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Rejecting Any Kind of Talks with Islamofascist
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 1:38 pm    Post subject: EU Appeasers admits Iran nuclear talks have failed Reply with quote

EU Islamic Fascists Appeasers admits Iran nuclear talks have failed


LUXEMBOURG (AFP) - The European Union has admitted that its nuclear talks with Iran have run into a dead end and that it has been left with "no choice" but to return the matter to the UN Security Council.

In a text adopted in Luxembourg Tuesday, EU foreign ministers expressed deep concern that Iran had not suspended uranium enrichment -- a process for fuelling a nuclear reactor but which could also be used to make an atomic bomb.

Major world powers have been debating whether to sanction Iran for ignoring an August 31 UN deadline to suspend the process, and preparations have been building for action at the Security Council.

"The council (of EU ministers) believed that Iran's continuation of enrichment related activities has left the EU no choice but to support consultations on such measures," they said in conclusions from their talks.

They "expressed deep concern that Iran has not yet suspended its enrichment-related and reprocessing activities as required" by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Security Council.

However the EU left open its door for further diplomacy.

"It reaffirmed its commitment to a negotiated solution, and that such a solution would contribute to the development of the EU's relations with Iran. It urged Iran to take the positive path on offer," the conclusions said.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana has been leading months of talks to convince the Islamic republic to start negotiations on suspending enrichment in exchange for a package of political and economic incentives.

"Iran refused everything," French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy told journalists. "So we are returning to the Security Council to find measures that can be phased in but which are reversible."

He said that would allow a return to diplomacy if Iran was ready for it.

For now that appears unlikely. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reaffirmed last week that his government would not back down.

"We have decided to firmly insist on the Iranian nation's right and move forward, step by step, with wisdom, calm, contemplation and patience," he said, adding that "Iran is ready to negotiate under a scientific, legal and reasonable framework."

Solana, for his part, said he remained hopeful that talks with Iran could resume despite the move back to the Security Council, and that he had held telephone talks Monday with top Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani.

"It's up to the Security Council members to decide, but we want to keep the door open (to negotiations) as long as possible," he said.

But "it's up to Tehran to accept the conditions to start serious negotiations," said Solana, who tried in vain during for three months to convince the Iranians to stop uranium enrichment activities.

Finland, which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, said the nature of any future sanctions had not been discussed at the talks in Luxembourg.

So far China and Russia, which both wield veto power on the Security Council, have balked at imposing the kind of punitive measures sought by the United States, with the backing of Britai
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 8:45 pm    Post subject: Bush Faces Tough Decisions Ahead Reply with quote

Rejecting any option that include detente and appeasing Islamic Fascists in any form and shape by anyone and does not include a solid plan and policy for Islamic Fascists regime change in Iran.
The Washington Post wrote:

Bush Faces Tough Decisions Ahead

November 03, 2006
The Washington Post
David Ignatius


Following Tuesday's elections, President Bush will face some of the most difficult decisions of his presidency as he struggles to craft a strategy for dealing with the ruinous mess in Iraq. He will have to do what he has sometimes found hardest: make a decisive choice among conflicting recommendations from his advisers.

The coming policy debate will be shaped by the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group headed by former secretary of state James A. Baker III and former representative Lee Hamilton. But it will also involve basic conflicts that have emerged in the past year over Middle East strategy -- for which the rough Beltway shorthand would be Condoleezza Rice's State Department vs. the office of Vice President Cheney.

The central question for Bush is the one that's likely to be at the center of the Baker-Hamilton recommendations: Is America's best hope for stabilizing Iraq a broad effort to resolve tensions in the Middle East, including the Arab-Israeli dispute? This comprehensive regional approach to Iraq is controversial for two reasons: The United States would have to engage Iraq's troublesome neighbors, Iran and Syria; and it would have to push Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians as part of a broader peace deal.

A hint that the administration (or at least a faction of it) is considering such an approach came in a Sept. 15 speech by Philip Zelikow, counselor to Rice, at a gathering of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He talked about the need to maintain a coalition of Europeans and moderate Arabs to solve problems such as Iraq and Iran, and then argued: "What would bind that coalition and help keep them together is a sense that the Arab-Israeli issues are being addressed." His speech led Shmuel Rosner, the chief U.S. correspondent for the Israeli daily Haaretz, to wonder in his blog: "Does it really mean a major shift in U.S. policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict?"

Baker would be an ideal catalyst for such a regional approach, in part because he traveled that road once before with the 1991 Madrid peace conference. That meeting brought together all the major global and regional powers to support a round of peacemaking that led to a treaty between Israel and Jordan, negotiations between Israel and the Syrians, and, eventually, the Oslo accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. To begin exploring the possibility of a new regional dialogue, Baker has already met privately with Iranian and Syrian diplomats.

Some hard-liners are nervous about Baker. A National Security Council staffer commented tartly a few weeks ago that Baker isn't secretary of state and doesn't speak for Bush. And the president himself, though he admires Baker's negotiating skills, worries that an overeager former secretary of state might hop on a plane for Tehran tomorrow if he had his way.

Britain has been testing the waters for a regional approach. Sir Nigel Sheinwald, the top foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair, visited Damascus this week for talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his intelligence chiefs. Sheinwald had visited Washington a week before to plan the trip with senior administration officials who, though skeptical about whether the mission would accomplish much, gave it their blessing.

Sheinwald presented a series of British-U.S. concerns, including Syria's role in providing a base for Iraqi insurgents and recent Syrian threats to destabilize the Lebanese government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. Though the meeting didn't produce any breakthroughs, the atmospherics were said to have been better than expected, and there are hopes for further discussions about security issues.

Administration officials are mum about plans for contacts with Iran. But it's clear they are looking for ways to engage the Iranian regime and explore issues of mutual concern, starting with the deteriorating situation in Baghdad.

The hornet's nest at the center of the Middle East is Iraq. On this core issue, the administration is exploring a wide range of options, from changes in basic military strategy to whom to pick as the next Centcom commander. The administration had hoped to persuade Marine Gen. James Jones, the retiring NATO commander, to take the job. He would be a popular choice inside and outside the military, but he is said to be wary.

Israelis are watching the Washington policy debate carefully. There is concern that the administration might try to make Israel the "fall guy" for America's problems with Iraq and Iran. But several of the Israelis who are closest to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert say privately that the current power vacuum in the region hurts Israel most of all and that America must regain the strategic momentum, even if that means talking to its adversaries. Stay tuned to see if Bush opts for a "November surprise."

The writer co-hosts, with Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria, PostGlobal, an online discussion of international issues athttp://blog.washingtonpost.com/postglobal. His e-mail address isdavidignatius@washpost.com.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:16 am    Post subject: Getting Serious About Iran: For Regime Change Reply with quote

Getting Serious About Iran: For Regime Change

November 09, 2006
Amir Taheri


What to do about Iran? The question has haunted successive administrations in Washington since the raid on the U.S. embassy in Tehran and the seizure of its diplomats in November 1979.

In that instance, the initial response of the Carter White House was to treat the newly installed Islamic Republic as a rebellious adolescent who, given sympathy and support, would eventually mend his ways. It took 444 days of captivity before the ordeal of the hostages ended, and then only in the face of a more muscular American approach signaled by the victory of Ronald Reagan in the November 1980 presidential election.

A few months later, however, the Khomeini regime ordered the capture of new American hostages, this time in Beirut, and in the following years pursued its virulently anti-American campaign by organizing suicide attacks on the U.S. embassy compound in that city and at a U.S. military base close by; a total of 300 Americans, including 241 Marines, were killed. Entering into secret talks with Tehran, the allegedly bellicose Reagan eventually agreed to supply weapons to the mullahs in exchange for the release of some of the hostages.

The mullahs saw all this as a confirmation of the Ayatollah Khomeini’s notorious dictum: “America cannot do a damn thing!” Emboldened, they next tried to disrupt the flow of Arab oil through the Persian Gulf by firing at Kuwaiti oil tankers in 1987. With that, the Reagan administration finally moved onto the offensive. Kuwaiti tankers were put under American flag, and a naval task force was dispatched to deal with the Iranian threat. At the next round of probing attacks, the American task force sank nearly half of the Islamic Republic’s navy and dismantled over $1 billion worth of Iranian offshore oil installations. Promptly ordering a halt to his offensive, Khomeini also announced his acceptance of a United Nations Security Council resolution ending Iran’s eight-year war with Iraq.

Khomeini’s pattern of advance and retreat suggested a dynamic for change in Iran, but one that the first Bush administration failed to understand, let alone exploit. By 1990, the Islamic Republic had revived its strategy of countering and, where possible, rolling back U.S. influence throughout the so-called “arc of crisis” spanning the region from the Indian sub-continent to North Africa. Even as it created and strengthened branches of the Hizballah (“Party of God”) movement in seventeen countries, most notably in Lebanon, Tehran backed older radical Islamist groups in Central Asia, the Transcaucasus, Afghanistan, and the Arabian Peninsula.

Next came the Clinton administration, which, at first adopting a policy of benign neglect vis-à-vis the mullahs, was shocked out of its torpor by the attack on the U.S. base at Khobar, Saudi Arabia, in which nineteen American servicemen were killed in an operation designed by Iran and carried out by Lebanese and Saudi Shiite militants. Still, President Clinton chose to play the engagement card. After more than two years of secret diplomacy, the contours of a “grand bargain” (as the mullahs saw it) began to take shape. By 1998, President Muhammad Khatami, widely regarded in the West as a “moderate,” was even talking about a “mini-Yalta accord” that would demarcate respective “zones of influence.” In an advance payment for this putative bargain, Clinton and his Secretary of State Madeleine Albright apologized publicly to the Islamic Republic for past American misdeeds, and the administration lifted some of the sanctions imposed on Iranian imports into the United States.

The “grand bargain” was not to be, however. Scheduled to be unveiled during the millennium summit at the United Nations in New York with an “accidental” encounter and handshake between Clinton and Khatami, it was scrapped at the last minute by the Islamic Republic’s “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei, who had decided there was no point in striking a bargain with a U.S. President on the point of leaving office. Clinton was left pacing the corridors of the UN, waiting in vain for his “accidental” meeting.

Initially, the administration of President George W. Bush was inclined to ignore the Islamic Republic—a creature that, if touched, would bring only grief. But the attacks of 9/11, followed by the U.S. campaign to liberate first Afghanistan and then Iraq, inevitably moved the Islamic Republic closer to the center of White House attention. By an accident of history, the mullahs actually shared Bush’s objectives in Afghanistan and Iraq, since both the Taliban and the Baath movement were sworn enemies of the Islamic Republic. For a few months, Tehran and Washington conducted bilateral talks and, in Afghanistan, even cooperated on the ground. Soon, however, it became clear that they held diametrically opposed visions of the future of the Middle East.

Bush had concluded that the terrorist attacks on the U.S. had flowed out of six decades of American support for a Middle East status quo dominated by reactionary and often despotic regimes. To ensure its own safety, America now had to help democratize the region. The Islamic Republic, by contrast, saw the elimination of its two principal regional enemies as a “gift from Allah,” and an opportunity to advance its own, contrary vision of the Middle East as the emergent core of a radical Islamist superpower under Iranian leadership.

Still, throughout its first term, the Bush administration did its best to skirt the Iran issue, despite occasional rhetorical outbursts like the President’s linkage of the Islamic Republic, Iraq, and North Korea in an “axis of evil.” When asked about the administration’s Iran policy, officials would respond that there was such a policy, only it was not on paper.

By the start of the second term, however, the Bush administration had identified the Islamic Republic as a principal obstacle to the President’s policy of democratization. By now, indeed, Tehran had become actively engaged in undermining the U.S. position in both Afghanistan and Iraq, while creating radical Shiite networks to exert pressure on such American allies as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain. Nor was that all: the Islamic Republic was gaining influence over radical Palestinian groups, including Islamic Jihad and Hamas, by supplying them with funds and weapons. Israel’s seizure of the cargo ship Karine A, caught smuggling Iranian arms to a terrorist group tied to Yasir Arafat, and the discovery of seventeen terrorist cells preparing to attack Israel from Jordan in 2002, were clear signals that, where the Palestinian issue was concerned, the Islamic Republic had moved onto the offensive.

Then came the ominous revelations of a secret Iranian program to produce enriched uranium, as a first step toward manufacturing nuclear warheads. To this, the initial and by now well-practiced Western response was to blink. At the urging of the European Union, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) pointedly refrained from penalizing the Islamic Republic for violating the terms of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (of which Iran under the Shah had been an early signatory). Instead, the EU, working through Britain, France, and Germany, offered the Islamic Republic a series of economic and political “incentives” in exchange for stopping what it should not have started in the first place. After months of diplomatic wrangling, Tehran agreed to suspend its uranium-processing and -enrichment activities—without, however, agreeing to a method of effective verification.

This past May, the U.S. joined the EU initiative in an expanded framework of talks that also included Russia and China. But Tehran declined to play. To the contrary, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the recently elected president, announced that the Islamic Republic was reneging on its suspension agreement and resuming its enrichment program on an even larger scale. Describing the West’s demands as a species of “nuclear apartheid,” Ahmadinejad vowed that Iran would now work to achieve “mastery of the full cycle of nuclear science and technology.” By September, he had ignored three deadlines for changing his mind.

To this day, Ahmadinejad has never lost an opportunity to reiterate that the Islamic Republic is as committed to fighting Western democracies as it was when it came to power almost three decades ago. Claiming that he is preparing the ground for the return of the Hidden Imam, a messiah-like figure of Shiite lore, Ahmadinejad considers a “clash of civilizations” to be both inevitable and welcome. Of course, he is ready to talk—so long as the Islamic Republic is not required to make any concessions. In a speech in Zanjan over the summer, Ahmadinejad assured his listeners that the United States would never be permitted to create “an American Middle East.” “The new Middle East,” he told the cheering crowd, “will be Islamic.”

Nor is Ahmadinejad a lone wolf. Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Meshkini, president of the Assembly of Experts and thus, after the “Supreme Guide,” the regime’s second most senior clerical figure, further clarified the extent of Tehran’s ambitions in a September speech to the assembly. The only legitimate government on earth, proclaimed the ayatollah, is the Islamic Republic, and the entire world, starting with the Muslim nations, must be put under the rule of the “Supreme Guide.”

There can be little doubt that Ahmadinejad, Meshkini, and the others have been encouraged in their belligerence by Western statesmen and pundits who insist that no realistic alternative exists to “dialogue” with the Islamic Republic, even if this appears to play into the hands of the regime. As we have seen, however, “talking to the mullahs” is a strategy thoroughly tested over the last quarter-century and repeatedly found wanting. Every U.S. administration has maintained some level of communication, often behind the scenes, with the leadership in Tehran. None of it has succeeded in influencing its fundamental tenor or curbing its radical ambitions.

The same can be said of the Europeans. Hans-Dietrich Genscher, a long-time foreign minister of West Germany, built his career on the effort to bring the Islamic Republic into the international mainstream. Genscher’s policy of “critical dialogue” (his phrase) ended up, in practice, as an exercise in joint criticism, by the mullahs and the Europeans, of the Americans. Roland Dumas, Genscher’s French counterpart, was no less enthusiastic about “constructive dialogue” (his term) with Tehran, a path followed as well by Spain’s socialist prime minister, Felipe Gonzalez and, more recently, by Jack Straw, Tony Blair’s former foreign secretary. During his tenure in office, Straw visited Tehran more frequently than Washington, only to return empty-handed.

Nor do Americans and Europeans exhaust the list of those who have achieved little or nothing, or worse, by talking to the Islamic Republic. For twelve years, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan have been engaged in talks with Tehran to determine the status of the Caspian Sea; they have gotten nowhere. Turkey has tried since 1989 to persuade Iran to stop the flow of money and arms to Turkish-Kurdish rebels and the Turkish branch of Hizballah, again to no avail. Egypt has held a decade-long dialogue with the Islamic Republic without making any headway on the issue of resuming diplomatic ties. Two decades of talks between the Islamic Republic and Kuwait over the demarcation of their continental-shelf limits in the Persian Gulf have likewise led nowhere—although, under the Shah, an accord was signed by the two neighbors as long ago as 1976. In every case, the Islamic Republic has interpreted the readiness of its adversaries to talk as a signal of weakness, and has hardened its position accordingly.

Why does the Islamic Republic behave as it does? The answer is that, as the spearhead of a revolutionary cause, it can do no other. The Islamic Republic is unlike any of the regimes in its environment, or indeed anywhere in the world. Either it will become like them—i.e., a nation-state—or it will force them to become like itself. As a normal nation-state, Iran would have few major problems with its neighbors or with others. As the embodiment of the Islamic Revolution, it is genetically programmed to clash not only with those of its neighbors who do not wish to emulate its political system but also with other powers that all too reasonably regard Khomeinism as a threat to regional stability and world peace.

For as long as the Islamic Republic continues to behave as a revolutionary cause, it will be impossible for others, including the United States, to consider it a partner, let alone a friend or ally. This does not exclude talks, or even periods of relative détente, as happened with the USSR during the cold war. But just as the Soviet Union remained an enemy of the free world right up to the end, so the Islamic Republic will remain an enemy until it once more becomes a nation-state.

How, then, should one deal with Iran in its current phase? There are several options. The most obvious is to do nothing. Among the attractions of this option is that, at least theoretically, it would deny the Islamic Republic the chance to cast itself as the grand defender of Islam against the depredations of the “infidel” camp led by the United States. It would also allow internal tensions in Iran to come to the fore, helping speed the transition from cause to state.

But the risk in the do-nothing option is clear. Interpreting it as yet another sign of weakness on the part of its adversaries, the Islamic Republic may hasten its program to “export the revolution” around the Middle East and, more importantly, develop a credible arsenal of nuclear weapons. The result would be an even bigger challenge to the regional balance of power and to the world.

An alternative to the do-nothing option is the one favored, today as yesterday, by the apostles of dialogue: namely, to reach an accommodation with the Islamic Republic on its terms, in the hope that this will somehow, in time, help to modify its behavior. Some Europeans, including France’s President Jacques Chirac, clearly back this option. What matters, they say, is to engage the Islamic Republic as a partner in some kind of international arrangement that, over an unspecified period, will end up imposing restraints on its overall behavior.

The risk here is equally obvious. Having won an initial concession from the “infidels,” the Khomeinist leadership would instantly and reflexively demand more. The Khomeinist revolution, after all, dreams of conquering the world in the name of Islam, just as Hitler aimed to do in the name of the Aryan master race and the USSR in the name of Communism. Indeed, Khatami’s idea of a “Yalta-like” accord with President Clinton was itself inspired by the mullahs’ claim to be the legitimate successors to the USSR as the global challengers to American imperialism.

Proponents of “dialogue” like to cite the “Nixon in China” moment as a model for dealing with the Islamic Republic. But they forget two facts. The first is that, during Nixon’s presidency, the initiative for normalizing relations came not from the United States but from China, which was then trying to recast itself as a nation-state among nation-states. The Islamic Republic is not in that position, or anywhere near it. In fact, precisely because it bases its legitimacy as a revolutionary power on the teachings of Islam, something it does not fully control in doctrinal terms, it cannot abandon its revolutionary pretensions as easily as did the Maoists in Beijing, who “owned” their own ideology and could alter it at will.

There remains another option: regime change. The very mention of this term drives some people up the wall, inspiring images of an American invasion, a native insurgency, suicide bombers, and worse. But military intervention and pre-emptive war are not the only means of achieving regime change.

What matters is to be intellectually clear about the issue at hand. The U.S. will not be safe as long as Iran, a key country in a region of vital importance to the world economy and to international stability, remains the embodiment of the Khomeinist cause. Nor can the U.S. allow the Khomeinist movement, itself a version of global Islamism, to achieve further political or diplomatic gains at the expense of the Western democracies.

For consider the consequences if that were to happen. The most immediate would be to strengthen the mullahs and demoralize all those inside Iran who have a different vision of their country’s future and an active desire to bring it about. In 1937 and 1938, many professional army officers in Germany, realizing that Hitler was leading their nation to disaster, had begun to discuss possible ways of getting rid of him. But the Munich “peace” accords negotiated by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain handed Hitler a diplomatic triumph and, with it, a degree of international legitimacy that, from then on, any would-be putschists could hardly ignore.

In the Middle East, this story has been repeated many times. The West helped Gamal Abdel Nasser transform the Suez fiasco into a political triumph, thereby encouraging an even bigger and, for Egypt, more disastrous, war in 1967. The 1991 ceasefire that allowed Saddam Hussein to remain in power in Baghdad, interpreted by him as a signal of American weakness, emboldened him quickly to eliminate his domestic opponents and to begin preparations for a bigger war against the “infidel.” After the first al-Qaeda attack on New York’s World Trade Center in 1993, President Clinton dispatched a string of envoys to Afghanistan to strike a bargain with Mullah Muhammad Omar and the Taliban. Not only, to quote the Taliban foreign minister, was this seen as “a sign of weakness by the Crusader-Zionists,” and one that immensely enhanced the prestige of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, but it discouraged the anti-Taliban forces, many of whom concluded there was no point in fighting a foe backed by the world’s only superpower.

That is the effect that reaching an accommodation with the Khomeinist regime will have on Iran’s own democrats and reformers. And it will have the same weakening effect on the growing democratic movement elsewhere in the Middle East. Some signs of this are already visible. For example, the fragile consensus belatedly formed around the idea of a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians is under pressure from a new “one-state” formula propagated by the “defiance front” led by Iran and including Syria, Hizballah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Libya, and the Sudan. In Lebanon, Hizballah and its allies have been encouraged by Tehran to pursue a systematic bullying of the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. In Syria, the pro-reform camp has been defeated, and the Baathist regime, a vicious menace in its own right, has entered into an unprecedented dependence on Tehran. Even major powers like Russia, China, France, and Germany calibrate their relations with the Islamic Republic with reference to how they suspect Washington will, or will not, be acting.

By contrast, in opting for regime change, the U.S. would send a strong signal to the democratic movement inside Iran, as well as throughout the Middle East, that the Bush Doctrine remains intact and that the Khomeinist movement is doomed. Such a policy would also encourage Iran’s neighbors, and other powers concerned about aggressive Khomeinism, to resist the political and diplomatic démarches of the Islamic Republic without fear of being caught out by a surprise deal between Tehran and Washington.

At home in the United States, a policy of regime change vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic would have the immense advantage of moral and political clarity. If backed by the requisite political will, it could open the way for a truly bipartisan approach toward dealing with a regime now identified as the United States’ most determined and potentially dangerous adversary in the region. For it is hard to imagine a democratic and pro-Western Middle East being built without Iran, the largest piece in any emerging jigsaw puzzle. Nor can U.S. victories in Afghanistan and Iraq be consolidated without change in Iran, or meaningful progress be made toward resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict as long as the Khomeinist regime is determined to pursue its “wipe-Israel-off-the-map” strategy.

Abroad, a U.S. policy of regime change would give heart to all those rightly worried by the alliance that Ahmadinejad is trying to build with thugs and lunatics like North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, and the Castro brothers in Cuba. Even today, Tehran is the ideological capital of international terrorism, with more than 60 groups from all continents gathering there each February for a global terror-fest. A triumphant Ahmadinejad, armed with nuclear weapons, would only boost the international terrorist movement, thus further undermining the security of the United States and its allies. That alone is a powerful argument for regime change.

But—some might object—even granting the virtue of the idea, how realistic is regime change in Iran? Can it happen?

The short answer is yes. Without underestimating the power still held by the mullahs over the Iranian people, let alone their ability to wreak devastating havoc in places near and far, a number of factors suggest that, like other revolutionary regimes before them, their condition is more fragile than may at first appear.

One sign is the loss of regime legitimacy. The Islamic Republic owed its initial legitimacy to the revolution of 1979. Since then, successive Khomei-nist administrations have systematically dismantled the vast, multiform coalition that made the revolution possible. The Khomeinists have massacred their former leftist allies, driven their nationalist partners into exile, and purged even many Islamists from positions of power, leaving their own base fractured and attenuated.

The regime’s early legitimacy also derived from referendums and elections held regularly since 1979. In the past two decades, however, each new election has been more “arranged” than the last, while the authoritarian habit of approving candidates in advance has become a routine part of the exercise. Many Iranians saw last year’s presidential election, in which Ahmadinejad was declared a surprise winner, as the last straw: credited with just 12 percent of the electorate’s vote in the first round, he ended up being named the winner in the second round with an incredible 60 percent of the vote.

Still another source of the regime’s legitimacy was its message of “social justice” and its promise to improve the life of the poor. This, too, has been subverted by reality. Today, more than 40 percent of Iran’s 70 million people live below the poverty line, compared with 27 percent before the Khomeinists seized power. In 1977, Iran’s GDP per head per annum was the same as Spain’s. Today, Spain’s GDP is four times higher than Iran’s in real dollar terms. As the gap between rich and poor has widened to an unprecedented degree, the corruption of the ruling mullahs, and their ostentatious way of life, have made a mockery of slogans like “Islamic solidarity.”

A second sign is the presence of a major split within the ruling establishment itself. The list of former Khomeinists who have distanced themselves from today’s regime reads like a who’s who of the original revolutionary elite. It includes former “student” leaders who raided the U.S. embassy in 1979, former commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and dozens of former cabinet ministers and members of the Islamic Majlis (parliament). Most have adopted a passive stance vis-à-vis the regime, but a surprising number have clearly switched sides, becoming active dissidents and thereby risking imprisonment, exile, or even death. Any decline in the regime’s international stature could deepen this split within the establishment, helping to isolate the most hardline Khomeinists.

A third harbinger is that the regime’s coercive forces have become increasingly reluctant to defend it against the people. Since 2002, the regular army, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and the professional police have refused to crush workers’ strikes, student demonstrations, and other manifestations of anti-regime protest. In many instances, the mullahs have been forced to deploy other, often unofficial, means, including the so-called Ansar Hizballah (“Supporters of the Party of God”) and the Baseej Mustadafeen (“Mobilization of the Dispossessed”).

A fourth sign is the emergence of alternative sources of moral authority in Iranian society. Even in religious matters, more and more Iranians look for guidance to non-official or even anti-official mullahs, including the clergy in Iraq. (Admittedly, this is partly due to the fact that the present “Supreme Guide,” Ali Khamenei, is a mid-ranking mullah who would never be accepted by senior Shiite clergy as a first among equals.)

As for non-religious matters, there was a time when the regime enjoyed the support of the overwhelming majority of Iran’s “creators of culture.” Today, not a single prominent Iranian poet, writer, filmmaker, composer, or artist endorses the Khomei- nists; most have become dissidents whose work is either censored or banned. Opposition intellectuals, clerics, trade-union leaders, feminists, and students are emerging as new sources of moral authority.

Finally, there are at least the outlines, although no more than the outlines, of a political alternative. Like nature, society abhors a vacuum. In the case of Iran, that vacuum cannot be filled by the dozen or so groups in exile, although each could have a role in shaping a broad national alternative. What is still needed is an internal political opposition that can act as the nucleus of a future government.

Unfortunately, such a nucleus cannot be created so long as the fear exists that the U.S. and its allies might reach an accommodation with the regime and leave Iranian dissidents in the lurch. And that fear has roots in reality. In the years 1999-2000, President Khatami succeeded in splitting the opposition by boasting of the terms of his forthcoming “grand bargain” with President Clinton. His message was ingeniously twofold: the deal would help solve the nation’s economic problems and open the way for less repressive measures in social life and culture, but it would include a stipulation that America would never help opponents of the Khomeinist regime. Although, as we have seen, the “grand bargain” itself came to naught, the message and its implications have hardly been forgotten.

If many of the preconditions for regime change are in place, is the time right? To this, too, the answer is yes. Again without underestimating the power in the hands of the mullahs, the truth is that Iran today, far from being the island of calm portrayed in some leading American newspapers, is more nearly like a heaving volcano, ready to explode.

In the words of Muhammad-Mahdi Pour-Fatemi, a member of the Islamic Majlis, Iran today is passing through “the deepest crisis our nation has experienced in decades.” Because of “policies that have produced nothing but grief for our nation,” Pour-Fatemi has courageously said, “the Islamic Republic today is isolated.” The fall in value of the Iranian currency—despite rising oil revenues—and the massive increase in the rate of unemployment over the past two years signal an economic crisis already heralded by double-digit inflation. In some cases, the government has been unable to pay its employees—including over 600,000 teachers—on time. In March, at the start of the new Iranian year, it was having difficulty financing over half of its projects, forcing hundreds of private contractors into bankruptcy. Meanwhile, fear of an international crisis over the nuclear issue, and the possibility of new sanctions imposed by the UN and/or the U.S., have put a damper on the economy’s only buoyant sector: real estate. According to Ayatollah Shahroudi, the regime’s chief justice, the flight of capital from the Islamic Republic, which started as a hemorrhage, has been transformed in the past two years into “a flood.”

It is not only on the economic front or in his confrontations with labor unions and women’s and student organizations that Ahmadinejad is coming under pressure. His regime also faces growing ethnic unrest that has led to bloodshed in provinces with non-Persian majorities: the Azeris in the northwest, the Kurds in the west, the Arabs in the south, and the Baluch in the southeast, among others. Over the past eighteen months, hundreds of people have been killed in clashes with the central security forces. Dozens of ethnic leaders have been executed, thousands have been put under arrest, and many more have been driven into exile in Iraq, Turkey, and Pakistan. So uncertain is the security situation in the affected areas that Ahmadinejad has been forced to cancel planned visits to eight of the nation’s thirty provinces.

Ahmadinejad is now desperate to provoke a mini-conflict with the United States to divert attention from the gathering storm inside Iran. At the same time, he is raising the “wipe-Israel-off-the-map” banner, lately all but abandoned by most Arab leaders, in the hope of winning a position of leadership for his Shiite theocracy—something otherwise unthinkable to the Sunni majority in the Islamic world. Finally, he is trying to position himself as the leader of the so-called non-aligned movement, in the hope of creating an alliance of all the anti-American and anti-democratic forces in the world, including in the West itself.

His strategy is premised on the assumption that the West has no stomach for a real fight, and that the worst that could happen to his regime is a few attacks on its nuclear sites—something that would have the advantage of diverting the focus from his domestic problems and bestowing on his regime a veneer of victimhood. Most of all, he is hoping that, once President Bush is out of office, the next American President will revert to the policies pursued by all previous U.S administrations.

In his address to the UN General Assembly in September, President Bush showed unmistakably that he understands the desire of the people of Iran for freedom and self-determination. The same vision is articulated in the Iran Freedom and Support Act, passed by the U.S. Senate on September 30 after its counterpart already passed in the House. If that is the vision, the best way to proceed toward implementing it is to remain guided always by the recognition that the Islamic Republic is toxic because its nature is to be toxic—because of its ideological DNA—and that, although its behavior can intermittently be influenced, ultimately the regime itself must be defeated and replaced.

With a clear compass, the litmus test for any particular policy toward Iran will likewise be clear: does this activity, program, or initiative help or hinder regime change? Under that general guideline, any number of specific policies can be envisioned, some of them already in place. For instance, the adoption of a regime-change strategy does not preclude American participation in diplomatic initiatives focused on particular issues, such as the current efforts to engage the Islamic Republic in the matter of its nuclear ambitions. But the crucial criterion is that process must not be allowed to become a substitute for policy. In the hope of winning concessions from the mullahs, Germany, France, and the UK, the three EU partners in the talks, have chosen to ignore the question of the sanctions already envisaged under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty for the regime’s repeated violations of its provisions; the U.S., by contrast, can and should press for their application.

Flexibility is also key. No one knows for sure how long it will take the Islamic Republic to develop or deploy a serious arsenal of nuclear weapons. Just as diplomacy need not be ruled out on this and other issues, the military option should also remain on the table. Just as tactics of containment and even of détente need not be ruled out of order when and if they seem clearly designed to hasten regime change, neither should tactics aimed at rollback.

Above all, the United States should be, as the President stated in his address to the UN, resolutely on the side of the Iranian people. Programmatically, two things are needed here: assuring Iranians in no uncertain terms that the U.S. will never endorse or grant legitimacy to the current despotic regime, and helping to expose the Islamic Republic’s repressive policies, human-rights violations, rampant corruption, and wanton subsidization of some of the worst terror groups on the face of the earth. Funding Iranian opposition groups, if needed, is one way to accomplish this. More important and ultimately perhaps more effective is for the U.S. to use its immense bully pulpit to publicize the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom.

A more robust and coordinated American posture on the economic, diplomatic, political, and moral fronts would create forceful pressure on the current leadership and inspire new courage in its opponents. There is no denying that the mechanics of regime change are a delicate and often highly chancy matter, and that the historical record offers examples of failure as well as of success. But there is also no denying that the game is worth the candle. Accelerating the collapse and replacement of this aberrant tyranny, a curse to the Iranian people and to the world, will strike a blow against anti-Western and anti-democratic forces all over the globe, safeguard America’s strategic interests in the Middle East and beyond, and add another radiant page to the almanac of American support for the cause of freedom.

Amir Taheri was the executive editor of Khayan, Iran’s largest daily newspaper, from 1972 to 1979. The author of ten books, he is a frequent contributor to publications in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. His article, “The Real Iraq,” appeared in our June issue
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 11:38 am    Post subject: Don't Expect Madrid Effect Reply with quote

Don't Expect Madrid Effect
November 11, 2006
Arab News
Amir Taheri

By all accounts, the United States’ midterm elections have produced a political earthquake by handing over control of the Senate and the House of Representatives to Democrats. And by all accounts, the trigger of the quake was Iraq.

Surprisingly, however, Iraq, although used as a code concept for attacking President George W. Bush, was hardly debated in the context of its broader realities and the impact its future might have on the regional and, indeed, the global balance of power.

The word “Iraq” brought together a disparate coalition that might unravel, now that the Democrats share greater responsibility in shaping policy.

The coalition included people who do not give two hoots about Iraq or American policy in the Middle East. To them Iraq was a theme that played well against Republicans in Peoria. With the elections over they may to try to milk that cow further by focusing on what happened before the war rather than what is to be done now. They are not interested in saving American policy, they dream of impeachment proceedings against Bush on the grounds that he deceived the Congress by doctoring intelligence on Iraq. These revanchists wish to feed the Republicans the same fare that Bill Clinton swallowed over the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Then there were those who believe that Iraq is not worth the candle because, as a creature of British imperialism, it is unviable as a nation-state.

The “Iraq is a failure” coalition also includes people who blame everyone for the current violence there. Winston Churchill and T.E. Lawrence are blamed because of their role in dismantling the Ottoman Empire and creating “The Arab world”. Western powers are blamed because they supported repressive regimes in Baghdad, until 2003. The first President Bush is blamed because he did not finish the job in 1991 and allowed Saddam Hussein to keep power. The “neocons” are blamed because they duped George W. into invading Iraq. Donald Rumsfeld is blamed because he sent too few troops to do the job.

To such people, it was not Saddam Hussein that made Iraq what it was but Iraq that made Saddam what he had been during three decades of bloody misrule. These people blame everyone except those actually doing the killings in Baghdad.

Finally, the “Iraq is a failure” coalition also includes people who agree that while getting rid of Saddam Hussein was right, the way the Bush administration handled the postwar situation was incompetent. That segment of the coalition is further divided into subgroups.

Some say the US should send in more troops. Others insist that most US troops should be withdrawn. Some think the way out of the alleged “quagmire” is to divide Iraq into three or five mini countries. Others suggest that the US make a deal with the mullahs in Tehran for an Irano-American condominium in Iraq. Then there are those who want the US to lead an Arab bloc to oppose Tehran’s attempts at creating a “Shiite Crescent” in the Middle East.

It is remarkable that in an election supposed to have hinged on the issue of Iraq little of substance was said about what the US should actually do in concrete policy terms.

As a result, what we have is a garbled message.

We know that a majority of Americans are unhappy about Iraq. But we cannot be sure why they are unhappy. Are they unhappy because the US intervened in the first place? Or are they unhappy because the US has not committed enough troops to pursue a more robust strategy? Are they unhappy because they dislike Bush on other issues and find Iraq a convenient way of venting their hatred just as some Republicans, who hated Clinton for other reasons, used the Lewinsky affair to get at him?

With the election over, the use of Iraq for other purposes may end if only because all the leading putative candidates for the presidency, Republicans and Democrats, had supported the intervention and remain committed to new Iraq.

It is, therefore, time to have real debate on the way ahead in Iraq.

For such a debate to take place Americans must ask themselves three questions: What are we doing in Iraq? Is it worth doing? Are we doing it well?

They key question, of course, is the first one.

If the Americans decide they have no business in Iraq, the rational policy would be quick disengagement. Some, including the Council on Foreign Relations, already offering such analyses, have called on the US to step aside and allow the Islamic republic to reshape the Middle East.

During the election campaign, only two brief remarks, one by President Bush and the other by Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat who will assume the speakership of the House of Representatives, hinted at the core issue of a debate that must take place.

Bush’s contribution came in the context of his well-known assertion that Iraq was part of the broader “war on terror.” According to Bush, the US is in Iraq to prevent its enemies from turning it into a new haven for terrorism. The Bush position could be summed up thus: “We are there, because they are there.”

Pelosi’s remark was equally simple: “They are there, because we are there.”

Both statements could be right or wrong, according to time and place.

Bush is right because during the past three decades we have witnessed the emergence of a global movement to challenge the United States’ position wherever possible, especially in the Middle East in the name of a radical version of political Islam. Much of the violence in Iraq is the work of self-styled jihadists who had fought in other theaters, including the Philippines, the Gulf, and Afghanistan, against US influence, and even if Iraq had not become a battlefield, would have gone to fight in other lands.

But Bush is wrong in assuming that the US must necessarily be in the front-line in every struggle involving self-styled jihadists. For example, the jihadist campaign in Algeria in the 1990s had nothing to do with any real or imagined US presence there. Nor are self-styled jihadists in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kashmir and Chechnya engaged in wars against the United States.

Pelosi is right because had the US not intervened in Iraq there would be no American forces there that jihadists could challenge. But the same could be said about 9/11: Had there been no Americans in New York and Washington there would have been no attacks.

One thing is certain. The jubilation expressed in jihadist circles as a result of the Republicans’ defeat may be misplaced. There is no evidence that the US election would produce a “Madrid effect” in the sense of a strategic retreat in the face of the jihadist challenge. No one could claim a majority of Americans voted for a “cut-and-run” policy. Although some Democrats hinted at that option, they were careful not to appear as the party of defeat.

During the election campaign Pelosi and company might have talked of “Bush’s war” or the “neocons’ war”. But now it is their war, too. If it is won they will share in victory. If lost, they will share the blame. That may turn the idea of helping Iraq transform itself into a stable pluralist polity into a bipartisan cause, uniting rather than dividing Americans. And that would be bad news for self-styled jiahdists whose only hope of victory lies in an American loss of resolve.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 11:45 am    Post subject: WHY AL QAEDA'S HAPPY CAN DEMOCRATS PREVENT BUSH RETREAT? Reply with quote

Saturday, November 11, 2006




Khalilzad: Leaving Iraq to write memoir.

November 11, 2006 -- AMERICA'S enemies are gloating over this week's election results - and the Bush administration's air of imminent retreat. Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq , the tremendously gifted Zalmay Khalilzad, is said to be on the way out.

"The American people have taken a step in the right path to come out of their predicament, they voted for a level of reason," said Ayyub al-Masri, the head of al Qaeda in Iraq . In a recording posted on jihadi Web sites, he called Bush a "lame duck" and accused Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of "rushing to escape."

The group boasts of having 12,000 fighters in Iraq who have "vowed to die for God's sake." That is not a bluff, according to several high-ranking members of the intelligence community: Al Qaeda in Iraq is more dangerous than ever.

"Al Masri is much more effective than [Abu Musab al] Zarqawi," one intelligence officer told me. After U.S. forces killed Zarqawi in June, al Qaeda consolidated its control over tribal leaders and Sunni insurgents - who'd otherwise be starved for money and ammunition. Zarqawi's divisive lieutenants have been replaced. (One was found in a dumpster last week.)

And bin Laden's control is stronger than ever. Al Masri talks to al Qaeda's No. 2, Ayman al Zawahiri, on a daily basis.

After delighting in the Democrats victory and Bush's capitulations, Masri added: "We haven't had enough of your blood yet."

Tehran was also celebrating.

"This issue [the elections] is not purely a domestic issue for America , but is a defeat for Bush's hawkish policies," said Iran 's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. "This defeat is actually an obvious victory for the Iranian nation."

This week, Iran is completing military exercises in the Gulf, testing a new long-range missile. It continues to develop atomic weapons, offer safe houses to some 500 al Qaeda terrorists (including three of bin Laden's sons, one of whom has married the daughter of a Revolutionary Guards general) and supports the Iraqi insurgency with money, bombs and men.

Stressing that he is not making a cheap political shot, American Enterprise Institute analyst Michael Rubin asks: "What policy shift does al Qaeda in Iraq welcome and why?"

For years, the left derided the Patriot Act, NSA wiretaps and other national-security measures as doing "exactly what al Qaeda wants." Now we know exactly what al Qaeda wants. Will that give governing Democrats any pause?

Yet it is too soon to blame the Democrats. They didn't court al Qaeda's endorsement - and won't be sworn in until January.

And it's past time to blame President Bush for his destructive reaction to the GOP's "thumpin'." He had to know America 's enemies would see Rumsfeld's departure as a sign of weakness. If he was going to pull the trigger, the president shou;d've done it this spring, when his team debated Rumsfeld's exit.

Another awful signal: Defense Secretary-designate Robert Gates is a "Bush I" crony who was on the National Security Council when Iraq 's Shia and Kurds were betrayed and massacred. He also served on the Iraq Study Group, which is widely expected to offer a fig leaf for retreat. Not an encouraging signal for Iraq 's embattled government.

But the most distressing change is probably the departure of Khalilzad. I'm told he'll go within a few weeks. He was respected across the political spectrum in Iraq , largely because he listened at length, spoke plainly and kept his word.

But Khalilzad doesn't want to be known as the "man who lost Iraq he's leaving to write a tell-all book.

His rumored replacement is Ryan Crocker, a State Department lifer now serving as ambassador to Pakistan . On his watch, Pakistan made a series of peace agreements with the Taliban and al Qaeda, essentially offering them safe haven to launch attacks on American and allied forces in Afghanistan .

He also stood by as Pakistan 's President Pervez Musharraf released some 2,500 al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners this year. Will he smile on similar deals with terrorists in Iraq ?

The election results and Bush's response have only spurred on America 's enemies. Here Democrats can lead. Using oversight and confirmation hearings, they can ask with delightful irony: Is Bush planning to "cut and run"? If not, they can demand a real, long-term plan to deter Iran from tearing apart Iraq 's fledgling democracy.

That would be more than the congressional Republicans ever bothered to do.

Richard Miniter is a Hudson Institute fellow and author of two bestsellers, "Losing bin Laden" and "Shadow War."
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 2:10 am    Post subject: W.House brands Iran, Hezbollah as terror 'nexus' Reply with quote

W.House brands Iran, Hezbollah as terror 'nexus'

11 Nov 2006 23:49:32 GMT
Source: Reuters
Lebanon crisis
More WASHINGTON, Nov 11 (Reuters) - The White House branded Iran and Hezbollah on Saturday as a "global nexus of terrorism" and applauded an Argentine court for seeking the arrest of former Iranian officials in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center.

In the Bush administration's latest rhetorical assault on Iran, White House spokesman Tony Snow issued a statement saying the Islamic republic was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians as the world's "leading state sponsor of terrorism." It gave no specifics.

The statement also said Tehran's financial and military support for Hezbollah had allowed the Lebanese Shi'ite militant organization to "perpetuate violence throughout the world."

"Hezbollah and Iran remain a dangerous, global nexus of terrorism," Snow said in the statement.

Earlier this month, the White House accused Iran, Syria and Hezbollah of plotting to topple the Lebanese government, which the Bush administration has held up as an example of emerging democracy in the Middle East.

Saturday's statement came hours after five pro-Syrian Shi'ite Muslim ministers from Hezbollah and its ally, the Amal movement, resigned from Lebanon's Cabinet following the collapse of all-party talks to consider a greater government say for Shi'ite parties.

The United States is not keen to see Hezbollah exert more influence over the Lebanese government.

The White House statement also applauded an Argentine judge who ordered arrest warrants last Thursday for former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and eight others in the July 18, 1994, bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish community center.

Argentine prosecutors have formally accused the Iranian government of masterminding the attack that killed 85 people and wounded more than 200. Rafsanjani was president at the time.

Tehran has denied any involvement in the blast that leveled the seven-story Argentine Israeli Mutual Association building, a symbol of the country's Jewish community -- Latin America's largest.

Several former Rafsanjani aides were being sought as well as a former Hezbollah foreign security chief.

"We call on all governments to support the Argentine government," the White House said. "These terrorists and their state sponsors must be made to realize they cannot hide from justice."

Argentine prosecutors have said the attack could have been tied to Argentina's decision to stop providing Iran with nuclear technology and materials.

Western nations accuse Iran of trying secretly to build an atomic arsenal, but Iran says it has the right to enrich uranium and wants only to generate electricity.

The U.N. Security Council is trying to reach agreement on sanctions against Iran after Tehran failed to halt uranium enrichment as demanded in a July council resolution.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 11:27 pm    Post subject: Bush: Iran might need to be isolated Reply with quote

Bush: Iran might need to be isolated
Nuclear program concerns aired after meeting with Israeli leader
The Associated Press

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15700665/

Updated: 11:25 a.m. PT Nov 13, 2006
WASHINGTON - President Bush, responding to concerns Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert brought to the White House, called on Monday for worldwide isolation of Iran until it “gives up its nuclear ambitions.”

The risk to the world extends beyond Israel and the Middle East, Bush said in Oval Office remarks to reporters after meeting with Olmert for an hour. The United States and Israel say they believe Iran is working on nuclear weapons, although Tehran says its work on the technology is aimed only at producing energy.

“Iran’s nuclear ambitions are not in the world’s interest,” Bush said. “If Iran had nuclear weapons it would be terribly destabilizing.”

His prescription for dealing with Iran was diplomatic, having the United Nations impose sanctions to force Iran to stop uranium enrichment. Diplomats at the U.N. have been bogged down for weeks trying to agree to a resolution that would place some sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt its enrichment.

“If they continue to move forward with the program, there has to be a consequence,” Bush said, referring to “economic sanctions” as a possibility. “And a good place to start is working together to isolate the country. And my hope is, is that there are rational people inside the government that recognize isolation is not in their country’s interest.”

Bush said if the Iranians want to have a dialogue, “We have shown them a way forward,” referring to the U.S.-European demand that Iran halt enrichment.

Olmert said his government in principle was willing to negotiate with Syria. But Syria’s sponsorship of Hamas, the militant group that has attacked Israel and dominates the Palestinian government, and its activities in Lebanon, prevent talking to Damascus right now, Olmert said.

Bush, also not ruling out U.S. talks with Syria, said Syria has to “get out of Lebanon.”

Bush’s comments come as some critics are calling for Washington to open dialogue with Iran over how to calm the situation in neighboring Iraq.

Olmert shared Bush's concerns, saying ahead of the talks that “this is not an issue of Israel only. This is a moral issue of the whole world.”

The meeting was the second Olmert had with Bush since the prime minister took over for the ailing Ariel Sharon. Palestinian gestures toward peacemaking with Israel was also a key topic on their agenda.

Tehran’s goal is to “ultimately wipe Israel off the map,” Olmert said on NBC’s “Today” show. “The whole world has to join forces in order to stop it. This is a problem of every country. I know that President Bush is fully aware of that.”

Palestinian issue
Olmert also arrived with expectations that he could make small-scale moves on the Palestinian front, including the possibility of offering humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people.

On Sunday, the Palestinian foreign minister, Mahmoud Zahar, of the ruling Hamas group, accepted an Arab proposal for a peace conference with Israel, diplomats said. The endorsement marks the first time Hamas, which refuses to renounce violence against the Jewish state, has indicated it would consider making amends with Israel.

The White House reacted positively to what it called “some activity on the Hamas side.”

“Both sides are working on it, and we are encouraged,” spokesman Tony Snow said.

He told reporters that when it comes to peacemaking, however, “nobody ever said it was simple, without bumps.”

Olmert had dinner Sunday evening with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. There was no immediate comment from the Israeli government or the U.S. State Department on the meeting.

Israel is worried by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s repeated calls to destroy Israel and — like the United States — does not believe Tehran’s claims that its nuclear program is intended solely to produce energy. Israel accuses Iran of developing nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

Olmert said in the NBC interview that he had no objection to the U.S. negotiating with Iran on the nuclear issue to achieve a peaceful compromise. “Every compromise that will stop Iran from acquiring nuclear capability which would be acceptable to President Bush will be acceptable to me. I’m not looking for wars. I’m not looking for confrontations. I’m looking for the outcome.”

Election worries
While the U.S. has led international efforts to curb the Iranian nuclear program, Israelis are worried American policy might soften following the Democratic Party’s victory in U.S. congressional elections last week.

The fear is that with American public opinion turning against the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Bush, a Republican, would be less likely to take decisive military or diplomatic action against Iran.

Olmert on Sunday repeated his view that Iran will not scale back its nuclear ambitions unless it fears the consequences of its intransigence, a spokeswoman said.

“They (the Iranians) have to be afraid of the consequences if there isn’t a compromise,” spokeswoman Miri Eisin said Olmert told journalists on the flight to Washington.

Olmert appeared, however, to play down a senior Israeli official’s suggestion that Israel is preparing for a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program.

Asked to comment on Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh’s remarks, Olmert replied that on such matters, “we have to be very careful about what we say,” Eisin said. Sneh said last week that he considered a pre-emptive strike a last resort, but added that “even the last resort is sometimes the only resort.”

On Sunday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said Iran’s military would hit back with a “swift, strong and crushing” response to any Israeli military action against it.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 11:31 pm    Post subject: Bush trades ideas on Iraq with panel Reply with quote

Bush trades ideas on Iraq with panel

By TOM RAUM and ANNE PLUMMER FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writers


President Bush traded ideas on Iraq with a bipartisan commission Monday and promised to work with the incoming Democratic majority toward "common objectives." At the same time, he renewed his opposition to any timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops.

As Bush met with the Iraq Study Group, the Democrat in line to lead the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin of Michigan, said the administration didn't see that "we're getting deeper and deeper into a hole."

Levin and other Democrats called for some troops to come home right away, suggesting that would pressure the Iraqi government into assuming more responsibility.

Bush in turn had stern words for the Democrats, less than a week after they won control of both chambers of Congress in midterm elections in which the Iraq war figured prominently.

Asked about proposals by Levin and others for a phased troop reduction, Bush said, "I believe it is very important ... for people making suggestions to recognize that the best military options depend upon the conditions on the ground."

While Democrats agree that troops should leave Iraq sooner rather than later, they remain divided on the specifics. Rep. John Murtha (news, bio, voting record), D-Pa., a contender to become the next majority leader, supports an immediate withdrawal of all troops, while Levin and others favor a slower phased withdrawal and have been reluctant to suggest a firm timetable.

Murtha and some others contend violence in Iraq will continue so long as U.S. troops are present, but Levin and others warn that any withdrawal of troops must be done slowly to avoid a collapse in security.

The commission, headed by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton, has been briefed on the Democrats' proposals and is considering a range of options. In addition to considering whether there should be any timetable to pull out troops, the panel is studying many other options, including whether to solicit Iran and Syria to help stop the fighting.

The president met for more than an hour with the 10-member panel. He was joined by Vice President Dick Cheney, Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.

The panel then stayed around for a longer session that included other members of the president's national security team, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and outgoing Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Baker and Hamilton later put out a joint statement. "We were pleased to meet with senior administration officials today and look forward to our consultations with some top Democrats tomorrow. We are working expeditiously to complete our report and recommendations," the statement said.

Bush discussed the meeting with reporters during a picture-taking session in the Oval Office with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

"I was impressed by the questions they asked. They want us to succeed in Iraq, just like I want us to succeed. So we had a really good discussion," Bush said.

As to newly empowered Democrats, he said, "What's interesting is they're beginning to understand that with victory comes responsibility, and I'm looking forward to working with the Democrats to achieve common objectives."

White House spokesman Tony Snow described the meeting with the Iraq panel as a "general conversation about the situation there," rather than a preview of what the group will recommend. "This was not proposal-shopping by the Iraq Study Group," Snow said.

The members asked questions of Bush, and he of them, Snow said, "but there was care taken not to sort of try to prejudge, or also to get a jump on what they are going to do."

Lawmakers barely had begun their postelection session Monday when debate broke out over the war in Iraq and over Democratic proposals to start bringing home U.S. troops.

Levin said in a news conference that the military had done what it could and it was up to Iraq's politicians to find consensus. "We cannot save the Iraqis from themselves," he said.

In addition, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada went to the Senate floor to lend support for a change in Iraq policy.

But Republicans shot back, saying they would oppose any timetable because it could cause Iraq to collapse into chaos.

Opponents of Levin's proposal — at least for now — include Sen. John Warner (news, bio, voting record), R-Va., outgoing chairman of the Armed Services Committee. He says Congress must wait until the Baker-Hamilton panel releases its recommendations.

Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, two GOP members of the Armed Services Committee, said they would oppose an arbitrary withdrawal of troops. Collins and Graham have both criticized the Bush administration for its handling of the war.

Graham recently said Iraq was on the verge of chaos and demanded accountability, but on Monday he stood firm on his position that more troops, not fewer troops, are needed to settle the violence there.

Opposing views could deadlock Congress on the matter. While Republicans have the majority until the new session begins in January, they do so by a slim margin. And when Democrats take over, they too will have a razor-thin majority — far short of the 60 votes needed to cut off delaying tactics.

Meanwhile, Democratic leaders are lining up behind legislation that would extend an investigative office that unearthed millions of dollars in waste and fraud associated with the rebuilding of Iraq. Republican Collins and Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold (news, bio, voting record) of Wisconsin introduced legislation that would allow the office to continue through October 2008.

Under current law, it will expire in October 2007.

Collins and Feingold offered the measure as an amendment to a military construction and veterans' spending bill that the Senate will debate Tuesday. Collins said she will press for the legislation to be taken up separately as well to improve its chances.

Rep. Ike Skelton (news, bio, voting record), the incoming chairman of the Armed Services Committee, introduced a similar bill Monday that would be likely to keep the inspector general's office in business through 2009 by asking it to investigate another $1.7 billion in Iraq funding.

Even before the Iraq Study Group's work is finished, the panel's report is widely seen as an opportunity to give the campaign-weary Democratic and Republican parties a chance at consensus — or at least a framework for agreement.

Also on Monday, Gen. John Abizaid, head of the U.S. Central Command, met with the Iraqi prime minister to "reaffirm President Bush's commitment" to success in Iraq, the government said.

Baker, who served as the first President Bush's secretary of state, has said the report's recommendations are likely to fall somewhere between the troop withdrawal strategy that Republicans like to say Democrats favor and the stay-the-course policy until recently used by Bush and widely ridiculed by Democrats.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 2:11 pm    Post subject: Our new friends in the Middle East: Blair in Syria and Iran Reply with quote

Our new friends in the Middle East: Blair in Syria and Iran U-turn
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2006 18:09:14 +0100

The Brits did it at the end!!!??

This was the Brits plan right from the start. To pull the Yanks in & then see to it that they are out with disgrace!? The same old story of special relationship of Brits & the Yanks!!??

Did you learned your lesson!?


INDEPENDENT 14th November 2006.
By Liz Harris

In a major departure from previous foreign policy, Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair urged his so-called “war on terror” ally George Bush last night to engage with Iran and Syria and encourage them to contribute to sorting out the endemic violence in Iraq.

In his annual foreign affairs speech last night at London’s Guildhall, the Prime Minister threw in his lot with the voices of the Iraq Study Group and urged co-operation with Iran and Syria.

The PM is at pains to deny that this is a policy shift. The two countries can either co-operate or face isolation, he told the gathering.

It was a speech which would have the Iranians and Syrians “choking on their tea” according to Anne Penketh, the Independent’s Diplomatic Editor. “After years of being branded a part of the axis of evil and ordered not to meddle in Iraq, they are now being invited to be part of the new Middle East.”

Blair’s speech receives a level of support from today’s editorial in the Independent even if it had “smacked of desperation”, according to the paper. Mr Blair was right, however, to keep diplomatic channels open and was right to bring Syria and Iran into any attempt to resolve the Iraq debacle, the editorial writes.

The Daily Telegraph leads today with allegations of alleged links between the Iranian government and al Qaeda on its front page, which it claimed would scupper any attempts by Downing Street of reconciliation with Iran.

The paper claims that a certain Saif al-Adel, an ex-Egyptian colonel and reportedly a key member of Bin Laden’s terror network, is currently residing unhindered in Tehran. The claims, however, come from unnamed intelligence sources and are as of yet impossible to verify.

The Telegraph’s leader calls Blair’s speech a “desperate new plan for the Middle East” claiming any attempt to describe two countries which have been consistently branded an obstruction to peace in the Middle East “part of the solution defies any credible logic except that of ignominious desperation.”

The paper concluded that inviting Iran in particular to the table “looks more like an exercise in appeasement than a positive alternative strategy.”

The Guardian criticises the PM’s refusal to acknowledge the damage that has been wreaked throughout the world as a result of the Iraq war. It was a good time to put pressure on president Bush after his drubbing last week – that it was naïve to think that the “stick of isolation’ would work - particularly without the back-up of Russia and China.

The Times comments wryly that of all the legendary conversions on the road to Damascus, “never has the well-worn path to the Syrian capital witnessed such an illustrious crowd of converts”

Given the influence the two countries hold in the region, the Times felt that it would certainly help if they were on side. However, no one has so far asked Iran and Syria how they feeling about being asked to bail out their erstwhile enemies.

Pouring a healthy dollop of water on Blair’s optimism The Times remind readers of the difficulties in carrying out such a volte farce. Namely that the US has still not ruled out using force to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions and that Syria has yet to pay any penalty for the involvement of a number of high level officials in the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2006 4:24 pm    Post subject: Has Iran Infiltrated the Baker "Iraq Study Group"? Reply with quote

Subject: Gateway Pundit: Has Iran Infiltrated the Baker "Iraq Study Group"? The answer is YES!


Gateway Pundit
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Has Iran Infiltrated the Baker "Iraq Study Group"?
It was just last month that America 's civilian and military leaders in Iraq linked Iran and Syria with Al Qaida as forces trying to tear Iraq apart.

Now, there are concerns that a group of highly placed Iranian Regime lobbyist/agents, so called "Iranian experts", have peddled bad information into the Iraq Study Group hoping to shape the upcoming recommendations by that group.

A couple of names of known Iranian sympathizers who may be shaping the opinion of the Iraq Study Group are Houshang Amir Ahmadi and Hamid Dabashi.

Professor Daniel M. Zucker wrote at Iran Terror Database about the very sophisticated disinformation campaign dished out by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

The mullahs have fooled Jimmy Carter and other democrats before and they are fooling them again now says Zucker. Hasn't Carter done enough in creating militant Islam? When is the left ever going to learn? Why do we have to pay for their ignorance and cluelessness?

Daniel Mendel wrote at the History News Network warning about DANGEROUS DIPLOMACY

North Korea's announcement that it has conducted a nuclear test has left some people wondering why diplomacy was not put to good use in time. The Australian is to be commended for reproducing an excerpt of a 1994 CNN interview with former US President Jimmy Carter which provides an answer.

It was Jimmy Carter who negotiated that year a freeze in North Korea 's nuclear weapons programme at President Clinton's behest, following North Korea 's expulsion of International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors. Carter obtained North Korean agreement to stop reprocessing spent nuclear fuel in exchange for US oil and light water reactors. These were then simply pocketed while the North Korean programme proceeded unhindered to its present apparent state of completion. Today, Jimmy Carter has a Nobel Peace Prize and North Korea , in all probability, a nuclear weapon - a happy division of achievement for all concerned. Note therefore the moral of the story drawn by Carter at the time, if only as a cautionary example of hubris:

CARTER: What the North Koreans were waiting for was some treatment of their exalted leader with respect and a direct communication. I didn't have to argue with him. When I outlined the specific points that were the Clinton administration's position, I presented them to him. And with very little equivocation, he agreed. I think it's all roses now. I've known that there were people in Washington who were sceptical about any direct dealing with the North Koreans. They were already condemned as outlaws. Kim Il-sung was already condemned a criminal.

QUESTION: Are you absolutely convinced that the North Koreans are going to honour this agreement, that while talks are going on that it's not just a matter of buying time on the part of the North Koreans, that they will not secretly pursue the nuclear program they were pushing earlier?

CARTER: I'm convinced. But I said this when I got back from North Korea , and people said that I was naive or gullible and so forth. I don't think I was. In my opinion, this was one of those perfect agreements where both sides won. We should not ever avoid direct talks, direct conversations, direct discussions and negotiations with the main person in a despised or misunderstood or condemned society who can actually resolve the issue."

The following information was sent to me anonymously about these Iranian apologists:

I can guarantee you that if you contact the Baker Study Group and ask for the list of Iranian experts they have consulted with to generate their " Iraq study report and recommendations", the above names are going to be on the list.

Do you suppose that these individuals might influence the conclusions of the Iraq Study Group's report?

That is frightening.

posted by Gateway Pundit at 11/14/2006
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2006 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now more than ever the US must absolutely decline any appeasement of the Taazis and must fully commit to regime change in Iran.

See below:

I am Dariush the Great King, King of Kings, King of countries containing all kinds of men, King in this great earth far and wide, son of Hystaspes, an Achaemenian, a Persian, son of a Persian, an Aryan, having Aryan lineage

Naqshe Rostam
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 12:34 pm    Post subject: Unanswered Prayers Reply with quote

Unanswered Prayers
Will the Baker/Hamilton Commission get this war right?

November 16, 2006
National Review Online
Michael Ledeen


The Baker/Hamilton Commission has a chance to dramatically reshape our thinking about American foreign policy, if only it will ask the right question.

They should follow the guidance of one of the last century’s most brilliant thinkers, Ludwig Wittgenstein. In the Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein asks an apparently straightforward question: what do all games have in common? He ties himself in mental knots trying to get the answer, but nothing works. Finally he realizes that the question was posed wrongly. It should have been: Is there anything all games have in common? That’s the real question (and the real answer is “not much”), but the language of the first question tricked him into searching for an answer that does not exist.

Our strategists are constantly asked, how can we win the war in Iraq? But it is the wrong question, and therefore has no correct answer. Read Reuel Gerecht in Friday’s Wall Street Journal: “(The Baker/Hamilton Commission) cannot escape from an unavoidable reality: We either declare defeat and withdraw completely tout de suite, or we surge troops into Baghdad and fight. The ISG will surely try to find some middle ground between these positions, which, of course, doesn’t exist.”

Instead of trapping themselves in an imaginary quagmire, the commissioners can help us face the real war. What’s going on in Iraq is not “the war,” which is raging over the entire world. The real question — the life and death question — is: How can we win the war in the Middle East, which now extends from Afghanistan to Lebanon, Iraq, Israel, and Somalia?

That question forces us to devise a strategy to deal with multiple enemies instead of limiting our strategic thinking to the Iraqi insurgency alone. It forces us to confront the terror masters in Tehran and Syria as well as the killers in Iraq. If we ask how to win in Iraq alone, we are led into a fool’s errand of trying to convince our sworn enemies–Iran has been at war with us for twenty-seven years—to act like friends. But if we ask how to win the war, we can see that we have many good cards to play, and many real allies, from the Iranian and Syrian people to the millions of Kurds in Iran, Iraq and Syria, to several other oppressed groups throughout the region, and even to leaders who today denounce us.

All the leaders in the Middle East know that the outcome of the war will dramatically shape their future; it may perhaps determine whether they live or die. This applies equally to the tyrants and their opponents. They all know that if we lose, Syria and Iran will have won, and will impose harsh terms on the whole region. Their words and actions are shaped by whether they think we will win or lose, and cannot be understood outside that context.

Take Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki, for example. Several commentators flew into a rage when Maliki went to Tehran to kiss the turban of Supreme Leader Khamenei, as if this were an expression of Maliki’s deep affection for his neighbors. It isn’t, but Maliki knows they can blow him up, kidnap his relatives, and blackmail his friends. He has no reason to believe that we are going to save him from the Iranians, nor indeed that we are going to win this thing at all. From his point of view, we’re bugging out of the real war, and all the talk about negotiating with Damascus and Tehran can only reinforce this belief. He undoubtedly believes — don’t you? — that we are just marking time until we can dump it all in his lap. Very few Iraqi Shiites dream of living in an Iranian-style Islamic Republic, but they all know that if we lose, they will have to come to terms with Tehran. Maliki is trying to save his neck. Who wouldn’t?

The same applies to the fighting on the ground. Just as Iraqi leaders must come to terms with the Iranians and the Syrians if they believe we will lose, so individual Iraqis, Sunni, or Shiite, urban or tribal, have to stay away from American soldiers. Above all, they must not be seen to be helping us. If we are going to lose and leave, anyone who helps us will lose and die.

In like manner, some Middle Eastern anti-Americanism has less to do with religious or cultural convictions — even when it is expressed in religious language — than with the brutal calculus of winning and losing. Thousands of Syrian Sunnis are now converting to Shiism, and I don’t think they have had an epiphany. They see Hezbollah winning, which means Iran is expanding its domain. Some of the rage against the United States stems from a mixture of anger and fear at a country that often seems ready to pack up and go home. They must surely see the American election results as confirmation of this trend, and no amount of sweet talk from the diplomats or Karen Hughes can undo those harsh facts. The antiwar Leftists at home are not the only ones looking at Iraq as an Arabic-speaking version of Vietnam.

None of the various schemes put forward in our public debate to “solve” Iraq can work — although much can be done to improve conditions — because they all inevitably assume that Iraq can be “solved” by itself. That includes the call for more troops on the ground. Even if you believe that those troops will dramatically improve security, it still doesn’t address the central question: can the people of the region believe we are going to win? They won’t believe it until they see us waging war effectively, which means we have to be able to threaten Iran and Syria with defeat.

It requires an Iran/Syria policy. Iran declared war against us 27 years ago and has waged it relentlessly, but we have yet to respond. It is astonishing how many diplomats and spooks actually believe Syria is a friend, when Assad drinks our blood from the same glass as Khamenei. Serious policies must aim at regime change in Tehran and Damascus. This does not require a military invasion of either country, but it does require active support for anti-regime political groups, combined with an explicit declaration that we want an end to the tyrannies. As a starter, it would be nice to have the Justice Department indict the Iranian leaders, following the example of Argentina, which just issued arrest warrants for former president Rafsanjani and his henchmen, who presided over the Hezbollah bombing of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires in 1996.

We do not have great intelligence on Iran, but we do know a lot about the sentiments of the overwhelming majority of Iranians, thanks to public-opinion polls conducted by the mullahs themselves. Those polls show upwards of seventy percent of Iranians — that would be 50 million people, mostly younger than 30 — who do not like the regime and want it changed. Those are terrific numbers for us and terrifying numbers for the mullahs, which is why they frantically arrest, torture and kill anyone who openly criticizes them, and why they have destroyed all remnants of free press, and why they are censoring Internet use, satellite-TV access, and cell phones. They, and their Syrian allies, know where their doom lies.

A free Iran would most likely become an instant ally in the war against terror, reversing the balance of power in the Middle East in a single, non-violent stroke. Hezbollah would be deprived of its source of money, materiel and guidance, and would shrivel up, awaiting last rites. Al Qaeda, many of whose leaders moved to Iran from Afghanistan in 2002, would be similarly damaged, as would Islamic Jihad and Hamas, two of Tehran’s major clients. And the information from Iranian intelligence files would turn over many rocks in many swamps, all over the world, probably including our shores.

We have many options in the war, so long as we decide we really want to win it. Baker/Hamilton can help us see the real war, and free us from the error of strategic vision that has blinkered our strategic debate ever since 2002. Let’s hope.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks like Michael Ledeen is saying almost the same thing that I said.

The war in Iraq cannot be won in Iraq. It can only be won in Iran.
I am Dariush the Great King, King of Kings, King of countries containing all kinds of men, King in this great earth far and wide, son of Hystaspes, an Achaemenian, a Persian, son of a Persian, an Aryan, having Aryan lineage

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 6:58 pm    Post subject: We must work with 'Axis of Evil' states Reply with quote


From TimesOnline: Blair: We must work with 'Axis of Evil' states. (via Regime Change Iran)

The first cracks in the united front over Iraq between Tony Blair and President Bush appeared last night as the Prime Minister offered Iran and Syria the prospect of dialogue over the future of Iraq and the Middle East.
Mr Blair said there could be a new "partnership" with Iran if it stopped supporting terrorism in Iraq and gave up its nuclear ambitions. Syria and Iran could choose partnership or isolation, he said.

We're depicting Blair above as being reminiscent of another British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain. From Wikipedia:

Chamberlain is perhaps the most ill-regarded British Prime Minister of the 20th century, largely because of his policy of appeasement towards Nazi Germany regarding the abandonment of Czechoslovakia to Hitler at Munich in 1938.
On returning from Munich, Chamberlain declared: "I believe it is peace in our time."

From Haaretz: Netanyahu: It's 1938 and Iran is Germany; Ahmadinejad is preparing another Holocaust.

Drawing a direct analogy between Iran and Nazi Germany, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu asserted Monday that the Iranian nuclear program posed a threat not only to Israel, but to the entire western world. There was "still time," however, to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons, he said.
"It's 1938 and Iran is Germany. And Iran is racing to arm itself with atomic bombs," Netanyahu told delegates to the annual United Jewish Communities General Assembly, repeating the line several times, like a chorus, during his address. "Believe him and stop him," the opposition leader said of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "This is what we must do. Everything else pales before this."

From Ynet News: Ahmadinejad: Israel's destruction near.

According to the Iranian media Monday, Iranian President Mahoud Ahmadinejad declared that Israel was destined to ‘disappearance and destruction’ at a council meeting with Iranian ministers. “The western powers created the Zionist regime in order to expand their control of the area. This regime massacres Palestinians everyday, but since this regime is against nature, we will soon witness its disappearance and destruction,” Ahmadinejad said. (AFP)
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2006 12:42 pm    Post subject: What do we do with Iran? Reply with quote

Mr. Henry A Kissinger, Tony Blair Islamic Fascists appeasers are wrong again, detente with Communist China is not the same as detente with Islamic Fascists occupiers of Iran. Over 27 years ago the so called Realist politicians in west helped to create Islamic Fascists virus to fight Soviet Union..... The Islamic Fascists occupiers of Iran the rotten child of sick neo colonialists minds must be removed from power NOW.


What do we do with Iran?
November 17, 2006
Khaleej Times
Henry A Kissinger

Iran's nuclear programme and considerable resources enable it to strive for strategic dominance in its region. With the impetus of a radical Shia ideology and the symbolism of defiance of the UN Security Council’s resolution, Iran challenges the established order in the Middle East and perhaps wherever Islamic populations face dominant, non-Islamic majorities.

The appeal for diplomacy to overcome these dangers has so far proved futile. The negotiating forum the world has put in place for the nuclear issue is heading for a deadlock, probably irresolvable, except in a wider geopolitical context. Such a negotiation has not yet found a forum. In any event, divisions among the negotiating partners inhibit a clear sense of direction.

The five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany — known as the Six — have submitted a package of incentives to Teheran to end enrichment of uranium as a key step towards putting an end to the weapons programme. They have threatened sanctions if their proposal is rejected. Iran has insisted on its ‘right’ to proceed with enrichment, triggering an allied debate about the nature of the sanctions to which the Six have committed themselves. Even the minimal sanctions proposed by the E-3 (the European Three — the UK, France, and Germany) have been rejected by Russia.

Reluctant to negotiate directly with a member of the "axis of evil,’’ the United States has not participated in the negotiations, giving its proxy to Javier Solana, the European Union high representative, who negotiates on behalf of the E-3. Recently, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has announced a reversal of policy. The US — and she herself — would participate in the nuclear talks, provided Iran suspends its enrichment programme while talks are taking place. But Teheran has so far shown no interest in negotiating with the United States, either in the multilateral forum or separately.

This is because Teheran sees no compelling national interest to give up its claim to being a nuclear power and strong domestic political reasons to persist. Pursuing the nuclear weapons programme is a way of appealing to national pride and shores up an otherwise shaky domestic support. The proposed incentives, even if they are believed, would increase Iran’s dependence on the international system that Iran’s current leaders reject.

The European negotiators accept the importance of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. But they govern societies increasingly loath to make immediate sacrifices for the sake of the future — witness the difficulty of passing legislation on domestic reform. Europe’s leaders know that their publics would not support military action against Iran and would probably prove very shaky in a prolonged political crisis over sanctions — an attitude on which Iran plays skilfully.

America’s European allies have decided to opt for minimum sanctions because they hope that the mere fact of united action by the Six will give Iran’s leaders pause. The conviction expressed by some European diplomats, that Iran will not wish to be a pariah nation indefinitely and will therefore come to an agreement, is probably wishful thinking. As this becomes apparent, the European allies will probably move reluctantly towards escalation of sanctions, up to a point where Iran undertakes a confrontational response, when they will have to make the choice between the immediate crisis and the permanent crisis of letting the Iranian nuclear programme run free.

The dilemma is inherent in any gradual escalation. If initial steps are minimal, they are presumably endurable (and are indeed chosen for that reason). The adversary may be tempted to wait for the next increment so that gradualism may, in the end, promote escalation and make inevitable the very decision being evaded.

Russia’s position is more complex. Probably no country — not even the US — fears an Iranian nuclear capability more than Russia, whose large Islamic population lies just north of the borders of Iran. No country is more exposed to the seepage of Iranian nuclear capabilities into terrorist hands or to the jihadist ideological wave that the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, encourages. For that very reason, Russia does not want to unleash Iranian hostility on itself without a prospect of probable success.

In addition, Russian attitudes towards the United States have undergone a significant change. There is a lessened commitment to strategic partnership. Suspicion has grown on both sides. The United States fears that Russia is striving to rebuild its imperial influence in what Russia calls the "near-abroad"; Russia believes that America is seeking to pressure the Kremlin to change its domestic policies and to reduce Russia’s international influence.

Because of its conviction that Iran will be a formidable adversary and its low assessment of the American effort in Iraq, the Kremlin doubts that the US has the staying power for a prolonged confrontation with Iran and chooses to avoid manning barricades on which it may be left alone. In consequence, Moscow has shifted its emphasis towards Europe and, on Iran, operationally shares Europe’s hesitation. The difference is that if matters reach a final crunch, Russia is more likely to take a stand, especially when an Iranian nuclear capability begins to look inevitable, even more when it emerges as imminent.

The nuclear negotiations with Iran are moving towards an inconclusive outcome. The Six eventually will have to choose between effective sanctions or the consequences of an Iranian military nuclear capability and the world of proliferation it implies. Military action by the US is extremely improbable in the final two years of a presidency facing a hostile Congress — though it may be taken more seriously in Teheran. Teheran surely cannot ignore the possibility of a unilateral Israeli strike if all negotiation options close.

More likely, the nuclear issue will be absorbed into a more comprehensive negotiation based on geopolitical realities. It is important, however, to be clear as to what this increasingly fashionable term implies.

The argument has become widespread that Iran (and Syria) should be drawn into a negotiating process, hopefully to bring about a change of their attitudes as happened, for example, in the opening to China a generation ago. This, it is said, will facilitate a retreat by the US to more strategically sustainable positions.

A diplomacy that excludes adversaries is clearly a contradiction in terms. But the argument on behalf of negotiating too often focuses on the opening of talks rather than their substance. The fact of talks is assumed to represent a psychological breakthrough. The relief supplied by a change of atmosphere is bound to be temporary, however. Diplomacy — especially with an adversary — can succeed only if it brings about a balance of interests. Failing that, it runs the risks of turning into an alibi for procrastination or a palliative to ease the process of defeat without, however, eliminating the consequences of defeat.

The opening to China was facilitated by Soviet military pressures on China’s northern borders; rapprochement between the US and China implemented an existing common interest in preventing Soviet hegemony. Similarly, the shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East made progress because it was built on a pre-existing equilibrium that neither side was able to alter unilaterally.

To the extent that talk becomes its own objective, there will emerge forums without progress and incentives for stonewalling. If, at the end of such a diplomacy, stands an Iranian nuclear capability and a political vacuum being filled by Iran, the impact on order in the Middle East will be catastrophic.

Understanding the way Teheran views the world is crucial in assessing the prospects of a dialogue. The school of thought represented by President Ahmadinejad may well perceive Iranian prospects as more promising than they have been in centuries. Iraq has collapsed as a counterweight; within Iraq, Shia forces are led by men who had been trained in Teheran and spent decades of their lives there. Democratic institutions in Iraq favour dominance by the majority Shia groups. In Lebanon, Hezbollah, trained and guided by Iran, is the strongest military force — much more powerful than the government over which it strives for at least a veto. In the face of this looming Shia belt and its appeal to the Shia population in northeast Saudi Arabia and along the Gulf, attitudes in the Sunni states — Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia — and the Gulf states range from unease to incipient panic. This may explain Ahmadinejad’s insolent behaviour on the occasion of his visit to New York. His theme seemed to be: "Don’t talk to me about your world order, whose rules we did not participate in making and which we disdain.

From now on, jihad will define the rules or at least participate in shaping them."

If that assessment of Iranian attitudes is correct, they will not be changed simply for the opportunity of talking to the United States. The self-confident Iranian leaders may facilitate a local American retreat but, in their present mood, only for the purpose of turning it into a long-term rout. The argument that Iran has an interest in negotiating over Iraq to avoid chaos along its borders is valid only as long as the US retains a capacity to help control the chaos. There are only two incentives for Iran to negotiate: the emergence of a regional structure that makes imperialist policies unattractive, or the concern that, if matters are pushed too far, America might yet strike out.

So long as Iran views itself as a crusade rather than a nation, a common interest will not emerge from negotiations. To evoke a more balanced view should be an important goal for US diplomacy. Iran may come to understand sooner or later that it is still a poor country not in a position to challenge the entire world order. But such an evolution presupposes the development of a precise and concrete strategic and negotiating programme by the US and its associates. Today the Sunni states of the region — Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the non-Shia government of Lebanon, the Gulf states — are terrified by the Shia wave. Negotiation between Iran and the US could generate a stampede towards preemptive concessions, unless preceded or at least accompanied by a significant effort to rally those states to a policy of equilibrium. In such a policy, Iran must find a respected, but not dominant, place. A restarted Palestinian peace process should play a significant role in that design, which presupposes close cooperation among the US, Europe and the moderate Arab states.

We must not flinch from this underlying reality. Iran needs to be encouraged to act as a nation, not a cause. It has no incentive to appear as a deus ex machina to enable America to escape its embarrassments, unless the US retains an ability to fill the vacuum or at least be a factor in filling it. America will need to reposition its strategic deployments, but if such actions are viewed as the prelude to an exit from the region, a collapse of existing structures is probable. A purposeful and creative diplomacy towards Iran is important for building a more promising region — but only if Iran does not, in the process, come to believe that it is able to shape the future on its own or if the potential building blocks of a new order disintegrate while America sorts out its purposes.

Henry A Kissinger, a former US secretary of state, is considered the architect of US foreign policy during the Cold War
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