Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The Texas City Sun: Iran has run one of the most masterful intelligence operations in history

The Texas City Sun: "The Other Side: Election hinges on Iraq

By Richard Kirkpatrick

Published August 03, 2004

As expected, the Democratic nominees for president and VP, John Kerry and John Edwards, enjoyed a bump in pre-election polling of likely voters.

The polling samples were taken within hours following the Democratic Convention. New poll numbers show likely voters prefer Kerry-Edwards over Bush-Cheney by a bump of 4 to 6 percent, depending on the poll. Still, many students of presidential elections caution that this 2004 election could be as close as the 2000 and that Ralph Nader could still be a factor. Republicans certainly hope so.

Regardless, this corner believes that in the end, this election will turn on Bush’s ability or inability to establish calm in Iraq and an end to all the reports of the unnecessary deaths of American soldiers stationed in Iraq.

Our Commander in Chief declared an end to hostilities Iraq 16 months ago aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln where he, dressed in military flight garb and accompanied by his political “brain” Karl Rove, stood under a banner declaring “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq.

And since President Bush landed on the Lincoln (while it was anchored just seven miles off the west coast where San Diego harbor lights could be seen in the background), the lives of nearly 1,000 American soldiers have been unnecessarily sacrificed. And an end to American military occupation and the accompanying sacrifice of its sons and daughters is nowhere in sight.

G.W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz have no clue about winning Iraqi peace. But with revelations of the con job done on the CIA and this administration by former-expatriate Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi, Bush is red faced, and as an American, I am personally embarrassed.

Chalabi passed highly classified information to Iran. Now the question is: How did Chalabi get his hands on highly classified information? When the story ultimately comes out, we may see that Iran has run one of the most masterful intelligence operations in history. Some believe that, through Chalabi, Iran persuaded the U.S. and Britain to dispose of its greatest enemy, Iraq and Saddam Hussein.

Former State Department counter-terrorism official Larry Johnson declared recently that “some intelligence officials now believe that Iran used the hawks in the Pentagon and the White House to get rid of a hostile neighbor, Iraq.” Amed Chalabi was paid millions upon millions of U.S. tax dollars (yours and mine). Not only did Chalabi convince the Bush and Cheney, etc., that Iraq had WMD, Chalabi even said he knew exactly where they could found.

And if that does not raise solemn thought, the following should raise your eyebrows.

On the topic of the unbelievable, last year Tom Ames of the Washington Post wrote in the Post, “Imagine our surprise … to read in the Israeli paper Haaretz (online), that Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Abu Mazen, meeting recently with militants to enlist their support for a truce with Israel, said that, when they met in Aqaba, President Bush had told him this: ‘God told me to strike at al-Qaeda, and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam …, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me, I will act, and if not, the elections will come, and I will have to focus on the election.’”

Ames followed with this observation, “So who needs to find WMD or a link with al Qaeda when the orders come from The Highest Authority?” Assuming the truth of Ames story, these guys, Bush and Cheney, really are frightening.

And finally, this.

President Bush and Vice President Cheney have repeatedly promised America that they would get their record deficits under control. Last year, President Bush said, “My administration firmly believes in controlling the deficit and reducing it.” But instead, the Associated Press reports the government will project “that this year’s federal deficit will exceed $420 billion,” an all-time record. Was Kerry’s vote against an unfunded $87 billion improper or prudent? Or should there be modification of the giant tax break Bush promised and granted to America’s rich-upon-richest upper 1 percent of America’s income beneficiaries?

Richard Kirkpatrick is a regular guest columnist to the Sun."

Daily Times - Site Edition

Daily Times - Site Edition: "Iraqi Kurds coming from Iran face uncertainty

The UNHCR does not promote returns to Iraq because of continuing instability and the lack of services in the country. Kurds accuse the UN of dragging its feet on facilitating Kurdish returnees for political reasons

At a mountainous border crossing point between Iraq and Iran, Daoud Khuder waits to meet relatives he has not seen for 14 years, since they fled the country to escape Saddam Hussein’s army.

As the convoy bringing Iraqi Kurd refugees from Iran appears and Daoud catches sight of his brother’s family, the emotion of the occasion becomes too much for the 62-year-old former Kurdish militia (peshmerga) fighter. ‘My brother swore he wouldn’t return until Saddam was finished, I never had the chance to see him again before he died in Iran,’ said Khuder, tears rolling down his cheeks as he embraced young nephews he had never met.

‘I’m so happy they are back, but it also makes me sad because if they don’t get money or help there will be problems.’

For the 32 Kurdish families returning to Iraq in the convoy, the second since the programme was initiated by the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) just before June’s transfer of sovereignty, returning to their homeland brings mixed feelings.

‘I wanted to come back because I never felt I could call Iran my home, but I’m apprehensive about our future, we have very little money,’ said Khuder’s eldest nephew Dehil, a 32-year-old labourer.

Saddam is gone, but as Iraq’s ethnic and religious communities jostle for power, the issue of Kurdish returnees has become politicised, and the international community does not want to be seen taking sides.

In years gone by, Iraqi Kurd returnees would have received money and other assistance to rebuild their lives. Now each family gets $20, a kerosene stove, two water containers, some blankets, and a tent.

They are provided with transport to the destination of their choice, but only if this is above the so-called ‘green line’ separating Kurdish territory from the rest of Iraq.

Thousands of Iraqi Kurds fled to neighbouring Iran to escape campaigns of persecution by the former government. Many returned during the 1990s but 61,000 are still there, according to Kurdish officials.

The UNHCR does not promote returns to Iraq because of continuing instability and the lack of services in the country. Kurds accuse the UN of dragging its feet on facilitating Kurdish returnees for political reasons. Under the latest scheme, the UNHCR has agreed to organise voluntary repatriations for just 2,000 refugees over the next 6 months through the Haj Omran crossing-point. ‘They told us this was just an experiment,’ said Shakir Yaseen, director of the Refugees Registration Committee.

‘We said Kurdistan is becoming a big laboratory for experiments, first chemical weapons and now refugees.’ Yaseeen, whose organisation is funded by the local Kurdish government, complained that the small scale of the current scheme meant families were forced to return illegally, making it difficult to register them. ‘They will cause us a lot of trouble because the numbers are so big,’ he said, adding there had been twice as many unofficial returns as official ones since the scheme started on June 23. ‘Our borders are open. People are just coming back anyway.’

There is already a problem with internal refugees in Iraq’s Kurdish zone, under Saddam’s ‘Arabisation’ policy thousands were displaced from strategically important areas like Kirkuk and their properties given to Arabs brought from the south.

Kurds have been trying to reverse this process by moving refugees back to Kirkuk to change the demographic structure of the oil-rich city , more than 100,000 Kurds now live in camps in and around Kirkuk.

Some families returning in the convoy from Iran said they were originally from Kirkuk and were coming back to take advantage of schemes funded by Kurdish political parties to resettle Kirkuk Kurds.

‘Kirkuk is Kurdish and it’s our legitimate right to go back,’ said Bakir Ahmed, 53, who was forced to leave Kirkuk in 1988 along with his mother, father and four brothers. Ahmed’s family of seven has now increased to 25 members. reuters"

MP Ala'eddin Borujerdi: Iran Should Use Influence To Help Convict Saddam

Description of Selected News: "Iran Should Use Influence To Help Convict Saddam: MP

TEHRAN (IRNA) -- Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Chairman Ala'eddin Borujerdi here Saturday said that Iran should use its influence to get former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein convicted in court for the crimes he committed.

The lawmaker from Borujerd told IRNA that the United Nations had, at one point of time, acknowledged the Iraqi invasion of Iran under the rule of the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

"While Saddam's court hearing focuses on the crimes committed by him, it is in conflict with wartime regulations. The use of chemical weapons is one such example," he added.

He noted that the use of chemical weapons by the Iraqi dictatorial regime against Iran in Halabcheh has already been proved.

"Thorough investigation of the crimes committed by the Iraqi dictator should be added to the agenda if the court hearings are real and not just a formality," he added.

He underlined that the Arab countries should not support Saddam merely because he was the leader of an Arab country.

"No one in the world approves Saddam and the crimes committed by him, with the exception of his accomplices.

"European countries such as Britain which oppose his execution should note that this would be the most natural punishment for someone who has murdered thousands of innocent people," he concluded."

Description of Selected News

Description of Selected News: "Untapped Potential of Iran-Iraq Economic Cooperation

Iran and Iraq could become two significant and exemplary economic partners in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East.

Their extensive economic strength and their warm neighborly relations can enable the two countries to establish a major pole of economic development in the Middle East and thus exert a significant and positive influence on the region as well as guarantee their own economic growth.

In order to achieve this goal, Tehran and Baghdad should not allow foreigners to create dissension between the two countries or prevent the expansion of bilateral and regional ties, as Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi pointed out.

Speaking in the opening ceremony of the conference entitled Opportunities for Iran and Iraq Economic Cooperation on August 1, Kharrazi stressed that Iran has made every effort to establish peace, stability, and security in Iraq and added that it would continue following the same policy in the future.

A high-ranking delegation of Iraqi interim government officials and economic, political, and industrial experts led by Iraqi Economy and Finance Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi arrived in Tehran to attend the conference.

The Iraqi economy minister said he believes that the conference will prepare the ground for the restoration of Tehran-Baghdad ties and help revive friendly relations between the two countries.

In fact, Iran and Iraq both possess excellent economic and geographic facilities, and you can not easily find two other neighboring countries with similar capabilities anywhere in the world.

Construction of a Basra-Abadan pipeline and the implementation of a swap deal, in which Iraq would supply 350,000 barrels of crude oil per day to the Abadan Refinery and Iran would in exchange export Iranian crude on Iraq's behalf from the Persian Gulf, would increase Iraq’s oil exports.

Connecting the two countries’ electricity network could also become another area of cooperation which could help solve Iraq’s electricity supply problems.

In the transportation sector, Iran and Iraq would be able to create one of the biggest and most important links in the Middle East and Persian Gulf regions, especially in light of the fact that Iran is the easiest and most economical link to Central Asia and the Caucasus.

In addition, encouraging Iranian tourists to visit Iraq could generate hundreds of millions of dollars of revenues for the country.

However, the two countries must defend themselves against the biased and unilateralist policies of certain foreign countries in order to expand Iran-Iraq ties in all areas.

The two countries should also make every effort to actualize the untapped potential of Iran-Iraq economic cooperation."

Iran rejects Muslim force for Iraq -DAWN - Top Stories; 03 August, 2004

Iran rejects Muslim force for Iraq -DAWN - Top Stories; 03 August, 2004: "Iran rejects Muslim force for Iraq

TEHRAN, Aug 2: Iran said on Monday that a Saudi initiative to send troops from Muslim states to Iraq was 'not appropriate'. 'Since Iraq is currently under occupation, we do not consider sending troops there to be an appropriate measure,' government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh told his weekly press conference.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi, also opposed the idea at his weekly press briefing on Sunday. 'The dispatch of these forces to Iraq will get the forces involved in a critical situation there,' he said.

'No Muslim or Arab state is willing to dispatch its forces to war-torn Iraq under the present circumstances,' he said, urging 'the occupying forces to leave Iraq and to let the United Nations supervise the activities of foreign forces.'

The Saudi proposal to send Arab or Muslim forces to Iraq was discussed by US Secretary of State Colin Powell with both Saudi leaders and Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi during a visit to the Gulf kingdom last week. -AFP "