Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Until I finish the next news analysis, please have a look at some of the headlines coming out of Iran. As you may already know, a nation-wide power struggle has been underway for some time now between hardline Muslim fundamentalists and the secular moderates. The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) is the country's official news agency and the stories it reports reflect the political division. It's not uncommon to read contradictory statements by various government within the same day's coverage -- which I find both amusing and curious. For the dedicated reader, I offer these selections from the distant land once known as Persia...

Note: To read a story in its entirety, click the headline to link the original article

Iran's envoy says Iraq to be disarmed through UN means
Iran's Ambassador to Paris Sadeq Kharrazi said here Wednesday that Iraq should be disarmed just through the UN means and after widespread investigation and control. Kharrazi who was speaking to the senators of the French senate said a devastating war does not need to take place to disarm Iraq... The president said a military attack against Iraq will subject the suffering people of Iraq to immeasurable further suffering; will endanger the stability and security of our sensitive area; will create economic instability in this strategic region; will certainly bring in its wake a host of destructive environmental consequences, and last but not least, it will create a humanitarian catastrophe for the neighboring countries.

Iran must resolve issues with Afghanistan, Iraq
`Iran Daily' on Tuesday urged Tehran to adopt a wise and rational stance by working to resolve pending crucial issues with the war-ravaged countries of Afghanistan and Iraq... Iran's problem with Afghanistan is two-fold: the issue of the Hirmand River, which is essentially a main source of water for farms in Iran's arid and thirsty Sistan and Baluchestan province and one which has been discussed on several occasions without any avail, and the border disputes which have always created problems between the two sides... With respect to Iraq, the daily believes, development in that country can directly affect our national security and interest. "Iran simply cannot remain immune to the aftermath of US threatened military operations for regime change in Baghdad"

112 talented student have left Iran: press report
The so-called 'brain drain' is costing the country some dlrs 50 billion annually, noted the English-language daily, revealing the actual figure of those leaving the country as 145,000... The meager wages the young educated professionals earn is not sufficient to make ends meet, let alone purchasing a car, buying a house or getting married, highlighted the article... Unfortunately, 'civil and social rights and the obligations of the state toward the individual are not clearly defined in the system' and more often than not, are regrettably 'denied or ignored', lamented the daily. "The young generation demands accountability from the government that is progressive and modern and not tied up in the past"

Iraqi opposition open meeting in Salahaddin, Arbil
The meeting is focussing on the composition of a top political committee to undertake administration of the country for a transitional period until the general elections to establish a legitimate government, organizers said. Opposition groups said that the high committee will consist of seven members, four Shias and three Sunnis and the latter will include two representatives from the Kurdish population and one from the Arab.

Rafsanjani: US still has pretext to attack Iraq
Iran's former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said here Wednesday that the United States still has a pretext to attack Iraq because of the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's 'negative performance'. Saddam's treatment of his people and the neighboring countries is 'very bad', he said, warning that 'the uncalculated steps of Saddam and his likes can give America the necessary pretext to attack Iraq'.

Daily urges measures to restore the people's confidence in the electoral process
"Evasions of the law, unlawful self-enrichment of the government coffer and partisan esprit de corps as well as influence peddling through city council membership" are facts of political life not exclusive to the Islamic Republic. To restore the people's confidence in this democratic process, candidates should be properly screened, and only those who are fit to run should be on the bandwagon, suggested the daily. And, of course, those who have used the same positions to enrich themselves should be punished.

Khatami's special envoy meets Hizbollah's leader
He expressed regret that a number of European countries had joined America in war against Iraq and called for cooperation between all independent states to confront the US plots in the Middle East region. Mohtashami who is director general of the International Conference to Support Palestinian Intifada (uprising), called the Iraqi opposition group not to fall into a trap that the America has set.

Daily says al-Qaeda behind Ilyushin crash
The English-language daily `Tehran Times' on Wednesday highlighted speculations that the last week crash of an IRGC plane could have been a sabotage by the al-Qaeda terror network. The Tehran Times quoted eyewitnesses as reporting that they had seen sparks from the plane following an explosion in the cockpit before it came down on the mountains.

Iran to review ties with Argentina if anti-Iran allegation continues
Government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh said on Wednesday that Iran will review its relations with Argentina if it fails to stop anti-Iran propaganda campaign over bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994.

Reader Mail: Venture into the Wilds

Comments on France and the Politics of Peace

Note: this letter was edited for the sake of clarity, but great care was taken to preserve the ideas presented by the reader per his intention.
...Are the French more moral than the rest of us? No, I don't think so. But they do have a keen sense that they (and subsequently the rest of us) are either not being told the truth about Iraq, or are being fed small bits of information that are taken out of context. It's quite clear, for example, that the 1980’s war Iraq started against Iran was at the behest of the Americans. Therefore any weapons found in Iraq by Richard Butler and his crew of spies revealed the extent of the American administration's criminality against the Iranian revolution.

I saw you mention an article that many in France believe 4,000 Israelis left the WTC an hour before the attack. This is doubtful this because surely one of them would have spoken out by now. That's where most of the conspiracies fall down: if so many people were involved in the alleged government plot of 9/11 (at least 5.000), why hasn't one of them tried to reveal the truth? Chances are that at least one would have tried to tell the world what happened, but wild conspiracy theories spread because the official version doesn't cut any ice.

I discovered a link from What Really Happened some time ago to a Ha'aretz report that two or three people received warnings via Odigo a couple of hours before the jets struck. Unbelievably, the paper tried to pass off the incident as a freak coincidence and reassured readers that Israeli sources were co-operating with the F.B.I. Since then, no further news was published and no explanation was offered.

I must say that the French people aren't stupid and neither is the rest of Europe. We might not know the true story but we know we're being lied to. So why did the American government run off with the first weapons declaration in New York? What was the significance of that? Were American and European arms sales to Iraq so secret that the permanent members of the Security Council couldn't see it until the Americans "photocopied” the declaration?

It is interesting to note that Mr. Chirac is also fully aware of the intelligence the French sent to America about Zacarias Moussaoui, information that was clearly part of an ongoing investigation. So perhaps when Mr. Chirac says "non" to war there's more to it than meets the eye. Perhaps French Intelligence is advising him, I'm sure they are.

In conclusion I suggest that the majority of Europeans don't believe their governments, especially the British, and the majority oppose the war. I don't see how allowing the American military to launch 8,000 Cruise Missiles at Baghdad in two days is going to bring about a better world. Europeans oppose sanctions on Iraq because of their negative impact on the population. Besides, if Saddam is such a crook then the U.S government should convince The Hague to issue an international arrest warrant. And if the U.S and Britain wants to go to war, they should have the guts to send in troops and forego a bombing and missile attack on the population of Iraq. Or does Mr. Bush, an avowed born again Christian, believe Iraqi lives expendable?

Paul