Monday, July 31, 2006
Eli Lake, The New York Sun reported that Israeli strategic planners are closely watching whether Iran will deliver on President Ahmadinejad's promise last week to make an announcement that would neutralize Israel's nuclear threat.
Robert Spencer, FrontPageMagazine.com reported that Western officials are concerned with the message that Iranian President is planning for August 22nd. He examines the significance of the date in Islamic history and fears it is Iran's day of terror.
Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu, FrontPageMagazine.com concerned about Ahmadinejad's August 22nd surprise announcement outlined what Iran and its surrogates in Syria and inside Hezbollah might have in mind.
A disturbing meeting in Damascus.
Reuters reported that Ali Larijani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, flew to Syria on Wednesday for talks with senior Syrian officials to discuss the crisis as Hezbollah guerrillas.
Die Welt reported that Nasrallah may now be in Damascus for discussions with Syrian President Bashar Assad and the head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Ali Larijani about wider strategic issues such as Syrian and Iranian involvement in the war.
Iran testing its weapons and tactics in Lebanon?
The New York Sun reported that Lebanon's Druze leader, Walid Jumblatt, said Tehran is using Hezbollah's confrontation with the Jewish state to test its weapons capabilities and to observe Israeli military tactics.
Iran denies it is providing military aid to Hezbollah.
Forbes reported that Iran's foreign ministry on Friday denied allegations that Tehran has provided military support to Hezbollah in its fight against Israel. Sure.
Bush blames Iran for its role in Hezbollah's war with Israel.
USAToday reported that President Bush declined to criticize Israel's tactics in its continuing offensive against Hezbollah guerrillas in southern Lebanon, and gave a sharp condemnation of Iran's role in the bloody fighting.
State Department: Lebanon's Hezbollah is an independent organization?
World Tribune.com reported that the State Department said that Hezbollah, despite Iranian sponsorship, remains an independent organization. A senior official said Hezbollah has been influenced rather than dominated by Iran and Syria.
Bolton: UNSC to give Iran until August 31st to stop uranium enrichment. (ALAN'S NOTE: by then we will have Ahmadi-Nejad's mind-boggling statement describing how the Islamic World need never fear Israeli nuclear capability - on August 22nd - the date the Prophet Mohammad rose to heaven).
News.com.au reported that US Ambassador John Bolton said a resolution to be proposed to the UN Security Council by six major powers would give Iran until August 31 to halt uranium enrichment.
Al Qaeda declares unity with Shiite Hezbollah.
Thomas Joscelyn, The Weekly Standard reported that al Qaeda's Zawahiri's statements: "We cannot just watch these shells as they burn our brothers in Gaza and Lebanon and stand by idly, humiliated," runs counter to the conventional wisdom of many in the intelligence community. (How out of the loop can the intel community get? Some 400 Al Qaeda, including Ossama's son and some heavy duty leaders are all guests in Iran and are provided housing and amenities. Why should they NOT join Iran's anti-Israel Hezbollah efforts - as they have Iran's anti-American/Coalition activities in Iraq? Or mutual pro-Taliban co-operation in Afghanistan? Is that such a huge leap for the intelligence agencies to make? Good grief!
Olivier Guitta, Asia Times provided an excellent backgrounder on Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Lebanon's Shi'ite Hezbollah.
Canada.com examined why Hezbollah's Nasrallah choose to attack Israel now.
The Wall Street Journal reported that while Hezbollah fired more than 1,500 Katyusha missiles this week at Israeli, the real threat may be their smaller, free-flying rockets now evolving into relatively sophisticated and accurate ballistic missiles.
Cox & Forkum published another cartoon: Global Jihad.
Iran Press News reported on the Iranian people’s rage and hatred for Hezbollah was in evidence in the regime-run newspaper Aftab’eh Yazd where readers of the newspaper messages have been published, for example: “Hassan Nassrollah, the coward is hiding out while the people of Lebanon are paying his price.” A must read.
The human rights abuse of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Iran Focus reported that the European Union issued a statement that expressed “serious concern about the deteriorating situation with regard to the freedom of expression and the status of human rights defenders in Iran.”
Iran Press News reported that Akbar Mohammadi imprisoned student who was refused his medical furlough from prison, began a hunger strike on July 23rd. Photo. UPDATE: he died under torture last night (Sunday)!!
Iran Press News reported on the Islamic regime's flogging of a 37-year-old man in Vahdat Square in the city of Gorgan (northern Iran). He received 74 lashes. Photo.
Iran Press News reported that in 2005 eight adolescents under 18 were executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Iran Press News reported that the regime’s authorities at the Rajaiishahr prison have begun summoning and threatening political prisoners, trumping up charges against them in order to stymie their hunger strikes.
UN reaches "informal agreement" on Iran nuclear resolution.
The Washington Post reported that key U.N. Security Council members agreed informally on Thursday on a resolution demanding Iran suspend nuclear enrichment and reprocessing work and threatening to consider sanctions if it refuses.
Kenneth R. Timmerman, FrontPageMagazine.com argued that while some have suggested that the latest round of fighting between Israel and Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon is the beginning of World War III, he suggested this is more like the Spanish Civil War.
Iran Press News reported that China and the countries of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council, finalized a new round of talks regarding the consolidation of an agreement on free trade, with the goal and guarantee of long-term oil output to maximum capability.
Iran Press News published photos of the Hezbollah flag being distributed in the Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Cox & Forkum published another cartoon: High Stakes
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Farsi and English text on my Multilingual site with link to Iran Press News.
The Iranian government newspaper, "Investment" writes that Iran has taken the first steps to increase production of gasoline inside the country with a view to cutting off imports of this strategic item through joint investment of foreign and internal funding, which will begin to stem the flow of foreign exchange leaving the country.
Currently, $15,000,000 a day of the country's oil revenues go to toward importing gasoline. This equals 30 million liters of the 70 million liters used daily in Iran, if calculated on a constant 70 million liter usage. When we add the summer driving and seasonal travel, which comes to about another four to five (5) million liters a day, the outflow of foreign exchange for gasoline imports becomes even more significant.
Ahmadi-Nejad, who shortly after being elected, became aware of this huge drain by the cost of subsidizing this strategically important fuel import, gave instructions to speed up the increase in refining capability, begun during the time of (former Oil Minister) Zanganeh. As a result, the refineries at Abadan and Bandar Abbas have been included in the expansion plans and the Arak refinery has been put on the list.
Based on the projections of the Ministry of Oil, the intended expansions and refining increases of gasoline will result in Iran being self-sufficient by the end of the year 1388 (2010) and would no longer need to import this strategic item. Presently 40 million liters (of the 70 million consumed) are refined inside Iran. The Oil Ministry has now taken action in the expansion of capacity by purchasing foreign technology and developing internal capabilities. This time, the Arak refinery will be equipped with foreign technology in its expansion and operation and use Chinese methodology in a heavier production process so that the unit will be able to increase current production levels.
After oil, the Chinese have now become involved in refining in Iran. The well-known Chinese oil company, SINOPEC, will execute the expansion project and also be an investor. The Vice-President of SINOPEC announced in an exclusive telephone interview with "Investment" that a team of representatives of the company would arrive tomorrow (Sunday) in Iran to sign the contract for investment and expansion of the Arak refinery.
Jin Jiang Wuy noted that this contract between China's SINOPEC and Iran's Refining and Distribution was just a beginning.
A $100 Billion memorandum of understanding for the export of Iranian liquid gas to China has been initiated so that SINOPEC, in addition to an increased presence in oil exploration, which has a contractual value of over $100 Billion, will invest and transfer knowledge and technology in the basic methods for oil related production of items such as gasoline. Thus, the co-operation between the two countries will result in Iran becoming self-sufficient in gasoline requirements and be freed from the years of suffering in having to buy products which the rise in crude oil prices have pushed up.
The ability for China's SINOPEC to maneuver with Iran has increased and the signing of the contract can be expected to rise to an eye-catching $102 Billion. Jin Jiang Wuy, commenting on the proposed signing of an agreement, said the talks beween Iran and China are ongoing and the "actual implementation of the expansion of (MDP) has not reached a full consensus". Wuy stated he was very hopeful that the contract to explore and develop the Yadavaran oil field, which has reserves of 17 Billion barrels of oil, is in place between the countries and will soon be signed.
The Yadavaran oil field has also been included in the $100 Billion Iran-China energy distribution memorandum of understanding which will extend Iran's daily oil production by 300,000 barrels a day.
Forum: Exception to right of self-defense
July 30, 2006
Oliver North explored the subject of self-defense in his July 23 column: " 'As a sovereign nation, Israel has every right to defend itself from terrorist activities,' said President Bush. 'I fully support Israel's right to defend itself,' said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat. 'Israel must defend itself, and it had the right to do so,' said French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy."
Apparently, the right to defend one's sovereignty applies to everyone except the Serbs.
Where were these words and sentiments when NATO, led by former President Clinton, who -- in violation of international law, the NATO charter and without the approval of Congress -- bombed tiny, sovereign Yugoslavia that had no weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), never attacked us and was never a threat to this country?
While the Clinton administration supported the Bosnian Muslim government of Alija Izetbegovic, the Bosnian Embassy in Vienna issued a passport to Osama bin Laden that enabled him to make three visits to Bosnia and Kosovo.
Because of Mr. Clinton's flawed Balkans policy (based on self-inflicted atrocities by Bosnian Muslim forces), Bosnia has become al Qaeda's corridor into Europe.
This was evident as far back as 1992 when authors Yossef Bodansky and Vaughn S. Forrest wrote a report for the House Republican Research Committee on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare titled, "Iran's European Springboard?"
That report said, "Thus, Tehran and its allies are using the violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina as a springboard for the launching of a jihad in Europe.... Bosnia-Herzegovina's Muslims have long been considered by the Islamist leadership in the Middle East to be ripe as a vehicle for the expansion of Islamic militancy into Europe."
A 1997 report for the Senate Republican Policy Committee titled, "Clinton-Approved Iranian Arms Transfers Help Turn Bosnia into Militant Islamic Base," identifies Bosnia as "a steppingstone" into Western Europe.
These predictions have been borne out by reports the explosives in London subway bombings and Madrid train bombings have been traced back to the Balkans. Even more dire is the fact that some members of Congress support ceding Serbia's Jerusalem to the rule of indicted Muslim war criminals, thereby creating another mini-Afghanistan in the heart of the Balkans.
An independent Albanian Kosovo would guarantee the eradication of Serbia culture, language and religion there. What else can be expected, given the track record of destruction and desecration of Serbian churches and the beatings, murder and ethnic cleansing of Serbs, Roma and other non-Muslims since 1999, all under the watchful and impotent eye of U.N. administrators?
The real tragedy is that the Serbs were once the majority in Kosovo until ethnically cleansed by Adolf Hitler's Nazis, then by communist dictator Josip Broz Tito. The latter, in his hatred for the Serbs, encouraged Muslim Albanians to cross illegally into Christian Kosovo as easily as illegals today -- including possible terrorists -- cross our borders from Canada and Mexico.
Former UNPROFOR commander in Bosnia, Canadian Maj. Gen. Lewis MacKenzie summed it up best when he said, "The Kosovo-Albanians have played us like a Stradivarius. We have subsidized and indirectly supported their violent campaign for an ethnically pure and independent Kosovo.
We have never blamed them for being the perpetrators of the violence in the early 1990s and we continue to portray them as the designated victim today in spite of evidence to the contrary.
When they achieve independence with the help of our tax dollars, combined with those of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, just consider the message of encouragement this sends to other terrorist-supported independence movements around the world."
The bottom line is that independence for Kosovo is not just a Serbian issue; it is a decision that would be not only detrimental to the area's security but also sets a precedent that an ethnic group that attains majority status in a geographical region of a sovereign country has the right to declare independence -- a precedent that would not be in the best interest of the United States and other countries with growing ethnic minorities.
After September 11, 2001, President Bush declared we would do whatever it takes to defend this country against [Muslim] terrorists. The president has now taken his "war on terror," worldwide. And just as Israel, like any other nation, has the right to defend its sovereignty, the Serbian people should have had the right to defend their sovereignty against the same Muslim terrorists who threaten the world today.
Unfortunately, that right was denied to them and we are witnessing the consequences today. For the sake of reason, we must all encourage our representatives to say "No to Kosovo Independence."
Granting that independence would open a Pandora's Box of breakaway states and establish another rogue nation.
STELLA L. JATRAS Camp Hill, Pa.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Translation by Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi
This afternoon Ahmad Batebi, was arrested in front of his home in Tehran by plain clothes secret service agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
At 5 pm on Saturday evening, as Batebi and his wife Somaya, exited their apartment building they were accosted by several agents, forcing Batebi and Somaya back inside for interrogation and inspection of their home.
Somaya Batebi said that the agents spent 3 hours inspecting their apartment and finally gathered and confiscated Batebi’s personal property, including his computer, cellular phone, CD’s, several files and family photo albums.
In a phone call, Ahmad Batebi’s father expressed fear and concern for his son’s safety and wellbeing; Batebi’s father said that if his son’s situation is not clarified by tomorrow, Sunday, July 30th, he and other members of the Batebi will start a hunger strike.
Batebi’s father also stated that Ahmad himself had communicated that should he be illegally re-arrested, he would go on hunger strike during the initial hours of his detention.
It appears that after interrogation that Ahmad Batebi would have been transferred to detention center 209 of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security.
Ahmad Batebi was orginally arrested in 1999 during the massive student uprising in Tehran. He was arrested because of the humiliation the regime felt after this young man's photo appears on the cover of the Economist and has become a symbol of the Iranian student movement.
This photo appeared all over the world but sadly the western media failed to condemn the Iranian government for arresting this young man. Dr. Iman Foroutan also confirmed the report of his rearrest.
We need to spread the word on this arrest so the Iranian government will know the world is watching his fate.
Alan's Comment: Ahmad Batebi, general figurehead for the generic student movements in Iran, was reportedly in hiding and in fear for his life - yet he has been openly earning his living by selling advertising for a local newspaper for quite some time and his recent arrest was outside his own apartment, where he has been living with his wife! Does not sound like a fugitive to me.
In fact, the immediate announcement of a hunger strike by him and his family - while quite possibly a defensive reaction - smacks too much of a repeat performance of imprisoned journalist Akbar Ganji.
Ganji, truth be told now wanders the Western world, gathering information at the highes levels and making statements to divide and splinter the anti-Islamic regime Opposition groups.
What has been forgotten by the western intelligence agencies is that Ganji was a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and while posted in Turkey by the Mullahs, did untold harm to Iranian refugees fleeing their country. INCLUDING use of brutal torture in his interrogations!
Suddenly we have the makings of another clandestine "envoy" of the Mullahs, who will suffer - like Ganji - then be allowed to reach the Western world and be embraced by top level people, who currently willingly discuss secrets with "dissident" Ganji and will also do so with Batebi when he shows up.
Trojan horses did not go out of style in Hellenic times.
The Mullahs send them at us as often as they can sneak them in. Some get as far as Canada and get stuck. Others infiltrate into the hallowed halls of our CIA with a push and a shove from radical left wingers like Chomsky, who has "adopted" Ganji and promotes him.
Wake up people. "All is never what it seems" as CIA trainers repeatedly tell their students.
Yet we tend to ignore the warning flags with bleeding heart liberal carelessness of careerists, who have taken over so much of our critical international policy from skilled operatives with useful in the field experience and good instincts.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
An Internet poll sponsored by NewsMax.com reveals that more than nine out of 10 Americans believe the New York Times should be prosecuted for disclosing a secret U.S. program that tracked financial transactions of terror suspects.
A huge majority of respondents also think the Bush administration’s surveillance programs to fight terrorism are justified even if they infringe on civil liberties.
Another disturbing fact is that most NewsMax readers would allow civil liberties to be curtailed to help the government fight terrorism.
NewsMax will provide the results of this poll to major media and share them with radio talk show hosts across the country.
Here are the poll questions and results:
1) Was the New York Times wrong in reporting about a secret U.S. program that tracked financial transactions of terror suspects?
Wrong: 94 percent Not Wrong: 6 percent
2) Should the New York Times be prosecuted for their disclosures of this program?
Yes: 93 percent No: 7 percent
3) Do you believe the government should be allowed to obtain financial records without a court approved warrant?
Yes: 80 percent No: 20 percent
4) Are you willing to give up, even partially, your civil liberties to help stop terrorism?
Yes: 84 percent No: 16 percent
5) Do you believe the Bush administration’s wiretapping and other surveillance programs are justified even if they infringe on civil liberties?
Justified: 92 percent Not justified: 8 percent
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Alan note: Sorry, the photos did not transfer but you can click on the links in the story to see them and others.
Protest at the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco, July 13, 2006The recent fighting in and around Israel spilled over onto the streets of San Francisco on Thursday, July 13, when Palestinian and left-wing groups staged a protest in front of the Israeli Consulate in the city's Financial District.
An equal number of pro-Israel counter-protesters showed up to make their voices heard as well, and from the start the two sides were battling it out with a war of words and symbols.
The protest was organized by Al-Awda (a group devoted to dismantling Israel and replacing it with a Palestinian state), A.N.S.W.E.R. (a communist group) and a coalition of other Islamic and socialist organizations. (Editor's note: The pictures by me on this page were taken with a hidden camera, which is why some of them are out-of-focus or at odd angles. Other pictures, as noted, were sent in by contributors. Alan:NONE OF THEM TRANSFERED correctly) .
The police separated the two groups onto opposite sides of the street, to prevent any physical altercations. The Palestine supporters on the left directly in front of the Israeli Consulate building waved Palestinian flags, while the Israel supporters on the right waved Israeli and American flags. Montgomery Street served as a demilitarized zone between the warring factions.
There were about 200 to 250 activists on each side, which is the largest counter-protest organized by the pro-Israel side that I've ever seen in San Francisco.
Several of the men on the Palestinian side dressed like this, making masks out of kaffiyehs so as to look like, uh, "militants" or "terrorists," depending on whom you ask.
A T-shirt vendor was doing brisk business selling shirts that declared, "I Am Democratic, I Voted for Hamas." Many of the people on the Palestinian side were overtly pro-Hamas, as evidenced by their chants and signs. Click here to see a video (courtesy of Dr. Mike) and hear one of their chants (QuickTime mpeg video, 1.4mb):
"Long live the intifada!Long live the intifada!Long live the intifada!Long live the intifada!Intifada intifada!Intifada intifada!Intifada intifada!" The vendor was also selling another T-shirt design that said, "To: Israel From: The Resistance We did it your way. NOW IT'S TIME FOR THE AK" with a picture of an AK-47. (Photo by B.J.) I also took this blurry shot of the same shirt. Several people were wearing them.
A contingent of men in fundamentalist Islamic garb showed up and occasionally shouted confrontational slogans. Here are two of them conferring. The anti-Israel side held up this mysterious sign, which might be considered rather offensive, depending on your interpretation. (Photo by Dr. Mike.)
One group of Palestinian protesters relentlessly taunted their opponents. (Photo by D.K.) Notice the left hand of the masked protester. (Photo by D.K.) One of them repeatedly made a "money-grubbing Jew" gesture. (Photo by D.K.) A view of the action from the pro-Israel side.
The counter-protesters held up signs like this, while across the street the protesters chanted phrases in favor of Hezbollah and Hamas. This protester's message implied that he is prepared to fight to the death against Israel. (Photo by B.J.) On a side street, a pair of Palestinian supporters were getting ready to enter the protest, using a window as a mirror to make sure their kaffiyeh-masks looked just right. I got a blurry snapshot of the moment.
Unfortunately for them, a pair of cops noticed their preparations. When the protesters said they weren't planning to do any violence, one of the cops asked, "Then why are you dressing up like a terrorist like that?" while the other made them empty their bags to make sure they didn't have any weapons. I didn't see how the situation resolved itself.
I waded through the crowd with a hidden camera. This young protester was one of several wearing kaffiyehs that show the Dome of the Rock Mosque, reflecting the agenda of the "Al-Awda" supporters in the crowd to reclaim Jerusalem as the capital of a "river-to-sea" Palestine. A "jolly time" was had by all. (photo of gleeful Palestinians)
A.N.S.W.E.R. supplied freshly printed signs to the protesters, reflecting events (such as the fighting in Lebanon) that had transpired just hours earlier. Some of the A.N.S.W.E.R. signs echoed the Hamas talking point that the 9,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails had all been "kidnapped" by Israel.
This notorious anti-Semite haunts all the rallies in the Bay Area (Photo by D.K.) The firebrand previously made an appearance at the Bus 19 event in San Francisco where he spouted bizarre anti-Jewish conspiracy theories (scroll to bottom of linked page for video). (Photo by B.J.)
At one point the police brought in the paddy wagons. I thought there were going to be mass arrests... ...but instead the police just used them to block the view between the rival groups on either side of the street, apparently to defuse some of the tensions and verbal hostilities. A police helicopter hovered overhead.
The pro-Israel side. (Photo by D.K.) A group of young guys showed up to wave American flags. (Photo by D.K.) Senior citizens joined the pro-Israel side as well. (Photo by D.K.) Where indeed? (Photo by D.K.) A sight rarely seen in San Francisco: a vigorous pro-Israel and pro-America crowd. (Photo by D.K.)
The protest dissipated between 6:30 and 7:00pm, and luckily the police presence helped to ensure that there were no ugly incidents either during or after the rally.
To see more photos of this event at Getty Images, click here. These four Indybay pages also have more pictures from the protest, A video report by KTVU's Amber Lee can be viewed here. (Click here to return to the main zombietime page.)
Sunday, July 09, 2006
July 07, 2006 Iran va Jahan Reza Bayegan
As soon as the U.S. administration seems to be talking tough to the mullahs, these Iranians smell the aroma of their dream food coming from the Pentagon kitchen and begin salivating.
They crawl out of their holes, bounce on their feet and jockey for the best seats on the gravy train. They want the choicest dishes of the banquet and there is no time to dally.
In their headlong rush however, they end up trampling over each other and getting crushed in the stampede. When the smell from the kitchen subsides and their hopes wane, bloodied and exhausted they crawl back to their holes nursing their wounds and biding their time for the next opportunity.
I am talking about a sizable portion of the so-called Iranian opposition, especially those living outside the country. These people have as much self-reliance as a Guinea worm, and as much backbone as a jellyfish. The hearts and minds of the Iranian people are the last place on earth they venture to make any investment in. Iranian culture and literature are as alien and irrelevant to their sensibility as Javanese customs or Aztec civilization.
Anyone trying to engage them in a rational discussion would be whistling in the wind. They are as blinkered in their views as are Islamic fanatics.
For them, Iranians are a nation of weathercocks who have no will of their own, no power of their own, and no spiritual values of their own. They think Iranians should be rehabilitated, re-educated and relocated. They should be cleansed of their savage foreign religion and psychologically (since it is impossible physically) transplanted into a purer and chichier cultural environment.
They consider Iran as a country that is placed by historical, geographic aberration in the heart of a squalid and backward region. Do they see any discrepancy between this attitude and their professed devotion to their homeland and the future of its citizens?
Not at all. Like all fanatics they forego concrete reality in favour of an abstract utopia.
The Iranian mind for them is in need of being revamped and reconstructed before it can qualify to peacefully graze on the green pastures of freedom and democracy. Without this forcible overhaul, the total incompatibility of their ideals with the attitude and beliefs of the majority of the Iranian people can in no other manner be overcome.
For the past quarter of a century, these so-called opposition forces have fought the dictatorship of the Islamic Republic as effectively as water pistols would extinguish a blazing forest fire.
They have been busy squabbling amongst themselves over a whole gamut of moot questions such as the merits and demerits of Prime Minister Mossadegh’s political legacy, or form and minutiae of the political system in the post-mullahs Iranian regime.
The entrenched, well-tucked up mullahs on the other hand have not missed even a brief siesta worrying about such “opposition activities”.
Today, no self-respecting Iranian can fail to recognize that his or her country deserves something better than this distasteful travesty. The modern dynamic generation of Iranians have run out of patience with these bickering political bottom feeders who keep posing as opposition forces.
They have squandered invaluable time and precious hope of our nation for an unconscionable time. Iranians can no longer afford to put up with the insatiable egos of those who are fighting their own puny turf wars in the name of defending the interests of the nation. Today Iranians are looking for an effective enlightened opposition. They are looking for the transformation of self-centred cynical politics into the positive politics of inclusion, real alternatives, hopes and concrete planning. For the future of their country,
Iranians are looking for politicians who are willing and able to represent the genuine aspirations and interests of Iranian citizens and not a clique of estranged snobs who could not care less what the Iranian people think, feel or believe.
Iranians are not an arrogant people who consider themselves to be perfect. They are well aware that there is a great deal they need to learn from the rest of the world. They however distinguish between learning from other civilizations, and the obsequious surrendering of their national character and integrity.
This has nothing to do with xenophobia and everything to do with human rights to dignity and individual freedom. Today, the Iranian people are as opposed to the mullah’s regime as they are to this kind of self-destructive, philistine, decadent, out of touch opposition and believe them both to be the two sides of the same counterfeit coin.
Today the Iranian people are looking for men and women, who in the words of the great Iranian physician and philosopher Avicenna are “fortified by the power of their own moral strength” and invest in the goodwill and approbation of their own people.
Those who scoff at our nation’s customs, faith and way of life can only find themselves miserable within a culture that is unable to accommodate their taste and expectations.
The Iranian nation can never bring itself to respect or trust those political lackeys whose fortunes are slaves to the ups and downs of this or that American administration or the allocated CIA budgets for covert operations in Iran.
The Iranian people have said goodbye in their hearts to the mullahs, as well as to all that kind of outworn opposition
Alan's note: the social unrest that will come about with a gasoline shortage might well be the first nail in the coffin of the Isalmic regime. From the regime's standpoint, the limit on fuel will act as a self-imposed curfew as fewer people will be albe to roam - and do mischief.
Oil-rich Iran may run out of gasoline next month
By Marc Wolfensberger Wednesday, July 5, 2006
TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran, the world's second-largest holder of oil reserves, may run out of gasoline by the end of August, one month earlier than expected, as surging world prices bankrupt the government's price-subsidy program.
Iran's $2.5 billion budget for gasoline imports this year will only suffice until the end of August if prices keep rising, Hojatollah Ghanimifard, executive director for international affairs at National Iranian Oil Co. said on Petroenergy Information Network, Iran's Oil Ministry news agency.
The ministry has said it will have to ration gasoline to 3 liters a day (0.8 gallons) from as early as September following a parliamentary decision in March to cut its annual budget for gasoline imports by 40 percent. Instead of spreading measures throughout the year, the government has opted to wait until the budget is exhausted to ration gasoline.
The Islamic Republic is in the process of distributing "smart cards" that will limit the amount of gasoline individuals can buy, Deputy Oil Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh said last month. The program is running behind schedule, and Iran will take at least another six months to complete it, newspaper Sarmayeh reported on June 21, citing an unidentified energy official.
Without a rationing system in place, Iran's parliament will likely have to approve an emergency budget extension to bridge the gap.
The country's gasoline demand has grown at 15 percent a year as waste, a lack of refining capacity and smuggling have boosted fuel imports, the Paris-based International Energy Agency said in the April issue of its monthly report.
Iran, the second-biggest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, imports more than a third of the gasoline it uses, about 188,000 barrels a day. Last year, the country spent about 10 percent of its $44.6 billion crude oil export revenue on gasoline imports.
Subsidies ensure Iranian drivers pay the equivalent of $4 for a 40-liter tank of gasoline. The same amount of gasoline would cost $31 in the U.S., using the July 3 average unleaded price from the American Automobile Association.
July 09, 2006 Times Michael Sheridan
link to original article
A programme of covert action against nuclear and missile traffic to North Korea and Iran is to be intensified after last week’s missile tests by the North Korean regime. Intelligence agencies, navies and air forces from at least 13 nations are quietly co-operating in a “secret war” against Pyongyang and Tehran. It has so far involved interceptions of North Korean ships at sea, US agents prowling the waterfronts in Taiwan, multinational naval and air surveillance missions out of Singapore, investigators poring over the books of dubious banks in the former Portuguese colony of Macau and a fleet of planes and ships eavesdropping on the “hermit kingdom” in the waters north of Japan.
Few details filter out from western officials about the programme, which has operated since 2003, or about the American financial sanctions that accompany it. But together they have tightened a noose around Kim Jong-il’s bankrupt, hungry nation. “Diplomacy alone has not worked, military action is not on the table and so you’ll see a persistent increase in this kind of pressure,” said a senior western official. In a telling example of the programme’s success, two Bush administration officials indicated last year that it had blocked North Korea from obtaining equipment used to make missile propellant.
The Americans also persuaded China to stop the sale of chemicals for North Korea’s nuclear weapons scientists. And a shipload of “precursor chemicals” for weapons was seized in Taiwan before it could reach a North Korean port.
According to John Bolton, the US ambassador to the United Nations and the man who originally devised the programme, it has made a serious dent in North Korea’s revenues from ballistic missile sales. But the success of Bolton’s brainchild, the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), whose stated aim is to stop the traffic in weapons of mass destruction, might also push North Korea into extreme reactions.
Britain is a core member of the initiative, which was announced by President George W Bush in Krakow, Poland, on May 31, 2003. British officials have since joined meetings of “operational experts” in Australia, Europe and the US, while the Royal Navy has contributed ships to PSI exercises.
The participants include Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Italy, Spain and Singapore, among others.
There has been almost no public debate in the countries committed to military involvement. A report for the US Congress said it had “no international secretariat, no offices in federal agencies established to support it, no database or reports of successes and failures and no established funding”. To Bolton and senior British officials, those vague qualities make it politically attractive.
In the past 10 months, since the collapse of six-nation talks in Beijing on North Korea’s nuclear weapons, the US and its allies have also tightened the screws on Kim’s clandestine fundraising, which generated some $500m a year for the regime. Robert Joseph, the US undersecretary for arms control, has disclosed that 11 North Korean “entities” — trading companies or banks — plus six from Iran and one from Syria were singled out for action under an executive order numbered 13382 and signed by Bush.
For the first time, the US Secret Service and the FBI released details of North Korean involvement in forging $100 notes and in selling counterfeit Viagra, cigarettes and amphetamines in collaboration with Chinese gangsters. The investigators homed in on a North Korean trading company and two banks in Macau. The firm, which had offices next to a casino and a “sauna”, was run by North Koreans with diplomatic passports, who promptly vanished.
The two banks, Seng Heng bank and Banco Delta Asia, denied any wrongdoing. But the Macau authorities stepped in after a run on Banco Delta Asia and froze some $20m in North Korean accounts. Last week the North Koreans demanded the money as a precondition for talks but the Americans brushed off their protest. Kim told Hu Jintao, the Chinese president in January that his government was being strangled, diplomats in the Chinese capital said.
“He has warned the Chinese leaders his regime could collapse and he knows that is the last thing we want,” said a Chinese source close to the foreign ministry. The risk being assessed between Washington and Tokyo this weekend is how far Kim can be pushed against the wall before he undertakes something more lethal than last week’s display of force.
The “Dear Leader” has turned North Korea into a military-dominated state to preserve his own inherited role at the apex of a Stalinist personality cult. Although he appears erratic, and North Korea’s rhetoric is extreme, most diplomats who have met him think Kim is highly calculating. “He is a very tough Korean nationalist and he knows exactly how to play the power game — very hard,” said Professor Shi Yinhong, an expert in Beijing.
But the costly failure of Kim’s intercontinental missile, the Taepodong 2, after just 42 seconds of flight last Wednesday, was a blow to his prestige and to the force of his deterrent. Six other short and medium-range missiles splashed into the Sea of Japan without making any serious military point.
The United States and its allies are now preoccupied by what Kim might do with the trump card in his arsenal — his stockpile of plutonium for nuclear bombs. “The real danger is that the North Koreans could sell their plutonium to another rogue state — read Iran — or to terrorists,” said a western diplomat who has served in Pyongyang.
American officials fear Iran is negotiating to buy plutonium from North Korea in a move that would confound the international effort to stop Tehran’s nuclear weapons programme. The prospect of such a sale is “the next big thing”, said a western diplomat involved with the issue.
The White House commissioned an intelligence study on the risk last December but drew no firm conclusions. Plutonium was the element used in the atomic bomb that destroyed Nagasaki in 1945. It would give Iran a rapid route to the bomb as an alternative to the conspicuous process of enriching uranium which is the focus of international concern.
American nuclear scientists estimate North Korea is “highly likely” to have about 43kg and perhaps as much as 53kg of the material. Between 7kg and 9kg are needed for a weapon. Siegfried Hecker, former head of the US Los Alamos nuclear weapons laboratory, has warned that North Korea’s plutonium would fit into a few suitcases and would be impossible to detect if it were sold. For the first time since the crisis over its nuclear ambitions began in 1994, North Korea has made enough plutonium to sell a quantity to its ally while keeping sufficient for its own use.
North Korea is known to have sold 1.7 tons of uranium to Libya. It has sold ballistic missiles to Iran since the 1980s. American officials have said Iran is already exchanging missile test data for nuclear technology from Pyongyang. The exchanges probably involve flight monitoring for Scud-type rockets and techniques of uranium centrifuge operation. Relations deepened between the two surviving regimes in Bush’s “axis of evil” after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s military and scientific links with North Korea have grown rapidly. Last November western intelligence sources told the German magazine Der Spiegel that a high-ranking Iranian official had travelled to Pyongyang to offer oil and natural gas in exchange for more co-operation on nuclear technology and ballistic missiles.
Iran’s foreign ministry denied the report but diplomats in Beijing and Pyongyang believe it was accurate. At the same time evidence emerged through Iranian dissidents in exile that North Korean experts were helping Iran build nuclear-capable missiles in a vast tunnel complex under the Khojir and Bar Jamali mountains near Tehran.
So while one nation, North Korea, boasts of its nuclear weapons and the other, Iran, denies wanting them at all, the world is on edge. If the stakes are high in the nuclear terror game, they are equally high for the balance of power in Asia and thus for global prosperity.
North Korea’s aggressive behaviour and a record of kidnapping Japanese citizens have created new willpower among politicians in Tokyo to strengthen their military forces. To China, Japan’s wartime adversary, that signals a worrying change in the strategic equation.
Nationalism in both countries is on the rise. Relations between the two are at their worst for decades. One scenario is that Japan abandons its pacifist doctrine and becomes a nuclear weapons power. “The Japanese people are very angry and very worried and, right now, they will accept any government plan for the military,” said Tetsuo Maeda, professor of defence studies at Tokyo International University.
The mood favours the ascent of Shinzo Abe, Japan’s hawkish chief cabinet secretary, the man most likely to take over from Junichiro Koizumi, the prime minister, who steps down in September. “He will be far more hardline on Pyongyang and I’m firmly of the opinion that he intends to make Japan into a nuclear power,” Maeda said. The government is already committed to installing defensive Pac-3 Patriot missiles in co-operation with the Americans.
But radical opinion in Japan has been fortified by Kim’s adventures. “The vast majority of Japanese agree that we need to be able to carry out first strikes,” said Yoichi Shimada, a professor of international relations at Fukui Prefectural University. “I spoke to Mr Abe earlier this week and he shares my opinion that for Japan, the most important step would be for Japan to have an offensive missile capability.” Such talk causes severe concern to Washington, which has sheltered Japan under the umbrella of its nuclear arsenal since forging a security alliance after the second world war.
Divisions within the Bush administration — which even sympathisers concede have paralysed its nuclear diplomacy towards the North — also served to undermine Japanese confidence in America, as have the well-documented failings of American intelligence.
Dan Goure of the Lexington Institute, a think tank with ties to the Pentagon, says: “There’s no human intelligence in North Korea. Zero. Zippo. It’s like looking at your neighbour’s house with a pair of binoculars — and they’ve got their blinds shut.”
Last week Bush was working the phones to the leaders of China and Russia. But British officials think it unlikely that either will support a Japanese proposal for UN sanctions on the North Koreans. That leaves the Bush administration with the same unpalatable choices that existed a week, a month or a year ago. The military option, to all practical purposes, does not exist. “An attack is highly unlikely to destroy any existing North Korean nuclear weapons capability,” wrote Phillip Saunders of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, in a paper analysing its risks. “The biggest problem with military options is preventing North Korean retaliation,” Saunders said.
He believes half a million artillery shells an hour would be rained on Seoul in the first day of any conflict from North Korean artillery hidden in caves. The North Koreans could fire 200 mobile rocket launchers and launch up to 600 Scud missiles. American and South Korean casualties, excluding civilians, are projected at between 300,000 and 500,000 in the first 90 days of war.
Like former president Bill Clinton’s team, the Bush administration has therefore realised that a diplomatic answer is the only one available. But years of inattention, division and mixed messages robbed the US of diplomatic influence. One observer tells of watching the US envoy Christopher Hill sit mutely in an important negotiation because policy arguments in Washington had tied his hands. Yesterday Hill compromised by offering the North Koreans a private meeting if they came back to nuclear talks hosted by China.
But American faith in China’s powers of persuasion may have been misplaced. “China is the source of the problem, not the source of the solution,” argued Edward Timperlake, a defence official in the Reagan administration and author of Showdown, a new book on the prospect of war with China.
Kim ignored Chinese demands to call off the missile tests and some American officials now think Beijing is simply playing off its client against its superpower rival. The clearest statement of all came from the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” (DPRK) itself. The state news agency said America had used “threats and blackmail” to destroy an agreement to end the dispute. “But for the DPRK’s tremendous deterrent for self-defence, the US would have attacked the DPRK more than once as it had listed it as part of an ‘axis of evil’.”
The lesson of Iraq, the North Koreans said, was now known to everyone. Additional reporting: Sarah Baxter, Washington; Julian Ryall, Tokyo Thoughts of Kim I know I’m an object of criticism in the world, but if I am being talked about, I must be doing the right thing The leader’s greatness is in reality the greatness of our nation We oppose the reactionary policies of the US government but we do not oppose the American people. We want to have many good friends in the United States.
Iraq: U.S. Military Seized Man Suspected of Importing Surface-to-air Missile From Iran
July 08, 2006 Reuters Lutfi Abu Oun
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BAGHDAD -- U.S. and Iraqi forces with armoured vehicles surrounded a Shi'ite mosque in southeastern Baghdad after dark on Saturday in what appeared to be the latest operation against Shi'ite militias, police said.
There was no immediate comment from the U.S. military or the Iraqi Interior Ministry but a policeman at the scene outside the Sadrain mosque in the Zafaraniya district said he believed they were trying to arrest members of the Shi'ite Mehdi Army militia. The mosque is believed to be loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose Mehdi Army fighters have been the target of several recent operations by government and U.S. forces, including a major raid on Baghdad's Sadr City area on Friday.
The U.S. military said it captured a major militant suspect accused of kidnappings and murders in that raid, although Shi'ite political sources said a renowned local warlord known as Abu Deraa, whose neighbourhood was targeted, was still at large. The sources said the raid was part of a hunt for a Sunni Arab lawmaker whose kidnap a week ago in a Shi'ite neighbourhood has prompted a boycott of parliament by her Sunni colleagues.
In another operation announced on Friday, the U.S. military said it seized a Mehdi Army leader on Thursday whom it suspected of importing surface-to-air missiles from Shi'ite Iran. Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has said his national unity coalition formed two months ago will crack down on nominally pro-government Shi'ite militias as well as the minority Sunni Arab insurgency.
He launched a security clampdown a month ago in the capital, where dozens are dying every day in sectarian violence. Many Sunnis, dominant under Saddam Hussein, accuse the Mehdi Army and other Shi'ite militias of running death squads. Turning on Shi'ite gunmen will be problematic for Maliki, however.
Sadr's followers hold important ministries in his government and their support was crucial to Maliki's appointment in April when his predecessor was forced to step aside after lengthy internal Shi'ite wrangling that followed December's election.
When U.S. and Iraqi forces stormed a Baghdad building believed to be used by the Mehdi Army in March and killed 22 men, Maliki led condemnation by the main Shi'ite parties, who said the dead were Shi'ite civilians in a mosque. U.S. officers called them militants and denied it was a religious institution.
Iran: Ban Terrorists >From Iraq
July 09, 2006 Reuters Edmund Blair in Tehran
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Iran, accused by the United States of stirring up an Iraqi insurgency, said overnight that "terrorist" groups should be stopped from entering Iraq because they created an excuse for foreign troops to stay. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also said in a speech to a meeting of ministers from Baghdad's neighbours that surrounding states were committed to ensuring stability in Iraq. "It is necessary to stop the crossing of terrorist groups into Iraq who aim at creating insecurity, hatred and differences, and pave the way for the presence of foreign forces in Iraq," Mr Ahmadinejad told the foreign ministers in Tehran. He did not say from where or how the groups were entering.
Washington accuses Tehran of backing anti-US insurgents in Iraq, a charge Tehran denies saying the US occupation is to blame for the instability. "We are all committed to try to restore stability, security and progress in Iraq," Mr Ahmadinejad told the gathering.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki called for a timetable to be drawn up for foreign forces to leave and said Iraq's neighbours should not be blamed for the country's problems. "It is impossible to bestow freedom and democracy by resorting to violence and to cover up the failures in Iraq by accusing and conspiring against its neighbours," he said in a speech to the closed session, a copy of which was handed out.
Syria has also been accused by Washington of not doing enough to stop militants crossing into Iraq. Asked what more Damascus could do to secure its border, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said: "We are doing our best." Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said Iraq wanted neighbouring states to help improve security and to support the new government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and its national reconciliation plan. "We asked them to use their influence over all the groups to participate, to embrace this national reconciliation initiative," Mr Zebari said without naming the groups.
Iraqi officials have said some Iraqi insurgents have asked Arab states to act as mediators following the offer of dialogue. Most Arab states are ruled by Sunni Arabs, the majority sect within Islam, and some of these view with suspicion Iraq's Shi'ite majority. Non-Arab Iran is also mainly Shi'ite. Ministers and officials from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Turkey were among those attending the meeting that ends on Sunday, as well as Egypt, which does not share a border with Iraq. Arab League chief Amr Moussa also attended.
Israel Must Be Removed "Says Iran's President".
July 08, 2006 Iran Press Service Safa Haeri
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Paris -- In one of his yet strongest, strident ttacks, Iran’s fundamentalist President Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad again repeated that Israel must be “removed” from the region and called on all Arab and Muslim nations to help “isolating” the artificial product of Islam’s enemies”.
“All the conditions for the removal of the Zionist regime are at hand, a usurper that our enemies made it and imposed it on the Muslim world, a regime that prevented the progress of the region’s nations, a regime that all Muslim must join hands in isolating it worldwide”, Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad told the gathering of Iraq’s neighbours, employing for the first time the Arabic word (ezaleh) which means removing body hairs as well as women’s virginity.
Foreign ministers from Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey plus the Persian Gulf Island nation of Bahrain and Egypt are meeting on the invitation of Iran to discuss Iraq’s alarming security problems, as a secret report from the American Defence says in the last month of June, there has been over 1.300 terrorist operations and explosions throughout the country. General Secretaries of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Conference and a special representative of the United Nations General Secretary are also present.
Using the podium to unleash his fury over Israel in particular and its Western “producers” in general, with the United States at their helm, Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad also warned all nations that support “this artificial regime before it is too late”, as, in his messianic view, it won’t take longtime before the wrath of the people in the region and the world turn into a terrible explosion that would wipe the Zionist entity off the map”.
“They should realize that their support for the illegitimate, usurper Zionist regime is a mistake. I tell them to dissociate themselves or face the terrible consequences”, he added, referring indirectly to Turkey, Egypt and Jordan, three a Muslim and two Arab nations that have official diplomatic relations with Israel. While Ankara and Amman’s relations with Tehran are lukewarm, Cairo has no ties with Iran. Notwithstanding, all the participants have strongly condemned Israel’s military operations “Spring Rain” against the Palestinians.
To get the release of one of its soldiers captured by the Palestinians, Israel has unleashed its forces against Gaza, killing hundreds of Palestinians, arresting tens of people, including eight ministers of the Hamas-led Palestinian government, destroying houses, official buildings, and factories.
The foreign ministers of Arab nations attending the conference also condemned Israel for its "increasing aggression against the Palestinian people" and attacked the "silence" of the international community. "The Arab foreign ministers participating in today's Tehran meeting expressed their strong condemnation of this continuing and increasing aggression against the Palestinian people," Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa said in a statement on behalf of officials from Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
On Friday, Iran organized mass rallies in support of the Palestinians, condemning Israel’s “crimes”. According to the former Revolutionary Guards officer who fought against Iraq immediately after the former Iraq dictator attacked Iran in 1980, it is “a vital necessity” for all neighbours, Arabs and Muslims to help and support the present Iraqi government overcoming the immense problems it faces, as “Iraq’s problems are rooted in the presence of enemies that are trying to divide the Iraqi people and pit them against each other”.
However, all the participants welcomed the Iraqi Premier’s plan for national reconciliation and pledged support. “This is a good decision and will no doubt help bring stability to the country”, stated Prince Saud Al Faysal, Saudi Arabia’s Minister. Calling on all “friends and neighbours” to help Iraqi Government’s efforts to fight terrorism and back the national reconciliation, Mr. Hoshyar Zibari, the Iraqi Foreign Affairs Minister, who, like the country’s president is a Kurd, hoped that all foreign troops would leave Iraq “as soon as the army, police and security system are reconstructed and operative”.
Contrary to Iranian delegates, other speakers refrained from attacking American-British military presence, hoping instead for the “quick restoration” of peace and security in the terrorist-riddled nation engulfed in religious infighting. “The proposal for a national reconciliation calls on all political parties, major ethnic and all the country’s religious forces to come together, join hands fighting terrorists and restoring peace and security”, Mr. Zibari said, stressing the importance of “tightly controlled borders and preserving Iraq’s territorial integrity”. “Iraq’s situation is very delicate and sensitive. As neighbours, we all have a historic responsibility and duty to help the country to overcome its problems peacefully”, the Saudi Minister stressed. "It is necessary to stop the crossing of terrorist groups into Iraq who aim at creating insecurity, hatred and differences, and pave the way for the presence of foreign forces in Iraq," Ahmadinejad told the foreign ministers in Tehran.
He did not say from where or how the groups were entering Iraq. Washington accuses Tehran of backing anti-U.S. insurgents in Iraq, a charge Tehran denies saying the U.S. occupation is to blame for the instability. "Stability, security and progress of Iraq strengthens stability, security and progress in the whole Islamic world," Ahmadinejad said. "We are all committed to try to restore stability, security and progress in Iraq," he told the gathering.
Syria, which sent its foreign minister to Tehran, has also been accused by Washington of not doing enough to stop militants crossing into Iraq. Damascus insists it is doing its best. The last meeting of Iraq’s neighbours was held in Istanbul, Turkey, a year ago.
Ahmadinejad: Islamic Countries Should Eliminate Israel
July 08, 2006 VOA News Voice of America
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Iran's president has called on Islamic countries to eliminate Israel. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke Saturday in Tehran at the opening of a regional conference of Islamic nations. He said the basic problem in the Islamic world is the existence of what he called the Zionist regime. He said the Islamic world must mobilize to remove the problem.
The two-day meeting is aimed at improving security in Iraq. Foreign ministers from many Arab countries are attending. Mr. Ahmadinejad called on Iraq's neighbors to help keep foreign terrorists out of that country.
The Iranian president said the ongoing insurgency is an excuse for foreign troops to remain in Iraq. The U.S. has accused Iran of supporting Shi'ite insurgents in Iraq. But earlier this year, Washington said it was ready to discuss with Tehran how it could use its influence on Iraqi Shi'ites to bring security to that country.
The U.S. has also blamed Damascus for allowing foreign insurgents to pass through Syria on their way to Iraq. Mr. Ahmadinejad is known for his fiery anti-Israel rhetoric. On Friday, he called the Jewish state a "fake regime" and said it should be dismantled. Last year, he faced international condemnation after he questioned the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews and said Israel should be wiped off the map. Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
Bush's Promise to Defend Israel Against Iran
July 07, 2006 Bitter Lemons International Michael Rubin
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Asked on February 1, 2006 whether the United States would protect Israel militarily against Iran, President George W. Bush left no doubt: "You bet, we'll defend Israel."
To some realists, his statement was evidence that Israel had become a strategic liability to the United States.
A few prominent Jewish leaders, worried that Jews might be blamed for any military conflict with Iran, urged Bush to tone down his statements pledging support for Israel. "We are basically telling the president: We appreciate it, we welcome it. But, hey, because there is this debate on Iraq, where people are trying to put the blame on us, maybe you shouldn't say it that often or that loud," Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, explained. In reality, though,
Bush's pledge of support to Israel is neither new nor special. While critics of US foreign policy and the Bush administration suggest that US wars are fought for either Israel or oil, history suggests otherwise. In the last 15 years, the US military has intervened not only in Iraq and Afghanistan--both part of the war on terrorism--but also in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo, in each case for humanitarian purposes.
That the US would act to defend its allies should not surprise. While US professors proffer informed comment that Iranian leaders do not mean what they say, policymakers have learned to take the opinion of academic experts with a grain of salt. One week before Iraq invaded Kuwait,
The Times (London) reported, "The consensus among Middle East experts...was that Iraq would not invade Kuwait." After Saddam Hussein demonstrated that sometimes dictators mean what they say, President George H.W. Bush did not go wobbly. Before a joint session of Congress on September 11, 1990, Bush declared, "Our objectives in the Persian Gulf are clear, our goals defined and familiar: Iraq must withdraw from Kuwait completely, immediately, and without condition. Kuwait's legitimate government must be restored."
Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt may receive plaudits in certain crowds for arguing that Israel is a strategic liability to the United States, but the fact remains that the US went to war in 1991 not to protect Israel, but to protect Saudi Arabia and liberate Kuwait. That it did so was correct. US defense of allies from aggression is not limited to the Middle East.
In both Korea and Vietnam, invasions by communist states of US allies sparked full-scale war. President Harry S. Truman recorded the lowest popularity ever among US presidents in part because of high casualties and domestic criticism of his engagement in an "open-ended" conflict. He understood--as have subsequent presidents--that US credibility among its allies is more important than any snapshot poll.
Today, the US maintains 35,000 troops in South Korea, and Truman ranks among the top five presidents in polls by American historians. As costly as a war with China would be, US administrations have made clear that Washington would consider military action to defend Taiwan from Chinese aggression. In 1979, Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act that declared it necessary to provide arms to Taiwan and "to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people of Taiwan."
Early in his first term, against the backdrop of a crisis with Beijing, George W. Bush declared that if the Peoples' Republic of China attacked Taiwan, the US would do "whatever it took to help Taiwan defend itself".
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may believe their anti-Israel rhetoric resonates with both their domestic audience and the Arab street. They may believe that Washington is too weak to respond. Addressing the United States on the seventeenth anniversary of the death of Islamic Republic founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Khamenei asked, "Why do you [the US] not admit that you are weak and your razor is blunt?"
But, despite Bush administration equivocation about its democratization policy, the strain of US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and the failure of the White House to stand by its previously declared red lines, Tehran would be mistaken to believe that the US government neither had the will nor the capacity to stand by Israel or any other ally. If forced to act,
Washington would and could. The US Air Force and Navy remain unencumbered. While no serious policymaker discusses occupation of Iran, the Islamic Republic's leadership would not likely survive should it push the White House into conflict over Israel or, for that matter, over Washington's allies in the Persian Gulf.
On certain issues, US policy is remarkably consistent and bipartisan. No matter how poisonous political battles are in Washington, Congress unites in the face of aggression against the United States or its allies. Bush's pledge to protect Israel is neither unique nor counter to US interests. For Tehran or any other state to believe otherwise or engage in policies that would challenge the White House on its fundamental duties to its allies would represent a serious miscalculation. Michael Rubin, editor of the Middle East Quarterly, is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC.
US - Led Forces Arrest Top Militia Commander Suspected Spying for Iran
July 07, 2006 Reuters The New York Times
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BAGHDAD -- U.S.-led forces arrested a regional commander for a pro-government Shi'ite militia suspected of smuggling surface-to-air missiles and spying for Iran, the U.S. military said on Friday. Adnan al-Unaybi, leader of the Mehdi Army militia in charge of an area south of Baghdad where two U.S. helicopters were shot down this year, was arrested during an Iraqi-U.S. raid near the town of Hilla, 100 km (62 miles) south of Baghdad on Thursday.
Unaybi had been previously detained in 2004 but later released for torching liquor stores and tearing down public billboards of Iraqi singers, the U.S. military said. News of his arrest came the same day as Iraqi and U.S. forces arrested a militant leader in Baghdad's Sadr City slum after a firefight in which 30-40 gunmen were killed or wounded. Police later identified him as a Mehdi Army leader. It was not clear if the two sweeps were part of a coordinated crackdown, but Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has vowed to disband militias, some of which, like the Mehdi army, are tied to political parties in his government coalition.
Unaybi led the Mehdi militia in the volatile middle Euphrates valley, an area which has seen much fighting. Militants shot down two U.S. helicopters during clashes with American troops near Yusifiya in April and in May. The U.S. military did not say if Unaybi was wanted for his role in shooting down the helicopters but said he was responsible for ``weapons smuggling, including the movement of SA-7 surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles.'' Among other crimes he is suspected of committing, the military said, were ``espionage activities for Iran'' and ''financing the operations of his organization through contacts in both Lebanon and Iran.''
Mehdi Army militias are loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, a radical and influential political figure who has allies in Iran. The militias staged two revolts against U.S. forces in 2004.
U.S., Russia to deal over nukes
By Peter BakerWashington Post
WASHINGTON — President Bush has decided to permit extensive U.S. civilian nuclear cooperation with Russia for the first time, reversing decades of bipartisan policy in a move that would be worth billions of dollars to Moscow but could provoke an uproar in Congress.
Bush resisted such a move for years, insisting that Russia first stop building a nuclear power station for Iran on the Persian Gulf. But U.S. officials have shifted their view of Russia's collaboration with Iran and concluded that President Vladimir Putin has become a more constructive partner in trying to pressure Tehran to give up any aspirations for nuclear weapons.
"We have made clear to Russia that for an agreement on peaceful nuke cooperation to go forward, we will need active cooperation in blocking Iran's attempts to obtain nuclear weapons," Peter Watkins, a White House spokesman, said Saturday.
The president plans to formally announce his decision at a meeting with Putin in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Saturday before the annual summit of leaders from the Group of Eight major nations. The statement to be released by the two presidents would agree to start negotiations for the formal agreement required under U.S. law before the United States can engage in civilian nuclear cooperation.
In the administration's view, both sides would benefit. A nuclear cooperation agreement would clear the way for Russia to import and store thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel from U.S.-supplied reactors around the world, a lucrative business so far blocked by Washington. It could be used as an incentive to win more Russian cooperation on Iran. And it would be critical to Bush's plan to spread civilian nuclear energy to power-hungry countries because Russia would provide a place to send the used radioactive material.
At the same time, it could draw significant opposition from across the ideological spectrum, according to analysts who follow the issue. Critics wary of Putin's authoritarian course view it as rewarding Russia even though Moscow refuses to support sanctions against Iran. Others fearful of Russia's record of handling nuclear material see it as a reckless move that endangers the environment.
"You will have all the anti-Russian right against it, you will have all the anti-nuclear left against it, and you will have the Russian democracy center concerned about it too," said Matthew Bunn, a nuclear specialist at Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
Since Russia is already a nuclear state, such an agreement, once drafted, presumably would conform to the Atomic Energy Act and therefore would not require congressional approval. Congress could reject it only with majority votes by both houses within 90 legislative days.
Some specialists said Bush's decision marks a milestone in U.S.-Russian relations, despite tension over Moscow's retreat from democracy and pressure on neighbors. "It signals that there's a sea change in the attitude toward Russia, that they're someone we can try to work with on Iran," said Rose Gottemoeller, a former Energy Department official in the Clinton administration who now directs the Carnegie Moscow Center.
But others said the deal seems one-sided. "Just what exactly are we getting? That's the real mystery," said Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center. Until now, he noted, the United States has insisted on specific actions by Russia to prevent Iran from developing bombs. "We're not getting any of that. We're getting an opportunity to give them money."
Environmentalists have denounced Russia's plans to transform itself into the world's nuclear dump. The country has a history of nuclear accidents and contamination. Its transportation network is antiquated and inadequate for moving vast quantities of radioactive material, critics say. And the country, they add, has not fully secured the nuclear facilities it already has against theft or accidents.
The United States has civilian nuclear cooperation agreements with the European atomic energy agency, along with China, Japan, Taiwan and 20 other countries. Bush recently sealed an agreement with India, which does require congressional approval because of that nation's unsanctioned weapons program.
Russia has sought such an agreement with the United States since the 1990s. Estimating that it could make as much as $20 billion, Russia enacted a law in 2001 permitting the import, temporary storage and reprocessing of foreign nuclear fuel, despite 90 percent opposition in public opinion polls.
But the plan went nowhere. The United States controls spent fuel from nuclear material it provides, even in foreign countries, and Bunn estimates that as much as 95 percent of the potential world market for Russia was under U.S. jurisdiction. Without a cooperation agreement, none of the material could be sent to Russia, even though allies such as South Korea and Taiwan are eager to ship spent fuel there.
Like President Clinton before him, Bush refused to consider it as long as Russia was helping Iran with its nuclear program.
The concern over the nuclear reactor under construction at Boushehr, however, has faded. Russia agreed to provide all fuel to the facility and take it back once used, meaning it could not be turned into material for nuclear bombs. U.S. officials who once suspected that Russian scientists were secretly behind Iran's weapons program learned that critical assistance to Tehran came from Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan.
The 2002 disclosure that Iran had secret nuclear sites separate from Boushehr shocked the U.S. and Russian governments and seemed to harden Putin's stance toward Iran. He eventually agreed to refer the issue to the U.N. Security Council and signed on to a package of incentives and penalties recently sent to Tehran. But at the same time, he has consistently opposed economic sanctions, military action or tougher diplomatic language.
Opening negotiations for a formal nuclear cooperation agreement could be used as a lever to move Putin further. Talks will inevitably take months, and the review in Congress will extend the process. If during that time Putin resists stronger measures against Iran, analysts said, the deal could unravel or critics on Capitol Hill could try to muster enough opposition to block it. If Putin proves cooperative on Iran, they said, it could ease the way toward final approval.
Sweden: Iranian diplomat brandishes gun in embassy
An Iranian diplomat walked into Iran's embassy in Stockholm on Saturday and threatened his colleagues with a gun, but no shots were fired in the incident, police said.
The diplomat, who was not identified but is employed at the embassy, then left in a car but was later found by police near his house in the Stockholm suburb of Lidingo, police spokeswoman Eva Nilsson said.
The man has diplomatic immunity and cannot be arrested or interrogated by police unless his diplomat status is revoked, she said. Instead, he was taken to a hospital because "he was not feeling too well," Nilsson said.
It was unclear what prompted the incident, which happened shortly after 1 p.m. (1100GMT), or how many employees were in the embassy at the time, she said.
Embassy officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Oil Prices Hit New Record at $75.78 July 08, 2006 zaman.com
Oil prices hit an all-time high at $75.78 a barrel on Friday, following a US government report of strong fuel demand in the US.
The ongoing international tensions stemming from the nuclear dispute between Iran and the US, in addition to North Korea's missile tests, contributed to the new record.
London Brent crude also increased by 9 cents, rising to $74.17, having earlier hit a record $75.09 a barrel.
However, the prices later fell on Friday upon signs of reduced tensions between the West and Iran. Ali Larijani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, said yesterday that he had a "positive impression" of a Western proposal for Iran to stop uranium enrichment in return for a package of incentives.
Currently, crude oil per barrel stands at nearly $74 while London Brent stands at slightly over $72 a barrel.
Bruno Schirra, writing for the German website Die Welt just published a report that the IAEA tried to stop entitled: Atomic Secrets: The man who knew too much. This is the first time the IAEA’s Chief Inspector, Chris Charlier, has spoken out publicly. We have just translated the report.
Here are a few excerpts:
When Baradei went to Tehran in April for consultations, the chief negotiator of the Shiite theocracy, Ali Larijani gave him an ultimatum to fire Chris Charlier. …Mohammad El-Baradei acted swiftly in accepting the demand.
Chris Charlier had made himself highly unpopular in Tehran since 2003. "I am not a politician, I am a technician and as such the only thing which interests me is whether Iran's nuclear program is a civil or military one", Charlier states. "The inspections have to reach an unambiguous conclusion"."I believe they are hiding what they are doing with their nuclear activities. …
Charlier notes the results of inspections and lists the tricks and deceptions of the Tehran rulers, which leads the inspectors in Vienna to a single conclusion: based on pieces of the puzzle gathered by Charlier, "Tehran is obviously making a bomb." …
Mohammad El-Baradei promised Ali Larijani, the most trusted person of Iran's Supreme Ruler Ali Khamenei not only to remove Charlier, the team leader of the inspectors, but also to no longer allow him access to any documents in Vienna, relative to Iran's nuclear program.
Does El Baradei work for Iran or the UN or even the IAEA?
IranMania reported that Mohamed Elbaradei said that there was still plenty of time to find a diplomatic solution to the the Iranian nuclear crisis. Plenty of time? To whose benefit? Other than Iran.
When will El Baradei be forced out of the IAEA? Write your representatives and demand hearings in this now.
El Baradei is not the only one corrupted by the Iranian regime.
Rooz Online reported that while Ahmadinejad claims to be battling corruption in the Iranian regime, his brother has been accused of embezzling $2 Million dollars in contracts with the IRGC. His brother is currently the head of the president’s inspector’s office whose responsibility is to track and investigate government corruption and fraud. Fox guarding the hen-house!
Rooz Online reported that although Iran's Supreme Leader has ordered the "privatization" of the Iranian economy. In reality, Iran's "Private Sector" = The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC).
Here are a few other news items you may have missed.
Michael Rubin, Bitter Lemons International, while critical of the Bush administrations equivocation about its democratization policy, warned that the Islamic Republic's leadership would not likely survive should it push the White House into conflict over Israel or, for that matter, over Washington's allies in the Persian Gulf.
Yahoo News reported on the two-day regional conference on security in Iraq is to open in the Iranian capital Tehran. Talking to the same fox to guard another hen-house!
Yahoo News reported that Shirin Ebadi finally demanded the "unconditional" release of all political prisoners, despite official denials that such a category of detainee exists. Reluctant to take on the regime, for whom she shills, yet wanting to appear active, she has chosen a "soft" subject with which to do this. Not one the regime will worry over too much but puts her in the spotlight.
Safa Haeri, Iran Press Service reported more on Ahmadinejad's statement: "Israel Must Be Removed." The Israel card again. Ahmadi-Nejad, convinced the Jews run America, has been trying to use this as leverage with a spin off benefit of appearfing good to Arab and Islamic nations.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Rooz Online reported how healthy Iranians are selling their Kidney's on the black market in Iran, providing further evidence of the desperate economic conditions there.
Rooz Online reported on the rise of suicide in Iran, the vast majority from young women. Further evidence of the desperation of Iranian young people.
Iran Focus reported that the U.S. State Department put Iran among the main countries engaged in human trafficking. The report described Iran as a “source, transit, and destination country for women and girls trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude”.
Iran's Supreme Leader seizes "executive authority" to follow the Chinese model?
Rooz Online argued that Iran's Supreme Leader's recent decree for reducing the size of the government and selling government stocks and shares in its commercial enterprises is evidence of his grasping for the executive functions of the government. It appears he is trying to follow the Chinese model, but there are problems with this approach.
Alan"s note: the idea to sell shares in government companies' stocks and shares came originally from Ahmadi-Nejad but with almost every one of these corporations showing an operating loss the desire to buy was never great. Even when Ahmadi-Nejad offered 20-year loans to buyers. The intent here is to "tax" the people to fund the government.
Ahmadinejad couldn't take it anymore.
Rooz Online reported that a group of students advising President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on student issues was dismissed because of its criticism of the performance of the government in the sphere of higher education. He didn't like being criticized.
Here are a few other news items you may have missed.
George W. Bush, WhiteHouse.gov in his weekly radio address said: "Today, all who live in tyranny and all who yearn for freedom can know that America stands with them."
Amir Taheri, Gulf News reported on the future of coalition in Iraq.
Rooz Online published a cartoon of Ahmadinejad "sleeping on the job."
Current TV published a video cartoon: "Iran: Deal Or No Deal?" A little humor.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Of the top 10 countries searching for sex-related sites, six were Muslim, and Pakistan was the leader, followed by Egypt (no 2), Iran (no 4), Morocco (no 5), Saudi Arabia (no 7) and Turkey at no 8. Vietnam was third, India at no 6, Philipines at 9 and Poland at 10. To verify the results, click here.
But Western Resistance is not content to let it rest here. If you click on the following links, you can see the data for yourself. In all of the following categories of bestiality, Pakistan was top of the list of Google searches for:
Pig Sex, with Egypt (no 2) and Saudi Arabia (no 3) following.
Donkey Sex, with India (no 2), Iran (no 3) and Saudi Arabia (no 4) following.
Dog Sex, with India (no 2), and Saudi Arabia (no 3)
Cat Sex (!!!), with Iran (no 2), Egypt (no 3) and Saudi Arabia (no 4) following.
Horse Sex, followed by India (no 2) and Turkey (no 3)
Cow Sex, with Iran (no 2), India (no 3) and Saudi Arabia (no 4) following.
Goat Sex, with India (no 2) and New Zealand (no 3) following .
Animal Sex, with Morocco (no 2), India (no 3), Iran (no 4), Egypt (no 5)
It is truly bizarre that Pakistan should top the search lists for ALL of the above categories. But your intrepid Western Resistance researcher was not prepared to let it rest at that. Surely there is something highly relevant in the above figures.
Bizarrely, though the Pakistani web-surfer wants to see images of Goat Sex, the same nation is not interested in looking for sites on Sheep Sex. In fact, no Muslim countries were interested in sheep, perhaps because they eat lamb. Never play with one's dinners, seems to be the moral here.
But if four-legged animals seem to whet the Muslim surfer's appetite, creatures with only two legs were not interesting.
So for Duck Sex, only Western nations are featured, with Norway number one.
But for Chicken Sex, the antipodeans seem most interested, with Australia number one, followed by the US and then New Zealand.
Another Muslim nation, Malaysia, was most interested in Fish Sex, but once again, Pakistan was top of the charts for Snake Sex.
Before you start guessing, these sites involve women "inserting" these creatures.
On a search for Gay Sex, the Philippines was top of the list, with Saudi Arabia coming in at number two. Forbidden fruits?
The word "ass" has double meanings, as a donkey and as a posterior, and a search for Ass Sex found Saudi Arabia was top, followed by Pakistan (no 2), Egypt (no 3), Iran (no 4), the United Arab Emirates (no 5), Greece (no 6) and Morocco (no 7).
Ironically a search for Bottom Sex found the United Kingdom in top place, followed by India (no 2) and the US (no 3).
But Anal Sex was most sought after in Saudi Arabia, followed by Turkey (no 2).
A search on Oral Sex found only one Muslim nation in the top ten, with Turkey coming in at fifth place.
No Muslim nations were interested in Lesbian Sex, Granny Sex or Kinky Sex.
The results of my searches have made me snigger and squeal with laughter, but it is not all amusing.
Mohammed the so-called prophet had sex with a nine year old girl, and it seems his followers still want to look for images of Child Sex.
For this, the top of the list of searches was headed by Pakistan (no 1), followed by India (no 2), Iran (no 3) and Turkey (no 4).