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Iranian Alert -- September 8, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 9.8.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 09/08/2003 12:00:31 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.

DoctorZin


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iran; iranianalert; protests; studentmovement; studentprotest
Discover all the news since the protests began on June 10th, go to:

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

1 posted on 09/08/2003 12:00:31 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread

Live Thread Ping List | DoctorZin

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

2 posted on 09/08/2003 12:01:50 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran 'has nuclear bomb project'

Atomic energy inspectors' findings stoke suspicion and put Tehran at top of agenda

Ian Traynor in Zagreb and Dan Deluce in Tehran
Monday September 8, 2003
The Guardian

UN inspectors have concluded that Iran has used nuclear materials to test uranium enrichment machinery despite Tehran's repeated declarations to the contrary and its obligations to report such practices to the UN.
The conclusions reached by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency during visits to Iran in June and last month fuel suspicions that Iran is far advanced in a clandestine nuclear bomb project.

The Bush administration, which classified Iran as part of the "axis of evil" troika of rogue states bent on acquiring nuclear weapons, believes the latest findings from the IAEA in Vienna confirm its conviction that Tehran is well on its way to acquiring the bomb and should be sanctioned by the UN security council.

The IAEA findings "demonstrate that Iran has been lying," said a senior western diplomat closely involved in monitoring the Iranian nuclear programme.

A meeting of the 35-strong IAEA board opening today in Vienna will be dominated by the Iranian dilemma following a confidential 10-page report on Iran by the agency's chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, which points to the need for urgent answers about Iran's uranium enrichment programme, the process by which low-grade fuel used to generate nuclear power is turned into weapons-grade uranium.

The meeting will adopt a resolution calling on Iran to open its doors to the nuclear inspectors unconditionally. But Washington has backed down from demanding that Iran be declared in breach of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, a move that could trigger sweeping international sanctions against Iran.

"To maintain broad support for the agency, it has been agreed to support a resolution that stops short of declaring Iran in non-compliance" with the non-proliferation treaty, said the western diplomat.

At the last such meeting in June, Washington could not muster the support for reporting Iran to the security council. A similar scenario is unfolding this time despite the greater and broader unease about the alleged bomb project. Malaysia has come under pressure from Washington as head of the non-aligned states but has refused to support a resolution that would shift the issue to the UN security council. Japan has also come under US lobbying to cancel a lucrative oil deal under negotiation unless Iran allows more intrusive inspections.

In the run-up to the meeting, Tehran is appearing more conciliatory. The foreign minister, Kamal Kharrazi, reiterated his government's positive but vague position at the weekend.

"With explanations and the removal of ambiguities from the IAEA, Iran will in the near future sign the additional protocol" enabling snap UN inspections, he told the state news agency.

Some diplomats and analysts in Tehran say Iran is playing for time to secure concessions or to complete work on its alleged weapons programme. UN inspectors and the US administration have a tense relationship because of the Iraq war. But while US hawks are heading the campaign of pressure against Iran, the nuclear inspectors, too, are increasingly alarmed at the scale and the sophistication of what they are gradually uncovering in Iran.

The Iranians insist their nuclear ambitions are restricted to power generation. But at the weekend they again balked at Russian insistence on an agreement to return nuclear fuel being supplied for the Bushehr nuclear power station in the south of the country.

If the Iranians keep the spent fuel and reprocess it, they obtain weapons-grade plutonium.

Inconsistencies feeding fears of an Iranian nuclear bomb revolve around these areas:

· The Natanz underground uranium enrichment project in central Iran. The Iranians have constructed thousands of centrifuges for a pilot uranium enrichment programme there.

· The Kalaye Electric Company in Tehran has played a key role in the Iranian project. When UN inspectors went there last March, they were prevented by the Iranians from taking any environmental samples.

· At Arak, the Iranians are designing a heavy water plant which produces weapons-grade plutonium but is irrelevant to the Bushehr nuclear station, which is to use a light water reactor.

· Uranium metal: the Iranians have also been found to be converting uranium into uranium metal and have constructed a "uranium metal purification and casting laboratory".

http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1037453,00.html
3 posted on 09/08/2003 12:03:39 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Iran 'has nuclear bomb project'

Atomic energy inspectors' findings stoke suspicion and put Tehran at top of agenda

Ian Traynor in Zagreb and Dan Deluce in Tehran
Monday September 8, 2003
The Guardian

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/977969/posts?page=3#3

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
4 posted on 09/08/2003 12:04:44 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Tehran ambassador back at work

The Scotsman 9.8.2003
IRAN’S ambassador to Britain, Morteza Sarmadi, returned to his job yesterday after talks over the detention of a former Iranian diplomat sought by Argentina over a 1994 bombing.

Relations between Iran and Britain soured after last month’s arrest of the former Iranian ambassador to Argentina, Hade Soleimanpour, in England, where he is currently studying.

"We think the British government has learned that the detention is unacceptable for Iran," an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi, said after talks between the two countries. "Diplomatic channels are still open to find a way out of the problem through the unconditional release of Mr Soleimanpour."

http://www.thescotsman.co.uk/international.cfm?id=988282003
5 posted on 09/08/2003 12:06:18 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran’s regime poses difficult problem for the world: Rice

WASHINGTON: Iran poses a difficult problem for the United States, US President George W. Bush’s national security adviser said on Sunday, when asked about regime change there.

ìIran has been a source for terrorism. We will continue to tell the Iranian government to turn them over,î Condoleezza Rice told Fox television. Iranian authorities claim to have arrested members of Al Qaeda since September 2001, whom the United States wants handed over.

Asked specifically about regime change, Rice noted that the Iranian people have repeatedly expressed their desire for freedom, and the president has associated himself with those aspirations.

ìYet this is a place that has had elections, the people of Iran have expressed themselves. We want to be certain that we always use the right tools in the right circumstances,î she said.But Rice stressed, ìThere is no doubt that this is a regime that poses a very difficult problem, not just for the United States but for the rest of the world.î

ìIf you look at what they are doing on their nuclear programme now, where the International Atomic Energy Agency has been I think surprised and alarmed at some of the things that they have found in Iran, people are taking a second look at Iran and we are encouraging that second look.î

Earlier, Iran said it expects the upcoming UN nuclear agency’s meeting to avoid political considerations and instead make efforts to help the country agree to open its nuclear programmes to unfettered access.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi made the comments a day before a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

Asefi said the IAEA did not share the view of the United States, which pursues an extremist position and its behaviour is politically motivated.’’

"We hope Monday’s (today’s) meeting in Vienna will carry out its professional job away from political considerations," he said.

The meeting will discuss Iran’s nuclear programme, including a protocol that would allow tougher IAEA inspections without notice.

Iran has said it would agree to unfettered inspections if it is granted access to advanced nuclear technology as provided for under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Tehran says Washington’s influence is blocking that technology.

A report to be presented at the meeting, which opens on Monday (today), outlines inconsistencies between what UN agency inspectors found and what Iran says it is doing in the nuclear field. Iran insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes.

Diplomats in Vienna said on Friday that the United States has backed away from presenting a resolution to the meeting asking the UN Security Council to look at Iran’s suspect nuclear activities because it expects little support from other countries.

The United States will instead agree to present a less strongly worded resolution at the IAEA board of governors meeting, urging Iran to open up its nuclear programmes to unfettered access.

The weekly Tagesspiegel am Sonntag said in its Sunday edition up to 90 scientists are working secretly on the construction of a nuclear bomb in Iran under the supervision of the ministry of defence.

Quoting intelligence sources, it said Iran had bought high-tension switches and high-speed cameras to conduct nuclear tests.

According to German newspaper Die Welt, Iran secretly put pressure on the Egyptian head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to play down the significance of its nuclear programme.

Quoting western intelligence sources, the newspaper said Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran’s top diplomat on the UN nuclear watchdog, met the agency’s director general, Mohammed ElBaradei, at the home of a prominent Egyptian businessman.

http://www.hipakistan.com/en/detail.php?newsId=en37896&F_catID=&f_type=source
6 posted on 09/08/2003 2:15:43 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; nuconvert; onyx; Pro-Bush; Valin; Tamsey; ...
Iran's Influence Grows in Iraqi Holy City
Sun September 7, 2003 05:35 AM ET

NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - Seventy-year-old Badria sits at the steps of the gold-domed Imam Ali mosque, crying in disbelief that she has managed to see one of the most revered sites of Shi'ite Islam.

"I thought I would die without seeing it," said Badria, one of thousands of Iranians who can now visit Iraq's holy Shi'ite cities freely thanks to the downfall of Saddam Hussein.

Saddam, a Sunni Muslim, waged war against Iran from 1980 to 1988. He imposed strict limits on the number of pilgrims from Shi'ite-dominated Iran allowed to visit sites they revere such as Najaf and Kerbala.

Now age-old ties between the neighboring countries, both with majority Shi'ite populations, are being revived. That is a source of joy for many such as Badria, and of new business opportunities for others already reaping the rewards of a lucrative cross border trade.

However, some are worried about Iran's growing influence. Iraqi Shi'ites stress they want to take control of their own destiny. That means not being too dependent on Iran, which would have an interest in preventing Iraq's Shi'ite south from becoming too powerful.

Iran's leaders would not want to see the center of the Shi'ite clerical establishment move from the Iranian city of Qom back to its traditional home of Najaf.

"If the seat of the clerical leadership were to return back to Najaf, it would be a big loss for Iran's leadership," said Haidar Tweij, a Najaf resident.

SMUGGLED GOODS

But for many people the warmer relationship is simply good business.

A burgeoning trade has sprung up with Iranians coming across the border in pickup trucks to smuggle back pillaged copper, weapons and other stolen goods freely available in the many open markets of southern Iraq thanks to postwar lawlessness.

"The Iranian traders are coming here because a lot of the goods that were stolen are cheap," said Khazem al-Shareefi, a coppersmith in Najaf's Saha Maidan open market.

As Iraqis seek to satisfy pent-up consumer demand after years of sanctions, many competitively priced, smuggled Iranian goods from pistachios to Parsi Cola flood the markets.

But close religious ties cannot surmount long-held prejudices and a history of wars and conflict.

Najaf residents talk of Iranians who take up long stays in the city's hotels. They suspect they are secret service agents sent to keep a close eye on developments on the ground.

While local people say they are glad of the security offered by Islamic militias such as the Badr Brigade, they worry about its links to Tehran, which supported the group during years of exile in Iran.

Security fears after a car bomb attack last month which killed top cleric Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim and more than 80 of his followers brought the Badr militias out of the shadows.

They mounted night patrols and searches and rounded up scores of Saddam supporters.

"The top (clerical) leadership was being killed and no one was providing protection so they took it upon themselves to organize protection for themselves... But I wouldn't allow them to search my car," said Ali Sharaa, one Najaf resident.

Still, many Iraqi Shi'ites say Iran's religious establishment has done a lot for them, providing funds to help the poor and shelter for those fleeing persecution by Saddam.

That makes Iran the natural shoulder to lean on for Shi'ites who feel Washington has not fulfilled its promises to bring peace and prosperity to Iraq after Saddam's downfall.

Portraits of Iran's late Ayatollah Khomeini and leaders of its 1979 Islamic revolution are displayed in stores and popular coffee shops alongside those of Iraqi religious leaders.

"To be realistic, when Saddam was around, where did we find refuge? It was in Iran. When they come to us now, we can't say no to them," said Saad Sheblawi, a teacher.

http://asia.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=3400070
7 posted on 09/08/2003 2:19:41 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: All
Iran Warns of Weapons Inspection Pressure
By GEORGE JAHN
The Associated Press


VIENNA, Austria - Iran is warning the United States and other nations against pushing for too much too soon at a meeting of the U.N. atomic agency, suggesting that harsh demands could heighten nuclear tensions.

The meeting, which opens Monday, likely will urge Iran to make its nuclear program accessible by agreeing to a protocol allowing tougher International Atomic Energy Agency inspections without notice.

Under strong international pressure, Iran last month offered to negotiate the IAEA protocol. Delegates at the meeting also will ask Tehran to explain agency findings that the Americans and others say point to the existence of a covert nuclear weapons program.

Iran's delegate, Ali Akbar Salehi, said his country still was open to negotiating the inspection issue with the International Atomic Energy Agency, but he indicated the offer could be withdrawn.

Salehi, while not going into specifics, warned of "unexpected or surprising consequences" should the Iranian leadership decide the IAEA board was making harsh demands - in effect suggesting that such a move might escalate nuclear tensions.

"We are sitting on a very thin edge," Salehi said. "It could tilt one way or the other very easily."

The United States accuses Iran of working on a secret nuclear weapons program and a recent confidential IAEA report, obtained by The Associated Press, said traces of highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium were found at an Iranian nuclear facility.

The report also said Iran was conducting tests that experts say make little sense unless the country was pursuing nuclear weapons.

Tehran insists its nuclear programs are for generating electricity and says its equipment was "contaminated" with enriched uranium by a previous owner.

Kenneth Brill, the chief U.S. IAEA delegate, declined comment on what the Americans were seeking. But he said the United States and other board members believe Iran is trying "to evade international obligations and to seek the capacity to build nuclear weapons."

"It's fair to say that the majority of board members will want to see Iran ... enhance its cooperation" and "provide the answers to all the questions that are outstanding," he said.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Sunday the IAEA did not share the view of the United States, "which pursues an extremist position and its behavior is politically motivated."

In an apparent victory for Iran, the Bush administration last week decided not to ask the Vienna meeting to endorse a resolution finding Iran in noncompliance of IAEA obligations - a move that could have led to U.N. sanctions.

Instead, the resolution being drafted likely will call on Iran to answer questions raised in the report and provide full disclosure of its program. It also could set a deadline for Tehran to comply, diplomats said on condition of anonymity.

Iran has said it would agree to unfettered inspections if it is granted access to advanced nuclear technology as provided for under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Tehran says Washington's influence is blocking that technology.

Suspicions about Iran's nuclear activities prompted Mohamed ElBaradei, the IAEA director-general, in February to tour Iran's nuclear facilities, including the incomplete plant in Natanz, about 300 miles south of Tehran. Diplomats said he was taken aback by the advanced stage of a project using hundreds of centrifuges to enrich uranium.


http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/93-09082003-155397.html
8 posted on 09/08/2003 2:22:58 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn
Bump
9 posted on 09/08/2003 2:25:27 AM PDT by windchime
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To: All
Nuclear chief calls for 'full transparency' from Iran
08/09/2003 - 10:43:38

The chief of the UN nuclear agency pressed Iran today to come clean with “full transparency” on uranium enrichment and other evidence that could point to a covert atomic weapons programme.

In a statement to the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei said Iran has been showing increased cooperation, but that his experts still do not have enough information to determine the nature of Tehran’s nuclear activities.

“I would urge Iran in the coming weeks to show proactive and accelerated cooperation, and to demonstrate full transparency by providing the agency with a complete and accurate declaration of all its nuclear activities,” ElBaradei said.

“Much urgent and essential work still remains to be completed before the agency can draw conclusions,” ElBaradei cautioned.

Some of the information Iran recently has handed over is “piecemeal” or “inconsistent with that given previously,” he said without elaborating.

The IAEA’s 35 nation board of governors, meeting at the agency’s Vienna headquarters, was expected to urge Iran to make its nuclear programme accessible by agreeing to allow more intrusive inspections without notice.

“Iran should move rapidly” toward signing the measure, ElBaradei said, adding: “The more transparency that is provided, the more assurance we can give.”

The outcome, he said, “will have major implications for the non-proliferation regime” worldwide.

Iran, however, has been warning the United States and others not to push for too much too soon, warning that nuclear tensions could grow if it is handed an ultimatum on opening its programs to full outside examination.

Iran’s delegate, Ali Akbar Salehi, said before the meeting that Tehran remained open to negotiating the inspection issue with the IAEA, but indicated the offer could be withdrawn if this week’s board review “disrupted the whole process.”

“We are sitting on a very thin edge,” Salehi said. “It could tilt one way or the other very easily.”

The United States accuses Iran of working on a secret nuclear weapons programme and a recent confidential IAEA report said traces of highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium were found at an Iranian nuclear facility.

The report also said Iran was conducting tests that experts say make little sense unless the country was pursuing nuclear weapons.

Tehran insists its nuclear programs are for generating electricity and says its equipment was “contaminated” with enriched uranium by a previous owner.

http://breakingnews.iol.ie/news/story.asp?j=79496306&p=79497xyz
10 posted on 09/08/2003 3:05:18 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: windchime; McGavin999; Eala; piasa; Valin; nuconvert; Texas_Dawg; kattracks; RaceBannon; seamole; ..
Saudis ask for bin Laden son
Scott Farwell

DALLAS - Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States said Sunday that his government has asked Iran to extradite Osama bin Laden's eldest son for plotting to assassinate members of the Saudi royal family and overthrow the government.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan said Iran has not acted on his country's request for Saad bin Laden and several other suspected terrorists. Iranian officials were not available for comment.

"My government has been requesting that they hand over any members of al-Qaida that we have information are terrorists or are Saudi citizens," said Prince Bandar, a guest of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones before Sunday's game at Texas Stadium in Irving.

"The general consensus is that there are several (senior) members of al-Qaida in Iran."

He said that Saudi Arabia believes Saad bin Laden is among the handful of men directing terrorism in the Middle East and all around the world, including the May suicide bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that had killed 23 people, including nine Americans.

Tehran has not rejected Saudi Arabia's request, the prince said.

"They've said they want to finish their investigation first, and then we will share and we will talk about it," he said. "We're handling Iran with sensitivity, but at the same time, we're very serious about extraditing terrorists."

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0908saudis-terror08.html
11 posted on 09/08/2003 3:08:03 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: All

Free Republic's 9-11 100 Hours of Remembrance
Click on the Link Above


12 posted on 09/08/2003 4:36:13 AM PDT by jriemer (We are a Republic not a Democracy)
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To: F14 Pilot
Bump
13 posted on 09/08/2003 4:42:07 AM PDT by windchime
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To: DoctorZIn
U.N. Nuke Group Urges Iran to Come Clean

September 08, 2003
The Associated Press
The Tuscaloosa News

The chief of the U.N. nuclear agency pressed Iran on Monday to come clean with "full transparency" on uranium enrichment and other evidence that could point to a covert atomic weapons program.

In a statement to the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei said Iran has been showing increased cooperation, but that his experts still don't have enough information to determine the nature of Tehran's nuclear activities.

"I would urge Iran in the coming weeks to show proactive and accelerated cooperation, and to demonstrate full transparency by providing the agency with a complete and accurate declaration of all its nuclear activities," ElBaradei said.

The IAEA's 35-nation board of governors, meeting Monday at the agency's Vienna headquarters, was expected to urge Iran to make its nuclear program accessible by agreeing to allow more intrusive inspections without notice.

Iran, however, has been warning the United States and others not to push for too much too soon, warning that nuclear tensions could grow if it is handed an ultimatum on opening its programs to full outside examination.

Iran's delegate, Ali Akbar Salehi, said before the meeting that Iran remained open to negotiating the inspection issue with the IAEA, but indicated the offer could be withdrawn if this week's board review "disrupted the whole process."

"We are sitting on a very thin edge," Salehi said. "It could tilt one way or the other very easily."

The United States accuses Iran of working on a secret nuclear weapons program, and a recent confidential IAEA report, obtained by The Associated Press, said traces of highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium were found at an Iranian nuclear facility.

The report also said Iran was conducting tests that experts say make little sense unless the country was pursuing nuclear weapons.

Tehran insists its nuclear programs are for generating electricity and says its equipment was "contaminated" with enriched uranium by a previous owner.

ElBaradei said the IAEA was pressing the Iranians for a complete list of all imported equipment and components they contend were contaminated as well as its origins, the dates it was acquired and where it has been used or stored since.

The nuclear agency also needs to know more about Iran's uranium conversion experiments and its testing of gas centrifuges to enrich uranium, he said.

"Much urgent and essential work still remains to be completed before the agency can draw conclusions," ElBaradei cautioned.

Some of the information Iran recently has handed over is "piecemeal" or "inconsistent with that given previously," he said without elaborating.

"Iran should move rapidly" toward signing the measure, ElBaradei said, adding: "The more transparency that is provided, the more assurance we can give."

The outcome, he told reporters, "will have major implications for the non-proliferation regime" worldwide.

Only a comprehensive declaration can determine the truth, ElBaradei said Monday.

"It is essential that all outstanding issues, particularly those involving high-enriched uranium, be brought to closure as soon as possible to enable the agency to come to a definitive conclusion," he said.

Suspicions about Iran's nuclear activities prompted ElBaradei in February to tour Iran's nuclear facilities, including the incomplete plant in Natanz, about 300 miles south of Tehran.

Diplomats said he was taken aback by the advanced stage of a project using hundreds of centrifuges to enrich uranium.

In an apparent victory for Iran, the Bush administration last week decided not to ask the Vienna meeting to endorse a resolution finding Iran in noncompliance of IAEA obligations. That could bring the matter before the U.N. Security Council, which can take steps ranging from criticism to sanctions.

"There was no other choice but to back down, because that proposal didn't have many countries to go along with it," Salehi said Monday.

Instead, the resolution being drafted likely will call on Iran to answer questions raised in the report and provide full disclosure of its program. It also could set a deadline for Tehran to comply and warn that Iran will be declared in noncompliance if it misses that deadline, diplomats said on condition of anonymity.

Kenneth Brill, the chief U.S. delegate to the IAEA, declined to comment on what the Americans were seeking. But he said the United States and others believe Iran is trying "to evade international obligations and to seek the capacity to build nuclear weapons."

"It's fair to say that the majority of board members will want to see Iran ... enhance its cooperation" and "provide the answers to all the questions that are outstanding," he said.

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20030908/API/309080599&cachetime=5
14 posted on 09/08/2003 7:55:00 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranians Puzzled as Outsiders Stay Fretful

September 08, 2003
The Financial Times
Roula Khalaf

Faced with rising suspicions over its nuclear ambitions, Iran's clerical regime has adopted a strange defence: nuclear weapons, says the government in Tehran, are un-Islamic and therefore cannot be pursued by the Islamic Republic.

Some take the curious argument even further: "It's not human to have the atomic bomb," declares Amir Mohebian, a newspaper columnist who is considered an ideologue for the conservative faction in Iran's political establishment. "We want to follow policies that are in line with morality."

Ordinary Iranians are, however, dismissive of the public discourse. The prospect of an Iranian atomic bomb finds wide popular support, even among those who oppose the hardline clerics who control the levers of power.

Driven by a sense of patriotism and proud of Iran's historical role as a regional power, Iranians say they are puzzled by the international community's anxiety. "It is even necessary for Iran to have the weapons because we've been under threat historically," says Dariush, a 22-year-old Iranian now on military service. "So many others have them - Pakistan, Israel - so why should Iran not be allowed?"

Iran is again on the agenda of this week's board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog. The meeting follows a new inspectors' report that has exacerbated US fears over the nuclear programme.

Some light has been shed on Iran's nuclear sites since Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the IAEA, visited Iran in February. But the agency says many questions remain unanswered.

Iran says it is pursuing a complete fuel cycle - from mining uranium to enrichment for use in reactors - but only to produce nuclear energy. But such an achievement would give Iran the technology and capability to develop fuel for weapons.

Also troubling is the building of a heavy water plant that could lead to the production of plutonium.

IAEA inspectors have produced two reports, the latest of which will form the basis of this week's discussions at the agency's board. The document reveals samples taken from some facilities showed particles of weapons-grade uranium. The agency is investigating Iranian claims that contamination of imported equipment was the source of the uranium. Diplomats say Tehran has not revealed the origin of the imports and had claimed in the past its programme was developed indigenously.

The report also highlights apparent modifications at a Tehran site where inspectors had been banned but allowed to visit last month.

The US had sought to persuade the 35-member board (on which Iran also sits) to pass a tough resolution declaring Tehran in violation of its nuclear obligations. But with little appetite among members for an escalation of the dispute and a referral to the UN Security Council, the US on Friday softened its position and said it would seek a resolution that would press Iran to fully comply with the IAEA.

The US appears confident a compromise resolution will pass. But Tehran, which counts many allies on the 35-member governing board, successfully fought the US push for a resolution at an IAEA meeting in June.

Iran now says it is willing to negotiate an agreement for intrusive inspections, under a so-called "additional protocol" to the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty, but wants to clarify "ambiguities" first. Analysts say that hardline clerics in Tehran are hoping to delay the move as long as possible and to bargain for concessions.

Diplomats say a resolution will have to take into account Iran's concerns about weapons proliferation in the region.

Geoffrey Kemp, director of regional strategic programmes at the Nixon Center, in Washington, says that stopping or slowing Iran's push for a nuclear bomb will require "carrots as well as threatened sticks and much greater co-operation with Europe, Russia and China".

http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1059479628821&p=1012571727172
15 posted on 09/08/2003 7:56:18 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
On the "Frontlines of Freedom"

September 08, 2003
National Review Online
An NRO Symposium

Reaction to President Bush's Sunday-night address on Iraq

Michael Ledeen

My guess, listening between the lines, is that so many people all over the world viewed our appeal to the United Nations as a clear sign of retreat, that the president decided he'd better get out there and look tough. He rightly said that we've learned that weakness invites terrorist attack while strength deters it, and he insisted that we're strong, that we're taking the battle to the bad guys, and we're going to track them all down.

Let's hope it works, but I doubt it. I think we're in for a new wave of attacks, both here and in the Middle East, in part because the terrorists have to show signs of real strength, and in part because so much of what has been coming out of this administration of late really does reek of retreat.

As usual, it was a good speech, carefully crafted and elegantly presented. I like his clearly heartfelt reiteration of the theme of freedom versus tyranny, which is indeed the heart of the matter. He's clearly pleased, as we should all be, that there has been great progress throughout Iraq, electing local governments, getting schools up and running, and so forth.

But, alas, he has lost focus. He reminded us that he had always expected this to be a long war, but he never mentioned the Evil Axis, never once talked about the several countries that are supporting the terrorist attacks against us, never mentioned the Iranian atomic bomb or the North Korean nuclear program or the ongoing Saudi and Syrian support for terror. This speech was narrowly about Iraq, with a couple of afterthoughts about Afghanistan. If he's aware that we can't possibly win in Iraq unless we bring down the mullahcracy in Tehran, he didn't give any sign of it.

We're dithering again, wasting time while the terror masters prepare their next assault, instead of going after them where they live.


James S. Robbins

President Bush sought to contextualize the war and its various phases: Afghanistan, where the al Qaeda and Taliban strongholds were attacked directly and overwhelmed; attacks on the terrorist infrastructure, which has resulted in nearly two thirds of known senior al Qaeda leaders, operational managers, and key facilitators being captured or killed; breaking up terrorist financial and logistical networks; and taking down Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, which supported terrorism and had the potential to equip terrorists with weapons of mass destruction. Of these, the president's critics have focused most of their attention on denying the links between Iraq and al Qaeda. Whether or not they want to believe that such links existed in the past, they surely do now.

"Iraq is now the central front," the president said, and this is true not only from our perspective but also from the enemy's. Al Qaeda fighters and sympathizers are flooding into Iraq from all over the world to try to bring the battle to the Crusaders. They view Iraq as "the perfect place" to engage U.S. forces. They see our situation as similar to that of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, in which the Mujahedeen were able to wage unrelenting guerrilla war and drive the Red Army out. Of course, they also thought that Afghanistan would be our Afghanistan, a rather more precise analogy and one which did not turn out they way they expected.

The terrorists draw their strategic lessons from Vietnam, Beirut, and Somalia. In each case, the U.S. was wounded but not defeated militarily. Yet, in each case, the United States withdrew because the national will faltered. A combination of lack of leadership, mission ambiguity, and domestic political factors led to a defeat that was disproportionate to the might of the enemies we faced. Al Qaeda, their sympathizers, and other enemies of civilization seek to recreate those conditions.

President Bush explained to the American people what the press has been slow to understand, and the opposition has no interest in discussing — that the events taking place in Iraq today are connected directly to the central threat of our age, the Islamic radicals and secular despots who are seeking to push back the tide of freedom that burst through the Iron Curtain 14 years ago and is bringing the light of liberty and civilization to their neglected corner of the world. A free, secular, democratic Iraq would be a monumental and unparalleled achievement. The beneficial effects would redound across the region and the world. This is why the enemies of freedom are waging a desperate rear-guard action in Iraq. They cannot prevail unless the American people withdraw their support. The case the president made was not a new one — the administration has been remarkably consistent in its strategic approach to the war — but it bears repeating. There are too many people at home and abroad that will seek to exploit divisions over the conduct of the war. It helps to remind people what we are fighting for.

http://www.nationalreview.com/symposium/symposium090803.asp
16 posted on 09/08/2003 8:01:05 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Michael Leeden's Reaction to President Bush's Sunday-night address on Iraq. -- DoctorZin

On the "Frontlines of Freedom"

September 08, 2003
National Review Online
An NRO Symposium

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/977969/posts?page=16#16

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
17 posted on 09/08/2003 8:03:31 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
The Iraq Effect

September 08, 2003
New York Post
Amir Taheri

The conventional wisdom, at least in Europe, is that President Bush's hope of turning Iraq into a catalyst for democratization in the Arab world has already failed. Footage of the carnage from bombings is presented, along with almost daily sabotage operations, to back the claim that democratization is a forlorn cause in the Arab world. But is it?

It is too early to tell.

To be sure, Iraq has not been transformed into a democracy, and may need a generation or more to develop the institutions it needs. But the fact is that Iraqis now enjoy a measure of political freedom they did not know before.

Iraq is the only Arab country today where all political parties, from communist to conservative, operate freely. Visitors will be impressed by the openness of the political debate there, something not found anywhere else in the Arab world. Also, for the first time, Iraq has no political prisoners.

Almost 150 newspapers and magazine are now published there, offering a diversity not found in any other Arab country. One theme of these new publications is the need for democratization in the Arab world. This may be putting the cart before the horse. What Arabs, and Muslims in general, most urgently need is basic freedom, without which democracy cannot be built.

The impact of Iraq's liberation is already felt throughout the region.

- In Syria, President Bashar Assad has announced an end to 40 years of one-party rule by ordering the Arab Ba'ath Socialist Party to no longer "interfere in the affairs of the government." The party is planning a long-overdue national conference to amend its constitution and, among other things, drop the word "socialist" from its official title.

Assad has also liberated scores of political prisoners and promised to hold multiparty elections soon. In July, a petition signed by over 400 prominent Syrians offered a damning analysis of Ba'athist rule and called for political and economic reform. The fact that the signatories were not arrested, and that their demands were mentioned in the state-controlled media, amount to a retreat by Syrian despotism.

"What we need is a space of freedom in which to think and speak without fear," says a leading Syrian economist. "Bashar knows that if he does not create that space, many Syrians will immigrate to Iraq and be free under American rule."

- A similar view is expressed by Hussein Khomeini, a mid-ranking mullah and a grandson of the late Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic in Iran.

"I decided to leave Iran and settle in Iraq where the Americans have created a space of freedom," Hussein Khomeini says. "The coming of freedom to Iraq will transform the Muslim world."

Hussein Khomeini is one of more than 200 Iranian mullahs who recently moved from Qom, the main centre of Iranian Shiism, to Najaf and Karbala, in central Iraq, to escape "the suffocating atmosphere of despotism in Iran."

- Saudi Arabia is also feeling the effects of Iraqi regime change. Last month King Fahd ordered the creation of a Center for National Dialogue where "issues of interest to the people would be debated without constraint." The center will be open to people from all religious communities, including hitherto marginalised Shi'ites. More importantly, the gender apartheid, prevalent in other Saudi institutions, will be waived to let women participate.

Encouraged by the current state of flux, Saudi women have organized several seminars in the past few weeks, in which they called for equal legal rights.

The Iraq effect has also been felt in the Saudi media. Newspapers now run stories and comments that were unthinkable last March. Words such as reform (Islahat), opening (infitah) and democracy (dimuqratiah) are appearing in the Saudi media for the first time.

- Both Kuwait and Jordan have just held general elections in which pro-reform candidates did well. The new Kuwaiti parliament is expected to extend the franchise to women and to over 100,000 people regarded as "stateless." In Jordan, the new parliament is expected to revise censorship laws and to relax rules regarding the formation of political parties.

- In Egypt, the state-controlled media are beginning to break taboos, including reporting President Hosni Mubarak's refusal to name a vice president, as required by the constitution, and to end the tradition of single-candidate presidential elections.

Some non-governmental organizations are also testing the waters by raising issues such as violence against women, street children and, above all, the state's suffocating presence in all walks of life.

- In a recent television appearance, Col. Muammar Khadafy (whose one-man rule has been in place since 1969) told astonished Libyans that he now regarded democracy as "the best system for mankind" and that he would soon unveil a package of reforms. These are expected to include a new Constitution to institutionalize his rule and provide for an elected national assembly.

Having just settled the Lockerbie affair, the Libyan despot is looking for new legitimacy on the international stage.

- Even in remote Algeria and Morocco, the prospect of a democratic Iraq, emerging as an alternative to the present Arab political model, is causing some excitement. A cultural conference at Asilah, Morocco, last month, heard speakers suggest that liberated Iraq had a chance of becoming "the first Arab tiger" while other Arab states remained "nothing but sick cats."

Similar views are expressed in countless debates, some broadcast on satellite television, throughout the Middle East.

All this, of course, may be little more than cynical Arabesques designed to confuse critics and please Washington. The proposed Arab reforms may well prove to be purely cosmetic. After all, several Arab regimes played the same trick in 1991 when, in the wake of the war to liberate Kuwait, they came under U.S. pressure to introduce some reforms.

But as far as the Arab masses are concerned, there is no reason to believe that they hate freedom and, if given a chance, would refuse to choose their governments.

Many Arab countries (including Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan) already enjoy a degree of freedom that could, in time, lead toward democratization. But, being small and peripheral states, none could have a major impact on the Muslim world as a whole.

Iraq is in a different category. A free Iraq is already affecting the political landscape of the Middle East; a democratic Iraq could change the whole Arab world. The goal is worth fighting for.

Despite the current difficulties in Iraq, the United States, Britain and other democratic nations should keep their eyes on the big picture.

E-mail: amirtaheri.com - Benador Associates

http://www.benadorassociates.com/article/558
18 posted on 09/08/2003 8:05:02 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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The Iraq Effect

September 08, 2003
New York Post
Amir Taheri

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/977969/posts?page=18#18

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
19 posted on 09/08/2003 8:06:23 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
An Unlikely Alliance

September 02, 2003
Stratfor
Stratfor.com

Though the recent death of SCIRI leader Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim would appear to be raising the level of turmoil within Iraq, it might in fact help to push the United States and Iran toward a powerful -- if seemingly unlikely -- alignment.

Analysis

The death of Shiite Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, the leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), appears to have exacerbated the turmoil in Iraq. In fact, it opens the door to some dramatic shifts that might help stabilize the U.S. position in Iran. Indeed, it might even lead to a fundamental redrawing of the geopolitical maps of the region -- as dramatic as the U.S.-Chinese alignment against the Soviet Union in the 1970s.

To understand what is happening, we must note two important aspects of the al-Hakim affair. First, though far from being pro-American, al-Hakim was engaged in limited cooperation with the United States, including -- through SCIRI -- participating in the U.S.-sponsored Iraq Governing Council. Second, upon his death, Iran announced a three-day mourning period in his honor. Al-Hakim, who had lived in exile in Iran during much of Saddam Hussein's rule in Baghdad, was an integral part of the Shiite governing apparatus -- admired and loved in Iran.

We therefore have two facts. First, al-Hakim was engaged in limited but meaningful collaboration with the United States, which appears to be why he was killed. Second, he was intimately connected to Iranian ruling circles, and not just to those circles that Americans like to call "reformers." If we stop and think about it, these two facts would appear incompatible, but in reality they reveal a growing movement toward alignment between the United States and Iran.

The United States has realized that it cannot pacify Iraq on its own. One proposal, floated by the State Department, calls for a United Nations force -- under U.S. command -- to take control of Iraq. This raises three questions. First, why would any sane country put its forces at risk -- under U.S. command, no less -- to solve America's problems if it doesn't have to? Second, what would additional outside forces, as unfamiliar with Iraq as U.S. forces are, add to the mix, save more confusion? Finally, what price would the United States have to pay for U.N. cooperation; for instance, would the U.N. presence place restrictions on U.S. operations against al Qaeda?

Another proposal, floated by Defense Advisory Board Chairman Richard Perle, suggests that the way out is to turn Iraq over to Iraqis as quickly as possible rather than prolonging a U.S. occupation. The problem with Perle's proposal is that it assumes a generic Iraq, unattached to any subgrouping -- religious, ethnic or ideological -- that not only is ready to take the reins, but is capable of governing. In other words, Perle's proposal would turn Iraq over to whom?

Putting the Kurdish issue aside, the fundamental fault line running through Iraqi society is the division between Sunni and Shiite. The Shiite majority dominates the area south of Baghdad. The Sunni minority, which very much includes Hussein and most of the Baath Party's national apparatus, spent the past generation brutalizing the Shiites, and Hussein's group also spent that time making certain that Sunnis who were not part of their tribe were marginalized. Today, Iraq is a fragmented entity where the center of gravity, the Baath Party, has been shattered and there is no substitute for it.

However, embedded in Perle's proposal is a simple fact. If there is a cohesive group in Iraq -- indeed a majority group -- it is the Shiites. Although ideologically and tribally fragmented, the Shiites of Iraq are far better organized than U.S. intelligence reports estimated before the war. This is due to the creation of a clandestine infrastructure, sponsored by Iranian intelligence, following the failure of U.S.-encouraged Shiite uprisings in the 1990s. While Washington was worried about the disintegration of Iraq and the growth of Iranian power, Tehran was preparing for the day that Hussein's regime would either collapse or be destroyed by the United States.

As a result, and somewhat to the surprise of U.S. intelligence, organizations were in place in Iraq's Shiite regions that were able to maintain order and exercise control after the war. British authorities realized this early on and tried to transfer power from British forces in Basra to local control, much to U.S. displeasure.

Initially, Washington viewed the Iranian-sponsored organization of the Shiite regions as a threat to its control of Iraq. The initial U.S. perception was that the Shiites, being bitterly anti-Hussein, would respond enthusiastically to their liberation by U.S. forces. In fact, the response was cautious and sullen. Officials in Washington also assumed that the collapse of the Iraqi army would mean the collapse of Sunni resistance. Under this theory, the United States would have an easy time in the Sunni regions -- it already had excellent relations in the Kurdish regions -- but would face a challenge from Iran in the south.

The game actually played out very differently. The United States did not have an easy time in the Sunni triangle. To the contrary: A clearly planned guerrilla war kicked off weeks after the conquest of Baghdad and has continued since. Had the rising spread to the Sunni regions, or had the Sunnis launched an intifada with massed demonstrations, the U.S. position in Iraq would have become enormously more difficult, if not untenable.

The Sunnis staged some protests to demonstrate their capabilities to the United States, but they did not rise en masse. In general, they have contented themselves with playing a waiting game -- intensifying their organization in the region, carrying out some internal factional struggles, but watching and waiting. Most interesting, rather than simply rejecting the U.S. occupation, they simultaneously called for its end while participating in it.

The key goes back to Iran and to the Sunni-Shiite split within the Islamic world. Iran has a geopolitical problem, one it has had for centuries: It faces a threat from the north, through the Caucasus, and a threat from the west, from whatever entity occupies the Tigris and Euphrates basin. When both threats are active, as they were for much of the Cold War, Iran must have outside support, and that support frequently turns into domination. Iran's dream is that it might be secure on both fronts. That rarely happens.

The end of the Cold War has created an unstable area in the Caucasus that actually helps secure Iran's interests. The Caucasus might be in chaos, but there is no great imperial power about to push down into Iran. Moreover, at about the same time, the threat posed by Iraq abated after the United States defeated it and neutralized its armed forces during Desert Storm. This created a period of unprecedented security for Iran that Tehran exploited by working to reconstruct its military and moving forward on nuclear weapons.

However, Iran's real interest is not simply Iraq's neutralization; that could easily change. Its real interest is in dominating Iraq. An Iranian-dominated Iraq would mean two things: First, the only threat to Iran would come from the north and Iran could concentrate on blocking that threat; second, it would make Iran the major native regional power in the Persian Gulf. Therefore, were Iranian-sponsored and sympathetic Shiite groups to come to power in Iraq, it would represent a massive geopolitical coup for the United States.

Initially, this was the opposite of anything the United States wanted. One of the reasons for invading Iraq was to be able to control Iran and its nuclear capability. But the guerrilla war in the north has created a new strategic reality for Washington. The issue at the moment is not how to project power throughout the region, but how to simply pacify Iraq. The ambitions of April have given way to the realities of September.

The United States needs a native force in Iraq to carry the brunt of the pacification program. The Shiites, unlike the United Nations, already would deliver a fairly pacified south and probably would enjoy giving some payback to the Sunnis in the north. Certainly, they are both more likely to achieve success and more willing to bear the burden of pacification than is the United States, let alone any U.N. member willing to send troops. It is not, at the moment, a question of what the United States wants; it is a question of what it can have.

The initial idea was that the United States would sponsor a massive rising of disaffected youth in Iran. In fact, U.S. intelligence supported dissident university students in a plan to do just that. However, Iranian security forces crushed the rebellion effortlessly -- and with it any U.S. hopes of forcing regime change in Iran through internal means. If this were to happen, it would not happen in a time frame relative to Washington's problems in Iraq or problems with al Qaeda. Therefore, the Iranian regime, such as it is, is the regime the United States must deal with. And that regime holds the key to the Iraqi Shiites.

The United States has been negotiating both overtly and covertly with Iran on a range of issues. There has been enough progress to keep southern Iraq quiet, but not enough to reach a definitive breakthrough. The issue has not been Iranian nuclear power. Certainly, the Iranians have been producing a nuclear weapon. They made certain that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency saw weapons-grade uranium during an inspection in recent days. It is an important bargaining chip.

But as with North Korea, Iranian leaders know that nuclear weapons are more valuable as a bargaining chip than as a reality. Asymmetry leads to eradication of nuclear threats. Put less pretentiously, Tehran must assume that the United States -- or Israel -- will destroy any nuclear capability before it becomes a threat. Moreover, if it has nuclear capability, what would it do with it? Even as a deterrent, retaliation would lead to national annihilation. The value of nuclear weapons in this context is less real than apparent -- and therefore more valuable in negotiations than deployment.

Tehran has hinted several times that its nuclear program is negotiable regarding weapons. Officials also have indicated by word and deed to the United States that they are prepared to encourage Iraqi Shiites to cooperate with the U.S. occupation. The issue on the table now is whether the Shiites will raise the level of cooperation from passive to active -- whether they will move from not doing harm to actively helping to suppress the Sunni rising.

This is the line that they are considering crossing -- and the issue is not only whether they cross, but whether the United States wants them to cross. Obviously, the United States needs help. On the other hand, the Iranian price is enormous. Domination of Iraq means enormous power in the Gulf region. In the past, Saudi Arabia's sensibilities would have mattered; today, the Saudis matter less.

U.S. leaders understand that making such an agreement means problems down the road. On the other hand, the United States has some pretty major problems right now anyway. Moreover -- and this is critical -- the Sunni-Shiite fault line defines the Islamic world. Splitting Islam along those lines, fomenting conflict within that world, certainly would divert attention from the United States: Iran working against al Qaeda would have more than marginal value, but not, however, as much as Saudi Arabia pulling out the stops.

Against the background of the U.S.-Iranian negotiation is the idea that the Saudis, terrified of a triumphant Iran, will panic and begin crushing the extreme Wahhabis in the kingdom. This has delayed a U.S. decision, as has the legitimate fear that a deal with Iran would unleash the genie. But of course, the other fear is that if Iran loses patience, it will call the Shiite masses into the streets and there will be hell to pay in Iraq.

The death of SCIRI leader al-Hakim, therefore, represents a break point. Whether it was Shiite dissidents or Sunnis that killed him, his death costs the Iranians a key ally and drives home the risks they are running with delay. They are vulnerable in Iraq. This opens the door for Tehran to move forward in a deal with the United States. Washington needs to make something happen soon.

This deal might never be formalized. Neither Iranian nor American politics would easily swallow an overt alliance. On the other hand, there is plenty of precedent for U.S.-Iranian cooperation on a covert level. Of course, this would be fairly open and obvious cooperation -- a major mobilization of Shiite strength in Iraq on behalf of the United States -- regardless of the rhetoric.

Currently, this seems to be the most likely evolution of events: Washington gets Tehran's help in putting down the Sunnis. The United States gets a civil war in the Muslim world. The United States gets Iran to dial back its nuclear program. Iran gets to dominate Iraq. The United States gets all the benefits in the near term. Iran gets its historical dream. If Roosevelt could side with Stalin against Hitler, and Nixon with Mao against Brezhnev, this collaboration certainly is not without precedence in U.S. history. But boy, would it be a campaign issue -- in both countries.

http://www.stratfor.com/corporate/index.neo?page=center&storyId=221925
20 posted on 09/08/2003 1:47:14 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Changing Relationships, Oversupply Threat Rock Oil Market's Foundations

September 08, 2003
Oil & Gas Journal
Bob Tippee

Changing relationships and the threat of oversupply are rocking the oil market's foundations. While the market's supply manager edges toward cooperation with the consuming world, its largest consumer has put the Muslim world on edge with its deepening military quagmire in Iraq.

The supply manager, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, soon must decide whether to continue ceding market share to nonmember producers, speakers said here Monday at the Middle East Petroleum and Gas Conference.

"Cooperation [between producing and consuming countries] is central to OPEC's thinking and has been for many years," declared Alvaro Silva-Calderon, secretary-general of the exporters' group.

The need for cooperation, he said, comes from the dilemma of producing nations anticipating huge investments to assure the market of adequate supply without knowing precisely how much consumers will need.

A nod toward cooperation came from Calude Mandil, executive director of the International Energy Agency, a group set up by industrialized consuming nations as a counterbalance to OPEC.

"The relationship [between OPEC and IEA] has evolved and very much improved in recent years," Mandil said.

He appealed for stability and sustainability in the oil market, conditions he said depended on "market-driven dynamism," adequate investment, environmental integrity, diversification of producers' economies, and producer-consumer dialog.

OPEC market share paradox

Mandil also noted a paradox: While in the long term OPEC's share of the oil market will grow, recently it has shrunk. The IEA director wondered how long the group would accept this trend.

He also warned against complacency about adequacy of investment in production capacity, saying, "We should not take for granted that these funds will magically appear."

Michael C. Daly, president of BP Gulf States & Pakistan, Abu Dhabi, said erosion of OPEC's share of the oil market might continue through 2010.

"Worldwide consumption growth can be largely accommodated by non-OPEC production growth" in most of that period, he said.

Daly projected increases in output by the end of the decade at 2.5 million b/d each from Russia and the Caspian region, 4.5 million b/d from deepwater projects, and 1.5-2 million b/d from nonconventional sources such as oil sands in Canada and heavy oil from Venezuela.

The 11-12 million b/d of new production from these sources will more than offset a decline in output from traditional non-OPEC sources of 4-6 million b/d, producing a net gain—and competition with OPEC supply—of 5-8 million b/d.

US's policy in Iraq comes under fire

US policy in Iraq came under sharp criticism at the meeting.

Rosemary Hollis, head of the Royal Institute of International Affairs Middle East Program, faulted the administration of US President George W. Bush for failing to plan for the period after the war.

"Iraq could become some sort of vortex, some sort of maelstrom," she warned.

The ingredients for what Hollis called "meltdown" in Iraq are continued lawlessness, growing disillusion, the possibility that the new Governing Council involving Iraqis proves ineffective or is ignored, the prospect that international groups and companies stay away from Iraq, the chance that Iraqi society fragments, and the attraction of Iraqi chaos to al-Qaeda terrorists.

Hollis said the US has four options: "pile in more men and money;" turn to the United Nations for help but retain military control; hand over political, military, and economic management to the UN; and hand over all Iraqi administration as soon as possible.

"At the moment we have a combination of all four," Hollis said.

Youssef M. Ibrahim, a US citizen and managing director of the Strategic Energy Investment Group in Dubai, denounced actions in Iraq of the Bush administration, alleging "confusion over where the war on terrorism ends and where the civilized world—especially Islam—begins."

He said the solution is for the US to "turn away from occupation, cut the number of troops in Iraq by half and replace those withdrawn with UN forces, and give up insistence on military decision-making.

Ibrahim said opinion polls show rapidly falling support for the US in Arab and Muslim countries.

Effects on Iran

Bijan Khajehpour, managing director, Atieh Bahar Consulting of Tehran, said the US presence in Iraq is changing Iranian politics.

An "inward" political orientation dominant since the Islamic revolution of 1979 is giving way to new attention to foreign policy—in part, Khajehpour said, because most Iranians consider the US motive in Iraq to be "regional domination."

A response has been a tendency toward consolidation of a previously fractured Iranian regime, he said.

Although Iran lacks confidence in the ability of the US to manage geopolitical issues and believes the US "politicizes everything about Iran," he expects the Iranian government to seek a formal dialog with the US as it moves to reestablish its position in international relations.

Iran might experience two major shifts as a result of the ouster of Saddam Hussein from Baghdad, Khajehpour said. Najaf, Iraq, might replace Qom, Iran, as the geographic center of Shia Islam, which could weaken theocratic pressures in Iran. And an Iraq friendly to Iran would shift the investment emphasis to oil projects in western Iran, which were considered in jeopardy as long as the Baathists were in power.

Contact Bob Tippee at Bobt@ogjonline.com.

http://ogj.pennnet.com/articles/web_article_display.cfm?ARTICLE_CATEGORY=GenIn&ARTICLE_ID=186425
21 posted on 09/08/2003 2:04:41 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Is bin Laden the "Mahdi"?

September 08, 2003
World Net Daily
Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin

U.S. military intelligence experts are studying a video clip of Osama bin Laden in which he stands before a dry-erase board with an Arabic phrase written upon it – "awaited enlightened one," reports Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.

No one who has seen the video is quite certain of the meaning or the context. But, the Hadith, a collection of Islamic holy writings that supplement the Quran, predicts a messianic figure will arise in the last days of history. This "Mahdi," along with the "Prophet Jesus," will lead the believers to victory over the infidels.

The video raises the question of whether bin Laden sees himself as this Mahdi or if he is expecting another to arise and lead. Either way, the addition of a dimension of Islamic prophecy to the global terror war may seriously complicate matters for planners in the West, G2 Bulletin reports.

According to G2 Bulletin's military sources, some of the detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay have told interrogators they joined bin Laden's al-Qaida offensive because they think he is the "awaited enlightened one." Others in military intelligence say some of the terrorists crossing the border into Iraq with al-Qaida ties are doing so because of their belief in this Islamic prophecy.

Muslim believers – both Sunni and Shiite – expect the Mahdi to return one day to restore justice to the world. This messenger is not as great as Muhammad, but is a messianic figure found in all branches of Islam.

Interestingly, since the end of 2001, bin Laden has been signing his name "Osama bin Muhammad bin Laden," rather than just Osama bin Laden. This is significant, reports G2 Bulletin, because it gives the al-Qaida leader an apocalyptic dimension. The Hadith says the Mahdi will be recognizable, among other things, by the fact that he carries the name of the Prophet.

"Al Mahdi" is supposed to appear at a time when Muslim believers are severely oppressed in every corner of the world. He will fight the oppressors, unite the Muslims, bring peace and justice to the world, rule over the Arabs, and lead a prayer in Mecca at which Jesus will be present.

While some Islamic analysts have expected bin Laden to declare himself as "caliph," few have speculated about the possibility of the terrorist upping the ante. Operating as he does without a territorial base, bin Ladin could, some suggest, resort to claiming the most powerful title in Islam – the Mahdi.

The Mahdi is one of two positive prophetic figures who, according to Islamic teachings, will appear at the end of time – Prophet Jesus being the other. Together, these two will combat unbelievers and the forces of evil: the antichrist-like Dajjal, or "Deceiver"; the Dabbah, or "Beast"; and the murderous, rapacious hordes of Yajuj wa-Majuj, who appear earlier in the Bible as "Gog and Magog."

The description of the Mahdi that emerges from these Islamic sources can be summarized as follows:

- he will be descended from the Prophet via his daughter Fatima;

- he will have the same name as the Prophet, and his father's name will have been the same as the Prophet's father;

- he will have a distinct forehead and prominent nose;

- he will be extremely generous and altruistic;

- he will arise in Arabia and be compelled by popular acclamation in Mecca to lead the Muslims;

- he will withstand attack by an army from Syria, which will be swallowed up by the desert;

- he will fill the earth with justice and equity;

- he will reign for five, seven or nine years, perhaps as co-ruler with Jesus (after which, an unspecified amount of time later, the last trumpet will sound and the final judgment will ensue).

If bin Ladin – or some other Islamist leader – were to declare himself the Mahdi, should that make a difference to U.S. policy-makers? Yes.

If the claim were believable to the Islamic world, then the U.S. could no longer claim to be fighting terrorism alone. Indeed, it would become a global religious conflict.

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=34469
22 posted on 09/08/2003 2:05:22 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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Is bin Laden the "Mahdi"?

September 08, 2003
World Net Daily
Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/977969/posts?page=22#22

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
23 posted on 09/08/2003 2:12:10 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
US Links Chinese, N. Korea Aid to Iran

September 08, 2003
Middle East Newsline
MENL

WASHINGTON -- The United States has concluded that China and North Korea have coordinated in their efforts to advance Iran's missile and weapons of mass destruction programs.

U.S. officials said the intelligence community has determined that China and North Korea have cooperated in the production and delivery of components for missile and WMD programs to a range of Middle East clients. They said in many cases China, which last year announced export controls on military and dual-use technologies, has produced the components and exported them through North Korea to avoid U.S. sanctions.

In other cases, the officials said, North Korea markets missile and WMD systems and components to Middle East clients. The systems are then directed through China and Pakistan where they avoid U.S. monitoring of North Korean ports.

The officials said the determination has led to a decision to impose sanctions on Chinese companies found to have be cooperating with North Korea in the fields of missile and WMD. They said the Bush administration, after a lengthy debate within the National Security Council and State Department, has approved the imposition of new sanctions in an effort to demonstrate a tougher policy toward Beijing.

http://www.menewsline.com/stories/2003/september/09_09_3.html
24 posted on 09/08/2003 2:14:20 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Saudi Arabia Asks Iran For Son of bin Laden

September 08, 2003
The Dallas Morning News
Scott Farwell

DALLAS _ Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States said Sunday his government has asked Iran to extradite Osama bin Laden's eldest son for plotting to assassinate members of the Saudi royal family and overthrow the government.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan said Iran has not acted on his country's request for Saad bin Laden and several other suspected terrorists. Iranian officials were not available for comment.

"My government has been requesting that they hand over any members of al-Qaida that we have information are terrorists or are Saudi citizens," said Prince Bandar, a guest of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones before Sunday's game at Texas Stadium in Irving. "The general consensus is that there are several (senior) members of al-Qaida in Iran."

He said Saudi Arabia believes Saad bin Laden is among a handful of men directing terrorism in the Middle East and around the world, including the May suicide bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that killed 23 people, including nine Americans.

Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States have a common enemy in al-Qaida, Prince Bandar said, because of Osama bin Laden's avowed hatred of Shiites, the predominant branch of Islam in Iran.

"Al-Qaida is more extreme against Shiites," Prince Bandar said. "Iran has no interest in protecting these people, but I think it gets into politics."

Tehran has not rejected Saudi Arabia's request, the prince said.

"They've said they want to finish their investigation first, and then we will share and we will talk about it," he said. "We're handling Iran with sensitivity, but at the same time, we're very serious about extraditing terrorists."

Prince Bandar, who visited former President George H.W. Bush in Maine and later with Vice-President Dick Cheney in Wyoming, said Saudi Arabia will continue to help the United States fight the war on terrorism.

"Al-Qaida is a common enemy," he said. "We will continue to search for the bad guys, and we will continue to cooperate with the U.S. as it searches for bad guys."

Prince Bandar described President Bush as "a man of nails" and said the war on terrorism will eventually be won as long as the United States is willing to lead the fight. He said the upcoming presidential election could give the rest of the world the wrong impression, as candidates criticize Bush's handling of the war on Iraq and other issues.

"Nine thousand miles away, people don't really understand domestic issues," he said. "All they know is this larger fight, this war on terrorism, is the goal of the United States."

Prince Bandar said he developed an affinity for Texas, a love for the Cowboys and a respect for the Bush family in 20 years as the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

He said his loyalty to the Cowboys began in 1970 when he was a first lieutenant in the Saudi Arabian air force stationed at Perrin Air Force Base near Sherman, before it was closed. He has attended the Cowboy's last three Super Bowls, and frequently watches the game in the private suite of Jones.

Prince Bandar is the son of the Saudi defense minister, Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, second in line to the crown.

http://www.menafn.com/qn_news_story.asp?StoryId=Cp1QTqeicu0fvreLbuKfcsueTqKLoteferu4
25 posted on 09/08/2003 2:16:44 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Plans Terror Fund Freeze

September 08, 2003
BBC News
BBCi

Iran has announced plans for legislation to let it freeze terrorist-linked assets in line with its United Nations responsibilities.

If - as expected - the bill is ratified by parliament and by the hard-line Guardian Council, it will make Iran a member of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, which was created in 1999 and came into force in 2002.

That commits Iran to banning the collecting of money intended to support terrorist actings, and to answering calls by other signatories for help with tracking terror funds.

But while Al-Qaeda will be included on its list of banned organisations, a government spokesman said, Hamas - the Palestinian extremist group banned by the European Union over the weekend - will not.

Despite US accusations to the contrary Hamas is not a terrorist group in Iran's view, the Iranian spokesman said.

"Defence against aggressors and occupiers is the legitimate right over any nation, and you cannot label these movements as terrorist movements," said the spokesman, Abdollah Ramazanzadeh.

A weekend meeting of European Union ministers decided to rescind a long-standing distinction made between Hamas's military wing, responsible for suicide bombings costing hundreds of lives, and its political wing, which provides vital health, education and food to thousands of Palestinians.

Exactly how the ban on the group will be implemented is yet to be determined, since charities across Europe contribute to the welfare activities and the EU does not want the flow of aid to be unduly disrupted.

Axis power

Al-Qaeda's presence on Iran's list of groups whose assets are liable to seizure comes as little surprise.

Tehran has repeatedly said it holds al-Qaeda prisoners.

But its long-standing war of words with the US - whose President, George W Bush, labelled it part of an Axis of Evil in early 2002 - means it has resisted calls to hand them over.

It has also refused to identify which supposed al-Qaeda members it is holding, or to entertain suggestions that it might swap the prisoners for having the "Axis of Evil" tag withdrawn.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3091714.stm
26 posted on 09/08/2003 2:17:27 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Iran Plans Terror Fund Freeze

September 08, 2003
BBC News
BBCi

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/977969/posts?page=26#26

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
27 posted on 09/08/2003 2:19:49 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Looks like we killed three birds with one stone.
28 posted on 09/08/2003 2:26:21 PM PDT by the Real fifi
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To: DoctorZIn
" They said the Bush administration, after a lengthy debate within the National Security Council and State Department, has approved the imposition of new sanctions in an effort to demonstrate a tougher policy toward Beijing"

Hurray. That's a start....and why hasn't this been a bigger story?
29 posted on 09/08/2003 3:57:36 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn
"...a democratic Iraq could change the whole Arab world. The goal is worth fighting for."

Why the democratic presidential candidates can't see this, is beyond me. (save for Lieberman, maybe)
30 posted on 09/08/2003 4:08:16 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: F14 Pilot
"Yet this is a place that has had elections, the people of Iran have expressed themselves."

Ms. Rice sounds like Mr. Powell.
How can the people freely express themselves when their choices are made for them? When they are told who they can and can't vote for?
The elections are a farce. Ms. Rice knows better.

How can people express themselves under a MURDEROUS regime?
31 posted on 09/08/2003 7:01:48 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn
This wouldn't surprise me, at all. If bin Laden's religious status is elevated, then the Americans have truly joined a holy war, whether or not the president calls this a crusade.

The one who starts the war, sets the terms of the war.

But, as the president has said, victory will come at an hour of our chosing.
32 posted on 09/08/2003 7:18:33 PM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife ("Life isn't fair. It's fairer than death, is all.")
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To: seamole
pong
33 posted on 09/08/2003 8:02:38 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: nuconvert
"The video raises the question of whether bin Laden sees himself as this Mahdi" "...bin Laden has been signing his name "Osama bin Muhammad bin Laden,"

Proof that he's really gone off the deep end?


"If bin Ladin – or some other Islamist leader – were to declare himself the Mahdi, should that make a difference to U.S. policy-makers?"

NO!

"If the claim were believable to the Islamic world,..."
Then it would make a difference.

"Al Mahdi" is supposed to appear at a time when Muslim believers are severely oppressed ...."

From recent articles, seems like "indifference" or even "disgusted" might be a better word than "oppressed".

34 posted on 09/08/2003 8:30:02 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn
The following is a Debka report. Debka is famous for getting some important stories wrong, but on occasion they are way ahead of the rest of the media. We report, you decide. -- DoctorZin

Iran Helped Bin Laden's Lieutenant al-Zawahiri Escape

September 08, 2003
DEBKA File
DEBKA-Net-Weekly

Iran consistently denies ever having sheltered or hidden Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenant and operations ace, Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, in the group of al Qaeda leaders present in the country. This assertion is wide of the truth. The Islamic Republic did in fact hide the bespectacled Egyptian medical doctor for close on a year.

He was granted sanctuary, a base of operation and finally provided with a safe getaway route – as discovered by DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s most reliable exclusive sources.

Two years after the September 11 terrorist horrors in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, Zawahiri’s importance as a linchpin and live wire of the al Qaeda network and badly wanted quarry of American special forces and intelligence agents.

His capture is as crucial to the United States global war on terror as the apprehension of Bin Laden himself or Saddam Hussein.

The Iranians looked after him very well. Last month, as the hunt drew near, they helped Zawahiri stay a step ahead of his pursuers and leave the country by a secret tortuous route. DEBKA-Net-Weekly learns that Iranian intelligence agents were personally ordered by Iranian intelligence minister Hojatoleslam Ali Younesi to spirit the wanted terrorist chief, disguised as an Iranian Shiite cleric out of his hiding place and across into Turkey. Travelers from Iran are not required to show passports at the Turkish frontier. An Iranian spy cell buried in Turkey waited for him and conducted him to one of their own safe houses. There he stayed for two or three days before moving on to an unknown destination.

Zawahiri is as intent on keeping al Qaeda’s terror campaign alive as of keeping his head down. Our al Qaeda watchers therefore point to his two most likely destinations: The Ferghana Valley, a lawless territory ruled by Al Qaeda that straddles Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and China; or the wild Pankisi Gorge badland on the Chechen-Georgian border. Iranian intelligence would be able to prepare the absconding terrorist mastermind’s welcome in the latter place through its active channels of communication with Chechen rebels and Saudi Al Qaeda fighters focusing on Chechnya and its environs. At the Pankisi Gorge, Zawahiri would have moved on to his next stop helped by many helping hands in his own movement.

Some made their escape there in late May, when Tehran plotted the flight of some of the al Qaeda perpetrators of the massive bombings in foreigners’ compounds in Riyadh on May 19. Flouting insistent Saudi and American demands to hand the wanted men over, Iranian intelligence gave them transportation and money to smooth their way as far as the Pankisi Gorge.

Reporting from exclusive sources in Tehran, DEBKA-Net-Weekly has learned that, a day or two after Zawahiri left Iran, a tense tug-o’-war took place between Iranian intelligence ministry officers and Iranian Revolutionary Guardsmen over control of a group of al Qaeda terrorists. They confronted each other at an airport in the northern Iranian city of Mahabad in Iranian Kurdistan.

Eight senior al Qaeda operatives were known to have been harbored in Tehran as recently as mid-August. Both the United States and Saudi Arabia, as DEBKA-Net-Weekly has reported, have a list of 60 names of Al Qaeda operations officers in the Islamic Republic.

Three of those terrorists were the prize fought over by the two armed Iranian factions.

A large Revolutionary Guards contingent was about to put them on an unmarked plane parked near a side runway with its engines running to extradite them to Saudi Arabia, the start of their deportation to their countries of origin, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Suddenly, the Iranian Guardsmen were surrounded by a larger contingent of Iranian intelligence ministry officers, who demanded custody of all three Al Qaeda men. A second group of officers had meanwhile boarded the plane and ordered the pilot to switch off the engines. At one point in the four-hour standoff, according to our Iranian sources, guns were drawn and threats made. But the officers from the Tehran ministry issued a 15-minute ultimatum to hand the terrorists over or else they would open fire. The Revolutionary Guards backed down.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence sources report that this was the third time Guards had been frustrated in attempt to send some senior Al Qaeda operatives back to their respective home countries.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence and counter-terrorism sources believe that one of the three terrorists was Saif al-Adel, number three in the Al Qaeda hierarchy and the group’s military commander. Last month, the CIA determined that al Adel, like Zawahiri an Egyptian national, had been in Iranian custody for some three weeks. They have been searching for him for ten years, since the “Black Hawk Down” incident in Somalia in 1993 in which 18 Americans were killed. He is suspected of having commanded a Al Qaeda unit fighting in Mogadishu at the time.

Now, he is named as mastermind of the Riyadh bomb blasts and was on the point of being flown out to Saudi Arabia when the Intelligence minister Younesi had managed to block the extradition while also spotlighting a deep division in the Islamic Republic’s ruling regime.

Shortly after the airport confrontation, we learn that Moshen Razai, chef de bureau of the still powerful former president Hashem Rafsanjani, sent an encrypted report on the incident to members of his faction in the Revolutionary Guards command. He posted it over his private, closed personal website, which DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence sources were able to access. At the end of the message, Razai wrote: “There are still elements within Iran’s intelligence services who are protecting Al Qaeda adherents and will do anything to prevent their extradition to Arab countries and thwart any progress towards better relations with them.”

Razai is himself a former commander of the Revolutionary Guards. His boss, Rafsanjani, is thought to be the most influential of any Iranian leader among the Guards.

The next move came about several hours later from Imad al-Parsa, a close associate of Rafsanjani and Razai. He summoned his own inner circle, including a large number of senior Revolutionary Guards officers and told them: “The same elements that executed the 1979 seizure of the US embassy in Teheran and took its diplomatic staff hostage, thereby foredooming Iran to bad relations with the West for a generation, are at work again.”

DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s Iran analysts learn from this episode that the attempt to use al Qaeda as an instrument of terror and bargaining chip to gain a respite to develop nuclear weapons has landed Tehran in hot water with regard to the regime’s internal cohesion.

The clerical leaders are now split down the middle.

http://www.debka.com/article.php?aid=562
35 posted on 09/08/2003 8:54:49 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
This thread is now closed.

Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread

Live Thread Ping List | DoctorZin

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

36 posted on 09/09/2003 12:04:46 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn; yonif; RaceBannon; downer911; seamole; nuconvert; Valin; AdmSmith; onyx; McGavin999; ...
Israel Keeping Eyes on Iran's Nuke Program

JERUSALEM Sept. 9 —
Israel has hinted at possible military action to stop what it calls a nightmare scenario nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran but for now is waiting for U.S. diplomatic pressure and closer international scrutiny to do the job.

On Monday, the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is investigating suspicions of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program, demanded full disclosure from Tehran, including acceptance of snap inspections.

Iran insists its nuclear programs are only for generating electricity as oil supplies dwindle. It also has said its equipment was "contaminated" with enriched uranium by a previous owner.

But Israel estimates Iran is just two to three years from having nuclear weapons.

An Israeli government official said Iran does not yet have the right amount of enriched uranium, as well as some other chemicals, needed to build a nuclear bomb, but it has the "know-how" and the ability to develop the materials. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

The delivery method the long-range Shahab-3 missile was successfully tested in July, and experts said Iran is to begin serial production within two years.

If diplomacy fails, Israel, which is about 600 miles to the west of Iran, has made clear a military operation is feasible.

Israeli security officials said Iran's nuclear program is a focus of the army's five-year strategic plan, and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has ordered the Mossad spy service to keep a close eye on the developments in Tehran.

"Any Iranian regime knows of course that Israel has the capability, the wherewithal, to deal with a military threat," said Zalman Shoval, an aide to Sharon. "Hopefully, a military threat can be avoided, nipped in the bud ... before it begins and this is where the United States comes in."

Israel has never confirmed being a nuclear power, but it is widely believed to have nuclear weapons.

In 1981, a fleet of Israeli warplanes flew some 460 miles over Middle Eastern deserts and mountains to Baghdad sticking close to the ground throughout the flight to avoid being picked up by radars.

The warplanes let loose a string of bombs, knocking out Baghdad's nuclear reactors and halting Saddam Hussein's progress in obtaining nuclear weapons.

At the time, the operation was internationally condemned, even by Israel's staunchest ally, the United States.

However, the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States have changed the rules.

U.S. troops have overthrown regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, both on Iran's borders, in less than two years. Tehran is aware that as a member of President Bush's "axis of evil" it could be next in line.

"Iran must cooperate fully. Iran has pledged not to develop nuclear weapons and the entire international community must hold that regime to its commitments," Bush recently said.

Iran apparently believes the attack could come from the United States or Israel and announced it was increasing its defense spending this year.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi recently warned Israel against embarking on an "adventure" similar to the 1981 strike, saying "it will pay dearly" if it does so.

The United States and Israel would most likely choose to carry out pinpoint strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities, rather than a large-scale assault if forced to take military measures, said Ephraim Kam, a researcher with Tel Aviv University's Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies. Kam released a study last week on Iran's nuclear capabilities.

"A combination of nuclear capabilities and long-range missile capabilities...combined with their position that Israel should not exist is a real threat," Kam said.

Suspicions about Iran's nuclear activities prompted IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei in February to tour Iran's nuclear facilities, including the incomplete plant in Natanz, about 300 miles south of Tehran. Diplomats said he was taken aback by the advanced stage of a project using hundreds of centrifuges to enrich uranium.

Another, larger uranium enrichment facility, is to be completed within the next few years, Western intelligence agencies discovered with the help of Iranian opposition groups.

ElBaradei has said that Iran's nuclear program has been going on far longer than the agency had realized and that it's possible Tehran had bought nuclear components on the "black market."

"I would urge Iran in the coming weeks to show proactive and accelerated cooperation, and to demonstrate full transparency by providing the agency with a complete and accurate declaration of all its nuclear activities," he said Monday in Vienna, Austria.

The United States is pushing the IAEA to report to the U.N. Security Council that Iran is violating nuclear safeguard regulations, opening the door to economic sanctions. Tehran recently signaled that it is open to negotiating terms for snap U.N. inspections of its nuclear sites.

http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/ap20030909_122.html
37 posted on 09/09/2003 12:05:48 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: nuconvert
I have often mused that at a distant point in the future, the Arab Muslims who were bin Laden sympathizers would one day bemoan their allegiance to bin Laden. It cannot be an enjoyable experience to have the scrutiny of the US examining the entire Middle East.
38 posted on 09/09/2003 5:13:28 AM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife ("Life isn't fair. It's fairer than death, is all.")
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