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17 octobre 2008 5 17 /10 /octobre /2008 17:24
Berlin ♥ Iran – II

Germany joins Iran's 'Down with Israel' rally.


It's been a while since German military officers attended rallies that feature threats to Jews. Last month Berlin's defense attaché in Tehran resumed that tradition at Iran's annual military parade.

The German envoy had the privilege of hearing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promise to "break the hands" of invaders amid banners that read "Israel should be eradicated from the universe" and shouts of "Down with Israel" and "We will crush America under our feet."

Iran's parades are notorious for their "Death to Israel and America" slogans, which is why the European Union shuns these hate-filled spectacles. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was "very annoyed" about the attaché's faux pas, according to a report in Der Spiegel, and summoned Herbert Honsowitz, the ambassador to the Islamic Republic, to Berlin. Mr. Honsowitz, who is known for pushing trade between the two nations, has since returned to his post and is expected to serve out his term.

This episode illustrates the fundamental problem with Germany's attitude toward Iran: the disconnect between what Berlin says is its official policy goal -- stopping the mullahs' quest for nuclear arms -- and what Berlin actually does. Germany remains Iran's key Western trading partner. The German-Iranian Chamber of Industry and Trade counts about 2,000 members, including such big names as Siemens and BASF. In the first seven months of this year, Germany's Federal Office of Economics and Export Control approved 1,926 business deals with Iran -- an increase of 63% over last year. During that same period, German exports to Iran rose 14.1%.

For the record, French exports went up 21% during the first six months of the year, but they are still worth less than half of Germany's €2.2 billion of exports. Britain's exports to Tehran, only a fraction of Germany's trade with Iran, fell 20%. And while France and the U.K. are both pushing for tougher EU sanctions against Iran, Germany is reluctant to join their cause.

Given this reality, it's not surprising that Berlin's ambassador in Tehran apparently thought nothing of sending a military envoy to Iran's "Down with Israel" rally. He simply put Germany's mouth where its money already is.

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15 octobre 2008 3 15 /10 /octobre /2008 19:46
Saudi and Sudanese Writers Warn Of 'Shi'ite Octopus' Taking Over Sudan


The religious rift between Sunnis and Shi'ites in the Middle East, and the tension between the Arab countries, particularly the Gulf states and Egypt on the one hand, and Iran on the other hand are also manifested in Sudan-Iran relations. While the Sudanese regime maintains close ties with Iran, some Sudanese, especially those residing outside the country, have voiced concerns that Sudan may join the countries under Iranian influence. Over the past few years, there have been several uproars in the Arab press over perceived attempts by Iran to spread the Shi'a in Sudan, whose Muslim population is predominantly Sunni.(1)

Following are excerpts from two articles warning about the Shi'ization of Sudan.

Article on Sudanese Website: "Since When Are There Shi'ites In Sudan?"

In an article posted on the website Sudanese Online (www.sudaneseonline.com), which is the main site of the Sudani diaspora abroad 'Ali 'Abdallah Hassan, a Sudanese journalist living in the U.S., criticized Iran's attempts to spread the Shi'a in Sudan:

"My heart bursts with sorrow and pain when I read in the papers expressions like 'Shi'a in Sudan,' 'the spread of Shi'a in Sudan,' or 'a Shi'ite book by a Shi'ite Sudanese publisher.' I must ask: Since when are there Shi'ites in Sudan, which has been known as a purely Sunni country for hundreds of years?

"[Moreover], none of the countries bordering Sudan are Shi'ite. So how did the Shi'ite creed cross rivers and seas, to infiltrate a Sunni country in the heart of Africa?

"We must face the bitter truth and acknowledge it: We Sudanese have neglected our faith and the tenets of our religion. [We] have allowed the largest Shi'ite country in the world, [namely Iran,] to exploit our [good diplomatic] relations with it and our kind and tolerant nature in order to carry out its evil plans, which are to export its ideological revolution and spread its Shi'ite faith among the Sunni Sudanese Muslims, right under the nose of our government, sheikhs and [religious] scholars."

"[Iran] Has Turned Its Embassy in Khartoum Into a Center for Spreading... the Shi'a"

"[Iran] has turned its embassy in Khartoum into a center for spreading... the Shi'a, aimed at prompting the Sudanese to forsake Sunni [Islam] and embrace Imami Shi'ism [instead].(2) To ensure the success of this plan, various Iranian-funded facilities have been established around the capital, including culture centers, libraries, institutions, and schools. These establishments are actually missionary centers for spreading the Shi'a...

"Many Sudanese have [indeed] embraced the Shi'a as a result of this malicious Shi'ite assault to which our Sunni Sudanese society has been exposed. In [just] a few years, more than 15,000 [Sudanese] have converted to the Imami Shi'a. Moreover, in the Sufi regions of Kordofan [province], entire villages have gone over to the Shi'a, and the Shi'ite mission has [even] reached Darfur.

"Husseiniyyas,(3) [Shi'ite] pilgrimage sites, and [Shi'ite] mosques have sprung up in the capital and in various provinces, and the sheikhs of several Sufi orders have [recently] been seen wearing black Shi'ite turbans.

"[Moreover], some of the recent converts to the Shi'a have begun to spread Shi'ite philosophy in the capital and around the country, among students and in the large universities. Some have also begun to publish vile Shi'ite books, while other [such books] have appeared in the media and on the Internet. [Converts] have [even] found their way into the largest Sudanese website, Sudanese Online, in order to spread the Ja'fari Shi'a,(4) and malign the Sunni creed."

"A Shi'ite Entity Within Sudan Constitutes a Threat to [Sudan's] National Security"

"The spread of the Shi'a in Sudan will bring [this country] nothing but crises, catastrophes, and civil war. The spread of [Shi'ite] principles within the conservative Sunni Sudanese society – [principles] such as slander against the Prophet's companions, who are presented as infidels; [slander] against the mothers of the believers;(5) the sanctioning of pleasure marriages;(6) and talk about the fabrication of the Koran(7) – heralds [nothing but] internal strife and social unrest.

"It would be no exaggeration to say that the presence of a Shi'ite entity within Sudan constitutes a threat to its national security. In any Sunni state, Shi'ites represent a fifth column supporting a foreign Shi'ite force, since their loyalty lies with Iran and not with their own country. True to their faith, the Shi'ites do not recognize the legitimacy of any Islamic government except for the government of the Imams or of the great ayatollahs who have replaced them. For them, the [supreme] religious authority is not the Sudanese mufti but the ayatollahs of Qom, Najaf, and Tehran. The best example of this is [provided by] the Shi'ites of Lebanon and Iraq."

"We Should Beware of This Shi'ite Octopus in Sudan... Otherwise, the Day Will Come When We See the Tanks of the Sudanese Hizbullah Racing Through the Streets of Khartoum"

"Look at the arsenals of weapons and missiles [available to] Hizbullah in Lebanon and to the Shi'ites in Iraq. We would be justified in asking where all these weapons come from. Where do Hizbullah and the Shi'ites in Iraq get their enormous funds?

"Who is fanning the flames of sectarian civil war in Iraq by [providing] arms and funds? Who is behind the explosions that cut short the lives of innocent Iraqis day after day? Who foils every attempt at attaining stability in Iraq and resuming development there, so that its people can enjoy peace and security? Who is the one who extends his hand from across seas and rivers in order to move the [chess]men on the Syrian, Iraqi and Lebanese chessboards?

"We should beware of this Shi'ite octopus in Sudan, before it is too late – otherwise, the day will come when we see the tanks of the Sudanese Hizbullah racing through the streets of Khartoum. We will also have a Sudanese Hassan Nasrallah, who will appear on a Sudanese Al-Manar channel to warn the Sudanese government about the grave consequences of assailing the rights and achievements of the Shi'ite community…"(8)

Saudi Daily: "It Is Imperative That We Fortify the Sudanese Front, In Order To Protect [Sudan] From The Iranian Embrace "

Iran's increasing infiltration of Sudan has aroused concern in other Arab countries as well, since they too feel threatened by Iran. In an article published in the Saudi Daily Al-Riyadh in the wake of the attack on Omdurman by the rebel forces,(9) Saudi columnist 'Abdallah Al-Qafari emphasized Sudan's strategic importance to the Arabs, and the danger of an increase in Iranian influence in Sudan. He wrote:

"…In terms of its geopolitical location, [Sudan] borders the eastern Arab [region] on the south and on the west, and forms a continuous stretch with the Arab Horn of Africa, which is embroiled in a prolonged and difficult war. The Nile flows through its territory, and it affords an important vantage point commanding the Red Sea.

"Abandoning Sudan, which has been confronting one conspiracy after another without help, is tantamount to [subjecting] the large neighboring Arab countries, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to continuous danger. The Sudanese regime is not infallible; however, what Arab regime is immune to error and has no enemies? Ultimately, [the Sudan regime] is an Arab regime, which has shared interests with the neighboring Arab countries, and concurs with them on some crucial issues, [in particular,] on how to deal with the obvious threats that have [recently] begun to stir up the region.

"Sudan and Somalia constitute [two] Arab issues that have been almost forgotten, in spite of [these countries'] geopolitical and economic importance. The Arab region is deeply polarized. We are currently bearing the brunt of alliances formed by Arab countries or elements with rising powers in the region, such as Iran, that have aspirations and objectives of their own.

"[Iran] is trying to build up its reputation by [launching] a nuclear program, and is capitalizing on its ties with those Arab elements, in order to protect this program, gain influence, and ensure the future of its regime.

"It is imperative that we fortify the Sudanese front, in order to protect [Sudan] from the Iranian embrace, and from any other element that might try to exploit the Sudanese regime's need for support in order to instigate new a regional crisis that would threaten the Arab countries' stability and security."

"Abandoning Sudan to Contend Alone With... the Conspiracies That Have Constantly [Beset It] for the Past 20 Years – Means Jeopardizing Future Arab Security"

"Sudan today is no less important than any other Arab country embroiled in conflict. Leaving it on its own to face various movements,(10) as well as the blatant outside intervention via Darfur, would jeopardize the future of its regime – which would be extremely dangerous. Will the countries in the center [of the Arab region] survive if the periphery is hurt?...

"The Horn of Africa serves as a strategic safety buffer for the Arab countries adjacent to it, and today it is possibly [even] more important than the countries on the periphery. Sudan, with its resources of water, land, and oil, and with its promising future and strategic location, is a veritable shield for the Arab world. Abandoning Sudan to contend alone with... the conspiracies that have constantly [beset it] for the past 20 years means jeopardizing future Arab security."

(1) The most recent uproar was over a group of Sudanese journalists who participated in a workshop in Iran that was organized and funded by the Iranian Embassy in Khartoum (www.islamonline.com, July 6, 2008). Also, in December 2006, the Sudanese government was forced to intervene after a commotion erupted over Shi'ite propaganda literature displayed at the Iranian booth at the Khartoum book fair.
(2) Imami, or Twelver Shi'a, is the main branch of the Shi'ite faith.
(3) Shi'ite places of worship.
(4) This is another name for the Imami Shi'a.
(5) This refers to the Prophet's wives. The writer is referring especially to 'Aisha, whom the Sunnis revere and the Shi'ites despise.
(6) Shi'ite Islam permits mut'a marriages, which are temporary marriages for purposes of pleasure.
(7) The Shi'ites claim that the Sunnis forged parts of the Koran.
(8) www.sudaneseonline.com, July 8, 2008.
(9) Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), May 19, 2008.
(10) A reference to Darfur rebel movements.

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15 octobre 2008 3 15 /10 /octobre /2008 19:43
Hanged for being a Christian in Iran

Eighteen years ago, Rashin Soodmand's father was hanged in Iran for converting to Christianity. Now her brother is in a Mashad jail, and expects to be executed under new religious laws brought in this summer. Alasdair Palmer reports.

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Rashin Soodmand, whose father was hanged in Iran for converting to Christianity
Life for Rashin Soodmand, her siblings and her mother became extremely difficult after her father was executed in Iran for the 'crime' of abandoning his religion Photo: PAUL GROVER

A month ago, the Iranian parliament voted in favour of a draft bill, entitled "Islamic Penal Code", which would codify the death penalty for any male Iranian who leaves his Islamic faith. Women would get life imprisonment. The majority in favour of the new law was overwhelming: 196 votes for, with just seven against.

Imposing the death penalty for changing religion blatantly violates one of the most fundamental of all human rights. The right to freedom of religion is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in the European Convention of Human Rights. It is even enshrined as Article 23 of Iran's own constitution, which states that no one may be molested simply for his beliefs.

And yet few politicians or clerics in Iran see any contradiction between a law mandating the death penalty for changing religion and Iran's constitution. There has been no public protest in Iran against it.

David Miliband, Britain's Foreign Secretary, stands out as one of the few politicians from any Western country who has put on record his opposition to making apostasy a crime punishable by death. The protest from the EU has been distinctly muted; meanwhile, Germany, Iran's largest foreign trading partner, has just increased its business deals with Iran by more than half. Characteristically, the United Nations has said nothing.

It is a sign of how little interest there is in Iran's intention to launch a campaign of religious persecution that its parliamentary vote has still not been reported in the mainstream media.

For one woman living in London, however, the Iranian parliamentary vote cannot be brushed aside. Rashin Soodmand is a 29-year-old Iranian Christian. Her father, Hossein Soodmand, was the last man to be executed in Iran for apostasy, the "crime" of abandoning one's religion. He had converted from Islam to Christianity in 1960, when he was 13 years old. Thirty years later, he was hanged by the Iranian authorities for that decision.

Today, Rashin's brother, Ramtin, is also held in a prison cell in Mashad, Iran's holiest city. He was arrested on August 21. He has not been charged but he is a Christian. And Rashin fears that, just as her father was the last man to be executed for apostasy in Iran, her brother may become one of the first to be killed under Iran's new law.

Not surprisingly, Rashin is desperately worried. "I am terribly anxious about him," she explains. "Even though my brother is not an apostate, because he has never been a Muslim – my father raised us all as Christians – I don't think he is safe. They assume that if you are Iranian, you must be Muslim."

Her brother's situation has ominous echoes of her father's fate. Rashin was 14 when her father was arrested. "He was held in prison for one month," she remembers. "Then the religious police released him without explanation and without apology. We were overjoyed. We thought his ordeal was over."

But six months later, the police came back and took her father away again. This time, they offered him a choice: he could denounce his Christian faith, and the church in which he was a pastor – or he would be killed. "Of course, my father refused to give up his faith," Rashid recalls proudly. "He could not renounce his God. His belief in Christ was his life – it was his deepest conviction." So two weeks later, Hossein Soodmand was taken by guards to the prison gallows and hanged.

Life for Rashin, her siblings and her mother became extremely difficult. Some Muslims are extremely hostile to people of any other religion, never mind to those who they consider apostates: Ayatollah Khomeini declared that "non-Muslims are impure", insisting that for Muslims to wash the clothes of non-Muslims, or to eat food with non-Muslims, or even to use utensils touched by non-Muslims, would spoil their purity.

The family was supported with financial and other help from a Christian church based in Iran. That support became even more critical as Rashin's mother began to lose her sight. Rashin herself was eventually able to leave Iran. She now lives in London, married to a fellow Christian from Iran who successfully applied for asylum in Germany.

It took years for Rashin to understand how her father could have been legally executed simply for becoming a Christian. In 1990, there was no parliamentary law mandating the death for apostates. What, then, was the legal basis for Hossein Soodmand's execution?

"After the revolution of 1979, Iran's rulers wanted to turn Iran into an Islamic state, and to abolish the secular laws of the Shah," explains Alexa Papadouris of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a human rights organisation that specialises in freedom of religion. "So the clerics instituted a mandate for judges presiding over criminal cases: if the existing penal code did not include legislation on whether a certain kind of behaviour is an offence, then the judges should refer to traditional Islamic jurisprudence." In other words: sharia law.

"That automatically created problems" says Mr Papadouris, "because Islamic jurisprudence is not codified law: it is a series of formulations developed across generations by scholars and clerics. Depending on the Islamic school or historical era, these formulations can differ and even contradict each other."

On one subject, however, sharia law is unequivocal: men who change their religion from Islam must be punished with death. So when the judge heard the case of Rashid's father, he could refer to sharia and reach a straightforward decision: the death penalty. There was no procedure for appeal.

Nevertheless, in the 18 years since Hossein Soodmand's execution, there have been no judicially sanctioned killings of apostates in Iran, although there have been many reports of disappearances and even murders. "As the number of converts from Islam grows," notes Ms Papadouris, "apostasy has again become a serious concern for the Iranian government." In addition to 10,000 Christian converts living in Iran, there are several hundred thousand Baha'is who are deemed apostates.

There is another factor: President Ahmadinejad. "The President didn't initiate the law mandating the death penalty for apostates," says Papadouris, "but he has been lobbying for it. It is an effective form of playing populist politics. The Iranian economy is doing very badly, and the country is in a mess: Ahmadinejad may be calculating that he can gain support, and deflect attention from Iran's problems, by persecuting apostates."

The new law is not yet in force in Iran: it requires another vote in parliament, and then the signature of the Ayatollah. But that could happen within a matter of weeks. "Or," says Papadouris, "it could conceivably be allowed to drop, were there a powerful enough international outcry".

Time may be running out for Rashin's brother. She believes that the new law will be applied in an arbitrary fashion, with individuals selected for death being chosen to frighten others into submission. That is why she fears for her brother. "We just don't know what will happen to him. We only know that if they want to kill him, they will."

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10 octobre 2008 5 10 /10 /octobre /2008 08:00
Jewish World Review Oct. 7, 2008 / 8 Tishrei 5769

L’ironie de la collusion occidentale avec les Arabes et l’Iran

Par Caroline B. Glick


Adaptation française de Sentinelle 5769 ©

Dans une lettre au journal italien ‘Corriere della Serra’ en août dernier, l’ancien président italien et sénateur à vie Francesco Cossiga a reconnu qu’au début des années 1970, le premier ministre d’alors, Aldo Moro avait signé un accord avec l’OLP de Yasser Arafat et les organisations affiliées, qui permettait aux Palestiniens d’accueillir des terroristes, de diriger des bases et de stocker des armes en Italie, en échange d’une immunité contre des attaques en Italie et les intérêts italiens dans le monde. Cossiga a aussi reconnu que même quand des Palestiniens ont assassiné des Italiens, le gouvernement les protégeait encore. En vérité, il admit pour la première fois que la plus grande attaque terroriste jamais survenue sur le sol italien – l’attentat à la bombe de la gare de Bologne en juillet 1980, qui tua 85 personnes – était la besogne de terroristes affiliés à l’OLP du ‘front populaire de libération de la Palestine’ [FPLP] de Georges Habache.

Lors de l’attentat, Cossiga était premier ministre d’Italie. Juste après sa survenue, il accusa les néo-fascistes de cette atrocité. Selon ses termes à l’époque : « Contrairement au terrorisme de Gauche, qui frappe au cœur de l’Etat à travers ses représentants, le terrorisme fasciste préfère le massacre parce qu’il provoque la panique et des réactions impulsives ».

En août, il prétendit que c’était la besogne du FPLP, et que la bombe avait explosé par mégarde. C'est-à-dire que les Palestiniens n’avaient pas l’intention de tuer des non juifs – aussi les autorités italiennes les protégèrent.

Vendredi dernier, Cossiga s’étendit sur ses révélations au ‘Corriere della Serra’ dans un entretien avec Menachem Ganz, le correspondant à Rome du ‘Yediot Ah’aronot’. Cossiga admit qu’il ne s’agissait pas seulement de cibles israéliennes auxquelles l’Italie permettait de s’attaquer dans l’impunité, mais aussi des cibles juives. En fait, au cours d’au moins un et probablement deux incidents, il y eut collusion entre les Italiens et les Palestiniens dans leurs attaques contre des Juifs. Le 9 octobre 1982, six terroristes ouvrirent le feu sur des fidèles quittant la grande Synagogue de Rome. Des dizaines de Juifs furent blessés et le petit Stefano Tache, 2 ans, fut assassiné. Quelques heures avant l’attaque, le détachement de police italienne chargé de la sécurité de la synagogue avait été retiré.

Ensuite, en décembre 1985, des terroristes palestiniens ouvrirent le feu sur un comptoir de billets à l’aéroport de Rome. Dix personnes furent blessées. Sept autres personnes furent assassinées lors d’une attaque simultanée contre le comptoir de billets à l’aéroport de Vienne. Selon Cossiga, les services de renseignement italiens avaient reçu un avertissement antérieur sur l’attaque, mais ne se soucièrent pas de partager l’information avec Israël.

Cossiga expliqua au ‘Yediot’ : “Aucune cible italienne ne fut frappée. Ils avaient attaqué la compagnie israélienne à l’aéroport. Les personnes assassinées étaient toutes des Israéliens, des Juifs, et des Américains ».

Ensuite, il y eut le détournement du bateau de croisière italien ‘Achille Lauro’ au large de la côte égyptienne en octobre 1985. Des terroristes palestiniens dirigés par Abou Abbas réquisitionnèrent le bateau. Ils tirèrent sur Léon Klinghoffer, un passager juif américain handicapé en chaise roulante, et le jetèrent par-dessus bord encore vivant. Les Egyptiens libérèrent les pirates de mer, et les envoyèrent dans un avion vers la Libye. Des jets américains obligèrent l’avion à atterrir sur une base de l’OTAN en Sicile. Les Italiens refusèrent d’autoriser les Américains à mettre les pirates en prison et libérèrent Abbas. Les Italiens assimilèrent l’impasse à une victoire contre ces petites brutes d’Américains. Mais cela équivalait en réalité à une capitulation face aux meurtriers palestiniens. Comme Cossiga l’expliqua : «  Depuis que les Arabes ont été capables de nuire à l’Italie plus qu’aux Américains, l’Italie s’est abandonnée à eux ».

Cossiga allègue que l’accord de son pays avec les Palestiniens a été récemment élargi pour inclure le hezbollah. Après la Deuxième Guerre du Liban, l’Italie a donné son accord pour commander la force de la FINUL, chargée d’empêcher le hezbollah de reprendre le contrôle du Sud Liban et de bloquer ses efforts de réarmement. Pourtant Cossiga affirme : « Je peux déclarer avec une absolue certitude que l’Italie a passé un accord avec le hezbollah suivant lequel les forces de la FINUL détournent les yeux du réarmement du hezbollah aussi longtemps qu’aucune attaque n’est portée contre les soldats de notre force ».

Ganz note tristement que bien que les déclarations de Cossiga aient amené la communauté juive italienne à exiger que le premier ministre Silvio Berlusconi lance une enquête sur la collusion du gouvernement avec des terroristes palestiniens, il n’y a aucune probabilité qu’une telle enquête soit diligentée. Ganz explique que Berlusconi lui-même n’est pas immunisé contre l’antisémitisme qui a conduit ses prédécesseurs à s’abstenir de protéger les citoyens juifs d’Italie. Quand il s’adresse aux Italiens juifs, Berlusconi désigne souvent le gouvernement israélien comme « votre gouvernement », et démontre ainsi son adhésion à l’idée que les Juifs ne sont pas de vrais citoyens dans aucun autre pays à l’exception d’Israël.

La croyance antisémite est que tous les Juifs sont sionistes, et donc tous les Juifs sont un enjeu équitable dans la guerre contre Israël, lui-même rien d’autre qu’un chapitre de la guerre ancestrale contre les Juifs : cela permet aux antisémites de masquer le fait que leur rhétorique anti-Israël est simplement un réchauffé de leur haine anti-juive. Des gens comme les chefs iraniens Mahmoud Ahmadinejad et Ali Khamenei, et des terroristes palestiniens de l’OLP et leur progéniture du hamas et du hezbollah limitent presque toujours leurs menaces aux « sionistes » en prétendant ainsi ne pas être vraiment antisémites.

Cette tromperie sur le fil du rasoir est avidement adoptée par leurs compagnons de route en Occident – depuis les Pr. d’université comme Juan Cole, Steven Walt et John Mearsheimer, jusqu’aux décideurs politiques comme Brent Scowcroft et Zbigniew Brzezinski, en passant par les décideurs occidentaux et chefs d’Etats européens, avec une quantité alarmante de politiciens américains.

Cette tromperie est comparable à l’évolution de l’antisémitisme. Tout au long de l’histoire, les antisémites ont utilisé la haine antijuive comme une façon de rallier leurs troupes. En attaquant les Juifs comme un ennemi collectif, des tyrans ont fourni à leur peuple un coupable faible et commode, à agresser pour détourner la critique de leurs propres échecs, ou pour cacher de réels ennemis à des publics pacifistes, non enclins au combat. L’antisémitisme fait appel aux plus bas instincts du peuple. Mais les gens n’aiment pas reconnaître à quel point ils haïssent les Juifs, et les Juifs ont toujours préféré nier qu’ils sont haïs.

Ainsi les dirigeants antisémites ont déguisé leur recours aux bas instincts en prétendant qu’ils font vraiment appel à des aspirations sublimes. Dans le cas des nazis par exemple, Adolf Hitler et Josef Goebbels en appelèrent à la fierté allemande et à l’amour de la patrie. Aujourd’hui, la Gauche en appelle aux aspirations du peuple à la paix et la justice. Ce n’est qu’en permettant, et en fait en se rendant capables de tuer les Juifs et de détruire l’Etat juif que la « paix » pourra être assurée et que les Palestiniens pourront se voir rendre « justice ».

Cette stratégie séduit des décideurs politiques européens – et américains un à degré plus ou moins important – pour deux raisons. D’abord, comme le ministre des affaires étrangères Bernard Kouchner l’a dit clairement dans un entretien avec ‘Haaretz’ vendredi dernier, alors que l’Occident comprend que les jihadistes islamistes cherchent à détruire l’Europe et les USA, ils croient – en partie parce que leur propre antisémitisme les conduit à exagérer la puissance juive – qu’ils s’en tireront en dorlotant les Arabes et l’Iran, parce qu’Israël les protègera.

Faisant allusion au programme d’armes nucléaires de l’Iran, Kouchner déclara que nul n’est vraiment préoccupé au sujet de la menace iranienne parce que chacun croit qu’Israël attaquera l’Iran pour eux. Selon ses termes : « Je ne crois pas honnêtement qu’un arsenal nucléaire confèrera la moindre immunité à l’Iran. D’abord, vous [Israël] les frapperez avant qu’ils n’acquièrent des armes nucléaires. Parce qu’Israël a toujours dit qu’il n’attendra pas que la bombe soit prête. Je pense que les Iraniens le savent. Tout le monde le sait ».

Ce qu’il y a d’ironique dans cette opinion, c’est qu’elle démontre l’inversion de la rhétorique antisémite. Il y a cinq ans, l’ancien premier ministre malaisien, Mahathir Mohamed déclara devant un auditoire approbateur des chefs d’Etats islamiques (1) : « Les Juifs dirigent le monde par substitution. Ils font combattre et mourir les autres pour eux ». Mais la croyance de l’Occident qu’Israël le protègera contre l’Iran montre que c’est le contraire qui est vrai. L’Occident est absolument certain qu’Israël est son substitut, et que les Juifs vont combattre et mourir pour  le protéger du terrorisme mondial et du jihad.

La deuxième raison pour laquelle les champions occidentaux de la « paix » ont opté pour vendre Israël et les Juifs aux jihadistes, c’est parce que en tant qu’antisémites, les « antisionistes »  occidentaux craignent la puissance juive, et donc veulent que nous soyons faibles. Il en est ainsi depuis 40 ans, les gouvernements européens et le département d’Etat des USA ont financé des groupes antisionistes en Israël tels ‘La Paix Maintenant’, ‘B’tsellem’ et ‘Four Mothers’. Ainsi ce sont eux qui ont reproché à Israël le terrorisme palestinien. Et même quand Israël succombe à toutes leurs exigences de retraits territoriaux, ils se débrouillent toujours pour en demander davantage.

Dans le même entretien avec le ‘Haaretz’, Kouchner a félicité d’un côté le premier ministre Ehud Olmert et la ministre des affaires étrangères Tzipi Livni pour leur volonté de céder Jérusalem, la Judée et la Samarie aux Palestiniens, mais argumenta que cela n’est pas encore assez. Israël doit aussi accepter l’immigration sans contrôle de descendants hostiles des Arabes qui quittèrent Israël en 1948. C’est-à-dire qu’Israël doit donner son accord à sa propre destruction de façon à ouvrir la voix à la « paix ». Selon ses termes : « Le problème principal, ce sont les réfugiés et Jérusalem, mais plus encore les réfugiés. Olmert et Livni n’en ont pas la perception ». 

Kouchner est certain que Livni en viendra à reconnaître le besoin d’autoriser des Arabes hostiles nés à l’étranger à s’installer ici. « Je pense qu’elle changera. C’est toujours le cas des gens en charge de la politique et de la vie », proclama-t-il.

Kouchner apaisa les craintes des journalistes sur la destruction nationale en prétendant  qu’il ne parle probablement pas de plus de 100.000 immigrants arabes hostiles.
Mais ça, c’est aujourd’hui

Si Livni forme un gouvernement et se range à cet avis, laisse l’Occident expliquer que mettre des limites « arbitraires » à l’immigration arabe est une atteinte aux droits de l’homme : ainsi le racisme sioniste d’Israël contraindrait les Arabes et l’Iran à tuer des Juifs et des Occidentaux dans le monde entier.

Et cela nous amène peut-être à la plus grande ironie de la collusion de l’Occident avec les Arabes et l’Iran dans leur guerre contre les Juifs. Le résultat logique des illusions jumelles de l’antisémitisme – que les juifs sont puissants et que les Juifs doivent voir leur taille réduite – c’est la destruction d’Israël.

Si cela arrivait, l’occident se retrouvera pris dans les mâchoires des jihadistes islamistes à qui ils ont jeté les Juifs en pâture depuis quatre décennies.

La subversion par l’Occident de l’élite israélienne a suscité une situation où beaucoup de dirigeants israéliens ont adhéré aux avis antisémites de celui-ci sur Israël. Des chefs comme Livni et Olmert, et les media et l’université en Israël, ont largement accepté la notion qu’Israël est responsable du jihad mondial. Aujourd’hui, ces dirigeants soutiennent la faiblesse juive comme un idéal. Plus longtemps ces élites soutenues par l’Occident resteront au pouvoir, plus grandes seront les chances pour qu’Israël n’attaque pas l’Iran, et permette sa propre destruction dans l’intérêt de la poursuite de la « paix » avec des terroristes palestiniens.

Et si Israël est détruit, l’Occident ne sera pas en mesure de se reposer sur les Juifs pour combattre encore et mourir pour eux. Ils resteront tout seuls.

Note et commentaire du Traducteur :

(1) – Déclaration de Mahathir Mohamed au sommet de la Conférence Islamique (OCI) à Kuala Lumpur en 2003.

Lors d’une conférence en décembre 2003 sur le Moyen-Orient, à l’Ecole Militaire de Paris,organisée par la « F.M.E.S. » [fondation méditerranéenne d’études stratégiques], cercle militaire et diplomatique pro-arabe créé par l’Amiral Lanxade, ancien chef d’Etat Major particulier de François Mitterrand, le « célèbre » géopoliticien Pascal Boniface, directeur de ‘l’IRIS’ déclara au sujet de ce personnage : « Mahathir ne prononça « que » 43 mots (?!?) antisémites lors de la conférence de l’OCI  de 2003.

Une sentinelle dans la salle lui fit remarquer n’avoir entendu que  trois mots antisémites  -« Mort aux Juifs » -  à Paris lors d’une manifestation récente à la Bastille, où Mouloud Aounit, président du MRAP, ne pipa mot. Cela jeta un froid dans l’assistance, peuplée d’ambassadeurs de pays arabes et d’officiers français, à qui il fut aussi rappelé que la voûte d’entrée menant à cette salle de conférences était ornée d’une grande plaque à la mémoire du Capitaine Alfred Dreyfus.  C’était aussi le lendemain d’un attentat contre la synagogue de Garges les Gonesses, qui avait amené le président Chirac à stigmatiser (?) l’antisémitisme.

Depuis, la situation de l’antisémitisme en France et en Europe n’a fait que s’aggraver lourdement, menant y compris aux assassinats de Sébastien Sellam et d’Ilan Alimi, et à des agressions antisémites presque quotidiennes dans certaines localités bien françaises.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, d’abord blâmé au niveau international pour ses déclarations génocidaires contre Israël, est aujourd’hui acclamé à l’Assemblée Générale de l’ONU : ses propos se sont totalement  banalisés.

L’Occident se croit immunisé, quand il est en réalité anesthésié, étouffé lentement pas le‘politiquement correct, la hantise d’être  taxé « d’islamophobie », et pourquoi ne pas le dire, par sa couardise face à des « petites frappes terroristes » qu’il encourage y compris en les finançant : c’est l’Union Européenne qui paie le salaire des fonctionnaires aux effectifs pléthoriques de l’Autorité Palestinienne, et je vous demande bien pourquoi, à l’heure des coupes budgétaires sombres sous nos climats.

La crise économique grave qui pointe à l’horizon ne doit pas nous disposer à l’optimisme : la rage antisémite se donne libre cours sur les sites jihadistes, offrant aux simples d’esprit une nouvelle pâture à leurs frustrations.

Que D. nous aide à ne pas flancher devant le déferlement de haine qui se prépare !
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6 octobre 2008 1 06 /10 /octobre /2008 18:57
Last update - 07:22 03/10/2008
Marines '83 Beirut chief: Mughniyeh killing 'overdue justice'
By Amir Oren, Haaretz Correspondent
Tags: Israel News, Lebanon War 

Voir également :

25 Years Later: We Came in Peace
By Colonel Timothy J. Geraghty, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired)
In a Proceedings exclusive, the commanding officer of the Marine unit devastated by the suicide bombing of its barracks in Beirut recounts the horror of that October day 25 years ago and calls it a seminal event in the war against Islamist extremists.

The assassination of senior Hezbollah operative Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus in February was "long overdue justice," says Colonel (ret.) Timothy J. Geraghty, the commanding officer of the Marine unit devasted by the suicide bombing of its barracks near Beirut in 1983.

In an article in Proceedings Magazine, the flagship publication of the U.S. Naval Institute, Geraghty says Mughniyeh was a key organizer in the two suicide bombings that day. The article marked 25 years since the attack.

Minutes after the blast that killed 241 troops, 58 French soldiers were killed in an explosion at their base in Ramlet al-Baida.
Mughniyeh devised the tactic - later adopted by Al-Qaida - of simultaneous suicide attacks, Geraghty says, noting that Mughniyeh met Osama bin Laden in Sudan in 1996. Geraghty sees a direct correlation between the Americans' "timidity of response" to the 1983 attacks and the Islamists' attack on America on September 11, 2001.

The Marine headquarters was destroyed at 6:22 A.M. when a truck rigged with around 10 tons of explosives and fuel exploded.

"The coordinated dual suicide attacks, supported, planned, organized, and financed by Iran and Syria using Shi'ite proxies, achieved their strategic goal: the withdrawal of the multinational force from Lebanon and a dramatic change in U.S. national policy .... The cost to the Iranian/Syrian-supported operation was two suicide bombers dead," he writes.

The bereaved American families meet on anniversaries of the attack at dawn at the Beirut Memorial in North Carolina. At another ceremony, in the Behesht Zahra Cemetery in southern Tehran, the two suicide bombers are also remembered, with chants of "death to America" and "death to Israel," writes Geraghty. This year, Mughniyeh will not be attending this ceremony, he notes.

The 19-ton truck that rammed into the lobby of the Marine battalion had burst through a roadblock outside the base, but FBI investigators established that even had the guards shot the driver or vehicle outside the compound, the bomb's impact would have had similar results. The truck that killed the French soldiers exploded before reaching its destination, but the blast toppled the building's nine floors.

On November 4, a suicide attack was carried out on the Israel Defense Forces' headquarters in Tyre, Lebanon, 10 days after the suicide attacks on the U.S. and French troops. This happened "even though the Israelis had none of the restrictions of a presence mission and nothing that would hinder their extensive intelligence capabilities." Although the suicide truck was stopped short of its target, there were dozens of fatalities (60) and casualties (30) at the Israeli base, Geraghty notes.

"Unknown to us at the time, the National Security Agency had made a diplomatic communications intercept on 26 September (the same date as the cease-fire ending the September War) in which the Iranian Intelligence Service provided explicit instructions to the Iranian ambassador in Damascus (a known terrorist) to attack the Marines at Beirut International Airport. The suicide attackers struck us 28 days later, with word of the intercept stuck in the intelligence pipeline until days after the attack."

Iran has been waging war against the United States for more than a quarter of a century, from the 1979 revolution to its support of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Shi'ite insurgents in Iraq, and its support of Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria against Israel.
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30 septembre 2008 2 30 /09 /septembre /2008 20:56
Boxed In: Containing a Nuclear Iran

by Michael Rubin
Jane's Intelligence Review
October 2008

Containment helped define US foreign policy towards the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Inspired by a view of the USSR as expansionist and intractably opposed to capitalist states, containment was viewed as the most cost-effective method to prevent Soviet extension without resorting to cataclysmic war.

The policy was perhaps best described by George Kennan in his 1947 ‘X' article, in which he claimed "it is clear that the main element of any United States policy toward the Soviet Union must be that of long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies."

Yet, although the X article was written about the idiosyncracies of the Soviet system, containment is not a policy necessarily specific to the unique characteristics of the Cold War. Many in Washington appear to currently view a similar policy as an option in its dealings with a very different but similarly ideologically opposed rival, namely Iran.

For the present, Washington's commitment to this policy remains partial, as other policies are pursued to prevent Iran gaining a nuclear capability, and hence containment is not a viable option. However, should other policies fail entirely, and Iran become emboldened in its foreign policy by a nuclear status, containment is likely to characterise the US' policy towards the Islamic Republic.

Why contain?

Containment, at present, appears the policy option most likely to be used should all other avenues fail to defuse the international stand-off over the Islamic Republic's uranium enrichment programme. Given the lack of success that has been forthcoming from other policies, including a new incentive package from the five permanent United Nations Security Council members plus Germany and Washington's decision to join direct discussions with Iran, to resolve the disagreements, the possibility of a focus on containment is increasing.

The containment policy would not seek to deter use of nuclear weapons by Iran or its allies. Washington believes itself able to deter Tehran from the use of nuclear weapons with its own advanced, extensive and secure nuclear arsenal. Rather, containment would attempt to prevent an Iran emboldened by nuclear weapons using its proxies or conventional forces in regional operations to extend the country's influence.

The range of possible regional operations is significant, largely owing to the unstable international politics of the Gulf region. Beyond the possible use of Iranian proxies in Iraq and Lebanon, three Persian Gulf islands disputed the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tonb islands – remain longstanding flashpoints. Moreover, Hossein Shariatmadari, appointed to the editorship of the hardline Iranian daily Kayhan by Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, raised regional anxiety with a 9 July 2007 editorial suggesting that the island nation of Bahrain should, after almost five centuries of separation, return to Iranian control, while the member states of the Gulf Co-operation Council (Kuwait, Oman, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar), remain concerned about Iranian statements over Tehran's ability to close the Strait of Hormuz.

This does not demonstrate that such conflict is likely, nor that Tehran harbours expansionist tendencies or an irrepressible desire for expeditionary operations, but it does reflect a clear range of possible conflict areas in the region.

Given these scenarios, it is unsurprising that the US might seek to rely on a strategy that underlay US strategy during the Cold War. To succeed in an Iranian context, any containment would necessarily rely on three factors: troop deployments and US basing overseas, weapons sales to countries surrounding Iran, and diplomatic alliances. However, political constraints, regional sensitivities and concern over dealing with some regional regimes are all hindering US preparations for a containment strategy, and hence Washington's ability to enforce containment is currently limited.

Base desires

In terms of US basing, there is already a demonstrable trend towards containment. US forces surround Iran, with a total of approximately 250,000 troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, the six GCC states and Turkey. Although President Bush announced a drawdown of 8,000 troops from Iraq on 9 September, he simultaneously outlined an increase of 4,500 personnel in Afghanistan, demonstrating that even as the Iraq deployment winds down amid domestic pressure, Washington remains militarily committed to the region around Iran.

However, while these operations appear to field a formidable aggregate force, in reality the majority of these troops are already engaged in operations related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Moreover, many of the facilities used by the US are both temporary in nature and subject to rigorous political control by regional states. Because the US presence in Saudi Arabia became a rally point for Islamist militants, for example, the Kuwaiti government imposed strict regulations on the movement of US military personnel stationed in their country. US troops, for example, are not allowed to visit tourist sites or markets in Kuwait except on periodic, escorted group tours. The Kuwaiti government also designates portions of Camp Arifjan as temporary and insists that when US forces depart, no trace of their presence should remain. In practice, this means that US officers must spend weeks engaging the Kuwaiti bureaucracy if they wish to do so much as pave a road through their tent city.

Similarly, while the US military and Oman maintain a façade of co-operation, the Omani leadership undermined US confidence in its reliability when, at the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, it withheld permission for several days for the US Air Force to conduct operations against the Taliban from airfields on Omani territory because of its desire to preserve the appearance of neutrality in a fight involving co-religionists.

Qatar's importance to the US has grown since the 1995 palace coup that installed Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa ath-Thani. Al-Ubeid today is perhaps the most important US base in the region, but it alone cannot alone sustain a containment strategy. Nor does any containment mission have the depth provided by active Saudi participation. Most US military departed Prince Sultan Air Base, 80 kilometers south of Riyadh, only five years ago, leaving facility maintenance and upgrade in the hands of Saudi officials whose standards may not be up to US military requirements.

Beyond the GCC, given its extensive frontier, Iraq would be vital in any containment of Iran. However, while many members of US Congress support containment of Iran as an alternative to military action, their opposition to upgrading US facilities inside Iraq — such as the Kirkuk and Tallil Air Bases — has undercut the implementation of the containment policy they claim to support. Protracted US-Iraq negotiations over the Status of Forces Agreement has also hampered any containment strategy and muted most debate among defence planners and within the US Congress with regard to the wisdom of permanent bases inside Iraq. While the US and Iraq are likely to agree ultimately on a continued US presence, at least until 2011, the expected gradual drawdown of troops, likely to be hastened should Barack Obama win the US elections, suggests that the ability to effect containment will also gradually diminish.

Another Iranian neighbour, Turkey, could be another vital lynchpin in any US containment strategy, particularly given its membership of NATO. Yet, few US officials presently consider Turkey as a reliable ally in times of regional conflict, primarily owing to the ruling Justice and Development Party's refusal to join the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the sensitivity of 2007 negotiations over renewal of the US lease of portions of Incirlik Air Base, near Adana. In the latter example, the key question about renewal regarded Ankara's demand that it could veto missions originating from the facility, especially as they might regard Iraq and Iran. Recent Turkish overtures toward Iran and the Turkish government's unwillingness to join sanctions against the Islamic Republic have further heightened US concern. While the upper reaches of the Turkish General Staff may still be pro-American, no US planner relies on Turkey as a keystone in containment of Iran.

Finally, Pakistan, bordering Iran to the east, while long a nominal US ally will not participate actively in containment of Iran for reasons of its own instability, its orientation to counter perceived threats from India, and its involvement in Afghanistan.

Arms transfers

These various political restrictions to basing rights hinder levels of US troops in the region, and hence any attempts to prepare for containment. Any serious containment strategy will likely require more than the 42,500 US troops currently in the Persian Gulf, many of which only serve support functions. This suggests other policies must be implemented to augment the meager US troops based in the region.

To effectively contain Iran would require upgrading regional facilities to expedite deployment in event of hostility; deploying advanced anti-aircraft weaponry around regional states' economic assets—such as oil fields and industrial infrastructure—which would likely be targets of an Iranian first strike; and perhaps most significantly upgrading regional militaries to wage war independently against Iran for several days until the Pentagon can send reinforcements to the region.

The import of this latter factor is made apparent by an analysis of the strategic balance in the region. At present, US regional allies neither have the troops nor the material to themselves contain Iran. The Islamic Republic has some 540,000 troops spread among the regular military, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and the paramilitary Basij (which, in September 2007, was nominally folded into the IRGC proper). Saudi Arabia has approximately 200,000 men, and the other GCC states add another 130,000 combined. Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan bring another 92,000 troops. Turkey has 402,000 active military personnel, but the current Turkish leadership is unlikely to allow these to be used beyond containment of threats – largely from Kurdish militants -- along its own 499 km frontier with Iran. While the US has invested billions in the Iraqi and Afghan militaries, both are inwardly focused and ill-prepared to counter any external threat.

In terms of materiel, Iran is the single leading military power in the Gulf, although largely holds parity in comparison to the other regional powers in aggregate. Saudi Arabia and the smaller GCC states maintain approximately 2,300 main battle tanks versus 1,700 in Iran. Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan add another 900. Iran, meanwhile, maintains the lead in its navy: 260 vessels including a handful of submarine, versus less than 200 vessels for the entire GCC and only six patrol boats for Azerbaijan.

Iran and Saudi Arabia have near parity in combat aircraft numbers — 280 against 290 —although Saudi Arabia has a qualitative edge as its F-15s remains superior to Iran's MiG-29s and Su-24s in an air-to-air capacity. Iran, however, has a superior ballistic missile capability to any immediate neighbours besides Pakistan. Iran's Shahab-3 missile has performed erratically during tests, but now reportedly has a 2,000 km range.

Given this military balance, the US is eager to bolster indigenous GCC military capability and missile defences, improve interoperability and enhance protection of critical infrastructure. In order to achieve this goal, the Bush administration in May 2006 launched a new Gulf Security Dialogue, which includes a series of arms sales to upgrade regional military capabilities, particularly GCC anti-missile capabilities. In December 2007, for example, the Department of Defense notified Congress of the UAE's intention to purchase 288 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) air defence missiles and 216 PAC-2 Guidance Enhanced missiles and of Kuwait's intention to purchase 80 PAC-3s and kits to upgrade 60 earlier generation PAC-2s. Saudi forces themselves man earlier generation Patriot batteries over the past several months, received advanced medium-range air-to-air AIM-120C5 missiles ordered in 2006. While these may not provide protection from Iranian missiles, they do provide deterrence against any potential Iranian manned or unmanned aerial assault on Saudi oil infrastructure. The US installed missile defence emplacements in Qatar as it built al-Udeid and prepositioned armor and heavy equipment to the peninsular country. Turkey is also considering the PAC-3 along with other anti-missile systems manufactured in Israel and Russia. Turkey's procurement process, however, is slow in comparison to other NATO countries, and more vulnerable to political complications.

However, while such advanced equipment can provide regional militaries with a qualitative edge over the Iranian military, again political restrictions exist that will prevent the sale of sensitive equipment. In particular, a traditional desire for Israel to retain a qualitative edge in technology over any real or potential adversaries hampers any attempt to arm regional states. In practice, determinations over arms sales to moderate Arab states are scattered throughout the US executive branch. The Department of State's Office of Political-Military Affairs supervises weapons sales and exports. The National Disclosure Policy Committee, comprised of the secretaries of state and defence, the secretaries of each armed service and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, vets the release of sensitive weapons technology. The intelligence community inputs into both bodies. Lastly, Israeli military officials meet their Pentagon counterparts at the Department of Defense's annual Joint Political Military Group meeting, during which Tel Aviv can voice concern about their adversaries' capabilities.

Even when the executive branch deem weapons sales to moderate Arab states permissible, Congress often intervenes to derail sales of advanced weaponry to Arab states. Most famously, this occurred with the failed attempt to cancel a 1981 sale of advanced airborne early warning and control systems aircraft to Saudi Arabia, but more recently Congress has intervened to sidetrack sale of Joint Direct Attack Munitions technology to Saudi Arabia, even as the Bush administration has approved their sale to the UAE, Oman, and Israel.

As US Army Lt Col William Wunderle and US Air Force Lt Col Andre Briere argue in a Winter 2008 Middle East Quarterly article, any strategy to contain a nuclear Iran will require the US government and Congress to rethink and reformulate calculations on restrictions to arms sales in the region, based on the understanding that the GCC states represent the front line of Israeli defence against a mutual Iranian threat and that no GCC state itself poses a serious threat to Israeli security. While a politically sensitive issue, it is

Beyond the military procurement, training is as important to improve the ability of regional militaries to act autonomously. Here, regional militaries vary in their preparedness. Saudi reluctance to host foreign forces in its territory hampers its contribution to containment and to the protection of its critical infrastructure such as the Jubail, Ras Juaymah, and Ras Tannurah refineries in the Eastern province, and the East-West Crude Oil Pipeline (Petroline), which bisects the country and ends at the Red Sea port of Yanbu. While it is hard to gauge the current ability of the Kuwaiti or Qatari militaries to operate independently, their ability to operate equipment and air defences independently has increased through the current decade with training and exercises.

Unappealing diplomacy

One further constraint on the US' containment strategy is its unwillingeness to engage fully with regional regimes.

President Bush has since 2002 made democratisation a cornerstone of his policy toward the Middle East. His administration's focus on reform and transformational diplomacy complicated relations with longstanding Arab allies such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, although long-established relationships as well as the desire to win Arab state support for US operations in Iraq muted the democracy agenda within the Department of State's Near East Affairs Bureau.

This has ensured relative continuity in US diplomatic engagement with the Arab states, but has endangered or transformed relations with other states.

Concern over Uzbekistan's human rights violations led the Uzbek government to demand the departure of US forces in 2005 from the air base at Karshi-Khanabad, which had supported the mission in Afghanistan and is well suited to support containment efforts against the Islamic Republic.

Azerbaijan would be on the front line of any containment effort against Iran. It has previously assisted US efforts to hinder Iran's nuclear development. On 29 March 2008, for example, Azeri customs impounded for five weeks ten tons of nuclear equipment trucked from Russia and destined for the Bushehr reactor. Subsequently released, Baku's actions presumably aided intelligence understanding of the shipment and suggested willingness to help US counterproliferation efforts. Concerns over Azerbaijan's commitment to reform and democracy, however, have hampered the military partnership and sales. On 29 July 2008, Assistant Secretary of State David Kramer expressed worries about the state of democracy in Azerbaijan, a concern which will grow ahead of Azerbaijan's October 2008 presidential elections, and linked progress on democratisation to the broad US-Azerbaijan bilateral relationship.

Contain or restrain?
With negotiations over Iran's nuclear enrichment deadlocked and widespread recognition in both Europe and the US over the difficulties and complication of military strikes against Iran, US policy makers increasingly say they are prepared to contain Iran. Implementation of a containment policy, however, remains uneven. While the Gulf Security Dialogue will advance GCC military capabilities, no GCC country with the possible exception of Saudi Arabia appears able to withstand an Iranian attack.

Neither the Bush administration, candidates to succeed him, nor Congress have yet proposed streamlining of the weapons procurement process, augmented deployments of forces, especially air force and navy, to the region, upgrading of existing facilities or establishment of new bases, or re-prioritisation of security and democracy concerns along Iran's northern flank. This suggests that the US currently remains ill prepared for any containment strategy, and is unlikely to be in a position to effectively contain a nuclear Iran in coming years.

Michael Rubin, editor of the Middle East Quarterly, is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School.

Related Topics: Iran, US policy

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30 septembre 2008 2 30 /09 /septembre /2008 20:54
Appease Iran?

by Daniel Pipes
Jerusalem Post
September 25, 2008


After Hitler, the policy of appeasing dictators – ridiculed by Winston Churchill as feeding a crocodile, hoping it will eat one last – appeared to be permanently discredited. Yet the policy has enjoyed some successes and remains a live temptation today in dealing with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Academics have long challenged the facile vilification of appeasement. Already in 1961, A.J.P. Taylor of Oxford justified Neville Chamberlain's efforts, while Christopher Layne of Texas A&M currently argues that Chamberlain "did the best that he could with the cards he was dealt." Daniel Treisman, a political scientist at UCLA, finds the common presumption against appeasement to be "far too strong," while his University of Florida colleague Ralph B.A. Dimuccio calls it "simplistic."

Neville Chamberlain mistakenly declared "peace in our time" on September 30, 1938.

In perhaps the most convincing treatment of the pro-appeasement thesis, Paul M. Kennedy, a British historian teaching at Yale University, established that appeasement has a long and credible history. In his 1976 article, "The Tradition of Appeasement in British Foreign Policy, 1865-1939," Kennedy defined appeasement as a method of settling quarrels "by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and compromise," thereby avoiding the horrors of warfare. It is, he noted, an optimistic approach, presuming humans to be reasonable and peaceful.

From the prime ministry of William Gladstone until its discrediting in the late 1930s, appeasement was, in Kennedy's description, a "perfectly respectable" term and even "a particularly British form of diplomacy" well suited to the country's character and circumstances. Kennedy found the policy had four quasi-permanent bases, all of which apply especially well to the United States today:

  • Moral: After the Evangelical movement swept England in the early nineteenth century, British foreign policy contained a strong urge to settle disputes fairly and non-violently.
  • Economic: As the world's leading trader, the United Kingdom had a vital national interest in avoiding disruptions to commerce, from which it would disproportionately suffer.
  • Strategic: Britain's global empire meant it was over-extended (making it, in Joseph Chamberlain's term, a "weary titan"); accordingly, it had to choose its battles sparingly, making compromise an accepted and routine way of dealing with problems.
  • Domestic: The extension of the franchise made public opinion a growing factor in decisionmaking, and the public did not care for wars, especially expensive ones.

As a result, for over seven decades, London pursued, with rare exceptions, a foreign policy that was "pragmatic, conciliatory, and reasonable." Again and again, the authorities found that "the peaceful settlement of disputes was much more to Britain's advantage than recourse to war." In particular, appeasement steadily influenced British policy vis-à-vis the United States (in relation to, for example, the Panama Canal, Alaska's borders, Latin America as a U.S. sphere of influence) and Wilhelmine Germany (the "naval holiday" proposal, colonial concessions, restraint in relations with France).

Kennedy judges the policy positively, as serviceably guiding the foreign relations of the world's most powerful state for decades and "encapsulating many of the finer aspects of the British political tradition." If not a brilliant success, appeasement permitted London to accommodate the expanding influence of its non-ideological rivals such as the United States and Imperial Germany, which generally could be counted on to accept concessions without becoming inflamed. It thus slowed the UK's gentle decline.

Post-1917 and the Bolshevik Revolution, however, concessions failed to mollify the new kind of ideologically-driven enemy – Hitler in the 1930s, Brezhnev in the 1970s, Arafat and Kim Jong-Il in the 1990s, and now, Khamene'i and Ahmadinejad. These ideologues exploit concessions and deceitfully offer a quid pro quo that they do not intend to fulfill. Harboring aspirations to global hegemony, they cannot be appeased. Concessions to them truly amount to feeding the crocodile.

However dysfunctional these days, appeasement abidingly appeals to the modern Western psyche, ineluctably arising when democratic states face aggressive ideological enemies. With reference to Iran, for example, George W. Bush may bravely have denounced "the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history," but Middle East Quarterly editor Michael Rubin rightly discerns in the realities of U.S. policy that "now Bush is appeasing Iran."

Summing up, the policy of appeasement goes back a century and a half, enjoyed some success, and ever remains alive. But with ideological enemies it must consciously be resisted, lest the tragic lessons of the 1930s, 1970s, and 1990s be ignored. And repeated.

Related Topics: History, Iran, US policy

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28 septembre 2008 7 28 /09 /septembre /2008 20:32
US, Iraq step up operations against Iranian terror groups

US forces detained five members of the Hezbollah Brigades in Baghdad on Saturday as part of a renewed push to blunt the return of Iranian-backed Shia terror groups reentering Iraq. The Iraqi and US military have stepped up operations against the Special Groups over the past two weeks. Iraqi and US forces killed two Special Groups fighters and captured 107 since Sept. 16.

The latest series of raids in Baghdad netted five members of the Hezbollah Brigades in New Baghdad, a former stronghold of Muqtada al Sadr's Mahdi Army. The Hezbollah Brigades is an Iranian-backed terror group that has been behind multiple roadside bombings and rocket attacks against US and Iraqi forces in Baghdad. The group films these attacks and posts them on the internet. More than 30 Hezbollah Brigades operatives have been captured over the past two months. The group is estimated at having several hundred members.

The US military says Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah have helped establish, fund, train, and arm, and have provided operational support for Shia terror groups such as the Hezbollah Brigades and the League of the Righteous. The US military refers to these groups as well as the Iranian-backed elements of the Mahdi Army as the "Special Groups." These groups train in camps inside Iran. The US Treasury Department placed sanctions on a senior Iranian general and a Mahdi Army commander for arming, training, and funding Shia terror groups in Iraq on Sept. 16.

Recently an Iraqi police chief said Special Groups fighters and leaders were beginning to return into Iraq from bases in Iran.

"The Special Groups are returning from Iran after receiving training in using new tactics," Brigadier General Sabah al Fatlawi, the chief of police in the southern province of Dhi Qhar, told AFP on Sept. 16. "We have seized 20 motorcycle bombs in Nasiriyah. Some groups have arrived in Nasiriyah ... They are crossing the border through Amarah." Amarah borders Iran and served as the Mahdi Army and Special Group's headquarters in the South.

One of the largest single roundups of Iranian-backed fighters occurred on Sept. 25-26 north of Nasiriyah. Iraqi forces detained 53 Special Groups operatives and found large weapons caches during a series of operations north of the city.

The Special Groups and the Mahdi Army fled to Iran after the Iraqi military, backed by Coalition forces, launched a series of operations against the Mahdi Army in central and southern Iraq in March 2008.

The Mahdi Army took heavy casualties while opposing the Iraqi security forces in Basrah and the South and against US and Iraqi forces in Sadr City during operations to secure the areas in March, April, and May. More than 1,000 Mahdi Army fighters were killed in Sadr City alone, according to a Mahdi Army commander in Baghdad. Another 415 were killed in Basrah. More than 400 were killed during fighting in the southern cities of Najaf, Karbala, Hillah, Diwaniyah, Amarah, Samawah, and Nasiriyah in late March and early April, according to numbers compiled by The Long War Journal. Thousands more have been wounded or captured.

In June, Sadr announced he would disband the Mahdi Army and form a small, secretive military arm to fight Coalition forces. He also withdrew the Sadrist movement from the political process and instead vowed to back independent candidates. The decisions caused shockwaves in the Mahdi Army, as some leaders wished to continue the fight against US forces in Baghdad and in southern and central Iraq. The Mahdi Army has been disbanded while Sadr still lives in Iran.

Recent operations against the Iranian-backed terror groups operating inside Iraq:

Sept. 27: Coalition forces captured five Hezbollah Brigades fighters in New Baghdad

Sept. 25-26: Iraqi and US forces captured 53 Special Groups operatives north of Nasiriyah. Large amounts of weapons were also uncovered.

Sept. 24: Coalition forces captured a senior weapons smuggler for the Army of the Righteous in Amarah.

Sept. 21: Coalition forces detained five Hezbollah Brigades operatives during two separate raids in New Baghdad.

Sept. 20: Iraqi and US forces captured two Special Groups fighters in Al Kut in Wasit province.

Sept. 19: US soldiers captured two Special Groups operatives in the Hayy Jihad neighborhood of Baghdad’s Rashid district.

Sept. 18: Iraqi security forces killed one Special Groups fighter and detained four during a raid in Hillah.

Sept. 16-18: Iraqi Special Operations Forces and Iraqi Special Weapons and Tactics teams captured eight Special Groups fighters and killed one during operations in Hillah, Amarah, Diwaniyah, and New Baghdad.

Sept. 16: Iraqi police captured six Special Groups fighters behind an IED attack that killed a policeman in the Ur neighborhood in Baghdad.

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24 septembre 2008 3 24 /09 /septembre /2008 13:03
Everyone Needs to Worry About Iran

September 22, 2008
The Wall Street Journal
Richard Holbrooke, R. James Woolsey, Dennis B. Ross and Mark D. Wallace

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the United Nations in New York this week. Don't expect an honest update from him on his country's nuclear program. Iran is now edging closer to being armed with nuclear weapons, and it continues to develop a ballistic-missile capability.

Such developments may be overshadowed by our presidential election, but the challenge Iran poses is very real and not a partisan matter. We may have different political allegiances and worldviews, yet we share a common concern -- Iran's drive to be a nuclear state. We believe that Iran's desire for nuclear weapons is one of the most urgent issues facing America today, because even the most conservative estimates tell us that they could have nuclear weapons soon.

A nuclear-armed Iran would likely destabilize an already dangerous region that includes Israel, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, and pose a direct threat to America's national security. For this reason, Iran's nuclear ambitions demand a response that will compel Iran's leaders to change their behavior and come to understand that they have more to lose than to gain by going nuclear.

Tehran claims that it is enriching uranium only for peaceful energy uses. These claims exceed the boundaries of credibility and science. Iran's enrichment program is far larger than reasonably necessary for an energy program. In past inspections of Iranian nuclear sites, U.N. inspectors found rare elements that only have utility in nuclear weapons and not in a peaceful nuclear energy program. Iran's persistent rejection of offers from outside energy suppliers or private bidders to supply it with nuclear fuel suggests it has a motive other than energy in developing its nuclear program. Tehran's continual refusal to answer questions from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about this troublesome part of its nuclear program suggests that it has something to hide.

The world rightfully doubts Tehran's assertion that it needs nuclear energy and is enriching nuclear materials for strictly peaceful purposes. Iran has vast supplies of inexpensive oil and natural gas, and its construction of nuclear reactors and attempts to perfect the nuclear fuel cycle are exceedingly costly. There is no legitimate economic reason for Iran to pursue nuclear energy.

Iran is a deadly and irresponsible world actor, employing terrorist organizations including Hezbollah and Hamas to undermine existing regimes and to foment conflict. Emboldened by the bomb, Iran will become more inclined to sponsor terror, threaten our allies, and support the most deadly elements of the Iraqi insurgency.

Tehran's development of a nuclear bomb could serve as the "starter's gun" in a new and potentially deadly arms race in the most volatile region of the world. Many believe that Iran's neighbors would feel forced to pursue the bomb if it goes nuclear.

By continuing to act in open defiance of its treaty obligations under the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, Iran rejects the inspections mandated by the IAEA and flouts multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions and sanctions.

At the same time, Iranian leaders declare that Israel is illegitimate and should not exist. President Ahmadinejad specifically calls for Israel to be "wiped off from the map," while seeking the weapons to do so. Such behavior casts Iran as an international outlier. No one can reasonably suggest that a nuclear-armed Iran will suddenly honor international treaty obligations, acknowledge Israel's right to exist, or cease efforts to undermine the Arab-Israeli peace process.

Mr. Ahmadinejad is also the chief spokesman for a regime that represses religious and ethnic minorities, women, students, labor groups and homosexuals. A government willing to persecute its own people can only be viewed as even more dangerous if armed with nuclear weapons.

Finally, our economy has suffered under the burden of rising oil prices. Iran is strategically located on a key choke point in the world's energy supply chain -- the Strait of Hormuz. No one can suggest that a nuclear Iran would hesitate to use its enhanced leverage to affect oil prices, or would work to ease the burden on the battered economies of the world's oil importers.

Facing such a threat, Americans must put aside their political differences and send a clear and united message that a nuclear armed Iran is unacceptable.

That is why the four of us, along with other policy advocates from across the political spectrum, have formed the nonpartisan group United Against Nuclear Iran. Everyone must understand the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran and mobilize the power of a united American public in opposition. As part of the United Against Nuclear Iran effort, we will announce various programs in the months ahead that we hope will be rallying points for the American and international public to voice unified opposition to a nuclear Iran.

We do not aim to beat the drums of war. On the contrary, we hope to lay the groundwork for effective U.S. policies in coordination with our allies, the U.N. and others by a strong showing of unified support from the American people to alter the Iranian regime's current course. The American people must have a voice in this great foreign-policy challenge, and we can make a real difference through national and international, social, economic, political and diplomatic measures.

Mr. Holbrooke is a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Mr. Woolsey is a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Mr. Ross was a special Middle East coordinator for President Clinton. Mr. Wallace was a representative of the U.S. to the U.N. for management and reform.

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24 septembre 2008 3 24 /09 /septembre /2008 13:01
Monday, September 15, 2008

Taliban Claim Weapons Supplied by Iran

September 15, 2008
Kate Clark in Kabul

A Taliban commander has credited Iranian-supplied weapons with successful operations against coalition forces in Afghanistan. The comments by the commander, who would not be named but operates in the south east of the country where there has been a surge in Taliban attacks, were a rare admission of co-operation between elements within the Iranian regime and forces fighting British and American troops in Afghanistan.

"There's a kind of landmine called a Dragon. Iran's sending it," he said. "It's directional and it causes heavy casualties.

"We're ambushing the Americans and planting roadside bombs. We never let them relax."

The commander, a veteran of 30 years who started fighting when the Soviet Union was occupying Afghanistan, said the Dragon had revolutionised the Taliban's ability to target Nato soldiers deployed in his area.

"If you lay an ordinary mine, it will only cause minor damage to Humvees or one of their big tanks. But if you lay a Dragon, it will destroy it completely," he said.

A "Dragon" is the local nickname for a type of weapon known internationally as an Explosively Formed Penetrator (EFP) or "shaped charge" and has been used with devastating effect in Iraq by Iranian-backed groups. It is shaped so that all the explosive force is concentrated in one direction - the target - rather than blasting in all directions and weakening its impact.

A former mujahideen fighter who knows the Afghan arms market well and who asked to be known as Shahir said the Dragon mines came directly from Iran.

Iran has denied these allegations, but Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, the British Ambassador in Kabul, said the British Army, which is deployed in south-western Afghanistan, had intercepted consignments of weapons which they believe were "donated by a group within the Iranian state".

The only other possible source, the arms expert said, would be Pakistan's Tribal Areas where a relatively sophisticated arms industry has grown up. "Until now," he said, "no-one in the Tribal Areas has been able to copy these mines. Both the metal and the explosives are different, very high quality and very effective, obviously not Chinese or Pakistani."

He said there were two routes for Iranian weaponry getting to the Taliban. "There are people inside the state in Iran who donate weapons. There are also Iranian businessmen who sell them."

Iranian-made weapons, he said, whether smuggled or donated, were the most popular among Taliban fighters and fetch premium prices on the open market. "A Kalashnikov rifle made in Iran costs two to three hundred dollars more than one made anywhere else" he said. "Its beauty lies in the fact that it can also fire grenades, up to 300 meters. This is something new and it's in great demand."

Iran, a theocratic, Shia Muslim state should have little common cause with the Taliban, an extremist Sunni Muslim movement which massacred hundreds of Afghan Shia civilians and killed nine Iranian diplomats when it was in power.

Only the worsening relations between Iran and America might explain the weapons supply.

Sir Sherard said Iran was playing "a very dangerous game".

He added: "I suspect some of their agencies genuinely don't know what others are up to. We've seen a limited supply of weapons by a group within the Iranian state, not necessarily with the knowledge of all other agencies of the Iranian state, sending some very dangerous weapons to the Taliban in the south."

- Kate Clark's full report is on BBC2's Newsnight on Monday Sept 15 at 10.30pm, and the BBC World Service on Thursday Sept 18 at 10.10am

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  • : Le blog de Gad
  • : Lessakele : déjouer les pièges de l'actualité Lessakele, verbe hébraïque qui signifie "déjouer" est un blog de commentaire libre d'une actualité disparate, visant à taquiner l'indépendance et l'esprit critique du lecteur et à lui prêter quelques clés de décrytage personnalisées.
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Magie de la langue hébraïque

A tous nos chers lecteurs.


Ne vous est-il jamais venu à l'esprit d'en savoir un peu plus sur le titre de ce blog ?

Puisque nous nous sommes aujourd'hui habillés de bleu, il conviendrait de rentrer plus a fond dans l'explication du mot lessakel.

En fait Lessakel n'est que la façon française de dire le mot léhasskil.

L'hébreu est une langue qui fonctionne en déclinant des racines.

Racines, bilitères, trilitères et quadrilitères.

La majorité d'entre elle sont trilitères.

Aussi Si Gad a souhaité appeler son site Lessakel, c'est parce qu'il souhaitait rendre hommage à l'intelligence.

Celle qui nous est demandée chaque jour.

La racine de l'intelligence est sé'hel שכל qui signifie l'intelligence pure.

De cette racine découlent plusieurs mots

Sé'hel > intelligence, esprit, raison, bon sens, prudence, mais aussi croiser

Léhasskil > Etre intelligent, cultivé, déjouer les pièges

Sé'hli > intelligent, mental, spirituel

Léhistakel > agir prudemment, être retenu et raisonnable, chercher à comprendre

Si'hloute > appréhension et compréhension

Haskala >  Instruction, culture, éducation

Lessa'hlen > rationaliser, intellectualiser

Heschkel > moralité

Si'htanout > rationalisme

Si'hloul > Amélioration, perfectionnement


Gageons que ce site puisse nous apporter quelques lumières.

Aschkel pour Lessakel.



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