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Iranian Alert -- December 30, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 12.30.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 12/30/2003 12:10:01 AM PST by DoctorZIn

The US media almost entirely ignores news regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. As Tony Snow of the Fox News Network has put it, “this is probably the most under-reported news story of the year.” But most American’s are unaware that the Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT supported by the masses of Iranians today. Modern Iranians are among the most pro-American in the Middle East.

There is a popular revolt against the Iranian regime brewing in Iran today. Starting June 10th of this year, Iranians have begun taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy. Many even want the US to over throw their government.

The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movement in Iran from being reported. Unfortunately, the regime has successfully prohibited western news reporters from covering the demonstrations. The voices of discontent within Iran are sometime murdered, more often imprisoned. Still the people continue to take to the streets to demonstrate against the regime.

In support of this revolt, Iranians in America have been broadcasting news stories by satellite into Iran. This 21st century news link has greatly encouraged these protests. The regime has been attempting to jam the signals, and locate the satellite dishes. Still the people violate the law and listen to these broadcasts. Iranians also use the Internet and the regime attempts to block their access to news against the regime. In spite of this, many Iranians inside of Iran read these posts daily to keep informed of the events in their own country.

This daily thread contains nearly all of the English news reports on Iran. It is thorough. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary. The news stories and commentary will from time to time include material from the regime itself. But if you read the post you will discover for yourself, the real story of what is occurring in Iran and its effects on the war on terror.

I am not of Iranian heritage. I am an American committed to supporting the efforts of those in Iran seeking to replace their government with a secular democracy. I am in contact with leaders of the Iranian community here in the United States and in Iran itself.

If you read the daily posts you will gain a better understanding of the US war on terrorism, the Middle East and why we need to support a change of regime in Iran. Feel free to ask your questions and post news stories you discover in the weeks to come.

If all goes well Iran will be free soon and I am convinced become a major ally in the war on terrorism. The regime will fall. Iran will be free. It is just a matter of time.


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iaea; iran; iranianalert; iranquake; protests; southasia; studentmovement; studentprotest
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To: DoctorZIn
Iraqis Should Fasten Their Seatbelts

December 30, 2003
National Review Online
Amir Taheri

With Saddam Hussein under arrest, a power struggle has begun within the remnants of his Baathist regime, Iraqi sources report.

At least three rival groups are positioning themselves to fight for the control of what they call "popular resistance" (al-muqawemmah al-shaabaiyah).

The issue is attracting broader Arab interest with some pan-Arabists, Islamists, and other radical groups focusing on the Iraqi insurgency as the vanguard of a broader struggle against the West led by the United States.

What looks like a consensus is emerging in sections of the Arab media that regarded the toppling of Saddam Hussein as a catastrophe for Arab nationalism. The consensus, set by the antiwar daily Al Quds, published in London, is that Saddam's arrest would enable other "resistants" to come forward and fight "the occupation."

The paper's editor-in-chief, Abdul-Bari Attwan, a British citizen of Palestinian origin, believes that many Iraqis did not fight the Coalition because they did not want to be regarded as Saddam's fedayeen.

"With Saddam out of the picture, the resistance can mobilize all of Iraq's Arab nationalistic energies," Attwan says.


Inside Iraq, however, the power struggle within the insurgency is fought around more mundane issues. At stake is some $400 million in cash that Saddam and his entourage took away from the Iraqi Central Bank in Baghdad on April 8, only hours before the U.S. Marines arrived. (The original sum taken was over $1 billion of which more than half was later found by the GIs in a cache close to the Tigris River.) The fallen regime is also believed to have stashed away billions of dollars in foreign, mostly Swiss, French, and Austrian, banks. Until 2002, these were managed by Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, a half-brother of Saddam who is now believed to be held by the Coalition forces.

The rival groups are also fighting over control of large quantities of weapons that Saddam and his henchmen looted from army depots and barracks last April and May. One of the last orders Saddam gave to his loyalists on April 8 was to "seize and secure" as many weapons as they could. Later, he confirmed the order in an audiotape broadcast by al Jazeera in July. In it he described "all forms of weapons" as "parts of Iraqi national property" and asked his followers to "take as much as you can for safe-keeping." It is not clear whether any weaponized chemical and/or bacteriological substances were included in what was looted by pro-Saddam elements in the first few weeks after the liberation. According to Iraqi sources, however, there are enough arms in secret locations to supply the needs of the insurgency for months if not years.


The three main groups involved in the power struggle are organized along tribal and clan lines covered by a thin veneer of Baathist ideology.

What is possibly the largest group is led by Colonel Hani Abdul-Latif al-Tilfah al-Tikriti, a former head of the Secret Services Organization (SSO) and a cousin of Saddam. Hani and his younger brother Rafi are reportedly trying to maintain the cohesion of what is left of the Tikriti clan that provided Saddam with his principal support base for 30 years. Although both brothers feature in the deck of cards issued by the U.S.-led Coalition, there are indications that they are still able to operate with some freedom within the so-called "Sunni Triangle." Their group includes Sabaawi Ibrahim al-Tikriti, a half brother of Saddam, and Lt. General Tahir Dalil Harboush, a Soviet-trained expert in intelligence.

According to Iraqi sources this group includes several hundred former members of the presidential guard and special commando units once led by the late Qusay Hussein, Saddam's second son.

The nominal head of the second group is Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, who was number-two in Saddam's Revolutionary Command Council (RCC). This group has absorbed the remnants of the Baath party's secret military organization, of which Duri was leader since 1986. It is also possible that some members of the Fedayeen Saddam organization, led by the deposed dictator's eldest son, the late Uday Hussein, have rallied to the group.

The Coalition has identified Duri as the ultimate leader of the current insurgency. But most Iraqi sources reject that hypothesis. Duri has been seriously ill for years. In fact, in the year 2000, he received treatment for leukemia in Austria. What is more probable is that is that one faction is using Duri's name, and prestige as Saddam's closest aide for 20 years, to deny the Tikriti faction exclusive control over the remnants of the party and regime.

According to Iraqi and other Arab sources the faction built around Duri is, in fact, led by Major-General Seyfallah Hassan Taha al-Rawi, a former chief of staff of he presidential guard. The Rawi clan has a long history of uneasy relations with Saddam's Tikriti clan.

In the 1970s one of the al-Rawis, General Abdul-Ghani, defected to Iran, provoking revenge killings ordered by Saddam against the clan. The blood feud ended in 1990 when Saddam promoted several al-Rawi officers in a bid to weaken another rival clan, the Juburis. Two cousins, Muhammad Zamam Abdul-Razzaq al-Saadoun and Abdel-Baqi Abdelkarim Abdallah al-Saadoun are believed to be the group's major contact men with various Sunni Arab tribes, especially in regions close to the Syrian border.

The third group could be described as the civilian wing of the insurgency and presents itself as "the true Baath." It is led by Muhsin Khudhair al-Khafji who has just declared himself president of the Iraqi section of the pan-Arab Socialist Baath party.

A former security officer, al-Khafji who spent some time studying in France, is clearly trying to provoke bloody clashes between Iraqi civilians and the occupation forces in Baghdad and some of its Sunni suburbs in the west and north.

The civilian wing of the Baath can count on scores of businesses and associations that acted as facades for its presence in all walks of Iraqi life. The nature of these businesses and those who ran them would be known to very few individuals, including Saddam himself.

Last week al-Khafji succeeded in setting up website, possibly with the help of Baathist elements in Algeria. He also seems to have restored contacts with Baath-party branches created by Iraq in Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Morocco.

Al-Khafji has also maintained contacts with more than a dozen non-Iraqi, mostly Palestinian, terrorists, and guerrilla organizations that Saddam had financed and supported over the years. His contact man with some of those groups is one Khamis Sarhan al-Muhammad, once head of the Baath branch in Karbala, in central Iraq.

The group's principal contact man with the tribes is believed to be Rashid Maan Kadhim who was last seen in the Mosul area in June.

In a statement published Monday, al-Khafji claimed that Saddam's capture had been the result of "betrayal by mercenaries." The statement claimed that Saddam Hussein remained secretary general of the pan-Arab Baath party which has branches in eleven Arab countries. (One rival branch of the Baath is in power in Syria.)

It is not clear who the "mercenaries" mentioned in the statement are. But some Iraqis see a broad hint that the al-Rawi clan is the target of the accusation. This is because it was information provided by one of the al-Rawis, captured by the U.S., that ostensibly led to the discovery of the hole where Saddam was hiding.

The "true Baath" group is trying to patch up relations with Syria, mostly through contacts in Europe. It wants Damascus to agree to a reunification of the Baathist movement throughout the Arab world, and throw its support behind a campaign to end the occupation of Iraq. Syria would love to regain control of the pan-Arab Baath movement, which it lost in the 1970s largely because of Saddam's rising power in Baghdad. Syria's President Bashar al-Assad still claims to be the nominal leader of all branches of the Baath party in the Arab world, including Iraq. But it is not clear whether he would wish to risk a confrontation with the US by actually taking the remnants of the Iraqi Baath into his tent.


Differences among the three groups over the strategy to pursue have become clearer in the past two weeks.

The so-called "true Baath" group favors a strategy of urban guerrilla by small units plus civil disobedience by groups still loyal to the party. It hopes that, at some point, it would force the coalition, or the transitional government that is to be installed next June, to seek some accommodation with it. This strategy is based on Baath's experience over more than half a century. On several occasions the Baath was formally banned in Iraq and had to go underground. Each time it managed to re-emerge thanks to a campaign of violence while its political enemies were divided among themselves. Each time the Baath allied itself with whichever faction it deemed necessary in order to strike against others and gain a share of power. The Iraqi Baath party has changed alliances many times, from Communists to Islamists and passing by Nasserists and nationalists.

Al-Khafji and his theoreticians hope that history will repeat itself and that the enemies of the Baathists will soon start fighting one another, enabling the party to rebuild itself and reemerge as a force that could tip the balance one way or another.

For its part, the Tikriti clan appears intent on organizing sporadic attacks on the Coalition in the hope of killing as many American soldiers as possible. It appears to have succeeded in creating several operational units, some consisting of up to 25 men. The clan is in a strong position because it is believed to control the bulk of the money stolen on Saddam's orders plus secret funds controlled by various security organizations.

The clan rejects the strategy of the "true Baath" as one that is based on an illusion. The U.S.-led Coalition has announced the dissolution of the Iraqi Baath and is unlikely to allow it to re-emerge in any form anytime soon.

Although the remnants of the Iraqi Baath may enjoy some sympathy in Moscow and Paris it is unlikely that demands made by Russia and France for a "broad-based government in Baghdad" would extend to them. Nor could one imagine the new Iraqi transitional government, expected to be sworn in next June, allowing the Baath party to rebuild itself in any form.

The al-Rawi clan is apparently trying to rally some tribal elements, especially within the areas controlled by the Duwailim and the al-Shamar tribal confederations in the Sunni areas. It believes that, by playing the tribal card, it would gain a place at the negotiating table over the shape of the new Iraq.

The situation is further complicated by the presence of half a dozen other groups, some of them consisting almost entirely of non-Iraqi Islamist militants, who have their own agendas and pursue their own strategies.

The largest of these groups is known as Ansar al-Sunnah (Victorious Soldiers of Tradition) and is close to the religious leaders in Fallujah and Baaquba.

Another group is known as Lajnat al-Iman (the Committee of the Faith) which has a presence in Baghdad and Mosul. Both include non-Iraqi militants and have contacts with pan-Islamist movements in other Arab countries, notably Algeria and Saudi Arabia. The use of car bombs, a Lebanese specialty, in the current campaign of violence may indicate a Lebanese presence in one or both of these groups. Some elements of the Ansar al-Islam (Victorious Soldiers of Islam), a group with close ties to al Qaeda, are also present in the Sunni Triangle, although their importance has been widely exaggerated by the Americans.

Also operating in the context of the instability that prevails in the Sunni Triangle are mafia-style groups that once controlled the black market created by United Nations sanctions. These groups have absorbed some of the criminals who Saddam released from prison on the eve of his own downfall. These gangs pursue no particular political agenda and switch alliances from one former Baathist outfit to another.

The Coalition cannot deal with all these groups in exactly the same way. Different tactics and strategies are needed to take into account the specific form of threat each poses. Some groups must be regarded as terrorists and hunted down without mercy. There are also individuals who must be captured and tried for crimes against humanity. But there are also groups and/or individuals who could be treated politically. These include Sunni mullahs, tribal leaders, and even some members of the Baath party who have not been personally involved in criminal activities.

A mixture of patient police work, tough counter-insurgency action, and deft political maneuvering is needed to help Iraq negotiate the dangerous phase of the transition in the next few months.

With Saddam in the can, the situation in Iraq may get more complicated, at least for a while. The idea is to fasten seatbelts for the bumpy road ahead. With the head of the snake chopped off the rest of it will also be destroyed. What is needed is patience and resolve.

Amir Taheri is a NRO contributor, Iranian author of ten books on the Middle East and Islam. He's reachable through
21 posted on 12/30/2003 8:43:24 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's Political Quake

December 30, 2003
New York Post
Amir Taheri

IT may take months before we know the exact number of people who died during the recent earthquake in Bam, south-eastern Iran. The authorities have cited the figure of 30,000 dead and more than 50,000 injured. Local sources, however, speak of double those numbers.

It would take weeks before all the affected small towns and villages, numbering in hundreds, are reached. The hasty burial of corpses in mass graves renders any exact estimates that much more difficult. Also, thousands of people who have lost their homes are already leaving the region in search of temporary or permanent refuge elsewhere in the province.

One thing is certain: The earthquake has dealt a serious blow to the dwindling fortunes of the so-called pro-reform coalition led by President Muhammad Khatami. The anger it has provoked throughout the country is unlikely to ebb soon.

It may, in fact, overshadow the general election that is now less than two months away. What is already known as "the Bam effect" could produce either a mass boycott of the polls or an unexpected victory for the more hard-line Khomeinists who insist that Khatami's talk of reform has led the country into an impasse.

Khatami was able to take the measure of things himself when he was booed and boycotted during his whirlwind visit to the stricken regions four days after the quake. In fact, he had to cancel the best part of his program because the local authorities could not ensure his security. At least two of Khatami's ministers, visiting the affected areas, narrowly escaped being beaten up by angry survivors.

To be sure, blaming Khatami for a natural disaster is unfair. But he represents a regime that, to many Iranians, is at least partially responsible for the tragedy.

The ancient city of Bam, the epicenter of the quake, has a long history of destruction. It was first destroyed in an earthquake almost 1,900 years ago. But such is the unexplainable magnetism of Bam that, almost eight centuries later, it had become an important trading center with a cosmopolitan population of Muslims, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians.

The city was again almost totally razed by an earthquake in 1911. But by the 1930s it had reemerged as a trading center and a producer of dates and pistachios. Then came other earthquakes in 1950 and 1966.

By the early 1970s, the government had decided not to allow people to build new houses in Bam itself. The city's ancient monuments were declared part of the heritage of mankind under UNESCO and no new buildings permits were issued for almost six years.

The revolutionary turmoil of 1978-79 provided racketeers with an opportunity to seize large chunks of land in Bam and use it for poorly designed and badly constructed houses and shops. The racket was backed by a group of powerful mullahs who, in exchange for a cut in the proceeds, issued fatwas (religious opinions) that canceled government orders that banned house-building in the city.

The mullahs claimed that the shah had wished to keep Bam empty because of a secret plan under which the city would be turned into a Zoroastrian center. They also dismissed warnings from the National Seismological Center in Tehran that opposed the repopulation of Bam. The mullahs claimed that the Hidden Imam would protect the new inhabitants of the city against all disasters.

Thus, more than half of those who died in the earthquake could be regarded as victims of a racket ran by mullahs and their associates with the help of religious prejudice and superstition.

Most Iranians knew nothing of the racket that the earthquake has exposed. The discovery that so many people died because cynical developers and bribe-taking mullahs sought a fast buck has sent a shock wave throughout the country.

The earthquake has also revealed the abject poverty of parts of Iran. Bam and most of its satellite towns and village lacked the minimum infrastructure of urban and rural life in the 21st century. There were only 250 hospital beds and 31 doctors for a population of over 150,000. The region's one small airport could not take in even medium-sized aircraft bringing in relief. And when relief arrived, there were no vehicles and certainly no roads to carry them to those most in need.

That level of poverty, often associated with sub-Saharan African states, comes as a shock when it is observed in an oil-rich country like Iran. A nation that has earned almost $500 billion in oil revenues alone in the past 25 years finds it hard to believe that some of its regions were as undeveloped as Burkina Faso.

The earthquake also focuses attention on the nuclear power plant that Iran is building on the Bushehr Peninsula. The plant is on the same geological fault line that destroyed Bam. Each year, thousands of tremors of various degrees of intensity are recorded on that fault line.

Bushehr itself has thrice been destroyed by earthquake in recent times (1877, 1911 and 1962). It is not hard to imagine what an earthquake that destroys a nuclear power plant could do to the entire Persian Gulf area.

The Germans who designed the Bushehr plant and the Russians who are building it assure everyone that it could withstand tremors of up to 7.2 on the Richter scale. That is almost one degree higher than the tremor that destroyed Bam. Also, the available historical data show that the region has not known tremors of more than 7 on the Richter scale. But there is no guarantee that a higher-intensity tremor will not strike in the future.

The Persian Gulf, through which passes almost half of the world's imported crude oil, is a shallow body of water that consists entirely of the continental shelf. (On average it does not go deeper than 90 meters). The destruction of a nuclear plant by earthquake in so shallow and narrow a waterway could create a disaster many times larger than that of Chernobyl. It would affect eight coastal countries directly, while dealing a severe blow to world trade by halting oil exports for months if not years.

The Bushehr plant may have made some sinister sense under Iran's program to develop nuclear weapons. Last month, however, Tehran announced that it had suspended that program and would open the country to meaningful inspection of all its nuclear sites in the future.

If the Tehran leadership is sincere, it must also review the necessity of building the plant at Bushehr. All the economic and political arguments are against the completion of the plant. The Bam earthquake has added a scientific argument: Iran should do nothing that could produce the world's biggest nuclear disaster if and when earthquake strikes Bushehr again.

22 posted on 12/30/2003 8:44:32 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Iran's Political Quake

December 30, 2003
New York Post
Amir Taheri
23 posted on 12/30/2003 8:45:29 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
"President Bush was describing the rulers of Iran, not the Iranian people, when he included their nation in the "axis of evil," along with Iraq and North Korea."

I think this message is finally reaching people.
24 posted on 12/30/2003 8:59:50 AM PST by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn
"The revolutionary turmoil of 1978-79 provided racketeers with an opportunity to seize large chunks of land in Bam and use it for poorly designed and badly constructed houses and shops. The racket was backed by a group of powerful mullahs who, in exchange for a cut in the proceeds, issued fatwas (religious opinions) that canceled government orders that banned house-building in the city."

Answers a lot of questions......
25 posted on 12/30/2003 9:03:42 AM PST by nuconvert
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To: F14 Pilot
26 posted on 12/30/2003 9:22:56 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: nuconvert
Treachery's long fingers reach from the past.
27 posted on 12/30/2003 2:15:58 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Submitting approval for the CAIR COROLLARY to GODWIN'S LAW.)
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To: F14 Pilot; DoctorZIn; Grampa Dave; SAMWolf
"We've heard promises and predictions, and we want to see action. If we start seeing action -- on al Qaeda, the nuclear issue, Hamas and Hezbollah -- we'll see what we can do," said a senior State Department official. "There's been a lot of talk, but we need to see them walk the walk."

Iran did the 1983 Beirut Embassy bombing killing 60 and the Marine barracks bombing killing 241.

Iran continues to give safe haven to al Qaeda, support Hamas and Hezbollah, and work feverishly to build bombs.

Dialogue schmialogue.

In a word, Osirak.

28 posted on 12/30/2003 2:24:25 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: DoctorZIn
Now Wait For The Political Tremors

December 30, 2003
The Economist
The Economist print edition

Disaster could hardly have struck at a worse time or taken a less anticipated form. Before dawn on December 26th, a Friday, the Muslim day of rest, the sleeping town of Bam was all but razed by an earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale. More than one-third of the town’s 80,000 inhabitants were killed, either immediately, or later in the rubble of their homes. The authorities were ill-prepared. It was Bam’s first big quake in a millennium.

New and old, public and private, the buildings of Bam had one thing in common: their disregard for anti-earthquake regulations. Even the swankiest homes collapsed: the governor was the only senior official to survive. Two hospitals were destroyed. Prisoners fled a wrecked jail on the edge of the town. One man, forewarned by a subterranean rumbling, had spent the night in his car. He survived but lost about 40 relations. Fearing after-shocks, survivors clogged the road to Kerman, the provincial capital.

In Tehran, Iran’s capital, more than 1,000km (621 miles) north-west, sclerotic state organs lumbered into action. The Iranian Red Crescent was hindered by the concentration of its stores and people in the quake-prone north. As a result, thousands of survivors in Bam spent two freezing nights without the tents they had been promised. The few bulldozers that arrived promptly to sift through the rubble stopped working at nightfall. Most “rescue” operations were in fact exhumations by the bereaved, using their bare hands.

On the whole, the Iranians seemed unable to co-ordinate the emergency teams that were dispatched from 26-odd countries, including the United States, the Islamic republic’s bitter enemy. Would-be rescuers were stuck in their own countries, while the Iranians got around to issuing them with formal invitations. When they arrived at Bam’s tiny airport, no one was on hand to guide them to those parts of the town where they would be of most help.

On Sunday evening, as supplies rolled belatedly into Bam, the authorities abandoned hope of finding more survivors, and foreign helpers prepared to go home. The interior minister said that more than 15,000 bodies had been buried; by Tuesday an official said the final death toll would exceed 28,000, though it was unclear whether that figure included the many casualties in villages nearby.

For a few days, the reformist supporters of President Muhammad Khatami and their rivals in the clerical establishment, which rallies around Iran’s “supreme leader”, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, gave up their vicious politicking. In scenes reminiscent of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, ordinary Iranians responded to the disaster by piling up food and clothes at collection points across the country.

In a trip to Bam on Monday, Mr Khamenei pledged that the town would be rebuilt, “stronger than ever”. That would be some feat. The town lost its Persian-speaking middle class long ago, to gradual migration. It, in turn, was replaced by tribal Baluchis, whom Persians tend to look on with distaste, partly for their reputation as traffickers of drugs.

More recently, the authorities tried to develop Bam by rebuilding the ancient town as a tourist attraction and by building a car factory on the edge of the desert. The plant still stands but the celebrated mud-brick citadel was ruined in the quake. As for the palms that produce Bam’s famously succulent dates, they survived. But the underwater channels that irrigated them may have collapsed.

Iran’s brief unity may not engender lasting good sense. Bam is too distant, its concerns too peripheral, for its agony to have much effect on building techniques in vulnerable cities like Tehran, where developers and regulators pay scant attention to best practice.

But the catastrophe may have one benign effect: a lessening of the Islamic republic’s distrust of foreigners. That distrust was evident in 1990, when the Iranians turned down many offers of outside help in the aftermath of a previous catastrophic quake and officials denounced sniffer dogs as “unclean”. Mr Khatami, in recent days, has showed no such qualms, appealing for help from all bar Israel. Some people in Bam were rescued thanks to the once-reviled canines.

Mr Khatami’s conservative rivals have mixed feelings about foreign help. During his trip to the area, the supreme leader did not deign to mention the mainly western countries that had rushed to Iran’s aid, let alone thank the rescuers in person. That is not untypical of Iran’s stand-offish conservatives. Last Friday, while survivors of the disaster surveyed the wreckage of their lives, Mr Khamenei found time to extol at length the merits of making the pilgrimage to Mecca.
29 posted on 12/30/2003 3:03:31 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Sharon to Convene Ministers to Discuss Iran's Nuke

December 30, 2003
Aluf Benn

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will convene a special ministerial forum on Wednesday to discuss Iran’s agreeing to expand international monitoring on its nuclear facilities.

The ministers are expected to focus on Israel’s possible options in wake of the decision, to insure that Iran live up to its commitments.

The ministers taking part in the meeting will be Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, Minister of Industry and Trade Ehud Olmert, Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Justice Minister Yosef Lapid and Minister without portfolio Uzi Landau.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Tuesday in an interview to the “Washington Post” daily that recent conciliatory moves by Iran could lead to restoring a dialogue between the two countries.

Political sources in Jerusalem said on Tuesday that Israel is not considering softening its policies towards Iran.
30 posted on 12/30/2003 3:04:15 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
UN Agencies Say More Cash Donations Needed for Relief in Iran

December 30, 2003
UN News Center
UN News

With United Nations relief agencies having already contributed $500,000 from their emergency funds to help the victims of last week’s massive earthquake in Bam, Iran, a senior UN official said today more donations are needed to help the ongoing humanitarian operation.

“We badly need cash grants,” Rashid Khalikov, Deputy Director of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said at a press conference in Geneva.

Mr. Khalikov said the UN is coordinating 34 search and rescue teams in Bam from 30 countries, as well as the relief supplies that are pouring in. “Relief items continue to arrive [at] the airports, both in Bam and Karman, [and they] have been used to capacity, and we are approaching the stage that it is very difficult to accommodate incoming aircraft,” he said.

The UN is working with the Government of Iran to identify further needs, Mr. Khalikov added, such as shelter in the form of tents and plastic sheeting, as well as heaters to stave off the freezing temperatures.

According to initial estimates, the earthquake killed 20,000 people, injured 30,000 others and left 70,000 people homeless – of whom some 40,000 are still living on the streets. The death toll could top 50,000.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today called for nearly $1 million in emergency funds to help children who survived last week’s earthquake.

“Tens of thousands of children watched their world crumble around them," UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said. “Their needs are vast and urgent – everything from food, clean water, and shelter from the cold to assistance finding relatives and overcoming the trauma of the experience.”

The flash appeal for $990,000 is intended to help UNICEF ensure the availability of clean water and sanitation facilities; provide emergency health kits, essential medicines, basic clinical and obstetric equipment and emergency shelter and blankets; identify children who have been separated from their families and reunite them with surviving relatives; assist with trauma; and establish schools and other safe environments for children.

The agency has already flown in over 400 “school-in-a-box” kits, which each enable teachers to educate up to 80 students in the absence of outside structures. Ensuring ongoing learning is a key way to restore a sense of normalcy among children, and UNICEF pledged to focus its attention on this goal once immediate survival needs are met.
31 posted on 12/30/2003 3:05:00 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Criticism was so harsh that late on Monday President Khatami called a full Cabinet meeting for today in Kerman to try to demonstrate that the government is doing its utmost to help. Obviously President Khatami has not forgotten that the inadequate response of the shah to the 1978 quake that killed 15,000 people contributed to his downfall a year later.

Even the state-controlled Iran Daily reported that the high death toll was caused by the government's failure to enforce building codes or learn from previous disasters and noted that the Bam earthquake was about the same intensity of the quake that struck California last week, causing only two deaths.

Sometimes good comes out of unfortunate circumstances. It sounds like a harsh dose of reality has been administered. It is a shame that the cost in human life has been so very high.

32 posted on 12/30/2003 3:08:26 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Submitting approval for the CAIR COROLLARY to GODWIN'S LAW.)
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To: DoctorZIn


President Mohammad Khatami of Iran on Tuesday cold shouldered new American overtures to Iran by repeating that nothing would change in Iran-US relations until Washington changed "basically" its policy and repeated past mistakes.

Speaking to reporters in Kerman, the Capital city of the Province of the same name where is also situated the old city of Bam that was destroyed by a strong earth shake early Friday, the powerless Khatami was answering questions about the possible warming of relations between the two nations following U.S. aid to earthquake victims.

Mr. Khatami welcomed the relief assistance dispatched by the United States but said this must not be mixed with political considerations.

"I don't think this incident will change our relations with the United States", Khatami added, referring to the US Foreign Affairs Minister Collin Powell telling "The Washington Post" on Tuesday that Washington was open to restoring a dialogue with Iran after "encouraging" moves by the Islamic Republic in recent months, including Iran's willingness to accept U.S. aid for the people of Bam, where officials say up to 50,000 people may have been killed.

Since Washington cut off all relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran on November 1979, American military planes landed in Iran, bringing tons of much needed foodstuff, drinking water and light equipments.

Though the American help was much less important compared to that provided by most of other nations that came to the rescue of the grieved people, but it captured the attention of the international media that coined it as "earthquake diplomacy".

"There are things happening and therefore we should keep open the possibility of dialogue at an appropriate point in the future", Powell said.

"In incidents like this governments normally do not consider their differences", Khatami observed, adding, "This has got nothing to do with political issues. The problems in Iran-U.S. relations are rooted in history".

"Nevertheless, I thank all...those who helped us and showed sympathy despite our different viewpoints", he said.

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami’s meetings with Jordan's King Abdullah and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak have encouraged U.S. officials.

In two meetings since with Bush, King Abdollah II of Jordan who has visited Tehran has pressed Washington to consider resuming talks to Iran under U.N. auspices, officials said.

"All of those things taken together show, it seems to me, a new attitude in Iran in dealing with these issues -- not one of total, open generosity, said Powell told The Washington Post".

But President Khatami said Iran couldn’t trust the statement. "The Americans want to change our regime and at the same time they want to talk to us. Besides, the Americans say a lot of nonsense and when they make sense, often they are not accompanied by deeds, if they do not go on the oppsite. Dialogue for what, if there is no trust and so far, the Americans have done nothing rebuilding confidence", he pointed out.

President Bush last year included Iran along with North Korea and Iraq under the former dictator Saddam Hoseyn in an "axis of evil" that is developing nuclear and chemical weapons and supporting terrorist groups.

"The world is a world of terror, violence and war," he said. "Yet beyond all that a spirit of humanity and kindness is alive. Foreigners came (to Iran) during their holidays and festive season and worked alongside our people. This should be lauded."

Meanwhile, as all hopes to find survivors, Iranian and international relief officials said actions must now be directed towards sheltering people from the freezing cold and preventing diseases to spread.

However, a young Swiss man who was in the city when the earthquake took place and was rescued in his hotel with two other friends thanked the local people. "Though they had lost everything, but the people treated us as if we also were from Bam, giving us hot drink and food they needed themselves", he told a French journalist.

Mr. Khatami put the number of dead people at over 28.000, but others said the toll could reach 30.000 and more.

As Mr. Khatami promised to rebuild Bam and its landmark, the "Arg", a fortress dating to more than 2.000 years ago its past glory, most journalists and international relief officials said the situation was getting "more under control".

"Security is restored. There is a semblance of coordination with the Iranian authorities who control better the situation. Electricity is coming back, though slowly and many injured are treated in field hospitals", one official from the International Red Cross said.

33 posted on 12/30/2003 3:34:30 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
OMG, I had no idea tha nuclear plant was being built on a fault line. What on earth is the matter with them. They could wipe out the entire Arab world if there was a quake.
34 posted on 12/30/2003 5:15:55 PM PST by McGavin999
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To: DoctorZIn
Interesting that they're trying to belittle the amount of aid we gave. I'd be willing to bet that most of the aid came through us. Food, water, medicine, medical staff, FEMA management personnel. Suddenly things become coordinated and the mullahs are trying to take credit?

Can't help but wonder what the people really think.

35 posted on 12/30/2003 5:31:36 PM PST by McGavin999
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To: DoctorZIn
White House - No Change in US Policy on Iran

December 31, 2003
Ample News

CRAWFORD, Texas -- The US' policy towards Iran has not changed, a White House spokesman said Tuesday, adding that a lasting thaw in US-Iran ties requires Tehran to address US worries over Iran's support for terrorism and pursuit of unconventional weapons.

Spokesman Trent Duffy downplayed talk of warming relations after Washington sent aid to Iran following the devastating earthquake in Bam, saying "the US has a clear and consistent policy towards Iran and that policy is not changed."

"We have made clear to the Iranian government on many occasions our grave concerns regarding its support for terrorism, pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and other activities," he told reporters.

"The Iranians are well aware of the steps we look to them to overcome these concerns," he said as US President George W. Bush planned to usher in the new year at his ranch near this tiny Texas town.

Asked about remarks by US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who hinted that dialogue broken off after Iran's 1979 revolution could emerge from the ruins of the Bam earthquake, the spokesman denied any inconsistency in policy.

"Our policy remains that we're willing to engage with Iran on specific issues of mutual concern and in an appropriate manner if and when the president decides it is in the interests of the United States to do so," said Duffy.

"Secretary Powell was expressing the views the president expressed, that the future of Iran will be decided by the people of Iran," he said.
36 posted on 12/30/2003 7:40:06 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Rebuff of Israel Angers Iranians

December 29, 2003
The New York Sun
Benni AvniVNI

Many Iranians are outraged with their government’s handling of the devastating earthquake - which claimed at least 22,000 victims - criticizing everything from the slow reaction by the leadership to its refusal to accept Israeli aid.

"The citizens displayed good spirit but the leadership was absent," wrote the Iranian newspaper Shargh yesterday in a typical, but unprecedented, rebuke of the mullah regime.

Although the government has under its command half a million Revolutionary Guards and 2 million Bassij volunteers, and though the military is equipped with heavy machinery like bulldozers and earth-moving vehicles, Shargh added in an editorial, it was the ordinary citizens who had to dig "with their fingernails" into the ground to find any survivors.

"All our callers from Iran yesterday opened their remarks with criticism of the government," Menashe Amir, who heads Israel Radio’s Farsi broadcasting arm, told The New York Sun. "They all were also extremely complimentary of Israel."

Israel, which has vast experience in rescue operations, was the only nation excluded by Iran from joining the international humanitarian effort around the city of Bam, where the death toll continues to climb.

Israelis nevertheless set up bank accounts for donations that would be transferred to Iran through third parties.

The latest government death toll stood yesterday at 22,000, but rescue experts said they expected the numbers to reach at least 30,000.The leader of an Iranian relief team, Ahmad Najafi, told the Associated Press the toll could reach 40,000.

Mr. Amir noted that, decades later, previous earthquakes in Iran still don’t have reliable casualty estimates, and that the numbers in this case would probably will never be known.

Part of the problem, he said, was that the government, slow to react in the first place, and set up its rescue teams where most of the foreign press was concentrated, the city of Bam. Neighboring villages were left unattended, with the casualties uncounted.

International aid continued to pour into Bam yesterday. Rescuers and aid came from 35 nations, including America, despite Washington’s strong political differences with the regime it considers part of the "axis of evil." America was expected to send 75 tons of medical supplies and about 200 rescue and medical experts, officials said.

"The reception was beyond expectations," Air Force Master Sergeant Jeff Bohn, who was on the first American plane to land in Iran in over a decade, told Associated Press."The warmth that the Iranian military and civil aviation workers gave us was truly incredible."

"Everyone is doing their best to help, but the disaster is so huge that I believe no matter how much is done we cannot meet the people’s expectations," said President Hatami, who has been criticized by many Iranians for his own failure to appear at the earthquake site.

But not all foreign aid was welcome. A spokesman for the interior ministry said that unlike in an earthquake a decade ago, when Iran refused Western aid, this time it would accept aid from all. But he added that would not include "the Zionist entity."

The interior minister, Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari, told the AP that Iran accepted U.S. government help and not Israeli help because Tehran considers America a legitimate government, but opposes Israel for its actions against Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel "is a force of occupation," he said. As for Americans, Mr. Lari said. "I believe it is possible that they have a humanitarian sensibility in such a dramatic situation."

In a statement issued in Jerusalem, the foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, said Israel sent condolences to the people of Iran, adding that in moments like this the entire international community should help.

A spokesman for the United Nations team responsible for coordinating international effort, Alain Pasche, refused to directly refer to Israel’s rebuffed help offer. But he told the Hebrew Web site, Y-Net, that after two days on the ground he senses "a huge difference between the authorities and the citizens," on that and other issues.

Mr. Amir, who beams his radio show in Farsi from Jerusalem in a broadcast that has become extremely popular in Iran, told the Sun the failure of the regime to deal with the earthquake dominated the calls in his call-in show yesterday.

The failure of the government to accept aid from Israel was emblematic of the public’s anger at the government, he added.

Some callers were sarcastic, saying, "Why should Iran ask for international aid, when it was going to turn the money to Palestinian terrorists anyway," Mr. Amir said. Others simply extolled Israel as an enlightened nation offering help to the Iranian people.

An avid follower of internal Iranian trends, Mr. Amir said that the amount of criticism in the Iranian press in the wake of the earthquake was unprecedented.

Iranian papers compared last week’s California’s earthquake, which was almost as powerful but resulted in two casualties, to the tens of thousands dead Iranians. Others criticized Mr. Hatami for failing to appear at the scene. Yesterday, Mr. Hatami appeared on national TV, "begging for forgiveness," according to Mr. Amir. The president noted that he sent no less than five cabinet ministers to Bam.

But Mr. Amir doubts that the public anger, though more vocal than ever in the past, would turn the physical earthquake into a political one.

"The government failure is clear to all," he said. "But this dictatorial regime has a strong hold over the country,and this event would not remove it."

Also yesterday, an Iranian navy helicopter crashed 30 miles southwest of Bam after delivering tents and blankets,the regional governor’s office said. All three crewmen were killed, he said. The AP also reported that looters grabbed food from warehouses and grocery shops.

DEVASTATION A man carries a child who was killed after their home collapsed in a massive earthquake that hit Bam, Iran, killing tens of thousands.

37 posted on 12/30/2003 7:41:09 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Rebuff of Israel Angers Iranians

December 29, 2003
The New York Sun
Benni AvniVNI
38 posted on 12/30/2003 7:41:48 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
"All our callers from Iran yesterday opened their remarks with criticism of the government," Menashe Amir, who heads Israel Radio’s Farsi broadcasting arm, told The New York Sun. "They all were also extremely complimentary of Israel."

Some callers were sarcastic, saying, "Why should Iran ask for international aid, when it was going to turn the money to Palestinian terrorists anyway," Mr. Amir said. Others simply extolled Israel as an enlightened nation offering help to the Iranian people.

Deposing the Iranian mullahocracy will bring peace and prosperity to Iran and Israel.

State-run terrorism is in Satan's interest only.

39 posted on 12/30/2003 7:47:36 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: DoctorZIn
the president expressed, that the future of Iran will be decided by the people of Iran," he said.

It is entirely up to the people of Iran. Their timing.

40 posted on 12/30/2003 8:25:24 PM PST by McGavin999
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