax8.ram

In the hope for a safer future.

Yours,
Eleana


8 posted on 11/09/2004 10:41:24 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

IRANIAN-MADE DRONES FLEW OVER ISRAEL

By Safa Haeri
Posted Tuesday, November 9, 2004

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TEL AVIV (ISRAEL), 9 Nov. (IPS) Verbal menaces between Israel and Iran are bound to escalate after it was confirmed that Tehran assisted its Lebanese surrogate to fly a unmanned aircraft over northern parts of Israel, taking pictures.

“Iranian experts on unmanned airborne vehicles (drones) from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards took part in the launch from Lebanon of a Hezbollah drone that spent several minutes over northern Israel this week”, a well-known Israeli military analyst disclosed Tuesday in the independent newspaper “Ha’aretz”.

Iranian experts on drones from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards took part in the launch from Lebanon of a Hezbollah drone that spent several minutes over northern Israel.

Although the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah organisation had reported on 7 November 2004 that in "response to frequent Israeli aggressions against Lebanese airspace, it had flown drones over northern Palestine (Israel), yet this is the first time that such an Iranian by proxy operation against Israel is reported; using territories in southern Lebanon controlled by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, experts said.

Israeli papers, in bitter criticism of their Defense forces, described the drone operation as "Israel's Air Forces shame" while the Foreign Affairs Minister denounced the Islamic Republic as the "world's terror master".

“If Iran is ready to take the risk with such a direct involvement, it could slide into even riskier moves”, warned Mr. Ze’ev Schiff, a noted military correspondent with close links with Israeli military and intelligence establishments.

General Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr, the acting Commander in Chief of Iranian Revolutionary Guards on Monday had warned Israel against attacking Iranian nuclear installations.

His comments were an answer to recent press reports that Israel is considering the destruction of Iranian nuclear facilities on the same pattern they used for the bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981.

The United States and Israel accuse Iran of seeking to develop atomic bombs under cover of a civilian nuclear program. Iran denies the charges saying it only intends to produce electricity from nuclear power plants.

Mr. Zolqadr described Israel’s threats against Iran as “political bluffing” and warned that Tehran would strike back at the Jewish State or any other country that attacked Iran’s nuclear installations.

"Not Israel, but no other power in the world is capable of attacking Iranian nuclear centres. However, if Israel or any other country attacks any site in Iran, we know no limits to threaten their interests anywhere in the world", Mr. Zolqadr said, adding that the enemy cannot sustain an “all out riposte from Iranian armies.

According to Mr. Zolqadr, considered as a hard line officer, no nation would dare to attack Iran’s 10 millions trained basijis (volunteers) and one million soldiers “ready to defend their Islamic state”.

The first launch of an Iranian drone by Hezbollah ended with the plane crashing on its way back to Lebanon, Schiff said in his report, adding that apparently, the drone carried a camera capable of transmitting images back to a receiving station somewhere in southern Lebanon.

According to the military correspondent who did not disclosed the source of his story; this is the first time that Iranians were involved directly in launching the drone and preparing it for its mission.

“The drone was Iranian made. It was developed and built in Iranian plants in the 1990s. The aircraft is considered technologically very simple, with a pre-programmed route that is installed before launch. During the flight, a camera sends images back to a ground station, which was supposedly manned by Iranians, and the plane is apparently supposed to land by parachute”, the Israeli military journalist revealed.

The Iranians supplied several such planes to the Hezbollah, just as they supplied rockets. One of the Iranian conditions for the supply of the drones was that Hezbollah get clearance from Tehran before any launch.

The Hezbollah operatives were trained in the use of the plane by experts from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

“What makes it unusual is that Iranian military experts from the Revolutionary Guards sent their people to a third country to act against Israel”, Ha’aretz said in an clear warning to both Lebanon and Syria, adding that “it is possible the Lebanese did not know about the activity and the preparations and did not know about the Iranian involvement, but since it took place on Lebanese territory, the Lebanese government is directly responsible for the act of aggression”

“Lebanon also cannot wash its hands of the affair and pretend innocence. The launch and other military activity shows Iranians are in Lebanon, under the patronage and cover of Hezbollah, doing whatever they want and its arguments won't hold water if Israel decides to react to similar incidents in the future”, Mr. Schiff observed.

If Iran is ready to take the risk with such a direct involvement, it could slide into even riskier moves.

Syria continues to maintain military units in Lebanon while Lebanon operates through the Revolutionary Guards and other bodies.

Lately, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has bragged that his organisation can restrain Israel in the aerial sphere. He declared Hezbollah would change the aerial-military equation

“It is reasonable to assume he had received surface-to-air missiles from either Syria or Iran”, Schiff said, noting that the existence of a few drones will not change the balance of power in the air with Israel, even if the drones can penetrate Israel much deeper, and even if they carry cameras or even explosives.

However, the drone penetration certainly surprised Israel's air defenses and lessons can be expected to be learned from the incident.

ENDS IRAN ISRAEL DRONES 91104

9 posted on 11/09/2004 11:10:23 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran nuclear plan more like N. Korea than Libya: US

(Reuters)

9 November 2004

VIENNA - Iran may want to follow the example of North Korea by developing nuclear weapons secretly while promising to pursue atomic energy for purely peaceful purposes, a senior US official said on Tuesday.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control Stephen Rademaker said Iran was more like North Korea, which expelled UN nuclear inspectors almost two years ago and Washington believes has up to nine warheads, than Libya, which voluntarily abandoned its nuclear arms programme in December 2003.

“Iran is a lot more like North Korea than like Libya,” Rademaker said in answer to reporters’ questions during a briefing at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

“We do not expect Iran to comply over the long-term with any commitment not to develop nuclear weapons.”

Iran vehemently denies US accusations that it is using a civilian nuclear programme as a cover to pursue nuclear weapons. It says it wants only to generate electricity.

Washington has reservations about Tehran’s talks with the European Union, which is trying to persuade Iran to scrap uranium enrichment, which can be used to make fuel in weapons or material for a bomb, Rademaker added during a briefing

“Our view is that Iran has seriously embarked on an effort to develop nuclear weapons ... We are therefore very sceptical of Iran’s good faith in these negotiations,” he said.

But the United States has promised not to hinder efforts by France, Britain and Germany to negotiate a suspension of Iran’s uranium enrichment programme ahead of a Nov. 25 meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog’s governing board, he said.

The UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been probing Iran’s nuclear programme for two years. It has found many previously concealed activities that could be linked to weapons, but no “smoking gun” to show the US view is right.

Iran and the EU reached a tentative suspension deal over the weekend, but it has not been formally approved.

Diplomats say that if Iran refuses to agree to a suspension, most European countries will support a US proposal that the IAEA board report Iran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

SCRAPPING ENRICHMENT: EUROPEAN “DREAM”

Iran has said it is prepared to agree to a suspension of enrichment-related activities until a more permanent deal -- under which the EU might providing peaceful nuclear technology and a trade deal -- is negotiated.

However, a member of Tehran’s negotiating team, Sirus Naseri, said Iran would never agree to the Europeans’ ultimate goal -- that it scrap uranium enrichment for good.

“We will definitely not give up uranium enrichment. It is possible that we say that for a limited time we will suspend some operations but that doesn’t mean that we are going to put aside our capability,” Naseri told Iranian state radio.

“This is totally different to halting (enrichment), which is becoming a dream for the European countries. The EU has gradually understood that this is impossible”, he added.

Naseri said the EU trio had made a preliminary commitment to oppose referring Iran to the Security Council at the November board meeting and to push for an end to the IAEA special investigation of Iran’s nuclear programme.

A deal with the EU and Iran on European support for joining the World Trade Organisation is also under discussion.

“These two have been discussed and they (the Europeans) will definitely support it because it is beneficial for both sides,” Naseri said.

10 posted on 11/09/2004 11:13:10 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Europe and Iran


President Bush, who has said that Iran cannot be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons, is likely to come under intense pressure in the coming days to agree to support some kind of nuclear deal reached by the European Union and rogue regime in Tehran. But there is good reason to be skeptical that such an agreement will actually end Iran's nuclear weapons program.

    If recent history is any indication, a more likely outcome of the EU-Iranian talks would be some arrangement that won't prevent Iran from gaining such weapons but will provide a diplomatic fig leaf enabling the International Atomic Energy Agency at its Nov. 25 board meeting to postpone referring the issue to the U.N. Security Council. Mr. Bush should stand firm against such a flawed deal.

    The Washington Post on Monday quoted unnamed American, European and Iranian officials as stating that the EU 3 (Britain, France and Germany), which have been trying for more than a year to persuade Iran to jettison its nuclear program, could produce an agreement within days. The deal would call for Iran to agree to a full suspension of its nuclear-related work. In exchange, the EU (in a move reminiscent of the Clinton administration's failed 1994 nuclear accord with North Korea) has reportedly promised Tehran a package of economic and diplomatic incentives along with a guarantee that it will not be referred to the Security Council.

    But Iran has been demanding an exemption for part of the uranium conversion process which could move it closer to production of bomb-grade uranium. Such an arrangement would make it "too easy for Iran to conduct the next conversion step in secret," said physicist David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security.

    Yet even if Iran were to agree to a full suspension, recent history suggests that it would likely violate such a deal anyway. Over the past year, the IAEA has issued at least three reports documenting Iranian cheating. One such report, issued last November, showed that Iran has been deceiving the international community about its efforts to develop nuclear weapons for almost 20 years. In June, two months after Iran agreed to suspend its nuclear program, the IAEA issued a report suggesting that Iran continued to produce items that can be used to build nuclear weapons. In April, that report noted, Iran promised to suspend production of centrifuge parts. Two months later, while the centrifuge production had been halted at three state-run facilities, it continued at three private companies, the IAEA reported.

    One should not completely discount the possibility that Iran could eventually decide, like Libya, to abandon its nuclear program. But the evidence available thus far — and in particular, its repeated violations of promises made to the EU 3 over the past year — suggests that Tehran continues to behave more like North Korea.
    The Bush administration needs to carefully scrutinize any arrangement the EU reaches with Iran and be prepared to say no if it doesn't pass muster.
    

11 posted on 11/09/2004 11:17:02 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Last Update: 10/11/2004 14:45

Report: Iran admits to supplying Hezbollah with drones

?By Yoav Stern and Ze'ev Schiff, Haaretz Correspondents

A senior Iranian official has admitted that Tehran supplied Hezbollah with the drone that spent several minutes in Israeli skies in the north of the country on Sunday, an Arab-language newspaper reported Wednesday.

Haaretz reported Tuesday that Iranian drone experts from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards took part in the launch from Lebanon of a Hezbollah drone that spent several minutes over northern Israel this week.

On Wednesday, the Arab-language Al-Shark Al-Awsat newspaper, which is published in London, quoted a senior official in the Revolutionary Guards as saying that the drone was one of eight Iran-produced unmanned airborne vehicles that the country gave Hezbollah in August.

Iran also supplied Hezbollah with surface-to-surface missiles that have a 70-kilometer range, according to the report.

The official also said Iran had launched similar drones over Iraq to garner information on American military activity there.

The first launch of an Iranian drone by Hezbollah ended with the plane crashing on its way back to Lebanon. The drone apparently carried a camera capable of transmitting images while the plane is in motion.

The Hezbollah operatives were trained in the use of the plane by experts from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

The Iranian activity can be regarded as a clear-cut case of aggression against Israel.

What makes it unusual is that Iranian military experts from the Revolutionary Guards sent their people to a third country to act against Israel. They have usually supported Palestinian terror groups with money or weapons, but in this case, Iranians were involved directly in launching the drone and preparing it for its mission.

Lebanon also cannot wash its hands of the affair and pretend innocence. It is possible the Lebanese did not know about the activity and the preparations and did not know about the Iranian involvement, but since it took place on Lebanese territory, the Lebanese government is directly responsible for the act of aggression. Its arguments won't hold water if Israel decides to react to similar incidents in the future.

The drone was developed and built in Iranian plants in the 1990s. The aircraft is considered technologically very simple, with a pre-programmed route that is installed before launch. During the flight, a camera sends images back to a ground station, which was supposedly manned by Iranians, and the plane is apparently supposed to land by parachute.

One of the Iranian conditions for the supply of the drones was that Hezbollah get clearance from Tehran before any launch.

The launch and other military activity shows Iranians are in Lebanon, under the patronage and cover of Hezbollah, doing whatever they want.

Syria continues to maintain military units in Lebanon while Lebanon operates through the Revolutionary Guards and other bodies.

Lately, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has bragged that his organization can restrain Israel in the aerial sphere. He declared Hezbollah would change the aerial-military equation.

It is reasonable to assume he had received surface-to-air missiles from either Syria or Iran. Clearly, the existence of a few drones will not change the balance of power in the air with Israel, even if the drones can penetrate Israel much deeper, and even if they carry cameras or even explosives.

The drone penetration certainly surprised Israel's air defenses and lessons can be expected to be learned from the incident.

The Israel Air Force and its radar system should have no problem dealing with the Hezbollah drones and should set a price that Hezbollah and Lebanon will pay for such incursions.

Another lesson is that if Iran is ready to take the risk with such a direct involvement, it could slide into even riskier moves.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/499935.html

12 posted on 11/10/2004 5:14:12 AM PST by Reborn
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To: DoctorZIn; Reborn; AdmSmith

This drone story takes me back about 6 mos ago, when there were reports in Iran of UFO sightings. Everyone at the time believed they were U.S. drones. Now, it seems they may have been Iran's?


13 posted on 11/10/2004 6:16:41 AM PST by nuconvert (Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film.)
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To: nuconvert

They are at least producing them:

http://www.maarivintl.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=article&articleID=11614

Iran has supplied Hezbollah with eight drones
According to a senior Iranian official. One of them was the UAV that managed to penetrate Israeli air space on Sunday.
Jacky Hougi

Iran has supplied Hezbollah with eight unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and has trained 30 of the group's operatives to operate them, a senior Iranian official told the London-based Arab daily "al-Sharq al-Awsat".

According to the official, a senior commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, one of those drones was the UAV that managed to penetrate Israeli air space on Sunday.

He added that the drones, which arrived in Lebanon about three months ago, were used in surveillance missions over Iraq in an attempt to monitor the movements of US forces.

The official noted that the UAV carries three cameras, digital radar and electronic broadcasting devices. It is able to reach an altitude of 6,000 feet and reach a maximum speed of 120 km/h.

Iran is in the midst of developing an improved model, which would be able to fly at an altitude of 10,000 feet and cruise at 160 km/h.

According to the paper, Iranian Revolutionary Guards are currently training another group of Hezbollah members to operate UAVs. The training is taking place near the city of Esfahan.


14 posted on 11/10/2004 6:51:03 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn

NOVEMBER 10, 2004
[Excerpt]
AFFAIRS OF STATE
By Stan Crock

Can Bush Afford to Stay the Course?

Rarely has the Mideast been so tense or U.S. relations with Europe more strained. Is Bush prepared to try a new tack? The signs aren't good

President George W. Bush will find his plate overflowing with contentious foreign-policy issues in his second term in office. The Iraqi election, scheduled for January, could produce a new government at odds with Washington. Iran is proceeding with a nuclear program, and efforts to thwart what is widely believed to be an Iranian nuclear-weapons program could move to the top of the agenda. And by the spring, the Administration will have to decide whether to get involved in Israel's withdrawal from Gaza.

Indeed, not since Richard M. Nixon in 1972 has a President faced so much turmoil on the world stage after reelection. Notes Rand Beers, national-security adviser to Bush rival John F. Kerry: "Nixon only had Vietnam and dealing with the Soviets."

Iraq, Iran, and Israel offer opportunities, too. If efforts to quell Iraq's current chaos in Fallujah succeed and Iraqis elect a representative, broadly supported government, that stunning achievement would send a message to other hostile regimes in the region. Talks with Iran could produce a new template for dealing with nuclear-club wannabes. And Israel's withdrawal from Gaza settlements, with Yassir Arafat out of the picture, could spark a positive new dynamic in the Israeli-Palestinian standoff.

WHEN THE SHOOTING STOPS.  To make the most of these chances, a second Bush Administration would be wise to rely more on diplomatic deftness than military might -- a sharp departure from the first term. But there are few signs Bush will change his approach -- even if there are personnel changes in his Cabinet. While there has been talk of a less hawkish second term, "I haven't seen a lot of hard evidence," says one Administration insider.

The full-blown offensive against Iraqi insurgents in the Sunni stronghold of Fallujah could set the tone for the second term. "We'll see an aggressive military campaign in Iraq to clean the place up and make sure elections are held in January," predicts Ed Rogers, a Republican consultant with business interests in Iraq.

Eliminating safe havens for terrorists may ultimately be necessary, but military victory could come at a great political cost. Heavy civilian casualties could produce a popular backlash. "Taking over a town is not the hard part," says Kenneth Pollack, a National Security Council Iraq expert in the Clinton Administration. "The hard part is keeping it."

The Bush Administration would like more help from abroad, especially on debt forgiveness and training troops. The President says he has "political capital now" after his victory and intends to spend it at home. But he has capital on the world stage now, too. The Europeans and other allies have no choice but to live with Bush for four more years.

YANKEE, GO HOME?  He faces one immediate challenge: More than a dozen members of the coalition, including Poland, Hungary, Spain, and New Zealand, recently announced that they have withdrawn troops, definitely plan to pull them out, or are mulling doing so.   Why? Though foreign elites fret about estrangement from Washington, the biggest problem for foreign leaders is confronting popular opposition to the invasion -- and limited military resources. "There will be no German troops in Iraq," declares Karsten Voigt, a German Foreign Ministry official.

Dominique Moisi, a scholar at the Institut Francais des Relations Internationales, adds that "the French Army is already overstretched," and help from Paris would be limited to training police or civil servants. It may not be merely a matter of resources. "A lot of Europeans are fearful of America as the only superpower," notes Andrew Cooper, managing director of London polling firm Populus.

Even if the Iraqis manage to pull off an election in January -- a date many experts think is optimistic -- it could be a hollow victory for Washington. A new government may try to show it's not a U.S. puppet by becoming far more contentious. It may even ask U.S. forces to leave if it concludes that they are more part of the problem than the solution.

PERSIAN BOMB.  The options over Iran aren't any more attractive. The U.S. has been sitting back as the Europeans negotiate a deal to hamstring Tehran's alleged plan to build a bomb. France, Britain, and Germany are pushing a trade deal providing more nuclear-fuel supplies in exchange for strict curbs on Iran's nuclear facilities. The Europeans' idea -- which could be applied to other countries -- is that Tehran would have no access to nuclear enrichment, a key element of bomb-making.

Bush isn't standing in the way of such a deal, but his aides expressed doubts the approach will work. Iran reneged on a previous deal with Europe. The fear is that Iran might cut a deal to gain access to commercial nuclear technology, then secretly use that know-how to work on a bomb.

The Bush Administration believes that, at some point, it will end up bringing Iran before the U.N. Security Council, an institution the Bush team derided in its first term, and seek sanctions. But Iran has cards to play, too: Its strong economic ties to Europe and Asia could make U.N. support for sanctions problematical.

Besides, getting the votes would require a diplomatic suppleness the Bush team has rarely shown. Indeed, China may block the International Atomic Energy Agency from referring Iran to the U.N. in the first place. Shiite Tehran certainly seems bent on obtaining a nuclear bomb, either as a matter of Persian pride or as a deterrent in a rough, Sunni-dominated neighborhood. Even if the current talks bear some fruit in the short run, crafting a long-term solution to stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons will be a tough task.

15 posted on 11/10/2004 10:32:45 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

War Not an Option Against Iran - Germany's Fischer

Wed Nov 10, 2004 04:13 AM ET

BERLIN (Reuters) - War is not an option against Iran and no one expects the standoff over Iran's nuclear program to lead to an "Iraq-like confrontation," German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

But Fischer added in an interview with Germany's Stern magazine there were "deep concerns" about Iran's nuclear and missile programs, saying the acquisition of nuclear weapons would pose a grave threat to the region and Europe.

The European Union's "Big Three" -- Germany, France and Britain -- have struggled for more than a year to persuade Iran to give up its enrichment program, which Washington believes will be used to produce fissile uranium for nuclear weapons.

"I don't see that we're immediately heading for an Iraq-like confrontation," Fischer said. "I believe that it's clear to all parties involved that war is not an option."

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has also ruled out this week that the United States was preparing to resolve the standoff with military force.

The United States, which accuses Iran of developing nuclear weapons under cover of an atomic energy program, wants Iran reported to the U.N. Security Council for hiding its enrichment program for 18 years.

Iran denies wanting nuclear weapons and says its nuclear ambitions are limited to the peaceful generation of electricity. "A military nuclearization of Iran would have unforeseen consequences in one of the most dangerous regions of the world. That would not only threaten Israel but also Europe," Fischer said.


16 posted on 11/10/2004 10:39:32 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

EU Believes Iran Is 5 to 6 Years From Atom Bomb

[Excerpt]
November 10, 2004
The Wall Street Journal
Marc Champion and Carla Ann Robbins


European officials believe Iran is five to six years away from possessing a nuclear weapon, and say their goal in a proposed deal to suspend Iran's uranium-enrichment activities is to ensure that Tehran gets no closer than that.

The time assessment helps explain why European Union officials are pursuing the deal -- negotiated last week but awaiting approval in Tehran -- in the face of deep U.S. skepticism that the EU will persuade Iran to abandon its alleged 18-year effort to acquire nuclear weapons. The U.S. has a much stronger sense of urgency, in part based on intelligence estimates that Iran could acquire a weapon within a year or by the end of this decade at the latest.

U.S. officials have been working to increase pressure on Tehran by referring the matter to the United Nations Security Council for potential economic sanctions later this month. U.S. officials acknowledged yesterday that if the United Kingdom champions the EU deal, Washington will have little choice but to accept it -- at least for a while.

But U.S. officials also said President Bush is unlikely to accept any European urging that the U.S. also offer improved bilateral relations with Iran as a way to seal any deal. Mr. Bush's re-election has led some American conservatives to quietly talk about the possibility of airstrikes by U.S. or Israeli forces if Iran continues down its current path. They warn there may be only limited time to act before Iran acquires fissile material -- the guts of a nuclear weapon -- and while Western intelligence agencies still know the location of Iranian equipment.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said last week that such military action would be unjustifiable in current circumstances, and even hints of such action have made European officials nervous.

"What we want is to get ourselves in a situation where Iran is not making any progress on technologies that are essential for building nuclear weapons," said a senior European official involved in the talks. "The Iranians are still five to six years away from building a nuclear weapon. If we can keep it at five years, that would be an achievement in itself."

At the same time, the official said European negotiators have made it clear that they want Iran to abandon its enrichment program altogether, and to rely instead on imported fuel for its planned nuclear-power plants. Iran has denied any intent to produce nuclear weapons and has refused to give up its right to produce enriched uranium, which can be used to fuel civilian nuclear-power stations as well as to make atomic weapons.

There is no way to gauge precisely the accuracy of the European and American estimates of Iran's nuclear potential. What is clear is that Iran in recent years has made significant progress -- with the help of the clandestine network overseen by Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan -- in mastering the most challenging technology and science needed to enrich uranium.

Gary Milhollin, head of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control in Washington, says the Europeans' time frame is too long and the U.S. "one year to a bomb" estimate is too short. He thinks Iran could have enough material and the design for one bomb in 1½ to two years.

The current deal sets no expiration date on Iran's suspension of enrichment activities, the European official said. It would launch new negotiations to secure a permanent solution. "There's quite a debate going on in Tehran about this," the official said. But he added: "This negotiation is over. They need to make a decision, and they need to make it this week." ...

John Fialka in Washington contributed to this article.

Write to Marc Champion at marc.champion@wsj.com and Carla Anne Robbins at carla.robbins@wsj.com

17 posted on 11/10/2004 10:45:20 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Last Update: 10/11/2004 18:16

Report: Iran admits to supplying Hezbollah with drones

By Yoav Stern and Ze'ev Schiff, Haaretz Correspondents

A senior Iranian official has admitted that Tehran supplied Hezbollah with the drone that spent several minutes in Israeli skies in the north of the country on Sunday, an Arab-language newspaper reported Wednesday.

Haaretz reported Tuesday that Iranian drone experts from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards took part in the launch from Lebanon of a Hezbollah drone that spent several minutes over northern Israel this week.

On Wednesday, the Arab-language Al-Shark Al-Awsat newspaper, which is published in London, quoted a senior official in the Revolutionary Guards as saying that the drone was one of eight Iran-produced unmanned airborne vehicles that the country gave Hezbollah in August.

Iran also supplied Hezbollah with surface-to-surface missiles that have a 70-kilometer range, according to the report.

The official also said Iran had launched similar drones over Iraq to garner information on American military activity there.

The first launch of an Iranian drone by Hezbollah ended with the plane crashing on its way back to Lebanon. The drone apparently carried a camera capable of transmitting images while the plane is in motion.

The Hezbollah operatives were trained in the use of the plane by experts from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

The Iranian activity can be regarded as a clear-cut case of aggression against Israel.

What makes it unusual is that Iranian military experts from the Revolutionary Guards sent their people to a third country to act against Israel. They have usually supported Palestinian terror groups with money or weapons, but in this case, Iranians were involved directly in launching the drone and preparing it for its mission.

Lebanon also cannot wash its hands of the affair and pretend innocence. It is possible the Lebanese did not know about the activity and the preparations and did not know about the Iranian involvement, but since it took place on Lebanese territory, the Lebanese government is directly responsible for the act of aggression. Its arguments won't hold water if Israel decides to react to similar incidents in the future.

The drone was developed and built in Iranian plants in the 1990s. The aircraft is considered technologically very simple, with a pre-programmed route that is installed before launch. During the flight, a camera sends images back to a ground station, which was supposedly manned by Iranians, and the plane is apparently supposed to land by parachute.

One of the Iranian conditions for the supply of the drones was that Hezbollah get clearance from Tehran before any launch.

The launch and other military activity shows Iranians are in Lebanon, under the patronage and cover of Hezbollah, doing whatever they want.

Syria continues to maintain military units in Lebanon while Lebanon operates through the Revolutionary Guards and other bodies.

Lately, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has bragged that his organization can restrain Israel in the aerial sphere. He declared Hezbollah would change the aerial-military equation.

It is reasonable to assume he had received surface-to-air missiles from either Syria or Iran. Clearly, the existence of a few drones will not change the balance of power in the air with Israel, even if the drones can penetrate Israel much deeper, and even if they carry cameras or even explosives.

The drone penetration certainly surprised Israel's air defenses and lessons can be expected to be learned from the incident.

The Israel Air Force and its radar system should have no problem dealing with the Hezbollah drones and should set a price that Hezbollah and Lebanon will pay for such incursions.

Another lesson is that if Iran is ready to take the risk with such a direct involvement, it could slide into even riskier moves.


18 posted on 11/10/2004 10:49:51 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran Official Warns of NPT Pull-Out if West Presses

Wed Nov 10, 2004 07:41 AM ET

By Paul Hughes

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran will pull out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and develop its atomic program in secret if Western nations threaten or put pressure on Tehran, a senior Iran diplomat was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

Iranian government officials have in the past repeatedly said Tehran had no intention of following North Korea's example of withdrawing from the NPT.

Diplomats expect Iran to announce shortly that it has agreed to suspend nuclear fuel cycle activities which could be used to make bomb material as part of a deal with the European Union to avoid referral to the U.N. Security Council.

But Sirus Naseri, a member of the Iranian negotiating team in the talks with the EU, warned Iran -- which says its atomic program is strictly for civilian use -- could take drastic steps if the talks did not proceed as Tehran wants.

"If they start to pressure or threaten us, then we will put aside the treaty and go underground," the semi-official Mehr news agency quoted him as saying.

"In that case, after one or two years, America and the EU will send mediators to talk to us and find a solution," he said.

Iran says it has the right as an NPT signatory to develop an atomic program to generate electricity to meet booming demand.

But Washington and Israel say Tehran's real ambition is to make nuclear weapons and want it to scrap activities that could be used to make bomb-grade material, such as uranium enrichment.

The EU says that if Iran scraps its enrichment facilities it will guarantee a supply of fuel for its reactors.

SUPENSION YES, CESSATION NO

But Naseri said Iran "will never rely on other countries to supply us with the nuclear fuel, which means we will definitely keep our enrichment program."

"We will never accept cessation (of enrichment). This issue has been removed from the talks' agenda," he added.

He said a preliminary deal reached during talks with the EU last weekend would ease international pressure on Iran, which faces possible U.N. Security Council sanctions should it fail to suspend uranium enrichment and fuel reprocessing activities.

"This agreement will provide us with a peaceful period, which we needed," he said.

"Acting properly and reaching an understanding with the EU ... will strengthen Iran's international status. Otherwise we would be put in a difficult situation," he said.

But he said Iran would resume enrichment if it felt the EU was dragging its feet on a final settlement. And he said Iran could use the suspension time to review and perfect its nuclear technology.

"Normally when you resume an activity it will be of a higher quality than before," he said.

His comments are likely to fuel concerns in Washington that Iran is using its negotiations with the EU to buy time and ease international pressure while continuing to develop its atomic program in secret.

But Naseri said Washington had the final say on the EU deal.

"We know that the main party, absent in the talks, is America ... we know that the EU must coordinate with America and they themselves are not the decision-makers," he said.

He said Iran was prepared to talk to Washington directly if it treated Tehran as an equal.

"If one day America understands that we are at the same level, then we can hold direct talks with America. But right now, we do not see America having such an attitude," he said.


19 posted on 11/10/2004 10:53:04 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn


We’re Not Alone

Celebrating W., the Sequel — all around the world.

By Barbara Lerner

Americans who voted for George W. Bush on November 2 are celebrating this week, and despite the anti-Bush hysteria in much of the Western press, we're not celebrating alone. At what John Donne called "the round earth's imagined corners," other freedom-loving souls in their hundred millions celebrate with us, unseen. Like us, they're feeling joy and relief and renewed resolve, but they could use a little recognition too, because throughout this long campaign, John Kerry and the elite media, here and in Great Britain, have been insisting that they don't exist, that "the world" consists of old Europe, the U.N., and a bevy of NGOs and Arab states, all consumed with hatred and fear of us as a result of the "unilateral" actions of our president. The real world is a very different place, and this is a good time to take a fresh look at it, in order to recognize our friends as well as our adversaries, and get some perspective on both.

Let's start with Europe. For the elite media, it consists of a European Union dominated by France and Germany, and not much else. In fact, France and Germany together have just under 143 million people, whereas Europe — if you include Russia and Turkey, the two great nations that straddle Europe and Asia — has a population well over 800 million. That's almost triple our 293 million, but we are one nation, while Europe is divided up into 44 separate states. Currently, 25 of them with a total population of 462 million are members of the EU, but they were far from unified, even before the addition of ten new members this year, and the divisions are certain to increase, making Franco-German dominance a phenomenon that will not last. This is so, in large part, because most new members are former captive nations of the east. They were eager to join the EU for the economic benefits membership now confers, but most are keenly aware that it was Ronald Reagan's America — not the EU or the U.N. — that made their liberation possible, and they generally see George W. Bush as Reagan's heir. His religiosity — anathema to much of the post-Christian West — doesn't offend them. A half century of Communist suppression of independent churches left many in ignorance about their ancestral faiths, but not hostile to them. Consequently, they have little sympathy for the anti-Bush histrionics of the Franco-German axis. More central still, their long and bitter experience with totalitarian ideology and control inclines them towards a much more realistic appraisal of the Islamofascist threat and, in general, to a worldview that is much closer to our own.

For evidence of that, we have only to look at the 32 nations whose troops are with us in Iraq: 21 are European, and of those, 15 are from the east. Unsurprisingly, Kerry's repeated trashing of their contributions to what he kept calling "a trumped-up so-called Coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought, and the extorted," didn't win him many friends in this group. For all these reasons and more, millions of east Europeans as well as significant numbers of our other Coalition partners were rooting for a Bush victory, although few of their leaders were quite as vehement as Polish president Alexander Kwasniewski. Kwasniewski was outspokenly angry, but a surprising number of other heads of major states also abandoned their traditional public stance of neutrality with regard to American elections in order to make their preference for a Bush victory clear. The list includes Portugal's Jose Manuel Barosso — the new president of the European Commission — along with Italy's Silvio Berlusconi, Japan's Junichiro Koizumi, Australia's John Howard, and Russia's Vladimir Putin.

Putin's endorsement is especially interesting because he is the only member of this group of Bush fans who opposed our invasion of Iraq and sent no troops to join us there. In the past, Putin joined instead in the Islamofascist appeasement policies of the Euro-Arab axis led by France and Germany, preferring — except for occasional propaganda purposes — to see the violence in the Caucasus as a separate, unrelated problem. As I've argued, the participation of Arabs and other foreign Islamist terrorists in funding, planning, and carrying out the massacre of Russian school-children in Beslan shocked Putin into reconsidering that stance, and George W. Bush's patient cultivation of his friendship makes that easier to do. So, too, do the attitudes of the Russian people. Recent, much publicized polls in parts of western Europe and the Middle East lands show that popular sentiment in many allegedly allied countries is predominantly hostile to us, but Russia was the great exception: we are popular there, and so is our president.

Sadly, the other two-continent giant, Turkey, is moving in the opposite direction, away from us and towards the French and the Germans. Turkey is currently obsessed with gaining acceptance into the EU, not just for the economic benefits, but because EU membership is mixed up, in many Turkish minds, with profound questions of identity — with being recognized as a progressive, civilized, and modern nation, and not just another despotic Muslim backwater. In fact, although Turkey is still much poorer than the countries of western Europe, its people, at least in its great cities, have long been more similar to Europeans than to Arabs. And, although they get no credit for it, their political culture is, in many ways, superior to that of their European counterparts. Condescending Euros love to dwell on the fact that Turkey experienced a few brief, bloodless, and scrupulously honest periods of military rule, but they studiously ignore the fact that unlike their own countries, the Republic Ataturk founded 81 years ago never succumbed to fascism, communism, or any other form of totalitarian rule. For the moment, alas, none of that matters much. If the EU admits Turkey to the candidate status she craves at their December 17 summit, the long, convoluted "accession process" which follows is likely to keep Turkey subservient to the Franco-German worldview for at least a decade, assuming that the EU lasts that long as something more than a customs union.

Events beyond any president's control may have temporarily distanced the Turks, but President Bush's diplomacy has strengthened our ties to longstanding allies in Asia and extended them to significant new ones. Because our elite media lives in a small, gossipy, Eurocentric world, they have largely ignored these developments, but they are extremely important. In the real world, there are more than six and a third billion people, and more than three and a half billion of them live in Asia. Most Americans know that over a billion of them are in China. Many do not know that India, too, has a population of over a billion, but it does, and relations with India are much warmer under George W. Bush than they were when the Clinton administration was issuing its futile condemnations of India's nuclear development. India never was a threat to us; Pakistan was, due to its role in nuclear proliferation and its support for terrorism, but President Bush has done a masterful job of reversing that, to the extent that it can be reversed, given the hold that Islamist fanaticism has on much of the population there. With the aid of our remarkable military, the Bush team has worked even more of a miracle in Afghanistan, as the brave and moving turnout of voters for that country's first ever free election clearly demonstrated. Elsewhere in Asia, we have many staunch allies who are celebrating with us because they see the Bush reelection the way Australia's John Howard does, as "a victory for the anti-terrorism cause." Eleven of these Asian allies sent troops to join us in Iraq, and so far, ten are hanging tough, in spite of the dangers they face and the scorn heaped on them by John Kerry and his parochial brand of Europhilic "multilateralism."

In the Middle East, large percentages of the people in three key countries are celebrating too. In Iraq, it's mainly the leaders and the middle classes who share our joy at the president's decisive election victory. In Iran, it's the opposite: Ordinary people of all classes had their hopes rekindled; only the fanatic Mullahs who misrule them are gnashing their teeth, along with the EuroArab axis. In Israel, both the leaders and the people from all spheres except the small and shrinking Left are breathing a big sigh of relief. Most American Jews are still too lost in puerile fantasies about the fake peace of Oslo to understand the hope of real peace and security that George W. Bush brings to the region, but almost all of Israel's Jews get it, and are grateful. And, although I am on record as being much less sanguine than our president about the possibilities for anything like democracy in the rest of the Middle East in his lifetime, there are handfuls of freedom lovers scattered about, even here, and they, too, are celebrating, although most are forced to do so in secret.

The kind of deep-rooted, fanatic hatred that pervades and disfigures so many of the failed states of the Middle East is largely absent among our Spanish-speaking neighbors to the south, but an infantile Leftism still holds many in thrall. The most striking exception is El Salvador, another country that freed itself from Communist rule with our help, and contributes troops to our Coalition in Iraq. Africa is, for the present, too immersed in the monumental problems of its own troubled continent to contribute troops to Iraq, but there, too, there are leaders with enough vision to be valuable partners in the future. If I had to bet, I'd put my money on Rwanda's Paul Kagame. This remarkable man may be a problematic non-person to the U.N., the NGOs, and the sneering crowds in Brussels and the Hague, but like our other ignored and derided friends and allies around the world, he may be part of a better future than the Chiracs, Schroeders, Cooks, and Pattens can imagine. And while we celebrate the fact that we have a president who is working skillfully to create that better world, it behooves us all to take some time out to salute the brave allies who are helping him do it, as well as the "numberlesse infinities" of the nameless oppressed who are praying that he succeeds.

Here, then, is the list of 32 Coalition partners to salute, listed by population size, from largest to smallest within each region. EU members are starred.

Asia's 10: Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Australia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Singapore, New Zealand, Mongolia and Tonga. Total population: 295 million.

Eastern Europe's 15: Ukraine, Poland,* Romania, Czech Republic,* Hungary,* Bulgaria, Slovakia, Georgia, Moldova, Lithuania,* Albania, Armenia, Latvia,* Macedonia, and Estonia.* Total population: 167 million.

Western Europe's 6: Great Britain,* Italy,* Netherlands,* Portugal,* Denmark,* and Norway.* Total Population: 155 million.

Central America's 1: El Salvador. Population: 6 and a half million.

A toast to them all!

Barbara Lerner is a frequent NRO contributor.

20 posted on 11/10/2004 11:12:36 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
[Excerpt]
November 9, 2004

Press Briefing by Scott McClellan

Q Can you clarify the status of negotiations with Iran to curtail their nuclear energy program?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, there's -- as far as I know at this point, I'm not aware of any formal agreement that has been reached. We will see what happens. Those discussions I think are ongoing between our European friends and Iran. What we have made clear is that Iran needs to fully comply with its international commitments. They made commitments and they need to fully comply. If they do not comply, we think that is a matter that needs to be taken up at the next meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency later this month and referred to the Security Council.

21 posted on 11/10/2004 11:21:23 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Russia Plays Major Role in Iran's Foreign Policy

Russian Information Agency - Report Section
Nov 10, 2004

TEHRAN - "Russia plays an important role in Iran's foreign policy, and Tehran has always sought strategic and all-round ties with the Russian Federation," Iranian Vice President Reza Aref said at a meeting with St Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko, reports the president's administration.

"By removing certain obstacles and defining their private sectors' realistic potentials the two countries will intensify bilateral cooperation," said Mr Aref.

The Iranian government's special headquarters that handle Russian-Iranian trade and economic relations demonstrates Tehran's interest in promoting bilateral ties, according to Mr Aref.

Mr Aref expressed hope that trade turnover between Russia and Iran would exceed $5 billion in the future through employing their potentials and exchanging expertise.

Mr Aref said Petersburg was a major cultural and economic centre in Russia and urged more intensive contacts between Russian and Iranian regions, above all, in the trade, scientific and cultural spheres.

On Wednesday, Ms Matviyenko is expected to hold meetings with the authorities of Isfaghan, Petersburg's twin town.

22 posted on 11/10/2004 11:23:18 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Friend and Foe

Center for Security Policy - Decision Brief
Nov 10, 2004

Washington, D.C. -- Throughout history, troops like those brave Americans currently liberating Fallujah have demanded the identity of people approaching their lines with the challenge "Who goes there: Friend or foe?" In the case of Tony Blair, the British prime minister whose esteemed stature in the Bush White House has been recognized by an invitation to be the first foreign leader to congratulate the President on his reelection in person, the answer might be "Both."

To be sure, Mr. Blair has amply demonstrated his friendship with America and its leader by his stalwart performance to date on Iraq. In the face of withering criticism at home, most especially within his own Labor Party, the PM has proven a worthy successor to Margaret Thatcher, the famed Iron Lady of 10 Downing Street.

Three of Mr. Blair's Wrongheaded Ideas

It would be a mistake, however, to permit our gratitude for such solidarity and our admiration for Mr. Blair's pluck to obscure the necessary clear-eyed assessment of certain of his other policy proclivities that are, if not actually hostile, then at least contrary to U.S. interests and ill-advised. Three items on (or behind) Mr. Blair's agenda during this week's state visit illustrate his other aspect, a side of the man of which Mr. Bush should be wary:

"Solving" the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: For some time, Mr. Blair has insisted that, as he put it last week, this issue is "the single most pressing political challenge in our world today." He has for months tried to parlay his high standing with George W. Bush into something the President understands quite well: political capital. The idea has been to expend it in such a way as to make U.S. policy track with that of the other notoriously anti-Israel members of the so-called "Quartet" - the European Union, the United Nations and Russia.

While Mr. Blair bided his time during the U.S. election crunch, he comes to Washington intent on cashing in. He will try to euchre Mr. Bush into agreeing to compel Israel to make sweeping territorial and other concessions to the Palestinians, without regard for the real and abiding danger posed to democracy's only real and reliable outpost in the Middle East. Such concessions have been met in the past with greater violence, born of the inevitable conclusion that the more terrorism is waged against Israel, the more Israel will be forced to accept the terrorists' demands. The fact that this strategy has not worked in the past and is wholly incompatible with the Bush-Blair policy approach in Iraq seems not to trouble the Prime Minister. It cannot be ignored by the President.

"Containing" Iran: The Prime Minister will also be seeking Mr. Bush's support for the latest in a series of unsavory diplomatic efforts undertaken by Britain, France and Germany and aimed at preventing Islamist Iran from realizing its ill-concealed nuclear weapons ambitions. The Associated Press reported on Monday that "a major breakthrough" was achieved in negotiations last weekend resulting in "a preliminary agreement at the expert level."

Unfortunately, it is absolutely predictable that this "breakthrough" - which Iran's chief negotiator said would, if approved by his government and its European interlocutors, result in "an important change in Iran's relations with Europe and much of the international community in the not-too-distant future" - will go the way of previous efforts to appease Tehran: In due course, it will be supplanted by fresh evidence that Iran continues to acquire nuclear weapons-related technology and capabilities. The United States has no interest in endorsing what amounts to political cover and protection for the further covert pursuit of such activities. Mr. Blair must be firmly if cordially told "Thanks, but no thanks."

"United States of Europe": One item that Mr. Blair may just as soon have go unremarked, but that should be taken up by Mr. Bush nonetheless is the damage the Prime Minister is doing to the Anglo-American "special relationship" by signing onto a European Constitution largely dictated by the French and Germans. Although John Kerry and his ilk would have us believe the recent Franco-German animus over Iraq was a product of President Bush's diplomatic shortcomings in the run-up to the war, actually something far bigger was at work - bigger even than the bribes Saddam paid his French and German friends through the Oil-for-Food scam.

France's Jacques Chirac and Germany's Gerhard Schroeder make no secret of their determination to build a united Europe that will be at least diplomatically and economically a rival to American power and an insurmountable obstacle to its exercise. This goal animates the policies Paris and Berlin are applying in every arena and the French and Germans seek through an appalling new constitution to create institutions, bureaucracies and assorted policy mechanisms to assure conformity on the part of Britain and the heretofore pro-American "New Europeans" recently added to the EU.

The Bottom Line

The European Constitution is neither in America's interest nor that of a sovereign and independent Great Britain - the nation that has for so long proven to be an important and valued friend to this country. The fact that Tony Blair has been obliged to submit the document to a referendum offers hope that his people will repudiate it and, in so doing, improve the chances that this relationship will remain special, indeed - and an especially necessary bulwark against the sorts of evils that will arise were we foolishly to sacrifice Israel to, among others, a nuclear-armed Iran.

23 posted on 11/10/2004 11:26:25 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Nuclear fissures in Iran

By Safa Haeri

PARIS - Although Iran and three European powers have reached a preliminary agreement over Tehran's controversial nuclear program, the ball is in Tehran's hands, where the final decision will be taken.

"An intense debate is raging among Iranian ruling clerics over the issue of nuclear programs. On the one hand you have the so-called ultras, most of them sitting in the most powerful but shadowy League of Islamic Associations, that has recently changed its status to the Party of Islamic Associations, pushing hard for emulating North Korea by ending talks with the Europeans, getting out of both the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] and the Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT]," a source told Asia Times Online on condition of anonymity during a short stopover in a European capital.

"On the other, there are the so-called pragmatists, led by Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme Council of National Security [SCNS] and the regime's senior negotiator with both the IAEA and the European trio, namely Britain, France and Germany, warning the other side that if Iran does not show flexibility in satisfying the demands formulated by the IAEA and the Big Three, one might expect catastrophe, specially now that George W Bush has been re-elected comfortably as president of the United States," he added.

After the weekend's talks in Paris, the Europeans are optimistic that they can get Iran to reach an agreement that will avoid it being referred to the United Nations Security Council and avert the risk of sanctions over its nuclear program. Iran has to be persuaded to suspend its uranium-enrichment program indefinitely as a way to ensure that it does not use the technology to produce a nuclear weapon. Iran has insisted that the suspension be no longer than six months and has sought assurances that it will not be asked to permanently revoke its right to have a nuclear-energy program.

According to the pragmatists in Iran, if the Europeans do not get satisfaction, they will side with Washington - which wants the issue to go before the UN - and in a situation where Iran has no friends, apart perhaps from China, the face the risk of sanctions.

In one of their proposals to Iran last month, the European trio offered a package of "stick and carrots", including a light-water research reactor, fuel for the reactors under construction with Russian assistance and possible investment in Iran's future nuclear-powered electricity plants against Iran's firm pledge to suspend indefinitely uranium enrichment and related activities, such as reprocessing uranium and building centrifuges used to enrich it, proposals that Tehran rejected, stressing that "the right to master the sensitive nuclear fuel cycle, including enrichment, is our legitimate right that we shall never give up".

"We will not accept any constraint. It is us who will decide on the duration [of a suspension of enrichment] and we will keep it in place for as long as we want," noted Elias Naderan, a conservative lawmaker. "We have mastered the full nuclear fuel cycle and this project has reached the point of no return. The Europeans must now recognize this fact as a red line."

Ironically, it appears that the ultras are after a "catastrophe scenario", hoping that in the event of harsh sanctions or even an attack on its nuclear facilities by the US or Israel, the population, now massively against the regime, would fall in line behind the ruling mullahs and their nuclear ambitions.

"The final word must come from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the leader of the regime. But so far he seems either undecided or incapable of taking sides. Although he himself reiterates that Iran is not after nuclear weapons, stressing that such arms are banned by Islam, by reading his mouthpieces in conservative-controlled newspapers like Kayhan or Jomhouri Eslami, one gets the impression that he is for the North Korean option," the source explained to Asia Times Online.

Last week, Khamenei repeated that Iran, because of its "religious jurisdictions", was not after nuclear arms, and taking a cue from his "directives", several lawmakers at the conservative-dominated Majlis, or parliament, announced a plan aimed at banning the production of nuclear weapons.

According to Hoseyn Moussavian, Iran's chief negotiator with the Big Three, the preliminary agreement worked out in Paris during a marathon 22-hour session could be finalized "in the next few days", but then it would have to be confirmed in the capitals of the concerned parties.

"We had 22 hours of very difficult and complicated negotiations, but we reached a preliminary agreement at the expert level, with the Europeans accepting eight out of 10 proposals we presented, including the one that says the time of suspension of enriching uranium must be decided by Iran," Moussavian said, adding that the four countries must now ask their governments to approve the accord.

If approved, the deal - of which few details are known - would stop the Vienna-based IAEA's board of directors from sending Iran's case to the Security Council.

The US, alongside Israel and some European nations, accuses the Iranian ayatollahs of being in the process of building atomic weapons by diverting nuclear technologies for nuclear-powered reactors they have under construction with the assistance of Russia.

"If this [preliminary agreement] is approved by all four parties, we will witness an important change in Iran's relations with Europe and much of the international community in [the] not-too-distant future," Moussavian said without elaborating.

On October 20, Rohani and foreign affairs ministers from Britain, France and Germany reached an agreement in Tehran stipulating that Iran would suspend uranium enrichment and sign the additional protocol to the NPT, a clause that allows international nuclear inspectors to visit all Iranian nuclear projects and sites without restriction, but refused to stop other related activities, such as reprocessing uranium or building centrifuges, insisting its program was intended purely for the production of fuel for nuclear power generation. Uranium enrichment is permitted under the NPT, to which Iran is a signatory and which is being enforced by the IAEA.

However, a source told the official Iranian news agency IRNA in Paris that the talks remained deadlocked as the Iranian side did not accept the European proposal for an indefinite suspension of uranium enrichment, while the European side was not satisfied with Tehran's guarantee that it would never use nuclear technology for military purposes.

"Following difficult discussions, the two sides have achieved considerable progress towards a preliminary agreement on a joint approach to the questions," a French foreign-affairs spokesman told journalists.

To give Europe a firm sign that Iran is not trying to produce an atomic bomb, a weapon that Israel says would be used to attack the Jewish state, some Iranian lawmakers announced on Monday that they were collecting support for a draft bill banning the production of nuclear weapons.

Legislator Mahmoud Mohammadi told the US news agency The Associated Press that the bill could be presented to the Majlis next week, adding that the draft was prompted by a religious verdict by Khamenei.

"Ayatollah Khamenei's verdict is clear," Mohammadi observed. "So why not make the production of nuclear weapons illegal under Iranian law?"

But the idea was criticized by radical newspapers controlled by the conservatives. "Iran is a member of the NPT. Our leaders have reiterated that we are not using nuclear technologies for military purposes. But this bill runs against all our logic since it looks like confirming the views of our enemies making wrong accusations against Iran," wrote the evening daily Kayhan.

Safa Haeri is a Paris-based Iranian journalist covering the Middle East and Central Asia.
24 posted on 11/10/2004 11:29:46 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran bars showing of 'insulting' photos in Paris

AFP - World News
Nov 10, 2004

TEHRAN - Iran has blocked four local photographers from exhibiting some of their work in Paris after certain pictures were deemed to be "against Islamic values and mocking the image of Iranian women."

Sources close to the dispute said Tehran's state-run Museum of Contemporary Art had been due to support the photographers by paying for the packing and shipping of their work so it can appear at the Paris Photo exhibition at the Carrousel du Louvre from November 11-14.

"When the museum sponsors the works it has certain authorities," a spokesman for the museum, Farhad Badpa, told AFP.

"The works that were against Islamic values or mocked the image of Iranian women were omitted. Other works by these artists that did not insult Islamic values were sent to the exhibition."

The four photographers are Shadi Ghadirian, Ramin Haerizadeh, Yalda Amiri and Arash Hanai.

"The museum has offered me no explanation," complained Ghadirian, whose photos feature women clad head to toe in the traditional chador with housekeeping objects - such as pots, kettles and irons - for a face.

"These pictures are reflecting me as an Iranian woman," she asserted. "How can I insult and ridicule my own sex? I do not show anything that crosses the red lines like faces or flesh in my work."

This year the Paris Photo exhibition features 105 galleries from 16 countries.

25 posted on 11/10/2004 11:32:32 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

'Blast' in Isfahan ammunition plant

AFP - World News (via Iranmania)
Nov 10, 2004

TEHRAN – As a result of a blast in a military plant in Isfahan, central Iran, a worker was killed, Baztab website reported.

The blast in the ammunition manufacturing plant in Lanjan, an industrial area belonging to Iran’s Ministry of Defense on Tuesday evening led to the severe injury of a worker who succumbed to his wounds on the way to hospital.

26 posted on 11/10/2004 11:34:30 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
This thread is now closed.

Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!


27 posted on 11/10/2004 10:25:16 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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