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U.S. is studying military strike options on Iran
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interview With Israel Radio One

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
August 12, 2006

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, thank you very much for talking to the Israeli
Broadcasting Authority. I'm sure you're exhausted and tired after the last few

SECRETARY RICE: Well, no. But thank you for having me on your show.

QUESTION: When do you expect, Madame Secretary, the cease-fire to take effect
on the ground?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the first step is that the Lebanese cabinet must approve
and then the Israeli cabinet must approve, as I understand it, on Sunday. And
then Secretary General Annan is working with the parties to establish a
timetable for the cease-fire. But I would hope that within no more than a day
or so of that, that there would be a cessation of the hostilities on the
ground, and the hostilities that have been most difficult for civilians, both
Israeli and Lebanese.

I do need to warn, there will continue to be, I'm sure, some skirmishes. That
always happens in a cessation of hostilities. But hopefully the large-scale
violence can stop.

QUESTION: Meanwhile, Israel accelerates and expands the military operation.
What is your comment, Madame Secretary?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I understand that this is going on. My understanding is
that this is a part of the normal operations that were contemplated. But that
when the cease-fire, the cessation of hostilities comes into being, Israel will
stop. And that will be a very good thing for, I think, all civilians. But
Israel's cabinet still has to approve the cessation of hostilities. I know that
Prime Minister Olmert and the defense minister and the foreign minister are
going to recommend it to the cabinet.

I believe that this is a resolution that really does enhance Israel's security.
Because, for the first time in really a very long time, there is an opportunity
to extend the authority of the Lebanese government and army with an
international force that will be a substantial force, into the south of the
country and to keep Hezbollah away from the border.

QUESTION: Maybe it just does postpone the conflict?

SECRETARY RICE: If we do our work right, this will be an enduring cease-fire.
One reason that, as much as we wanted an immediate stop to the hostilities,
that the United States refused to just call for an immediate stop to the
hostilities, was that we thought we needed to have in place some conditions
that might give us a chance to have an enduring cease-fire. I'm quite certain
now that there will be an international force that will have a robust mandate.
It will have real troops in it.

Even though it's called UNIFIL, this is not the same force; this is going to be
a very different force. And that force of more than 15,000 Lebanese soldiers
and about 15,000 international forces should make the south a very different
place, a safer place, and a place to which Hezbollah cannot return to the kinds
of activities that led it to, without the knowledge of the Lebanese government,
attack Israel.

QUESTION: But the Hezbollah will still be able to operate from the Litani

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the plan is that, as soon as this force is in, of course
the Lebanese government has an obligation to start the disarmament of
Hezbollah. And I think there will now be pressure for them to do that because
nobody, including the Lebanese government, wants to have a state within a

I also believe that Israel -- I'm not privy obviously to the information -- but
the Israeli defense forces believe that they have weakened Hezbollah's command
and control, some of their more extensive networks. And so they will hopefully
not be able to build those again. And perhaps most importantly, we will now
have an international embargo and we would hope that states would respect that
embargo. But, of course, if Syria and Iran continue to supply Hezbollah, they
will be violating an international embargo. And that's the first time that
we've had that embargo.

QUESTION: The Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese administration, Madame
Secretary. So how could we expect the Lebanese government to disarm the

SECRETARY RICE: Well, Hezbollah and the Lebanese have to make a choice. You
cannot have one foot in terror and one foot in politics. And that's really what
caused this problem. Hezbollah has candidates who have run for office, they
serve as cabinet ministers. But they have an armed militia, and that's just not
acceptable. The only arms have to be and must be in the hands of the Lebanese
army and the Lebanese state.

And there are several international agreements that require Lebanon to carry
out this disarmament and Hezbollah will have to make a choice. If they want to
be a political party, I believe the Lebanese will welcome that. But they cannot
be both a political party and an armed militia.

QUESTION: The resolution talks explicitly about the unconditional release of
the abducted Israeli soldiers. Who will be responsible for the release of the
two soldiers?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, ultimately, those who hold them have to release them. But
I was very pleased that this statement was in the resolution. As you might
imagine, not everyone wanted to have this statement in the resolution, and it
was extremely important that these soldiers be remembered, that their
unconditional release be called for. And it's important to remember, too,
something else that this resolution says, that this began when Hezbollah,
acting as a state within a state, crossed the blue line, captured these
soldiers, and attacked Israel. And so I thought that the language on this was
very strong in the resolution and it was an important acknowledgement of how
this war began.

QUESTION: But the Hezbollah might say -- Hezbollah might say that they will
refuse to release them unless there is a deal with Israel.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, nothing in this resolution talks about any kind of deals,
any kind of exchange or anything of the sort. Everybody recognizes the Lebanese
have said that there are issues concerning prisoners. But if you read this
resolution, you will see that there is no suggestion that there be an exchange
of prisoners.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, what is your opinion about the future of Shaba
Farms? Is there any written commitment from the U.S. administration to Israel
about the Shaba Farms?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, all this resolution says is that the Secretary General
should put forward proposals that will allow -- that will allow dealing with
Lebanon's -- the parts of Lebanese territory, the borders, which are disputed.
And Shaba Farms is a disputed territory. But interestingly, it's disputed with
Syria. Because the international community has recognized Shaba Farms as
Syrian. There will have to be a delineation of the border between Syria and
Lebanon. If indeed the international community decides that it is Lebanese,
then I assume Lebanon and Israel can settle the matter. But there is nothing in
this document that says Israel has to give up territory.

QUESTION: In the broader aspect, Syria is not part of the agreement. Do you
see, Madame Secretary, any time soon that you would like to talk to the Syrians
in high level? Maybe there is a way to pull them out of the Iranian embrace?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, first of all, I'm very pleased Syria is not a party to
this document because, after all, Syria occupied Lebanon for 30 years, caused
all kinds of instability and violence and the idea that Syria would somehow
have contributed to stabilizing Lebanon, I think, was just not in the cards.
And so it's a good thing that Syria is not a party to this agreement.

As to whether Syria can be made to understand that it should make a strategic
choice for peace, that it should abandon this quasi alliance that it has with
Iran which is, after all, the greatest state sponsor of terrorism, I don't
know. I hope Syria would make that choice.

I just want to be clear: it's not that we have not talked to Syria. Colin
Powell went to Syria. Former Assistant Secretary of State Bill Burns went to
Syria. Deputy Secretary of State Rich Armitage went to Syria. The problem
hasn't been talking to Syria; the problem is that Syria has not been acting.
And so we would hope that Syria would make a better strategic choice than it's
made thus far.

QUESTION: Aren't you troubled that the next round of violence in the Middle
East is near?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the Middle East has unfortunately had a history of these
spasms of violence. But President Bush has had a very clear-eyed policy about
the Middle East, that it is important that we recognize terrorism and recognize
that it has no justification. There is no political justification for
terrorism. Secondly, that we try and recognize that the growth of democratic
movements in the Middle East would be, in fact, a positive development. Because
part of the problem has been, as you have only authoritarian regimes with the
exception of Israel, as you have only authoritarian regimes, there is no
legitimate channel for political dissent, and that has helped to feed extremism
of the kind that we see in the Middle East. And, third, the President has had a
very clear view that peace can only be really based on a rejection of terror
and embrace of democratic values.

So we think we have a good basis for helping the Middle East to be a different
Middle East than it has been. But, of course, it's going through a very
turbulent time. And whenever you have big, historic changes, you have

I can say that I'm very pleased that we have, in these turbulent times, had a
good friend in Israel. I think that the leadership of first Prime Minister
Sharon, who really helped to change the nature of politics in the Middle East,
and then now with Prime Minister Olmert, with whom we have excellent relations.
We've had a good friend in Israel and a good democratic friend in Israel. And
it's extremely important when you're going through turbulent times to have
friends with whom you share values.

QUESTION: Didn't you have any disappointments during the last month from

SECRETARY RICE: Israel has been fighting an enemy that hides among civilians,
that fires rockets from civilians, a state within a state in Lebanon. Probably
more than we did before, we understand, America understands how hard it is to
fight a counterterrorist, counterinsurgency war, when you're not really facing
a marching army but you're facing people who hide among civilian populations.
So this is hard, this is not easy.

And we have had very good communication with Israel during this period of time.
And I'm just pleased that we have been able to get an agreement that I think
will advance peace in the region, that helps to protect Israel's interests and
Israel's security, that helps to protect the Lebanese people's security, and
gives everybody a chance now to build a foundation for a better future.

QUESTION: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, I appreciate your words. Thank
you very much for taking the time to talk with us. And also may I hope that
sometime in the future we'll be able to talk for the TV, too. I have another
year here in Washington and I would be more than pleased to make a TV interview
for the Israeli television news, sometime during the year.

SECRETARY RICE: I look forward to it.

QUESTION: Thank you very much, Madame Secretary.

SECRETARY RICE: Okay, take care.


Released on August 12, 2006

See http://www.state.gov/secretary/ for all remarks by the Secretary of State.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 12, 2006


President Welcomes U.N. Security Council Resolution to Bring Lasting Peace to Middle East

In Focus: The Road Map to Peace

I welcome the resolution adopted yesterday by the United Nations Security Council, which is designed to bring an immediate end to the fighting sparked last month by an unprovoked terrorist attack on Israel by Hizballah, a terrorist group supported by Iran and Syria. The United States and its allies have been working hard since the beginning of this conflict to create the conditions for an enduring ceasefire and prevent armed militias and foreign-sponsored terrorist groups like Hizballah from sparking another crisis.

Yesterday's resolution aims to end Hizballah's attacks on Israel and bring a halt to Israel's offensive military operations. It also calls for an embargo on the supply of arms to militias in Lebanon, for a robust international force to deploy to southern Lebanon in conjunction with Lebanon's legitimate armed forces, and for the disarming of Hizballah and all other militia groups operating in Lebanon. These steps are designed to stop Hizballah from acting as a state within a state, and put an end to Iran and Syria's efforts to hold the Lebanese people hostage to their own extremist agenda. This in turn will help to restore the sovereignty of Lebanon's democratic government and help ensure security for the people of Lebanon and Israel.

The loss of innocent life in both Lebanon and Israel has been a great tragedy. Hizballah and its Iranian and Syrian sponsors have brought an unwanted war to the people of Lebanon and Israel, and millions have suffered as a result. I now urge the international community to turn words into action and make every effort to bring lasting peace to the region.

# # #
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oppenheimer wrote:
Any kind of War Strategy which is focusing on nuclear sites and not Islamic regime change will be a disaster for both freedom-loving Iranian people and American people.

When dealing with military options regarding a rougue state currently possesing WMD (biological, chemical, and/or nuclear) and the capability of multiple delivery systems, including covert terrorist ops, any limited pre-emptive military action leaves gaping holes and virtual assurance of successful retaliation by the regime.

So, since any one with common sense would understand this fact, anyone who professes to know what the strategy is, claiming the military option is only limited to Iran's nuclear facilities is simply talking out his ass.

It is very difficult to know what President Bush may decide out of many plans and options will be given to him to decide.

1- It is estimated — probably correctly — that about 30 percent of the
Revolutionary Guards and about half of the Bassij Forces are still supporters of the regime today. But it is a proven fact that the great majority of all the Armed Forces owe their primary allegiance to Iran and the people. And they are keenly aware of the extent of mismanagement of the country by the clerics. They will not stand aside and see Iran be destroyed any longer.

If this is true then US must consider the War of liberation of Iran versus bombing the WMD sites. For this kind of War the American soldiers must be willing to land in Iran for street fighting to support Iranian people against Mullahs. Considering the fact that 95% of Iranian people against Mullahs in the War of Liberation American soliders are welcomed in Iran.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oppenheimer wrote:
Any kind of War Strategy which is focusing on nuclear sites and not Islamic regime change will be a disaster for both freedom-loving Iranian people and American people.

When dealing with military options regarding a rougue state currently possesing WMD (biological, chemical, and/or nuclear) and the capability of multiple delivery systems, including covert terrorist ops, any limited pre-emptive military action leaves gaping holes and virtual assurance of successful retaliation by the regime.

So, since any one with common sense would understand this fact, anyone who professes to know what the strategy is, claiming the military option is only limited to Iran's nuclear facilities is simply talking out his ass.

It is very difficult to know what President Bush may decide out of many plans and options will be given to him

Indpendent of what President Bush may decide the Free Iran activists know what the outcome should be.

- Taazi Regime change and replacing it with Free Society and Secular Democracy For Iran

Azadegan wrote:
Azadegan’s Strategy for the Liberation of Iran
The following four points summarize our strategy for removing the clerics from power
and transferring power to the people:
1. Increasing pressure on the ruling clerics by influencing domestic and world public
opinion. This can be accomplished through professional information management
using print and electronic media, as well as by psychological warfare. Azadegan
has the human resources available. Adequate funding can be provided by patriotic
2. Forming a government-in-Exile, when feasible, in coordination with internal
forces. Azadegan has commenced preparation for this phase of action.
3. Using internal contacts and human resources, such as the disillusioned Army,
Revolutionary Guard and Bassij officials, to further convey the message to the
clerical leaders that they have run out of options; that the only option is to leave
office. (It is estimated — probably correctly — that about 30 percent of the
Revolutionary Guards and about half of the Bassij Forces are still supporters of
the regime today. But it is a proven fact that the great majority of all the Armed
Forces owe their primary allegiance to Iran and the people. And they are keenly
aware of the extent of mismanagement of the country by the clerics. They will not
stand aside and see Iran be destroyed any longer.)
4. Utilizing existing elements to channel Iranian frustrations and hopes, so that the
current protests can be translated effectively into a general uprising, leading to a
pronunciamento, demanding, in fact ensuring, and removal of the current
leadership for establishment of a united, strong, prosperous, secular democratic
It is important to note that despite 27 years of relentless suppression, constant threats of
incarceration and personal reprisal, the Iranian people openly challenge the regime and
condemn its policies.

If we agree with Azadegan’s strategy then US should consider the War of liberation of Iran versus bombing the WMD sites. For this kind of War the American soldiers must be willing to land in Iran for street fighting to support Iranian people against Mullahs. Considering the fact that 95% of Iranian people against Mullahs in the War of Liberation American soliders are welcomed in Iran.

In case of Iran US should not support any non Secular group or leader.

Last edited by cyrus on Sat Aug 12, 2006 8:28 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 7:54 pm    Post subject: Nuclear bomb Reply with quote

All I have been hearing today on Fox network is how the USA or Israel are going to nuke Iran. What are the chances of that and what do you guys think
about it. I guess since our own people can't overthrow the government then they will get nuked with them, Thanks to Ahmadinejad.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:40 pm    Post subject: U.S. Ambassador Says Iran Is Inciting Attacks Reply with quote

U.S. Ambassador Says Iran Is Inciting Attacks
August 12, 2006
The New York Times
Edward Wong


Iran is pressing Shiite militias here to step up attacks against the American-led forces in retaliation for the Israeli assault on Lebanon, the American ambassador to Iraq said Friday. Iran may foment even more violence as it faces off with the United States and United Nations over its nuclear program in the coming weeks, he added.

The Iranian incitement has led to a surge in mortar and rocket attacks on the fortified Green Zone, said the ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad.

The four-square-mile Green Zone, protected by layers of concrete blast walls and concertina wire on the west bank of the Tigris River here, encloses baroque palaces built by Saddam Hussein that now house the seat of the Iraqi government and the American Embassy.

The Shiite guerrillas behind the recent attacks are members of splinter groups of the Mahdi Army, the powerful militia created by the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, Mr. Khalilzad said.

The splinter groups have ties to Iran, which is governed by Shiite Persians, and to Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite Arab militia in Lebanon that has been battling Israel for a month, the ambassador added.

There is evidence that Iran is pushing for more attacks, he said, without offering any specifics. But he acknowledged that there was no proof that Iran was directing any particular operations by militias here.

“Iran is seeking to put more pressure, encourage more pressure on the coalition from the forces that they are allied with here, and the same is maybe true of Hezbollah,” Mr. Khalilzad said in an interview Friday in his home inside the Green Zone.

His remarks are the first public statements by a senior Bush administration official directly linking violence in Iraq to American support of Israel’s military campaign in Lebanon, and to growing pressure by the United States over Iran’s nuclear program. Until now, American officials have not publicly drawn a direct connection between Shiite militant groups here and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Mr. Khalilzad’s comments also reinforce the observations of some analysts that the rise of the majority Shiites in Iraq, long oppressed by Sunni Arab rulers, is fueling the creation of a “Shiite crescent” across the Middle East, with groups in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon working together against common enemies, whether they be the United States, Israel or Sunni Arab nations.

Despite the recent attacks by the splinter groups, Mr. Khalilzad insisted that the most powerful Shiite leaders in Iraq had not yet pushed for more violence against the Americans, even though Iran would like them to. That includes Mr. Sadr, he said.

“Generally the Shia leadership here have behaved more as Iraqi patriots and have not reacted in the way that perhaps the Iranians and Hezbollah might want them to,” Mr. Khalilzad said.

Iran and Hezbollah want the Iraqi Shiite leaders “to behave by mobilizing against the coalition or taking actions against the coalition,” he added.

In their public addresses, the top Shiite leaders in Iraq have forcefully condemned the Israeli assault on Lebanon, much more so than senior officials in Sunni Arab countries. Denunciations have come from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most revered Shiite cleric here, from Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki and from Parliament, which called the Israeli airstrikes “criminal aggression.”

When Mr. Maliki visited Washington last month, Congressional leaders pressed him to denounce Hezbollah as a terrorist group, but he dodged the request.

The mercurial Mr. Sadr has come closest of the Shiite leaders in hinting that Iraqis might take up arms in support of Hezbollah. He said in late July that Iraqis would not “sit by with folded hands” while Lebanon burned, and on Aug. 4 he summoned up to 100,000 followers to an anti-Israeli and anti-American rally in Baghdad.

Most of those who showed up were angry young men, many swathed in white cloths symbolizing funeral shrouds and some toting Kalashnikov rifles.

On Friday a senior cleric in Mr. Sadr’s movement, Sheik Asad al-Nasiri, told worshipers at Mr. Sadr’s main mosque in Kufa that “the Zionist entity’s power has been broken and has been weakened in the battle.” He asserted that “the resistance has given the best examples of bravery and sacrifice.”

Sympathy with Hezbollah is not limited to the radical fringe. As images of the destruction in Lebanon continue flickering across the Arab television networks, many ordinary Iraqis say they would join what they call a holy war against American-backed Israel.

Mr. Khalilzad said Iran could stoke more violence among the Shiite militias as the end of the month draws nearer. That is expected to be a time of high tension between Iran and the United States, because a United Nations Security Council resolution gives Iran until Aug. 31 to suspend its uranium enrichment activities or face the threat of economic and diplomatic sanctions. Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has insisted that Iran will pursue its nuclear program.

Mr. Khalilzad said, “The concern that we have is that Iran and Hezbollah would use those contacts that they have with groups and the situation here, use those to cause more difficulties or cause difficulties for the coalition.”

If the United Nations adopts another resolution against Iran after the Aug. 31 deadline, he said, that “could increase the pressure on Iran,” and “Iran could respond to it by further pressing its supporters or people that it has ties with, or people that it controls, to increase the pressure on the coalition, not only in Iraq but elsewhere as well.”

Some military analysts cast the Israel-Hezbollah war as a proxy struggle between the United States and Iran, and prominent conservatives in Washington have called for American military action against Iran.

William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, said on Fox News last month that the Bush administration had been “coddling” Iran and that the war in Lebanon and Israel represented “a great opportunity to begin resuming the offensive against” militant Islamists.

Here in Iraq, the Iranian-backed Mahdi Army rose up twice against the Americans in 2004, and American and British forces have stepped up operations recently against elements of it, raiding hideouts and engaging in pitched battles in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad and in the area around Basra, the southern port city.

On Monday, American forces called in an air attack during a raid in Sadr City. Prime Minister Maliki, who depends on Mr. Sadr for political support against rival Shiites, denounced the raid, saying he had never approved it and that the Americans had used “excessive force.”

American military officials have given few details about ties between Shiite militias here and Iran or Hezbollah, except to say they believe that Iran has given technology for lethal shaped-charge explosives to Iraqi militias. Iran may have passed on the technology via Hezbollah, some officials have said.

Western security advisers confirmed Friday that there had been a recent spate of mortar and rocket attacks on the Green Zone, known to some as the International Zone. It is unclear whether anyone was wounded or killed by the strikes. A spokesman for the American military, Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, declined to give details.

“We aren’t interested in discussing attacks on the International Zone, their effectiveness or who may be responsible,” he said in an e-mail message.

Leaders in the Sadr Organization say parts of the Mahdi Army are not under their control. Those rogue elements, they say, carry out attacks without guidance from Mr. Sadr or his top commanders.

Abdul Razzaq al-Saiedi contributed reportingfor this article.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is very difficult to know what President Bush may decide out of many plans and options will be given to him

Indpendent of what President Bush may decide the Free Iran activists know what we want.

- Free Society and Secular Democracy For Iran

Dear Cyrus,

Success or failure is a matter of trust. Trust involving all aspects in implementation of a plan which would most certainly adapt once first contact with the enemy is made, out of necessity and evolution of the military parameters involved.

Not knowing in advance means the IRI is in the dark as well....therefore trust in the public statements and word given by the man who determines US foreign policy (the president) that the goal as defined above is compatible and interwoven in US public policy.

In general, specific steps in the process must be balanced between what is desirable, and what is do-able. The possible in the moment, and the end vision one seeks.

So in this, we have seen a lot of changes come about that many would have thought unatainable not long ago.

The point of inflection where all diplomatic options have been exhausted is not far off in my estimation. And of course, the regime itself has a say where that point lies....

...and that will no doubt be the point where the international community determines the Ethical Infant's diapers need changing.

Remember Cyrus, this is not simply a US/Iran thing....though the US plays a leading role in international affairs...and will if and when the military option is excercised.

Coming back to what's desirable and what's doable,

2. Forming a government-in-Exile, when feasible, in coordination with internal
forces. Azadegan has commenced preparation for this phase of action.

I submit that is what is most desirable is the formation of an interim government INSIDE Iran, after the mullahs have been removed.....and that is entirely doable with a little help from friends of the Iranian people.

1. No Gov. in exile will be properly representitive of the people inside Iran.
2. Even if there was sufficiant time and some as yet unknown process to create something representitive in exile, doing so with international support would most likely not only trigger the IRI to retaliate militarily, but would suffer from "puppet government" syndrome, and be viewed non-credible by a majority of Iranians who've had no voice in the matter.

My suggestion for modification of this point is as follows:

1. All opposition leaders and their constituancies inside and outside Iran agree in principal and implementation to two basic things:
a. Let the people decide the new permanent government structure after regime change.
b. To prepare for a properly representitive interim leadership council that will prepare the way for constitutional referendum and ratification by the people when they are free to do so.

By way of comparitive analysis with Azadegan’s Strategy I include the following excerpt from SMCCDI's letter to President Bush on January 27, 2005

It has taken time since to get the international community's mindset together to even think about implementing these "prayers of suggestion" properly, let alone manifestation in action.

These suggestions are based on two tracks. The isolation of
the Islamic Republic regime, and the essential moral and
financial support needed by legitimate non-violent
opposition groups to move on the opportunity that now
exits. Together, in a coordinated way, we will achieve
success. God willing.

  1.   Implementation of full international economic and
military sanctions on the Islamic Republic regime via UN
security council resolution based on human rights, support
for terrorism, and this to be tabled with or without IAEA
board recommendation on the nuclear threat the theocracy
poses. These two issues alone should be viewed as
circumstance the world cannot turn it's back upon, at risk
of civilization itself.  Such measures should include
coordination with oil producing nations to ensure stable
world supply while sanction persists, as well as the
halting of any and all arms transfers to the Islamic
Republic regime.

Note: We believe it is unwise to continue nuclear power
discussions until such time as secular government ratified
by the people in Iran comes to power. And rest assured Mr.
President, any new government, abiding by the rule of law,
can and will work with the IAEA in full cooperation to
implement the safeguards and protocols, to address all
aspects and concerns regarding the peaceful use of atomic
power, and to dismantle any and all existing programs that
may violate them.

  2.   Full diplomatic sanction and closing of Iranian
embassies world-wide, removal and deportation of regime
representatives, their agents and spies from all nations.
Diplomatic sanction by the UN, and removal of
representation from this international forum till such time
as a legitimate interim government can be established in
Iran. Iran is party to the 1948 UN charter, yet not having
been a signatory the Islamic Republic regime is abysmally
derelict in it's adherence to the provisions contained
within it.

Note: We ask that concerns regarding lack of consular
functions as a result of this action be cooperatively
addressed, so as to continue to allow emergency visas to be
issued. (i.e. family emergencies, etc.) It may be possible
to retain the minimum consular functions, under  tight
supervision, but they are well known in their recruiting
of, and issuing visa to potential martyrs and terrorists.
As well, We feel it is unwise to allow the Islamic Republic
regime to maintain a UN staff of aprox. 400 "diplomats",
who consistently violate the 12 mile limit, engage in
activities not associated with diplomatic function, and
pose a threat to US interests and Iranian opposition groups
located in the US.

  3.    Freezing of any and all financial assets of the
Islamic Republic regime, their current and former
leadership, and corporate interests world-wide, till such
time as a new interim government can be established. As
well as allocation of portions of these assets now to
legitimate non-violent opposition groups inside and outside
Iran, to realize the goals, and to provide the tangible
support needed as civil disobedience becomes manifest in
action. Only in this way can this action be self sustaining
till it succeeds.

  4.   Repeated statements by world leaders publicly
calling for the leadership of the Islamic Republic regime
to step down peacefully, and to relinquish the government
to the hands and will of the Iranian people.

  5.   The coordinated post-regime rebuilding of vital
social institutions and infrastructure of democracy should
be implemented now. The training of judges, civil servants,
police, etc. The Iranian exile community can provide the
talent, initially and there are many more inside Iran
supporting the opposition who will answer the call to
service as the situation permits. This will speed up the
post-regime process, and greatly enhance stability in the
interim government.

  In addition, while SMCCDI does not speak for other groups
in the opposition, we believe it is vital for our efforts
to become coordinated in the formation of a working group
among leaders of opposition groups, in conjunction with
free nation's representatives to facilitate and coordinate
all of the above measures.
To facilitate this, we would humbly request that you grant
audience to the opposition's young leaders, be they
Monarchist, Republican, Democrat, moderate, left, or right
as may be represented by their group's opinions, allowing
them to express their thanks and support for the greater
Middle East project, in a roundtable "Forum for the Future"
of Iran.

   Mr. President, The proposed sanctions to be implemented
will represent a hardship for our people residing in Iran,
and we will most certainly face violent opposition toward
our civil disobedience actions. But the hope that will
sustain the millions of workers and government employees
that will rise and shut down the functioning of the Islamic
Republic regime while the sanctions persist, will cause
their will to succeed to hold firm. It is our hope that the
resolve and support of the international community will
stand firm as well.

We believe these measures are warranted under current
international law, and various resolutions in the UN
regarding human rights, and state sponsors of terrorism.

------(end excerpt)-------

Credits and Contact info:

On behalf of SMCCI,

  Aryo B . Pirouznia (Movement's Coordinator)

    5015 Addison Circle #244 Addison Texas 75001 (USA)
        www.daneshjoo.org ; www.iranstudents.org
    Tel: +1 (972) 504-6864 ; Fax: +1 (972) 491-9866
           E-Mail: smccdi@daneshjoo.org


Coming back once again to what's desirable and what's doable, the question of US boots on the ground regarding any military action contemplated involves a number of factors:

1. Iranian thinking on the issue "we can do this ourselves" as opposed to "by any means neccessary".

2. American thinking on the issue:

Since I'm American I'll just give my take on it, but I'm sure there's other perspectives out there.....

a. Taking a blend of the above Iranian thinking, and what's desirable and doable in the event that military action ensues, it becomes imperative to me that the playing field be leveled if not tilted toward the opposition side of the strategic equasion.
However, it is also imperative that at the end of the day, the Iranian people can say to themselves that " We did this ourselves...with a little help from our friends."

I think this is what you were getting at by a joint ground opperation.

b. I think it goes without saying that however regime change comes about from a military aspect , securing the regime's WMD sites, missile capability, and the WMD's themselves becomes a overiding priority, equal to taking down command and control structure and the leadership itself.

c. The regime however, expects and is quite prepared for a ground attack scenario, and we won't play their game, at least not the way they expect...street to street as it were. Think more in terms of the child's game of hopscotch.

We're better than to play the game they want or expect, and besides, the opposition knows the lay of the land far better than we do, and I would think that a certain amont of on the ground cooperative effort would be entailed on a case by case basis, securing priority objectives.

Expect a lot of communications and logistical support, fire support, air coverage in coordinated support and covert opps.

We'd be securing airfields to airlift humanitarian aid and other support, as well as other specified objectives on a priority basis. I would think that hunting down the regime in their hidy-holes would be primarily left to the Iranian people, simply to give you'all the satisfaction of having done so.

But all of this only after the regime's total offensive capability and launch on warning was denied them.....

While the human toll may be fairly light in the initial phase, the toll on infrastructure will be massive, and take years to recover from.....and there's no preventing that if all the threats are to be covered at once.

" lights out" means just that, but it will level the playing field for you.

In any case, those that advocate limited strikes on nuclear facilities won't complain because without electricity, there won't be a centerfuge spinning in all of Iran, nor will anything with a circuit board function if my guess is correct, as to how all the bases get covered at once....at lightspeed.

Anything less risks well over 200 million lives if a virulent biological is released , launched, or delivered by proxi, and we can't risk bombing the wrong target with conventional means and unintentionally releasing it in a city of 15 million, now can we? There are worse things than nukes, and the IRI has them in inventory, the only reason they haven't used them yet is that they arn't immune either. But faced with being removed from power, all bets are off.

So many variables, so little time. Nor am I in the buisiness of selling fairy tales to folks that have everything to lose.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Omidvaur wrote:

All I have been hearing today on Fox network is how the USA or Israel are going to nuke Iran. What are the chances of that and what do you guys think
about it. I guess since our own people can't overthrow the government then they will get nuked with them, Thanks to Ahmadinejad.

Dear O,

Folks think of using nukes in the traditional Hiroshima type way....I'll lay odds that if that happens in Iran, it will be the regime itself that does it to make it look like we did it (or Israel did).

Now if one wanted to create justification for an unholy war, what better way to motivate 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide???

However, if you see 5 or 6 h-bombs detonated far above Iran at the edge of space to create EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) effect, rendering everything electrical totally useless, including anything with a circuit board...(see prior post)
...then you'll know we've just instantly leveled the playing field for the opposition with a minimum number of casualties....via electrical equipment overload, not as a direct effect on the human body from the EMP. Minimal radioactive fallout at that altitude, far above the troposhere and less than atmosperic testing done via any single test during the cold war in Nevada.

Folks would be upset, but without massive civilian casualties, and by preventing the regime from turning the region into hell on Earth, they'll get over it eventually.

What's interesting if you do a little reading via the link below is that the regime has been doing some unusual testing with its missiles.....and you'll also get a pretty good idea of the general effects created.

What the regime contemplates doing to the US, the US could do 50 times over, and come back the next day and do it to the regime all over again, if neccessary, followed up by regime change, and the largest humanitarian aid effort in history.

Antar may indeed put Iran back to 17th century living for a number of years if some patriotic Iranian doesn't put a bullet in him first, and the mullahs after, but all in all, Iran would fully recover in freedom, and the global community will be free of the mad mullahs once and for all.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 10:30 am    Post subject: Five Minutes to Midnight Reply with quote

From: "sosiran97"
Date: Sun, 13 Aug 2006 19:36:18 -0700

Although I'm also against war, from the aggression and trouble making we are witnessing on the part of IRI, I don't see how such war can be avoided when Ahmadinejad is seeking such confrontation. Only if we could eradicate the regime, we could save Iran. Please read the below important article.

From: hashem hakimi
Sent: Sunday, August 13, 2006 5:36 PM

This article is not a joke, it deserves our out utmost attention!
If that happens our beloved land is lost for ever!
Read it carefully!?
The colored & enlargements are mine!
H. H.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Five Minutes to Midnight [Michael Ledeen]

One of the best publications around is called "The Intellectual Activist," and its editor, Robert Tracinski, has just written an exceptinally good piece on the inevitability of war, and the astonishing refusal of so many to accept that fact and act accordingly. Newt Gingrich says the same thing in his oped today in Washington Pravda. Tracinski's is much longer, but it's worth it. You need a subscription to TIAdaily, but here's the piece, which deserves our serious attention:


TIA Daily • August 10, 2006

Five Minutes to Midnight


The War Is Coming, No Matter How Hard We Try to Evade It

by Robert Tracinski

I have noticed a recent trend in war commentary, starting a few weeks after the beginning of the current conflict in Lebanon. The trend began with a series of analogies between recent events and the events of the 1930s, leading up to World War II.

In the August 2 Washington Times, for example, Kenneth Timmerman referred to the Lebanon War as "Islamofascism's 1936." Just as the Spanish Civil War that began in that year was a preview of World War II—the 1937 bombing of Guernica was Hermann Goering's test of the ability of aerial bombing to destroy cities—so Timmerman argues that the Lebanon War is a preview of a larger conflict: "Iran…is testing the international community's response, as it prepares for a future war." (Jack Wakeland made a similar point in the July 19 edition of TIA Daily.)

For others on the pro-war right, the preferred analogy is 1938, the year in which Western appeasement of Hitler emboldened him to further attacks. That year's Munich Agreement—the "diplomatic solution" to a German-fomented crisis in Czechoslovakia, abandoned Czechoslovakia to Hitler in exchange for promises that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain claimed would guarantee "peace for our time." On August 7, the headline of a Washington Times editorial asked: is the Bush administration's proposed diplomatic solution for Lebanon an attempt to secure "Peace in Our Time?"

Over at National Review Online, Jonah Goldberg picks 1939, wondering if Israel will fall to a Sunni-Shiite pact, just as Poland fell to a Nazi-Soviet pact, while John Batchelor, writing in the New York Sun, is more ecumenical, citing analogies to 1936, 1938, 1939, and even America in 1941.

British commentator David Pryce-Jones, in his blog at National Review Online, sums up the general sense of things:

I have often wondered what it would have been like to live through the Thirties. How would I have reacted to the annual Nuremberg Party rallies, the rants against the Jews, and Hitler’s foreign adventures which the democracies did nothing to oppose, the occupation of the Rhineland and Austria, Nazi support for Franco in the Spanish civil war, and the rest of it. Appeasement was then considered wise, and has only become a dirty word with hindsight….

Now Iran is embarked on foreign adventures in Iraq and Syria and Lebanon. It is engaged on all-out armament programs, and is evidently hard at work developing the nuclear weapon that will give it a dimension of power that Hitler did not have…. Appeasement is again considered wise.

What these commentators are picking up is not an exact parallel to any one event of the 1930s—hence their scattershot of historical analogies. Instead, what they are picking up is a sense of the overall direction of world events: we are clearly headed toward a much larger, bloodier conflict in the Middle East, but no one in the West wants to acknowledge it, prepare for it, or begin to fight it.

The phrase that best captures this sense of foreboding struck me in a long and interesting account of wartime Israel by Bernard-Henri Levy.

Zivit Seri is a tiny woman, a mother, who speaks with clumsy, defenseless gestures as she guides me through the destroyed buildings of Bat Galim—literally “daughter of the waves,” the Haifa neighborhood that has suffered most from the shellings. The problem, she explains, is not just the people killed: Israel is used to that. It’s not even the fact that here the enemy is aiming not at military objectives but deliberately at civilian targets—that, too, is no surprise. No, the problem, the real one, is that these incoming rockets make us see what will happen on the day—not necessarily far off—when the rockets are ones with new capabilities: first, they will become more accurate and be able to threaten, for example, the petrochemical facilities you see there, on the harbor, down below; second, they may come equipped with chemical weapons that can create a desolation compared with which Chernobyl and Sept. 11 together will seem like a mild prelude.

For that, in fact, is the situation. As seen from Haifa, this is what is at stake in the operation in southern Lebanon. Israel did not go to war because its borders had been violated. It did not send its planes over southern Lebanon for the pleasure of punishing a country that permitted Hezbollah to construct its state-within-a-state. It reacted with such vigor because the Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s call for Israel to be wiped off the map and his drive for a nuclear weapon came simultaneously with the provocations of Hamas and Hezbollah. The conjunction, for the first time, of a clearly annihilating will with the weapons to go with it created a new situation. We should listen to the Israelis when they tell us they had no other choice anymore. We should listen to Zivit Seri tell us, in front of a crushed building whose concrete slabs are balancing on tips of twisted metal, that, for Israel, it was five minutes to midnight.

It is, indeed, "five minutes to midnight"—not just for Israel, but for the West. The time is very short now before we will have to confront Iran. The only question is how long we let events spin out of our control, and how badly we let the enemy hit us before we begin fighting back.

We can't avoid this war, because Iran won't let us avoid it. That is the real analogy to the 1930s. Hitler came to power espousing the goal of German world domination, openly promising to conquer neighboring nations through military force and to persecute and murder Europe's Jews. He predicted that the free nations of the world would be too weak—too morally weak—to stand up to him, and European and American leaders spent the 1930s reinforcing that impression. So Hitler kept advancing—the militarization of the Rhineland in 1936, the Spanish bombing campaign in 1937, the annexation of Austria and the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938, the invasion of Poland in 1939—until the West finally, belated decided there was no alternative but war.

That is what is playing out today. Iran's theocracy has chosen, as the nation's new president, a religious fanatic who believes in the impending, apocalyptic triumph of Islam over the infidels. He openly proclaims his desire to create an Iranian-led Axis that will unite the Middle East in the battle against America, and he proclaims his desire to "wipe Israel off the map," telling an audience of Muslim leaders that "the main solution" to the conflict in Lebanon is "the elimination of the Zionist regime." (Perhaps this would be better translated as Ahmadinejad's "final solution" to the problem of Israel.)

Like Hitler, Ahmadinejad regards the free nations of the world as fading "sunset" powers, too morally weak to resist his legions of Muslim fanatics. And when we hesitate to kill Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq, when we pressure Israel to rein in its attacks on Hezbollah, when we pander to the anti-Jewish bigotry of the "Muslim street"—we reinforce his impression of our weakness.

The result has been and will be the same: Iran will press its advantage and continue to attack our interests in the Middle East and beyond. The only question is when we will finally decide that Iran's aggression has gone too far and its theocratic regime needs to be destroyed.

But the delay has been and will be costly. When the wider war comes, Lebanon won't be the only nation plunged into turmoil. Iraq will also get much worse, since Sadr is almost certain to lead a Shiite uprising against American troops in support of his masters in Tehran. And the terrorist plot uncovered today in Britain should cause us to recollect that Iran has a long-standing global terrorist network that it could use to strike in Europe and even in America.

Writers on the pro-war right (along with a very small number of pro-war liberals) sense that this war cannot be avoided, and they are beginning to prepare themselves—and their readers—to fight. Few of them are yet prepared to say that we need to strike immediately at Iran, though a few are beginning to contemplate this necessity. (See Joel Rosenberg in today's National Review Online.)

The left also senses the impending war, but they have a very different reaction. Their favorite analogy is not the prelude to World War II, but the beginning of World War I.

It is widely acknowledged that World War II was made far more horrible by the years in which free nations appeased Hitler, allowing him to strengthen his armies before he took over Europe. That analogy lends itself to one conclusion: the sooner we attack Iran, the better.

World War I, by contrast, is largely regarded as the result of a giant, tragic mistake, a failure of diplomacy in which the great powers of Europe, seeking a network of alliances that would guarantee a "balance of power," instead trapped themselves into a senseless war. This is the use made of the analogy by Henry Porter in The Guardian.

With a shudder, I realise I am writing this on 4 August, 92 years to the day that my grandfathers, both serving officers and in the same regiment, learned they would probably be going to war. I do not know how long they thought they would be fighting for or if they expected to survive (both did), but I am fairly sure that neither had an exact idea of the complex forces that brought them to France and Mons by the end of month.

Few people in 1914 saw things as clearly as we do now...the building of alliances, the accumulating tension in Europe, and the setting of numerous invisible hair triggers across the Continent and the colonies. Without being alarmist, I wonder if, in future, students will look back on 2006 and observe similar developments and point to some of the same drift, blindness, and ambition that characterised the beginning of the last century.

Porter literally ignores the role of Iran in driving this conflict and instead blames the looming regional war on the alleged tendency of President Bush and Prime Minister Blair to view the conflict as a "struggle between the values of democracy and the tyranny of violent fundamentalism: a vision of a primordial conflict between the forces of light and darkness." Instead, Porter advocates that we drop the dangerous guidance of morality in favor of a "huge diplomatic effort with all concerned taking part."

In today's Washington Post, Richard Holbrooke, US ambassador to the UN under the Clinton administration, uses the same analogy for the same purpose:

Barbara Tuchman's classic, "The Guns of August,"…recounted how a seemingly isolated event 92 summers ago—an assassination in Sarajevo by a Serb terrorist—set off a chain reaction that led in just a few weeks to World War I. There are vast differences between that August and this one. But Tuchman ended her book with a sentence that resonates in this summer of crisis: "The nations were caught in a trap, a trap made during the first thirty days out of battles that failed to be decisive, a trap from which there was, and has been, no exit."

Preventing just such a trap must be the highest priority of American policy…. Every secretary of state from Henry Kissinger to Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright negotiated with Syria, including those Republican icons George Shultz and James Baker. Why won't this administration follow suit, in full consultation with Israel at every step?... The same is true of talks with Iran, although these would be more difficult….

Containing the violence must be Washington's first priority.

Note that the idea that we can settle all of this just by sitting down and talking with Iran and Syria—with no reference to the ideas, statements, goals, and actions of the Iranian regime—give the left's pronouncements on the coming war an air of unreality.

That is most striking in a recent article by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, an ersatz "liberal" who specializes in expressing grave concern about genocide and oppression, while counseling America against any military action to stop the killers and tyrants.

Responding to the question, "How can one negotiate with those who would destroy you?," Kristof blithely answers:

France is showing leadership in pressing for such a lasting deal, and Mr. Bush should push that diplomatic effort with every administration sinew.

Terms of a genuine settlement might involve an exchange of prisoners, Israel giving up the Shebaa Farms area (if not to Lebanon, then to an international force), and an Israeli promise not to breach Lebanese territory or airspace unless attacked. Hezbollah would commit to becoming a purely political force and to dismantling its militia, with its weaponry going to the Lebanese armed forces. Israel would resume talks with Syria on the Golan Heights, the US would resume contact with Syria, and Syria would agree to stop supplying weaponry to Hezbollah (or allowing it in from Iran). Syria and Hezbollah would then pledge cooperation with a robust international buffer force along the border. Some of this may have to come in stages: for example, with Hezbollah first leaving the border area and then giving up its weaponry….

So let’s stop the killing and start the talking.

All of this is obviously a fantasy. Kristof offers not a single piece of evidence that Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah—who together conspired to initiate this war—would simply agree to stop arming and plotting against Israel.

Over on HBL, Harry Binswanger mentioned this passage and started a discussion trying to explain how Kristof could engage in such a massive, open evasion. He came to some good conclusions, but I don't think anyone has yet put together the big picture. This small evasion is just one tiny appendage of a much larger evasion.

The larger evasion is this: the left senses that a regional war is coming, that Iran is hell-bent on starting it, and that there is no way to avoid it. But all of this runs directly counter to their whole world-view. Rather than questioning that world view, they simply assert that this can't be happening. They have to believe that something, anything—no matter how implausible—will stop it from happening. If we just get everyone together and talk, and we keep tinkering with diplomatic solutions until we find something that works, surely we can find a way to avoid a regional war in the Middle East. Can't we? Please?

And so the left confirms the right's sense that the appeasement of the 1930s is the best historical precedent for the current era.

Fortunately, George Bush is not Neville Chamberlain. He has already waged two wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq. Imagine if, during the 1930s, the Allied Powers had already joined forces to defeat the fascists in Spain, then invaded Italy and overthrown Mussolini's regime. It would have made the coming conflict easier—but it would not have defanged our most dangerous enemy.

Unfortunately, George Bush is not Winston Churchill. It is as if, having suppressed fascism in Spain and Italy, we were still appeasing Germany and subordinating our interests to a wobbly consensus at the League of Nations. Just as Germany was the central enemy in the European theater of World War II, so Iran is the central enemy in the Middle East today.

Observing the events of today—the hesitation and uncertainty, the stubborn clinging to the fantasy that the enemy can be appeased if we just keep talking and find the right diplomatic solution—I now feel that, for the first time, I really understand the leaders of the 1930s. Their illusion that Hitler could be appeased has always seemed, in historical hindsight, to be such a willful evasion of the facts that I have never grasped how it was possible for those men to deceive themselves. But I can now see how they clung to their evasions because they could not imagine anything worse than a return to the mass slaughter of the First World War. They wanted to believe that something, anything could prevent a return to war. What they refused to imagine is that, in trying to avoid the horrors of the previous war, they were allowing Hitler to unleash the much greater horrors of a new war.

Today's leaders and commentators have less excuse. The "horror" they are afraid of repeating is the insurgency we're fighting in Iraq—a war whose cost in lives, dollars, and resolve is among the smallest America has ever had to pay. And it takes no great feat of imagination to project how much more horrible the coming conflict will be if we wait on events long enough for Iran to arm itself with nuclear technology. Among the horrific consequences is the specter of a new Holocaust, courtesy of an Iranian nuclear bomb.

The good news, such as it is, is that the air of foreboding about this new war is somewhat exaggerated. Yes, the conflict will become larger and bloodier—far bloodier than it would have been had we acted earlier. But Iran is not Nazi Germany—a large, united, economically and technologically advanced nation that could nearly equal our military capability. Iran is a poor, backward nation with a large, restive dissident movement. Its military bluster is a hollow shell hiding its underlying weakness. It's time to break that shell and kill the monster inside—before it grows any bigger and more powerful.

We can all sense that the war is coming. It is vital for America to seize the initiative and fight it on our terms, when we have the maximum advantage.

It's five minutes to midnight. The time to strike Iran is now
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I honestly don't want to believe its true...but, I am slowly beginning to understand that there is no way around this...War with Iran is coming...we better get ready...

May God have mercy on Iran...

You wrote that the world doesn't need a savior...but everyday I hear people crying for one. -Superman
To liberate the Muslim from his religion is the best service that one can render him. -Earnest Renan
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 6:09 pm    Post subject: Bush: 'Hezbollah suffered a defeat' Reply with quote

Bush: 'Hezbollah suffered a defeat'
President calls Lebanon a front in 'global war on terrorism'

Monday, August 14, 2006; Posted: 5:28 p.m. EDT (21:28 GMT)


President Bush blamed the monthlong conflict on Hezbollah, Iran and Syria.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush declared Lebanon a front in the "global war on terrorism" Monday, equating the Israeli battle against Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas to the U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Bush said Hezbollah and its supporters in Iran and Syria were responsible for the 34-day war, and called that conflict "part of a broader struggle between freedom and terror."

Bush said the U.N. resolution that took effect early Monday was an "important step that will help bring an end to the violence."

He said the conflict was a win for his administration's policy of encouraging democracy in the Middle East and a defeat for Hezbollah, discounting a claim of victory issued by the Shiite Muslim militia's leader earlier Monday.

"Hezbollah suffered a defeat in this crisis," Bush said during a news conference at the State Department.

"There's going to be a new power in the south of Lebanon," he said, referring to the U.N. force that will assist the Lebanese army in taking control of the area.

"How can you claim victory when you were a state within a state in southern Lebanon, and now you're going to be replaced by an international force?" he said.

Speaking after a day of meetings with Pentagon and State Department officials, Bush said the leaders of armed groups must choose between armed conflict and democracy.

He warned Iran against meddling in both Lebanon and Iraq, where U.S. troops are battling a persistent insurgency and trying to stave off a Sunni-Shiite civil war more than three years after the 2003 invasion.

"In both these countries, Iran is backing armed groups in the hope of stopping democracy from taking hold," he said.

"The message of this administration is clear: America will stay on the offense against al Qaeda. Iran must stop its support for terror," he said. "The leaders of these armed groups must make a choice: If they want to participate in the political life of their countries, they must disarm."

The president defended the U.S. role in settling the Israel-Lebanon conflict, saying Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice deserved "great credit" for the cease-fire agreement.

The administration resisted international calls for an immediate cease-fire, which it said would not have addressed the underlying causes of the conflict.

"We want peace," he said. "We're not interested in process. We want results."

Bush laid the blame for the conflict -- in which more than 1,000 people died -- on Hezbollah, Iran and Syria.

"America recognizes that civilians in Lebanon and Israel have suffered from the current violence, and we recognize that responsibility for this suffering lies with Hezbollah," Bush said.

"Responsibility for the suffering of the Lebanese people also lies with Hezbollah's state sponsors, Iran and Syria."

Bush said Iran "provides Hezbollah with financial support, weapons and training."

"Iran has made clear that it seeks the destruction of Israel," he said. "We can only imagine how much more dangerous this conflict would be if Iran had the nuclear weapon it seeks."

The United States maintains that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. The Iranian government says its nuclear program is intended solely for peaceful purposes.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 6:11 pm    Post subject: Brownback: The folly of Iran's arrogance Reply with quote

Brownback: The folly of Iran's arrogance

By Sam Brownback
Special to CNN


Monday, August 14, 2006; Posted: 10:57 a.m. EDT (14:57 GMT)

Editor's note: Sam Brownback, a Republican senator from Kansas, is author of the Iran Democracy Act and serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. Javad Zarif, Iran's ambassador to the United Nations, addresses his country's nuclear ambition's in a separate commentary.

Sen. Brownback: "The nuclear weapons that Iran's leaders hope will guarantee their survival will actually ensure their downfall."

I believe that Iran's leaders know that they are not acting on behalf of their own people. I believe they are acting on their own behalf.

Instead of using their wealth to empower their citizens, they hope to develop nuclear weapons to protect themselves. Iran's leaders believe that with nuclear weapons the international community will not dare object to any threat they might make against their neighbors, let alone the regime's repression of its own people.

History shows the folly of such arrogance. Soviet leaders presumed their nuclear arsenal gave them the ability to operate with impunity and would allow them to remain in power indefinitely. They eventually discovered that nuclear weapons did not ensure the success of their military adventures, and they ultimately realized their nuclear arsenal could not conceal the repression of their people. Despite thousands of warheads, Soviet communism crumbled.

How did all of this happen? The United States and our allies stood firm in the face of Soviet aggression and refused to limit the conversation to nuclear weapons. The Soviet Union collapsed because its nuclear weapons and dictators could not withstand the pressure the world applied by standing against Soviet aggression while prying open Soviet society.

Iran's leaders face a similar situation. They can attempt to hide behind a nuclear wall, but they will not escape the world's pressure to reform or the ultimate power of the Iranian people to choose their own destiny. The nuclear weapons that Iran's leaders hope will guarantee their survival will actually ensure their downfall.

As with the Soviet Union, while the United States must stand up to Iranian aggression and should not rule out military options, there is much we can do without firing a shot.

We must remind the Iranian people that we stand with them. We must continue to support democracy and human rights reforms in Iran. And most importantly, we must make sure that Iran's leaders hear all of our concerns about their behavior.

If we discuss only nuclear weapons, we play into the hands of the brutal rulers in Tehran. If we take every opportunity to remind Iran's leaders and the rest of the world of the Iranian government's repression of its people, its terrible human rights record, and its support for terrorism, we can demonstrate that even a nuclear arsenal would not excuse the regime's arrogant and reckless behavior.

In the coming days Iran's leaders face a choice. They can give up their enrichment program and take the first steps toward joining the international community, or they can build a nuclear wall and hide behind it. In either case, the United States should deliver the same message to Iran's leaders: Treat your people justly and behave responsibly in your relations with your neighbors and the rest of the world.

History shows that nuclear weapons do not spare tyrannical rulers from the ultimate triumph of the people they claim to lead. Democracy and human rights are the true guarantors of long-term peace and stability for a nation and its rulers.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

President Discusses Foreign Policy During Visit to State Department
The State Department
Washington, D.C.


3:40 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Today I met with members of my national security team, both here at the State Department and at the Pentagon. I want to, first of all, thank the leadership of Secretary Condi Rice and Secretary Don Rumsfeld.

During those discussions we talked about the need to transform our military to meet the threats of the 21st century. We discussed the global war on terror. We discussed the situation on the ground in three fronts of the global war on terror -- in Lebanon, and Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Friday's U.N. Security Council resolution on Lebanon is an important step forward that will help bring an end to the violence. The resolution calls for a robust international force to deploy to the southern part of the country to help Lebanon's legitimate armed forces restore the sovereignty of its democratic government over all Lebanese territory. As well, the resolution is intended to stop Hezbollah from acting as a state within the state.

We're now working with our international partners to turn the words of this resolution into action. We must help people in both Lebanon and Israel return to their homes and begin rebuilding their lives without fear of renewed violence and terror.

America recognizes that civilians in Lebanon and Israel have suffered from the current violence, and we recognize that responsibility for this suffering lies with Hezbollah. It was an unprovoked attack by Hezbollah on Israel that started this conflict. Hezbollah terrorists targeted Israeli civilians with daily rocket attacks. Hezbollah terrorists used Lebanese civilians as human shields, sacrificing the innocent in an effort to protect themselves from Israeli response.

Responsibility for the suffering of the Lebanese people also lies with Hezbollah's state sponsors, Iran and Syria. The regime in Iran provides Hezbollah with financial support, weapons, and training. Iran has made clear that it seeks the destruction of Israel. We can only imagine how much more dangerous this conflict would be if Iran had the nuclear weapon it seeks.

Syria is another state sponsor of Hezbollah. Syria allows Iranian weapons to pass through its territory into Lebanon. Syria permits Hezbollah's leaders to operate out of Damascus and gives political support to Hezbollah's cause. Syria supports Hezbollah because it wants to undermine Lebanon's democratic government and regain its position of dominance in the country. That would be a great tragedy for the Lebanese people and for the cause of peace in the Middle East.

Hezbollah and its foreign sponsors also seek to undermine the prospects for peace in the Middle East. Hezbollah terrorists kidnapped two Israeli soldiers, Hamas kidnapped another Israeli soldier for a reason. Hezbollah and Hamas reject the vision of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security. Both groups want to disrupt the progress being made toward that vision by Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas and others in the region. We must not allow terrorists to prevent elected leaders from working together toward a comprehensive peace agreement in the Middle East.

The conflict in Lebanon is part of a broader struggle between freedom and terror that is unfolding across the region. For decades, American policy sought to achieve peace in the Middle East by promoting stability in the Middle East. Yet the lack of freedom in the region meant anger and resentment grew, radicalism thrived and terrorists found willing recruits. We saw the consequences on September the 11th, 2001, when terrorists brought death and destruction to our country, killing nearly 3,000 of our citizens.

So we've launched a forward strategy of freedom in the broader Middle East. And that strategy has helped bring hope to millions and fostered the birth of young democracies from Baghdad to Beirut. Forces of terror see the changes that are taking place in their midst. They understand that the advance of liberty, the freedom to worship, the freedom to dissent, and the protection of human rights would be a defeat for their hateful ideology. But they also know that young democracies are fragile and that this may be their last and best opportunity to stop freedom's advance and steer newly free nation to the path of radical extremism. So the terrorists are striking back with all of the destructive power that they can muster. It's no coincidence that two nations that are building free societies in the heart of the Middle East, Lebanon and Iraq, are also the scenes of the most violent terrorist activity.

Some say that America caused the current instability in the Middle East by pursuing a forward strategy of freedom, yet history shows otherwise. We didn't talk much about freedom or the freedom agenda in the Middle East before September the 11th, 2001; or before al Qaeda first attacked the World Trade Center and blew up our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in the 1990s; or before Hezbollah killed hundreds of Americans in Beirut and Islamic radicals held American hostages in Iran in the 1980s. History is clear: The freedom agenda did not create the terrorists or their ideology. But the freedom agenda will help defeat them both.

Some say that the violence and instability we see today means that the people of this troubled region are not ready for democracy. I disagree. Over the past five years, people across the Middle East have bravely defied the car bombers and assassins to show the world that they want to live in liberty. We see the universal desire for liberty in the 12 million Iraqis who faced down the terrorists to cast their ballots, and elected a free government under a democratic constitution. We see the universal desire for liberty in 8 million Afghans who lined up to vote for the first democratic government in the long history of their country. We see the universal desire for liberty in the Lebanese people who took to the streets to demand their freedom and helped drive Syrian forces out of their country.

The problem in the Middle East today is not that people lack the desire for freedom. The problem is that young democracies that they have established are still vulnerable to terrorists and their sponsors. One vulnerability is that many of the new democratic governments in the region have not yet established effective control over all their territory.

In both Lebanon and Iraq, elected governments are contending with rogue armed groups that are seeking to undermine and destabilize them. In Lebanon, Hezbollah declared war on Lebanon's neighbor, Israel, without the knowledge of the elected government in Beirut. In Iraq, al Qaeda and death squads engage in brutal violence to undermine the unity government. And in both these countries, Iran is backing armed groups in the hope of stopping democracy from taking hold.

The message of this administration is clear: America will stay on the offense against al Qaeda. Iran must stop its support for terror. And the leaders of these armed groups must make a choice: If they want to participate in the political life of their countries, they must disarm. Elected leaders cannot have one foot in the camp of democracy and one foot in the camp of terror.

The Middle East is at a pivotal moment in its history. The death and destruction we see shows how determined the extremists are to stop just and modern societies from emerging in the region. Yet millions of people in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and elsewhere are equally determined to live in peace and freedom. They have tired of the false promises and grand illusions of radical extremists. They reject the hateful vision of the terrorists, and they dream of a better future for their children and their grandchildren. We're determined to help them achieve that dream.

America's actions have never been guided by territorial ambition. We seek to advance the cause of freedom in the Middle East because we know the security of the region and our own security depend on it. We know that free nations are America's best partners for peace and the only true anchors for stability. So we'll continue to support reformers inside and outside governments who are working to build the institutions of liberty. We'll continue to confront terrorist organizations and their sponsors who destroy innocent lives. We'll continue to work for the day when a democratic Israel and a democratic Palestine are neighbors in a peaceful and secure Middle East.

The way forward is going to be difficult. It will require more sacrifice. But we can be confident of the outcome because we know and understand the unstoppable power of freedom. In a Middle East that grows in freedom and democracy, people will have a chance to raise their families and live in peace and build a better future. In a Middle East that grows in freedom and democracy, the terrorists will lose their recruits and lose their sponsors, and lose safe havens from which to launch new attacks. In a Middle East that grows in freedom and democracy, there will be no room for tyranny and terror, and that will make America and other free nations more secure.

Now I'll be glad to answer a couple of questions. Deb.

Q Mr. President, both sides are claiming victory in a conflict that's killed more than 900 people. Who won, and do you think the cease-fire will hold?

THE PRESIDENT: We certainly hope the cease-fire holds because it is step one of making sure that Lebanon's democracy is strengthened. Lebanon can't be a strong democracy when there's a state within a state, and that's Hezbollah.

As I mentioned in my remarks, Hezbollah attacked Israel without any knowledge of the Siniora government. You can't run a government, you can't have a democracy if you've got a armed faction within your country. Hezbollah attacked Israel. Hezbollah started the crisis, and Hezbollah suffered a defeat in this crisis. And the reason why is, is that first, there is a new -- there's going to be a new power in the south of Lebanon, and that's going to be a Lebanese force with a robust international force to help them seize control of the country, that part of the country.

Secondly, when people take a look-see, take a step back, and realize how this started, they'll understand this was Hezbollah's activities. This was Hezbollah's choice to make.

I believe that Israel is serious about upholding the cessation of hostilities. The reason I believe that is I talked to the Prime Minister of Israel about it. And I know the Siniora government is anxious that the hostilities stop and the country begin to rebuild.

I can't speak for Hezbollah. They're a terrorist organization. They're not a state. They act independently of, evidently, the Lebanese government, and they do receive help from the outside.


Q Thank you, Mr. President --

THE PRESIDENT: Good to see you. Thanks for breaking in with us --

Q Thank you. Despite what you've just said, there is a perception, a global perception, certainly in the Arab media and in many Western media, as well, that Hezbollah is really a winner here because they have proven that they could, as a guerrilla force, withstand the Israeli army. They have been the sole source of humanitarian aid to many of the Lebanese people in the south. So they've improved their position politically within Lebanon, and militarily, and globally. They've gotten an aura of being able to stand up for so long against Israel. How do you combat that, and the perception that we settled for less than we originally wanted in the U.N. resolution, a less robust force? And what actions can the United States or this international force take if Iran, for instance, tries to rearm Hezbollah?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. First of all, if I were Hezbollah I'd be claiming victory, too. But the people around the region and the world need to take a step back and recognize that Hezbollah's action created a very strong reaction that, unfortunately, caused some people to lose their life, innocent people to lose their life. But on the other hand, it was Hezbollah that caused the destruction.

People have got to understand -- and it will take time, Andrea, it will take time for people to see the truth -- that Hezbollah hides behind innocent civilians as they attack. What's really interesting is a mind-set -- is the mind-sets of this crisis. Israel, when they aimed at a target and killed innocent citizens, were upset. Their society was aggrieved. When Hezbollah's rockets killed innocent Israelis they celebrated. I think when people really take a look at the type of mentality that celebrates the loss of innocent life, they'll reject that type of mentality.

And so, Hezbollah, of course, has got a fantastic propaganda machine and they're claiming victories and -- but how can you claim victory when at one time you were a state within a state, safe within southern Lebanon, and now you're going to be replaced by a Lebanese army and an international force? And that's what we're now working on, is to get the international force in southern Lebanon.

None of this would have happened, by the way, had we -- had 1559, Resolution 1559 been fully implemented. Now is the time to get it implemented. And it's going to take a lot of work. No question about it. And no question that it's a different kind of war than people are used to seeing. We're fighting the same kind of war. We don't fight the armies of nation states; we fight terrorists who kill innocent people to achieve political objectives. And it's a hard fight, and requires different tactics. And it requires solid will from those of us who understand the stakes.

The world got to see -- got to see what it means to confront terrorism. I mean, it's the challenge of the 21st century. The fight against terror, a group of ideologues, by the way, who use terror to achieve an objective -- this is the challenge. And that's why, in my remarks, I spoke about the need for those of us who understand the blessings of liberty to help liberty prevail in the Middle East. And the fundamental question is, can it? And my answer is, absolutely, it can. I believe that universal -- that freedom is a universal value. And by that I mean people want to be free. One way to put it is, I believe mothers around the world want to raise their children in a peaceful world. That's what I believe.

And I believe that people want to be free to express themselves, and free to worship the way they want to. And if you believe that, then you've got to have hope that, ultimately, freedom will prevail. But it's incredibly hard work, because there are terrorists who kill innocent people to stop the advance of liberty. And that's the challenge of the 21st century.

And the fundamental question for this country is, do we understand the stakes and the challenge, and are we willing to support reformers and young democracies, and are we willing to confront terror and those who sponsor them? And this administration is willing to do so. And that's what we're doing.

And you asked about Iran? What did you say about them? My answer was too long to remember the third part of your multipart question.

Q I'm sorry. How can the international force or the United States, if necessary, prevent Iran from resupplying Hezbollah?

THE PRESIDENT: The first step is -- and part of the mandate in the U.N. resolution was to secure Syria's borders. Iran is able to ship weapons to Hezbollah through Syria. Secondly is to deal -- is to help seal off the ports around Lebanon. In other words, there's -- part of the mandate and part of the mission of the troops, the UNIFIL troops will be to seal off the Syrian border.

But, as well, there's a diplomatic mission that needs to be accomplished. The world must now recognize that it's Iranian sponsorship of Hezbollah that exacerbated the situation in the Middle East. People are greatly concerned about the loss of innocent life, as are the Americans -- American people. We care deeply about that, the fact that innocents lost their life. But it's very important to remember how this all happened. And Hezbollah has been emboldened because of its state sponsors.

I know they claim they didn't have anything to do with it, but sophisticated weaponry ended up in the hands of Hezbollah fighters, and many assume, and many believe that that weaponry came from Iran through Syria.

And so the task is more than just helping the Siniora government; the task is also -- and the task is not just America's alone, the task is the world's. And that is to continually remind the Iranians of their obligations, their obligations not to develop a nuclear weapons program, their obligations not to foster terrorism and promote terrorism.

And we'll continue working with our partners to do that, just that.

Yes, Michael.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Until the other day, few Americans thought about liquid explosives when they got on a plane. What are the other emerging or evolving threats to the homeland that are most on your mind? That is, what else needs to be hardened as convincingly as cockpits have been hardened?

THE PRESIDENT: Michael, we will take the actions that are necessary based upon the intelligence we gather. And obviously, if we find out that terrorist groups are planning and plotting against our citizens -- or any other citizens, for that matter -- we will notify the proper authorities and the people themselves of actions that we're taking.

Uncovering this terrorist plot was accomplished through the hard and good work of British authorities, as well as our folks. And the coordination was very strong, and the cooperation, interagency and with the Brits, was really good. And I congratulate the Blair government and the hardworking folks in Great Britain. And, by the way, they're still analyzing, they're still dealing with potential threats. And I want to thank our folks, too. It was a really good effort.

But my point to you is that if we find out or if we believe that the terrorists will strike using a certain type of weapon or tactic, we will take the necessary precautions, just like we did when it came to liquids on airplanes.

Okay. Yes.

Q The U.N. resolution says that Israel must stop all offensive action. What do you view as defensive action? If Hezbollah --

THE PRESIDENT: Somebody shoots at an Israeli soldier.

Q They can respond in what way?

THE PRESIDENT: Absolutely.

Q Any way Israel responds to that, if they start another ground offensive, that is all defensive?

THE PRESIDENT: I'm not going to -- I keep getting asked a lot about Israel's military decisions, and we don't advise Israel on its military options. But, as far as I'm concerned, if somebody shoots at an Israeli soldier, tries to kill a soldier from Israel, that Israel has the right to defend herself, has a right to try to suppress that kind of fire. And that's how I read the resolution. That's how Ms. Rice reads the resolution.

Yes, Bill.

Q Mr. President, to much of the rest of the world, the United States appeared to tolerate the bloodshed and ongoing fighting for a long time before assertively stepping in, and in the process, perhaps earned the further enmity of a lot of people in the rest of the world, particularly the Arab and Muslim world. What is your thought about that?

THE PRESIDENT: My thought is that, first of all, we, from the beginning, urged caution on both sides so that innocent life would be protected. And, secondly, I think most leaders around the world would give Condoleeza Rice and her team great credit for finally getting a U.N. resolution passed. We were working hard on a U.N. resolution pretty quickly, and it can be a painful process, diplomacy can be a painful process. And it took a while to get the resolution done. But most objective observers would give the United States credit for helping to lead the effort to get a resolution that addressed the root cause of the problem. Of course, we could have got a resolution right off the bat that didn't address the root cause. Everybody would have felt better for a quick period of time, and then the balance would have erupted again.

And our hope is that this series of resolutions that gets passed gets after the root cause. We want peace, Bill. We're not interested in process. What we want is results. And so -- look, America gets accused of all kinds of things. I understand that. But if people analyze the facts, they were to find two things: One, we urged caution, and two, secondly, that we worked on a diplomatic process that we believe has got the best chance of achieving a long-term objective, which is peace.

Final question, then I got to go.

Q Mr. President, four days later, now do you believe that the U.K. terror plot was developed by al Qaeda leaders? Do you believe that there are terror cells operating within the U.S.? Along with Michael's question, what do you say to critics who say there are giant loopholes in homeland security?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first I would say that -- I don't know the loophole question. Maybe you can give me some specific loopholes. But it sounded like to me Homeland Security did a good job, along with intelligence services and FBI in working with the British to shut down a major plot that could have killed Americans.

First part of the question? That's what happens when you get 60.

Q Do you believe the terror plot was developed by al Qaeda leaders?

THE PRESIDENT: We certainly -- I stand by the statements that initially came out of Chertoff, which was, it sure looks like it. It looks like something al Qaeda would do. But before we actually claim al Qaeda, we want to make sure that we have -- we could prove it to you. Of course, the minute I say it's al Qaeda, then you're going to step up and say, prove it. So, therefore, I'm not going to say it until we have absolute proof. But it looks like the kind of thing al Qaeda would do, and --

Q As far as terrorist cells inside the U.S.?

THE PRESIDENT: Any time we get a hint that there might be a terrorist cell in the United States, we move on it. And we're listening, we're looking, and one thing that's important is for us to make sure that those people who are trying to disrupt terrorist cells in the United States have the tools necessary to do so within the Constitution of the United States.

One of the things we better make sure is we better not call upon the federal government and people on the front lines of fighting terror to do their job and disrupt cells without giving people the necessary tools to disrupt terrorist plots before they strike. And that's what we're doing here in this government.

And that's why the Terrorist Surveillance Program exists, a program that some in Washington would like to dismantle. That's why we passed the Patriot Act, to give our folks the tools necessary to be able to defend America. The lessons of the past week is that there's still a war on terror going on and there's still individuals that would like to kill innocent Americans to achieve political objectives. That's the lesson. And the lesson for those of us in Washington, D.C. is to set aside politics and give our people the tools necessary to protect the American people.

Thank you.

END 4:08 EDT
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Middle East Update


David Welch, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
Foreign Press Center Briefing
Washington, DC
August 15, 2006

11:05 A.M. EDT

MODERATOR: Good morning. Welcome to the Foreign Press Center. We're happy today to have with us David Welch, the Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs in the Department of State, to do a Middle East update. We have with us, also, New York Foreign Press Center via DVC. I'll ask you all to turn your phones off and to identify yourselves when you ask your questions and what your affiliation is. Because I know there are a lot of people here today, we're going to just start right away.

David, please.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: Thank you, Duncan. Hello, everybody. Nice to see you all. And I propose we should go right to questions and answers. I mean, I could make an opening statement, but there are a lot of you and I am sure that you have quite a number of questions, so I'd like to use this time to maximum advantage.


QUESTION: Yes, Joyce Karam with Al Hayat newspaper. What do you think should be done to make Syria stop rearming Hezbollah?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: Well, thank you for asking this question. One of the most important aspects of the resolution passed by the Security Council a few days ago, Resolution Number 1701, is a call for all countries to observe an arms embargo on any weapons transfers into Lebanon except for things that are going to the Government of Lebanon and authorized security institutions. That requirement would apply to any country, including Syria and Iran. We think that one of the most important achievements in this resolution is this call for observation of an arms embargo and its administration not just by Lebanon, but also by the international community. So you can be sure that we'll be paying very close attention to any such transfers that are going into Lebanon, since it's now a matter of an international obligation that countries should avoid doing this.

If you step back from this resolution just a moment, though, let's look at the problem that we saw here. One aspect of it is you have a state within a state, a militia that has been armed, as we see, with potent weaponry. It had to have gotten that from someplace. We think that one of the vulnerabilities in this situation, which existed in the past, was the irresponsibility of some countries in allowing these weapons to come into Lebanon, to go to a terrorist organization like Hezbollah, which then used them against the interests of the people in the state of Lebanon. So closing off that possibility is a very important achievement. Now the hard work comes in implementing this aspect and the other aspects of the resolution.

MODERATOR: Nadia, Al-Arabija.

QUESTION: Thank you. Nadia Bilbassy Charters with Al-Arabija.


QUESTION: Hi. Thank you for addressing us. I just wanted to ask you, since the major military battles is over now, the ceasefire seems to be holding, if you look back and people talk about losers and winners, some want to criticize the U.S. diplomacy and say you are the biggest loser, because you stand isolated in the Arab and Muslim world. If you would look back in retrospect, would you think that you have failed in your effort to call for a ceasefire and you betrayed the Lebanese Government, the very government that you're trying to support in the beginning?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: Well, come as no surprise that I don't agree with the premise. Look, we called for a cessation of hostilities to build for a ceasefire on a more permanent basis. What the United States didn't want to see was a simple and easy solution such as a declaration that we want a ceasefire right now. What we wanted to see was an effort to put in place rules, restrictions so that this situation does not happen again. This has been a very disturbed border for a long time. Unlike Israel's borders with others of its neighbors, you don't have a peace treaty between Lebanon and Israel, so the amount of confidence on each side is not very high. And regrettably, there have been actors who have chosen, for one reason or another, to try and disrupt this situation, take advantage of the climate and the context that existed in the region and use it to their political advantage.

So I think what we have achieved here in bringing a cessation of hostilities, which so far is holding, is architecture for enhanced competence and security for the future. Now I'm, of course, practical and our diplomacy has had this element of practicality from the very start. That is this is not going to be simple to do. It isn't good enough simply to have a situation where everybody comes back and they can do exactly the same thing as before.

So what has been achieved now? There will be the deployment of the Lebanese army into the south of Lebanon. You might say that's a natural thing for a country to do that is to deploy its army to its own borders. But if you know the history of Lebanon, this actually has not happened before. So that's first and most important.

Second, the international community has decided that it should supplement, enhance the international forces that are present there already to provide additional confidence and security along the border and in other areas potentially. That force is now being shaped by the United Nations to increase the UNIFIL that is already there with increased equipment and capabilities so that it can discharge these new tasks. Third, the international community and Lebanon and Israel have agreed that there has to be a new security environment. What does that consist of? There can be no armed groups present in the area of operations of this force. There's going to be an arms embargo except, of course, for the legitimate use of the Lebanese Government.

Third, no foreign fighters should be present in this area. And fourth, there should be respect for the blue line between the parties. So if these elements are put in place with confidence, rigor and discipline by Lebanon, by Israel, by the international community and observed by outside nations, then I think we return to a situation not like the one before, but to one in which everybody else can have a lot more confidence and security.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, Umit Enginsoy with Turkish NTV. Mr. Secretary, Turkey said yesterday that it would wait for a second UN Security Council resolution before making an ultimate decision of whether or not to send troops to the Lebanon peacekeeping force. Now do you think a second resolution is necessary or do you think the Turks are dragging their feet or, in general, what's the U.S. position on the potential Turkish contribution to the force? Thanks.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: We consider that the first most important step to be taken now for implementation of this resolution is that the parties observe a cessation of hostilities. Second, the United Nations rapidly should form the new elements to be added to the existing UNIFIL forces so that those are prepared as quickly as possible to deploy into Lebanon to help UNIFIL do its job pursuant to this new resolution. Third, we believe that responsible countries, including Turkey, might want to consider participation. This is a decision for each country to make on the basis of its national interests and its own foreign policy guidelines. Our experience in working with Turkey on these issues has been a good one and we have great confidence in the ability of the Turkish military. That said, it's a subject for Turkey to decide as it looks at this situation.

The present resolution, sir, authorizes the composition of a new and enhanced UNIFIL. A second resolution is out there as a possibility should it be necessary to have an additional mandate for the United Nations activity. But presently there's sufficient legal authority under international law to do what is necessary to make the new force.

QUESTION: Yes. Hisham Melham, An Nahar newspaper in Beirut. Mr. Secretary, the President has said repeatedly that the United States should deal with the root causes of the problem, and by the root causes he was not talking about the Arab-Israel conflict. He was talking essentially about Hezbollah, as a phenomena, of a state within a state. Now, do you think that root causes would have been solved if Hezbollah, let's say, withdrew north of the Litani and yet maintained its military structure, control and command and whatever in the rest of the country? Given the fact that the Lebanese Government is saying publicly that they are unwilling or unable to disarm Hezbollah and that they would have to do that through negotiation. Yesterday, Nasrallah said essentially he's not interested in this issue and that Hezbollah remains the "protector" of the homeland.

It seems to me that probably a year from now we will be talking about the need to disarm Hezbollah, one way or the other. And therefore it seems to me that Hezbollah could claim we withdrew north of the Litani to fight for another day and the root causes, the way the President of the United States has defined them, will not have been resolved.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: Hisham, we believe that the best protection for Lebanon and its people is offered by a fully sovereign government that controls all that goes on within its own country. The existence of a state within a state, an armed political party that acts outside the rules of normal statecraft is unacceptable to the international community and I would argue to the Lebanese people.

Now, there are obligations in Resolution 1559 and even before that in the Taif agreement, for example, that bind Lebanon to try and control events within Lebanon. This resolution offers greater international support for that to be achieved. But at the end of the day, implied in your question is a recognition of the reality: It is Lebanon that is responsible for determining its own future in this regard. We stand ready to help. By passing this resolution 15 to 0, unanimously in the Security Council, the world's voice has been made crystal clear. That in returning to the status quo, one aspect of that, is to assist Lebanon in completing this process of disarmament. Begun back in Taif as part of ending the Lebanese civil war, but unfortunately not yet completed. That has to begin, of course, in the south where the so-called resistance has exposed the Lebanese people and the Lebanese state to very grievous damage from an action that they took out of their own self-interest, not in the interest of the Lebanese people.

Now we have a situation where the steps can be taken to begin to correct this; first and most importantly in the south, but proceeding outward from there.

QUESTION: David -- I'm sorry -- Mr. Secretary, Taif has been --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: That is my name (laughter), Hisham.

QUESTION: You agreed upon, more than 15 years ago, 1559 two years ago --


QUESTION: -- and you know the Byzantine nature of Lebanese politics, the influence of the Syrians and the Iranians today, both the duo of Bashar al-Asad and Ahmadi-Nejad claiming victory over the rebels in Lebanon. And what I'm trying to say is that -- are you going to, let's say, link aid to Lebanon, to rebuilding Lebanon, the donors' conference, let's say, with practical measures on the ground that the Lebanese Government should deliver on the issue of Hezbollah, dealing with it squarely and not again postponing it indefinitely?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: Well, let me say this about the speeches that have been made recently about this issue. I think it's a sad situation when leaders of other countries can stand on this rubble and proclaim their vision of the interests of Lebanon's people. You know, this is not the price the people of Lebanon should pay so that they can exercise their political punditry. I don't -- we don't believe in making assistance for humanitarian purposes or reconstruction conditional. But there is the reality that people cannot help unless there is confidence and will on the part of all Lebanese to correct the situation that has existed.

So to that degree, yes, the Government of Lebanon and the people of Lebanon have a common responsibility to provide an environment where international support can help. Otherwise, if there is an element of lawlessness, if people don't observe the cessation of hostilities on the Lebanese side, it won't be possible to lend that support. That's just a practical reality.


QUESTION: Barry Schweid, Associated Press. Could you give us an idea of the schedule, or if it's not all that formal, the planning for the U.S. assistance, the $10 million, and could you give us some idea how many countries -- and if you can specify which, that would be even better -- are lined up now to be part of this peacekeeping force? When might it gel, when might it be deployed?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: Okay. Those are two big questions, there, Barry, if I might just start with the humanitarian reconstruction assistance portion of that first. As you know, the United States has already been devoting humanitarian assistance resources to Lebanon. We did that from the outset of this crisis and we are continuing that effort today. We are planning to marshal significant new additional resources in support of Lebanon. I can't make any announcements now with respect to that because we haven't completed our own deliberative process, but the United States will, once again, assume a leadership role in providing help.

QUESTION: And military training? I meant specifically --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: I include that kind of support in my answer. Other countries have come forward and declared that -- their pledge to the same ends, as you saw, that there were some of those declarations at the Rome conference. Now the Government of Sweden, I think, is considering hosting a humanitarian relief conference at the end of the month. I would imagine you will see broad international support for that and broad attendance. We will, of course, go ourselves. Then following that, we're looking at ideas such as how to bring forward the conference on Lebanon that we had been hoping to hold even prior to this conference -- to this crisis. I don't know that there's a fixed date for that yet, but I don't think that it will be long before we look at that possibility as well. The purpose of that second event would be to support reconstruction assistance.

What was the second part of your question?

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: Ah, the force formation. Well, there are UNIFIL forces available right now, which could deploy in support of a Lebanese army. But the UN is on a fast track to try and supplement and enhance those forces and they are meeting every day in preparation for that. We'll be sending a team, a senior interagency team up there to the United Nations tomorrow and Thursday to work with the Department of Peacekeeping to help in shaping the new and enhanced UNIFIL.

QUESTION: Ron Baygents, Kuwait News Agency. Mr. Welch, what could you say to counter the apparently widespread perception even in the mainstream U.S. media -- I was listening to things even this morning that the Iranians are basically demonstrating their power and their muscularity, they are showing that they can, in fact, supply Hezbollah, which can kill Israelis, with virtual impunity, meaning they have not been disarmed and some believe are, in fact, rearming even now. And then the idea that they are active in Iraq with the Shia militias and also are expected to formally reject the UN nuclear resolution by the end of the month. How do you counter this image that they are quite confident in standing up to the United States? Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: Well, I think the only antidote to that kind of disturbance, interference and obstructionism is to see an expansion of opportunity and hope and support for fledgling democracies like that of Lebanon. Look, the Lebanese people don't need all this advice and interference from outside, such as that coming from Iran. That message, by the way, what's it got at its core? It's got an element that -- a disturbing tendency to violence. It's got a disturbing usurpation of the rights of the people concerned. I mean, did anyone ever ask the citizens of Lebanon would they or would they not prefer to see this conflict launched by a state within a state? No one ever asked their permission. And now others are seeking to take advantage of that and glorify this on the ruins and destruction that has occurred with such tremendous loss of life on all sides. That is not a message that is going to succeed in the long term. So I think that's one reason why we see these leaders out there giving their speeches now while, you know, the smoke is still clearing so that they can take advantage of what they perceive to -- as some element of support, while that smoke is still there because it won't last.

QUESTION: Christoph von Marschall from the German Daily Der Tagesspiegel. I would ask you to help me to get the facts right before we talk about interpretation because there's always two different things. If got that right that right that in this UN resolution there is no explicit clause allowed (ph) on disarmament of Hezbollah and how it will be enforced, there is no Chapter 7 enforcement for the mandate for the international troops and there is no control of the border between Syria and Lebanon? And if this is true, I understand why Hezbollah shouldn't claim victory. Can the United States claim a diplomatic victory if it's (inaudible) right? And please correct me if I'm wrong.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: Okay. So let me just make sure I have them in order: disarmament, Chapter 7 --

QUESTION: Enforcement and the Syria-Lebanon border -- international control on that.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: Well, one good place in checking the facts would be to read the resolution. On disarmament, it says several things. It talks about supporting the completion of the disarmament process in Lebanon a number of ways. First, it says there can be no armed groups in the area of operations of the new force. I mean, to me that is disarmament. Second, it talks about the Secretary General presenting proposals in implementation of 1559 on how to assist the Government of Lebanon in the process of disarming the militias that are there. Third, it puts new controls into effect to prevent rearmament, like an arms embargo.

Chapter 7 you ask about -- this is not a Chapter 7 resolution. This is a resolution adopted under Chapter 6, but it contains all the elements of a Chapter 7-like resolution -- considers the situation a threat to international peace and security. It talks about authorizing -- deciding to authorize a new and enhanced force which has the ability use all the means necessary to achieve its objectives. Third, there are controls on the borders. This is, of course, the responsibility of the Government of Lebanon in the first instance, but it offers the assistance of the international community to broaden their ability to achieve the control of their frontier and of their seaports and their airport. So I would argue that all three of those elements are, you know, well addressed in the resolution.

Look, the resolution is a decision of the international community. To translate that into facts on the ground, a lot of work has to happen. That work is underway now. I think with goodwill, with good political support and the kind we saw in the 15-0 vote, this can be done. But it's still to be done, not done yet.

QUESTION: Mohamed El-Settouhi, Nile Egyptian Television. Are you, in a way, disappointed with the results of the world or in other words the apparent failure of the Israeli army to destroy the military capabilities of Hezbollah? And the other thing, are you willing now to engage Syria with regard to the situation in Lebanon because the Administration has been criticized repeatedly for the failure to engage Iran and Syria?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: Look, it's not a fair question to ask anyone are you disappointed in the results of the war? That's like asking, you know, have you stopped beating your wife. We don’t like wars. No one likes a war. This one was not launched by us, by Israel. It was launched by one party. For whatever their reasons, they decided to undertake this action with, I believe, grievous consequences to themselves and certainly, a lot of damage to Lebanon, the Lebanese people, citizens of Northern Israel and at great cost to the international community.

We are determined to try and turn what has been a tragedy into change. Change is built on the fundamentals of restoring stability and security in this area, as I described them. So it’s not a question of, are we disappointed in the results. We are determined to make a difference here.

What was the second part of your question?

QUESTION: Are you going to engage Syria and (inaudible)?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: We work with the Government of Lebanon. We consider that the Government of Lebanon can and should step up to its responsibilities as a government. Frankly, we didn’t see much value in engaging the Syrians until they can prove that they’re a positive and constructive force in Lebanon and there’s a long way to go in that respect.

MODERATOR: Al Jazeera.

QUESTION: Mohammad Alami, Al Jazeera. Sir, Secretary Rice talked earlier before the war or during the first few days about, this is the new Middle East. Can you tell us, sir, what’s new today in the Middle East?

Two, I am sure you’re aware of the tremendous anger at United States in the Arab and Muslim worlds because of the perception Washington provided weapons, diplomatic cover to Israel. What are you going to do about that specifically?

And three, can I just have your take on who won, who lost in this war? In the Israeli media, they’re talking about the -- Israel’s failure to achieve its goals, but the President is talking about the defeat of Hezbollah.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: We have always considered that to bring change in the Middle East is not going to be an easy or quick process. You know, unfortunately, the Middle East sometimes gets obscured by a conflict here or there. These are -- what happens in this case is, I believe, very, very important and I don’t mean to make light of that. But let’s remember that most of the Middle East is peaceful. And I think sometimes, we generalize too easily about the whole region because of a certain set of conflicts.

I think solutions are built by tackling each problem on its merits and dealing with it. There are enemies to this process of bringing hope, opportunity and greater freedom throughout the region. Unfortunately, sometimes, those people use violence, even terror, to pursue their means. I think in the long run, theirs is a negative message because most people don’t want to have that kind of future. Does new policies of countries, including perhaps even my own, engender a popular reaction? Yes, they do. And we are conscious of that. Look, we would -- we do not believe that people should make decisions in the heat of the moment based on passions that sometimes, if left unbridled, will lead to worse outcomes.

The United States has been a leader for peace in this region for several decades. We have a lot of achievements to our record. The fact that Lebanon today has an elected democratic parliament, that it is free of Syrian forces, that it has a government that enjoys the respect of the international community, even as people attack it from within and from outside, is partly due to American effort and leadership.

Would we have preferred to not see this crisis? Absolutely right, sir. You know, we take no joy in seeing the loss of life and the destruction of property that has occurred on both sides of that border. And no one is a winner from that. But let’s go back and take a look at what motivates our interest here. We are interested in the future of Lebanon. There is no country that is more supportive of the interests of the Lebanese people than the United States. And I believe that Lebanon can and will emerge stronger from these events. As it does so, the United States will be working side by side with it to achieve those goals.

MODERATOR: Shmuel Rosner.

QUESTION: Hello, Shmuel Rosner with Haaretz Daily. Mr. Secretary, it was published that in your discussions in Jerusalem, you suggested to the Israeli Government to withdraw from the Shebaa Farms. Can you elaborate on that and talk a little bit about the future of this disputed area?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: Well, a lot was published about what we did and did not do.

QUESTION: How much of it was true?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: Some of it was true and some of it was not true. And there are facts and there are non-facts and with all due respect to the journalistic community, I would recommend that you not believe everything you read in the press, including your own press.


QUESTION: Hello, Mr. Welch. Khaled Dawoud, Al-Ahram newspaper and Egypt Television. I have two questions, please sir. Just to follow up on the issue of, you know, deploying the -- or monitoring the border between Lebanon and as the President said yesterday, and also monitoring the ports, where in the resolution does it say that the enhanced UN force, or UNIFIL force, will take this responsibility? I mean, maybe this will cause problems with Syria.

And my second question that the President himself and you apparently continue on blaming Hezbollah for starting this conflict, and my question is so do you think that the Israeli reaction is justified with all -- I mean, many other countries, including the United Nations Secretary General, some UN organizations, human rights groups said this is a violation of humanitarian law. And the President yesterday said that he's sorry that some people died in this conflict -- over one thousand people. Does this yet quantify the sum?

Thank you very much, sir.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: The resolution mentions in a number of places ways in which the UNIFIL, when it's been enhanced and has changed, can support Lebanon in protecting Lebanon. But I think, Khaled, the most important protection for Lebanon would be if Syria and Iran themselves observed the terms of the resolution. This resolution calls for countries not to introduce weapons into Lebanon and, therefore, quite apart from what the Government of Lebanon does or UNIFIL does, they have a responsibility under this decision.

I have said before to you and to others that there is no acceptable loss of innocent life. I don't think we're here in the business of quantifying what are acceptable numbers of civilian casualties, whether those are Israelis, whether they are Lebanese or others. It's regrettable and we are deeply sorry that there has been loss of life in this situation on all sides. And that just strengthens our determination, first, to bring it to an end and to bring it to an end in such a manner that it doesn’t happen again.

QUESTION: You know, when you talked about --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: Well, what would you like, to sit up here with a balance? I mean, look, I’m not going to get into that game, Khaled. I mean, I don’t think it would be satisfying to any of the families concerned to hear that their loved ones are weighed in that regard.

QUESTION: Omar Abdel-Razek, BBC Arabic. Mr. Secretary, I would like to ask you first about the political discourse of this Administration. When the President yesterday declared Lebanon as a third front in the war of terror the United States is engaged in now and when you consider this kind of war, the late war between Israel and Hezbollah as a war between the forces defending freedom versus forces defending terror, do you consider this area a reliable evaluation for the situation in the Middle East? Everybody knows that Hezbollah and Hamas are not al-Qaida. And also, does it mean that anybody will disagree, even the populars in the street -- the population of the Middle East will disagree with the American Administration, will be classified automatically as defending terror? Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: Well, I don’t believe that if we say that conducting violence against innocent civilians is terrorism, that that means that we are against entire categories of people just because they may have views about the conflicts that lay behind this violence.

Look, we view Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations. That was true before this conflict and it is true today. If they were to change their policies, we might have a different view about them. But they do conduct terrorist operations and they are responsible for the consequences. I think that this view is widely shared within the international community. And you know, setting aside the popular passions that you describe, I think one reason that you have a decision on the part of the Security Council like the one we saw just a few days ago, 15-0, I will remind you, all members of the Security Council voting the same way, is that most people agree that this kind of thing should not happen. There is no cause that justifies it.


QUESTION: Hanan El-Badry, Rose El-Youseff, (inaudible) daily newspaper. Are you calling for a peace conference like Madrid ’91? And I would like to know, did you originally contact some Arab countries regarding that matter like Egypt and Saudi Arabia? And are you planning to go to the -- to go back to the region very soon? This is my first question.

The second one, regarding the public diplomacy, I was talking with one of our editors today and he told me, is it the time for the Americans to kiss the public diplomacy goodbye?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: Well, I think what I’m doing here today is public diplomacy, so I guess you have the answer to your second question.

We believe that what is -- this crisis has distracted us from effort that we should be undertaking to address the key conflicts in the area. This is, again, one of our concerns particularly with respect to Lebanon. One of the ways that we tried to help Lebanon was by the process laid out in Resolution 1559 which would correct the situation inside the country. That’s why we supported the national dialogue that the Government of Lebanon launched a few months ago to try and address some of these remaining problems. We see an opportunity now for that process to continue and to be completed. The international community can help, I think. We look forward to the proposals the Secretary General may make in the coming days on how to address, for example, the disarmament provisions of Taif and 1559, and we shall see what support we and the international community can provide to that process.

In terms of addressing the broader issue of peace between Arabs and Israelis, and in particular, the Palestinian question, I -- we are not going to slack off in our efforts there. We believe that we should redouble our attention to this. This is a time for renewed interest in the situation between Israelis and Palestinians. We would prefer that there be a government on the Palestinian Authority side that subscribes to the principles of the peace process. When and if they do, then we're prepared to work with them and I'm sure the Government of Israel would be too.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MODERATOR: We have very little time, so --

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MODERATOR: I don't want to do follow-ups if I can help it. Sorry. We just have too many people who haven't (inaudible). This lady back here has been waiting a long time.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MODERATOR: There are a lot of people here today. We have a lot of different --

QUESTION: Hello. My name is Olivia Schoeller from the German newspaper Berliner Zeitung. And I was just wondering, what does the U.S. Government think why Hezbollah kidnapped these two soldiers? What is your interpretation of the reason why this happened?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: I'm not sure. We haven't asked them and they haven't told us.

QUESTION: What do you think -- I mean, you've -- you must talk about their --

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: Well, all that I could offer would be speculation, perhaps you would consider it informed, perhaps you might not. What I do know is that they made a big mistake and they paid dearly for it.

MODERATOR: Mounzer's been waiting patiently in the front here.

QUESTION: I appreciate it. The standing -- Mounzer Sleiman with Al-Mustaqbal Al-Arabi. The standing of United States in the region in the Arab world and Islamic world is better after this crisis than before or not? And the other question, because this question you have not answered directly, if I may say, yet, the other thing is how many shipment of cluster bombs has been approved by this Administration to the Israelis and how many in the pipe?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: I didn't get that question, so you're right, I didn't answer it.

Is our standing better or worse?

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: Listen, I'm not running a popularity contest here. Our job is to try and improve the situation. We didn't start this crisis and we tried to bring it to an end in such a way that protects the security of all concerned. The decision that came out of the Security Council would not have happened without the leadership of the United States. It is a substantial decision. It provides an opportunity for Lebanese to help protect their future. We intend to be right there to help them do that.

In the end, results speak for themselves and we'll have to see whether the blurred and negative vision of those who want to intervene with violence is the kind of message that will succeed in the Middle East. As some have said, if that's the new Middle East that they are preaching, then we want no part of it; quite the contrary. The United States is going to lead against that tendency. And I'm convinced because I know this area well; I've lived there for quite a number of years. I know many people from across the region. I believe that the great overwhelming majority of folks do not want that negative message. They don't believe in a future of violence and hatred. They seek one of peace and freedom. In that, they'll have no stronger partner than us.

MODERATOR: Last question. No follow-ups. We have too many --last question.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.) Lambros --

MODERATOR: It's true, sorry. It wasn't a follow up. It wasn't a follow up. Go ahead, please.

QUESTION: Lambros Papantoniou, Greek correspondent, Eleftheros Typos, Greek Daily. Mr. Secretary, why you didn't want to send U.S. troops in that country (inaudible) in the framework of the international force to be deployed for peace? "The U.S. reject many, many times." Why?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: Well, let me be clear, we participate in peacekeeping operations in quite a number of places. But traditionally, the United States has not participated in UN peacekeeping operations. We do so at a fairly modest level, generally speaking. We prefer to command our own forces when they're in these situations, so the type of mandate makes a difference to us.

Second, we want to see a peacekeeping operation in Lebanon that can do a good job with protecting the security and stability of the area. And our own history in Lebanon has not been altogether a happy one, so one would have to weigh these decisions very carefully in the case of the United States. We believe that other countries can play a very good role in this area and we encourage their participation.

QUESTION: Yet why has the U.S. insisted that European forces must be deployed, including Greece and Turkey? In the meantime, why not forces from Latin America, Japan, China, et cetera?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: Sir, we have no objection to any of those that you list. Our only criteria is who can help and do an effective job. And I think European forces are quite credible in that regard, including some of the ones you mentioned.

MODERATOR: One -- the very last question here from Lebanon.

QUESTION: The question has not been answered here.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: It won't be the only question I don't answer today. (Laughter.) Go ahead, please.

QUESTION: Okay. Mayssa Zeidan from Al-Mustaqbal newspaper and Futures (ph) in Lebanon. I just want to ask you -- you said President Bush (inaudible) first this crisis began, said that Syria and Iran should (ph) (inaudible) accounted. This crisis end, the Lebanese people saw their Prime Minister crying over a destroying country while they saw the Iranian leader and the Syrian leader victorious and, you know, they -- dancing in their cities by this victory. Maybe the Lebanese people deserve to know what does it mean when the superpowers in the world say Syria and Iran should held accountable for what happened. Can you please?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WELCH: Well, first of all, I think the Lebanese people deserve some credit for their strength throughout this situation and the Government of Lebanon also deserves some credit. And Prime Minister Siniora is an effective advocate for the interests of all Lebanese and he deserves our support and our respect for that. I find it terrible that the President of Iran who seeks to have his nation respected in the international community should take advantage of this tragedy in the manner that he is doing. As for the President of Syria, you can make your own judgment about the quality of his discourse throughout this crisis and his recent speech. It's, once again, a signal of how little they add to the solution of these conflicts. Instead they're trying to pile on popular emotion and anger at a time of tragedy for their own selfish advantage. What good that will do, I think history will judge.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clever moves may become a dangerous game for Iran
Fri. 18 Aug 2006
The Times


Foreign Editor's Briefing by Bronwen Maddox

THE Lebanon crisis has turned up the heat even further in the world’s standoff with Iran over its nuclear ambitions. This week has brought new signs that Tehran won’t back down.

But Iran has stirred in, too, some mollifying gestures and clearly hopes to play a clever game, one step back from the brink of outright provocation.

The question is whether it might provoke more than it has bargained for, at a point when Washington is inclined to see the Lebanon conflict as a proxy war between Iran and the US.

Iran said yesterday that it would launch a series of huge “war games”, or military practice manoeuvres. They were “aimed at introducing Iran’s new defensive doctrine”, said a military spokesman, General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani.

For all the liberal use of the word “defensive”, this is hardly a friendly stunt. The war games — dubbed “Blow of Zolfaghar”, in reference to a sword that belonged to Imam Ali, one of the most revered figures of Shia Islam — are designed to show that Tehran is standing up to the superpower. “Our army is ready to defuse all plots against the Islamic Republic of Iran”, Ashtiani added. Iran is all too aware of the US forces on its borders in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Interior Ministry also said this week that Iran would boost patrols on its borders — while adding that this was merely to target drug smugglers.

These bristly gestures will only add to regional tension. Iran has denied accusations by the US and Israel that it has funded and armed Hezbollah, the Lebanese guerrilla force. It has helped it only through inspiration, it says.

But the US fears that Iran has used Hezbollah to extend its influence throughout a “Shia crescent”. Iran is a largely Shia Muslim country; it is the mentor of the Shia fighters of Hezbollah; while Iraq is now led by its Shia majority.

These tensions will come to a head on Tuesday, Iran’s selfimposed deadline for replying to a proposal from the US and European Union, who are trying to persuade it to back down on its nuclear work. They suspect that Iran’s development of civil nuclear power is a cover for military ambitions, something that Iran denies.

Under the offer, other countries, including the US, would help Iran to run a civil nuclear programme. They would supply it with fuel for its reactors, so that it had no need to master uranium enrichment, the most controversial work, which would also equip Iran with the skills to make a bomb.

This week Iranian officials appeared to offer an olive branch, saying that they were prepared to talk about suspending uranium enrichment.

European officials greeted this with exasperation, however, calling it a delaying tactic and saying that suspension of that work was a condition for any talks to begin.

In any case, President Ahmedinejad repeated his usual uncompromising stance yesterday. He said: “How can the Iranian nation give up its obvious right to peaceful nuclear technology when America and some other countries test new atomic bombs each year?” The United Nations Security Council has set a deadline of August 30 for Iran to stop enrichment or face sanctions. Yesterday a top US negotiator said that the US intended to move “very quickly in the first part of September” to impose sanctions if Iran had not stopped.

The penalties “will be well deserved” said Nicholas Burns, Undersecretary of State, who has carried out much US diplomacy on the Iranian threat. “It’s not a mystery to the Iranians what is going to happen.”

He added that the US’s Arab allies, led by Saudi Arabia, were also concerned about Iran’s ambitions in the region. “There is broadened concern about the policy of a country that flexes its muscles,” he said. “Iran wants to be the dominant country in the region.”
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