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Iranian Alert -- August 25, 2003 -- LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^
Posted on 08/25/2003 12:04:43 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movment in Iran from being reported.
From jamming satellite broadcasts, to prohibiting news reporters from covering any demonstrations to shutting down all cell phones and even hiring foreign security to control the population, the regime is doing everything in its power to keep the popular movement from expressing its demand for an end of the regime.
These efforts by the regime, while successful in the short term, do not resolve the fundamental reasons why this regime is crumbling from within.
Iran is a country ready for a regime change. 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.
Please continue to join us here, post your news stories and comments to this thread.
Thanks for all the help.
TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iran; iranianalert; protests; studentmovement; studentprotest
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posted on 08/25/2003 12:04:43 AM PDT
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posted on 08/25/2003 12:10:27 AM PDT
Indias share in Irans nuclearisation
Daily Times - Editorial
Aug 25, 2003
The latest news from the United States is that India too is part of a global enterprise to arm Iran with nuclear weapons.
An intelligence source in Washington, seeking to counter accusations made against Pakistan, has charged that Indian nuclear experts are working in a number of nuclear enrichment plants in Iran and many Iranian scientists are being trained in the Indian nuclear facilities in Bangalore and Hyderabad.
It is not only enrichment the Indians are transferring to Iran but also missile technology, selling the important bits used in its Agni missile.
The report must be taken in the context of a Washington Post op-ed this month accusing Pakistan of handing over to Iran its gas centrifuge technology to enrich uranium. Iran of course says it is forbidden by its Islamic ideology to make weapons of mass destruction. Thats difficult for the world to take because in nextdoor Pakistan people have been referring to a Quranic verse in favour of nuclear weapons!
Pakistan has been having trouble with Iran for some time. This trouble goes back to the first Afghan war against the Soviet Union when Imam Khomeini could not align policy with General Zia. But it climaxed during the second Afghan war when Pakistan was supporting the Taliban against the Northern Alliance backed by Tehran. In Pakistan sectarianism that came in the wake of jihad killed Shias and a number of Iranian officials on duty in Pakistan. Iran began rivalling Pakistans trade route strategy in Central Asia and (unforgivably!) began cooperating with India strategically to the detriment of Pakistans regional security. In January this year there was news that India and Iran had signed a secret defence agreement providing for the stationing of Indian troops on the Iranian soil in case of war.
Given this state of affairs, it is difficult to imagine Pakistan selling nuclear technology (that it has undertaken formally not to transfer) to Iran. On the other hand, given the growing Indo-Iranian strategic partnership, it is feasible that the Indians are selling it for good money.
The first alarm about India selling nuclear reactors to Iran was raised as far back as 1991.
Iran has been bucking the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which alleges that Tehran failed to follow proper procedures when it imported and perhaps processed uranium from China. The recent public discovery of a major uranium-enrichment plant in Natanz has led to allegations that Iran must secretly have done pilot-scale testing of relevant equipment at a different, unknown facility. This would violate technical notification rules under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Russia is also said to be involved in passing nuclear weapons know-how in the $800 million plant it has built at Bushehr. The latest news of course is that Irans famous Shehab missile is based on North Koreas Nodong missile and that North Korea has been selling complete missile systems to Iran for crude oil since 1985! Almost everyone excluding America and Europe from within the nuclear club seems to have been involved in nuclearising Iran. Out of all of them Pakistan is least likely to have pitched in. There were rumours of friendly sales to Iran immediately after the death of General Zia, and there were smear stories in Washington about Pakistans peripatetic Dr Qadeer Khan, but that is all history.
The India factor deters Pakistan more effectively than anything else from helping Iran. * http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_1917.shtml
posted on 08/25/2003 12:15:51 AM PDT
To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
posted on 08/25/2003 12:16:42 AM PDT
Rich getting richer in Iran
The country's economy is relatively sound, so why are people complaining?
By NICHOLAS BIRCH
Special to The Globe and Mail
Monday, August 25, 2003 - Page B5
TEHRAN -- Two years ago, Hossein Yazdi was looking forward to a quiet retirement. Now he's back at work as one of Tehran's countless unofficial taxi drivers, trying to supplement a monthly pension of $65.
"A kilo of meat costs $5 these days; most weeks my wife and I go without," he says angrily. "If things carry on like this, people like us will soon be dying of starvation."
Strong words, but by no means unusual in a city where people's conversation turns with alarming speed to their daily struggle to make ends meet.
But what makes such talk baffling is that most economists insist that the country is relatively well managed.
"Iran has huge resources of oil and gas, and the rise in oil prices since 1999 from $10 [U.S.] a barrel to over $26 today has given the economy an immense boost," says Yves Cadilhon, head of the French economic mission in Tehran. "Quite frankly, they've used the money well: Roads have been improved throughout Iran, and their electricity infrastructure is now as good as Turkey's."
"Our sales have more than quadrupled since 1996," says Saeed Laylaz, assistant manager of sales and marketing for the country's biggest car maker, Iran Khodro. "Somebody must have money to buy them."
So why are Iranians complaining? For Mr. Laylaz, a supporter of Iran's moderate President Muhammad Khatami, popular gripes are a side effect of political reforms.
"People are no longer afraid to speak out. They're not getting angrier, just more vocal," he says.
Jahangir Amuzegar, Iran's finance minister in the 1970s, disagrees.
"It's the envy factor," he says. "I doubt anybody is getting poorer, but the trouble is that a tiny minority is getting richer very quickly."
A bitter pill to swallow given that "the covenant of the meek," or social justice, was a favourite catch-phrase of the leaders of Iran's 1979 revolution.
It's all made far worse, though, by the fact that the principal beneficiaries of wealth redistribution have been the regime clerics and their closest allies.
Among the main bastions of clerical control are the bonyad, immense foundations built up after 1979 from wealth confiscated from Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, Iran's last shah. Ostensibly "charitable" organizations, they frequently use their amassed wealth -- up to 35 per cent of the country's economy, according to analysts -- for more questionable purposes.
In 1997, for instance, one senior cleric and bonyad boss announced his institution was offering $2.5-million for the assassination of novelist Salman Rushdie.
Another bonyad based in the holy city of Mashhad in northeastern Iran has used donations from as many as eight million pilgrims a year to buy 90 per cent of the arable land in the surrounding region. Controlled since 1979 by arch-conservative Ayatollah Abbas Vaez-Tabazi -- whose son and daughter are married to two of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khomeini's children -- the foundation also owns universities and a Coca-Cola Co. factory.
Backed by President Khatami, Iran's majority reform-minded parliament recently scrapped laws exempting the foundations from paying tax. Most observers doubt anything will change. In any case, they argue, bonyad bosses can always fall back on privileged relations with Iran's banks, almost all state-owned.
"Credit is rationed," Mr. Amuzegar explains, "and it's rarely private business that gets it."
"I've never even bothered trying to get a bank loan," says Ataollah Khazali, owner of a small smelting works just outside Tehran. "Perhaps the private banks will be better for people like me, but they're very new and few people trust them."
For now, cash-starved businessmen like Mr. Khazali are obliged to turn for credit to members of the country's bazaari class, strongly pro-regime merchants who double as money lenders. "Iran lacks liquidity; we do our best to remedy that," one bazaari says. One method used, he explains, is the systematic back-dating of cheques. "Strictly speaking, it's illegal, but it enables us to play with money that isn't ours."
This bazaari is a small player, specializing only in copper goods. Others are far more powerful, and with political attachments to boot. The current head of the influential pro-bazaari Coalition of Islamic Associations, Habibollah Asgar-Ouladi, was commerce minister in the 1980s, a position he used to procure lucrative foreign trade contracts for his brother. The family is now estimated to be worth $400-million. http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20030825/IBIRAN/TPBusiness/International
posted on 08/25/2003 12:30:15 AM PDT
The latest news from the United States is that India too is part of a global enterprise to arm Iran with nuclear weapons.
India getting back at us BUMP!
Maybe we should dump Pakistan as an ally?
posted on 08/25/2003 12:32:30 AM PDT
(Awareness is what you know before you know anything else.)
posted on 08/25/2003 2:56:08 AM PDT
by F14 Pilot
To: Pro-Bush; RaceBannon; nuconvert; Eala
Iran-India coop, unique: Sinha
New Delhi, Aug 25 - Indian and Iranian Foreign Ministers discussed ways to further expand bilateral relations.
In the meeting held in Hyderabad house in New Delhi, Yashwant Sinha and Kamal Kharrazi expressed satisfaction over the progress achieved in bilateral relations and termed as "strategic" the cooperation between the two countries.
Kharrazi said that cooperation in energy and transfer of Iranian gas to India and New Delhi's participation in Iranian industrial and economic programs are important.
Referring to the transport and railways agreements between Iran and India, Kharrazi said, "all these cooperation opened a new chapter in the relations between the two countries and more areas have to be explored in line with the interest of the entire region.
Kharrazi termed the stability and security in Afghanistan as an important factor to stop trafficking of illicit drugs and terrorism and expressed satisfaction over the cooperation between Tehran and New Delhi in this respect.
Speaking on Iraqi crisis, Iranian Foreign Minister said, "If the United Nations undertakes leadership in Iraq and the occupying forces withdraw from the country, grounds will be prepared for cooperation of other countries in Iraq."
Kharrazi said that stability and security in Iraq are important for Iran's security and that Tehran approach towards Iraq is peaceful and constructive.
Indian Foreign Minister, Yashwant Sinha also termed the exchange of visit between Iran and India as the culmination of relations between the two countries and said, "economic and industrial cooperation particularly the transfer of Iranian gas to India, tops New Delhi's agenda."
Expressing India's determination to invest more in Iranian energy sector, Sinha said, "Information Technology (IT) is another area for cooperation between Tehran and New Delhi and informed Iranian side about India's readiness to cooperate with Iran."
Sinha said that cooperation between Iran and India is the important factor in enhancing stability in the region and appreciated Iran's constructive role in Afghanistan.
Sinha said, "New Delhi is eager to exchange view with Tehran and make use of Iran's experience in this regard."
The two foreign ministers pointed to the rich cultural heritage between the two countries and called for further enhancing the cultural cooperation between the two countries. http://www.iribnews.com/Full_en.asp?news_id=186587&n=32
posted on 08/25/2003 2:57:46 AM PDT
by F14 Pilot
To: RaceBannon; seamole; Pro-Bush; BlackVeil; Valin; McGavin999; AdmSmith
To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; onyx; Pro-Bush; Valin; nuconvert; ...
Iran's press regroups amid crackdown
By Ramin Mostaghim
TEHRAN - Dissident bookseller Ardeshir Masali explained his point of view with candor. "The Iranian Islamic system is run by a regime suffering from a deep-rooted paranoia, one which loses its temper easily."
The police, continued the 39-year-old, who owns a modest little book stall in a shopping arcade in Enqelab Square in the Iranian capital, does not just "slap the faces of detainees, but breaks their skulls, as they did with Zahra Kazemi".
This is the case that turned world attention, and that of much of its media, toward Iran. Kazemi, a photojournalist holding both Iranian and Canadian citizenship, died in custody on July 11 in Tehran as a result of a cerebral hemorrhage caused by a cranium fracture. She was reportedly severely beaten following her arrest on June 23 while taking photographs of Evin prison, north of Tehran. Her death led to a diplomatic row between Iran and Canada. But greater still were the reverberations within Iran's media community.
"Murdering Kazemi while she was in jail was so shocking that it spurred Iranian journalists into staging a sit-in protest on August 8," Mashallah Shamsulvaezeen, board member of Iran's Journalist Association, told Inter Press Service. The day is now observed as Journalists' Day in the country.
Fifty years ago Karimpour Shirazi, a journalist famous for his criticism of the royal family, was burned alive in the military camp in which he was jailed. Kazemi, said Shamsulvaezeen, is the second journalist to have been killed in custody in Iran.
Recent weeks have seen harassment of the media by the state intensify. A wave of arrests has swept through the reformist press - the target of the conservative clerical establishment in its tussles with more reform-minded groups led by President Mohammad Khatami - since an outburst of anti-regime protests in mid-June and July.
A daily published by the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), typifies the situation. The Iran newspaper's managing director was charged, after a complaint was filed about an article, with spreading propaganda against the establishment and publishing false news, and then released on bail.
Other publications have also run into trouble. The weekly Nameh-yi Qazvin was shut down on charges of "promoting depravity and publishing lies" after it was accused of discrediting clerics. The managing directors of Iranian dailies Kayhan, Siyasat-i Ruz and Etemad appeared in court on August 13 to face complaints against their publications, according to IRNA reports.
Journalists who tend to support the official line, however, see the events and their significance differently. Ahmad Khorramian, 29, a journalist with a conservative newspaper, said that the Zahra Kazemi case "became controversial thanks to her Canadian passport". Khorramian argued, "European and Canadian diplomats did not move a finger when, five years ago, Mahmoud Saremi, who was the IRNA correspondent in Mazar-e-Sharif [in northeast Afghanistan] was killed by Taliban forces."
The reality on the ground, however, belies the apparent logic of such explanations, critics say. In the past four years, more than 90 newspapers and magazines have been banned, throwing over 2,000 journalists out of work, says Mohammad Hydari, manager of the website Parspejvak.com.
Even so, there are those who soldier on, undaunted by the all-too-regular commute between home and jail or revolutionary courts. "As a journalist I write to defend the basic rights of my fellow citizens to know and participate in the shaping of their country's destiny, and I'm ready to pay the price," said Nader Karimi, 33, editor of the magazine Gozaresh.
Karimi has indeed had to pay a staggering price. Released from jail this month, Karimi has lodged with the authorities a security deposit of a crippling 500 million rials (around US$60,000) to ensure that he appears in court when summoned. Shamsulvaezeen said he "feels very concerned for my fellow journalists in Iran because there is no professional safety for them".
The Kazemi case, he explained, proves how vulnerable Iranian journalists are during political turmoil. "The Islamic regime is suffering from a chronic legitimacy crisis," he said. "That is the main reason for its paranoia and why it reacts impulsively and in panic."
The pattern, said dissident journalist Amir Kavian, is depressingly familiar. Every year, several journalists write or speak about an issue that the regime finds "subversive" or "against Islamic values and national interests". Then, said Kavian, they are jailed until some members of parliament or more sensitive authorities appeal for clemency on their behalf. "Then the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, pardons them or commutes their sentences," observed Kavian.
There are signs that dissidence is growing stronger. On August 16, the Journalist Association called for the resignation of the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ahmad Masjedjamei and the public prosecutor of Tehran, Judge Mortazavi, who are seen as responsible for the crackdown on journalists, intellectuals and students.
Among those at the August 8 protest sitin was Arash Pahlavan, a student leader who was representing the support of reformist students. With the start of campaigning for parliamentary seats just seven months away, Pahlavan indicated that the movement was reconsidering its tactics.
"Unless reformist parliamentarians and politicians are ready to pay the price of fighting for freedom of speech and the rights of the people, we will not repeat the blunder we committed six years ago of taking to the streets," Pahlavan said, referring to criticism that pro-Khatami forces were far too timid to push for real change.
The dilemma facing the dissidents and reform-minded among the press is that in the absence of independent parties and political institutions, newspapers and magazines have become political instruments, often representing politicians' interests.
Rival associations of journalists are allied with the reformist group of Khatami and others with his rival, Khamanei. "In this tug of war, nothing changes basically ... there is no room for independent journalism to emerge," said Kavian.
"There are two options open to journalists and writers in Iran - massage the word and doublespeak and lead a low-profile profession, or write unscrupulously and be a martyr for the pen," remarked Mohammad Hydari.
Yet the pressures can be unbearable for those who decide to uphold the principle of freedom of speech and expression. As Dr Mohsen Kadivar, a 46-year-old electronics engineer and theologian who recently led a communal prayer at a jailed journalist's home, said, "The price one pays for engaging in political activities has increased so much that no one dares become involved." http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EH26Ak02.html
To: AdmSmith; McGavin999; seamole; Pro-Bush; dixiechick2000; nuconvert; onyx
IRAN URGES LONDON TO FREE ITS DIPLOMAT ACCUSED OF TERRORISM
TEHRAN 24 Aug. (IPS) As the Iranian Foreign Affairs Ministry protested Saturday to both England and Argentine over the arrest of former Iranian diplomat by the Scotland Yard, acting on an international warrant issued by an Argentinean judge, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami promised on Sunday that Tehran would take "tough actions" against London and Buenos Aires for the "tactless" measure".
Mr Hadi Soleymanpour, 47, a former Iranian ambassador to Argentine, was arrested on Thursday evening at his flat at Durham, north of England, where he is studying at the citys univeristy, accused by argentine authorities of participation in the 1994 explosion of the Jewish centre in Buenos Aires, by alleged members of the Lebanese Hezbollah, acting on orders from its Iranian master, living more than 80 dead and 300 wounded. http://www.iran-press-service.com/articles_2003/Aug-2003/diplomat-arrested-24803.htm
Another "Must Read" article by Amir Taheri. -- DoctorZin
Why the Mullahs Need a War with America
August 22, 2003
The Jerusalem Post
Conventional European wisdom holds that Washington's neo-conservatives are itching for war against Iran, but little attention is paid to Teheran's hawks, who wish to provoke conflict as an excuse for suppressing democracy at home.
Although some mullahs, including President Muhammad Khatami, argue that a clash with the US should be avoided, others, notably Supreme Guide Ali Khamenei, are actively preparing for it. Last April Khamenei convened a meeting of senior military commanders, the largest in almost 10 years, ostensibly to review the consequences of the war in Iraq.
According to Teheran sources, Khamenei ordered commanders to prepare "a strategic plan" to face military action by the US. Ahmad Vahidi, a two-star general and adviser to the supreme guide was put in charge of preparing the plan.
Last week, what is described as the first draft of the plan was presented to Khamenei. Elements of it have been revealed in public statements by Maj.-Gen. Rahim Safavi, commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and Vice-Admiral Ali Shamkhani, the defense minister.
"We expect aggression [from the US]" Safavi told a rally of volunteers about to join the guard in Sabalan, western Iran, on August 11. "Our strategy is to prepare for an unequal battle." Safavi claimed that the "unequal battle" nabard namotoqaren worked both ways. As far as modern weapons and military technology were concerned, that inequality favored the US. But when it came to manpower and "readiness to sustain large numbers of casualties," Iran had the advantage.
The Iranian commander also revealed that "the strategic plan" was based on the assumption that the US and its allies would attack from four directions: Iraq in the west, Azerbaijan in the north, Afghanistan in the east and the Persian Gulf in the south.
At the same time the US may try to air-drop troops close to big cities such as Shiraz and Isfahan in the hope that the local population will rise against the mullahs. Safavi said that Iran's traditional war plans had been based on the assumption of attacks by "enemy forces" from the border areas, especially in the west and north. "Now we must be prepared for attacks coming from all directions," he said. "We must treat our entire nation as frontier land."
The general spelled out what he called "the doctrine of defense in depth" difaa omghi. This consists of creating thousands of small units capable of engaging the American "invaders" in countless localities, thus depriving the US of a chance to deliver a knockout blow.
According to Safavi, the new strategy provides for a dispersion of arms and materiel as a means of limiting losses likely to be caused by heavy American bombing raids. Mountain hideouts have been designated as secret arms depots.
ARE IRAN'S armed forces large enough to cover a territory three times bigger than Iraq? The Revolutionary Guard consists of two corps and four independent units, totalling 300,000 men. The regular army, used mostly as a technical backup, has 180,000 men and the lightly armed gendarmerie 120,000.
There are also a number of paramilitary organizations, of which the largest, Baseej Mustazafin Mobilization of the Dispossessed has 200,000 fighters, at least on paper. Safavi claims that the Baseej has a reserve force of over eight million. Next fiscal year, the Iranian budget will allocate an additional $1.2 billion to retraining and arming a million Baseej reservists.
Some experts, however, believe that most of the forces Safavi counts on exist only on paper. "A good part of those numbers represent the civilian personnel and the bureaucracy that runs numerous enterprises on behalf of the Revolutionary Guard," says Hamid Zomorrodi, a former army captain. "In any case Iran has few units that are trained and equipped for guerrilla warfare of the kind Safavi envisages."
Defense Minister Shamkhani, for his part, has shed more light on the current thinking in military circles. In recent interviews and speeches, he has expressed confidence that if attacked by the US, Iran would be able to resist beyond "the American capacity for endurance." That capacity is believed to be limited to a maximum of 20 weeks of fighting and 5,000 American killed.
Shamkhani believes that had the Iraqis continued to fight the US to the limits of that capacity American public opinion would have forced the Bush administration to seek a cease-fire with Saddam Hussein.
"The key question is never to admit defeat," Shamkhani said in a recent speech. "No war is won until one side admits to being the loser."
The strategy is, in part, based on Iran's experience during the 1980-88 war against Iraq. At that time Iran used its geographical and demographic superiority to wear out the outnumbered Iraqis, who also lacked territorial depth.
Iran suffered almost two million casualties, including 750,000 deaths, but managed to halt the initial Iraqi advance and then take the war into Iraqi territory.
The new strategy reflects the influence of North Korean military doctrines on Iranian commanders. Safavi, Shamkhani and almost all other senior Iranian military leaders have received part of their training in North Korea, which has been Iran's principal military ally since the mid-1980s.
FORMER FOREIGN minister Ali-Akbar Velayati, a close adviser to Khamenei, says that Iran should welcome a direct clash with the US because it would create "an earthquake" in the Middle East and, possibly, throughout the Muslim world.
In the 1980-88 war Iran also tried to spread the war to the whole region. It launched air raids on Saudi Arabia and briefly stopped the flow of Kuwaiti oil by firing at Kuwaiti tankers. This time Iranian commanders believe they have a better chance of applying the strategy of kondeh-suz bonfire and widening the war to the whole of the Middle East.
In a recent paper, partly leaked in Teheran, Velayati said that, if attacked, Iran would open "a second, a third, a fourth and a fifth front."
The Iranian-controlled branch of the Hizbullah in Lebanon would immediately open a new front against Israel, using thousands of medium-range Fajr IV missiles it has received from Teheran. Various Palestinian militant groups now heavily dependent on Iranian finance, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, would move onto the offensive against Israel.
The Islamic Republic also has allies in Afghanistan and Iraq that could raise a few fires against the US and its allies there. The Arab oilfields of the Persian Gulf, and similar installations in the Caspian Sea, could be targeted by Iran's massive arsenal of missiles, one of the largest in Asia.
THE WHOLE strategy is based on the assumption that once Iran has developed its own nuclear deterrent it would be immune to any US attack. This is why Iran's quest for nuclear weapons has been put in high gear, emerging as one of the few issues on which all factions are in agreement.
"The next 18 months to two years will be the most dangerous in the history of our revolution," former president Hashemi Rafsanjani said in a recent sermon in Teheran. "Once we have passed through that danger zone we shall be in a position that will discourage attacks [by the US]."
Some commentators take those remarks to mean Iran is confident of having a nuclear deterrent before 2005.
Khamenei, Vahidi, Safavi, Shamkhani, and Velayati are only a few of the "bitter-enders" who think they can take on the US and defeat it.
In 1980 the Khomeinist regime was saved from a popular revolt because of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iran. Khomeini's successors hope story will repeat itself with a US attack producing a patriotic reflex that would stifle democratic aspirations.
Anyone familiar with Iran's realities, however, knows that what was true in 1980 will not necessarily be true today. A military conflict with the US could, in fact, accelerate the downfall of what is now an unpopular, deeply divided and corrupt regime.
Paradoxically, a diplomatic settlement with the US may prolong the life of the regime. Libya's Colonel Mu'ammar Gaddafi seems to have understood what the Khomeinists refuse to acknowledge.
The writer, an Iranian author and journalist, is editor of the Paris-based Politique Internationale. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1061438429434
To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
August 25, 2003
Wall Street Journal
If the past is any guide, we may never know the name of the suicide bomber who drove the flatbed truck into the U.N. compound in Baghdad last week, for we still don't know the name of the boy who drove the Mercedes truck loaded with TNT into the Marine barracks in Beirut on the morning of Oct. 23, 1983. What we know of that seminal event two decades ago is the aftermath: the death of 241 U.S. servicemen, the proud initial assertion that Lebanon would not be left to the forces of radicalism, and then the scramble to pull America out of the hell of Lebanon. That country was abandoned to the tender mercies of Syria. There were no discernible American interests in that city by the Mediterranean. We quit Beirut under Arab eyes, to the impression that America is easily discouraged, that a band of plotters could dissuade us from larger goals.
Once again, we are at a crossroads in an Arab land. And once again, a great and cruel struggle is playing out under watchful eyes.
Our staying power in Baghdad is the target of this latest assault, and it is our enemies' last throw of the dice. In Baghdad, we should know, we have overthrown not only a man but a religious and ethnic sect in Iraq, the Sunni Arabs, and this guerrilla war is their response to a loss of hegemony. We broke that minority's tenacious hold on the state: The oil is in the southern (predominately Shiite) zone and in the Kurdish lands in the north. That "Sunni triangle" lived off state terror, with the whip an instrument of enrichment. These "remnants" of the vanquished regime fight for what they had grown to see as their birthright: the state of terror and plunder that was Iraq under the Baath.
It is no surprise that jihadists on the run, and at the same time in search of a new field of battle, would converge on Iraq. We don't know for sure the veracity of recent reports that 3,000 Saudis have found their way to Iraq: The source is a London-based Saudi dissident with his own ax to grind. But were it to be confirmed, the purpose of the jihadists would further underline that the distinction between secular terror and the terror of religiously based movements was always a distinction without substance. It had always been a singular fight. Nor is it a mystery that Syria and Iran thirst for America's defeat in Iraq. The power that blew into Baghdad came bearing the promise of a new order. Woven into the awesome victory were hopes of reform, some perhaps extravagant. There would rise in Mesopotamia a state more democratic, more secular, no doubt more prosperous, than much of the neighborhood. That state would be weaned from the false temptations of Arab radicalism. Without quite fully appreciating it, we had announced nothing less than the obsolescence of the region's ruling order.
For our enemies, it is mightily important that we fail in Baghdad, and be forced to leave. Who would wish us well -- strangers trumpeting new possibilities in lands made weary by cruelty and cynicism? As we had sacked the Tikriti-Sunni order, what assurance was there that the minority Alawite regime in Syria would survive? It is a trifle gentler than was the Tikriti dominion in Iraq, but it, too, is a state of plunder and terror, a regime that once spoke of a new Arab heaven only to turn into a petty inheritance. There is menace in the demonstration effect of our victory: Embattled Arab and Iranian secularists and liberals are living off the nascent Iraq promise. That promise has to be snuffed out if the entrenched systems are to survive. If a moderate brand of Shiism takes hold in Iraq, on Shiism's holiest grounds, there would be reverberations for Iran's theocracy. It stood to reason that these ruthless rulers would fight back.
There are allies in Kuwait and Qatar who had bet on our victory in Iraq. But it was more treacherous in other neighboring lands. We pay dearly for an American presence in Cairo, but who there wishes us well? The street there had grieved for Saddam Hussein; it turned on him when he failed to give it an "Arab Stalingrad," an epic of resistance. It has drawn a measure of satisfaction from the rearguard action in Baghdad and Fallujah and Tikrit, for a virulent anti-Americanism has come to poison Egypt's political life. Nor has our man on the Nile, Hosni Mubarak, been supportive of our endeavor. He worries that a new forward base of American power will rise in Baghdad, close to the sea-lanes at the heart of the oil lands, and pose a serious challenge to Egypt's lucrative relationship with Washington. That relationship has been on Cairo's terms. A reasonably secular, representative model in Baghdad would steal a march on Cairo. That Sublime Porte in Washington -- generous but naive and far away -- could grow wiser after time on the ground in Baghdad. The terrible secret of Egypt's retreat from modernism could be given away to the Americans.
A battle broader than the country itself, then, plays out in Iraq. We needn't apologize to the other Arabs about our presence there, and our aims for it. The custodians of Arab power, and the vast majority of the Arab political class, never saw or named the terrible cruelties of Saddam. A political culture that averts its gaze from mass graves and works itself into self-righteous hysteria over a foreign presence in an Arab country is a culture that has turned its back on political reason.
Yet this summer has tested the resolve of those of us who supported the war, and saw in it a chance to give Iraq and its neighbors a shot at political reform. There was a leap of faith, it must be conceded, in the argument that a land as brutalized as Iraq would manage to find its way out of its cruel past and, in the process, give other Arabs proof that a modicum of liberty could flourish in their midst.
Americans are strangers in Iraq. There is something both noble and heartbreaking about those embattled young soldiers standing sentry in what for them must be an incomprehensible place. The habits of empire are not innately American. It may have been unduly ambitious to think that America could pull off in Iraq what it did in Germany and Japan after World War II. The Islamic world is particularly raw about strangers and their gifts -- and their presence. But the bloodletting should not deter America from the more limited, but still noteworthy, goal of an Iraq that bids farewell to political terror at home and to its rampaging ways in its neighborhood. The terror now unleashed seeks to drown the political question, to trump it with issues of physical security. The aim is to frighten the Iraqi people and to turn them away from this new order and its possibilities. Where people huddle in fear, more lofty goals of liberty and participatory politics die. The analogy is not perfect, but that is exactly what unfolded in Beirut.
For our part, America cannot -- must not -- do another Beirut. We must put Iran and Syria on notice that a terrible price will be paid by those who would aid and abet terror in Iraq. It was those regimes that drove us out of Lebanon. They had waged a war in the shadows. They must be told that a different America -- driven by a sense of righteous violation after Sept. 11, 2001 -- has turned up in their midst. This was never destined to be an easy mission. As it plays out, we shall learn much about Iraq. And in no small measure, we shall learn about ourselves.
Mr. Ajami, a professor at Johns Hopkins, is a contributing editor at U.S. News & World Report. http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=9523
Islamism Disintegrating and New Fatwa Killings
August 25, 2003
The news from inside Iraq is that Ayatollah Mohammed Saeed al-Hakim uncle of SCIRI leader Ayatollah Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim, whose group is represented on the U.S.-backed Iraqi Governing Council, and who has been working hand in hand with the IRI terrorist Ayatollahs all these years, has been the subject of a terrorist attack, although he has survived three of his aids have died.
SCIRI leader Ayatollah Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim is the same person who basically condoned the murder of Ayatollah Khoi a few months ago.
The first time the West learned about fatwa killing was when Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa kill order for Salman Rushdie. Islamists have been doing these murders by the edicts of top Islamist Ayatollahs in Iran and elsewhere long before there even was the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), the way they killed Ahmad Kasravi and others, but Khomeini showed this to be a fact for anyone who would still doubt it, that Islamist highest authorities think it is legitimate to kill people for not liking their ideas, and they are the ones issuing these murder orders, which exactly was the case of Salman Rushdie.
What is new today is the broad scale of fatwa killings of rival Ayatollahs or religious leaders, with the disintegration and downfall of the Islamist movement, following the fall of Taliban in Afghanistan. With the fall of Taliban, the process of disintegration of Islamism started and has been gaining momentum ever since. From those claiming to be reformists in Iran, calling themselves Martin Luther of Islam, to those who mix Islamism with nationalism calling themselves mellimazhabi, the common reality is that the Islamic Fundamentalism of the end of 1970's is now disintegrating.
It was less than a year ago that one of the Islamists of Iran, Hashem Aghajari, a so-called "reformist", received a fatwa death edict and later received a death verdict in the official court of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Aghajari was a hard line Islamist who, while being under a death fatwa by the mollahs, he still supported Ayatollah Khomeini's death fatwa against Salman Rushdie, a fatwa which he had supported from day one of that edict, and all those years he had been a hardliner helping Ayatollah Khomeini. This is why a few weeks ago I wrote that Aghajari does not deserve a Noble Peace Prize, when he was being considered for one.
What has just happened in Iraq is like a movie of mafia Godfathers issuing death sentence for each other. They are fighting for the position of the head of the failed Islamist mafia. On one side of Iraq, the Sheik Muqtada al-Sadr claims to be the one running the show, and in another corner, SCIRI leader Ayatollah Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim with the help of IRI leaders worked to secure more positions in the US-led Iraqi leadership council.
And there are more moderate Ayatollahs like Sistani who asked people to help the U.S. forces in Iraq at the time of Iraq War, while at the same time said not to help the U.S.!! And even now there are Ayatollahs like the grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini who has gone to Iraq and is asking the U.S. to invade Iran to put his group in charge of Islam, when the Iranian people do not want any invasion.
One thing that surely all these events show is that Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East is disintegrating more and more, since the fall of Taleban, and anyone who thinks to get some modified version of Islamism in place, is making the same error as those who were hoping to create a moderate Saddam regime after the 1991 Gulf War.
Contrary to the opinion of some so-called experts of Middle East, moderating Islamism is not what the Middle Eastern people want. People want full secularism. Just as they were afraid to say they do not want Saddam until they saw Saddam did not have the power to hurt them, they will not say they do not want the Islamists, until they know Islamists have no power over them.
Many people still think US and especially UK are behind the Islamic leaders and the mollahs spread these rumors more so that people think they have no choice to get rid of them for good, the same way that Saddam till the last minute tried to tell the Iraqi people that Western democracies wanted his regime in the region and told people it was all on the surface when Western powers called for the end of his regime.
The Islamists have always tried to deceive the people that the West is behind them, to gain legitimacy, and to dissuade people feeling helpless that there is no choice when the world's major forces want to keep mollahs in power in the Middle East. Many mollahs point to the support of the West for Saudi Arabia as a proof that the West wants Islamism in the region.
This may sound incredible to some Western thinkers who still think mollahs have a great following among the people, that the people inside Iran at the risk of losing their life openly say that they do not want the mollahs, and in fact rather than mollahs helping the U.S. by any pro-U.S. gestures, they try to use the deception of Western support for mollahs, to get the people to follow them in their own country.
Mollahs "popularity" is just like Saddam's 100% vote. It is all from fear. The people living under dictatorships act in a different way from those living under a democracy. And in Iraq, Ayatollah Baqer al-Hakim at the time of Iraq War and even to this day, on one hand tries to give the impression that the West wants him in power, and on the other hand speaks against the West and Secularism and Western democracies, the same way Khomeini acted during and after the 1979 Revolution until the hostage crisis.
The reason for all the current chaos is that Islamists are trying to save the ship of their murderous order of Slaves of the Islamist God . The order which has suppressed the Middle Eastern people all these years, and the Islamists are now at the end of their road, when people are calling for full secularism. The Western diplomats can ask Ayatollah Hakim if he is willing to condemn fatwa killing in Islam now that his own family have been its target?
It is ironic that on the eve of the murderous action of Islamists on Sept 11th, when Islamists claimed that the world wants them to continue their atrocities, and they kept talking of hate for Americans abroad, more and more the people of the Middle East are passing a hand of rejection to the Islamists, and not just the people who do not care for religion or Islam, but even a great majority of Muslims do not want to hear or see the Islamists anymore, and have had enough murder and terror of the Islamists especially in the last 30 years.
The people of the Middle East want nothing less than full secularism in the region and the so-called Western experts who try to create another moderated variety of Islamist regimes for the people of the region should listen to the Middle East, when people do not fear the soldiers of Islamism. What a change in the region after the fall of Taleban. http://www.ghandchi.com/245-Hakim.htm
Secret deal to deport Iranians
Herald Sun - By Mark Phillips
Aug 25, 2003
ASYLUM-seekers are being forcibly deported, according to refugee advocates.
Three Iranian men were taken from the Baxter Detention Centre in South Australia to Perth on Saturday, and advocates believe at least one was flown out of Australia later that night.
The forced removals follow a secret memorandum of understanding signed between Australia and Iran in March to allow the deportations.
Despite repeated calls from the Federal Opposition and refugee groups, the Government has refused to reveal the deal to the public.
The Immigration Department would not comment yesterday.
Ninety-three Iranians being detained at Baxter wrote an open letter to Australian newspapers on Saturday begging not to be deported to the country they fled.
According to refugee advocates, three Iranian men were taken from Baxter to the Port Augusta police station about 7am on Saturday.
Several hours later they were driven to Adelaide for transfer to Perth.
They are the first of about 30 Iranian detainees who have exhausted all legal avenues to remain in Australia.
Australian Greens immigration spokesman Pamela Curr claimed the removals had been shrouded in secrecy.
"Under the memorandum with Iran, the department can disappear people," Ms Curr said.
"If everything is above board, what has the Government got to hide by being so secretive?"
Ms Curr said lawyers representing about 20 other Iranian detainees had gained injunctions on Friday and Saturday from the Federal Court to prevent their removal.
Supporters fear that asylum-seekers forcibly returned to Iran could be jailed or tortured.
This would be in breach of Australia's obligations under the United Nations convention on refugees.
An immigration spokeswoman said 15 Iranians had voluntarily returned to their country after accepting a $2000 repatriation package on offer since May. Another six have accepted the package, but not yet left.
There are 238 Iranians in detention in Australia, and two on Nauru.
Ms Curr said the impending deportations had created great anxiety. "They're absolutely terrified," she said.
"Many have not slept for four nights because they're waiting for the guards to burst in and drag them away. There have been two suicide attempts. The atmosphere inside is really terrible."
In an open letter at the weekend, Iranian detainees said: "If it would be possible for us to go home, we would have a long time ago even before your government offered us money to go away.
"But we cannot. If you will not let us stay here, please send us to some other country. A poor country or any country. We will go anywhere but we cannot go back to Iran." http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_1923.shtml
Ottawa investigates rape charge in Kazemi case
Monday, August 25, 2003
The federal government and Lawyers without Borders are looking into allegations that Iranian interrogators raped a Montreal photo-journalist before killing her, then pumped chemicals into her body to speed decomposition.
Both the Department of Foreign Affairs and the human rights group say they have asked Iranian authorities investigating Zahra Kazemi's death to try to verify the latest claims.
Hamid Mojtahedi, a Toronto lawyer who is in Iran on behalf of the rights group, stressed the reports are completely uncorroborated at this point.
"Some sources advised us that this might have been the case and we are trying to substantiate it," he told the National Post yesterday in an interview from Tehran.
"We had a meeting with the prosecutor-general of Tehran, who has basically seized the case for some time.... He promised to co-operate with us and advise us if any such thing did happen."
A Texas-based Iranian opposition group went further yesterday, claiming it has received convincing reports from sources in the country's intelligence community that the photographer was raped and chemicals used to more quickly erase the evidence.
But Mr. Mojtahedi said Lawyers Without Borders is anxious to maintain its neutrality on the issue. To overplay the reports now "may very well muddy the water, it may very well hinder any investigation the authorities may want to carry out," he said.
"Based on what we have been told at this stage, we should really consider them to be rumours."
Mr. Mojtahedi is in Iran partly to try to get official recognition for his organization to observe future trials, including those of anyone charged in Ms. Kazemi's death.
France Bureau, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Affairs Department, said Canadian authorities are aware of the rape accusations and have also asked local officials to investigate.
"We're looking at it, but we haven't received any corroborating information from Iranian authorities," she said.
The embassy in Tehran has asked for an official briefing on the status of the whole Kazemi investigation, Ms. Bureau added.
Ms. Kazemi, 54, an Iranian ex-patriot based in Montreal, died on July 10, three weeks after authorities arrested her. She had been photographing student-led protests outside a jail in the Islamic republic.
Iranian officials initially denied there had been any wrongdoing, but later confirmed she died as a result of being struck on the head by her captors. A judicial inquiry led to the arrest of five Intelligence Ministry agents, two of whom were released on bail this month.
Canada pulled its ambassador from Tehran after Ms. Kazemi was buried in her birthplace, the southern Iranian city of Shiraz, against the wishes of Canadian authorities and her son, who lives in Montreal.
Aryo Pirouznia of the Dallas-based Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran said intelligence sources told his group Ms. Kazemi had been raped after she slapped one of her interrogators, who had hit her.
Mr. Pirouznia's group is dedicated to replacing the current Islamic regime of Iran with a secular, democratic government.
He said the officers had already forced Ms. Kazemi to say she had been part of the counter-revolutionary movement in Iran, and were trying to get her to confess to working for U.S. intelligence.
Officials later decided to inject her body with chemicals that would decompose the remains faster, making it more difficult to perform a post-mortem, he charged.
The committee had actually heard the report more than two weeks ago, but did not go public to avoid being accused of fabricating the story to embarrass Iranian hardliners, he said.
The group only posted a report on its Web site after Mr. Mojtahedi was quoted about the case on an Iranian-language radio station.
"It is so big, it is so horrible that we didn't want to put it up," said Mr. Pirouznia. firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.nationalpost.com/national/story.html?id=A4F85B49-A80A-4996-921A-37D6E27D69D2
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