"We are going to attack and destroy the governments in seven countries in five years. We are going to start with Iraq and then we are going to move to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran... We learned that we can use our militaries in the region, in the Middle East, and the Soviets wont stop us... and we've got about five to ten years to clean up those old Soviet client regimes - Syria, Iran, Iraq - before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us"
October 3, 2007
Although General Wesley Clark is a war criminal because of the role he played in the NATO aggression against Serbia in 1999, his 2007 speech is very poignant because it quite frankly reveals Washington's true agenda in the Middle East. You can access the video excerpt of his speech via a link posted below. Needles to say, silly notions such as freedom, democracy and women's rights are not what's on the minds of Washingtonian policymakers. Their task is to destroy nations that refuse to obey. With the Soviets no longer around to put them into place, they have been taking the window of opportunity the past twenty years has provided them to remake the world in their image - before the next superpower comes along to challenge them. Thus, considering that Russia is gradually reacquiring its natural title as a superpower and China is fast emerging as yet another superpower, in a certain sense, this is a race against time.
The primary battlegrounds have been or are the strategically important regions of the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus. Whoever controls these regions controls global commerce and whoever controls global commerce controls global finance. Whoever controls these regions controls the production and/or distribution of energy and whoever controls the flow of energy will be able to gain the dependence of majors energy-hungry powers like Europe, China and India. And if energy reserves are dwindling, as the recently proposed theory of peak oil suggests, then all the more the urgency.
I'm merely addressing the basic fundamentals of geostrategy and the role energy politics plays within it. For a further perspective on regional geopolitics, the following is an interesting audio interview with a Ethiopian born specialist in geopolitics. I urge you to listen:
Bonnie Faulkner interviews Mohammad Hassan: http://archive.wbai.org/files/mp3/wbai_110902_090049gunsbutter.mp3
Who makes the decisions in Washington? Primarily - Military industrial complex, Council on Foreign Relations, oil industry, Federal Reserve, pharmaceuticals industry, insurance agencies, multi-national corporations, Wall Street bankers, to some extent the Zionist lobby - and all their affiliates. The fact is, United States is being run like an empire and like a corporation, not like a republic. Once Americans understand this; once the rest of the world understands this, they will understand why their nation is in the predicament it's currently in. They will also understand that their "elected" politicians are nothing but servants of the aforementioned rulers of the American empire.
Despite what countless sheeple believe around the world, democratic principles and human rights are not guiding principals of top-level American officials. As a matter of fact, such lofty notions have never been a serious matter for consideration in Washington. Similar to what religion was in earlier times and similar to what Marxism was more recently, the notion of democracy is merely a powerful sociopolitical tool Western officials have cleverly used to manipulate and exploit the ignorant masses of the world. As it has been since the dawn of human civilization, the primary intent of any government entity is to project power and secure wealth.
Their methods include but are not limited to: an enormous array of deadly modern weaponry, Facebook warriors and "rights" activists, pseudo-journalists, Wall Street Banksters, propaganda outlets presented as news agencies, well paid mercenaries, loan sharks in places like International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, USAID, Islamic terrorists, a whole slew of Non-Governmental Organizations meddling in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, and last but not least - narcotics production and distribution (see article posted towards the bottom of this page).
Therefore, in a sense, the notion of "democracy" and "human rights" as well as Western pop culture (aka Globalization) have become weaponized.
Despite their horrendously bloody track-record around the world, Western propagandists to this day reminisce about the "horrors" of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. What the Soviets did in Afghanistan was child's play compared to the brutality and corruption of Western powers in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Serbia, in Libya, in Venezuela, in Guatemala, in Syria, in Cuba... as well as in many-many other nations of the world. The Soviet Union may have been primitive in many respects, but the political West is evil. It's high time to wake-up and see the political West for what it is.
Being stupid during the Cold War was somehow excusable simply because there seemed something more ominous on the other side of the iron-curtain. Being stupid these days is totally inexcusable!
And now, as prophesied years ago by military planners in Washington, perhaps as early as the 1980s, Libya has finally been smashed into bits.
Freedom loving officials of the Western alliance and friends have gotten Libya's much coveted sweet crude reserves, its substantial gold reserves and quite a bit of its cash reserves. More importantly, they have created yet another failed state. And, as usual, they have done this by allying themselves to Al-Qaeda type Islamic extremists. As an added bonus, they have also used the Libyan theater of war to try new weaponry and train willing NATO member air forces in the fine art of bombing civilian cities without getting shot down. No matter how one looks at it, the West has won the battle for Tripoli.
What the West lost in return, however, is whatever little legitimacy it was holding on to in the post-Soviet years. And that, in final count, will prove very-very costly for them.
Nonetheless, if the Western alliance gets its way again, Syria and Lebanon will be next in line to becoming failed states. And with Western troops in Afghanistan and Iraq almost fully repositioned and ready for future military operations, the alliance's attempt on Iran is looking more-and-more likely. But their ambitious plan to remake the Middle East by essentially turning it upside-down has taken more than the several years they anticipated in the 1990s when the Soviet Union had suddenly disappeared. This is because Western military planners realize that Iran will be their toughest task yet - politically, economically and militarily. Thus, they are very cautious.
Some are asking why didn't Moscow intervene in Libya.
The short answer is that Libya has never played a serious role in Russian foreign policy. In other words, Libya's existence, or its death in this case, has had no direct bearing on Russia. For Moscow, Libya was just a mid-level customer for outdated Soviet-made weaponry. In my opinion, Moscow officials looked at Western designs for Libya in the following manner: By not becoming an obstacle to NATO, Moscow figured it can then use the aggression against Libya as an excuse to oppose Western interference in places like Syria and/or Iran. Moreover, by allowing the West to engage Libya militarily, Moscow was also hoping that Western officials would decide to intensify their role in the war by sending in ground troops and in doing so get bogged-down in yet another protracted ground war.
Due to these geopolitical calculations and considerations, Libya was allowed to die.
With Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya out of the way, it now seems to be Syria's turn. Due to the military danger it poses the Zionist state and its intimate ties to Damascus, Lebanon's Hezbollah may very well get targeted as well. However, the West realizes that toppling the Syrian government (and by extension Lebanon's Hezbollah) will be a more difficult task because unlike Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, Syria has two powerful friends. Since we are getting closer to Russia's sphere of influence, Moscow will naturally be more engaged in matters pertaining to Syria. Moscow sees Damascus as playing an important geostrategic role in the region. Moreover, Moscow has had a military presence in Syria and it has been eying the Syrian port of Tartus for its naval forces. Moscow is clearly interested in preserving Syria's current regime. Short of going to war against the West, Moscow will do everything possible to thwart an aggression against Damascus.
As we all know, Syria's only other friend is the government of Iran. Although Tehran has less levers than Moscow to play with, it is nonetheless more deeply involved with Damascus. We must remember that Syria and Iran share joint-custody over their off-spring in Lebanon, the Hezbollah. Finally, Tehran is very interested in preserving the regime in Damascus simply because it realizes that once Syria falls it will soon be Iran's turn. Thus, Iranian officials realize that Syria will be Iran's final defensive barrier before the destructive forces of freedom and democracy come knocking on Tehran's door.
The operation we are currently seeing take place against is clearly a joint America-European-Israeli-Saudi-Turkish operation. For obvious reasons, Tel Aviv is trying hard to remaining behind the scenes. However, with Syria in turmoil, this may actually be a good time for Tel Aviv to exact revenge for the humiliation its military suffered in the summer of 2006 at the hands of Lebanon's Hezbollah. I have no doubt Israeli officials and high-level military officers are currently discussing this topic.
Turkey, who has serious plans for the region, namely a greater cultural and economic role in the Muslim world, is also attempting to exploit this opportunity to its advantage. According to some reports, political activists, arms and militants are flowing into Syria not only through Iraq but through Turkey as well. This brings up the question: Relations between Damascus and Ankara had been warming during the past several years... what went wrong? Is Turkey truly supporting the Western alliance's aggression against Syria or does Ankara have other things on its mind? I firmly believe Ankara is pursuing self-serving motives in Syria. Perhaps military planners in Ankara have determined that the West will eventually topple the regime in Damascus. Thus, they may be positioning themselves to somehow exploit the aftermath. As insinuated, Ankara's Ottomanian motives may be tied to its strategic desire to become a major player in the Middle East again after so many wasted years of attempting to join the European community.
Unsurprisingly, one of Washington's longest standing brothels in the world, Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Muhammad nonetheless, has also been working against , as it did against Tripoli. As a matter of fact, Western intelligence services in tandem with the royal family in Saudi Arabia have been the behind-the-scenes organizers and financiers of the various Islamic movements that have been plaguing the region in recent decades.
Naturally, the Kurdish factor also plays prominently in all this. As always, Kurds are the tools of destruction empires have always exploited. Some time ago, the Western alliance realized that by adopting the Kurdish cause in the heart of the Middle East they are able to impact Turks, Syrians, Iraqis and Armenians in one shot. Kurds of northern Iraq have been working closely with Washington and Tel Aviv since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Today, CIA/Mossad funded Kurdish government in northern is not only sending arms and militants into Turkey and Iran, they are doing the same in Syria.
Thus, what we seeing here working against Syria and is a strong convergence of various interconnected interests spearheaded for the most part by
For the past thirty years, Syria, Iraq, Libya and Iran were the four primary politically independent states in the Middle East. They were "independent" states in that they did not take their orders from the Anglo-American-Zionist alliance. Of the aforementioned four, Iran has been by-far the most powerful. Iran is the nation that can and is tipping the balance of power in the region. And believe it or not, the one thing that scares the camels out of Sunni Arabs is not Israel - it's Iran. Therefore, we can expect to see Sunni Arab states of the Middle East standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Americans, Europeans and Jews to plan the destruction of Iran.
Having said that, I doubt Iran will risk starting a shooting war with the Western alliance in defense of Syria. Similar to Russia, Tehran will attempt everything in its power to stop an aggression against Syria - short of going to war against the West. Consequently, Syria's fate is hinging upon two primary factors: How far will the West go to destroy it and how far will Moscow and Tehran go to protect it?
Both Tehran and Moscow realize that the ultimate short-term goal of the West is to topple the current government in Iran. As mentioned, Iran is a strategic threat simply because it is an independent rising power in the Middle East and its presence as a West-free nation threatens to upset the unipolar power the Anglo-American-Zionist currently enjoys over the strategic region. And the ultimate long-term Western agenda is to encircle the Russian Federation and to ensure China's dependence on Western controlled trade routes and energy reserves.
The last article at the bottom of this page is a geopolitical essay resurrected from the pre-9/11 world. The April 2001 commentary concerning Russian-Iranian relations was featured in the website of The Heritage Foundation: Leadership For America, one of the premier Neoconservative think tanks in the United States. It is a set-by-step geopolitical blue-print for the Bush administration. As already noted, this essay comes to us from a period in time when the terms "Neocon" and "War on Terror" were still unknown to the general public. However, es the essay clearly reveals, even before it all began in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the grand agenda of the special interest groups working within Washington was there for all to see.
We are again reminded of the true guiding factors of Washingtonian policy with regards to nations like Russia and Iran.
Looking at regional developments through these geostrategic perspectives we can easily see how Western military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria/Lebanon are merely the preparatory phases to the inevitable major clash with . Thus, the biggest bloodletting yet lays ahead. We are living in troubling times. With Tripoli in the hands of Western backed Islamic militants today, the Western backed insurgency in Syria may gain stamina. If Syria falls, the agenda against Iran will gain momentum. And an aggression against Iran may very well lead to a world war. Thus, Syria must not fall. How far will Moscow and Tehran go to protect Damascus? How desperately do Western officials want to destroy Syria? These are the questions that yet need to be answered and the next few months may indeed answer them.
Until then, the following are some related news articles and video reports that caught my attention recently.
U.S General admits to America Foreign Policy Coup: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMAONc7GeIc&feature=player_embedded
NGOs, an extension of US foreign policy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-raqX4KKY1Q&feature=player_embedded
Corbett: Only Russia able to prevent Libya-style repeat in Syria: http://www.youtube.com/user/RussiaToday#p/u/4/t5hQiL5joXw
Oil-field fight, tribal power-grab part of post-Gaddafi greed-fest: http://www.youtube.com/user/RussiaToday#p/u/5/nAtH7XXOBKA
Gaddafi gold-for-oil, dollar-doom plans behind Libya 'mission'? http://www.youtube.com/user/RussiaToday#p/search/1/GuqZfaj34nc
Make No Mistake: NATO committed War Crimes in Libya: http://tv.globalresearch.ca/2011/08/make-no-mistake-nato-committed-war-crimes-libya
NATO plans campaign in Syria, tightens noose around Iran - Rogozin
NATO is planning a military campaign against Syria to help overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad with a long-reaching goal of preparing a beachhead for an attack on Iran, Russia's envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said. The UN Security Council condemned on Wednesday ongoing violence in Syria and urged the country's authorities to stop using force against peaceful protesters, while saying the current situation in the country has not yet called for NATO interference.
"[This statement] means that the planning [of the military campaign] is well underway. It could be a logical conclusion of those military and propaganda operations, which have been carried out by certain Western countries against North Africa," Rogozin said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper published on Friday. The Russian diplomat pointed out at the fact that the alliance is aiming to interfere only with the regimes "whose views do not coincide with those of the West."
Rogozin agreed with the opinion expressed by some experts that Syria and later Yemen could be NATO's last steps on the way to launch an attack on Iran. "The noose around Iran is tightening. Military planning against Iran is underway. And we are certainly concerned about an escalation of a large-scale war in this huge region," Rogozin said. Having learned the Libyan lesson, Russia "will continue to oppose a forcible resolution of the situation in Syria," he said, adding that the consequences of a large-scale conflict in North Africa would be devastating for the whole world.
Ivashov: Syria Experiencing Wide Scale Campaign Targeting Its Independent Policy and Support for Resistance
Vice President of the Academy on Geopolitical Affairs Gen. Leonid Ivashov said on Saturday that what is currently taking place in Syria is a wide scale campaign carried out by Israel's Mossad and western countries – particularly the United States and France – in an attempt to fragment Syria due to its independent policy, support for resistance against Israel and establishing strong relations with Iran.
In an interview with SANA's correspondent in Moscow, Ivashov said that the west is also targeting Syria because of its position in the Arab world and its unique style of development that can serve as a role model of Arab people, noting that the international financial circles that organized the campaign against Syria don't want the Syrian model to succeed and continue its independent policy.
He pointed out that the third stage of the U.S. plan to destabilize Syria is taking place, and that this stage consists of carrying out sabotage and assassinations, causing bloodshed, and taking the situation from a political track to a combat track. Ivashov explained that the second stage consisted of inciting armed confrontations with the army and law-enforcement forces, while the first stage involved amassing funds and weapons, carrying out a strong media misdirection campaign, and organizing armed terrorist groups.
In this context, Ivashov criticized the intense media and psychological war waged by some mass media establishments and satellite channels against Syria to cause chaos, fear and panic. He also lauded the Syrian media which is confronting the media weapons and uncovering its lies and misdirection to the public opinion. Ivashov voiced confidence that Syria will emerge from this crisis stronger and more resilient due to the initiatives of President Bashar al-Assad, and that Syria will succeed in foiling the acts of terrorist and sabotage planned by the Mossad and western intelligence agencies.
He also condemned the acts of sabotage that targeted a passenger train between Aleppo and Damascus and an oil pipeline in Homs. On a relevant note, Ivashov pointed out that the U.S. organized a training course in a neighboring country for Syrian opposition, providing them with instructions and directions to carry out acts of terrorism and sabotage in Syria and exploit the just demands of some Syrians, adding that the Syrian leadership began finding solutions to these demands by issuing a number of legislations and reform laws.
Resisting Pressure and Foreign Interference the Only Way Out for Syria
In an article published recently in Serbia's Novi Standard newspaper, Ivashov said that resisting pressures and foreign interference is the only way for Syria to emerge from its current situation. Ivashov said that Syria works with a stable foreign and internal policy, and that President Bashar al-Assad's political strategy is based on tackling the issue of defense and security on the bases of national, social and political unity of Syrian society, creating an independent policy that doesn't appeal to the United States and its bid for controlling the world.
He pointed out that the U.S. uses all methods to fight the countries it labels as enemies, including revolutionary technology and military force, along with international organization, in addition to using the resources of countries under U.S. and NATO influence to form clandestine units of extremists and mercenaries to fight countries that attempt to follow and independent and free policies.
Ivashov said that mass media opposed to Syria try to pass criminal acts as protests, and that the arrests of gang members are repression of political rights and liberties, with the U.S. truing to push through with a Security Council resolution to impose a blockade on Syria. However, after the experience in Libya, Russia and China thwarted these attempts.
He added that U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are in a delicate situation, as they must go into elections after suffering one defeat after the other; first in Libya and now in Syria. Ivashov concluded by saying that Syrians must either resist western pressure or end up like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.
Russia's realpolitik on Libya
The endgame in Libya has re-ignited a debate in Russia on its policy in the conflict that may have a bearing on the presidential election next year.
Russia backed United Nations sanctions against Qadhafi under Security Council Resolution 1970 and abstained on Resolution 1973, which authorised the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilian population. Moscow however strongly criticised NATO's military intervention on the side of Libyan rebels and accused the alliance of overstepping the U.N. mandate. Russia urged a ceasefire and peace talks between the Qadhafi government and the rebels. But on September 1 Moscow suddenly recognised the National Transitional Council (NTC) even as the forces of Muammar Qadhafi were still battling the rebels. The Kremlin sent a high-level envoy to the Paris conference of “Friends of Libya” and invited NTC leaders to visit Moscow.
Explaining its decision to abstain in the Security Council vote on Resolution 1973 Moscow said it could not support the resolution because of its moot language about foreign military intervention in Libya. It did not use its veto right either because it saw the urgent need for action to prevent carnage if Qadhafi forces overran rebel-held Benghazi.
The Russian stance appears to indicate a significant shift away from opposition to foreign interference in internal affairs of a sovereign state. The only time that Moscow sanctioned military intervention was 20 years ago when Iraq occupied Kuwait. That was a time when Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev believed in “universal values” that should put the Soviet Union in the same camp with the “civilised” West. However, in Yugoslavia and Iraq Russia came out against military action, and in 2008 Russia used its veto to block a U.N. resolution imposing sanctions on Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe over controversial presidential elections.
In Libya Russia for the first time appeared to subscribe to the concept of humanitarian intervention that it staunchly opposed in the past. President Dmitry Medvedev justified Russia's refusal to veto Resolution 1973 by referring to the “abhorrent behaviour” of the Qadhafi regime, which “committed crimes against its own people.” Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian State Duma parliament Konstantin Kosachyov further clarified that Russia supported foreign intervention in Libya “strictly on humanitarian grounds in order to save human lives.”
Generally speaking, the Russian policy may be best described in terms of realpolitik. The Kremlin figured that had no reason to stand by Qadhafi when the Arab League turned against him. If Russia had vetoed Resolution 1973 it would have been blamed for the death of civilians at the hands of the Qadhafi regime. It would have most likely ruined the “reset” with the U.S. and spoiled relations with France, which has recently emerged as a source of key defence technologies for Russia. The Libya vote gave greater credibility to the BRIC group, which acted in sync in the Security Council. South Africa later joined the “coalition of the opposed” in criticising the Western military campaign in Libya.
Russia's neutrality may yet help Moscow salvage at least some of its $10-billion commercial deals in oil-and-gas rich Libya. The Kremlin said it expected an NTC delegation to visit Russia for economic talks in coming weeks.
Approach on Syria
In case of Syria, where the stakes for Russia are much higher, it took a different, if also nuanced approach. In the absence of a regional consensus on international action on Syria Moscow has firmly set it foot against foreign interference in that country, blocked Western moves in the Security Council to impose sanctions against Damascus and opposed the West's calls for President Bashar al-Assad to step down. Syria is Russia's long-time ally and an important market for its weapons. Russia fears catastrophic destabilisation in West Asia in the event of regime change in Syria, which sits in the very heart of the Arab world.
Significantly, the BRICS solidarity on Libya has carried over to Syria. Last week Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the BRICS countries were determined to prevent the Libya scenario for Syria and shared the view that any reconciliation in Libya must involve all sides in the conflict.
At the same time, on Syria Moscow shows the same kind of flexibility it displayed on Libya. Mr. Medvedev last month made it clear that Russia's support for the Syrian leader was not open-ended and was conditional on his pursuance of political reforms and talks with the opposition. Moscow backed a Security Council statement adopted in early August that condemned “the widespread violations of human rights” in Syria. Simultaneously Russia opened contacts with Syrian opposition. Last week its leaders paid a second visit to Moscow.
While the Kremlin's overall policy in the “Arab spring” appears to be a consensus strategy, serious differences surfaced in the Russian political establishment on tactical issues.
Mr. Medvedev had to overcome strong opposition in the Russian Foreign Ministry over Resolution 1973, which Russian diplomats considered to be deeply flawed. On the day the resolution was put to the vote Mr. Medvedev demonstratively sacked Russian Ambassador to Libya Vladimir Chamov, who allegedly called for using veto. A little later he sacked Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov who had been in charge of West Asia and Africa for nearly 10 years.
Foreign Minister Mr. Lavrov said Russian diplomats had tried to modify Resolution 1973 which not only called for a no-fly zone but also authorised member-states “to take all necessary measures… to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack.”
“It is loose wording open to any amount of legal interpretations,” Mr. Lavrov admitted.
The former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Yevgeny Primakov, suggested Moscow could have handled the Security Council vote better. “We could have taken advantage of the West's impatience [to get Resolution 1973 approved] in order to strike down certain provisions that were later interpreted as allegedly authorising a free-for-all against Qadhafi,” Mr. Primakov said in an interview even as he agreed Russia was right in not vetoing the resolution.
Russia's powerful Prime Minister Vladimir Putin sided with critics of the U.S.-backed resolution denouncing it as a “deficient” document that reminded him of “medieval calls for crusades” as it “allows anyone to take any action against a sovereign state.”
Trying to deflect criticism Mr. Medvedev argued rather unconvincingly that the West had deceived him. He said Russia would have vetoed Resolution 1973 if he knew what the West was up to. “If my [Western] colleagues had told me ‘you at least abstain and we are going to bomb [Libya]', I would have issued different instructions to our U.N. envoy,” Mr. Medvedev said in an interview.
The Kremlin's policy on Libya won surprisingly few cheers in Russia and came under fierce attacks by both nationalists and pro-Western liberals. Nationalists accused the Kremlin of betraying Russia's interests and traditional allies by allowing the anti-Qadhafi U.N. resolutions to pass, whereas liberals blasted the Russian leadership for failing to join the Western coalition.
An opinion poll carried out by the respected Levada Centre in April, a month after the start of the NATO bombing campaign, showed that Russians were overwhelmingly opposed to Western interference in Libya. Sixty-two per cent said Resolution 1973 was bad because it sanctioned aggression against a sovereign country. Four in five Russians said the international community should not resort to aerial bombardments to topple dictatorships and promote democracy. The results of the poll seriously alarmed the Kremlin: there have been no similar surveys since April.
The Libya debate gains special significance in the context of presidential elections due in Russia in seven months. When then President Mr. Putin promoted Mr. Medvedev as his successor in 2008 they both said that in four years' time they would jointly decide who of them would run next time based on their respective records. Whatever successes Mr. Medvedev can claim for his presidency will have to be mostly in foreign policy as it is one of the few areas where he has enjoyed relative autonomy under the power sharing arrangement with Mr. Putin. Mr. Medvedev's main foreign policy achievement, the “reset” with the U.S., is yet to bring Russia visible dividends. It is doubtful that Libya has earned Mr. Medvedev many points either.
In its April poll the Levada Centre asked Russians whose position they liked better: that of Mr. Medvedev, who condemned Qadhafi's actions and supported the Security Council resolution, or that of Mr. Putin, who denounced the resolution and the NATO bombing raids. Mr. Putin won the vote 53 to 13. Now that Russia's fence-sitting allowed the West to topple the Qadhafi regime, Russian public opinion has probably tilted further in Mr. Putin's favour, but no pollster has dared to ask this question again.
The "Liberation" of Libya: NATO Special Forces and Al Qaeda Join Hands
"Former Terrorists" Join the "Pro-democracy" Bandwagon. Extensive war crimes have been committed. NATO has blood on its hands
The "pro-democracy" rebels are led by Al Qaeda paramilitary brigades under the supervision of NATO Special Forces. The "Liberation" of Tripoli was carried out by "former" members of the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). The jihadists and NATO work hand in glove. These "former" Al Qaeda affiliated brigades constitute the backbone of the "pro-democracy" rebellion.
NATO special forces with "boots and the ground" pass unnoticed. Their identity is not known or revealed. They blend into the Libyan rebellion landscape of machine guns and pickup trucks. They are not highlighted in the photo ops. Special forces composed of US Navy SEALS, British Special SAS Forces and French legionnaires, disguised in civilian rebel garb, are reported to be behind major operations directed against key government buildings including Gadhafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound in central Tripoli.
Reports confirm that British SAS were on the ground in Eastern Libya prior to the onset of the air campaign. Special Forces are in close coordination with NATO air operations. "Highly-trained units, known as ‘Smash’ teams for their prowess and destructive ability, have carried out secret reconnaissance missions to provide up-to-date information on the Libyan armed forces." (SAS 'Smash' squads on the ground in Libya to mark targets for coalition jets, Daily Mirror, March 21, 2011)
NATO special forces and the CIA sponsored Islamic brigades under the command of "former" jihadists constitute the backbone of combat capabilities on the ground, supported by the air campaign, which now includes Apache helicopter raids. The remainder of the rebel forces include untrained trigger happy gunmen (including teenagers) (see photo below), which serve the function of creating an atmosphere of panic and intimidation. What we are dealing with is a carefully planned military intelligence operation to invade and occupy a sovereign country.
CIA recruits 1,500 from Mazar-e-Sharif to fight in Libya
The Central Intelligence Agency of the United States recruited over 1,500 men from Mazar-e-Sharif for fighting against the Qaddafi forces in Libya. Sources told TheNation: “Most of the men have been recruited from Afghanistan. They are Uzbeks, Persians and Hazaras. According to the footage, these men attired in Uzbek-style of shalwar and Hazara-Uzbek Kurta were found fighting in Libyan cities.”
When Al-Jazeera reporter pointed it he was disallowed by the ‘rebels ‘to capture images. Sources in Quetta said: “Some Uzbeks and Hazaras from Afghanistan were arrested in Balochistan for illegally traveling into Pakistan en route to Libya through Iran. Aljazeera’s report gave credence to this story. More than 60 Afghans, mainly children and teenagers, have been found dead after suffocating inside a shipping container in southwestern Pakistan in an apparent human smuggling attempt.
More than 100 illegal immigrants were discovered 20km from the border town of Quetta last week inside the container, which had been locked from the outside. Aljazeera having dubious record gave human touch to this story as most of the men who intruded inside Pakistan from Afghanistan were recruits for Libyan Rebels’ Force. The sources said: “The CIA funded Libyan Rebels with cash and weapons.” In a report the New York Mayor’s TV Channel Bloomberg said, “Leaders of the Libyan rebels’ Transitional National Council flew to Istanbul seeking legitimacy and money. They will leave with the official recognition of the US and 31 other nations. As for the cash, they will have to wait.
The decision to treat the council as the “legitimate governing authority” in Libya is a key step to freeing up some of the government’s frozen assets for rebels seeking the ouster of Muammar Qaddafi. Still, obstacles such as existing United Nations sanctions won’t disappear overnight. “We still have to work through various legal issues, but we expect this recognition will allow the TNC to access various forms of funding,” said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. At stake are about $34 billion in frozen Libyan government assets that are held by the US institutions and as much as $130 billion more held around the world. Speaking via phone from Istanbul, Transitional National Council spokesman Mahmoud Shammam put the total in excess of $100 billion globally.
Qaddafi, in an audio message broadcast to supporters in the town of Zlitan, said the Libyan people “will never give up” in the fight to prevent him being ousted, the Associated Press reported. “The Libyan people will persevere,” he said. In the coming weeks, the US officials will consult with the TNC and international partners on the most effective and appropriate method of making additional significant financial assistance available, according to a Treasury official who was not authorised to discuss the matter publicly.
Shammam said the TNC needs $3 billion to cover the budget for six months. The council is seeking loans secured by the Qaddafi regime’s assets abroad as a means of funding, he said. Recognition may lawfully allow nations to buy state-owned oil from the TNC, which controls the oil-rich eastern part of the country. Italy’s Eni SpA and France’s Total SA are the top oil companies operating in Libya, a former Italian colony. How much money the Benghazi-based government can get, and when, may be more tied to politics than the law.
“The legal issues are in the eye of the beholder,” said Gary Clyde Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “If Obama and Clinton want to go slow in paying out the money, their lawyers can invent plenty of legal issues to justify the chosen pace.”
The US envisions a “short timeframe” for releasing some of the Libyan government assets frozen by the US, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. President Barack Obama signed an order on February 25 freezing any US assets of Muammar Qaddafi, his family and members of his regime in Libya. As a practical matter, most of the frozen $34 billion is tied up in complicated property interests, including ownership interests in non-publicly traded companies or real estate, according to the Treasury official.
The mechanics of how the US will unfreeze assets still has to be worked out. The United Nations sanctions against Libya remain in place, a hindrance to efforts to get money to the rebels. The UK and France, which led the campaign to unseat Qaddafi, yesterday didn’t commit any financial contributions. Recognition of the council “will allow some countries to unfreeze some money,” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said. Libyan frozen assets in France total $250 million, he said.
Other nations have already found the means to act. Italy will open a credit line to rebels using frozen assets as collateral, and will provide them with 100 million euros ($141 million), Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said yesterday. Another 300 million euros will be released in two weeks and in total, Italy will release 400 million euros, he said, describing the money as loans. The council is expecting $100 million from Turkey within three days, Shammam said. The main criterion for international law for the recognition of a rebel group as the government of a state is its effective control over the territory.
The recognition of the TNC, given the fact that Qaddafi still controls Tripoli, could “arguably constitute an illegal interference in internal affairs,” Stefan Talmon, a professor of International Law at the University of Oxford, wrote in a paper for the American Society of International Law. A number of actions by the rebels convinced the US to offer recognition, including a commitment to pursue a reform process, and to seek more inclusive representation of Libyans, politically, geographically and tribally,” according to a State Department officially.
The US will continue to watch closely how they perform, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The contact group laid out conditions for a “genuine ceasefire” in a final statement and declared that “Qaddafi and certain of his family members must go.” The way he will leave power has yet to be defined, the group said. The ceasefire conditions call for complete withdrawal of Qaddafi-led forces to their bases, the release of detainees and hostages, provision of water and electricity to all regions, and the opening of all borders for the quick return of refugees. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization started air strikes in late March to protect civilians, an intervention that aided rebels seeking Qaddafi’s ouster.
Qaddafi has already lasted longer than allies had anticipated, though his hold on the capital, Tripoli, appears to be weakening amid shortages of food and fuel. There are reports that his government is seeking a political solution to end the fighting. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be the only person authorized by the contact group to negotiate with both sides in Libya. Ban will set up a board of two to three interlocutors from Tripoli and the rebel-held town of Benghazi, Frattini said. The military campaign against Qaddafi will continue “indefinitely” until he steps down, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague told reporters yesterday in Istanbul.
NATO and Turkey Support Armed Rebels in Syria. Campaign to Recruit Muslim "Freedom Fighters"
The Western media has played a central role in obfuscating the nature of foreign interference in Syria including outside support to armed insurgents. In chorus they have described recent events in Syria as a "peaceful protest movement" directed against the government of Bashar Al Assad. Recent developments in Syria point to a full-fledged armed insurgency, integrated by Islamist "freedom fighters", supported, trained and equipped by NATO and Turkey's High Command. According to Israeli intelligence sources:
The delivery of weapons to the rebels is to be implemented "overland, namely through Turkey and under Turkish army protection....Alternatively, the arms would be trucked into Syria under Turkish military guard and transferred to rebel leaders at pre-arranged rendez-vous." (Ibid, emphasis added) NATO and the Turkish High command, also contemplate the development of a jihad involving the recruitment of thousands of freedom fighters, reminiscent of the enlistment of Mujahideen to wage the CIA's jihad (holy war) in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war:
These various developments point towards the possible involvement of Turkish troops inside Syria, which could potentially lead to a broader military confrontation between the two countries, as well as a full-fledged "humanitarian" military intervention by NATO, which would be carried out in coordination with the Alliance's support to the insurgency.
Russia's Lavrov condemns EU oil sanctions on Syria
Russia has condemned the EU's move to step up sanctions on Syria by banning imports of its oil, amid ongoing protests against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the sanctions would "lead to nothing good". Oil accounts for about 25% of Syria's income and EU member states take about 95% of its oil exports.
At least 14 people were reportedly killed on Friday as protesters again came out in force across the country. Activists said seven had died in suburbs of the capital Damascus, four in the central city of Homs, and another three in Deir al-Zour in the east. The United Nations says more than 2,200 people have been killed since pro-democracy demonstrations began in mid-March.
Russia, which has a veto on the Security Council, refuses to back a resolution imposing an arms embargo or asset freeze. "We are against unilateral sanctions," Reuters quoted Mr Lavrov as saying, on the sidelines of a summit of ex-Soviet states in the Tajik capital Dushanbe. "This ruins the partnership approach to any crisis." The EU's ban of Syrian oil imports was announced on Friday and is due to come into effect immediately, with the exception of Italy, which has been granted a short-term exemption.
The ban was aimed at increasing pressure on the Syrian regime over its crackdown against anti-government protest, said a UK official. The EU also added four more Syrian officials and three Syrian groups to its list of those affected by an EU travel ban and asset freeze. "The violence must stop and he needs to step aside."
The US has already banned the import of Syrian oil, condemning the Syrian crackdown and calling on Mr Assad to step down. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe meanwhile said his country would increase contact with Syrian opposition figures. Last month, dissidents set up a "Transitional National Council" to co-ordinate the campaign against President Assad, following the example of the rebels in Libya. Burhan Ghalioun, a professor of political sociology at the University of Paris III, was appointed chairman.
Anti-government protests again broke out in various towns and cities after Friday prayers, with activists reporting that security forces opened fire on demonstrations in the provinces of Idlib and Deraa, in suburbs of Damascus, in Aleppo and in the central city of Hama. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian forces had surrounded a number of mosques in protest hotspots, including Deraa and the eastern city of Deir al-Zour.
Another activist group, the Local Coordination Committees (LCC), said there had been a mass demonstration in Hama outside the home of Adnan Bakkour, to support the Hama attorney-general's decision to resign in protest at the killing of protesters.
The LCC reported another big protest in the northern city of Amuda, against Russian arms sales to Syria. Syrian state television has denied most reports of protests, calling them "imaginary", although it said security forces had killed "two members of armed groups" in Talbisseh. Access to Syria has been severely restricted for international journalists and it is rarely possible to verify accounts by witnesses and activists.
Oil Prices Set to Slip if Rebels Win Libya
A rebel victory in Libya would likely put added downward pressure on oil prices, which are already falling amid concerns about the slowing economy, experts say. Oil prices came under pressure Monday, falling around $3 a barrel on the front-month Brent crude futures contract, as investors reacted to news that rebel forces had entered Tripoli Sunday, fueling hopes that the six-month conflict is nearing an end.
But the impact may be limited until Tripoli's new leaders manage to get the crude flowing again after prolonged fighting, which could take months. The current drop in prices could be a short-term reaction, said Thina Saldvedt, senior oil-market analyst at Nordea Bank Norge. It seems finally the Gadhafi regime is close to falling and that takes the situation to a new stage, but there remains a lot of uncertainty over how this new stage will develop, she added.
Analysts have said the halt in around 1.3 million barrels a day of Libyan crude exports this year have added a premium of around $10 to $15 a barrel to the price of the Brent crude-futures contract. Libya is a major oil exporter, and produces a type of crude that is particularly coveted—and has been in limited supply since the popular uprisings that swept the Arab world early this year reached the North African nation, cutting off supplies.
The rebel-controlled Arabian Gulf Oil Co. could restart up to 180,000 barrels a day within a two-week period after security is guaranteed for the facilities, a spokesman for the company said Sunday. In total, Libya's production could reach 500,000 barrels a day within two months, another Libyan oil professional said. But this amount would be largely absorbed by domestic needs, not exports. Ramping up above this level would then be complicated by extensive damage during the war, Libyan oil officials say.
The consultancy Wood Mackenzie estimates it will take around three years for the country to recover its full production capacity. In 2010, the country, which has the largest proven oil reserves in Africa, produced 1.8 million barrels a day of crude and other petroleum products, according to the U.S. government. As recently as 2009, Libya exported 1.5 million barrels a day, ranking it 12th in the world, according to the U.S.
The onset of fighting helped send oil prices soaring in February, posing a challenge to what was then seen as a fledgling economic recovery in energy-consuming nations. U.S. prices rose well above $100 a barrel to a 2011 high of $113.93 on April 29, and the price of the European benchmark, known as Brent, hit $126.65 earlier that month. Europe, which received over half Libya's oil exports for most of last year, was particularly hard-hit by the Libyan turmoil. Officials from the U.S. and other big oil-consuming nations were so concerned that they prompted the International Energy Agency in late June to announce the release of 60 million barrels from strategic stockpiles.
The prospect of lower oil prices, however, could help struggling economies in the U.S. and Europe. They are already benefiting from a sharp recent drop in oil prices—stemming from concerns that U.S. and European debt woes are curtailing demand—and they could get an added boost from restored Libyan production. Higher oil prices generally act as a drag on consumption and production. Brent prices are down 14% since early May, and U.S. prices have fallen even further, 38%. "We expect oil prices to fall when highly desirable, sweet Libyan crude production is resumed and enters the pipeline," David Kotok, chairman of Cumberland Advisors, wrote Sunday.
But it will take time for the oil to arrive, and unrest in Syria is making the market tighter at the moment. So while the immediate market reaction could reflect a measure of psychological relief at an impending inflow of oil, would-be buyers of Libyan crude will have to be patient. "The psychological impact doesn't matter," said Phil Verleger, who studies the economics of the oil market. "This is a physical shortage."
In European morning trading Monday, the front-month Nymex crude contract was up 27 cents, or 0.3%, to $82.53, while front-month Brent crude was much more badly affected, falling $2.36, or 2.2%, to $106.26 a barrel. The disruption of Libya's production highlighted the gap between the price of Brent crude and the U.S. benchmark, known as West Texas Intermediate. Until recent months, those prices tended to track one another fairly closely, but the gap between them exploded in recent months, upending the market. It isn't clear whether the return of Libyan crude would significantly shrink that gap in the future, but it will be closely watched in the months ahead.
If prices do fall, that could significantly cut the pressure on policy makers in the U.S. and elsewhere, whose actions are being closely watched by a jittery market. Next up is Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, due to give a pivotal speech in coming days in Jackson Hole, Wy.
Turkey Reveals Quiet Rebel Payments
Ankara Says It Has Given the Opposition $200 Million and NATO Will Stay in Libya Until Situation Is Under Control
Turkey revealed it has been bankrolling the Libyan rebel leadership over the past month and vowed its unconditional future support, underscoring the jostling for influence in postconflict Libya already under way among members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Turkey's message Tuesday was delivered by its Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu during a surprise visit to Benghazi. He is the most senior official from a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization state to visit the rebels' eastern stronghold since Col. Moammar Gadhafi's regime started its quick unraveling over the past week. That occurred in the face of a NATO-backed rebel assault against the capital Tripoli and surrounding areas in the country's western half.
Turkey, a pivotal player in Middle Eastern affairs, enjoyed warm ties with Col. Gadhafi's regime, and its companies control a big chunk of the lucrative infrastructure sector in the oil-rich North African country. Ankara at first reluctantly backed the start of NATO's operations against Col. Gadhafi in March but then changed policy and recognized the rebels when its efforts to broker a peaceful solution failed. "The Turkish people, and the Turkish government and Turkish officials, have overcome bureaucracy and transferred the funds they had promised the Libyan people in cash and directly," said Mustafa Abdul Jalil, head of the rebels' National Transitional Council, during a joint news conference with Mr. Davutoglu.
The Turkish official said he took part in a video teleconference on Monday with his counterparts from the so-called Libya contact group, which includes the U.S. and other NATO member countries. He said that the group would convene an emergency meeting in Istanbul in the coming days, and that topping the agenda would be a possible decision to release to the rebel leadership overseas assets worth tens of billions of dollars belonging to Col. Gadhafi's regime but which were frozen following United Nations sanctions earlier this year.
"We trust the virtuous leadership of Mr. Mustafa Abdul Jalil and we stand by him and support him until the very end," said Mr. Davutoglu, offering high praise of the rebel leader. He added that NATO's operations would continue until the situation was brought under control all over the country, and didn't specifically address the fighting in Tripoli. "We won't accept that any part of Libya be deprived of security and stability," Mr. Davutoglu said.
The media appearance by the two officials seemed to be carefully orchestrated, with friendly Turkish reporters selected to ask questions that ignored the situation in Tripoli and the dramatic appearance of Col. Gadhafi's son Seif al-Islam last night following a statement by Mr. Abdul Jalil that he and a brother Mohammed were in rebel custody. The defiant appearance of Seif al-Islam, who is wanted for crimes against humanity, in front of Western video cameras in Tripoli has significantly undermined the credibility of Mr. Abdul Jalil and has shocked rebel supporters in Benghazi. Some are already speaking about a conspiracy between the rebel leadership and Col. Gadhafi and his family to facilitate their escape from Tripoli.
Many also see the rebel leadership as being out of touch for staying put within the relative safety of Benghazi while the decisive battle for Libya rages more than 600 miles to the west. As if offering a dose of belated consolation to his supporters, Mr. Abdul Jalil said all those who collaborated with Col. Gadhafi would face trial, including himself for serving four years as justice minister before the start of the uprising in February. "I will submit myself to trial for the four years I spent as a minister with Moammar Gadhafi," said Mr. Abdul Jalil before pleading with the Libyan people to show mercy and forgiveness.
Turkey threatens to join international military action in Syria
Turkey has lost patience with Syria, according to Turkish officials quoted in the Hurriyet newspaper, and has issued an ultimatum to Assad
Turkey may consider cooperating with international powers in the event they decide to intervene militarily in Syria, according to a report in the Turkish "Hurriyet" newspaper on Saturday. Turkey has lost its patience with Syria, according to Turkish officials, and Turkish President Abdullah Gul has issued an ultimatum to Syrian President Bashar Assad via Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu who visited Syria on Tuesday.
According to officials, the Turkish foreign minister made it clear to Assad that in the event that Syrian forces continue to act aggressively against demonstrators Syria will no longer be able to rely on friendship from Turkey. The Turkish officials told the Hurriyet that “Turkey had initially tried to convince its Western allies to grant Assad time to implement reforms eight months ago. We have been as friendly toward Syria as we could, but a regime that doesn’t listen to advice from its friend and neighbor cannot be a friend of Turkey’s.”
The letter from Turkish President Gul and the leaking of its content to the Turkish media is testimony to Turkey’s strategic decision to deem Assad’s regime as illegitimate, thereby allowing it to move toward an operative stage against Syria. Arshet Hormozlo, an adviser to the Turkish president, made clear in an interview with the Iraqi newspaper “Zaman” that Turkey will not intervene militarily in Syria and will not allow international forces to enter Syria from Turkish territory.
However, Turkey’s consent to join an international coalition that may launch a military offensive against Syria is a dramatic turning point in Turkey’s stance. Hormozlo’s statement is proof that talks on military involvement have already reached the decision-making stage. At the first stage, Turkey is expected to withdraw its ambassador from Damascus, following the example of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain. The next step Turkey would take is freezing its projects and investments in Syria. Turkey will only take military action against Assad in the event that an international decision to intervene is made.
Turkey is furious with Iran for its criticism of Turkey for its stance toward Syria. Iran called Turkey a “subcontractor of U.S. policy”. In the event that military action is taken against Syria, other fronts may be opened if Iran decides to protect Assad’s rule beyond sending monetary aid and equipment by way of Iraq. In such a scenario, Iran could open a tactical front in the Gulf, send forces to Bahrain or start large-scale military maneuvers in the Gulf.
Libya and Syria: The Neocon Plan to Attack Seven Countries in Five Years
Clark’s revelation is nothing new, although it reminds us that the attack on Libya fits into a larger context and there are horrific conflicts to come if the globalists have their way. Following the election of Obama and a reshuffling of the same old deck in Congress in 2008, it was believed the bad old days of neocon wars were finally behind us. Obama said he would close down the wars and bring home the troops. Instead, he intensified the effort to spread chaos, mayhem and mass murder in the Middle East and South Asia, thus underscoring the fact there is absolutely no difference between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to creative destruction (it is telling that the neocon Michael Leeden has used the term – creative destruction is a Marxist concept).
Clark has talked about the neocon plan on several occasions. He said the following during a speech at the University of Alabama in October of 2006, recounting a conversation with a general at the Pentagon:
I said, “Are we still going to invade Iraq?” “Yes, Sir,” he said, “but it’s worse than that.” I said, “How do you mean?” He held up this piece of paper. He said, “I just got this memo today or yesterday from the office of the Secretary of Defense upstairs. It’s a… five-year plan. We’re going to take down seven countries in five years. We’re going to start with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, then Libya, Somalia, Sudan, we’re going to come back and get Iran in five years. I said, “Is that classified, that paper?” He said, “Yes Sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me, because I want to be able to talk about it.”
The neocons, of course, are merely one of a number of establishment factions, all of them reading from the same script. Obama’s attack on Libya and the impending attack on Syria under the ruse popularly known as the “Arab Spring” (pushed by elite NGOs and the CIA) is interchangeable with the Bush regime’s call to action against the Axis of Evil. The only difference between Democrat Obama and the (supposedly) Republican neocons (who have roots in Trotskyism) is that the neocons are decidedly Israeli-centric in their geopolitical stance.
The global elite do not care about Israel or any other nation-state, but are not above using the neocons – who are highly organized and motivated (despite propaganda depicting them as inept) – in their quest to destroy Arab and Muslim nationalism that directly threatens their drive for hegemonic rule (in particular, Sharia law with its restrictions on banking poses a threat to the banksters).
Syria is the next target followed by the big Kahuna, Iran. For the globalists, who are determined to wreck all nation-states and eradicate national sovereignty and borders, the fact this effort will precipitate the destruction of the “world’s policeman,” the United States, is an extra added bonus. Multiple wars in multiple and far-stretched “theaters” will ultimately bankrupt the United States, as Ron Paul and a handful of others have warned. Obama has made if perfectly clear that the U.S. will not leave Iraq and Afghanistan and plans to continue attacking Pakistan and failed states in Africa where the CIA cut-out al-Qaeda has appeared on cue. Wesley Clark’s warning is prescient, but nearly a decade too late. Clark is, at best, disingenuous because he himself a war criminal for the role he played in the slaughter of civilians in Yugoslavia.
Libya War is CIA Operation 30 Years in the Making
‘The details of the plan were sketchy, but it seemed to be a classic CIA destabilization campaign. One element was a “disinformation” program designed to embarrass Kaddafi and his government. Another was the creation of a “counter government” to challenge his claim to national leadership. A third — potentially the most risky — was an escalating paramilitary campaign, probably by disaffected Libyan nationals, to blow up bridges, conduct small-scale guerrilla operations and demonstrate that Kaddafi was opposed by an indigenous political force.”
Quite obviously this plan has been executed verbatim with the necessary addition of a NATO intervention to rescue the above stated “paramilitary” campaign from Libyan security forces – a contigency plan explicitly spelled out in another Wall Street-London subsidized, signed confession, Brookings Institution’s “Which Path to Persia?”
Using Military Force to Assist Popular Revolutions, page 109-110 (page 122-123 of the PDF): “Consequently, if the United States ever succeeds in sparking a revolt against the clerical regime, Washington may have to consider whether to provide it with some form of military support to prevent Tehran from crushing it.” “This requirement means that a popular revolution in Iran does not seem to fit the model of the “velvet revolutions” that occurred elsewhere. The point is that the Iranian regime may not be willing to go gently into that good night; instead, and unlike so many Eastern European regimes, it may choose to fight to the death. In those circumstances, if there is not external military assistance to the revolutionaries, they might not just fail but be massacred.
Consequently, if the United States is to pursue this policy, Washington must take this possibility into consideration. It adds some very important requirements to the list: either the policy must include ways to weaken the Iranian military or weaken the willingness of the regime’s leaders to call on the military, or else the United States must be ready to intervene to defeat it.”
The disinformation campaign began in February as overt, now verified lies were told to the publicregarding both the nature of the uprising and the Libyan government’s reaction to it. As tank driving, jet flying battle hardened LIFG Al Qaeda mercenaries waged war against the Libyan army, the corporate media in tandem with NATO member states preparing to intervene, portrayed the uprising as peaceful placard waving activists being mowed down by machine gun fire and strafed by Libyan warplanes. Evidence now confirms no such atrocties took place, however the UN citing this intentional disinformation authroized NATO intervention.The very nature of the Benghazi rebels has been deceptively presented to the public. In fact, they are a collection of extremists and mercenaries, many of whom had been fighting recently in Iraq and Afghanistan against US forces. These mercenaries, who have been backed by the CIA and MI6 for the last 30 years (see time line), are being portrayed as an “an indigenous political force” opposing Libya’s government.
It has just been recently revealed that the rebel commander attempting to seize Tripoli is none other than Abdelhakim Belhadj, an Al Qaeda asset who was previously captured by in Malaysia, tortured by the CIA in Bangkok, Thailand in 2003, before being release back in Libya where he is now fighting on behalf of NATO.Additional disinformation comes in the form of media attempts to portray Qaddafi as a rambling madman who despite the disparagement, has turned out to be one of the few heads of state speaking any truth at all regarding the conflict besieging his nation. From his earlier claims that the uprising was foreign backed Al Qaeda, to now verified claims that the rebellion was nothing more than a means to usher in a foreign occupation and the despoiling of Libya’s resources, he has been spot on.
As rebels loot his home and his compound in central Tripoli, he is now being disingenuously portrayed as an opulent tyrant who hoarded state resources at the cost of his population. Betraying the duplicity of this lie is the UN’s own Human Development Index which lists Libya as one of the most developed nations in Africa and is ranked higher than many other nations including Russia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia. Quite obviously Libya’s oil wealth was put to good use, and as Libya has ensured the West’s nefarious corporate-funded NGOs were excluded from Libyan society, no other explanation for Libya’s development exists beyond the government’s own initiatives.
What we are witnessing in Libya is a concerted, admitted war of aggression by corporate-financier interests who have openly conspired to carry out a campaign of military and economic conquest throughout the Middle East (and beyond), including Northern Africa and specifically including Libya.
From Wesley Clark’s 2007 speech, to Newsweeks’ 1981 article, we have been handed a signed confession that “our” governments are the true enemies of free humanity, masking their agenda with the thinnest veneer of moral justification, almost as if to insult the intelligence of so many who eagerly continue to empower them as they maliciously move forward. Once again, we must commit ourselves to identifying the corporate-financier interests truly driving this agenda, lurking behind the military and political leaders paraded before us as the executors of “international policy.” We must also commit to boycotting and replacing these corporate-financier interests as well as ending the recognition of any of the legitimacy they endlessly heap upon themselves.
Secret Libyan files claim MI6 and the CIA aided human rights violations [in Libya]
Intelligence helped Gaddafi regime track and apprehend dissidents, according to files seized from Tripoli offices
British and US intelligence agencies built up close links with Muammar Gaddafi and handed over detailed information to assist his regime, according to secret files found in Libyan government offices. The documents claim that MI6 supplied its counterparts in Libya with details on exiled opponents living in the UK, and chart how the CIA abducted several suspected militants before handing them over to Tripoli. They also contain communications between British and Libyan security officials ahead of Tony Blair's visit in 2004, and show that British officials helped write a draft speech for Gaddafi when he was being encouraged to give up his weapons programme.
The discovery was made by reporters and members of Human Rights Watch in the private offices of Moussa Koussa, the former foreign minister and head of Libyan intelligence, who defected to Britain in February. He is now believed to be in Qatar. According to the documents, Libya's relationship with MI6 and the CIA was especially close between 2002 and 2004, at the height of the war on terror. The papers give details of how No 10 insisted that the 2004 meeting between Blair and Gaddafi took place in his bedouin tent, with a letter from an MI6 official saying: "I don't know why the English are fascinated by tents. The plain fact is that the journalists would love it."
They also show how a statement made by Gaddafi during the time in which he pledged to give up his nuclear programme and destroy his stock of chemical and biological weapons was put together with the help of British officials. A covering letter states: "For the sake of clarity, please find attached a tidied-up version of the language we agreed on Tuesday. I wanted to ensure that you had the same script." Other letters seem to reveal that British intelligence gave Tripoli details of a Libyan dissident who had been freed from jail in Britain. One US document stated the CIA was in a position to deliver a prisoner into the custody of Libyan authorities.
The papers, which have not been independently verified, also suggest the CIA abducted several suspected militants from 2002 to 2004 who were subsequently handed over to Tripoli. Human Rights Watch has accused the CIA of condoning torture. "It wasn't just abducting suspected Islamic militants and handing them over to the Libyan intelligence," said Peter Bouckaert, director of Human Rights Watch's emergencies division. "The CIA also sent the questions they wanted Libyan intelligence to ask and, from the files, it's very clear they were present in some of the interrogations themselves."
Foreign secretary, William Hague, said he could not comment on security matters. Further documents found at the British ambassador's residence in Tripoli, and obtained by a Sunday newspaper, concerned the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. A memo written in January 2009 by Robert Dixon, head of the North Africa team at the Foreign Office, and sent to then foreign secretary David Miliband, warned that Gaddafi's ministers said there would be "dire consequences" for the UK-Libya relationship in the event of Megrahi's death in custody.
Iran, Azerbaijan, And Turkey: Zero Problems? Zero Chance
It hardly looked like the embodiment of a quiet-neighborhood policy. First Iran's top military commander warned Azerbaijan's president, Ilham Aliyev, in language that brooked no diplomacy that he faced a "grim fate" for betraying "Islamic principles." Then the head of an influential committee in Iran's parliament announced that the de facto head of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Murat Karayilan -- a man sought by Turkey for "terrorist" activities -- had been captured by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in the Kandil Mountains.
Unsurprisingly, each story created a stir in the countries next door -- before promptly being denied by Iran. Major General Hassan Firuzabadi, head of Iran's general staff, had not in fact declared that "the people's awakening cannot be suppressed" or accused Aliyev's government of "giv[ing] freedom to the Zionist regime [Israel] to meddle in [his] country's affairs," according to a statement issued by the Iranian Embassy in Baku. Nor had he accused Aliyev of giving "command to bar Islamic rules."
Such quotes -- despite their wide attribution -- were the result of a "media misunderstanding," the statement said. So too, it seems, were reports carried by Iranian news agencies of Alaeddin Borujerdi, chairman of the Iranian parliament's Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, announcing the arrest of Karayilan, widely seen as the PKK's No. 2 figure behind Abdullah Ocalan, currently serving a life sentence in Turkey.
With the Turkish media in a frenzy and Turkey's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, calling his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi for clarification, Iran again backtracked. Borujerdi told Turkey's ambassador to Tehran that he had been misquoted and had actually said that "it would be better had [Karayilan] been captured," according to the Istanbul newspaper "Today's Zaman."
A Warning Shot?
So was it all just an unfortunate communication breakdown? Not in the view of many Azerbaijani and Turkish observers, who believe it followed a well-trodden path of Iran's Islamic regime playing diplomatic hardball. Nor did it wash with Azerbaijan's government, whose relations with Tehran have long been tense. Firuzabadi's purported remarks prompted the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry to deliver an official protest to the Iranian Embassy in Baku.
Then Azerbaijani police arrested three members of the banned Islamic Party of Azerbaijan (AIP), a radical group that Baku claims is funded by Tehran with the aim of creating instability. The three -- party Deputy Chairman Arif Qaniyev, Ramin Bayramov, the editor of an Islamist news site, and party member Abgul Suleymanov -- were initially charged with illegal possession of weapons and drugs.
But in fact the arrests -- and Firuzabadi's comments -- had a wider context. A joint statement from the Azerbaijani National Security Ministry and Prosecutor-General's Office said they were also suspected of "hostile activity against Azerbaijan" -- apparent code language for being in the pay of Iran.
Iran's Islamist Front
Accusations by Azerbaijan of Iranian interference, voiced periodically since the Azeris' independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, have intensified recently. Baku has accused Tehran of being behind an increasing number of protests against Aliyev's secular, Western-backed regime. These include demonstrations organized on Facebook in March and a rally staged outside the Education Ministry in December 2010 in response to the Azerbaijani ban on Islamic hijab in schools.
Azerbaijan's official nervousness led to the arrest earlier this year of the AIP's leader, Movsum Samadov, who vehemently criticized the ban and then called on his website for Aliyev to be toppled. Azerbaijani political analyst Arastun Orujlu says the latest arrests, unlike Samadov's, are directly related to Iran's actions and aimed at sending a signal to Tehran. While the Azerbaijani authorities "cannot arrest Firuzabadi," they can arrest "those whom they consider to have close ties with Iran. By this way they also send a message to Iran."
Vafa Gulzade, president of the Baku-based Caspian Policy Studies Foundation and a former Azerbaijani national-security adviser, believes Iran yearns for an Islamic republic to be established in Azerbaijan. "After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Iran immediately began an aggressive policy against Azerbaijan," Gulzade says. "First, it was an attempt to export the Islamic religion, Hizballah-style, to Azerbaijan. A lot of Iranians came to Azerbaijan and spent a lot of money and arranged cells of Hizballah in the whole territory of Azerbaijan. Iran is continuing this job, to create in Azerbaijan cells and to support groups of Azerbaijanis for Iranian groups."
Baku's suspicions are fueled by the strong ethnic, religious, and cultural links between Azerbaijan and Iran. The modern Azerbaijani state was once part of Iran before being annexed by Russia in the 19th century. Nearly nine out of 10 Azeris share Iran's official Shi'ite Islamic faith. And most tellingly, Azeri -- a language close to Turkish -- is spoken by around a quarter of Iran's population, mainly in the northern provinces bordering Azerbaijan.
Yet these common bonds mean the suspicion cuts both ways. Iran feels threatened by Azerbaijan's close alliance with Tehran's two arch-enemies, the United States and Israel, and with NATO. Azerbaijan provides around 20 percent of Israel's oil supplies while Baku recently purchased Israeli weapons worth an estimated $300 million. For Tehran, such links provide its Western foes with the perfect launching pad to foment division within its own population.
As the Texas-based think tank Stratfor noted in March: "Tehran...is concerned about Baku's use of its links to certain parts of Iran's ethnic Azerbaijani population to sow discord within Iran and serve as a launching point for the West into Iran. Tehran most recently accused Baku of such actions in the Green Movement's failed attempt at revolution in 2009. Geopolitically, the two countries' strategic interests often clash. Iran has strong ties with Armenia (Azerbaijan's foe), while Azerbaijan has good relations with the West, and political and military ties to Israel -- both of which are uncomfortable for Iran."
The idea that Israel could use the Azerbaijanis as a potential fifth column against Iran echoes a similar suspicion voiced in the past about Israeli infiltration of the Kurdish populations in Iran and Iraq. Indeed, senior officials with Israel's foreign intelligence agency, Mossad, have spoken openly of having a presence in Iran's Kurdish areas.
The truth of this, according to Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-born political commentator with Israeli citizenship, is hard to establish. "According to reports in the Israeli press, Israeli military training and communication companies were active in Kurdistan a number of years ago but whether they or the Mossad continue to be there is unclear," he told RFE/RL in an e-mail.
"Iraq as a whole is an area of interest for the state of Israel, because of its importance to the Arab world, Iran, and the United States. It would be natural and logical for Israel to want to have influence there," Javedanfar continued. "Whether it can is another question. With Israel's increasing diplomatic isolation, more countries in the Middle East are moving away than toward Israel under [Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu."
Iran: 'The Kurds For Syria'
But according to Sadraddin Soltan, a Baku-based analyst on Iranian affairs, Tehran is pressuring Azerbaijan to send a signal to Baku's more powerful ally, Turkey, over one of Iran's key foreign-policy preoccupations, Syria. The Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan has, along with the United States, bitterly criticized the brutal suppression by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad -- Iran's close friend -- of mass protests against his rule.
"Tehran is irritated by all these developments. Iran is closely following NATO-Azerbaijan, U.S.-Azerbaijani ties," Soltan says. "Through Firuzabadi's statements, Iran is exerting pressure on Turkey and the U.S. [and sending the message] that it can create obstacles to their ally Azerbaijan, just as they [the Turks] press the Syrian regime."
The same belief has gained ground in Turkey to explain Iran's recent behavior over the recent phantom PKK arrest. The claim followed reports of recent Iranian incursions into Iraq to root out members of the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), a militant Iranian-Kurdish group (allied to the PKK) that had been mounting an effective sabotage campaign.
Even more pertinently, according to Turkish commentators, is that it preceded an anticipated offensive by Turkey in the coming weeks against PKK strongholds. Intelligence cooperation against Kurdish militants has been part of a general rapprochement between Ankara and Tehran in recent years. Knowing Turkish intentions to act against the PKK, some believe, Iran saw its chance to indulge in some underhand diplomacy.
"Iran is sending a message to Turkey," wrote Markar Esayan in "Today's Zaman." "A message saying it is willing to take action against the PKK in return for concessions by Turkey regarding the Syrian issue. To Turkey [the message is] you have a dominant role in the uprisings in Syria, which is an indispensible ally to us in the region. If you give up on Syria, we will deal with the PKK together; otherwise, we will become allies with the PKK."
Iran's covert war with Israel in Caspian
A senior Iranian general has warned zerbaijan about getting too close to Israel, underlining fears in Tehran that the Jewish state could use Iran's northern neighbor to launch pre-emptive strikes against Iran's nuclear program. Israel has been quietly building intelligence and military links with oil rich Azerbaijan, a largely secular Muslim state, since the collapse of the Soviet Union two decades ago.
The Israelis sell significant amounts of weapons and unmanned aerial vehicles to the government in Baku, on the Caspian Sea, as its intelligence services dig in along the border with Iran. That gives Israel a forward operating base to monitor Iran, particularly its contentious nuclear program, which Jerusalem views as a major existential threat.
Over the last two years, tensions have escalated as Azerbaijan has become part of the shadowy intelligence war between Iran and Israel. It has become even more important to Israel since its May 2010 rift with former ally Turkey, which also borders Iran. Even so, the unusually aggressive outburst by Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, chief of Iran's armed forces Joint Staff Command, Aug. 9 struck a particularly jarring note and brought into sharp focus a little-known aspect of Israel's deepening intelligence war with Iran.
It also reflected Tehran's growing alarm at Israel's penetration of Iran's northern neighbor. In what was perceived as thinly veiled threat, Firouzabadi accused Baku of mistreating religious Shiites in southern Azerbaijan who lean toward the Islamic Republic and allowing "Zionists" access to Azerbaijani territory right on Iran's doorstep. "If this policy continues, it will end in darkness and it will not be possible to suppress a revolt by the people of Aran," or Azerbaijan, the general declared in an interview with Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency.
Relations between Iran and Azerbaijan have been under strain in recent years, largely through Iranian covert operations. In 2007, Azerbaijan convicted 15 Iranians and Azeris for spying on Israeli, U.S. and British interests, including oil facilities, for Tehran and plotting to seize power.
In 2008, Azeri authorities, aided by Israel's Mossad spy agency, thwarted a plot involving operatives of Hezbollah, Iran's powerful Lebanese proxy, to blow up the Israeli Embassy in Baku. That plot was intended to avenge the assassination of Hezbollah's iconic security chief, Imad Mughniyeh, in Damascus earlier that year. Tehran blamed Mossad for that killing. Firouzabadi's statement jolted the Iranian leadership as much as it did the Azeri government. Senior Iranian figures publicly chastised the general and sought to distance Tehran from his remarks.
"It is important to note that the ongoing power struggle in Iran" between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the clerical establishment led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, "has been having the unintended effect of creating more political space for the military leadership to assert its views," the U.S. global security consultancy Stratfor observed.
It said "the tense exchange between Tehran and Baku Â… underscores the growing conflict of interests between the two neighbors as Azerbaijan works on strengthening its relationship with the West." Around 85 percent of the population of Azerbaijan, ringed by key regional players Iran, Turkey and Russia, is Shiite. That gives Tehran the opportunity to make sectarian mischief in the Caucasus and the energy-rich Caspian Basin.
However, Azerbaijan is overwhelmingly secular, except for the religious conservatives on its southern flank. The government of President Ilham Aliyev suspects Tehran is them to bolster its claims to Azerbaijan's Caspian energy reserves. Iran fears Aliyev, backed by Israel and even the United States, could support a revolt by its Azeris, who comprise about one-quarter of the population.
So it supports Azerbaijan's regional rival, Armenia, in its deadlocked dispute with Baku over Nagorno-Karabakh, currently held by Armenia. "Given that Azerbaijan's relations with Iran have long been fraught, the Azerbaijani government has not had any qualms in developing a strategic relationship with Israel," Stratfor noted. Expanding that military and intelligence relationship to upgrade Azerbaijan's capabilities and develop a military industrial complex there is one of Tehran's greatest concerns.
Aliyev is looking toward Israel and NATO to help modernize its forces, despite a U.S. arms embargo in place since 1992. Israel is Azerbaijan's fourth largest trading partner. The Jewish state has also been making inroads into the former Soviet republics of Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. It's negotiating with Kazakhstan to upgrade its military.
Iraq-Based Kurdish Rebels to Unite Against Iran
The separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has battled Turkey for years, said on Saturday it will aid another north Iraq-based Kurdish rebel group in fighting against Iranian forces. Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said earlier they had resumed operations against Kurdish rebels in northwestern Iran along the Iraqi border, inflicting "heavy blows."
"From now on we will fight on the side of the fighters of PJAK (Party of Free Life of Kurdistan) against the Iranian attacks, that are trying to enter the Kurdistan region of Iraq, especially in the Qandil area," PKK spokesman Dozdar Hammo told AFP. "We are a force to protect the people of Kurdistan. We see it is our duty to protect the achievements of the people of Kurdistan in any part," Hammo said.
"There have been clashes that are continuing until now, and we see that the goal of Iran is eliminating the Kurdish people, and not the PJAK party, and these are the reasons that led us to take this decision," he said.
A local official from a Kurdistan border area said on condition of anonymity that Iranian forces attempted to take control of a mountain near Sardasht in Iran, which was held by PJAK forces, on Friday. They were not able to do so, and then began shelling several areas of Iraq Kurdistan, he said, adding the shelling was still ongoing Saturday afternoon. Fighters of the PJAK, which has ties with the PKK that has been battling Turkish forces since 1984, have clashed repeatedly with Iranian forces in the mountainous border region in recent years.
Meanwhile, Maqdid Aref Ahmed, mayor of the Haj Omran district of Arbil province, said a shepherd was killed by Iranian shelling earlier on Saturday. "A Kurdish shepherd, Bassem Farman Mohammed, was killed by Iranian shelling of the border area that began at about 8:30 am (0530 GMT)," said Ahmed. The health director in the town of Choman, Ahmed Hassan, confirmed the shepherd's death.
Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said on Saturday they had resumed operations against Kurdish rebels. "This operation is aimed at clearing the infected northwestern border area and started from the Sardasht heights," the Guards' ground forces said in a statement carried by Iranian state media. "Heavy blows have been inflicted."
The Guards said they had resumed their operations "after the terrorist PJAK group failed to take advantage of a month's grace period given to them during the holy month of Ramadan to retreat from the border area." They said operations would "continue until the border areas are completely cleared and sustainable security has been established."
Iranian state television website reported two Guards were killed during the operation on Friday with the PJAK. "In continuation the series of operations... Revolutionary Guards killed and wounded 30 of the members of the PJAK terrorist group," a Guards operation officer, Colonel Hamid Ahmadi, was quoted as telling the official IRNA news agency without clarifying the toll. In July, Iran launched a major offensive against rebels of the PJAK, targeting their bases in Iraqi Kurdistan along the Iran-Iraq border, and shelling the area for weeks.
Human Rights Watch has charged Iran may be deliberately targeting civilians in its campaign against the rebels. "The evidence suggests that Turkey and Iran are not doing what they need to do to make sure their attacks have a minimum impact on civilians, and in the case of Iran, it is at least quite possibly deliberately targeting civilians," the New York-based watchdog's deputy Middle East director, Joe Stork, said on Friday.
In mid-August, Turkey resumed its own campaign of shelling and air raids against suspected rear-bases in northern Iraq of the PKK.
Encircling Russia, Threatening Iran: Azerbaijan to be admitted to NATO
What can you say about reports that the Pentagon-assigned package of military aid to Azerbaijan will be some $10m to go for improvement of the opportunities of marine forces on war on terror?
It is yet another proof that the United States views Azerbaijan as a very important state with which it is developing a geostrategic partnership in the region. Development of US-Azerbaijani relations meets the interest of both states. And the assignment of $10m to Azerbaijan by the Pentagon testifies to the US interest in deepening military cooperation with our country. The logical outcome of this cooperation will be Azerbaijan’s admission to NATO.
Could you specify terms of the announced admission of Azerbaijan to NATO?
I don’t want to specify terms but I would say that it is about a middle term perspective. The matter is that at the current stage the United States and their allies in NATO are facing the fast of the overthrow of Bashad Assad’s regime in Syria after which they will set about Iran and then the CIS countries including Russia. For this reason. the strengthening of ties with countries neighboring Iran and Russia meets the US interests.
In this case, can the military aid to Azerbaijan by the United States raise concerns in Iran? Undoubtedly, it can. But it will not affect the US plans, based on their own interests, rather than the interests of Iran or any other country. Openly speaking, Iran is well aware of the US plans to conduct a military operation against it and it is preparing to resist this military operation. As for Azerbaijan, we merely cannot stay aside from US plans related to Iran.
Do the US plans envisage shift of powers in Armenia?
There are no doubts that they do. The United States is planning to reduce Armenia’s dependence on Russia and Iran for which they seek to bring their protégé to power in Armenia. The issue is about who it will be and which events will promote implementation of the US plans. Russia is unable to resist these US plans regarding Armenia, since it has no serious resources in terms of army or economics. Additionally, Russia will face the issue of resisting the plans of the United States and their allies in NATO, while in these conditions, Russia will have no time for Armenia.
How would that scenario, you are speaking of, influence the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno Karabakh?
The impact will be a most positive one. The Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno Karabakh will be settled in case the indicated US plans come true. The main obstacle on the way to its settlement is Russia...
Russia in talks to build more nuclear plants in Iran
Russia has put forward "proposals" to build new nuclear power plants in Iran after the completion of the Bushehr project, local media reported Sunday quoting the Islamic republic's atomic chief. "We have held negotiations with the Russians regarding the construction of new nuclear power plants. They have put forward some proposals," Fereydoon Abbasi Davani was quoted as saying by Resalat newspaper. "The exchange of ideas and proposals will continue until a clear result is reached," Abbasi Davani added.
Russia has built Iran's only nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr against the backdrop of a series of delays, with Tehran hoping to link the facility to the national grid in late August. Abbasi Davani meanwhile insisted that any future deals with Moscow would be clinched "in a manner that would safeguard the interests of both parties." He did not give details about the number of future power plants or their locations. He also did not specify whether the proposals were made during talks with Russian officials earlier this week in Tehran on how to resume negotiations between Iran and world powers on the country's controversial nuclear programme.
Also, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was in Moscow earlier this week to discuss a Russian proposal aimed at solving a stalemate in the talks. Iran, the oil cartel OPEC's number two oil exporter, has repeatedly denied allegations that its nuclear plans have a military dimension amid fears in the West that Tehran seeks to develop an atomic weapons capability. Officials in Tehran contend they are only after civilian energy.
In recent years, the Islamic republic has announced its intentions to build research nuclear reactors and uranium enrichment facilities as well as 10 to 20 nuclear power plants to eventually generate 20,000 megawatts of electricity. But it is yet to make public concrete plans to construct atomic power plants besides Bushehr, whose fuel must be provided by Russia. In 2007 Iran sought international bids to build two new nuclear plants alongside Bushehr, and later announced plans to revive an old project in Darkhoin in the southwestern province of Khuzestan near the border with Iraq.
Like Bushehr, Darkhoin is a project whose original plans date back to before the 1979 Islamic revolution. There has been no developments on the project since then. Iran is under four UN Security Council sanctions and unilateral measures imposed by the United States and the European Union over its refusal to abandon its uranium enrichment programme, a process that can be used to make both nuclear fuel and the highly enriched uranium needed for a nuclear bomb.
Turkish Navy Will Escort Gaza-Bound Aid Ships
In light of Israel's refusal to apologize to killing Turkish aid workers last year, Turkey is implementing more aggressive postures
The Turkish navy will significantly increase its presence in the eastern Mediterranean and plans to escort civilian ships carrying aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as part of a “more aggressive strategy” following the release of the UN Palmer report on the 2010 Gaza flotilla. “The eastern Mediterranean will no longer be a place where Israeli naval forces can freely exercise their bullying practices against civilian vessels,” a Turkish official was quoted as saying. The announcement comes after the leaking of the UN report on the Mavi Marmara flotilla killings. The report characterized Israel’s killing of aid workers as “excessive and unreasonable.” Still, Tel Aviv refused to apologize for the incident, maintaining that killing civilians aboard a ship filled with humanitarian supplies headed for suffering Gazans was an act of self defense. In response, the Turkish government expelled Israel’s ambassador and is considering legal action against the Israeli soldiers and all officials involved in the attack. In the event of another aid ship headed for Gaza, the Israeli navy will be less apt to raid the vessel if the Turkish navy is there to protect it.
It’s Official: “Arab Spring” Subversion U.S. Funded
As American bombs rain down upon Libya on the premise that Qaddafi was brutalizing indigenous pro-democratic demonstrators, the accusing fingers of Libya, Iran, China, Syria, Belarus, and a growing number of other nations are pointing at Washington for funding and plotting regime change against their respective governments. Either in an act of absolute hubris or to spin emerging evidence that the US indeed has been funding and preparing the ground for the “Arab Spring” for years, New York Times has recently published “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings.”
Essentially throwing these activists under the bus, New York Times exposes that the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, and Entsar Qadhi of Yemen amongst others, received training and financing from the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, and the Neo-Conservative lined Freedom House.
The New York Times goes on to explain that these organizations are in turn funded by the National Endowment for Democracy which receives 100 million USD from Congress while Freedom House receives most of its money from the US State Department. While the New York Times asserts “no one doubts that the Arab uprisings are home grown,” leaders of groups now admittedly funded and trained by the US are anything but “home grown.” The most prominent example is the April 6 Movement of Egypt led by Mohamed ElBaradei of the International Crisis Group. ElBaradei sitting along side George Soros, Kenneth Adelman, Wesley Clark, and Zbigniew Brzezinski, within a US foreign policy think-tank engenders a considerable amount of “doubt.”
90% of the World’s Heroin Originates in Afghanistan
Soviet Union has long gone, but NATO, its old foe, is still here, operating illegally, waging a different war against the Russians: The Needle War! While NATO countries stockpiles of nuclear weapons remain almost entirely intact, NATO’s weapon of choice against Russia has now changed from plutonium to heroin. About five million Russians are drug addicts, at least half of whom are addicted to heroin, according to reports, and nearly all of the drug supply comes from Afghanistan. And now the head of Russia’s federal drug control agency has accused NATO for allowing the heroin production in Afghanistan to continue unhindered.
Victor Ivanov says heroin kills more than 30,000 people in Russia every year, and nearly all of the deadly drug comes from Afghanistan, BBC reported. “He blamed the Obama administration for ending a military drive to destroy opium poppy crops in Afghan fields.” The report said. What is the US excuse for allowing farmers to produce opium, which is readily processed into heroin? Obama administration says destroying poppy crops was alienating farmers, driving them to support the Taliban. But wait a moment, which Taliban are these Taliban? The October 2001 invasion of Afghanistan restored the “Taliban-destroyed Afghan opium industry (from 6% of world market share in 2001 to currently over 90% according to the UNODC World Drug Report 2007),” says Gideon Polya.
How could this be?
Mr Ivanov says poppy fields guarantee immunity for drug producers. His statement makes perfect sense because the drug producers are the only ones who would buy the opium from Afghan farmers. If the heroin producers are driven out of business, the farmers couldn’t sell their opium. If the heroin producers couldn’t sell their deadly product, they wouldn’t be able to buy more opium. And if Obama administration is to be believed, they would turn their support to the Taliban. Heroin production in Afghanistan is therefore effectively protected and guaranteed by NATO. Russian authorities say as a result of the heroin production immunity in Afghanistan a tsunami of cheap heroin has hit Russia and Central Asia. Mr Ivanov asserts that the heroin production in Afghanistan has now developed to a “global destabilizing factor,” especially for Russia.
Countering Russian-Iranian Military Cooperation
Iranian President Mohammed Khatami's recent visit to Russia resulted in expanded strategic cooperation between the two states, particularly in the areas of weapons and nuclear and ballistic missile technology. Iran already is the third largest importer of Russian arms after China and India.1 A new de facto alliance between Russia and Iran that increases Tehran's military capabilities will make this sponsor of terrorism more of a threat to vital U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf as well as to the security of America's allies in the Middle East. Moreover, by gaining nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and other advanced weapons systems, Iran could one day threaten the United States directly.
Nevertheless, Moscow has ignored Washington's repeated protests over the proliferation of its advanced weaponry and technology to Iran, particularly technology that could be used in producing weapons of mass destruction (WMD). For these reasons, Khatami's visit to Moscow on March 12-15 and the agreement by Iranian officials to buy state-of-the-art Russian surface-to-air missile defense systems have greatly increased concerns in Washington over this close relationship. On March 19, Secretary of State Colin Powell issued a warning to both Russia and Iran that the United States would closely watch their military cooperation and would take unspecified action if their activities threatened to destabilize the Middle East.2
Rhetoric alone will not be enough to deter cooperation between Iran and Russia. The Bush Administration will need to employ an array of military, diplomatic, and economic measures to slow Iran's strategic buildup of weapons, deal with its radical Islamic regime, and prevent further deterioration of U.S. relations with Russia. The Administration should proceed cautiously but deliberately to:
* Maintain a strong U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf to deter and defend against Iranian aggression or terrorism;HOW RUSSIA HAS CONTRIBUTED TO IRAN'S MILITARY BUILDUP
Concerns over Russia's increasing military ties with Iran, especially in the area of weapons proliferation, have grown since 1994 when senior Iranian officials first took steps to establish relations with Russian bureaucrats in charge of nuclear and missile programs in the post-Soviet military-industrial complex. Up to $25 million changed hands to facilitate Tehran's access to Russian advanced technology.3
After intensive consultations, Vice President Al Gore and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin on June 30, 1995, signed a confidential agreement that was supposed to limit Moscow's sales of arms to Iran. Russia agreed to supply only weapons specified under the 1989 Soviet-Iranian military agreements and promised not to deliver advanced conventional or "destabilizing" weapons to Iran. Finally, Russia agreed not to sell any weapons to Iran beyond December 31, 1999.4
With sales exceeding $4 billion between 1992 and 2000, however, Iran is now the third largest customer for Russian weapons. Among the systems Russia supplied to Iran in the 1990s are three Kilo-class attack submarines, which could be used to disrupt shipping in the Gulf; eight MiG-29 fighter bombers; 10 Su-24 fighter bombers; and hundreds of tanks and armored personnel carriers.5
In addition, the Russian Ministry of Nuclear Industry and affiliated firms may have transferred uranium enrichment technology to Iran while building a civilian nuclear reactor slated for completion in 2003 in the Gulf port of Bushehr.6 This technology is necessary in the development of nuclear bombs. Moscow has facilitated the sale of technology to Iran that is used in the manufacture of the Soviet-era SS-4 intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) and has helped Iran to develop its Shahab-3 IRBM, which has a range of 1,200 kilometers and is capable of hitting targets throughout the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and Israel.7
Cooperation between Moscow and Tehran increased after the election of President Vladimir Putin last spring and Moscow's November 2000 renunciation of the 1995 Gore-Chernomyrdin Agreement.8 Anticipating lucrative arms sales, a large number of Russian hard-line politicians and generals have endorsed Russia's rapprochement with the Islamic Republic.9 For its part, Tehran sees Russia as a valuable source of military technology that Western states have declined to provide since Iran's 1979 revolution.10
A Boost from Official State Visits
Khatami's state visit to Moscow reciprocated the visit of Russian Defense Minister Marshal Igor Sergeev to Tehran in December 2000. Sergeev's visit, in addition to being a major breakthrough in the military relationship between the two governments, was the first visit by a Russian defense minister to the Islamic Republic since Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized power in 1979.
During his visit to Iran, the former commander of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces toured Iranian aerospace, electronics, and missile facilities and consulted with top Iranian leaders on strategic cooperation in the Middle East and Central Asia.11 Sergeev and his Iranian counterpart discussed a 10-year arms and military technology program worth over $3 billion that would include training for Iranian military officers and engineers at Russian military academies. The representatives agreed that their governments would consult each other on "military doctrines, common challenges and threats," effectively bringing the status of their bilateral ties to that of an informal alliance.12 Sergeev bluntly rejected U.S. concerns about the relationship, telling the Iranian media upon his arrival in that state that "Russia...intends to pursue its own ends."13
During President Khatami's visit to Russia last month, Putin reiterated that stance, stating that Russia has the right to defend itself.14 Iranian officials toured a Russian missile factory and agreed to buy Osa and TOR-M1 surface-to-air missiles, which have missile defense capabilities. Khatami also toured a nuclear reactor plant in St. Petersburg and signaled that his country would buy another reactor from Russia. Since Iran already controls some of the world's largest natural gas reserves, the need for two nuclear reactors--at a cost of $1.8 billion--is questionable at best. The reactors could provide cover for a clandestine nuclear weapons program, which could make use of Iranian scientists who currently are studying nuclear physics and ballistic rocketry in Russia and the more than 500 Russian experts currently working in Iran on supposedly peaceful applications of nuclear science.
WHY RUSSIA IS DEALING WITH IRAN
Moscow has two strategic goals in pursuing a military relationship with Iran: keeping its own military-industrial complex solvent and building a coalition in Eurasia to counterbalance U.S. military superiority. Russia has found in Iran a large, oil-rich customer for its military-industrial complex, which supports over 2 million jobs. Russian leaders hoped the export revenues would allow them to save the research and development capabilities and technology base they inherited from the Soviet Union that could be used to develop new major weapons systems for the Russian armed forces and foreign customers. To achieve economies of scale, however, Russia needs access to large arms markets, such as China, India, and Iran.
The state-owned arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, is pursuing such former Soviet clients in the Middle East as Algeria, Libya, and Syria and is developing markets for arms in Latin America and East Asia, from Malaysia to Vietnam. Senior Russian officials reportedly have taken bribes from foreign customers anxious to gain access to Russia's sensitive technologies.15 Moreover, direct payments from foreign customers are often put in offshore bank accounts, from which some funds find their way into private pockets.
More worrisome for U.S. policy planners is the geopolitical dimension of Russian-Iranian rapprochement. In early 1997, then-Foreign Minister Evgeny Primakov and his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Velayati, issued a joint statement calling the U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf "totally unacceptable." Primakov sought to build a Eurasian counterbalance to the Euro-Atlantic alliance, which would be based on a coalition that included Russia, China, India, and Iran.16 Such efforts make it likely that the United States and its allies will be the target of Russian-Iranian military cooperation in the future.
The Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic cooperate over a broad range of policy issues, with military ties being an important aspect of relations between the two countries. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Iran has refrained from actively promoting its brand of Islamic radicalism in the former Soviet republics. Despite fashioning itself as defender of all Muslims, Tehran did little when the Russian military slaughtered tens of thousands of Muslim civilians in the first Chechen war (1994-1996), and it put forth only weak protestations against Moscow's excessive use of force in the second Chechen war (1999-2001). Moscow and Tehran also have cooperated against Afghanistan's radical Taliban regime by supporting the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance opposition coalition; support Armenia rather than the pro-Turkish, pro-Western Azerbaijan; and oppose a "western" route for exporting oil from the Caspian Sea basin through Georgia to Turkey.
Some Russian officials, however, recognize that cooperation with Iran has its limits. As arms control expert Alexei Arbatov, Deputy Chairman of the Duma Defense Committee, has warned, technology transfers to Iran may backfire. Within 10 to 15 years, he predicts, Russian technology could be used by radical Islamic terrorists or in Iranian, Algerian, Saudi, Egyptian, and Libyan missiles and other weapons aimed at Russia.17
THE THREAT TO U.S. INTERESTS
Iran's military buildup poses direct threats to U.S. interests in the Middle East.18 Iran has long aspired to play a dominant role in the Middle East and the Islamic world. Under the late Shah as well as the current radical Islamic leadership, Iran has sought to build its military capabilities and its ability to defend itself against Iraq. However, its aspirations go beyond legitimate self-defense. Islamic militants in Iran make little effort to hide the fact that they want to destroy the United States and its ally, Israel.
For example, senior Iranian officials, including the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei, repeatedly have denied Israel's right to exist. In a 1998 parade in Tehran, a Shahab-3 missile carrier prominently displayed an inscription that read, "Israel should be wiped off the map."19 By opposing Arab-Israeli peace negotiations and maintaining a militant anti-Israeli posture, Tehran hopes to build support for its leadership role in the Arab and Muslim world. Iran also backs the Hezballah (Party of God) terrorist organization that is based in Lebanon.
A more aggressive, nuclear Iran would cause further political instability that could lead to high oil prices, which would benefit both Russia and Iran as oil exporters. Moreover, a nuclear- and missile-armed Iran could well present a serious challenge to America's allies and major oil exporters in the Gulf. Iran could use its missile capabilities to blackmail the West, deter the United States and its allies from deploying forces to defend oil shipping routes, or deny the U.S. Navy access to the Gulf itself.
According to Admiral Thomas R. Wilson, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Tehran is "not unlikely" to re-export the sensitive Russian technology for weapons of mass destruction it obtains to militant Muslim regimes or terrorist groups in other countries, from Algeria to Sudan.20 If America's efforts to limit the proliferation of weapons and weapons technologies from China, Russia, and other countries to Iran fail, the United States will have little recourse but to impose sanctions on the violators and take other measures to punish countries that proliferate weapons of mass destruction.
ESTABLISHING A NEW U.S. POLICY ON RUSSIA-IRAN COOPERATION
The Bush Administration faces many challenges in dealing with the issue of strategic military cooperation between Russia and Iran. It inherited an ineffective policy from the Clinton Administration, which attempted to reason with Russia to limit arms proliferation to Iran. Although the United States spent $5 billion to secure Russia's nuclear arsenal, Moscow still sold its sensitive nuclear and ballistic technology to China, Iran, and other states of concern. In addition, American companies paid Russia $2 billion for commercial satellite launches authorized by the Clinton White House as compensation for Moscow's agreement to give up its arms trade with Tehran.21 Finally, President Clinton waived congressionally mandated sanctions against the suppliers of weapons and military technology to countries that support terrorism.
Congress attempted to limit the damage from these ill-advised Clinton Administration policies by imposing sanctions on companies that do business in Iran. In 1998, Congress overwhelmingly passed the Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act (H.R. 2709) sponsored by Representative Benjamin Gilman (R-NY), chairman of the House International Relations Committee.22 The act mandated that the President report to Congress when there is credible information that a foreign entity has transferred any technology that is governed by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). All licensed exports, sales of defense items, and U.S. government financial assistance to that entity would then be terminated. However, President Clinton vetoed that legislation in June 1998. Instead, he issued Executive Order 12938 to assign penalties to companies that provide assistance to nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs.23
Nevertheless, Congress insisted on stronger steps and passed the Iran Nonproliferation Act (P.L. 106-178), which was signed into law on March 14, 2000. This law authorizes, rather than mandates, the President to impose sanctions on Russian entities that assist Iran's missile or weapons of mass destruction programs. These sanctions include a ban on U.S. government procurement from or contracts with the entity, a ban on U.S. assistance to the entity, a ban on U.S. sales to the entity of any defense articles or services, and a denial of U.S. licenses for exports to the entity of items that can have military applications.
The Clinton Administration's counter-proliferation policy was too little, too late. It has neither limited the willingness of states or companies to sell advanced technology to Iran nor stopped the flow of forbidden items and technicians. Until the regime in Tehran abandons its anti-American stance or the Iranian people replace it with a democratic government, tensions between Iran and the United States and its allies are likely to remain high.
To staunch the transfer of Russian weapons and missile technology to Iran, the United States should develop a counter-proliferation policy that is deliberate, vigilant, and aggressive. Specifically, it should:
* Maintain a strong U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf to deter and defend against military threats from Iran. Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran has targeted Arab monarchies in the Persian Gulf with terrorism and subversion. It has sought to intimidate smaller neighbors with periodic naval exercises and has seized three islands claimed by the United Arab Emirates. To deter Iran from aggression and protect the free flow of oil exports, the United States must maintain a robust naval presence in the Gulf. As long as the United States stands by its allies, the chances of attack from Iran are low. A vigilant and robust naval presence in the Gulf would deter Iranian aggression, reassure nervous Arab states that the United States is committed to peace in the region, and help contain Iraq. The United States currently has deployed forces in Kuwait, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, and it has pre-positioned military equipment in Qatar. The United States should deploy as few ground troops as necessary in the region to avoid a political backlash that Iran, Iraq, or local anti-Western movements could exploit. U.S. naval forces should limit their time in port and restrict refueling and resupply operations to only the most secure facilities to reduce their vulnerability to terrorist attack.
* Ensure that U.S. enterprises and government credits do not contribute in any way to Iran's buildup of missiles or weapons of mass destruction programs. The United States should expand sanctions against Russian companies and institutions that help Iran build missiles or that transfer weapons technology. They should be forced to choose between trading with America or aiding Iran. Under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-132), the President can withhold U.S. aid to any country that provides assistance to a government that the State Department deems a terrorist state. Iran has been on the U.S. terrorism list since 1984, and the State Department lists it as the most active state sponsor of international terrorism in its April 2000 Patterns of Global Terrorism report.24 Finally, the Administration should suspend all Export-Import Bank and Overseas Private Investment Corporation insurance and credits to U.S. companies that do business with Russian entities that are linked to Iran's military build-up activities.
* Prevent U.S. investors from subsidizing Russian projects that could generate revenue for Iran, which Tehran could use to obtain advanced military technology. Russian companies investing in Iran should not be allowed to raise capital in U.S. financial markets. The Securities and Exchange Commission should deny U.S. investors access to Russian companies that do business in Iran. Such investment, particularly in Iran's energy sector, would generate revenue for Tehran that could be used to buy military technology and weapons systems from foreign suppliers. U.S. sanctions under the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act (P.L. 104-172) penalize companies that invest over $20 million in Iran's oil industry. However, these measures should be amended and expanded when the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act comes up for renewal later this year. For example, the waiver provisions should be toughened by excluding a presidential waiver for any company from a country that sells arms or nuclear equipment to Iran. Russian government-controlled companies, such as the natural gas monopoly Gazprom, should not be allowed to raise funds from U.S. investors for energy schemes in Iran, since they could fund its military buildup and ultimately could be used to threaten U.S. interests in the region.
* Task the interagency WMD working group at the National Security Council with designing a strategy for sanctioning Russia and Iran because of their proliferation activities. In the past, Congress has taken the lead in mandating sanctions against proliferators of WMD and related technologies. These sanctions, however, were narrowly focused on U.S. assistance or trade in goods and services, and have proven ineffective in stopping proliferation. A new approach by the Administration is necessary. The intelligence community should be tasked with a comprehensive assessment of the ongoing technology transfer and weapons programs, and with providing recommendations identifying "choking points" that are vulnerable to sanctions.
The current WMD working group at the NSC should be tasked with developing a sanctions strategy that targets Russian and Iranian officials, businesses, and individuals involved in the proliferation of WMD technologies, materiel, or know-how, as well as their sources of financing. This strategy could include restrictions on access to U.S. capital markets, scrutiny of international investment and banking activities by violators, and stricter visa controls for the individuals involved. The working group should include representatives from the Department of State; the Department of Defense; the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) and U.S. Customs Service within the Department of the Treasury; and (to control the visa regime for officials and business executives) the Immigration and Naturalization Service within the Department of Justice.
* Support the rescheduling of Russia's $150 billion debt to the Paris Club only in exchange for its active cooperation in cutting the flow of advanced military technology to Iran. The Administration should make clear that it opposes further rescheduling of Russian debt to the Paris Club as long as Moscow continues to export dangerous military technology to Iran. If Russia were to cooperate in stopping the flow of weapons technology to Iran, Washington should support debt rescheduling with full disclosure of past transactions. Disclosure of other proliferation activities, such as Russia's sales of advanced nuclear and ballistic missile technology to China and rogue states like Iraq, should also be included in any deal on debt rescheduling.
* Accelerate the deployment of sea-based missile defense systems on U.S. ships in the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf. Washington should cooperate with Israel and Turkey in the Mediterranean region and the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to deploy a sea-based anti-ballistic missile system, the upgraded Navy Theater Wide (NTW) program, on U.S. ships. Once deployed, such a system would blunt the emerging threat of Iranian missile attack and bolster the ability of America's allies in the region to withstand Tehran's attempts at intimidation.
* Strengthen U.S. military ties with the Gulf Cooperation Council to help it become a more effective military alliance. Washington should assist the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council--Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates--in transforming their loose collective security arrangement into an effective military alliance. It can do so by expanding joint military exercises and defense planning; assuring the continuous stockpiling of military supplies in the region; helping the GCC members to integrate their command, control, and communications networks; and assisting them in coordinating their military training programs. The Gulf states should speed up execution of the Cooperative Defense Initiative to enhance interoperability. They also should improve control of airspace over the Gulf by accelerating work on an integrated civilian-military air traffic control system. Bolstering the GCC would lessen Iran's ability to intimidate its weaker neighbors and would enhance efforts to contain both Iran and Iraq.
* Assist the Iranian people in their quest to achieve genuine democracy. Despite the reform efforts of President Khatami, the current regime under Ayatollah Ali Khamanei remains a harsh dictatorship of radical Islamic ideologues. The Bush Administration should work with U.S. allies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to expose the regime's human rights violations. It should support the creation of an international network of NGOs concerned with the plight of Iranian students, businessmen, national and ethnic minorities, and women, the main supporters of reform who voted for President Khatami in 1997 and for reformers during the 2000 parliamentary elections. Washington should help Iranians gain access to uncensored information by expanding the broadcasting range and frequencies of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Voice of America. This strategy, implemented under President Ronald Reagan in Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe, proved highly successful. Applied to Iran, it could lead to the ascendancy of democratic forms of government and leadership.
Russian assistance to Iran in developing ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction increasingly threatens U.S. interests, U.S. forces, and U.S. allies in the Middle East. Should Iran develop a nuclear arsenal, it could use it to deny the United States access to strategically important Persian Gulf shipping lanes and to interfere with the export of oil, wreaking havoc in global energy markets. In the longer term, it could use its missiles to threaten U.S. territory directly. The Administration must develop a comprehensive strategy that relies on pro-active diplomacy, creative economic countermeasures, and innovative military responses to address this growing threat from Iran.
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