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Iranian Alert -- September 2, 2003 -- LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^
Posted on 09/01/2003 11:59:19 PM 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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President Khatami Welcomes King Abdullah on First Visit to Iran
September 02, 2003
Middle East Online
King Abdullah II began the first visit to Iran by a Jordanian monarch in 25 years here Tuesday in what both countries consider an "important" step in improving bilateral relations.
President Mohammad Khatami welcomed the king to Tehran along with Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb and his minister of administrative development, Mohammad Halayka.
But neither leader made any statement during a photo-call at the Sadabad Palace in the north-east of the capital after a review of the Iranian guard of honour in the palace gardens.
Their meeting was only the second since they held talks on the fringes of the millennium summit in New York in September 2000.
They were expected to discuss the situation in post-war Iraq, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and bilateral issues, officials said.
Jordanian Information Minister Nabil Sharif earlier said the visit, which has been planned for a long time, "is important because it comes at a crucial time for the region".
"All Muslim countries need to coordinate their efforts and understand each other and try to come up with ways to look into the challenges facing the region," said Sharif.
"There are a lot of things that can be discussed and need to be discussed to promote economic cooperation and we expect that there will be some agreements to promote trade and tourism between two countries," Sharif said.
Jordan is particularly eager to woo Iranian tourists to the kingdom, which boasts many archeological sites, including the tombs of many of the companions of the Prophet Mohammed.
The two-day visit is seen in Amman and Tehran as an "important" step in improving relations between the two countries, which were restored in 1991 after a 10-year break, during which Iran criticised Abdullah's father, the late King Hussein, for supporting Baghdad in the 1980-1988 Iraq-Iraq war.
Although ties between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Islamic Republic of Iran improved dramatically after Abdullah succeeded his father to the throne in February 1999, a diplomatic spat last year fueled tensions between them.
"We're completely over it. It is completely behind us now," a Jordanian foreign ministry source said about the diplomatic tiff that involved the recall of Jordan's ambassador in 2002.
At the time, Iranian newspapers charged that Ambassador Bassam Amush had angered the Iranian authorities by accusing Tehran of "interfering" in Jordan's "security issues".
Jordan, which has yet to replace Amush, who has retired, has consistently played down the incident and Iranian officials also appeared eager to push it under the rug.
"We hope that this visit will be a good beginning for the Jordanian and Iranian people and for Arab-Iranian relations and the region," Iran's ambassador to Jordan, Nasratallah Tajik, told Al Dustour newspaper last week.
His deputy, Mohammad Fafaee, meanwhile said the "visit is important in itself because it is the first time in about 25 years that a king from Jordan visits Iraq".
Fafaee also agreed that the visit will reflect the growing concern over the situations in post-war Iraq and the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.
"The countries in the region have realised that it is good to have a channel of communication and a dialogue to plan for cooperation because everybody in this part of world have been a target of some sort of bombing and attack," Fafaee said.
"We are living in a very difficult situation ... which has led to the point that many countries in the region have become more concerned," he said. http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=6908
U.N. Investigators Urge Judicial Reform in Iran
September 02, 2003
GENEVA -- A team of special United Nations investigators urged Iran on Tuesday to speed reform of its judicial system by transferring power from revolutionary and clerical courts to ordinary tribunals.
The many ''injustices and inconsistencies'' in the administration of the law stem from the proliferation of judicial bodies, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, an off-shoot of the Geneva-based Human Rights Commission, said in a report.
The judiciary is one of the main pillars of conservative power in Iran and has helped to frustrate President Mohammad Khatami's attempts to create more open rule in the Islamic Republic.
The hardline Guardian Council rejected in May a bill that would have enabled Khatami to have judiciary officials removed from office or to suspend court rulings he deemed to be unconstitional.
''The revolutionary tribunals...as well as the religious courts, should be abolished,'' the rights group said.
It noted that the revolutionary tribunals had been set up initially to judge ''collaborators'' with the former regime of the Shah, overthrown in the 1979 clerical revolution, and that there was ''no rationale'' for their continued existence.
The tribunals were responsible for many of the cases of arbitrary detention which frequently involved people arrested for expressing opinions, it added.
Similarly, the clerical courts, which like the revolutionary tribunals had no constitutional basis, had been established following the revolution to prosecute people who falsely set themselves up as clerics, the group said.
The team spent February 15-27 in Iran at the invitation of the government, which last year announced it would open its doors to all U.N. rights experts after years of refusing any sort of investigation into its record.
While welcoming the new policy and the cooperation they had received during their visit, the U.N. experts expressed concern at a number of developments since then, including further arrests of journalists. http://famulus.msnbc.com/FamulusIntl/reuters09-02-073536.asp?reg=MIDEAST
UNCHR : Turkey Deports Kurdish Refugees Back to Iran
September 02, 2003
Ayla Jean Yackley
ANKARA -- Turkey has deported several Iranian Kurdish refugees who had sought asylum after fleeing here from northern Iraq, the United Nations said on Tuesday.
Metin Corabatir, a spokesman for the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ankara, said the Kurds' enforced return to Iran placed them at grave risk.
''The UNHCR sought and received verbal assurances this would not reoccur. We requested...assurances the refugees be readmitted if they return.''
Corabatir said it was not clear how many had been expelled and was unable to confirm reports that 12 people were deported.
Turkey's Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment.
Corabatir said some 1,200 Iranian Kurdish refugees have been living mainly in the eastern Turkish city of Van since leaving Iraq between 2000 and 2003.
Nearly all the deportees had first won U.N. asylum status in northern Iraq but left because of security fears.
After the 1991 Gulf War, northern Iraq passed out of Baghdad's control as an autonomous Kurdish area, though frictions existed between various groups. Since the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein it has been under U.S. occupation.
Corabatir said the U.N. had asked governments not to expel asylum seekers leaving war-torn Iraq.
Khalid Azizi of the Paris-based opposition Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) said up to 40 refugees were detained on Saturday though not all were forced to leave.
''These are people who were politically active in Iran and had been given refugee status by the U.N. in northern Iraq after escaping from Iran,'' he said.
''In previous cases where Turkey has delivered Iranian Kurds who were politically active, people have been executed.'' http://famulus.msnbc.com/FamulusIntl/reuters09-02-082113.asp?reg=EUROPE
WHY IRAN PROTECTS AL-QAEDA?
By Nawaf Obaid*
BEIRUT (IPS) As the Saudi officials have stated that Iran has failed to hand over any of the al-Qaeda terrorist it is supposed to hold, a senior Saudi oil and security analyst said since the demise of the Taleban, Iran has become a sanctuary for al-Qaeda, making it the only place in the world where both Shiite and Sunni terrorists have found haven".
On Monday 24 August, press reports, citing Irans ambassador in Riyadh, Ali Asqar Haji, suggested that Iran had handed over to Saudi Arabia a number of al-Qaeda members. However, the individuals, like the 16 Saudis Iran turned over last year, are merely foot soldiers
But on Sunday, Saudi Arabian Interior Minister Amir Nayef Ben Abdelaziz, in an interview with the pan Arabic daily Al Hayat, denied the report, saying that so far Iran has refused to cooperate with Saudi Arabia over the al-Qaeda.
Irans refusal to grant access to over a dozen of senior Saudi-born al-Qaeda suspects is disturbing, says Mr. Nawaf Obaid, a senior Saudi oil and political analyst.
"What the Saudis want are the ringleaders of one of the last functioning al-Qaeda cells with regional command and control powers. Intelligence officials also believe that members of this group know the identities of dozens of al-Qaeda operatives dispersed in Saudi Arabia, Europe and the United States", according to Mr. Obaid.
That is why Saudi officials are keen to interrogate the suspects. In the last few months, however, Iran has hindered this effort.
"To be more precise, radical Iranian clerics have hindered these efforts. Irans moderate President, Mohammad Khatami, has promised to hand over the Saudi al-Qaeda suspects. However, Saudi security officials were twice rebuffed when arriving to pick them up", Mr. Nawaf Oaid wrote in the Beirut based The Daily Star.
In the most recent attempt, Prince Mohammad bin Nayef, the assistant Minister of Interior for Security Affairs (the highest civilian administrator of the Saudi Arabian General Security Service), was told he would not be allowed to see the prisoners. A senior general in the Saudi General Intelligence Presidency who oversees coordination with Irans Intelligence Ministry was furious. According to him people close to Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran are holding up the extradition because they fear theyll be implicated
"This episode highlights the strength of Khamenehi and the radical clerics who follow him. Khamenehi controls several powerful state security organs, including Irans Revolutionary Guards and the newly created Foreign Intelligence Service. Both report directly to Khamenehis Office of the Supreme Leader, entirely bypassing Khatamis government", Mr. Obaid added.
In the past few years, American, Saudi and other regional intelligence services have compiled a detailed dossier on the extremists within these institutions and their connections to international terrorism.
The 1996 Khobar bombing in Saudi Arabia serves as an example. Ali Fallahian, the former Iranian intelligence minister who is believed to have orchestrated the attack, now serves as a top adviser to Khamenehi. General Ahmad Sharifi, the "case officer" who oversaw the group that carried out the bombing, is an adviser to the Revolutionary Guards military operations chief. And Ibrahim al-Mughassil, the Saudi Shiite who organised the operation from Saudi Arabias Eastern Province, has found refuge in Iran with his two main accomplices.
Since the demise of the Taleban, Iran has become a sanctuary for al-Qaeda, making it the only place in the world where both Shiite and Sunni terrorists have found haven. US, Saudi and Pakistani intelligence officials have concluded that the radical wing of Irans Revolutionary Guards has harboured numerous top al-Qaeda operatives, of which the three most dangerous are Said al-Adel (Osama Ben Ladens chief of global operations), Saad Ben Laden (Osamas son and a regional al-Qaeda leader) and a third man who is yet to be identified. With help from Revolutionary Guards radicals, the so-called "Tehran trio" masterminded the recent suicide bombings in Riyadh that killed 34 and injured over 200, according to the analyst.
Since the bombing, Saudi intelligence officers have uncovered much information about al-Qaedas operations within the Kingdom and the groups connections to Iran.
One of the leaders of the cell that carried out the attacks, Ali Fagasi al-Ghamdi, has been talking to Saudi agents since he turned himself in last June. Ghamdi identified the Tehran trio as the masterminds of the bombing and Turki al-Dandani as the main leader of his cell (a cousin of Dandani is the unidentified third of the trio). Dandani was killed in the northern Saudi province of Jouf while attempting to flee to Iraq. Saudi intelligence officials believe he was heading to Iran, to reunite with his comrades.
Ghamdi has provided an inside view of the structure and operations of the al-Qaeda cells, of which eight to 10 are now believed to be operating in Saudi Arabia. Supposedly, Ghamdi and Dandani were sent to establish a new cell because al-Qaedas ranks had thinned and it lacked the manpower to carry out attacks in the kingdom.
But since al-Qaeda cells are purposely kept isolated from each other, only those who recruited and dispatched the operatives know their identities and plans. Perhaps dozens of militants can be traced back to the Tehran trio, and this explains why Saudi authorities are extremely anxious to interrogate them.
Unfortunately, Iranian "custody" of these individuals puts them effectively under the protection of the extremists. This may for a time shield Revolutionary Guards officers with blood on their hands, but in the long run an alliance between Iranian officials and al-Qaeda cannot hold.
"International pressure and domestic anger will eventually break the bond, especially if another terrorist attack can be attributed to the actions or inaction of Iranian officials. In that case, they may meet the same fate as the last group of radicals who made common cause with Al-Qaeda, the repressive Taleban thugs in Afghanistan", the author concluded. ENDS IRAN AL-QAEDA 11003
Editors note: Mr. Nawaf Obaid is a Saudi oil and security analyst. He is the author of a forthcoming book, "Saudi Arabia Since 9/11".
He wrote this commentary for The Daily Star
Highlights and some editorial works are from IPS http://www.iran-press-service.com/
Someone should ask Ali Fallahian about his opinion on Hussein Khomeini and the late Hakim.
posted on 09/02/2003 1:08:10 PM PDT
Why We Must Win
August 31, 2003
The Washington Post
A recent visit to Iraq convinced me of several things. We were right to go to war to liberate Iraq. The Iraqi people welcome their liberation from tyranny. A free Iraq could transform the Middle East.
And failure to make the necessary political and financial commitment to build the new Iraq could endanger American leadership in the world, empower our enemies and condemn Iraqis to renewed tyranny.
If we are to avoid a debate over who "lost" Iraq, we must act urgently to transform our military success into political victory.
We fought a just war in Iraq to end the threat posed by a dictator with a record of aggression against his people and his neighbors and a proven willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against both.
Iraq's transformation into a progressive Arab state could set the region that produced Saddam Hussein, the Taliban, and al Qaeda on a new course in which democratic expression and economic prosperity, rather than a radicalizing mix of humiliation, poverty and repression, define a modernity in the Muslim world that does not express itself in ways that threaten its people or other nations. Conversely, a forced U.S. retreat from Iraq would be the most serious American defeat since Vietnam.
America's mission in Iraq is too important to fail. Given the stakes, we cannot launch this "generational commitment" to changing the Middle East on the cheap. The administration should level with the American people about the cost and commitment required to transform Iraq.
Americans must understand how important this mission is and be prepared to sacrifice to achieve it. Without an intensive campaign now to explain what is at stake and absent the necessary political and financial commitment, we raise the potential for a defeat that will deal a lasting blow to American interests and freedom's progress.
Having liberated Iraq, we must demonstrate the tangible benefits of occupation, which the Iraqi silent majority will tolerate if it successfully delivers services, law and order and a transition to Iraqi rule. The danger is that our failure to improve daily life, security, and Iraqis' participation in their own governance will erode their patience and fuel insurrection.
We do not have time to spare. If we do not meaningfully improve services and security in Iraq over the next few months, it may be too late. We will risk an irreversible loss of Iraqi confidence and reinforce the efforts of extremists who seek our defeat and threaten Iraq's democratic future.
Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, an able administrator, lacks resources and the political commitment to achieve his goal of Iraq's transformation. His operation is nearly broke, and he admits Iraq will need "tens of billions" of dollars for reconstruction next year alone. Yet there is an insufficient sense of urgency in Washington, and needs on the ground in Iraq are going unmet.
Security remains a serious problem in Iraq partly because, contrary to administration assurances, our military force levels are obviously inadequate. A visitor quickly learns in conversations with U.S. military personnel that we need to deploy at least another division. We need more foreign troops, particularly from Muslim allies such as Turkey and Pakistan, but security does not necessarily improve with each new country that deploys forces. It is the number and quality of military forces, not the number of countries that send them, that matters.
Iraq's reconstruction requires not simply more troops but a different mix of troops -- linguists, civil affairs officers, military police, engineers -- as well as a significant increase in civilian experts in development and democracy-building. The number of civilian advisers in Iraq is astonishingly low. I was struck by the near-unanimity of opinion among American officers in Iraq that civilian expertise -- on reconstruction, judicial reform and local governance -- is as important as our military presence.
I was also struck by the distrust many Iraqis hold for the United Nations. It is questionable whether U.N. authority over Iraq's political transition would enhance its legitimacy. A U.N. peacekeeping force like the one that stood by as thousands of Bosnians were massacred at Srebrenica would not inspire the Iraqi people's confidence. U.N. blessing of the occupation authority, recognition of the Iraqi Governing Council and advising on Iraq's reconstruction could help in soliciting foreign troops and reconstruction aid, but U.N. primacy would endanger Iraq's transformation.
Iraqis must have a greater role in determining their future. Training a new Iraqi army, civil defense force and police force is critical. We should be equally aggressive in training and advising political parties, transferring more authority to Iraqi leaders and establishing a framework and timeline for a political transition.
Let there be no doubt: Iraq remains the central battle in the war on terror. We must succeed in Iraq because every bad actor in the Middle East -- Baathist killers, terror's sponsors in Iran and Syria, terror's financiers in Saudi Arabia, terror's radical Shiite and Wahhabi inciters, the terrorists of al Qaeda, Ansar al-Islam, Hamas and Hezbollah -- has a stake in our failure. They know Iraq's transformation would be a grave and perhaps fatal setback to them.
Iraq must be important to us because it is so important to our enemies. That's why they are opposing us so fiercely, and why we must win.
The writer is a Republican senator from Arizona. http://iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news.pl?l=en&y=2003&m=09&d=02&a=10
The Terror Network is United
September 02, 2003
National Review Online
The Latest Horrors
Anyone who has worked on terrorism for the past 20 years will recognize the murderous techniques employed in the most-recent monster bombings at the Jordanian embassy, the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, and the shrine of Ali in Najaf. They all bear the imprint of Hezbollah's infamous chief of operations, Imad Mughniyah, the same man who organized the terrible mass murders at the U.S. Marine barracks and the American embassy in Beirut in the mid-1980s, and also, in all probability, the bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires a decade later. And this conviction is strengthened by the news that Mughniyah who has changed his face, his fingerprints, and his eye color, since he knows he's one of the most-hunted men on earth has been in Iraq for several weeks.
There is great reluctance in high quarters of Western governments to come to grips with the fact that the Lebanese Hezbollah is engaged in such actions, because they have convinced themselves that Hezbollah is primarily a social-welfare organization, and that its military arm has not operated against Americans for nearly two decades. They have not accepted the fact that there are many Hezbollahs, one of which is now growing in Iraq, under the leadership of the young Sheikh Muqtada al-Sadr, who was named chief of Iraqi Hezbollah by Iran's strongman Mohammed Hashemi Rafsanjani several months ago. And, as luck would have it, the young sheikh just happened to be absent from Friday prayers at the shrine of Ali when the car bombs went off.
The terror network is more complex, and far more united, than most of our analysts have been willing to accept.
Prior to moving into Iraq, Mughniyah had been closeted with his various allies in Tehran, where he met with other members of the terror galaxy, including al Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahiri and Saad bin Laden (and most likely with his dad, Osama), and also Abu Musaf Zarkawi, the Jordanian named by Secretary of State Colin Powell as an example of the coordination between Saddam's regime and al Qaeda. Zarkawi has also moved into Iraq in recent days, as has the legendary Anis Naccache, who organized the assassination of former Iranian President Shahpour Bakhtiar in the 1980s, and was graciously released from prison by the affable government of France.
Many of our analysts are currently falling into one of those linguistic traps that Ludwig Wittgenstein used to warn us about. They constantly ask, "which organization do these terrorists come from?" But they should be asking the empirical question: "Does it still make sense to talk about separate terrorist organizations?" I have been arguing for the better part of two years that we should think of the terrorists as a group of mafia families that have united around a single war plan. The divisions and distinctions of the past no longer make sense; the terror mafias are working together, and their missions are defined by the states that protect, arm, fund, and assist them: Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.
The best mafia killers are all operating in Iraq, from Mughniyah (constantly on the move) to Naccache and Zarkawi (both in Baghdad as of the end of last week). They are getting support from the three surviving terror masters in Damascus, Tehran, and Riyadh, as well as increasing assistance from our old friend, Libya's Muammar Qadaffi. In the last ten days of August, more than 3,000 terrorist operatives crossed from Iran to Iraq, despite recent Coalition efforts to "seal the border." Some of them have been detected by Iraqi security forces, who have found that the Iranians have co-opted members of some of the organizations we have nominated to govern the country. According to the London Times (August 28):
Members of two leading Shia parties in Iraq's United States-appointed Governing Council are helping to smuggle thousands of Iranians into Iraq in an illegal trade that has opened the frontier to terrorists, border police say...SCIRI and Islamic Dawa...set up floating border posts in the desert and were providing guides to ferry pilgrims past official border controls to reach the holy Shia cities...
A man described by the Times as a "senior Iraqi former exile" grimly remarked that "Iran is winning this war, not America" and asserted that Iranian Shiites were working hand-in-glove with armed Sunni groups. And a Mr. Dawoud (head of customs at Munthriya) agreed: "We didn't get rid of Saddam just to give Iraq to these people....Nobody is stopping them. Soon it will be too late."
Similar stories could be told about Syria and Saudi Arabia, but Iran remains the lynchpin of the terror network, and its leaders are engaged in a life-or-death struggle with us in Iraq, knowing that if we succeed, they are doomed. Once upon a time, the mullahs were known for their elegant cunning, but with the passage of time they have become palpably more desperate and thus more rigid. Nothing shows their desperation more clearly than the celebrated murder of the Canadian/Iranian journalist, Zahra Kazemi. She had been taking photographs of the demonstrations in Tehran in June, and was arrested by the regime's thugs. They raped and beat her to death, and what passes for the international community demanded justice. The mullahs responded by organizing a quick funeral in Tabriz (forbidding her son to take his mother's body back to Canada), and arresting two low-level functionaries. But over the weekend, the charges were dropped, and a new investigation was promised.
Such Iranian promises are as reliable as their recent undertaking to send al Qaeda terrorists back to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayif bin Abd al-Aziz al-Saud announced on August 30 that none of the Saudis detained in Iran have been sent to Saudi Arabia. Needless to say, none of the al Qaeda terrorists we have been asking for have been seen this side of the Caspian Sea, nor will they until and unless the mullahs are removed from power.
Which leaves us with the usual questions for the secretary of state and his henchmen who are supposed to design an effective Iran policy: Why are you still negotiating with this evil regime? How many Iranians, Iraqis, Americans, and Englishmen have to be murdered by the mullahs before you accept the plain facts about the Iranian regime, and commit this country to the liberation of the Iranian people? Or do we have to await even greater catastrophes, and then have to confront religious fanatics armed with atomic bombs?
Michael Ledeen, an NRO contributing editor, is most recently the author of The War Against the Terror Masters. Ledeen is resident Scholar in the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute. http://www.nationalreview.com/ledeen/ledeen090203.asp
To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Wolfowitz: Support Our Troops
September 02, 2003
The Wall Street Journal
When terrorists exploded a bomb outside a shrine in Najaf last week, they killed scores of Muslims who had gathered for prayers -- including one of Iraq's foremost Shiite leaders, who had been playing a key role in stabilizing post-Saddam Iraq.
Similarly, when a bomb detonated in the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad recently, those killed and injured were innocent men and women -- including Iraqis -- who were engaged in the humanitarian mission of rebuilding Iraq.
But those victims weren't the only targets. Terrorists were aiming a blow at something they hate even more -- the prospect of a country freed from their control and moving to become an Iraq of, by, and for the Iraqi people. Terrorists recognize that Iraq is on a course towards self-government that is irreversible and, once achieved, will be an example to all in the Muslim world who desire freedom, pointing a way out of the hopelessness that the extremists feed on. And so, they test our will, the will of the Iraqi people, and the will of the civilized world.
While we can't yet fix blame for this most recent act of terrorism, we do know this: Despite their differences, the criminal remnants of Saddam's sadistic regime share a common goal with foreign terrorists -- to bring about the failure of Iraqi reconstruction and take the country back to the sort of tyrannical prison from which it has just been freed. The recent broadcast of a taped message by an alleged al Qaeda spokesman offered congratulations to "our brothers in Iraq for their valiant struggle against the occupation, which we support and urge them to continue."
Anyone who thinks that the battle in Iraq is a distraction from the war on terror should tell it to the Marines of the 1st Marine Division who comprised the eastern flank of the force that fought its way to Baghdad last April. When I met recently with their commander, Maj. General Jim Mattis in Hillah, he said that the two groups who fought most aggressively during the major combat operations were the Fedayeen Saddam -- homegrown thugs with a cult-like attachment to Saddam -- and foreign fighters, principally from other Arab countries. The exit card found in the passport of one of these foreigners even stated that the purpose of his "visit" to Iraq was to "volunteer for jihad."
We face that poisonous mixture of former regime loyalists and foreign fighters today.
Even before the bombing of the U.N. headquarters, if you'd asked Gen. Mattis and his Marines, there was no question in their minds that the battle they wage -- the battle to secure the peace in Iraq -- is now the central battle in the war on terrorism. It's the same with the commander of the Army's 1st Armored Division, Brig. Gen. Martin Dempsey, who recently described that second group as "international terrorists or extremists who see this as the Super Bowl." They're going to Iraq, he said, "to take part in something they think will advance their cause." He added, "They're wrong, of course." Among the hundreds of enemy that we have captured in the last months are more than 200 foreign terrorists who came to Iraq to kill Americans and Iraqis and to do everything they can to prevent a free and successful Iraq from emerging. They must be defeated -- and they will be.
Our regional commander, Gen. John Abizaid, head of Central Command, echoed Gen. Dempsey, placing in larger perspective the battle in Iraq. He said, "The whole difficulty in the global war on terrorism is that this is a phenomenon without borders. And the heart of the problem is in this particular region, and the heart of the region happens to be Iraq. If we can't be successful here, we won't be successful in the global war on terrorism." Success in Iraq will not be easy. According to Gen. Abizaid, it will be long, hard and sometimes bloody; but "it is a chance, when you combine it with initiatives in the Arab/Israeli theater and initiatives elsewhere, to make life better, to bring peace to an area where people are very, very talented and resources are abundant, especially here in Iraq."
Foreign terrorists who go to Iraq to kill Americans understand this: If killing Americans leads to our defeat and the restoration of the old regime, they would score an enormous strategic victory for terrorism -- and for the forces of oppression and intolerance, rage and despair, hatred and revenge. Iraqis understand this. Alongside us, they are working hard to fight the forces of anger and hopelessness and to seize this historic opportunity to move their country forward.
Just as in the Cold War, holding the line in Berlin and Korea was not just about those places alone. It was about the resolve of the free world. Once that resolve was made clear to the Soviets, communism eventually collapsed. The same thing will happen to terrorism -- and to all those who have attempted to hijack Islam and threaten America and the rest of the free world, which now includes Iraq. They will see our resolve and the resolve of the free world. Then they, too, will take their place on the ash heap of history.
America's troops and our coalition partners are determined to win -- and they will win, if we continue to give them the moral and material support they need to do the job. As the president said recently, our forces are on the offensive. And as Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John Keane said in congressional testimony, "They bring the values of the American people to this conflict. They understand firmness, they understand determination. But they also understand compassion. Those values are on display every day as they switch from dealing with an enemy to taking care of a family."
I saw the troops in Iraq, and Gen. Keane is absolutely right. I can tell you that they, above all, understand the war they are fighting. They understand the stakes involved. And they will not be deterred from their mission by desperate acts of a dying regime or ideology.
* * *
Not long ago, a woman named Christy Ferer traveled to Iraq along with the USO. She'd lost her husband Neil Levin at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, and she wanted to say thank you to the troops in Baghdad. She wrote a wonderful piece about her trip, and in it, she wondered why our soldiers would want to see her, when they could see the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, movie stars and a model. When the soldiers heard that a trio of Sept. 11 family members were there, she found out why.
Young men and women from across America rushed to the trio, eager to touch them and talk to them. One soldier, a mother of two, told Christy she'd enlisted because of Sept. 11. Another soldier displayed the metal bracelet he wore, engraved with the name of a victim of 9/11. Others came forward with memorabilia from the World Trade Center they carried with them into Baghdad. And when it was Christy's turn to present Gen. Tommy Franks with a piece of steel recovered from the Trade Towers, she saw this great soldier's eyes well up with tears. Then, she watched as they streamed down his face on center stage before 4,000 troops.
To those who think the battle in Iraq is a distraction from the global war against terrorism . . . tell that to our troops.
Mr. Wolfowitz is deputy secretary of defense. http://iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news.pl?l=en&y=2003&m=09&d=02&a=12
To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
The Importance of Nudging Iran to Nuclear Disclosure
September 03, 2003
The Christian Science Monitor
SALT LAKE CITY Though attention last week was focused on North Korea and its nuclear threat, the coming week will bring us front and center with Iran, another of George Bush's "axis of evil" concerns.
On Monday in Vienna, at a UN atomic energy agency meeting, the United States will seek to nudge Iran toward full disclosure of its troubling nuclear development program. Iran doesn't deny it has such a program, but protests that it is for peaceful purposes. The US and a number of other countries are highly skeptical and suspect Iran is developing nuclear weaponry.
Suspicion has been heightened by a report last week that United Nations inspectors have found traces of highly enriched uranium at an Iranian nuclear facility. This could mean that Iran has already produced weapons-grade nuclear materials.
The US is expected to argue before the 35-member board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran should be found in noncompliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. A consequence of such a finding might be a variety of actions by the UN Security Council, including sanctions. But other members of the board, some with substantial trade and economic interests in Iran, have been reluctant to confront Iran, and the outcome of any US initiative is not certain.
The uranium traces found by the UN inspectors were at a sophisticated uranium-enrichment plant in Natanz. Existence of the plant became known last year. Enriched uranium can be used for peaceful purposes, but highly enriched uranium is needed to produce bombs. The Iranian explanation of the presence of highly enriched uranium is that it may have come from equipment it bought from another country.
The UN inspectors reported that additional work is needed to check out Iran's story. This gives those countries that seek to block the UN's condemnation of Iran some leverage to postpone action next week.
Others are concerned that Iran is simply using delaying tactics while it continues to develop a nuclear-weapons capability. An article in the current issue of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists by David Albright and Corey Hinderstein says, "Worries about Iranian nuclear activities were heightened in early July after Iran conducted a successful test of the Shahab-3 missile, which can carry a 2,200-pound payload as far as 1,500 kilometers. The timing of Iran's announcement about the Shahab-3 and the size of its payload suggest that the missile is intended to carry a nuclear warhead."
The Israelis have long considered Iran to offer a more potentially dangerous nuclear threat than Iraq. Shimon Peres, a former Israeli prime minister recently described Iran as the "largest terror nucleus in the Middle East," possessing a selection of nuclear resources that put it right behind North Korea in nuclear capability. "There is no greater danger," Mr. Peres wrote in The Wall Street Journal, "than the conjunction of an evil regime with nuclear capabilities."
The European Union has similarly expressed concern about the threat to international security posed by Iran. A coalition of the concerned has sought to enlist the influence of Russia in persuading Iran to permit more than the present limited inspection afforded the IAEA inspectors. But Russia is conflicted. It has major economic interests in Iran, notably the construction of a big electricity-generating reactor at Bushehr.
Meanwhile, Iran plays a cat-and-mouse game with those who suspect it of developing nuclear weaponry. It dissembles and prevaricates about highly questionable activities that seem to indicate such a clandestine program is under way.
Why, for example, is it building a heavy-water research reactor at Arak, when light-water reactors are what it needs for its peaceful energy program? A heavy-water reactor can make plutonium for nuclear bombs. What is going on at the Kalaye Electric Company in Tehran, which the Iranians are reluctant to open up to UN inspectors? It is reported to be the plant where key centrifuge components are made.
All this is going on at a time of considerable political instability in Iran. The influence of its conservative clerics upon a new generation of modern Iranians is diminishing. The Iranian revolution seems to be running out of steam. Thousands of young Iranians have dared in recent months to demonstrate against the regime.
Otherwise absorbed in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US seems content to let this play out without attempting any overt intervention. That is a sensible posture.
But proof of a threatening nuclear capacity in Iran could harden US policy toward that country. Thus is underlined the importance of next week's diplomacy in Vienna.
John Hughes, editor and chief operating officer of the Deseret Morning News, is a former editor of the Monitor. http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0903/p09s01-cojh.html
Deported Iranian missing
Age - By Meaghan Shaw
Sep 3, 2003
Amnesty International is trying to find an Iranian man who was forcibly returned home under a deal between the Australian Government and Iran.
Refugee advocates hold grave fears for the man, who promised to ring a friend in Australia when he arrived in Iran after being removed last month. He has not been heard from since.
Amnesty's Australian office has forwarded details of the man to its international secretariat in London, which is investigating.
It may issue a worldwide alert if the man cannot be traced.
A former room-mate at Port Hedland detention centre, Babak Ahmadi, said the missing man came from a politically active family: a brother was in Tehran's Evin prison, another had sought refuge in Europe and an uncle was executed.
Mr Ahmadi said he expected the Iranian Government to harass the missing man.
The investigation comes as the Government renews its offer of money to Iranians in detention who voluntarily return home.
Earlier this year, detainees were given 28 days to accept a reintegration package of $2000 to voluntarily return or be forcibly removed. This week, they were offered $1000 and given 14 days to accept.
Greens national refugee spokeswoman Pamela Curr said it proved Australia's agreement with Iran was a bluff to get detainees to give up their claims for asylum and go home.
The Australian Government last month forcibly removed two Iranians who failed to gain refugee status and would not voluntarily accept the Government's repatriation offer.
One of the returnees has said he was interrogated by Iranian intelligence officers for five hours on arrival. http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_2097.shtml
The least favourite son of the ayatollahs
Financial Times - By Nigel Andrews
Sep 2, 2003
No mantelpiece should take such punishment. Jafar Panahi may be the most guerdoned Iranian filmmaker of his generation. In seven years he has collected a Camera d'Or at Cannes (The White Balloon), a Golden Leopard at Locarno (Mirror), a Golden Lion at Venice (The Circle) and half a dozen other major/minor baubles. Probably the only time the mantelpiece is cleared is when ayatollahs drop round for tea.
They don't like his work at all: especially the later dissident stuff. The Circle never opened in Iran, although Panahi mobilised press support for a months-long battle with the censors over his tale of three women prisoners, released into the community, who find that the greatest prison of all is their own country. "It was only thanks to the media that the film got to Venice at all," he says, while pointing out that since that time "16 or 17 independent newspapers in Iran have been put out of business or taken over by the government".
His new film, Crimson Gold, was smuggled into this year's Cannes Film Festival in a suitcase. Arriving in time to show on a sideshow's last day, it won the sideshow's main prize. Now he is arguing with the government over cuts.
In the story of a plump, ageing pizza-delivery boy experiencing mental meltdown, caused by stress and social humiliation in a capital city teeming with inequity and oppression, Panahi and his no less eminent screenwriter Abbas Kiarostami (maker of Ten and Taste of Cherries) spare no critiques. Greed, envy and class tensions are rife. Police and government stooges are everywhere, enforcing the rule of a punitive puritanism. In one extraordinary sequence the hero witnesses the harassment and successive arrests of partygoers leaving a middle-class apartment block. Some westerners, Panahi has learned after showing his film at Cannes and Edinburgh, have difficulty even understanding this scene.
"Here in the west you have parties, you drink naturally. In our country no one can drink alcohol. Women cannot socialise freely, even indoors, with men outside their family. The authorities object to my showing this scene. But my argument to them is: 'Listen, if you're against the situation that exists, why don't you stop doing it? And if you're for it, you should be proud my film shows you arresting people!' "
Panahi sits with me and a translator in a semi-darkened auditorium at the ICA in London, delivering tales and opinions I am amazed he can utter with impunity even 2,000 miles from home. His catalogue of government obstructions and perversities goes on, even when I mention the one movie he was able to show to his countryfolk, the lauded The White Balloon, a key work of New Iranian Cinema.
Though the film was passed uncensored in Iran, partly because its touching tale of a little girl losing a wad of money entrusted to her by mum to buy a goldfish was deemed a "children's story", Panahi was frustrated in his bid to win a Best Foreign Film Oscar. The government withdrew it from contention in protest against America's then well-publicised anti-Iranian propaganda campaign. "So again I had no control over what I could do with my movie," Panahi shrugs.
The White Balloon wasn't really a children's film at all. Its brimming fresco of street life, of the daily clash of hope and adversity in a Tehran where the well-heeled jostle with the hand-to-mouth, was reminiscent, like much modern Iranian moviemaking, of Italian neorealism.
Panahi accepts the comparison - in part. "In both cases you have nonprofessional actors and real locations. But that is because a similar set of historical circumstances produced a similar national cinema. The condition of Italy after the war created the atmosphere in which such filmmaking happens. In Iran too after the Iran-Iraq war in '88 there were restrictions and difficulties we wanted to talk about. Both cinemas tried to focus on real daily existence, to give a documentary picture of how people live."
Panahi once said: "There are no evil characters in my films." He still believes that evil, if it exists, is more a matter of social and political pressures than of people. "Each human being is formed of all the conditions that made him. Had I followed any other character in Crimson Gold, a policeman or a security guard, maybe I'd also have found out that they're living in conditions that compel them to accept things or do things they wouldn't if they felt free to choose."
The new film's protagonist is free after a fashion - "the final decision to act is the individual's" - but the director deliberately picked an actor whose lumbering heavy-lidded presence suggests the numbness and anomie of despair. "I always look for an actor in the field his character belongs to in the script. So we went to all the pizza-delivery places, and through the door of one came this huge guy whose presence, height, weight, slowness, voice convinced us he was the right guy."
In Hossein Emadeddin's performance a Wozzeck-like hero emerges, primal and almost pre-cognitive, his mental disequilibrium palpable. The actor himself, says Panahi, "was schizophrenic. He was on medication. This created problems during shooting [such as his not showing up on several days]. But maybe the tensions helped to get out of him what we wanted."
The film's climactic scene of a botched crime and murder, with horrifying payoff, was snatched from a real newspaper story. But its power on screen, intensified by being filmed in a single take, comes from the sense that it has surfaced from some grim, deep soup of human complexity and that the director has done nothing to enhance tragic reality with tricks of style or narrative.
"My teacher at film school used to say that when you make a shot you must have said everything you want to say by the end of it. I don't bombard the audience with different shots. I want them to concentrate, to enter in, to think. I don't want them to be aware of the camera or the editing process or the set. I want them to enter a world and see reality." http://search.ft.com/search/article.html?id=030903000950&query=iran&vsc_appId=totalSearch&state=Form
Political blow to Iranian president
Sep 2, 2003
The vote was more a signal to hardliners than to Khatami Iran's reformist president, Mohammed Khatami, has received a setback in the country's parliament after his nominee for higher education minister was rejected.
President Khatami had argued strongly for Reza Faraji-Dana following the resignation of the outgoing minister in the wake of campus disturbances and student arrests in July.
A strong and decisive yes vote, he told parliament, would mean a show of support for the reformist government's policies in the fields of science and research. But when it came to the vote - and despite its own reformist majority - the parliament, or Majlis, gave Mr Khatami the thumbs down. Only 88 of the deputies approved the new nominee, while 127 voted against. It was clearly a blow to the president. However, the real object of the deputies' displeasure was not Mr Khatami himself but the entrenched hardliners who have made it impossible for either his government or the Majlis itself to make much progress in enacting reforms. Outside interference That was the reason for the resignation of the outgoing minister, Mustafa Moin.
The deputies clearly wanted to signal their sympathy for him and not to let his demise pass smoothly. Mr Moin resigned in the aftermath of disturbances in July, which led to the arrest of large numbers of students.
Their treatment was one of the reasons he gave for standing down. But he also cited interference by what he called outside forces in the fields of higher education. His plans for university reform were passed by the parliament but turned down by the unelected and highly conservative Council of Guardians. It has the right to vet and veto legislation.
In his appearance before parliament, Mr Khatami expressed regret at the continued detention of a number of students. He said he hoped their release would be a gift to the new minister. However, if that was intended to sway the deputies in favour of the new nominee it did not work. http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_2083.shtml
I know I havn't posted very much on your very informative threads, but I do very much appreciate reading them.
Thanks for all you do to keep us up to date with the daily situation in Iran
posted on 09/02/2003 8:20:28 PM PDT
(The Enemies of America can Count on the Democrats for Aid and Comfort)
"The least favourite son of the ayatollahs"
"They don't like his work at all. His new film, Crimson Gold, was smuggled into this year's Cannes Film Festival in a suitcase. Now he is arguing with the government over cuts."
To: MJY1288; DoctorZIn; McGavin999; Eala; piasa; Valin; nuconvert; Texas_Dawg; kattracks; RaceBannon; ..
Iran's ambassador quits London
Relations sour over diplomat's arrest and nuclear plans
Ewen MacAskill, diplomatic editor
Wednesday September 3, 2003
Relations between Iran and Britain deteriorated sharply yesterday when it emerged that the Iranian ambassador to London had returned to Tehran and may not return.
The Iranians are angry over two separate issues: the detention in Britain of an Iranian diplomat wanted in connection with a terrorist attack in Argentina almost 10 years ago; and western pressure on Iran over its alleged nuclear weapon ambitions.
The ambassador, Morteza Sarmadi, flew home after failing to win any compromise from the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, at a hastily arranged meeting at the Foreign Office on Monday.
A diplomatic source in London said that although officially he has returned for consultations with his superiors, "he may not return".
Such a diplomatic breakdown could prompt Iran to expel the British envoy to Tehran, Richard Dalton. Iranian newspapers controlled by the country's hardliners have been calling for his expulsion.
A Foreign Office spokesman last night played down the row, saying the relationship could still be rescued: "We understand that the Iranian ambassador has returned to Tehran but this is not a downgrading of relations."
The arrest last month of the Iranian diplomat Hade Soleimanpour, 47, who had been studying for a doctorate at Durham, has complicated matters. He was detained after an extradition request from Argentina in connection with a bomb at a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires which killed 85 people in 1994, when he was Iran's ambassador to the country.
The arrest came at a delicate time for relations with Iran, with the US pushing for UN economic sanctions against the country unless Tehran can prove it is not building a nuclear weapon. The issue is to come to a head next Mon day when the International Atomic Energy Agency reports on whether Iran is in breach of its international obligations.
President George Bush last year portrayed Iran as part of an axis of evil along with Iraq and North Korea. Unlike the US, however, Britain restored diplomatic ties four years ago.
If the row escalates, the Foreign Office is almost certain to warn Tehran that Britain is one of its few friends in the west and, with the nuclear issue looming, it should not do anything to jeopardise it.
The British government has also been dangling over Tehran's head a trade agreement with the EU and that too could be lost in the row.
Mr Straw has made several trips to Tehran over the past two years, the latest in July. The trip was strained by the nuclear issue but Mr Straw said at that time that his door would always be open to the Iranian ambassador.
Mr Sarmadi took him up on that offer on Monday to see if Britain was prepared to offer some concession on the arrest of the Iranian diplomat and to provide help in fending off US pressure on the nuclear issue. According to diplomatic sources, he felt he left empty-handed.
The Iranians are arguing that instead of pursuing an independent policy towards Iran, Britain has fallen into line with the US.
The US is pushing for the IAEA to declare in its report that Iran is in breach of its obligations not to build a nuclear weapon. Britain shares the American suspicions, though Iran denies the allegations.
The US is said to be lobbying the non-aligned members of the 35-country IAEA board, which at present seems to be opposed to action against Iran. The latest draft of the IAEA report, dated August 26, says Iran "has demonstrated an increased degree of cooperation in relation to the amount and detail of information provided to the agency and in allowing access requested by the agency to additional locations and the taking of associated environmental samples".
The success of US pressure will be demonstrated if next week's report switches to a hard line. http://politics.guardian.co.uk/foreignaffairs/story/0,11538,1034546,00.html
Asefi: Formation of interim cabinet a step toward people`s rule
Tehran, Sept 2, IRNA -- Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi
assessed here Tuesday the formation of the first interim cabinet by
the Iraqi Governing Council as a step towards transferring
administration of country`s affairs to the people.
Asefi hoped the move would lead to full restoration of the
people`s sovereignty and establishment of security and stability in
the country and the Iraqi nation would undertake administration of
all the affairs of their own country as soon as possible.
He laid emphasis on the necessity of acceleration of withdrawal of
the occupying forces from the Iraqi soil.
Iraq`s transitional Governing Council on Monday named a new
25-member post-war government with 13 ministries going to Muslim
Shiites, five to Sunnis, five to Kurds, one to Turkmen and one to
To: F14 Pilot
Boy, you've been posting these things faster than I can read them :o)
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