Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - January 21, 2005 - Cheney puts Iran at top of trouble list
Posted on 01/21/2005 12:05:22 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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Thursday, January 20, 2005 · Last updated 8:50 p.m. PT
Cheney puts Iran at top of trouble list
Vice President Dick Cheney addresses the crowd at the Texas/Wyoming Ball at the Washington Convention Center Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005, in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
WASHINGTON -- Vice President Dick Cheney, in an interview hours before he and President Bush were sworn in for a second term, said Iran now tops the list of the world's potential trouble spots.
Iran is pursuing "a fairly robust new nuclear program" and "is a noted sponsor of terror," he said in an interview Thursday with syndicated radio host Don Imus.
"You look around the world at potential trouble spots, Iran is right at the top of the list," the vice president said.
Another concern, Cheney said, is the possibility of Israel making an initial military move if it became convinced Iran had significant nuclear capability.
"Given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards," said Cheney, who appeared on the show with his wife, Lynne.
The Bush administration might seek U.N. sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program if necessary, Cheney said. The administration prefers to address the problem with diplomacy and doesn't want more war in the Middle East, he said.
On Monday, Bush reaffirmed his support for a diplomatic settlement of Iran's nuclear program but said, "I will never take any option off the table."
During her Senate confirmation hearings this week, Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice named Iran as one of six "outposts of tyranny" that would require close U.S. attention.
Iran repeatedly has denied allegations of a secret nuclear weapons programs, saying its nuclear activities are for peaceful energy purposes.
In the Inauguration Day interview, Cheney also said he overestimated the pace of Iraq's recovery from the U.S.-led invasion.
Asked to name his mistakes in planning the war in Iraq, Cheney said he had not anticipated how long it would take the Iraqis to begin running their own country. Not until after Saddam was ousted did the United States realize the extent of the Iraqi leader's brutality in putting down revolt in 1991, Cheney said.
"I think the hundreds of thousands of people, literally, that were slaughtered during that period of time, including anybody who had the gumption to stand up and challenge him, made the situation tougher than I would have thought," he said. "I would chalk that up as a miscalculation, where I thought things would have recovered more quickly."
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 20, 2005
President Bush's Inaugural SpeechInauguration 2005
Vice President Cheney, Mr. Chief Justice, President Carter, President Bush, President Clinton, reverend clergy, distinguished guests, fellow citizens:
On this day, prescribed by law and marked by ceremony, we celebrate the durable wisdom of our Constitution, and recall the deep commitments that unite our country. I am grateful for the honor of this hour, mindful of the consequential times in which we live, and determined to fulfill the oath that I have sworn and you have witnessed.
At this second gathering, our duties are defined not by the words I use, but by the history we have seen together. For a half century, America defended our own freedom by standing watch on distant borders. After the shipwreck of communism came years of relative quiet, years of repose, years of sabbatical - and then there came a day of fire.
We have seen our vulnerability - and we have seen its deepest source. For as long as whole regions of the world simmer in resentment and tyranny - prone to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder - violence will gather, and multiply in destructive power, and cross the most defended borders, and raise a mortal threat. There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom.
We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.
America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth. Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our Nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation's security, and the calling of our time.
So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.
This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary. Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen, and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities. And when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own. America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way.
The great objective of ending tyranny is the concentrated work of generations. The difficulty of the task is no excuse for avoiding it. America's influence is not unlimited, but fortunately for the oppressed, America's influence is considerable, and we will use it confidently in freedom's cause.
My most solemn duty is to protect this nation and its people against further attacks and emerging threats. Some have unwisely chosen to test America's resolve, and have found it firm.
We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right. America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies.
We will encourage reform in other governments by making clear that success in our relations will require the decent treatment of their own people. America's belief in human dignity will guide our policies, yet rights must be more than the grudging concessions of dictators; they are secured by free dissent and the participation of the governed. In the long run, there is no justice without freedom, and there can be no human rights without human liberty.
Some, I know, have questioned the global appeal of liberty - though this time in history, four decades defined by the swiftest advance of freedom ever seen, is an odd time for doubt. Americans, of all people, should never be surprised by the power of our ideals. Eventually, the call of freedom comes to every mind and every soul. We do not accept the existence of permanent tyranny because we do not accept the possibility of permanent slavery. Liberty will come to those who love it.
Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world:
All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.
Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country.
The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it."
The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know: To serve your people you must learn to trust them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side.
And all the allies of the United States can know: we honor your friendship, we rely on your counsel, and we depend on your help. Division among free nations is a primary goal of freedom's enemies. The concerted effort of free nations to promote democracy is a prelude to our enemies' defeat.
Today, I also speak anew to my fellow citizens:
From all of you, I have asked patience in the hard task of securing America, which you have granted in good measure. Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill, and would be dishonorable to abandon. Yet because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it.
By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well - a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world.
A few Americans have accepted the hardest duties in this cause - in the quiet work of intelligence and diplomacy ... the idealistic work of helping raise up free governments ... the dangerous and necessary work of fighting our enemies. Some have shown their devotion to our country in deaths that honored their whole lives - and we will always honor their names and their sacrifice.
All Americans have witnessed this idealism, and some for the first time. I ask our youngest citizens to believe the evidence of your eyes. You have seen duty and allegiance in the determined faces of our soldiers. You have seen that life is fragile, and evil is real, and courage triumphs. Make the choice to serve in a cause larger than your wants, larger than yourself - and in your days you will add not just to the wealth of our country, but to its character.
America has need of idealism and courage, because we have essential work at home - the unfinished work of American freedom. In a world moving toward liberty, we are determined to show the meaning and promise of liberty.
In America's ideal of freedom, citizens find the dignity and security of economic independence, instead of laboring on the edge of subsistence. This is the broader definition of liberty that motivated the Homestead Act, the Social Security Act, and the G.I. Bill of Rights. And now we will extend this vision by reforming great institutions to serve the needs of our time. To give every American a stake in the promise and future of our country, we will bring the highest standards to our schools, and build an ownership society. We will widen the ownership of homes and businesses, retirement savings and health insurance - preparing our people for the challenges of life in a free society. By making every citizen an agent of his or her own destiny, we will give our fellow Americans greater freedom from want and fear, and make our society more prosperous and just and equal.
In America's ideal of freedom, the public interest depends on private character - on integrity, and tolerance toward others, and the rule of conscience in our own lives. Self-government relies, in the end, on the governing of the self. That edifice of character is built in families, supported by communities with standards, and sustained in our national life by the truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the Mount, the words of the Koran, and the varied faiths of our people. Americans move forward in every generation by reaffirming all that is good and true that came before - ideals of justice and conduct that are the same yesterday, today, and forever.
In America's ideal of freedom, the exercise of rights is ennobled by service, and mercy, and a heart for the weak. Liberty for all does not mean independence from one another. Our nation relies on men and women who look after a neighbor and surround the lost with love. Americans, at our best, value the life we see in one another, and must always remember that even the unwanted have worth. And our country must abandon all the habits of racism, because we cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time.
From the perspective of a single day, including this day of dedication, the issues and questions before our country are many. From the viewpoint of centuries, the questions that come to us are narrowed and few. Did our generation advance the cause of freedom? And did our character bring credit to that cause?
These questions that judge us also unite us, because Americans of every party and background, Americans by choice and by birth, are bound to one another in the cause of freedom. We have known divisions, which must be healed to move forward in great purposes - and I will strive in good faith to heal them. Yet those divisions do not define America. We felt the unity and fellowship of our nation when freedom came under attack, and our response came like a single hand over a single heart. And we can feel that same unity and pride whenever America acts for good, and the victims of disaster are given hope, and the unjust encounter justice, and the captives are set free.
We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses as He wills. We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul. When our Founders declared a new order of the ages; when soldiers died in wave upon wave for a union based on liberty; when citizens marched in peaceful outrage under the banner "Freedom Now" - they were acting on an ancient hope that is meant to be fulfilled. History has an ebb and flow of justice, but history also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of Liberty.
When the Declaration of Independence was first read in public and the Liberty Bell was sounded in celebration, a witness said, "It rang as if it meant something." In our time it means something still. America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world, and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength - tested, but not weary - we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom.
May God bless you, and may He watch over the United States of America.
# # #
Iran under spotlight in president's mission for freedomBy Alec Russell in Washington
Now comes the hard part. President George W Bush's elegy to freedom yesterday and his vision of it flowering around the world fitted into the long tradition of inaugural speeches that blend America's optimism with smugness about the reach and benefits of its power.
But unlike most of his predecessors Mr Bush has repeatedly made clear that he sees "spreading freedom" as more than a slogan. For him it is a mission. The challenge for his aides now is how - and where - to act on his words.
The President gives his inaugural address
Mr Bush did make a rare admission that even America had its bounds, conceding in an apparent reference to difficulties in Iraq that its influence was "not unlimited".
But officials know full well that Mr Bush will, if he thinks necessary, sweep Iraq's problems under the Oval Office carpet and seek to bring an end to North Korea's and Iran's nuclear programmes.
"I would put the chance of targeted strikes against Iran by the middle of Mr Bush's term at 50-50," said one conservative congressional source close to the White House.
"To watch as they [Iran and North Korea] build nuclear weapons is out of the question," said another source close to Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state-in-waiting. "If he [Bush] leaves office with those two countries still with nuclear options, he will think he has failed."
Yet even this ebullient White House accepts limits to its idealism. It does not share the views of those neo-conservatives who argue that freedom is non-negotiable and that even "friendly" autocrats should make way for democracy.
When Miss Rice named six "outposts of tyranny" earlier this week, she made no mention of Pakistan, Egypt or Saudi Arabia. The three are markedly undemocratic states but their support also happens to be strategically vital for Washington.
Instead Miss Rice pointed her finger at Belarus, Cuba, Burma, and Zimbabwe, along with the two surviving regimes from Mr Bush's "axis of evil", Iran and North Korea.
For officials in the State Department who felt that much of the globe in the past four years had been ignored amid the obsession with Saddam Hussein, the extra faces in Washington's "rogues' gallery" were a sign of a new focus on other trouble-spots. Yet there is only one "outpost" that is really exercising minds: Iran.
Entanglements with Iran bedevilled and almost destroyed the presidencies of two of Bush's predecessors, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter.
Iran's President Mohammad Khatami confidently suggested yesterday that given the embroilment of 150,000 troops in Iraq the chances of an attack on Iran were slim. "I do not think the Americans would do such a crazy thing as carry out military attacks against Iran," he said.
"The Iraqi problem is too complicated and so it does not seem they would think about attacking another country." And, despite Mr Bush's soaring rhetoric, notes of realism about Iraq, the first target of Mr Bush's freedom campaign, are ringing in the White House.
Miss Rice conceded in her nomination hearings that some "bad decisions" had been made. Advisers are beginning to think the unthinkable: that the troops may have to pull out leaving Iraq somewhat short of the goal of a vigorous and secure democracy.
"I am not normally a pessimist but the lessons don't bode well for Allawi's [Iraq's prime minister] security dilemmas," said Stephen Metz, a professor for national security affairs at the Army War College and a frequent visitor to Iraq since the invasion. "We've configured our army to be a sprinter... but we're drawn into marathons."
So talk of turning the tanks from Baghdad towards Teheran which prevailed 18 months ago after the fall of Saddam is over.
But the administration is convinced it is up to Washington to take the lead. Officials believe that European "engagement" is not only doomed to fail but positively emboldens Teheran.
Suggestions that Israel could do the dirty work and do to Iran what it did to Iraq in 1981, when it launched a successful strike against Saddam's nuclear reactor at Osirak, are discounted, not least because of the far greater distance.
In her nomination hearings Miss Rice was careful to avoid talk of "regime change" in Teheran. She held out hope that Iran could yet be persuaded to follow the lead of Libya, which voluntarily dismantled its programme of weapons of mass destruction.
Groups in Washington are also pushing for the fomenting of an internal revolution. But all this is more hope than expectation. "There are two clocks ticking in Teheran, the clock of regime change and the clock of the nuclear programme," said Kenneth Pollack, a former CIA analyst who in the late 1990s was in charge of US policy towards Iran. "And the clock of regime change is ticking more slowly than the nuclear clock."
He believes that Iran's faltering economy is its "Achilles heel" and the threat of sanctions could lead to a climbdown.
But the Republican-dominated Congress is arguing for regime change to be an explicit goal of America's foreign policy. For the moment, the US does not have an Iranian policy. But barring an utter disaster in Iraq, if Teheran spurns attempts to curb its nuclear ambitions, the administration will not turn its back.
"The idea that we will sit idly by is not right," said Danielle Pletka, a prominent neo-conservative at the American Enterprise Institute. "And Europeans are very mistaken to think that George Bush is an empty vessel. He is the hawk in the administration."
War with Iran Not Ruled Out by BushUS President George Bush refuses to rule out war with Iran. Iranian President Mohammad Khatami says his country is ready to defend itself against a possible US attack.
The United States is pushing for a peaceful solution to its nuclear impasse with Iran but, with mistrust on both sides running high, encouraging signs are hard to find.
You look around the world at potential trouble spots, Iran is right at the top of the list, Vice President Dick Cheney said yesterday, hours before being sworn in to a second term.
Perhaps the most pessimistic comment of all this week came from Democratic Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware.
There may be nothing we can do to persuade Iran not to develop weapons of mass destruction, Biden said during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing for Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice.
Both Rice and Cheney made clear that that the nuclear diplomacy that the United States has been pursuing in the UN nuclear watchdog agency will continue.
They said the administration could raise the stakes with Iran by referring the nuclear question to the UN Security Council if Iran does not abide by its non-proliferation commitments.
The administration has been hopeful that a non-proliferation initiative being carried out by Germany, France and Britain with Iran will produce results.
But the administration is sceptical that Iran is bargaining in good faith. For its part, Iran says its nuclear program is aimed at producing energy, not weapons.
Rice made clear that US differences with Iran go well beyond its nuclear program.
Its really hard to find common ground with a government that thinks Israel should be extinguished, she told senators.
Khatami, travelling in Africa yesterday, seemed unconcerned about the consequences of a possible US attack.
We have prepared ourselves, he said. He added that he did not anticipate any lunatic military move by the US because Washington has too many problems in Iraq.
Europe united on Iran as Bush refuses to rule out military actionAFP: 1/20/2005
PARIS, Jan 20 (AFP) - If the Iraq war divided Europe, the continent is united in calling for continued negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program after US President George W. Bush refused to rule out possible military action.
"In the view of the German government, there is no alternative to these discussions," chief government spokesman Bela Anda told reporters in Berlin, a view echoed by officials in Paris.
"These talks are being held with our German and British partners, in perfect consultation with the United States and our other European partners," said a spokeswoman for the French foreign ministry.
The European Union's "big three" -- Britain, France and Germany -- are in the midst of crucial talks with Iran aimed at finding a long-term solution that would assuage international fears about Tehran's controversial nuclear program.
Their efforts have led to the temporary suspension of Iran's uranium enrichment program.
Iran vehemently denies it is developing nuclear weapons, insisting that its activities are merely directed at generating electricity, but Washington claims that the program is instead a cover for the development of the atomic bomb.
US President George W. Bush said Monday that he could not rule out a resort to military force if the United States failed to persuade Iran to abandon its efforts.
"The fact that the Americans are not excluding the use of military force is not new in principle, but doesn't necessarily indicate that there are concrete attack plans," said Karsten Voigt, Germany's point man for German-US relations.
Analysts and diplomats even suggested that Europe and the United States could be working together to keep up pressure on the Islamic republic.
"The United States has a hard line but I think its ultimate line is to have the European efforts succeed. It is a good cop-bad cop approach," said an Asian diplomat close to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
"I would say that dangling a stick can be an effective diplomatic tool when used in conjunction with a few carrots," said another diplomat close to the Vienna-based UN nuclear watchdog.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, referring to the different EU and US tactics, told the Financial Times: "Those who said we'd be split apart by the Iranians are wrong."
"Those who said we could not build up a degree of trust with the Iranians -- at the same time as building up a strong consensus with the US and the non-aligned countries -- are wrong," Straw added.
This week, US secretary of state-designate Condoleezza Rice called for world action to keep Iran from building nuclear weapons, and repeated a threat to haul Tehran before the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.
She labelled Iran as one of six "outposts of tyranny" around the world, giving Tehran a second infamous distinction. Bush named the Islamic republic as part of an "axis of evil" in his 2002 State of the Union address.
And a report published in the New Yorker magazine said US commandos had been operating inside Iran since mid-2004 to search out potential targets for attack.
Straw dismissed the report written by award-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, saying: "You will always find somebody in Washington thinking about something. That's how things are there."
In Brussels, the European Commission said it would pursue diplomatic negotiations as long as possible.
"The goal is a militarily non-nuclear Iran. We are as Europeans working through a process of engagement to attain that goal... We hope that there will be no need to consider any other option," said spokeswoman Emma Udwin.
"The EU and the US have the same objective in Iran, but have looked at different ways of attaining the goal," she added.
Officials in Russia and Turkey also backed the EU approach.
Caroline Pailhe, an analyst at the Information and Research Group on Peace and Security (GRIP) in Brussels, said she could envision eventual US military action, in the form of "a few bombing missions that would last a few hours and eliminate certain sensitive sites".
But Iranian President Mohammed Khatami on Thursday warned the United States against such a course of action, saying in Uganda: "If any country tries to invade our country, we are strong enough to defend ourselves."
01/20/2005 16:28 GMT - AFP
Britain unlikely to back US Iran attackHerve Guilbaud
Posted Fri, 21 Jan 2005
For all the stern words from Washington about possible military action against Iran if it fails to rein in its nuclear ambitions, the United States would almost certainly have to mount such a campaign without the backing of Britain, its staunchest ally in Iraq, according to experts.
On Monday, US President George W. Bush said he could not rule out using force if Washington was unable to persuade Tehran to abandon a nuclear energy programme it charges is cover for developing atomic weapons, while secretary of state-designate Condoleezza Rice called for world action on the issue.
A report in the New Yorker magazine this week said US commandos had been operating inside Iran since mid-2004 to search out potential targets for attack.
Overall, the Bush administration "recognises that a military attack against Iran's military facilities is not a very attractive option", said Gary Samore, a specialist on Iran at the International Institute of Strategic Studies think tank in London.
"There are many drawbacks, both practical and political," Samore told AFP, while adding that the Pentagon was undoubtedly "examining the options for a pre-emptive military strike" against Iran's nuclear and missile facilities.
A game of diplomatic bluff was underway, with Washington hopeful that the threat of military action might pressure Britain and other European Union nations to negotiate forcefully with a worried Tehran so as to head off war, he explained.
"In a way, the American threat to bomb Iran is also indirect pressure on Europe to do its very best, to achieve a diplomatic solution," he said, while adding that Bush would find it extremely difficult to find backing in Europe for military action.
"Even if British officials recognise that the threat of a military attack may help their diplomatic efforts with Iran, I have not been able to find a British official, much less French or German, who think that a military attack actually makes sense," he said.
"My guess is that the British government would at best be silent, at worst be opposed," Samore said.
Much would depend "on who the British hold responsible for the failure of diplomacy. If the British feel that the US has been unreasonable and unsupportive of British diplomatic efforts, then obviously London will be less inclined to support the US," he added.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose popularity has been badly dented by his decision to back the US-led conflict in Iraq, would be extremely wary of getting his nation involved in another conflict, added Katarina Dalacoura from the International Relations department at the London School of Economics.
It "would not make sense for them (the British government) to do that, especially given all the flak they have received over Iraq," she told AFP.
"The EU does have a policy on Iran, it has taken specific steps to contain the nuclear issue and reach an agreement," she explained.
"I think it would be very damaging to relations between Britain and its European partners if they were to go along with the Americans on this. I think Blair would draw a line on Bush, even though he may of course not do it as openly."
Blair's Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has already expressed Britain's wariness at the possibility of war with Iran, saying in November that it was "inconceivable".
"I don't see any circumstances in which military action would be justified against Iran full stop," he told BBC radio.
Berlin says US pressure on Iran may fuel deal
20 January 2005
BERLIN - A German official said that United States military pressure on Iran could help European diplomatic efforts to clinch a deal with Teheran over its nuclear programme.
"If the Iranians know that if this peaceful resolution does not work that the Americans will raise pressure with non-peaceful means, it could perhaps boost their readiness to make compromises and give up the nuclear weapons they are possibly planning," said Karsten Voigt, the German government coordinator for ties with Washington.
Voigt told Deutsche Welle TV on Wednesday he still believed diplomatic efforts were the best way to defuse the ongoing crisis over Iran's nuclear programme.
Earlier, a spokesman for Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder underlined that the US had a "basic right" to hold open "all options" with regard to Iran.
Chief chancellery spokesman Bela Anda told reporters the US refusal to rule out military action over Iran's nuclear programme - underlined by US President George W. Bush on Monday - was "nothing new."
Germany strongly opposed the Iraq war, and Bush's comments on Iran fuelled considerable public debate in the country.
Berlin is part of the European Union (EU) "Big Three" with Britain and France which is seeking to hammer out a diplomatic deal with Teheran.
Under the deal, Iran would guarantee to refrain from building nuclear weapons and halt uranium enrichment in exchange for trade and technology concessions from Europe.
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer is scheduled to meet next week with designated US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a foreign ministry spokesman said. The meeting would probably take place on Tuesday with a final announcement due in coming days.
Schroeder is due to have talks with President Bush who is set to visit Germany on 23 February as part of a European tour.
No common ground with Iran regime, says RiceBy Guy Dinmore in Washington
Published: January 20 2005 02:00 | Last updated: January 20 2005 02:00
The Bush administration's changing of the guard at the State Department was almost complete yesterday as Colin Powell bid an emotional farewell to his staff just as senators were wrapping up their grilling of Condoleezza Rice, the next secretary of state.
Speaking of the foreign policy challenges ahead, Mr Powell said the focus was on persuading North Korea and Iran to take a "better way" and give up their nuclear weapons programme.
Over at the Senate, Ms Rice was testifying that the Bush administration saw no common ground with the Islamic regime in Iran. She signalled the US had no intention of offering a specific deal based on an end to Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
In a last round of questioning before the Senate foreign relations committee voted 16-2 in favour of her nomination by George W. Bush as secretary of state, Ms Rice took a hard line on Iran. But she steered away from speaking about regime change.
"The United States government has often, as the president said, supported regimes in the hope that they would bring stability," she said. "And we've been in the Middle East, sometimes blind to the freedom deficit in the hope that they would bring stability. We're not going to do that any more."
Joseph Biden, the senior Democrat on the committee, said he voted for her with reluctance and hesitation, saying she had failed to level with the American people. Only Barbara Boxer, Californian senator, and John Kerry, the defeated presidential candidate, voted against.
Ms Rice acknowledged that some bad decisions had been made over Iraq, but said history would judge the overall outcome. Under fire from Ms Boxer for a second day, Ms Rice effectively acknowledged that the US had made a mistake cutting deals with Saddam Hussein in the late 1980s when he had launched gas attacks on the Kurds while Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, was the special envoy to Baghdad.
Ms Rice effectively ruled out the US taking the European approach of engaging Iran.
Mr Biden pressed Ms Rice to say whether the US could reach an agreement with Iran's clerical regime if it gave up nuclear weapons. "I'm not going to get into hypotheticals," she answered, and said the US had to look at the "totality of the issue", referring to the issues of terrorism and human rights.
"Senator, what we have said to the Iranians is look at the Libyan example," she said, arguing that Libya had decided to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction "without a promise of specific deals".
Senior officials from the UK, France and Germany are to visit Washington early next week to press the Bush administration to take a positive approach to the nuclear negotiations with Iran initiated by the European Union. Joschka Fischer, Germany's foreign minister, is due to meet Ms Rice in Washington on Tuesday.
The full Senate is expected to vote for Ms Rice's confirmation today.
Iran dismisses US comments as psychological warfare20 Jan 2005 12:00:48 GMTSource: Reuters
TEHRAN, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Iran on Thursday dismissed recent comments by U.S. officials about the Islamic state as psychological warfare and said Tehran would not be cowed by such remarks.
Speaking to state media in Uganda during a week-long tour of Africa with President Mohammad Khatami, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said Washington was waging "a psychological campaign against Iran".
"We know our enemy and we are aware of its tactics," he said. "We will strongly respond to America's threats. We will naturally defend our rights and interests," he added.
U.S. Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice, in testimony at her Senate confirmation hearings on Wednesday, said Iran must be "held accountable for its unwillingness to live up to its international obligations".
She was referring to Iran's nuclear programme which Tehran says is merely aimed at generating electricity but Washington believes is geared to producing atomic bombs.
Rice's comments followed remarks by U.S. President George W. Bush this week who refused to rule out military action against Iran if the country was not more transparent about its nuclear programme.
Bush has accused Iran of supporting terrorism and developing weapons of mass destruction -- charges Iran vehemently denies.
In recent days, Iranian officials have frequently boasted that they can strike back against any attacker.
Last October, Iran said it would keep improving its missile capability after announcing that the latest version of its medium-range Shahab-3 could now hit targets up to 2,000 km (1,250 miles) away.
For Bush, 'Liberty' Is A Flexible ObjectiveUS President George Bush began his second term with the pledge that US relations with other countries will depend on how they treat their own people.
If he adheres to the words in yesterdays inaugural address, it could mark a shift in his administrations policies.
Bush has been a champion of liberty in countries hostile to the US, such as Iran, North Korea and Cuba. But he has been less vocal about authoritarian tendencies when US strategic interests are at stake.
With Pakistan a key ally in the fight against terrorism, the Bush administration has been reluctant to criticise President General Pervez Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has consolidated power and cracked down on independent media and political opponents.
But US officials have been careful not to alienate the leader of a powerful nation that has been an ally against terrorism and could be influential in keeping Irans nuclear program in check.
The Bush administration has been improving relations with Libya since dictator Moammar Gadhafi agreed to give up his nuclear program. The State Department says Libyas human rights record is poor and blames it for numerous, serious abuses.
At Rices confirmation hearing on Tuesday, several senators complained about what they see as a double standard. Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee said the US appears to have a hypocritical approach to our foreign policy in some ways.
Though Bush often talks about the struggle for freedom and democracy, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq, his words yesterday were unusually strong.
The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands, he said.
Bush said all who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for liberty, we will stand with you.
Human Rights Watch praised Bushs laudable goals, but said his administration has flouted international standards against torture by abusing detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
It is one thing to say you are on the side of freedom, its quite another to be a leader in promoting the rights that protect that freedom, said Kenneth Roth, the groups executive director.
'Iran ready for security cooperation with Europe'
Thursday, January 20, 2005 - ©2005 IranMania.com
LONDON, Jan 20 (IranMania) - Irans nuclear spokesman Hossein Musavian announced on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic is prepared to cooperate with the European Union on the issues of security and disarmament.
According to Iran's Mehr News Agency, in a speech at a seminar in Paris entitled Middle East, Peace, Stability, and the Role of Iran, Musavian elaborated on Irans positions on security issues in the Middle East.
Addressing a group of French MPs, officials, and military commanders in the national security and armed forces committee of Frances National Assembly, he stressed that all countries must make a serious commitment to the campaign against terrorism, based on international law.
The chairman of the foreign policy committee of Irans Supreme National Security Council noted that countries should observe transparency and refrain from duplicitous, selective, unilateral, and monopolist approaches.
Musavian added that the campaign against terrorism should not be restricted to military and security approaches and measures but also requires simultaneous efforts to study the roots of the phenomenon and to formulate an acceptable definition of terrorism.
He also said that Iran is prepared to cooperate with the European Union in the campaigns against terrorism, drugs, and organized crime in the regional and international arenas within the framework of UN resolutions.
We should not forget that when Iran fought against Al-Qaeda and the Taleban, others actually supported those groups, Musavian noted.
Commenting on the latest developments in Iraq, he said that the Iraq crisis is a result of the unilateralist policies of the U.S., which are violations of international law.
The U.S. measures have not only become a threat to Iraqs territorial integrity, security, and stability but have also threatened regional security, the official stressed.
Musavian added that efforts should be made to protect Iraqs Arab identity and to establish an elected parliament and a national government with the participation of all ethnic groups including the Shia, Sunni, Kurdish, and Turkmen people of Iraq.
He went on to say that the UN should play a more prominent role during the transition period, with the cooperation of neighboring countries, and called for prompt and comprehensive measures to reconstruct the war-torn country.
Musavian said that Iraqs humanitarian needs should be met immediately and the occupying forces should withdraw from the country in order to resolve the current crisis.
US Denies Report of Military Teams in Iran
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The U.S. government has strongly denied a report by a prominent American journalist that it has sent small military teams into Iran to identify sites for possible future attacks. But the report and denials have generated a controversy about U.S. policy toward Iran, as President Bushs second term is beginning.
On Thursday, just before the inauguration ceremony, Vice President Dick Cheney told MSNBC television Iran is at the top of the list of world trouble spots, because of its nuclear program and because it is, in his words, a noted sponsor of terror. But he downplayed the possibility of U.S. military action against the country.
The article in the New Yorker magazine by controversial Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Seymour Hersh says the United States intends to make Iran the next battlefront in the war on terrorism, and has already sent military teams into the country to search for nuclear sites that could be targeted by American bombers.
Mr. Hersh said advocates of a strike on Iran, here at the Pentagon and at the White House, want to have proof Iran has a nuclear weapons program before they order any attack. He says they do not want another situation like Iraq, where the war was justified largely on the belief that the former regime had weapons of mass destruction, which later proved to be false.
The United States and European countries accuse Iran of having a secret nuclear weapons program, and the International Atomic Energy Agency has criticized Iran for concealing parts of its nuclear program that could be used to build weapons.
Iran says its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes. Iranian officials have also rejected Mr. Hersh's report of U.S. military teams operating in Iran, and say U.S. officials who spoke to the journalist are participating in what they call a "psychological campaign" aimed at Iran's religious leaders. On Thursday, Iran's president said he does not expect a U.S. attack, but that Iran will respond if there is one.
Numerous Bush administration officials have called the Hersh article "inaccurate," but they have not commented directly on his claims about U.S. military teams. Among them was Condoleezza Rice, during a Senate hearing this week about her nomination as secretary of state.
Condoleezza Rice testifies
"It is filled with inaccuracies and its credibility is sorely lacking," she said.
Still, when pressed by Senator John Kerry, who lost the November election to President Bush, Ms. Rice would not get into a detailed discussion of what the United States is, or is not, doing to counter the threat it sees from Iran.
KERRY: With respect to Iran, are you also denying or discounting any of the allegations in this article?
RICE: The article has is inaccurate
KERRY: With respect to Iran?
RICE: The article is, as [the Department of] Defense said, inaccurate.
KERRY: With respect to Iran?
RICE: Senator, the article does not represent our policies toward Iran, or our expectations of policies toward Iran.
Experts outside the government are divided on what the United States should be doing about Iran. At the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Patrick Clawson says he would not be surprised if the United States is indeed doing the type of intelligence gathering Mr. Hersh reported. Mr. Clawson says that is normal, good and necessary.
"I would be outraged if the United States isn't collecting information inside Iran about Iran's nuclear program," he said. "I would say that heads should roll at the intelligence agencies if they're not doing things like that."
But the executive director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University, Professor Natalie Goldring, disagrees.
"I think it's extraordinarily dangerous for us to have operatives in Iran, if that's the case," he said. "In order to justify violating a country's sovereignty and sending in military operatives in this manner, I believe we would have to have, at a minimum a demonstration of a clear and present danger. I don't believe that's the case with respect to Iran."
Professor Goldring says the United States should be working to gather as much information as possible about Iran's potentially dangerous nuclear program, but she says that should not include the kind of secret military operations Seymour Hersh reports are going on.
Although they disagree on that point, the two experts agree the United States should expect that any attack on Iran, in the absence of a specific provocation, would be likely to unite the country against the United States. Mr. Hersh reports that advocates of the plan in the Bush Administration reject that view, and believe that many Iranians would use a U.S. attack as an opportunity to rise up against their government.
At her Senate confirmation hearings this week, Condoleezza Rice offered this statement of U.S. policy toward Iran, which President Bush has described as part of what he calls an "axis of evil."
"The goal of the administration is to have a regime in Iran that is responsive to the concerns that we have about Iran's policies, which are 180 degrees antithetical to our own interests at this point," she said. "That means that a regime, the regime, would have to deal with its nuclear weapons obligations, deal with the fact that there are al-Qaida leaders who have been there, deal with the fact that they're supporting Hezbollah and terrorism, and Palestinian rejectionism against the Middle East peace process. That's what we're seeking."
Ms. Rice also said the Iranian people, in her words, "suffer under a regime that has been completely unwilling to deal with their aspirations and that has an appalling human rights record."
Two days later, in his second inaugural address on Thursday, President Bush linked the removal of such regimes to the war on terrorism. He said the United States will promote freedom and democracy around the world, even in what he called its "darkest corners," and will not allow repressive regimes to threaten U.S. security.
"My most solemn duty is to protect this nation and its people from further attacks and emerging threats," said Mr. Bush.
The current debate on Iran policy focuses on how the United States should deal with the "emerging threat" of an Iran with nuclear weapons.
U.S. officials say that, at least for now, the emphasis is on diplomacy, and they support European efforts to negotiate limits on Iran's nuclear program. But in pre-inaugural interviews in recent days, the president specifically declined to rule out military action against Iran if it becomes necessary at some point in the future.
IRAN LAUNCHES RAPID DEPLOYMENT FORCE
NICOSIA [MENL] -- Iran has launched a rapid deployment military force.
Officials said the military has organized the rapid deployment force over the last year. They said the unit participated in the Payrovan-i Vilayat exercise in southwestern Iran on Dec. 8.
The rapid deployment force was meant to respond within hours to any military emergency in or outside Iran. Officials said the force was the size of a brigade and contained C-130 aircraft for rapid transport as well as armored vehicles, anti-tank missiles and artillery.
Officials said the first appearance of the rapid deployment force was at Payrovan-i Vilayat, deemed the largest military exercise ever in Iran. They said the force would be a major element in Iran's defense against any attack by the United States.
Chaney is spot on.
Europe, Russia 'on same wavelength' on Iran nuclear program: French officialMOSCOW (AFP) Jan 20, 2005
Russia and three western European countries share a view that Iran can be persuaded through talks to limit its nuclear activities to the civilian sphere and to fulfill its international obligations in this regard, a French official said here Thursday.
"We have kept the Russians informed on our negotiations from the beginning," an official close to the delegation of visiting French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier told reporters, referring to European talks with Iran on its controversial nuclear program.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, admitted that the United States was "very skeptical" of the European initiative on Iran but said Paris had heard nothing suggesting that Washington planned to confront Iran militarily over its nuclear ambitions.
President George W. Bush refused earlier this week to rule out military action by the United States if it found Iran were pursuing development of nuclear weapons.
He was commenting on an article that appeared in The New Yorker magazine stating that US operatives have been working on the ground in Iran since last summer, gathing information on potential military targets. Iran warned Thursday it would respond to any threat from the United States.
Russia is assisting Iran in construction of a nuclear power facility and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated Wednesday that this help would continue as long as Moscow remained sure that Iran's nuclear plans were strictly civilian.
Lavrov said Russia would do all it could to ensure Iran complied with international obligations that include open inspections of its nuclear sites.
"The Americans know, and we are telling them, that the Russians are on the same wavelength as we are," the French official said.
"Iran is interested in strengthening its status as a regional power with a nuclear weapon... and we want to persuade them that this can be achieved better through economic development," the official said.
Jan. 21, 2005 0:10
'Iran months away from producing enriched uranium'By DAVID RUDGE
Iran is in advanced stages of trying to attain enriched uranium for use in atomic weapons, according to OC Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aharon Ze'evi (Farkash).
If it is not stopped, Iran will be capable of producing its own enriched uranium within six months, Ze'evi told an audience at the University of Haifa on Tuesday night.
He maintained that with this capability, Iran would be able to produce its first nuclear bomb by 2008-10 - an event that would likely cause a domino effect in countries in the Middle East.
Ze'evi spoke at a seminar entitled '2005 - A Year of Change in the Middle East' that was organized by the university's National Security Studies Center, headed by Prof. Gabriel Ben-Dor.
He noted that Iran, in parallel to its nuclear program, has been developing ballistic missiles and that its Shihab-3 rocket has sufficient range to reach the heart of Israel.
On a different subject, Ze'evi related to Mahmoud Abbas's election to the post of Palestinian Authority chairman and the likely changes that this could bring. He maintained that the death of former chairman Yasser Arafat has created a real opportunity to change the situation that has existed until now.
However, Ze'evi said the Palestinian new leadership will not easily relinquish Arafat's vision. Furthermore, there are those who doubt Abbas's ability to bring about and implement the changes and his own policies.
Ze'evi said that Abbas will probably not attempt to confront extremists or disarm organizations but will most likely try to persuade the Palestinian people that terrorism is not the way to achieve political goals.
He said the motivation among radical groups to continue terrorist operations remains high, but their capabilities have been reduced and they are finding it harder to carry out attacks.
Overall, Ze'evi anticipated that 2005 will be a year of opportunity for regional powers and that it is likely that more crises would be resolved through negotiations.
Rebel writer faces extradition to IranBy Meaghan Shaw
January 21, 2005
An Iranian writer, once detained in his home country for distributing pamphlets on behalf of the Iran Freedom Movement, faces deportation from South Australia's Baxter immigration detention centre.
The imminent return of Ardeshir Gholipour has alarmed an international writers group that campaigns for writers harassed, imprisoned and sometimes killed for their views.
The group, International PEN, believes he has a real fear of persecution for his political activism if he is sent back to Iran.
"His involvement in the Iran Freedom Movement and the Left Union for Democracy in Iran makes him particularly vulnerable to repression," the chairwoman of PEN's writers in prison committee, Karin Clark, said in a letter to Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone.
"PEN has on its records at least 13 writers currently detained in Iran, serving lengthy sentences for reasons which have been condemned internationally as clear breaches of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights."
Gholipour was an outspoken supporter of democratic reform in Iran between 1985 and 2000.
In 1987 he was arrested and spent more than 21 months in Iran's notorious Evin prison for distributing freedom pamphlets.
He also wrote articles for a newspaper that criticised the Iranian Government and called for constitutional change. A colleague at the paper was murdered in 1998.
Gholipour fled Iran in 1999 after taking part in student demonstrations and has been detained in Australia since 2000.
He gained many supporters in Australia because of his work on behalf of other detainees and after he painted murals at the Port Hedland detention centre to raise the spirits of child detainees.
Melbourne writer Arnold Zable said Gholipour tried to commit suicide last Friday when the detainee learned that Senator Vanstone had decided not to intervene to grant him a visa.His involvement in the Iran Freedom Movement . . . makes him particularly vulnerable to repression.
KARIN CLARK, writers group
Australian Democrats deputy leader Andrew Bartlett said it would be "negligence" on Australia's part to forcibly return Gholipour.
A spokesman for Senator Vanstone said if Gholipour's supporters had any new information on his case, it would be considered by the Immigration Department.
Iran 'forced' Afghans to go home
By Pam O'Toole
BBC regional analyst
The United Nations refugee chief says thousands of Afghans may have been forced to return to Afghanistan because of Iran's policies.
There are more than a million Afghan refugees in Iran
The UN High Commission for Refugees has been increasingly concerned that Iranian officials are pressurizing Afghan refugees to go home.
There have been radio campaigns informing them that they have to leave.
Rudd Lubbers told the BBC that such actions went too far, saying thousands may have been forcibly returned.
He said that the UN refugee agency did not want its agreement on voluntary repatriation to be interpreted as being instrumental in deportation.
There have been reports of round-ups, or of people being denied extensions of their residence documents and then being denied access to public services, or even being arrested, for having no documents.
The high commissioner, who has just returned from a visit to the region, said there were indications that some Afghan refugees as well as illegal Afghan migrants, were being pushed out of Iran.
He said the UNHCR wanted more intensive discussions with Tehran before extending their current voluntary repatriation agreement.
We are talking of a problem of at least thousands if not ten of thousands
UN refugee chief
"When we had a return last year of 380,000 [people from Iran] certainly not all was forced, no. The large majority was voluntary," he told the BBC.
"But when there are, let's say, 5% of them forced, it's 5% too much - we are talking almost 20,000 people. Therefore, I confirm that we are talking of a problem of at least thousands if not ten of thousands," he added.
Tehran has denied forcing legitimate Afghan refugees home, but says it has arrested many illegal Afghan workers.
Mr Lubbers said voluntary repatriation to Afghanistan should continue at the current rate for some time.
But he added that in the long-term, it would be useful if Iran, Pakistan and European countries hosting Afghans would also consider allowing some to remain as migrant workers.
The UNHCR, he said, was arranging a conference with European countries, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan next month to discuss this and other long-term solutions for Afghan refugees.
January 20, 2005, 8:14 a.m.
Democracy is the new name for peace.Toward a foreign policy for democratic nations.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the version of a speech presented at the Venice Conference IV on November 19, 2004, as a working paper for Center-Right Parties of the North Atlantic Alliance. Under the leadership of Senator Ferdinando Adornato of Italy, and drawing upon many sources, a public "charter" or "manifesto" is to be issued in 2005.
This speech is published here as prepared.
World War IV began in a long string of terrorist attacks, whose real nature went unrecognized until on September 11, 2001, huge billows of black smoke curled above New York City, Washington, D.C., and a field near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
This sudden outbreak of World War IV altered the strategic picture of the world.
Several almost entirely new questions were thrown into our faces. Among these were such questions as asymmetric warfare, preemptive warfare, rogue states, and humanitarian intervention.
The Historical ChallengeBefore tackling these questions, it is necessary to recall the dynamic narrative in which these concepts fit. A clear grasp of this narrative should shape the foreign policy of the Center-Right parties of the North Atlantic. This vision was once promoted by the parties of the left, too, but the Left, alas, seems now to have lost its zeal for promoting freedom in the world.
In the year 1900, the number of democracies in the world could be numbered on one hand, all concentrated in the North Atlantic states. Over the next hundred years, two great anti-liberal currents swept through intellectual and political life.
The first turbulent current was Communism, which aimed to destroy freedom in the economic order. Communism also imposed the most rigid and draconian dictatorship on politics and culture that history has ever seen. Communists promised that socialism would be better for poor people than capitalism.
The second was Fascism, which also proposed that dictatorship is superior to democracy. "Democracy," the fascists said, is "all talk and no action," outmoded, weak, and indecisive. Fascists promised that dictatorship would be better for poor people, and predicted that dictatorship would sweep the whole world. The fascist challenge aimed to destroy freedom in the political order.
Both these political claimants, Communism and Fascism, were anti-liberal. They set out to eradicate individual liberty, free associations, and democratic institutions. They aimed to eradicate free communities of every type, and thus destroy the rich communitarian dimension of liberal societies.
The Liberal Spirit Vindicated, TestedBoth the Fascist model and the Communist model disgraced themselves by becoming risible "losers" by their dramatic economic failures and by the terror they imposed upon their subjects. Fascism ended in war and ruin, while Communism reduced its peoples to the economic level of the "the fourth world." The enduring memories these plagues left behind are concentration camps and gulags.
Meanwhile, the nations that at great cost defended the liberal idea spent so much energy in battles to the death against the political threat of dictatorship and the economic threat of socialism, that they neglected the moral and cultural foundations of the free society.
Nonetheless, the main narrative line of the liberal spirit was vindicated namely, that the truly energizing and creative power of history is liberty. Liberty is the brilliant golden thread of historical progress.
On the other hand, among free women and men a certain weariness and lassitude, not to mention spiritual barrenness and cultural relativism, slowly became visible. With victory over the foes of freedom in hand, many lost sight of the rigors of spirit that liberty demands.
For this reason, when World War III (the Cold War) ended successfully, people on all sides wanted a long rest. Most wanted, after so much suffering and deprivation, mainly to enjoy life. Instead, the terrorists of 9/11 jolted us awake to new dangers, and brutally reminded us that hundreds of millions of young men and women around the world still do not share in the blessings of liberty.
Thus, the tasks of liberty are still not completed. The blessings of liberty and the protections of individual dignity and human rights have not yet come to the one billion human beings of the religion of Islam. This gap in basic liberties has allowed the good name of Islam to be manipulated by a small but deadly network of Islamic terrorists with political ambitions, perhaps best described as "Islamofascists."
Liberty's DynamismSince leftists today rarely celebrate the dynamism of economic liberty, parties of the left are slow to become excited by the challenge of bringing liberty to other cultures. Their anti-capitalist tendencies are so powerful that they loathe the economic system of free societies. They tend to argue that peoples in other civilizations do not hunger for "our kind" of liberty, are not "ready" for it, cannot make it work.
By contrast, the first principle of the parties of the Center Right is the dynamic power of liberty in culture, in politics, in economics. The parties of the Center Right aim to open the way to liberty in every culture and nation on the planet. They hold that liberty is written into the inner workings of three distinctively human activities insight, judgment, and choice. All three are personal actions. All three are free.
In this way, liberty is written into the constitution of human nature, and the right to express this liberty is a natural right, valid for all human beings, in all times and places. There are no leaders who boast that their people are "unfree," by nature worthy of enslavement.
Insight, judgment, and choice, the three capacities that distinguish the human being from all other creatures on earth, are precisely the capacities that give rise to humor and laughter, wisdom, irony, tragedy, responsibility, glory, and in short all the qualities that enrich the human story with drama, color and honor. Where there are humans, there is liberty.
The impulse to extend the boundaries of "the three liberties" liberty from tyranny and torture, liberty from poverty, and liberty of conscience, inquiry, and speech is the mainspring of the foreign policy of Center-Right nations.
A Positive AgendaA grasp of this background narrative that liberty is the mainspring of history is essential to a discussion of the Era of Terrorism. For in attacking terrorism, we must formulate an alternative the state of the world we are trying to establish, a world in which free societies replace tyrannies. This end clarifies all the means, strategies, tactics, and actions deployed toward that end. The reason is that free societies tend to treat one another by way of persuasion, not force.
It is not true to say that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." A terrorist is a person who kills defenseless civilians deliberately and as a matter of policy, as an instrument for compelling compliance or even subjugation. The aim of terrorism is not at all freedom, but capitulation to the will of the terrorist.
To repeat and elaborate, the end toward which parties of the Center Right aim is a world of free societies, in which young men and women may enjoy dignity, freedom, prosperity, and opportunity to explore and fulfill their talents, so that they may live with satisfaction rather than resentment.
At any one stage in real-time history, such an end may be only partially realized. But it is the end toward which by nature all things human already tend. Liberty is a long school, and even the most advanced societies have not yet learned all that it entails.
It is this end that must be kept in mind at every stage of the following discussion. It is not enough to kill or imprison terrorists. One must also help them build free societies that will fulfill their talents and aspirations. The war on terror must be met with a positive agenda, not merely a defensive one.
Toward a Foreign PolicyAs matters stand, much of the Islamic world is sorely tempted by profound feelings of resentment, because of the relative backwardness of Islamic societies, which a millennium ago were leading centers of civilization and law in the entire world. This feeling of inferiority, in conflict with older feelings of superiority, has generated powerful turmoil in the bosoms of many Muslims, especially the young. In addition, widespread longings among Muslim peoples for the same prosperity and liberties that other peoples of the world enjoy are powerfully contesting the murderous resentment of the violent. We have seen these revolts often recently against the Taliban in Afghanistan, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and in massive popular discontent within Iran and Sudan. Among Muslims today, the longing for liberty among the many is contesting with the lust for bloodshed among the few.
With this backdrop in mind, we turn now to four immediate perplexities.
ASYMMETRIC WARFARE 1. There is no doubt that Osama bin Laden (not alone) has raised a huge challenge for contemporary statecraft, viz., how to protect the peace of right order against a wholly new type of threat.
2. The newness of the threat comes from two things: First, the rise of a new type of non-state international actor; second, the power and the danger of certain new technologies of destruction, such as "dirty" nuclear materials mixed with explosives, chemical weapons, and biological weapons. All these can be prepared in very small sizes which can be carried by only one man. All are capable of killing many thousands of civilian victims and wreaking massive destruction
3. Osama bin Laden has grasped the vulnerabilities of free and open societies today. Their technological networks are very complex, highly integrated, and easy to disrupt with precise acts of violence. Tall buildings like the skyscrapers of New York are manifestly vulnerable. The same is true of great suspension bridges, nuclear power plants, water reservoirs, communications hubs, even the virus-prone internet.
4. Bin Laden has demonstrated how relatively easy it is for a small, disciplined, highly trained cadre of warriors willing to die in the attempt to wreak horrific damage, and to terrorize entire nations (as in Spain recently).
5. The essence of asymmetric warfare today consists of three elements: (1) a non-state actor; (2) secretly or at least unofficially supported by rogue states (such as Iran) and/or weak states (which may have little control over vast sections of their own national territory); and (3) expertise in training terrorists in the clandestine disciplines and arts, and in the use of weapons of mass destruction that may be put on target by single persons choosing to (or at least willing to) die in the attempt. In addition, practitioners of asymmetric warfare make use of the internet for communications, and the relatively open travel systems of the West.
6. Since a terrorist group is not a state but a shadowy, unofficial network, deterrence as used in the Cold War is an ineffective counter-strategy.
7. Since a crime-and-detection defense is essentially passive, and concedes the first (and possibly horrific) strike to the foe, its weaknesses are manifest. For example, the United States treated the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 as a crime problem, and that approach seemed to encourage, and certainly did not discourage, the second and fatal attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
8. Finally, the threat of asymmetric warfare calls for new defensive strategies which require fresh thinking about at least one of the requirements for a just war and also about one traditional principle of international law. One of the traditional requirements for a just war is that the offensive assault against which defense is morally legitimate must be "imminent." But what does "imminent" mean when the attacking force is not launched through the mass mobilization of entire armies near a national border, but by a single clandestine attacker carrying a weapon of mass destruction (e.g., a dirty nuclear bomb, chemical or biological weapons, or even a high explosive placed in a crowded and vulnerable civilian environment)? When did the attack of September 11 become "imminent"? Perfect advance intelligence might have spotted the conspirators on their way to carrying out their deadly missions (if their pre-planned method had been detected in advance). Failing that, the evidence of "imminent threat" appeared for sure only when the second plane crashed into the World Trade Center, and other planes were known to have been hijacked simultaneously. In other words, too late.
9. For this reason, the imminence of offensive assault under conditions of asymmetric warfare in contemporary circumstances needs to be redefined, to meet conditions of contemporary reality. Both international law and just war theory need slight modifications, based on ancient precedents, to adjust their reasoning to account for new technological realities. The contemporary realities of "imminence" need to be reexamined.
FORWARD-LEANING DEFENSE 10. It is in this context that a new defensive strategy has been worked out, which might best be called "forward-leaning defense," although some have chosen the unfortunate name "preemptive warfare." The point of the new defense is, under certain conditions, to go seek the practitioners of asymmetric warfare the terrorists in the lands where they have established their support systems, not only their training camps, but also their diffused operational centers ( "safe houses") of command, communications, strategic and tactical planning, and intelligence. Forward-leaning defense is an active defense aimed at putting the terrorists on the defensive in their own lairs, rather than waiting for them to attack with offensive operations.
11. The conditions for this forward-leaning defense are these: (1) "probable cause" intelligence about the existence and location of the afore-named operational centers of terrorist networks; (2) legal authorization for the defensive attacks from legitimate national authorities (self-defense is the primary responsibility of the governments of nation states); (3) and, if attainable in due time, the cooperation of a coalition of willing states capable of making legitimate arguments for the justice of the cause.
12. It goes without saying that the other conditions of just war theory must be met by the actions of forward-leaning defense, especially the in bello conditions such as no intentional harm to innocent civilians, strictly minimal collateral harm, and the use of weapons that are proportionate to circumstances.
13. In the best of all circumstances, the approval of an international body would be ideally required, to prevent a new right for preemptive warfare to be generated, whereby rogue states using false pretences could make war on less powerful states whose goods they coveted. Today, the United Nations is not in an objective position to provide such counsel, however, for it is almost always possible for a group of nations in the U.N. to protect their own interests by blocking the needed consensus.
14. The situation might be different if there were a separate international organization of the like-minded, committed to the goals of democracy and human rights, and whose internal disagreements would not prevent consensus on matters of grave importance, such as the self-defense of member states from anti-democratic assaults.
ROGUE STATES 15. The most dangerous foes of free societies are certain rogue states that are determined to accrue power by violating international order (for instance, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) at the expense of their own people and of other nations. Both Afghanistan under the Taliban, and Iraq under Saddam Hussein, are recent examples of such states. Afghanistan injured international order by harboring the training camps of Al Qaeda. Iraq used oil money to corrupt the UN system, to defeat the UN sanctions imposed upon its arms programs, and to hide the weapons programs of its secret services. Iran and North Korea are now the preeminent international threats. Sudan's genocidal attacks upon its own citizens in Darfur qualify it also for the list of rogue states. Until it changed its ways, Libya also qualified as an ominous and threatening menace to the world.
16. There is considerable evidence that Iran, in particular, is extremely active in training, aiding, financing, and in some cases even directing terrorist groups now active in the Islamic world including Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, and others. In the minds of some, the capital of Iran is also the headquarters of the "terrormasters," whose malignant influence is felt throughout the international terror network. While consensus on that point is growing only slowly, Iran's strenuous efforts to develop nuclear weapons, and to evade the inspections regime of the Atomic Energy Agency, have already become a cause for urgent alarm throughout the civilized world.
17. Rogue states are those nations that not only violate international norms in their treatment of their own population but also threaten the peace and security of other nations. It is the latter feature, the international threat, that commands the attention of the rest of the world. To some extent, when a rogue state abuses the human rights of its own citizens, it offends the norms of the whole human community, and may well draw the comment and criticism of many nations and international organizations. But the resources of the world community for correcting abuses within sovereign nations are very limited. International intervention, always reluctantly agreed to, is necessarily restricted to threats to the peace and security of other nations, and to such flagrant cases of internal abuse (genocide, for instance, including enforced famine) as can scarcely be overlooked by civilized peoples. Alas, however, even the worst cases of such abuse are likely to draw the corrective attention of other nations only if their own vital interests are threatened. The resources of nations, after all, are finite, and their range of action cannot be unlimited.
18. This principle of finitude has necessitated the distinction between global idealism and global realism. While free nations have an interest in the spread of democracy to all nations, they must limit their commitment of military and other expensive aid to those cases in which their own security or vital interests are inextricably involved. No nation is infinite, and common sense binds them to a certain modesty of reach.
19. Rogue states are different in their size, power, geography, capacity to disrupt the international community, and historical relationships to world order. For this reason also, the proper response to them by other nations must often be unique to each unique case. No one pattern fits all.
HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION 20. Post-1991 events such as the genocides occurring in Rwanda and Kosovo, the famine in Somalia, the reign of terror in southern Sudan, and other international crises have taught those who feel compassion for the sufferings of their fellow human beings and are responsive to the ancient question: "Am I my brother's keeper?" of the need for new criteria for the intervention of other states for humanitarian reasons. In some cases, it is politically and morally too difficult merely to do nothing. In the face of extreme suffering on the part of large number of people, it seems positively wrong to do nothing.
21. Over the years, public debate has sorted out five succinct conditions under which humanitarian intervention by other nations is called for. [See, e.g., Tony Blair's speech to the Economic Club of Chicago in April 1999].
(1) Are we sure of our case? War is an imperfect instrument for righting humanitarian distress; but armed force is sometimes the only means of dealing with dictators.
(2) Have we exhausted all diplomatic options? We should always give peace every chance, up to the point at which the danger occasioned by delay exceeds the danger that arises from intervention.
(3) On the basis of a practical assessment of the situation, are there military operations we can sensibly and prudently undertake?
(4) Are we prepared for the long term? In the past, we talked too much about exit strategies. But having made a commitment, we cannot simply walk away once the fight is over; better to stay with moderate numbers of troops than return for repeat performances with large numbers.
(5) Do we have national interests involved? The mass expulsion of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo demanded the notice of the rest of the world. But the deciding difference was the danger of this activity in such a combustible part of Europe, with a history of provoking a larger war.
22. These may not be the only conditions to be considered. Fresh thinking on the criteria for deciding when humanitarian intervention is legitimate and necessary and when not, is a matter of practical urgency.
THE INSTITUTIONS OF LIBERTY 23. The first exercise of liberty is personal and moral. It appears in personal acts performed with reflection, deliberation, and open-eyed choice. But its second exercise is public, through appropriate institutions of politics, economics, and culture, and this exercise of liberty is the primary responsibility assigned to political and social leaders. These political, economic, and cultural institutions extend the reach of liberty into every sphere of everyday life. Building up such institutions in any one of these spheres is very difficult; building them in all three at once is difficulty cubed. It should come as no surprise, then, that building a fully free society is a long-term affair. Yet it must be noted that some nations (Western Europe after 1945, East Asia after 1960) made stunning progress in less than a generation.
24. In our time any global order worthy to be called just must be characterized by institutions of liberty. Liberty and justice are mutually interdependent. No free society is worthy of the human race if it is not just. No society does justice to the human race if it is not free.
25. In our day, when we speak of a global order, we mean more than international law and the universal declaration of rights. Globalization these days points beyond the political order. For we also face new economic realities such as open and free global trade the economic dimension of global order. This economic order has been created by at least five factors: an exponential increase in global trade; virtually instantaneous movements of global capital; instant worldwide communications; international labor mobility; and the rapid spread of entirely new technologies.
Thus, the new global order has a political dimension, insofar as the reach of democratic institutions and institutions of human rights keeps expanding (although slowly) around the world. It is also rapidly gaining an economic dimension, as is reflected in the much-misunderstood term "globalization." Finally, it is at last becoming clear, as well, that the new international order has a moral and even a religious dimension.
26. Europe alone among the continents is tending (at least among elites and in European bureaucracies) in an ever more secular direction. By contrast, in Africa, America, and Asia, we see a reawakening of religious reasoning and moral seriousness, in revulsion against secularism, relativism, and nihilism. Meanwhile, the 53 Islamic nations of the world retain a strong sense of religion, despite inroads by failed secular ideologies such as socialism, marxism, Arab nationalism, enforced secularism (such as in Turkey). But the Islamic nations are also being torn by an upheaval of modern jihadism, which borrows from 20th century secular movements such as fascism and Leninism its methods of terror, secrecy, organization by cells, and predilection for bloodlust. This odd jihadism also nurses passions based upon a myth of return to eleventh-century Shari'a law. The vast majority of Islamic peoples, however, seems to be appalled by the extremism of the jihadists (as we have seen in Afghanistan, Iran, Sudan, Pakistan, Iraq and elsewhere). Many want to be devout Muslims, but also enjoy the fruits of the progress in prosperity and human dignity during recent centuries.
Virtually everywhere, in any case, religion is a far more potent energy in world affairs today than most scholars of a generation ago had predicted or even imagined. And secularism is no longer an untarnished or wholly attractive ideal. In particular, secularism seems to have no way to reverse the tangible moral decline within otherwise advanced countries.
27. Friedrich Hayek argued shortly after World War II that if liberty is to prosper in the new age, it will be necessary for all who believe in liberty, whether believers or unbelievers, to end the patricidal feuding that followed the French Revolution of 1789. The proponents of liberty are not too many, but too few, and so they must learn to cooperate on behalf of the spread of liberty.
In most of the world, the love for liberty has two main sources. The first is rooted in human experience and human reason, the second in certain religions. On the one hand, it is not the case that freedom is understood everywhere in the same way. On the other hand, by a kind of via negativa, the wars, oppressions, holocausts, and cruelties of the 20th century have taught practically the entire world a revulsion against certain "crimes against humanity," and opposition to severe violations of human rights. These revulsions, in turn, have given new currency to moral and religious reasoning about the nature of human beings. They have raised questions about the ground of human rights, and the origin of human conscience.
Further, it has become clear that in order to appeal to all peoples and cultures, a merely secular articulation of these questions would be too narrow, non-inclusive, and unsatisfactory. It would leave unattended the religiousness of the great majority of people on the planet.
By the same measure, the intellectual and linguistic traditions of no one among the world's global religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and a small number of others) would by itself be any more satisfactory than a merely secular idiom. In some ways, it might be less so. Nonetheless, we now need a way of thinking and speaking about religious and moral reasoning that is open both to believers of many different faiths and to unbelievers. Taking religion into account in a fair and open fashion is required by the necessities of building free societies open to all, and of living together in reasonable amity and mutual respect.
28. One way of developing such a language might be to reflect upon the requirements of human liberty itself. Even unbelievers may be willing to contemplate a source of human rights beyond the power of the state. One practical, institutional step in this direction has been the negative command that the state and its officials must not make laws respecting the domain of conscience and the free exercise of religion. At the same time, religious institutions and their leaders must not make political decisions in the domain of secular governance.
Another path toward the conception we are searching for is to recognize that the decision human beings make with respect to the duties their conscience recognizes in relation to their Creator whether to accept or to reject a duty of gratitude to such a Creator is prior in time and in seriousness to any other obligation, including any obligation of civil society. The relation between the individual and the Creator of all is prior to the relation of that individual to other human beings in civil society (and even in family life). That is why this duty, when it is recognized, is said to be inalienable. No other person, not even father or mother, or brother or sister, or spouse, can make this decision except the individual alone. And no institution of civil society may intrude upon it. The decision each individual takes toward the Creator (even if to reject any such duty) cannot be 'alienated' either by the state or any other association, not even the family.
29. In the large 'prison literature' of the 20th century, many survivors such as Sharansky and Mihailov have described the via negativa by which their experiences under the torments of interrogators and torturers led them, first, to resolve not to tell a lie; that is, to be faithful to the light within them that marked off what is true from what is false. At first, they thought of that light as part of themselves. Then, since every part of themselves was under assault by their torturers, and still they were determined to be faithful to the light, they began to think that light, after all, was not entirely under their own control, but seemed to come as it were from a source beyond themselves. In this way, they were led to recognize the obscure presence of God within themselves. Others, of course, under the same experience, did not go so far; in this realm, above all, freedom reigns. When they reached this point of fidelity to the light of truth, such prisoners as Sharansky and Mihailov (and a legion of others) experienced a great inner freedom and power even a power greater than that of their adversaries. For they had what their interrogators wished to take from them, and could not. So long as they remained faithful to truth, they were inwardly free. They gained a great sense of the dignity that flows from freedom held in the light of the truth. Such old phrases as 'The truth shall make you free' reverberated in their hearts with new meaning. And so also the phrase: 'Give to Caesar that which is Caesar's, and to God that which is God's.' This maxim is the chief barrier against all totalitarianism. All things do not belong to the state. There are limits on the state. The rights and even the liberty of the individual come from fidelity to the truth which for Jews and Christians (but perhaps not for secularists) is another name for God.
30. The rights of the individual cannot be alienated from him by any other individual or institution or earthly power. But such rights are only mere words air through lips unless they are protected by a democratic regime. On this point, Sakharov and Sharansky and many other moral heroes of the past century gave witness. It is in the nature of dictators to use individuals as means and to abuse their rights. It is also their nature to seek enemies, in order to keep their subjects in fear.
By contrast, democracies rooted in the rule of law and committed to honoring both individual rights and the consent of the governed tend toward peace. When the governed must give consent to war, they tend to count the costs, and agree only as a last resort. Thus, in our time, democracy has become the new word for peace. And it has also become the new word for personal dignity. For the institutions that constitute democracy rightly understood the rule of law, the separation of powers, the protection of individual rights, limited government, and the like provide the best ecology in which rights can actually be exercised, talents developed, and personal dignity respected.
Dictatorship or democracy? The freedom of all is unsafe so long as there are dictatorships, abusing their peoples.
31. That is why the nations of the North Atlantic have committed themselves to spreading knowledge of democratic principles in every culture of the world, and to giving assistance to democratic associations and individuals. For it is the belief of North Atlantic peoples, for reasons of both philosophy and faith, that the same natural rights they declare for themselves belong to all other human beings as well. After all, they have their origin in the Creator of all, and they belong to all who share in the same human nature.
After the fall of Nazism and the fall of Communism, after so many decades of bleak suffering, a natural weariness descended upon the peoples of the North Atlantic. They thought for a brief time that their hard work was done, and they could now rest in their own domestic prosperity and peace. Suddenly, the War declared on all of them on September 11, 2001, and May 11, 2004, ended their illusions.
In our time, the world must live either in freedom or in fear. And freedom for the individual cannot be secured, nor the rights of individuals kept safe, except in democracies designed for that purpose. The maxim bears repeating: Democracy is the new name for personal dignity. Democracy is the new name for peace.
Michael Novak, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission and to the Bern Round of the Helsinki Talks, holds the George F. Jewett Chair in Religion and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute.
FREEDOM AND IDEALISM[Victor Davis Hanson]
This is the first time that an American president has committed the United States to side with democratic reformers worldwide. The end of the cold war has allowed us such parameters, but the American people also should be aware of the hard and necessary decisions entailed in such idealism that go way beyond the easy rhetoric of calling for change in Cuba, Syria, or Iran-distancing ourselves from the Saudi Royal Family, pressuring the Mubarak dynasty to hold real elections, hoping that a Pakistan can liberalize without becoming a theocracy, and navigating with Putin in matters of the former Soviet republics, all the while pressuring nuclear China, swaggering with cash and confidence, to allow its citizens real liberty. I wholeheartedly endorse the president's historic stance, but also accept that we live in an Orwellian world, where, for example, the liberal-talking Europeans are reactionary-doing realists who trade with anyone who pays and appease anyone who has arms-confident in their culture's ability always to package that abject realpolitik in the highest utopian rhetoric. But nonetheless the president has formally declared that we at least will be on the right side of history and thus we have to let his critics sort of their own moral calculus.
Posted at 01:48 PM
Russia, Syria workIsrael stunned by Kremlin double-cross,
as Assad shops for missiles in Moscow
Posted: January 21, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern
Editor's note: Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin is an online, subscription intelligence news service from the creator of WorldNetDaily.com a journalist who has been developing sources around the world for almost 30 years.
© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com
Israel is fearing a double-cross by Moscow on arms deals that could make Syria a more serious strategic missile threat to the Jewish state, reports Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is planning his first state visit to Russia next week and he goes with a long shopping list of cooperation agreements and arms deals. The visit comes at a time when Russia is embarking on a plan to expand its political influence and once again become a key player in Middle Eastern affairs, according to the report by Yoram East in the premium, weekly intelligence newsletter published by WND.
Topping the Syrian shopping list are upgrades of packages for existing equipment, including hundreds of artillery and ballistic missiles. Next is the purchase of at least 18 units of the SS-26 surface-to-surface missiles, also known as Iskander-E.
Israel's main concerns are not so much about the sale of modern weapon systems to replace aging equipment in the Syrian military, but rather about Israeli technology incorporated in these systems offered by the Russians to their military hardware clientele.
A source in Jerusalem told G2 Bulletin Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, observing with some suspicion Assad's plan to visit the Kremlin, became truly alarmed as intelligence reports accumulated showing Russia is not only interested in selling hardware to the Syrians, but that it was using as bait supposedly secretive growing technological and scientific ties with Israel.
One report reveals the Russians had offered similar proposals to the Iranians and by doing so were blatantly breaching one by one understandings and agreements achieved with Israel over the past five years. This distressing development has an immediate effect on Israel's military ties with India, the emerging giant whose military industry is linked both to Israel and Russia.
A number of joint Russian-Indian-Israeli projects are currently underway with more planned to come in the near future. They are all based on the understanding Israeli components, technology and know-how, will not be included in any weapons' agreements between Russia and the Arab world, especially with Syria.
An Israeli general told G2 Bulletin it's not just an issue of the Russians selling the Syrians super-weapons. Syria already has the largest surface-to-surface missile force in the Arab world. Israeli officials believe a line in the sand needs to be clearly delineated for both Israel's allies and adversaries because of the increased threat these weapons would pose.
According to Russian sources Syria's existing equipment is based on:
- 24 launch pads with up to 200 missiles of the type Luna-M -- a tactical missile with a range of 70 kilometers. This weapon system was used against a northern Israeli air base during the 1973 war.
- Tochka Tactical Missile system -- Israel claims Syria has 36 launch pads for this type with an arsenal of 200 missiles with a maximum range of 70 kilometers.
- P-300 Tactical System, commonly known as the Scud family, of various types with a total of 54 launch pads and with an arsenal of close to 500 missiles of various types some supplied by North Korea, China and Cuba.
While the Iskander-E can, according to the Russians, "hit a target with pin point accuracy," Israeli officials are not alarmed. Israeli military industry scientists are convinced they will be able to overcome advantages of any missiles desired by Assad.
As the Syrian president began to negotiate with the Russians before his visit to Moscow, it is not yet clear whether he will return home with a closed Iskander-E deal. Syrian, Russian and Israeli officials are still engaged in a verbal battle of mutual accusations, denials and clarifications, and President Vladimir Putin is still waiting to see how his tactics will affect his relations with Washington.
Is Rumsfeld on His Way out?
From DEBKA-Net-Weekly Jan. 7 Updated by DEBKAfile
January 20, 2005, 12:54 PM (GMT+02:00)
To subscribe to DEBKA-Net-Weekly click HERE .
How President George W. Bush fills the key post of secretary of defense will be one of the pivotal decisions defining the second term he inaugurates with pomp and pizzazz in Washington Thursday, January 20. Much as he may praise Donald Rumsfeld for his excellent job, the secretary is believed by DEBKA-Net-Weeklys Washington sources to be on his way out. The timing of his resignation certainly not before Iraqs January 30 election - depends on a choice of successor, for which the White House has been holding discreet contacts for weeks. That choice in turn depends on the president defining his end-game for Iraq and laying it out in clear policy guidelines.
A Democrat might be appointed to the post, in the same bipartisan way in which Republican William Cohen served as President Bill Clintons defense secretary.
A changing of the guard at the Pentagon amid the ferocious guerrilla war in Iraq will give the Bush administration a chance to review key policy goals:
1. Does the United States mean to persist in fighting a winning war in Iraq- as Bush keeps on declaring?
2. Do Washington and US military chiefs appreciate that guerrilla and terrorist wars cannot be fought to a clear-cut, victorious finish, that US forces will never fully control Iraq and that American influence over its diverse ethnic and religious communities will always be limited?
4. Will the Bush administration act on the conviction gaining ground among US strategists and commanders in Iraq that Sunni non-participation in the election holds the danger of civil war flaring soon after the election and that this flare-up could quickly degenerate into a religious conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims? Washington might decide this is the moment to withdraw US troops before they are dragged into battle by one side or the other.
4. Will Rumsfelds successor prefer alternatively to shore up US military gains in Iraq or prepare American forces for a staged pullout?
The guidelines required by the next Pentagon chief will be needed not only for Iraq but for the allied global war on terror. Bushs inability to clearly chart the way forward so far deterred Senator John McCain from putting his name forward, although this Vietnam War hero would have been regarded by the president as an ideal candidate for the job.
The directives expected from the White House will also depend on the new secretarys own input on fast-moving events stemming from the success or failure of the Iraq election. The US-led coalition and Iraqi command will deploy 300,000 troops to police Iraqs streets and polling stations. According to DEBKAfiles intelligence sources, despite this presence, Iraqi guerrillas and al Qaeda fighters, massing in the area north of Fallujah and up to Mosul, are poised for a no-holds-barred offensive to disrupt voting and sabotage its outcome. Our sources add that Abu Mussab al-Zarqawis group and insurgent commanders have set up a joint headquarters at Hit on the Euphrates midway between the two cities and, moreover, the incoming traffic of men and weapons from Syria has swelled in the last week.
The elected government that emerges from the election is generally expected to be Shiite-dominated and ruled through remote control by the most influential Iraqi Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. Beyond that, the prospects of a peaceable transition from the Allawi administration are hazy. Elected government in Baghdad may ask US-led coalition forces to stay on until stability is achieved. That prospect would be unpopular in America and alienate the people of Iraq given the constantly rising scale of terrorist violence and American and Iraqi casualties. The alternative hazard of civil war triggered by a Shiite-dominated regime in Baghdad would on the other hand condemn the Bush administrations entire Iraq policy to failure.
Reza Pahlavi latest interview with BBC Radio!
January 21, 2005, 8:07 a.m.
The Hersh FileSy gets it wrong, again.
Tony Blankley thinks that Sy Hersh probably committed espionage with his latest article in The New Yorker, in which he breathlessly speaks of secret commando teams and joint American-Israeli efforts to target Iranian nuclear facilities. My pal Roger Simon rather suspects that Hersh was simply used by the Bush administration to make the mullahs even more nervous than usual. Hersh himself seems to think of himself as a seer, a prophet of upcoming military actions by the United States against a collection of terror-supporting enemies, starting with Iran. This is clear enough from his title, "The Coming Wars."
I have usually ignored Hersh's articles and books over the years, because there were so many errors in them that I could never figure out what, if anything, was true. Better to ignore him altogether than get sucked into a morass of confusion. And of course, Hersh has long specialized in stories that are severely damaging to the American mission. He almost never seems to think we have real enemies, he invariably takes the side of anti-American critics, and it never seems to occur to him that there are people in the government who are desperately trying to do the right thing. Real life is full of paradox, indecision, and error, with rare moments of decisiveness and coherence. But Hersh's world is black and white, there are clear winners and losers, and policy is driven by a handful of willful men and women who know where they want to go and how they want to get there.
I think thats plain crazy.
Still, "The Coming Wars" is ostensibly about Iran, so I thought it behooved me to take a look. But it was classic Hersh incoherence, almost from the beginning. Early on he says that he spoke to current and past defense and intelligence officials, but shortly thereafter he says, "The Defense Department and the White House did not respond to requests for comment on this story."
There was apparently no editor at The New Yorker who noticed that you cant have it both ways. For if "the Defense Department" wouldnt comment, then how could Hersh have spoken to current Defense officials? In fact, Hershs claim they wouldnt talk to me is not true. Prior to publication, senior Defense Department officials told Hersh that he was dead wrong on several counts something he might have mentioned, unpleasant though it is.
Internal inconsistency has always been one of Hershs trademarks, and "The Coming Wars" abounds with other examples. The most hilarious comes when his sources fess up that "the core problem is that Iran has successfully hidden the extent of its nuclear program, and its progress." I think thats right, and it follows that we'd have to be very careful about planning any operation against the Iranian nuclear program. But Hersh doesnt think in straight lines, because he somehow manages to claim, with a tone of utter confidence, that "(Hershs intelligence sources) believe that about three-quarters of the potential targets can be destroyed from the air, and a quarter are too close to population centers, or buried too deep, to be targeted." Once again, you really can't have it both ways: If the Iranians have hidden the program from us, we can't possibly know which ones can be hit from the air, because we just dont know. Thats what "successfully hidden" means.
I entirely agree with Roger that of course any rational administration would be going all-out to get all the information about the Iranian nuclear program. And I entirely agree with Tony Blankley that any journalist who reveals details of our quest for that information should be relegated to the lowest levels of Hell, whether the real thing or the legalistic equivalent. Guantanamo, maybe? No, no, only kidding, hoHo. But I don't think we need worry too much about Hersh's revealing the darkest secrets of American intelligence, because he doesn't have them. He can't even write a logically consistent paragraph.
Anyway, if you actually indulge your masochistic strain and read the whole thing, you will discover that this isn't really an article about American foreign policy. Its an overwritten and hyperventilated assault on Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, for, according to Hersh, crushing the CIA in the interagency battles over control of certain kinds of intelligence operations. The big quote (from "a former senior C.I.A. officer"): "For years, the agency bent over backward to integrate and coordinate with the Pentagon," the former officer said. "We just caved and caved and got what we deserved. It is a fact of life today that the Pentagon is a five-hundred-pound gorilla and the C.I.A. director is a chimpanzee."
Anyone familiar with Washington knows what that quote is all about. It's a classic "cover your a**" line, combined with a touch of "apres nous, la deluge." The guy is saying that things were manageable, but just barely, when he was there, but then he and his cohorts made the terrible mistake of cooperating with the Defense Department, and they got the shaft. So if anything goes wrong henceforth, the CIA is blameless; it's all Rumsfelds fault.
Like so much in the Hersh piece, this claim is ridiculous. If anything, Rumsfeld has been irresponsibly timorous in this, as in all other interagency battles. He famously refused to let DoD employees go work on the National Security Council Staff, thereby guaranteeing that the NSC would be manned by State Department and CIA professionals whose instincts would be different from those of Defense professionals. Rumsfeld meekly ceded total control over all investigations of WMDs in Iraq to the CIA. His intelligence czar, Stephen Cambone, has a hard-earned reputation as the CIAs Pentagon poodle. Nobody thinks Cambone is a threat to CIA's influence. There is indeed a battle of sorts going on over how much latitude our military forces should have in wartime, and its a serious question, far removed from the sort of drivel Hersh presents. The actual discussion stems from several cases in which the Pentagon had to get approval from the CIA and from State as well before proceeding with intelligence operations, even though time was of the essence. In some of those cases, approval either did not come, or it came too late. Those who want our commanders to have greater autonomy are not contrary to Hershs brief trying to circumvent congressional oversight or well-defined legal parameters. They are, rather, requesting clearer definition and a more efficient system.
But the funniest of all of Hershs little gags is the suggestion that aggressive self-assertion by the Pentagon which he perceives behind DoD and White House concerns about some aspects of the sweeping intelligence reform just passed by Congress will somehow diminish "competitive intelligence." It is precisely the opposite. The misconceived "reform" provides for greater centralization, and thus much less competition among the elements of the intelligence community. For CIA officials, past or present, to whisper the opposite is simply one more example of the deceptive character of those officials.
And of S. Hersh, their unconvincing mouthpiece.
The Hersh FileSy gets it wrong, again.
Iranians cheer massively Mr. Bush's Inaugural speechSMCCDI (Information Service)
Jan 21, 2005
Reports from across Iran are stating about the massive welcoming of President George W. Bush's inaugural speech and his promise of helping to bring down the last outposts of tyranny.
Millions of Iranians have been reported as having stayed home, on Thursday night which is their usual W.end and outgoing night, in order to see or hear the Presidential speech and the comments made by the Los Angeles based Iranian satellite TV and radio networks, such as, NITV or KRSI.
The speech and its package of hope have been, since late yesterday night and this morning, the main topics of most Iranians' conversations during their familial and friendly gatherings, in the collective taxis and buses, as well as, among groups of young Iranians who gather outside the cities on the Fridays.
Many were seen showing the " V " sign or their raised fists. Talks were focused on steps that need to be taken in order to use the first time ever favorable International condition.
Many Iranians, who were looking for the World's super power firm moral support and financial aid to credible secularist opposition groups, are now becoming sure that Mr. Bush's agenda is indeed to help them to gain Freedom, Secularity and Democracy. They do believe correctly that such way will avoid an unnecessary US invasion or military strike against Iranian facilities which will help the Mullahcracy to consolidate its illegitimate and unpopular power, while causing heavy financial damages and human causalities.
What had always been missing in order to create a wide scale Iranian democratic revolution, such as what happened in Georgia, was till now a firm and noticeable World pressure on the Islamic regime and a trustable Opposition Council with a correct agenda.
Various reports from underground groups are stating that Iranians will be increasing the Civil Disobedience Movement by making more strikes and demos in the days ahead.
All right, it just keeps getting better and better! Again, if President Bush can deliver a State of the Union address just half as good as yesterday's historic speech - maybe by the end of next month, maybe sooner - reports will start coming in from Iran that cracks and rifts are developing and expanding in the "mullah-ocracy." Bush needs to specifically say that we stand strongly with the Iranian people. I think he will. He almost has to now.
And good for Dick Cheney. Iran's all publically saying how they'll smash American intervention into their country. Well, Cheney comes out and talks about the Israeli threat. Like, "even if we play dead, Iran, you still have the potent Israeli threat to deal with. The Israelis might not destroy you on their own, but they sure can make life difficult for you."
I must say that I've always been doubtful that the regime in Iran can be ousted by anything other than military action before they get "the bomb." Yet, the prospects for a "peaceful" transition of power (people will die in any potential outcome) in Iran have never been better. By the end of 2005, I think there is a good chance of regime change in Iran, Syria, and Lebanon.
Now we all look forward to February 2.
Nervous? Just because Tehran is issuing non-stop bluster (remember Saddam's 'sea of blood'?) doesn't mean the three stooges Khamenei, Khatami, Rafsalami are nervous.
Just because Iran is in the ten-ring on the shooting ranges of W, Cheney, Condi and Rummy oughtn't make the mullahs quiver like Jello.
Simply on account of a little passing reference to the 5,000 JDAMs we just sold Israel the Revolutionary douche bags needn't book their flights on Travelocity to beat feet with the Roaming Gnome.
But they should bear in mind: Ceaucescu had no clue.
This thread is now closed.
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Just because Iran is in the ten-ring on the shooting ranges of W, Cheney,
Condi and Rummy oughtn't make the mullahs quiver like Jello.
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