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Iranian Alert -- October 7, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^
Posted on 10/07/2003 12:01:22 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movment in Iran from being reported.
From jamming satellite broadcasts, to prohibiting news reporters from covering any demonstrations to shutting down all cell phones and even hiring foreign security to control the population, the regime is doing everything in its power to keep the popular movement from expressing its demand for an end of the regime.
These efforts by the regime, while successful in the short term, do not resolve the fundamental reasons why this regime is crumbling from within.
Iran is a country ready for a regime change. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary.
Please continue to join us here, post your news stories and comments to this thread.
Thanks for all the help.
TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iaea; iran; iranianalert; protests; studentmovement; studentprotest
Discover all the news since the protests began on June 10th, go to:
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posted on 10/07/2003 12:01:22 AM PDT
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posted on 10/07/2003 12:01:56 AM PDT
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posted on 10/07/2003 12:06:32 AM PDT
Comment #4 Removed by Moderator
It's natural. The Khomeini revolution was a counter-revolution brought on by the lower classes who felt disenfranchised by the Shah's policy of Westernization. Included in this counter-revolution were of course the mostly liberal educated intelligensia and the Communists. The days of the Communists was shortly brought to a close. The liberal educated intelligensia may've survived the revolution, but I'm quite sure they regretted their support of it. Unfortunately for these fools they never seem to realize they're the "first to go to the wall."
Interview With President Putin
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
Published: October 6, 2003
MOSCOW, Oct. 5 Following are remarks by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia from an interview on Saturday, as transcribed and translated by The New York Times.
I. On the need for an international mandate for the American-led occupation of Iraq:
MR. PUTIN We think that Iraq's problems can be efficiently solved only with involvement of the Iraqi people themselves. This task has to be solved with their participation and by their hands. But so that it would be efficient they have to believe in our serious intentions, in our desire to restore sovereignty. This is why we think that the U.N.'s role has to be increased not because we would like to diminish the significance of the United States, but in order to change the situation in Iraq itself.
Make it clear for the Iraqi people that the situation is changing qualitatively. As of today, according to international law, the forces of the coalition are called the occupying ones. This corresponds to the fundamental documents of international law. Of course, how would the local population treat forces whose official name is the occupying forces? We need to change the status of these forces. We have to win the sympathies of the Iraqis. We have to get on our side the Muslim and Arab countries, whose mood toward a solution of the problem is very important.
II. On Russia's plans to continue building a civilian nuclear reactor in Iran, despite protests by the Bush administration:
A. We are not only hearing what our U.S. partners are telling us, we are listening to what they have to say, and we are finding that some of their assertions are justified. For example, their professional observation that spent fuel can subsequently be enriched and used as a component of nuclear arms. Our specialists also think so, and confirm this. That is why we have put the question before our Iranian colleagues that spent Russian nuclear fuel must be returned to Russia and now we are seeking to introduce such stipulations in our agreements. We also believe, as our American colleagues and partners believe, that Iran has no justification not to allow the overview of the I.A.E.A. over their nuclear programs, and therefore in this area again our positions fully coincide with that of the Americans. But this does not imply that without agreeing upon the principles of our cooperation in this sphere we're going to suspend all of our programs.
III. On criticisms that the growing role of security services signaled a retreat from reforms:
A. We remember, and we are obligated to remember, everything negative, everything horrible that we encountered in the 20th century. We should draw conclusions from this. We have paid a very great price for this. Millions of people died in the camps. The totalitarian regime brought the country to a national catastrophe and to the collapse of the Soviet Union. And we are fully aware of this, and the people of Russia have drawn conclusions for themselves. We firmly stand on the path of development of democracy, of a market economy. Even if someone wanted it to, it is impossible for the country to make a U-turn.
IV. On elections in Chechnya, which were held on Sunday, and the prospects for a political settlement of the conflict there:
A. We have been talking with you today about a time frame for moving toward a normal situation in Iraq. We think it is necessary to have a transitional period there, to give it some time to prepare all the necessary structures for elections to be held there. It is a different situation in Chechnya. It is an internal problem of Russia. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/06/international/06PTEX.html
posted on 10/07/2003 12:19:40 AM PDT
Thoudands of students support teachers by not attending courses
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Oct 6, 2003
Thousands of school students supported their teachers, for the 2nd consecutive day, by not attending their courses.
Many classes, in cities, such as Esfahan, Shiraz, Mashad, Khorram-Abad, Hamedan, Kermanshah and in the Capital were partially empty as the students stayed home despite all official injunctions and threats.
Many teachers didn't attend their courses neither in sign of solidarity with their arrested colleagues and are facing purge sanction for the defyance of the regime.
Most of the organized courses were also scenes of collective protest as students and teachers or kept the silence or discussed about the persistent repression despite the massive presence of the Ministry's Intelligence deployed in the schools and trying to identify the absentees and strikers.
In some cities the strike is planned to continue till next Sunday. http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_2754.shtml
posted on 10/07/2003 12:21:53 AM PDT
Resolute Iranian Pilgrims Meet Awed G.I.'s
By IAN FISHER
Published: October 7, 2003
TURSAQ, Iraq, Oct. 3 The fall of Saddam Hussein has undammed a flood of Shiite Muslims across Iran's rough border here into Iraq, driven not by the desire to fight Americans but by a religious devotion that United States soldiers here are finding hard to contain or even comprehend.
In just over a month, American forces have stopped more than 17,000 people sneaking into Iraq near here with the goal of making a pilgrimage to the holy city of Karbala south of Baghdad.
As many as 1,000 cross on any day wobbly old men and women, young mothers, babies into the hands of American soldiers, who are awestruck by the risks the pilgrims are taking. Carrying almost nothing, they can walk for a day or more across minefields, mountain passes and the hot desert.
Soldiers and the Iraqi border guards who help them have found five bodies so far, and Iran's official news agency recently reported more than 100 deaths from mines, banditry and exposure.
"I'm a little bit confused why people are doing this," Specialist June Lee, 25, from Flushing, Queens, said at a holding center in this village near the border where American soldiers feed the spent pilgrims before trying, with only limited success, to truck them back to Iran. "To me, especially for the older ladies and some of them who have kids, they are going through a lot worse than they should be just because of their belief."
For decades, Mr. Hussein, a Sunni Muslim who brutally sought to limit the influence of the majority Shiites, kept tight controls on the number of Iranians, most of whom are Shiite, visiting shrines in Iraq. For the Shiites, Karbala and Najaf are the two most holy sites. Now, with Mr. Hussein gone, the Iranian Shiites' simple but determined desire to make a pilgrimage is complicating the job of the Americans in Iraq, as well as helping define a new era of relations between Iraq, Iran and the United States that no side seems quite sure how to handle.
After Mr. Hussein was pushed from power in April, the official American policy was to permit Iranian pilgrims with valid passports into Iraq. In August, however, that was put on hold after a suicide bomber killed more than 80 people in Najaf, and the border is now officially closed to pilgrims.
But policy seems a small thing against the larger forces at work among Shiites in Iran and Iraq. The spiritual center for Iranian Shiites seems to shifting away from Qum and back to the magnificent mosques and shrines of Najaf and Karbala, where Imam Hussein, grandson of the prophet Muhammad, was slain in 671 in the most significant battle of the Shiite faith.
On a practical level, the influx is big business for Iraqis in Karbala and Najaf who are eager to promote pilgrimages, required of any Shiite who can.
The huge flow of pilgrims has forced the American military into a sizable border patrol, screening for people whose real aim may not be pilgrimage but joining the fight against American soldiers, and a substantial relief operation.
Lt. Col. Reginald Allen of the 10th Cavalry, Fourth Infantry Division, responsible for the border patrols in the area, said that about 100 pilgrims, most of them young men, had been sent off for extensive interrogation but that not one had appeared to be a fighter.
"It's not to say it can't be happening here," Colonel Allen said. "We just don't think that they are coming into this area." American military officials say most of the foreign fighters appear to be coming from Syria to the west.
On a recent morning, with wind pushing sand into small storms, clumps of pilgrims sat by the side of road in exhaustion.
"Water, water!" an old woman begged the soldiers.
"Oh, it was hard," said one man, Abdullah Nazeri, 57. "But my will to make it to Karbala gave me strength."
Army medics care for cuts, bruises, dehydration and exhaustion. After being trucked to the holding center here, the pilgrims are given as much water as they can carry and one package of vegetarian rations to avoid pork, forbidden to observant Muslims. There is little hostility toward the Americans, even when the pilgrims realize that the soldiers intend to truck them back to Iran.
In fact, pilgrims said that some who had returned to Iran told them to look for American soldiers because they would get fed.
"People who made it and came back were very satisfied with the way the Americans treated them," said Jawad Qassimian, 26, who said he had just walked 26 hours across mountains, getting lost near minefields, before being picked up by United States soldiers.
Most of the pilgrims crossing near here are poor people, many of them Iranian laborers and immigrants from Afghanistan, who cannot afford passports to make the legal trip.
"We didn't have money to get passports, so we took the risk," said Abbas Ali, 40, a tile worker accompanied by his 8-month-old son, Muhammad. They were among 43 people from a village in central Iran who had been walking for 12 hours.
Only in late August did American soldiers, hearing reports of people crossing from Iran, come in any numbers to this barren border area. On their first night, Army helicopters spotted several four-wheel-drive vehicles and people in the darkness. Within a few hours, the soldiers had rounded up 100 people. Within the next 24 hours, 1,500 others were detained. "We were expecting something like foreign fighters to get up from that spot and take potshots at us," said Robert Robinson, 28, a sergeant from Columbus, Miss. "We didn't expect pilgrims to come for a better life or just to pray."
Since then the numbers have averaged 400 to 500 a day, with no apparent pattern. Although word is clearly out that the Americans are preventing them from going to Karbala several are "repeat customers," one soldier said the numbers do not appear to be dropping.
So the border has become one arena of the cultural divide here, with the Americans watching the treacherous pilgrimage with a mix of bafflement, admiration and anger.
"From a religious standpoint, I don't think Americans can comprehend such an unseen goal," said Specialist Leon O'Connell, 24, a medic from Syracuse who treats the pilgrims. "But we work hard every day for different goals. Of course we're not walking across the desert or over minefields."
The pilgrims have also underscored the tenuous control that American soldiers for all their numbers, technology, and good will appear to have in Iraq.
For the last month, the drill has been to take the rounded-up pilgrims from the holding center here to the small and lawless border village of Badrah to the south. On a recent morning, Iraqi border guards, escorted by United States soldiers, drove three trucks there with 239 pilgrims aboard. The scene, by any measure, was chaos.
Iraqi drivers in minivans, looking for customers to Karbala, tracked the trucks like hyenas. Then, on the Iranian side, the guards mysteriously refused to take the pilgrims in. So the pilgrims scattered.
Dozens of them, just rescued and fed by Americans, risked their lives yet again by fleeing through the minefields of no man's land between Iran and Iraq. Iraqi policemen fired shots ignored to warn them away.
"Some of them have guides that take them through the minefields," said Lt. Saad Abdul Razzak Abdul Hussein of the Iraqi border police. "Sometimes the guides are not so experienced and that's why we see some of the pilgrims dead."
The Iranians have not taken in the pilgrims for weeks, a problem that is still unresolved. Badrah also falls under the command of multinational forces, led by the Poles, and so the American soldiers here, who operate just to the north, say they have no authority to make the transfer of pilgrims back to Iran actually work.
"That's a frustration," said Capt. John Due, whose unit has spent the last month rounding up the pilgrims.
Some of those rounded up and deposited on the border simply waited on the Iranian side. Later, both Americans and Iraqis acknowledged, they were likely to cross back into Iraq, board a minivan and make it, finally, to Karbala. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/07/international/middleeast/07PILG.html
posted on 10/07/2003 12:24:57 AM PDT
Israel, Hit Syria Not Hizbollah!
By Ariel Natan Pasko
Oct 7, 2003, 00:46
This column first appeared on MichNews.com on 8/18/03.
The time has finally come for Israel to take the gloves off and start to hit hard, for real. It's time for Israelis to get over their "Syrian Syndrome", that irrational deep-seated fear of Syria, dating back to the Yom Kippur War of 1973. The Syria of today might not be much different than the Syria of 1973, but Israel sure the heck is. Israel's military in 2003 is quite a bit more advanced, Israel's economy - while still a little slow - is exponentially ahead of Syria's economy. In fact by every measure of national power, Israel is well beyond Syria, the gap has grown not shrunk since 1973. So "get over it", Syria is a paper tiger, or more aptly put a "paper bag", or "basket case".
Even after renewed attacks on Israel, why bother with Hizbollah? Why play Syria's and Iran's game? Why pretend that Hizbollah is calling the shots? Why give "immunity" to the real culprits? Put the blame squarely where it belongs, on Syria. One could try to blame the Lebanese government for not doing enough to tone down Hizbollah. The Lebanese military really should take up positions in Southern Lebanon and de-militarize Hizbollah. Israel has left Lebanese soil. Ask the UN; for once they support our position and agree with us. But alas, Lebanon is not an independent state. Lebanon is a puppet regime controlled by Damascus.
So Israel needs to put the blame where it belongs; on the only power capable of reining in Hizbollah, of dis-arming them, of cutting off their flow of weapons from Iran, and of discouraging them from attacking Israel, i.e. Syria. About that last line, Syria uses Hizbollah to keep pressure on Israel. Hizbollah is Syria's proxy army against Israel. Notice the Syrian occupation army in Lebanon never attacks Israel. It's always Hizbollah, so that Syria can't be directly blamed for the attack. Well I'm saying, forget the small fry, BLAME SYRIA!
First, the Israeli government should make it a cornerstone of it's foreign policy to raise the issue of Syria's continuing violation of UN Security Council Resolution 520, that calls on all foreign forces - including Syria - to leave Lebanon, at every diplomatic opportunity. What a joke that Syria sits on the UN Security Council, while it violates a Security Council resolution. No wonder, many people in the United States, Israel, and elsewhere hold the UN in such low esteem. And, Israel should more vigorously lobby Washington to "sit-on" Syria, till Syria gets out of Lebanon. Washington has been wishy-washy in dealing with Damascus.
In the beginning of May, US Secretary of State Colin Powell visited Damascus and Beirut. After leaving Damascus, he said in a Beirut press conference that he and Assad discussed "all of the outstanding issues" that have hindered US-Syrian relations in the past. That included frank talks about Weapons of Mass Destruction; Syria's support for the Lebanese group Hizbollah; and closing the Iraq-Syria border "and keeping it sealed" to technology, fighters and wanted Iraqi authority figures, Powell said. He made it clear to Assad, that the US commitment to Middle East peace "would include Syria and Lebanon, and would include the Golan Heights." But, Powell made no mention of speaking to Assad about getting Syria out of Lebanon.
Later, speaking in Beirut - notice not Damascus - Powell assured Prime Minister Rafik Hariri of US support for "an independent and prosperous Lebanon free of all - all - foreign forces." But the main focus of Powell's visit to Syria, it seems, was to prevent them from helping out Saddam's buddies, to 'give up the goods' i.e. WMD, to stop their support for terrorist groups - which they haven't - and to soften up their rejection of US Middle East Peacemaking efforts between Israel and the Palestinians - the road map - promising the Golan Heights, as a reward for good behavior, despite Syria's opposition to the US war in Iraq and despite their facilitation of 'volunteer fighters' to help Saddam. Little focus was put on getting Syria out of Lebanon and nothing has happened on that front since Powell's visit.
Yet, on May 2nd - the day before Powell's meeting with Assad - in Washington, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) introduced the Senate version of the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003 S 982. The bill's purposes are to (1) halt Syrian support for terrorism; (2) end the Syrian occupation of Lebanon; (3) stop Syria's production of Weapons of Mass Destruction; and (4) hold Syria accountable for the illegal Syrian-Iraqi trade, which provided Iraq with the weapons that killed American troops. The House version of the Act was introduced on April 10. Both bills now have a solid majority of support in the US Congress. Sponsors and supporters of the bill claim it will weaken Syria's ability to wage wars, to threaten its neighbors, and to destabilize the region. So, there clearly is support for pushing Syria out of Lebanon emanating from the US Congress. Israel should remind Washington of that.
Today, after the United State's victory in Iraq, and the inclusion of Iraqi Shi'ites in the Iraqi governing council, it would be hard for Hizbollah or Iran to portray the US as out to get the Shi'ites in Lebanon, just because they oppose Hizbollah. Ending the vicious Syrian occupation of Lebanon, and dis-mantling Hizbollah as a military force there, would also serve US and Israeli interests in putting a firm limit to Iran's influence in the area. This no doubt would have a positive effect in weakening Islamic Jihad - and to a lesser extent Hamas - in Damascus and Gaza. Iran is already on the American and Israeli agenda, due to it's closing in on real nuclear capability. Anything that weakens Iran's ability to "export" the revolution is good for the region and the world.
Second, in blaming Syria's dictatorial regime for Hizbollah's attacks on Israel, the Israeli government should announce a new policy, of retaliatory raids against Syrian military positions in Lebanon. As I stated earlier, why should Syria be "immune" from the costs of its policies in support of Hizbollah? After annunciating this change in policy, of holding Syria accountable for Hizbollah attacks, the Israeli government should begin a policy of "graduated escalation" beginning with hitting Syrian positions in Lebanon.
Everyone should remember the beginning of the Lebanon War in 1982, when Israel warned Syria to stay out of its way, but Syria didn't listen. When confronted, Israel shot down over 90 Syrian planes with just one loss. Today, Israel has significantly increased its military superiority over Syria from 1982. If Syria doesn't stop the Hizbollah attacks and prepare to end its occupation of Lebanon, the next phase would include selected targets in Syria itself. This "graduated escalation" would put the issue of the vicious Syrian occupation of Lebanon - since 1976 - and their support for Hizbollah terror against Israel on the top of the American, EU, and UN's agenda.
Israel and the United States have to support a free and independent Lebanon, free of Syrian occupation, free of Hizbollah terrorism, free to return to its former glory. It's in Israel's interest, it's in Lebanon's interest, it's in the United States' interest, and yes, it's even in the Syrian people's interest.
Ariel Natan Pasko is an independent analyst & consultant. He has a Master's Degree in International Relations & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites, in newspapers, and can be read at: www.geocities.com/ariel_natan_pasko
(c) 2003/5763 Pasko http://bigjweb.com/artman/publish/article_1297.shtml
posted on 10/07/2003 12:26:14 AM PDT
To: Coeur de Lion
Every Iranian I met in America before the fall of the Shah, students, and older family members, hated him. They hated his Savak, the secret police that they thought were too brutal. I've wondered sometimes about what they thought of his replacements.
posted on 10/07/2003 12:42:28 AM PDT
Against Suicide Bombings
October 07, 2003
Israels attack on what it said was an Islamic Jihad military training camp in Syria sends two messages to the world. The first, on behalf of the United States, is the clear signal that the Bush administration will do everything it can to keep Syria and Iran in its sights as the so-called war on terror continues. It is a message that has been heard, loud and clear, in the Arab world.
However, the second message, though indirect, should be taken on board with equal concern: That suicide attacks on Israeli civilian targets are politically and militarily counterproductive.
How much reflection has there been in the Arab media on the fact that three Israeli Arabs were among the 19 killed in the restaurant in Haifa on Saturday? How much acknowledgement has there been that the city targeted is one of the few in Israel where Arabs and Jews coexist peacefully? And where are the editorials asking what the three children and the baby who were blown to pieces there did to deserve such a terrible fate? Is there any reflection on the fact that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is now as a result of the bombing in a weaker position than ever, and that the sizeable minority of ordinary Americans who support Palestinian calls for a viable state are less likely than ever to raise their voices in support of the cause?
Arab News has said it before, but along with all decent-minded people we must continue to say it loudly and unambiguously: Suicide bombings are morally repugnant, are totally against Islam and all human decency.
The suicide bombings are part and parcel of the impotence and desperation that in so many ways characterizes the Arab condition. Many say that it is precisely because of this impotence that suicide bombers are forced to carry out their attacks. But the opposite is true: Each suicide bombing deals another blow to the already immeasurably weakened Arab position.
Lets face it: The Palestinians and the wider Arab world have no meaningful strategy for dealing with the Arab-Israeli conflict, and that is why extremism fills the vacuum. If as much planning and effort had been put into forging a strategy for mass civil disobedience, for example, and promoting genuine internal reform and development as has been put into the recruitment, training and encouragement of suicide bombers, the Palestinians would not only be in a much stronger position at the negotiating table but would also have much more vocal and tangible support from the international community.
That Israel was able to attack a camp just a few miles outside Damascus, without having to worry about the risks involved or the possibility of reprisals, is a clear indication of Arab impotence.
Will the Arabs ever see the link between self-defeating act of suicide bombing and their self-destructive activities on the diplomatic level whenever they attempt to address the Middle East conflict? http://www.arabnews.com/?page=7§ion=0&article=33180&d=7&m=10&y=2003
And Now, People of Iran praise and miss The Shah. They know what a huge mistake they made in 1979.
To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; nuconvert; onyx; Pro-Bush; Valin; ...
Whither reform in Iran?
Student protests prompt predictions of Islamic Republics demise
Ten days of raucous student demonstrations across Iran in June prompted fresh predictions of the Iranian regimes imminent demise. But by July, regime hard-liners had regained the upper hand by arresting some 4,000 people. This summers back-and-forth is yet another indication that in Iran a highly contentious but gradual process of political change is more likely than revolution. An increasingly complex and often tense relationship between two leading groups pushing for reform university students and the reformists who dominate Parliament as well as several ministries has profound implications for how such change will unfold in the coming year.
Since 1997 student groups with longstanding ties to leftist forces provided critical support to reformists elected to Parliament and serving in the of Interior, Culture and Islamic Guidance ministries, many of whom themselves had leftist affiliations in the past. For example, the Office for Fostering Unity (OFU), a major student organization active on over 50 campuses across Iran, was one of the most important civil society organizations helping elect Mohammad Khatami to the presidency in 1997. The alliance was further cemented in the July 1999 student riots when reformists in government protested against harsh measures meted out to students.
In the past two years, however, the reformists inability or unwillingness to confront the hard-liners onslaught against Iranians seeking political change has caused great frustration among many students. The decisive break occurred with the February 2003 local council elections. The OFU withdrew from the main reformist electoral coalition, the Dovom-e Khordad Front, contributing to the reformists first electoral defeat since 1997. Student disenchantment has increased with the reformists inability to prevent recurring crackdowns on students. Although recent parliamentary mediations led to the release of some student leaders arrested in the June demonstrations, many in the student movement lost confidence in the reformists will to defend their rights.
The growing separation between these two groups is having many repercussions. It has brought into sharper focus the divergent objectives of some of their members. Most reformers in Parliament and the ministries seek to reconcile the democratic and theocratic aspects of Irans constitution essentially, to reform the existing Islamic system of governance in a democratic direction. By contrast, some students question if the two are fundamentally compatible and would like to steer the Islamic Republic toward what would be a secular democracy.
An increasingly independent student movement has become vulnerable to hard-liners charges of links to foreign plots and exiled opposition groups, allegations meant to discredit the movement with the public. A more isolated student movement could become radicalized, giving hard-liners a pretext to start a massive crackdown.
The students disenchantment has also led some reformists to acknowledge the need to create a common platform to bring together committed democratic activists from all political persuasions, secular and religious, inside and outside of Iran. Such attention to coalition building is a healthy development, as neither the students nor the reformists in government can change Iran alone. Several recent open letters written by members of Parliament, cultural figures and political activists inside Iran and in exile suggest that a platform is indeed developing with a focus on popular will as the only source of legitimate political authority, equal rights for all citizens, and national reconciliation.
Some reformist politicians also feel new pressure to adopt a bolder strategy vis-a-vis the hard-liners to show the reform movement is not dead. In recent months, Parliament passed legislation to stop candidate screening by the Council of Guardians, a body appointed by the supreme leader that vets candidates for national elections and assesses the constitutionality and religious soundness of all laws, and to enhance the presidents power to enforce the constitution. The Council of Guardians has summarily rejected these bills. But Parliament continues to pass legislation, investigate misconduct on the part of nonelected institutions, and agitate for the release of arrested students, journalists, and activists.
Officials in reformist-dominated ministries have also shown renewed willingness to confront the directives of nonelected institutions. The interior minister recently ordered provincial governments not to cooperate with local committees established by the Council of Guardians to monitor the parliamentary elections.
Time favors reform-minded Iranians. Despite the hard-liners ability to obstruct reformist legislation and repress political activists, they lack the resources and popular mandate to halt the drive toward a transparent and accountable government. But establishing an effective coalition of students and reformists in government is essential to substantive change occurring sooner rather than later.
Farideh Farhi is an independent scholar and a member of the graduate faculty of political science at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. This article first appeared in the Arab Reform Bulletin September 2003 edition, published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and is reprinted with permission http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/07_10_03_c.asp
Minister: Iran Won't Suspend Uranium Enrichment
Tue October 7, 2003 07:55 AM ET
By Christian Oliver
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran said on Tuesday it would continue enriching uranium despite intense pressure from nations worried it could develop its own nuclear arms.
A suspension of uranium enrichment is one of the demands of an October 31 deadline set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that is calling on the Islamic Republic to prove it is not seeking a nuclear warhead.
"We will not allow anyone to deprive us of our legitimate right to use nuclear technology, particularly (uranium) enrichment for providing fuel for nuclear plants," Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.
Enriched uranium can be used to fuel nuclear power stations but if enriched further can be used in atomic weapons.
Iran says enrichment is key to the country's civilian nuclear energy program because it means the whole project can be home-grown -- from mining uranium ore to fueling reactors -- with no dependence on foreigners at any stage of the process.
"The Iranian nation, by using the abilities and expertise of its own children, has decided to pursue the path of progress," President Mohammad Khatami said in a public speech in Khuzestan province, also carried by IRNA.
Political analyst Hossein Rassam told Reuters Iran was committed to the complete fuel cycle. "Enrichment is not something Iranians will easily give up," he said.
Countries such as the United States fear that allowing Iran to continue its uranium enrichment, even under IAEA supervision, would give Iran a potential "break out" capacity to produce nuclear arms.
The IAEA declined comment but diplomats in Vienna said it was important for Iran to try to patch up what they describe as a serious "confidence deficit."
"Iran is not doing much to inspire confidence at the moment," one diplomat told Reuters. However, diplomats from IAEA board nations acknowledge the demand to put enrichment on hold is not legally binding.
Iran insists weapons-grade uranium found in the country originates from contamination when equipment was bought in from abroad. On Monday Tehran said it would give the IAEA a list of imported components.
A speech from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the last word on all state issues, also lambasted pressure on Iran's nuclear program and exhorted people to resist the country's enemies.
"The international power centers, by continuing their plots, have aimed to impede this country's progress," he was quoted as saying in the hardline Jomhuri-ye Eslami newspaper. "All people...should stand up against the enemy's demands."
However, Kharrazi said Iran had no plans to quit the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a course espoused by hard-liners.
"Iran is one of the proponents of the NPT and is determined to remain one of its signatories," he told the conference.
Kharrazi reiterated Iran's stance that the development of nuclear weapons would contravene its religious values.
He also repeated Iran's assertion that it was committed to a Middle East free of nuclear weapons, where the biggest threat to security was Israel's possession of the Bomb. http://asia.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=3569617
Perhaps the attempt to establish a republic in Iraq is emboldening the students in Iran. Hmmm...
posted on 10/07/2003 8:15:44 AM PDT
(Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
To: F14 Pilot
Thanks for the heads up!
To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Ping to number eight.
posted on 10/07/2003 8:22:15 AM PDT
by Pan_Yans Wife
("Life isn't fair. It's fairer than death, is all.")
Phony Trial Opens for Murdered Canadian Photojournalist
October 07, 2003
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting
Tehran -- The Judiciary opened Tuesday the case for the one accused of killing Zahra Kazemi, the Iranian photographer.
Judge Rasoul Ghanimi presided over the two-hour session which docked an intelligence ministry agent on charges of committing quasi-intentional murder of the photojournalist.
The agent pleaded not guilty to the accusations and the defence lawyer called for adjourning the trial.
Canada's ambassador to Iran, Philip Mackinnon, was present in the courthouse.
Some 40 foriegn and local journalists were also present in the court.
Zahra Kazemi, 54, died on July 10 after she was arrested for photographing outside Tehran's Evin prison. An official investigation concluded that her fatal brain haemorrhage due to stroke of a hard object. http://www.iribnews.com/Full_en.asp?news_id=189749
Cuba to expand industrial cooperation with Iran
Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - ©2003 IranMania.com
Tehran, Oct 7, IRNA -- Cuban Minister of Government Ricardo Cabrisas Ruiz voiced here Tuesday his country`s determination to expand industrial cooperation with Iran.
Cabrisas, in a meeting with Iranian Minister of Industries and Mines Es`haq Jahangiri, expressed satisfaction over a credit of 20 million dollars extended by Iran to Cuba to develop its agriculture sector.
"Cuba is currently facing a crisis resulting from US pressures and is under specific political and economic conditions," he said, adding the country faces several problems in international exchanges due to such crisis.
"International crises has led to a reduction in prices of sugar on world markets and in Cuba`s tourism incomes, so Iran`s credit is of special importance to Cuba," the minister noted.
He expressed his country`s willingness to exchange trade delegations with Iran in order to enhance mutual commercial exchanges and called for settlement of legal impediments to both sides` investment.
The Cuban head of Iran-Cuba Joint Commission said his country is ready to reconstruct Iranian sugar companies and exchange information to this effect.
Jahangiri, for his part, said Iran and Cuba have the capacity to expand bilateral cooperation in various industrial fields, adding that Iran can make use of Cuba`s industrial potential. http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=18529&NewsKind=Business%20%26%20Economy
Comment: (( Cuba to expand cooperations with Iran and help them jam the satellite signals to Iran ))
To: F14 Pilot
Reform Iran ~ Now!
posted on 10/07/2003 9:23:52 AM PDT
"Some 40 foriegn and local journalists were also present in the court"
Didn't hear a word about it.
posted on 10/07/2003 10:23:27 AM PDT
( Stop thinking about it and do it.)
Released Iranian journalist Mohsen Sazgara talks to reporters
Payvand's Iran News
Journalist Mohsen Sazgara said in Tehran on Monday that he went on hunger strike for 79 days during his 114-day detention, IRNA reported.
Talking to reporters after his release from prison and while he was surrounded by relatives and friends in his father's house, he said that he had gone on hunger strike twice, once for 56 days and once for 23 days.
Sazgara said that he had been hospitalized for five times by prison authorities due to his bad health condition followed by his hunger strikes.
On his health condition, the released journalist said that he had to go under treatment due to some problems in his heart, digestion system and liver.
He said that he was released on a rls six billion-bail while facing two files opened at the Revolutionary Court.
Rejecting the accusations concerning his presence at the university dormitory and involving in student unrest, he said the accusation was made by a daily which was rejected by investigators. "I have never been interested in unrest and disorder and I do believe that all problems should be solved through diplomatic solutions," the 48-year old Sazgara pointed out.
Sazgara was an advocate of the 1979 Islamic Revolution but in recent years has turned to a critic of the Islamic republic's authorities.
He was arrested in June, during a wave of student unrest in Tehran. His Golestan-e Iran (Garden of Iran) newspaper was closed down last year shortly after hitting the newsstands.
He was also arrested in February for challenging the current political system and calling for a referendum, but was released after a few days in custody after starting a hunger strike. http://www.payvand.com/news/03/oct/1041.html
To: Pan_Yans Wife
posted on 10/07/2003 12:26:30 PM PDT
by Ragtime Cowgirl
("Most selfish thing I've ever heard," Ollie North, 10/7, re those who object to $ 87 b 4 ME effort.)
Iranian Agent Denies Killing Kazemi
October 07, 2003
The Associated Press
Ali Akbar Dareini
TEHRAN -- An Iranian Intelligence Ministry agent pleaded not guilty today to charges of killing a Canadian-Iranian photojournalist who died after suffering head injuries while in custody.
In the opening session of the trial, Mohammad Reza Aghdam Ahmadi denied he murdered Zahra Kazemi during interrogation after her June 23 detention. She died in a hospital on July 10.
"I strongly reject the charges raised against me," Ahmadi said, requesting more time to study the indictment. Judge Rasoul Ghanimi agreed to the request, and it was unclear when the trial would resume.
Kazemi, 54, who held both Canadian and Iranian citizenships, was detained while taking photos outside the Evin prison north of Tehran during student-led protests. After 77 hours of questioning, she was rushed to a hospital's intensive care unit with severe head injuries.
Tehran Deputy Prosecutor General Jafar Reshadati said Tuesday that Ahmadi was the only interrogator who spent hours alone with Kazemi at prison and the only agent who refused to answer some questions and gave contradictory statements. Reshadati said the killing was "semi-premeditated."
Initially, prosecutors maintained that Kazemi had died of a stroke, but a presidential-appointed committee found she had died of head injuries sustained while in custody.
Ahmadi was one of two Intelligence Ministry agents initially charged in the death, but the persecutor's office dropped the charges against the other agent last month.
Kazemi's death quickly became part of the power struggle between the reformist and conservative wings of the Iranian government. The Intelligence Ministry, which is controlled by reformists, rejected the indictment of its agents. It threatened to "expose all the facts" about the case if the conservative judiciary did not withdraw the charges.
Ministry officials claimed a judicial agent beat Kazemi on her head and accused the judge of ignoring evidence to prove their claim.
Prosecutor Reshadati said Tuesday that evidence shows Kazemi suffered beatings between June 25 and June 26, when the photojournalist was in the custody of Intelligence Ministry agents who included Ahmadi.
Kazemi was taken to the Baqiyatollah Azam Hospital on June 26, where she died two weeks later. The authorities prevented photographers from entering the courtroom on Tuesday, saying they did not want the faces of Intelligence Ministry agents to be published.
Canada has said it was unhappy with the conduct of the investigation. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham has accused a hard-line prosecutor of being implicated in the killing, saying agents would not act without orders from above.
Canada also threatened sanctions and withdrew its ambassador after the photojournalist's body was buried in her birthplace, the southern Iranian city of Shiraz, against the wishes of Canadian authorities and her son, who lives in Montreal.
Canadian ambassador Philip Mackinnon, who returned to Iran earlier this month, attended the trial today. http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1065520926005&call_pageid=968332188492&col=968793972154
Rowhani Deplores US Abusing IAEA!
October 07, 2003
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting
Tehran -- Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) here on Tuesday deplored the abuse of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by the United States.
"This is the worst kind of interference in international law and order when a specialized United Nations agency and its legal authorityis exploited for political objective of the United States," Rowhani said in his address to 18th conference of the Friday prayers leaders from across the country.
He said that the Iranian philosophy and the Islamic commands forbid using the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and Iran appeals to the international community to make the Middle East free from WMD.
"From the outset, Iran has exercised good cooperation on non-proliferation treaty (NPT) by signing the treaty.
Iran was among the first regional countries which signed the convention on prohibiting chemical weapons (CPCW)," Rowhani pointed out.
He deplored that there is ominous goals behind raising controversy about Iranian nuclear program and said that none of the provocative statements could make Iran abandon its national program to generate electricity by using nuclear energy.
"The United States has orchestrated the controversy over Iranian nuclear program.
Washington, taking advantage of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, has embarked on turning the international community into a security issue and pursuing it as a strategy," he said.
Washington imposed the unilateral war on Iraq for what it called the possession of WMD and it became clear later that Iraq did not have such weapons.
The shameful air raid on Syria of Israel also took place thanks to unconditional US support for the occupying power in Palestine, he said.
Iran will never allow its national nuclear program to cause tension in its relations with other countries and pursues intensive work with the IAEA to encourage the agency to extend expertise to Iran for its national program.
He said that Iran has two concerns about the NPT and performance of the IAEA, and that Iran opposes the current discrimination in implementing the NPT whose main part is transfer of technology to member states.
The IAEA has withheld the technology from Iran and Iran believes the same thing will happen about the IAEA commitments over the additional protocol to NPT.
Secondly, Iran has concerns about the context of the additional protocol, because the IAEA has not proved it can work independently of Washington's political agenda, Rowhani said.
"The decision-making bodies of the Islamic Republic of Iran will not compromise over national sovereignty and the rights of the Iranian nation," he said.
"The conflict between Iran and the United States emanates from the fact that Iran presses ahead with national economic development plan, but, the US has objections to Iran's development and progress," he said. http://www.iribnews.com/Full_en.asp?news_id=189800
Neither Safe Nor a Haven
October 07, 2003
National Review Online
James S. Robins
One of the blind spots in the global war on terrorism is the unwillingness of the United States to integrate the Palestinian terrorist organizations into the matrix of groups with which we are at war.
This is explained by way of definition the conflict we are engaged in with our Coalition partners is against the global terrorist network. The cluster of terror groups targeting Israel Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Hezbollah, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) among others are not globally networked. They are a local or regional problem, and not part of the fundamentalist threat aimed at the United States. Thus, they are not on the radar screen. So goes the explanation.
This reasoning is a fig leaf at best and I direct readers to Michael Ledeen's invaluable The War Against the Terror Masters for a full explanation why. Some of these groups have active networks that reach every continent, and into the United States. And almost all of them receive support in one fashion or another from Syria and Iran. In fact, they have for decades. And while the United States may choose not to involve itself overtly in cutting these strands of the international terrorism web, the recent suicide bombing in Haifa, which killed and wounded around 70 people, demonstrates that this is a threat Israel cannot afford to ignore.
The Israeli attack on the Ayn al-Sahib terrorist training camp in Syria was the first of what the Israeli government has called "expanded military operations" against terrorism. Sharon spokesman Raanan Gissin said that Israel "will take whatever measure is necessary to defend our citizens regardless of the geographic location of these training camps," including strikes in Syria and Iran. Syrian officials claimed that the Ayn al-Sahib camp had been previously used by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) but had been abandoned for the last seven years. The Associated Press reported that "for the past decades the valley of olive and fig groves has only been used by picnickers and walkers." (It is strange that the Mossad, which is blamed for masterminding every event in the Mideast, if not the world, cannot figure out the difference between a terrorist base and an olive garden.) Most press reports are marking the location of the terrorist camp as "deep within Syria." The tone would be much different if the stories described the camp as being close to the Syrian border with Lebanon, along the main access road between Damascus and the Bekka Valley. A 1997 report described Ayn al-Sahib as "the most important base of [the PFLP] and ranks as one of the preeminent training camps where it houses extreme fundamentalists from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Algeria. The training is run by officers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. They are instructed in street fighting, plane hijacking, hostage taking, and blowing up specific targets Israeli, American, European, and other targets in certain Arab countries." Clearly, this was no place for a picnic.
But let's say the PFLP had closed down that facility. Their spokesmen seemed to know immediately exactly how much damage had been done in the attack, but that aside. The Israeli strike was aimed at the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the group that carried out the Haifa bombing. The PIJ is rumored to be planning to relocate their headquarters operations out of the Palestinian Authority, in response to the very effective Israeli tactic of targeting their leadership in retaliation for attacks on Israeli civilians. The PIJ may recently have set up new quarters in Ayn al-Saheb, and this was Israel's way of telling them they can run but they cannot hide. Whether any PIJ members died in the attack has yet to be revealed.
The attack was also a message to Syria, and to other countries who use terrorism as an instrument in executing their international strategy. The old paradigm of state sovereignty will not deter military or other action taken in pursuit of violent non-state actors. Terrorists can no longer exploit the rules of the international system established to govern relations between states. In this, Israel is following the U.S. lead. Syrian sovereignty is not worth any more than Taliban Afghan or Hussein Iraqi sovereignty was when those regimes chose to facilitate international terrorism. Any other state pondering whether to allow Islamic Jihad or other terror groups to find safe haven must know that it will neither be safe nor a haven. Israel's new policy called "escalation" by some, but "expansion" is a more accurate term places countries that harbor terrorists in a position either to deplore the presence of terrorists on their soil and thank Israel for helping out; to acknowledge their support for terrorism; or to pretend that the problem doesn't exist, complain to the U.N., and keep on supporting violence against innocents, which seems to be the Syrian approach.
On a related note: When the Israelis bombed the French-built Iraqi "Osirak" nuclear reactor in 1981, the U.S. official response was critical but privately there was a sense of relief. Had Israel not taken that farsighted action, the "imminent threat" that the president's critics believe is required before decisive action can be taken against rogue states would have been well evident even by 1991. And rather than reviewing evidence of Saddam's WMD program last week, Congress might be looking at the results of a WMD strike, and asking, Why didn't somebody do something before the threat was imminent? Rogue states and terrorists don't play by the rules. The international system was set up to maintain the peace, not facilitate terror, and no civilized country under siege should feel constrained by the norms its deadly enemies despise. http://www.nationalreview.com/robbins/robbins200310070819.asp
To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
EU Joins Other Nations To Campaign Against Death Penalty
October 07, 2003
Dow Jones Newswires
The Associated Press
BRUSSELS -- The European Union said Tuesday it would continue to use all diplomatic means possible to try and persuade China, Iran, the U.S., Japan and others to abolish the use of the death penalty.
E.U. officials made their commitment just days before the 15-nation bloc plans to mark the first 'World day against the Death Penalty' on Friday.
The E.U. is teaming up with other countries like Mexico and Canada and the 45-nation Council of Europe in calling for the end of the use of capital punishment "in all circumstances."
But efforts to try and convince Washington and Tokyo, the only two democracies which still carry out executions, to scrap the punishment have not been easy E.U. officials acknowledge.
"This is a complex and delicate area," said Daniele Smadja, head of the European Union Commission's human rights section. "We should not lose hope...We do get results, but progress is slow."
On Friday's anti-death penalty day, activities are planned in some 45 countries to raise awareness for the issue, said Michel Taube, head of French group ECPME - "Together Against the Death Penalty".
"There are 80 countries which abolished the death penalty...but around 70 still do (carry out the penalty) and are mostly authoritarian regimes," Taube said.
Taube's group is one of 23 activist groups, including Amnesty International, which are part of the 'World Coalition Against the Death Penalty', which is organizing lectures, exhibits, and concerts on Friday in countries like the U.S. and Uzbekistan.
According to Amnesty, 2,468 people were executed in China, 139 in Iran, 79 in Saudi Arabia and 66 were put to death in the U.S. in 2001.
The Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly earlier this month urged the U.S. and Japan to participate in a more "fruitful dialogue" on the abolition of the death penalty and put in place a moratorium on its use, or face losing its observer status within the organization.
All 45 member nations of the Council of Europe and the 15-nation E.U., have to commit to abolishing the use of the death penalty once they join.
However, the Council said four countries -Russia, Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan -have yet to sign the new protocol banning capital punishment in all circumstances.
All four countries introduced a moratorium on the use of capital punishment when they joined. http://framehosting.dowjonesnews.com/sample/samplestory.asp?StoryID=2003100714360003&Take=1
Missing Israeli Flier Said to Be Alive
October 07, 2003
The Associated Press
JERUSALEM -- An Israeli air force navigator shot down over Lebanon 17 years ago and captured is probably still alive, family members said Tuesday, quoting a secret government report on his fate.
A news conference Tuesday by the family of the navigator, Ron Arad (search), came amid reports that negotiations for a prisoner swap between Israel and the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah did not include Arad.
The government permitted members of Arad's family to see the top-secret report last week.
Arad's brother, Chen, said it shows that authorities determined at different points in recent years that Ron Arad was still alive, though he has not been heard from in more than a decade. Arad would now be 45 years old.
"The report concludes that the likelihood that Ron is alive is greater than any other possibility," Arad said. The document also speculates about his captors and where he is being held, he said.
"The address is Iran," Arad said, refusing to give details, saying he wanted to protect the identity of the source of the information in the report.
Israeli officials refused to comment.
Israeli media have reported that the document kept under wraps because of its sensitive contents concluded that the Israeli defense establishment should act on the assumption that Arad is alive.
Ron Arad's plane was shot down over south Lebanon in 1986. The pilot was rescued, but Arad was captured.
His captors released a picture of him a year later, and a single letter from Arad arrived by way of the International Red Cross, but no signs of life have been seen since then.
In a prisoner swap in the works between Israel and Hezbollah, Israel would free several hundred Arab prisoners, including Palestinians, in exchange for Israeli businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum and the bodies of three soldiers abducted by Hezbollah in 2000.
Among those freed by Israel would be two Lebanese guerrilla leaders, Abdel Karim Obeid and Mustafa Dirani, whom Israel snatched in 1989 and 1994, respectively, as bargaining chips for the release of Arad.
Israelis say Dirani personally held Arad for a time before turning him over to a Lebanese group. The Arad family objects to Dirani's release unless Arad is part of the deal. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,99372,00.html
Sharon: I'll Strike at Enemies Anywhere
October 07, 2003
The Associated Press
The Toronto Star
JERUSALEM -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in his first public comments since an Israeli air strike against Syria, said today his country would not hesitate to attack its enemies wherever they are.
Syrian President Bashar Assad countered that the raid - targeting what Israel said was a Palestinian militant training camp - would only enhance his country's power in the Middle East.
And he denounced Sharon's administration as a "government of war" in remarks published today.
The raid raised concern in Israel and the Arab world that the Palestinian conflict could widen into a regional crisis if Israel begins pursuing militants in neighbouring countries. With tensions high after the strike, there was shooting and mortar fire overnight along the border between Israel and Lebanon, where Syria is the main power-broker.
Sharon's statement came two days after Israeli warplanes bombed a suspected Islamic Jihad training base outside the Syrian capital of Damascus in the first major Israeli attack on Syrian soil in three decades. That bombing was in retaliation for a Jihad suicide bombing Saturday that killed 19 people in a restaurant in Haifa.
"Israel will not be deterred from protecting its citizens and will strike its enemies in every place and in every way," Sharon said at a memorial service for Israeli soldiers killed during the 1973 Middle East war.
After the air raid, Israel accused Syria of harbouring and funding Islamic Jihad and also named Iran as a key backer of the militant group.
However, Sharon also said he was open to peace overtures.
"We will not miss any openings or opportunities to reach an arrangement with our neighbours and comprehensive peace," he said. "Only with this combination can we be sure that this generation will see with its own eyes the end of this war and will reach the gates of peace."
But in comments to the London-based newspaper Al-Hayat, Assad asserted that Syria's role in the region "is painful" to Sharon's government and the air strike "was a failed Israeli attempt to undercut this role."
"We can, with full confidence, say that what happened will only make Syria's role more effective and influential in events in the region," Assad said.
U.S. President George W. Bush said today that Israel's air strike was part of an "essential" campaign to defend the country, and he drew a parallel between U.S. policy on terrorism and Sharon's actions.
"But we're also mindful when we make decisions, as the prime minister should be, that he fully understand the consequences of any decision," said Bush, cautioning that Sharon be wary of creating "the conditions necessary for" more violence.
Itamar Rabinovitch, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington and a former peace negotiator with Syria, wrote in the daily Yediot Ahronot that the raid signalled a sharp escalation in the conflict with Palestinians and questioned its wisdom.
"As of now, this was a solitary act - a sort of signal to Damascus, and behind Damascus, to Tehran - that Israel is liable to turn the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a regional crisis," Rabinovitch wrote. "But does Israel really want this? Is Israel willing to step up the battle with Syria?"
Israel's Vice-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said today the security cabinet had decided at a meeting on Aug. 19 - following a Hamas bus bombing that killed 23 people - to target an Islamic Jihad training camp near Damascus, but postponed the air raid for operational reasons.
After the Haifa suicide bombing Saturday, the army said it was possible to carry out the operation, and a group of cabinet ministers approved the air raid, Olmert said.
Israeli warplanes bombed the training camp, which apparently has been abandoned for some time, early Sunday.
"We have no limitations regarding the targets and the goals so long as they are, in the end, connected to the terrorist acts," Olmert told Israel Radio.
Raanan Gissin, a Sharon aide, said the air raid came after two clear messages that Israel means business, Gissin said. The first message came shortly after the Iraq war when Secretary of State Colin Powell gave Assad an Israeli demand that Damascus remove the militant groups operating in Syria, he said.
In August, Israeli warplanes flew over Assad's summer palace in Latakia, Gissin said. The warplanes reportedly flew so low that windows in the palace shattered.
Now, Israel wants to send a message to both the militant groups and to Assad, Gissin said.
"We hope the Syrians will sober up and realize that what they are doing is endangering them," Gissin said. "Hopefully, Assad will get the message."
Meanwhile today, a four-year-old Lebanese boy was killed in Houla, a village on the Israeli-Lebanese border, apparently after an anti-aircraft shell or mortar that was fired from within Lebanon toward Israel fell short.
Lebanese security officials and residents said Ali Yassin was killed and his twin brother wounded in the explosion. Israel's army said at least three mortar shells were shot from Lebanon toward northeastern Israel.
Hours earlier, Israeli Staff Sgt. David Solomonov, 21, who also held U.S. citizenship, was killed in a cross-border shooting. Solomonov, from the town of Kfar Saba, emigrated to Israel with his parents 13 years ago from Pennsylvania, the U.S. Consulate said.
The Israeli army said shots were fired by a sniper of the Syrian-backed Hezbollah guerrilla group, sparking return fire from Israeli troops. Hezbollah denied any involvement in a fax to The Associated Press in Beirut. http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1065524448733&call_pageid=968332188854&col=968705899037
To: F14 Pilot
Most reformers in Parliament and the ministries seek to reconcile the democratic and theocratic aspects of Irans constitution essentially, to reform the existing Islamic system of governance in a democratic direction. By contrast, some students question if the two are fundamentally compatible and would like to steer the Islamic Republic toward what would be a secular democracy.
A fish can't understand he's wet, but the view from here is that Iran is all wet:
The "theocratic" holds the whip hand, and in effect explains helpfully that it doesn't need "any stinking constitution."
There can be no reform with the self-appointed interpreters of the word of Allah--only subjugation to the whims of these mortals and their appetites for temporal power.
Hence "reform" is better suited to Neville Chamberlain than say Winston Churchhill.
posted on 10/07/2003 5:44:48 PM PDT
(Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
Go get 'em, Israel.
Memo to the Bush-Rice-Powell team: enough with the double standard already: terrorists are terrorists--and they're all our enemies.
No more counselling "restraint" for Israel--when we did not restrain ourselves from action in Afghanistan and Iraq.
posted on 10/07/2003 8:41:47 PM PDT
(Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
A tribute to weapons inspectors
The UN knew full well that no WMD would be found in Iraq
Tuesday October 7, 2003
Even before Robin Cook's revelations that Tony Blair went to war without believing in the threat from Saddam's phantom arsenal, the air had been leaking out of the inflated official claims. No longer was he a dictator with concealed WMD. Instead he had morphed into someone with weapons programmes, and his lethal strategic arsenal was downgraded to the unquantified potential of unidentified battlefield munitions that "military planning" determined could be ready for use in a 45-minute time frame.
But this new formulation still allows for retrograde elasticity: "Military planning" could imply plans that are current, future or obsolete, and we still do not know which battlefield weapons it refers to. But seven months on from the attack on Iraq, it is time to stop and pay tribute to the system that the US administration so energetically derided, determined as it was to apply military solutions to a political problem: the UN weapons inspections process.
Nothing has been discovered in Iraq that was not known to exist as a result of the inspections. With breathtaking disingenuousness, Blair and Bush now deny that they ever gave the impression that Iraq was close to possessing nuclear weapons or the means of delivering them. The weapons for which we went to war, in the most recent versions, were chemical and biological. Now, even they have dematerialised - from actual weapons to a sinister but insubstantial potential.
But Iraq's potential to make chemical weapons was known to the UN as a result of its Unscom inspections in the mid-90s. According to former head of Unscom, Rolf Ekeus, it had "eliminated Iraq's capabilities fundamentally in all areas". They had accounted for and destroyed all but one of Saddam's missiles, his secret biological weapons programme and his chemical weapons programme.
It was also known that Iraq had retained the capacity to return to production. Why was that potential important to Iraq? In general terms, Iraq wanted to be a regional power. Specifically, Iraq's continuing preoccupation was with Iran. Chemical weapons had only been used during the war against Iran (in which, of course, Britain and the US were supporting Saddam) and both sides made use of them. Iraq still had such weapons at the time of the first Gulf war in 1991, but they are ineffective against a mobile and protected enemy and the US had threatened nuclear retaliation if Iraq did use them.
For Iraq, the use of chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq war had been an important factor in avoiding defeat. After a decade of sanctions and of deterioration in Iraq's conventional military capacity, Iraq was militarily much weaker than Iran and the importance of retaining a potential for chemical weapons even greater.
Neither Bush nor Blair have produced evidence that turns these unpleasant but familiar facts into a "current" threat against the US, the UK or even Iraq's immediate neighbours. The question, as the UN inspectors knew, was not whether Iraq maintained a capacity to resume production of such weapons, but whether that potential had been activated after British and US bombing ended the inspections in 1998. The resumption of UN inspections - under the US administration's credible threat of the use of force - would have answered that question.
The cost of this adventure can be counted in many ways: there is the damage to future potential for international action against rogue states; the risk of terrorism is heightened; and the possibility of disaffected personnel from Iraq's weapons programmes throwing in their lot with some kind of jihad is higher than before. Equally dangerous is the manner in which a system of internationally sanctioned monitoring and control has been sacrificed in favour of unilateral action.
If we have learned anything from this adventure, it is that weapons inspection - slow, unglamorous and difficult - is effective, even in a regime intent on concealment. If a rat poison factory is diverted to the manufacture of nerve agent, systematic monitoring can discover it. It may not look good on TV, but it works.
More dramatic interventions, on the other hand, have been counter productive. In 1981, Israel unilaterally bombed Iraq's nuclear reactor, supposedly to destroy Saddam's capacity to produce nuclear weapons. The bombing, in Ekeus' opinion, had no substantive impact on Iraq's nuclear potential. What it did do was encourage the Iraqis to speed up a clandestine development programme that brought them to the brink of nuclear capacity by 1990.
By the beginning of this year, US pressure through the UN had succeeded in forcing the resumption of inspections. We will probably never know what they might have found. But the next dictator who tries to transform himself from a local thug into an international menace by acquiring WMD will have less to fear from the difficult, patient and methodical inspections that the UN inspections teams pursued. Bush and Blair have seen to that. email@example.com http://politics.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,9115,1057467,00.html
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