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27 août 2008 3 27 /08 /août /2008 18:55
Iran's Saudi Spy

26/08/2008


Muhammad Diyab is a well-known Saudi writer and journalist.

Last week, newspapers carried a report saying that Iraqi authorities arrested a young 20-year-old Saudi national as he was trying to infiltrate Iran through the Iraqi border using a forged Saudi passport. The press report adds that the young man confessed that he works for the Iranian intelligence service in Iraq! With all its influence and presence in Iraq, does Iran need to recruit a Saudi national to work as a spy for it in Iraq?

After reading this report one can only be remind of the satirical question posed to Juha [A Don Quixote-like Arab folk hero] "Why are you touching your left ear with your right hand?" [A common saying used to refer to a person that beats around the bush].

The story of the Saudi spy working for Iran is like one that sails from Suez to Alexandria via the Cape of Good Hope! It is also similar to a movie whose producer and director have absolutely no respect for the intelligence and awareness of the public.

The story of the Saudi spy working for Iran is nothing more than one link in a chain of many tools intended to tarnish and spoil the signs of Arab-Arab rapprochement that have begun to loom in the horizon in the wake of the Arab good gestures toward Baghdad. These gestures have also coincided with the restructuring of the Syrian-Lebanese relations in a rapprochement to which [Arab League Secretary General] Amr Musa referred a few days ago as "positive developments that will lead to a positive outcome" when he was asked whether the Arab-Arab climate has improved. Arab rapprochement is a must in order to confront the storms that are buffeting the region these days as a result of the escalation between the United and Iran on the Iranian nuclear program.

The question that begs an answer is who is scheming to target Arab-Arab rapprochement?

The fingers of accusation cannot be pointed atone single particular quarter for certain for there are several quarters whose interests may not be served by Arab-Arab rapprochement. The Arabs should be more wary and more conscious of the aims and causes of such intentions as well as the motives behind it.

The report on the arrest of a 20-year-old "Saudi" working for Iran in Iraq is not devoid of ill intentions. It is an attempt to create divisions in the course of the vision. Even if for the sake of the argument we accept that such a misguided youth was lured into playing such a role, his recruitment has no other intention except to embroil Saudi Arabia and Saudi nationals in an attempt to distort the pivotal role that Saudi Arabia is playing. Saudi Arabia's role represents moderation in the face of extremism, wisdom against demagoguery, and reason against insanity. Those that resort to such" cheap ploys" can only share their disappointments.

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26 août 2008 2 26 /08 /août /2008 22:32
Biden's Blink on Iran

by Michael Rubin
Washington Post
August 26, 2008
http://www.meforum.org/article/1974

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In selecting Joseph Biden as his running mate, Barack Obama acknowledged the importance of foreign affairs to this year's election. His Web site trumpeted Biden as "an expert on foreign policy" and a man "who has stared down dictators."

As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden is well versed in policy debates and carefully choreographed trips. But his record on the Islamic Republic of Iran -- perhaps the chief national security threat facing the next president -- suggests a persistent and dangerous judgment deficit. Biden's unyielding pursuit of "engagement" with Iran for more than a decade has made it easier for Tehran to pursue its nuclear program, while his partisan obsession with thwarting the Bush administration has led him to oppose tough sanctions against hard-liners in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

Eleven years ago, on Aug. 4, 1997, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami proposed a dialogue of civilizations. The world applauded. Biden spearheaded efforts to seize the mantle of engagement. In September 1998, for example, Biden told the Czech foreign minister that cutting radio broadcasts into Iran might better encourage dialogue. Not long after President Bush declared Iran part of an "axis of evil," Biden headlined a March 13, 2002, dinner at the American Iranian Council, an organization underwritten at the time by a dozen oil companies and dedicated to ending sanctions on Iran. At the gala (at which Biden also endorsed regime change in Iraq), he spoke of the dichotomy between hard-liners and the reformers led by Khatami. In order to encourage reform, he invited "the elected representatives in Iran, to meet with . . . members of the United States Congress." Biden indicated that it would not be his first meeting with Iranian parliamentarians.

Fast forward a few years. Khatami left office in 2005 without implementing substantial reform. Between 2000 and 2005, in an effort to engage Iran, European Union trade with that country nearly tripled. Yet far from assuming a moderate posture, "the elected representatives in Iran" allocated nearly 70 percent of the hard currency windfall into military and nuclear programs. The November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate affirmed the fruits of such investment when it found that Iran had pursued a nuclear weapons program until 2003. Although Biden's embrace of engagement coincided with Iran's nuclear warhead work, he acknowledged no error. He told reporters on Dec. 4 that Bush had "misrepresented" the intelligence in a drive to war and declared the same day, "You cannot trust this president."

Such poor judgment was not lost on Iranian leaders. Indeed, one of Khatami's top aides suggested that they came to count on it. At a June 14 panel with Iranian journalists and political advisers, former Khatami spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh explained, "We had one overt policy, which was one of negotiation and confidence building, and a covert policy, which was continuation of activities." He advised President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to soften his defiance, noting that: "During our negotiations and so long as we were not subjected to sanctions, we could import technology. We should have negotiated for so long, and benefited from the atmosphere of negotiations to the extent we could import all the technology needed."

Bush has been a polarizing figure, but most senators realize that partisanship should never trump national security. In early 2007, evidence mounted that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps was planning terrorist activities in Iraq. An August 2007 National Intelligence Estimate found that "Iran has been intensifying aspects of its lethal support for select groups of Iraqi Shia militants" and that "Explosively formed penetrator (EFP) attacks have risen dramatically." The next month, the Senate considered a bipartisan amendment to designate the Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, an important step to aid nonviolent efforts to deny it funds and financing. Biden was one of only 22 senators to vote against it. "I voted against the amendment to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization because I don't trust this administration," he said. Distrust of the U.S. president is the nature of politics, but skepticism about foreign dictators and their Brown Shirts is the backbone of judgment.

No matter. Biden's political games have made him Tehran's favorite senator. As Gen. David Petraeus struggled to unite Iraqis across the ethnic and sectarian divide, Iran's Press TV seized on Biden's plan for partitioning Iraq and featured his statements with the headline "US plans to disintegrate Iraq." Biden's attack-dog statements about U.S. policy failures emboldened Iranian hard-liners to defy diplomacy. In the Dec. 7, 2007, official sermon, Ayatollah Mohammad Kashani speaking on behalf of Iran's supreme leader, declared, "This Senator [Biden] correctly says Israel could not suppress Hizbullah in Lebanon, so how can the U.S. stand face-to-face with a nation of 70 million? This is the blessing of the Guardianship of the Jurists [the theocracy] . . . which plants such thoughts in the hearts of U.S. senators and forces them to make such confessions." The crowd met his statement with refrains of "Death to America."

Obama picked Biden for experience, but he might also have considered judgment. When it comes to Iran, Biden could stare down dictators; too bad he blinks.

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, US politics

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26 août 2008 2 26 /08 /août /2008 21:02
Richard Labévière à Beyrouth : la liberté de la presse est plus grande au Hezbollahland qu’en France

mardi 26 août 2008 - 19h26, par Mediarabe.info

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La télévision "Al Manar", du Hezbollah, a diffusé dans son journal du soir, des extraits de la conférence de presse tenue aujourd’hui à Beyrouth par Richard Labévière, le rédacteur licencié de RFI. Selon "Al Manar", Labévière, "victime du lobby juif en France", a préféré organiser sa conférence de presse "à Beyrouth et non à Paris, car la liberté d’expression y est plus grande".

Parmi les quelques personnalités présentes à la conférence - moins d’une petite dizaine au total - figure, en premier rang, Thierry Meyssan, très amusé par les propos de Labévière. Celui-ci a organisé sa riposte en lançant une virulente attaque contre les responsables de l’audiovisuel français, notamment de l’audiovisuel extérieur comme « RFI », « TV5 monde » et « France 24 », placés sous la houlette d’Alain de Pouzilhac et de Christine Okrent Kouchner.

Selon Labévière, « l’épouse du ministre des Affaires étrangères s’emploie à imposer une pensée unique favorable à Israël, et qui travestit la réalité ». Selon le conférencier, « les responsables médiatiques français imposent aux agences de presses et aux médias l’utilisation d’un vocabulaire favorable à Israël, avec lequel l’Etat hébreu devient un pays de paix, et qui tend à défendre son armée qui respecte les valeurs humaines et qui ne tue jamais les femmes, les enfants et les vieillards palestiniens ». Pour Okrent et Pouzilhac, « le mur de séparation raciste devient une clôture de sécurité... », regrette Labévière.

La surmédiatisation du licenciement de Labévière par le Hezbollah et par ses organes, et la présence de certaines personnalités qui ne cachent pas leur hostilité à la France et à l’Occident en général, et connues pour leurs dénonciations des complots présumés et des conspirations des sionistes et néoconservateurs, pourraient être contreproductives pour notre confrère. Fort de leur soutien, Labévière serait tentés par une fuite en avant, et perdrait tout discernement. Il semble avoir oublié que celui qui se savonne la planche ne doit pas accuser les autres de l’avoir poussé.

Lire à ce sujet nos éditoriaux du 14 mai 2008 et du 19 août 2008

MediArabe.info

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23 août 2008 6 23 /08 /août /2008 08:30
Obama chooses Biden as VP

Democratic presidential hopeful chooses Delaware senator as running mate, source says. Biden considered well-versed in foreign and defense issues

Associated Press

Published:  08.23.08, 08:16 / Israel News

Barack Obama selected Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware late Friday night to be his vice presidential running mate, according to a Democratic official, balancing his ticket with an older congressional veteran well-versed in foreign and defense issues.

 

The official who spoke did so on condition of anonymity, preferring not to pre-empt a text-message announcement the Obama campaign promised for Saturday morning.

 

Biden, who has twice sought the White House, is a Catholic with a generally liberal voting record and a reputation as a long-winded orator. Across more than 30 years in the Senate, he has served at various times not only as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, but also as head of the Judiciary Committee, with its jurisdiction over anti-crime legislation and Constitutional issues.

 

The Democratic National Convention will meet next week in Denver to hand Obama his long-sought presidential nomination, and then confirm Biden.

 

Biden slowly emerged as Obama's choice across a long day and night of political suspense as other contenders gradually fell away. First Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine let it be known that he had been ruled out. Then came word that Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana had also been passed over.

Several aides to former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton - who was Obama's closest rival for the presidential nomination - said they believed she also was out of contention. They added the Obama campaign had never requested financial or other records from her.

 

Despite passing over Clinton, Obama has gone to great lengths to gain the confidence of her primary voters, agreeing to allow her name to be placed in nomination and permitting a roll call vote. Other finalists in the veep sweepstakes were Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Texas Rep. Chet Edwards.

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22 août 2008 5 22 /08 /août /2008 23:38
The Russo-Iranian Axis

August 19, 2008
The Wall Street Journal
Daniel Schwammenthal



Russia's rape of Georgia requires more than just a rethinking of how the West can protect other former Soviet states from a resurgent Kremlin. Every international crisis with a Russian component now takes on a new dimension. In the case of Iran's nuclear program, this means the European Union's insistence on U.N.-approved sanctions against Tehran may no longer be just naive but willfully negligent.

The EU's faith in U.N.-brokered conflict resolutions rests in large part on the assumption that following the fall of communism, Russia, a veto-wielding Security Council member, shares the West's basic values and interests. As looting Russian soldiers are demonstrating in Georgia, this was a misconception.

If Russia cannot be trusted in its "near abroad," there is little reason to believe it can be trusted any more in the Middle East. To the contrary. Moscow's dealings with the ruling mullahs should have long convinced Europe that Russia doesn't share its goal of stopping the Iranian bomb. How else could one explain Moscow's construction of a nuclear reactor in Iran, its delivery of advanced antiaircraft missiles to Tehran and its refusal to pass anything but the weakest economic sanctions?

And yet, the EU's core assumption has been that we can trust Moscow on Iran. The Russians, so the argument goes, cannot possibly have any interest in a nuclear Iran either. Another misconception.

True, Moscow must be wary of Islamic terrorists getting their hands on nuclear material, given Moscow's scorched-earth war against its breakaway republic of Chechnya, which is majority Muslim. But the Kremlin's support for Iran has probably bought Russia adequate insurance against the possibility of Tehran passing on some dirty bomb to a Chechen rebel.

Instead, Moscow can quite rightly assume that a nuclear Iran will hurt Western interests more than Russia's. And in Moscow's atavistic balance-of-power calculations, as long as the West loses more than Russia, Russia wins.

It is primarily Israel and American troops in Iraq that would be threatened by a nuclear Iran. Tehran's launch of a space rocket on Sunday, though, is yet another reminder that the U.S. homeland and all of Europe may at some point be within its reach as well.

Iran may not even have to use a nuclear device to spread destruction. The Islamic Republic may believe the atomic bomb makes it untouchable, and step up its support for terrorists -- or even launch direct (conventional) attacks on Western and Israeli targets. The Gulf region could also be threatened. Under the security umbrella of a nuclear bomb -- and borrowing a page from Moscow's book in Georgia -- Tehran could claim to come to the rescue of its Shiite brethren in its predominantly Sunni neighbor states.

The worst-case scenario of course remains that the Islamists may use the doomsday device to fulfill an apocalyptic vision of Shiite Islam. Any conflagration in the Gulf would send energy prices through the roof. And this is where Russia's stalling at the U.N. Security Council comes in. It increases Iran's chances of getting the bomb while at the same time it makes a pre-emptive Western attack on Iran's nuclear installations more likely. In either case, as a major oil and gas producer, Russia would stand to profit from the inevitable panic on the energy markets.

Many Europeans still believe that only a U.N. stamp of approval lends collective action moral and legal legitimacy. But clearly, a regime that acts with such brutality and disregard for international norms, as Security-Council-member Russia has in Georgia, has no legitimacy to confer. The U.N. as an institution has also little legitimacy left, as it, partly again due to Russian (and Chinese) vetoes, has stood idly by in the face of genocide in Sudan and Mugabe's crimes in Zimbabwe.

Europeans also argue that Western "unilateral" sanctions are futile because they would allow Russia and other countries to come in and replace Western suppliers. But not every supplier is replaceable. Iran wants Western technology because Western technology is still generally superior to that coming from Russia, China or other emerging economies.

Europe here has both a qualitative an a quantitative edge. The EU is Iran's main trading partner, and Germany and Italy have been particularly busy. Earlier this month it emerged that Berlin has given the green light for a €100 million deal for a German company to provide Iran with three liquefied gas plants.

It would be impossible for Tehran to quickly find adequate alternatives for their European imports. "Around two-thirds of the Iranian industry is to a significant degree equipped with machines and plants of German origin," Michael Tockuss, at that time the director of the German-Iranian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, told German weekly Focus in 2006. "The Iranians are certainly dependent on German spare parts and suppliers."

Moscow's invasion of Georgia rightly shook up the EU. It realized that it borders a ruthless regime that literally gets away with murder -- thanks mainly to its arsenal of nuclear missiles.

Unless Europe wants an even deadlier nuclear power at its southern flank, it will have to stop hiding behind Moscow's veto and tighten the screws on Iran.

Mr. Schwammenthal edits the State of the Union column.

link to original article

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12 août 2008 2 12 /08 /août /2008 09:53
Hizbullah’s global reach

Shiite group’s reach extends far beyond Lebanon, poses global threat

Photo: Reuters
Nasrallah - An extension of Iran  Photo: Reuters
 
Photo: AFP
Hizbullah supporters cheer Nasrallah  Photo: AFP
 
Photo: AP
Iran's Revolutionary Guards Photo: AP


J. Halevi, A. Perry

Published:  08.10.08, 08:41 / Israel Opinion

Recently, Iran’s sabre-rattling has escalated in an attempt to deter an attack on its nuclear facilities. Last month Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatened that “the (Iranian) armed forces will cut off the enemies’ hands before they can put their fingers on the trigger.”

 

While many have interpreted this as a possible pre-emptive missile strike emanating from Iran, there is an even more sinister possibility.

 

Internal Threat

Arab-Israeli suspected of contacting Hizbullah agent  / Raanan Ben-Zur

Qalansuwa resident accused of receiving money from Lebanese national in Germany in exchange for information on potential candidates for recruitment to Shiite group
Full story

Over the last few years, Iran's proxy Hizbullah has been spreading its influence far and wide. In its brinksmanship with the West, Iran has learned much from the two neighboring Gulf Wars. As opposed to Saddam Hussein, whose threat of an all-out campaign against the West was largely rhetoric, Iran takes a global view and is diligently preparing terrorist networks all over the world to spring into action when the word is given.

 

Hizbullah is an integral part of the Islamic revolution regime in Tehran. The ruling Iranian religious authority gave Hassan Nasrallah the title of Lebanese “representative,” making him an essential part of the Iranian revolution.

 

Hizbullah receives millions of dollars a year from Iran to finance its operations. After the Second Lebanon War it received even more funds to compensate for its military and civilian losses and to rehabilitate the Shiite villages that supported it. The Iranian funds are transferred to Hizbullah by the al-Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards, the Iranian Foreign Ministry, and official institutions with branches in Lebanon.

 

The current relative calm along Lebanon’s border with Israel should not be mistaken for a cooling off of Hizbullah’s enthusiasm. Rather, it serves to mask Hizbullah’s focus of its main goals: changing the Lebanese constitution and ensuring a greater Shiite presence in the Lebanese parliament, with an eye to eventually taking over Lebanon by exploiting the country’s democratic processes to turn it into a radical Shiite Islamic country like Iran.

 

However, Hizbullah’s mission reaches far beyond Lebanon. Hizbullah is very popular in the Arab world, even amongst Sunnis, and is an important factor in sweeping the masses into jihad. The organization assists those who target their own governments in weakening Sunni opposition and in creating an admittedly ad hoc strategic alliance with the all the branches of the Muslim Brotherhood across the globe, infiltrating even Palestinian areas.

 

These activities are in line with the Iranian leadership’s 50-year plan made public at the end of the 1990s. According to an Iranian document, the plan is to export the Islamic revolution to neighboring countries and beyond through preaching, encouraging Shiite emigration, purchasing real estate, forming political organizations, infiltrating the local political establishments, and taking over the various parliaments and focal points of political power.

 

‘We have the means’
Iranian-Hizbullah footprints can be found in various African and South American countries. In Nigeria, for example, Hizbullah operates within the expatriate Lebanese Shiite and local populations. The leader of the indigenous Shiites in Nigeria, Sheikh Zakzaky, has created idolism for Hassan Nasrallah and the leaders of Iran.

 

In Venezuela and other South American countries Hizbullah has been waging a long-term campaign to convert the native Indians to Shiite Islam. Teodoro Rafael Darnott, also known as “'Commander Teodoro,” recently claimed, “If the United States were to attack Iran, the only country ruled by God, we would counterattack in Latin America and even inside the United States itself. We have the means and we know how to go about it. We will sabotage the transportation of oil from Latin America to the US. You have been warned.”

 

On June 29 the Kuwaiti daily al-Siasa reported that Hizbullah was training young men from Venezuela in its military camps in south Lebanon to prepare them to attack American targets. In addition, Hizbullah and Iran has set up secret cells abroad for carrying out terrorist attacks. Such cells were responsible for the attacks on the Israeli Embassy and the AMIA Jewish Center building in Buenos Aires in the early 1990s, the attacks in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and attempted attacks in London and Thailand.

 

Meanwhile, ABC reported that the American and Canadian intelligence services had information about Hizbullah sleeper cells in Canada whose role was to gather intelligence about Israeli and Jewish targets in Ottawa and Toronto for possible terrorist attacks.
The ramifications of Hizbullah's reach are the very real threat they pose in many corners of the world. Iran has understood that to truly threaten and hold the West hostage it must create a multi-faceted menace to the citizens of these nations and their interests. Hizbullah's web of terror cells provides them just that.

 

The UK government is one of very few in the world to fully recognize this threat by recently outlawing the military wing of Hizbullah. It is time that more Western nations follow suit if they are going to neutralize Iran's surrogate and joker card in case of an attack on its nuclear program.

 

Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi is a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is the co-founder of the Orient Research Group Ltd. and is a former advisor to the Policy Planning Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

Ashley Perry is an editor at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs for the Middle East Strategic Information project
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12 août 2008 2 12 /08 /août /2008 09:47
Chinese, Russian stall tactics on Iran
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Joshua Gleis August 9, 2008

TALKS WITH Iran have reached another impasse. The Islamic regime recently rejected yet another package of incentives that the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France, and Germany put together in an effort to coax Tehran from ending its nuclear enrichment program. Intelligence agencies fear the Iranians will soon reach the critical "point of no return" when they will have the technological know-how to develop a nuclear weapon. That apprehension has set off a flurry of rumors that Israel or the United States will attack Iran before it is able to reach that threshold.

In this environment, one would think that the international community would be doing everything in its power to press Iran into accepting a compromise. And the developed world is rightly ratcheting up the pressure on the Iranian government.

Yet two countries - China and Russia - are not only undermining the effort, but are actually profiting from the rest of the world's sanctions.

This past spring, China's state-run oil company announced it will move forward on its $70 billion contract to purchase liquefied natural gas and develop the Yadavaran oil field in southwest Iran. Russia continues to sell Iran billions of dollars worth of nuclear technology as well as some of the most advanced radars and surface-to-air missiles in the world. These systems, including the SA-400 Triumf, would radically improve Iran's missile defense capabilities and complicate any attack on the Islamic regime.

As European businesses pull their investments out of Iran, in line with current EU sanctions, the Chinese and Russians have been happily stepping in to fill those lucrative vacancies. In essence, they are reaping the benefits of other governments' efforts to stave off the disaster that a nuclear Iran would be.

Officially, the Chinese and Russians say they do not support stronger sanctions because they don't believe in their effectiveness. Off the record, however, both countries recognize that any form of sanctions that restrict their own business ventures is not going to stop the Iranians from pursuing their end goal of acquiring nuclear weapons.

Thus in the meantime, the Russians and Chinese are angling themselves to maximize the economic benefits of such a precarious state of affairs in the Middle East.

Tehran has warned Israel and the United States against targeting Iran, declaring that such a move would cause Iran to set its enemies "ablaze." These comments come amid more calls by Iran's leadership for Israel to be destroyed. Actions, however speak louder than words. Iran recently test-launched a number of missiles capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction and hitting targets as far away as Israel or Eastern Europe, reinforcing its status as an international pariah. This comes on the heels of a US Navy drill in the Persian Gulf and a major Israeli air exercise mimicking an attack on Iran.

Interestingly, both the Chinese and Russians are loath to see the emergence of a nuclear Iran. Yet along with many European countries they recognize that their threshold for what constitutes a "point of no return" in Iran's nuclear program is much higher than the standards applied by the United States or Israel. So in the meantime, they will continue to keep the pressure off of Iran. At the worst, this approach could ensure that a diplomatic solution will not be achieved and a military attack on Iran will be required.

China and Russia may be enticed into supporting stronger sanctions against Iran if the United States and other parties in the negotiations can demonstrate the greater economic benefits available to them all once a deal with Tehran is reached. This would require some creative maneuvering on the part of the Western powers, but it is imperative that the Chinese and Russians understand they have much more to gain from an end to the conflict with Iran than they do from a complete meltdown.

If a military attack happens, the aftermath will be disastrous: the Israelis will be battered; the Iranians bloodied; the Americans left to clean up the mess; and the Chinese and Russians will sit back and call once again for diplomacy to prevail, as they once again reap the benefits of complacency.

Joshua Gleis is an international security associate at the Belfer Center at Harvard Kennedy School and a visiting scholar at Columbia University.

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12 août 2008 2 12 /08 /août /2008 00:09
SHIITE MILITANTS IN EUROPE

Spy Case Casts Light on Hezbollah Recruitment in Germany

By Ulrike Putz in Beirut

A young Israeli man who studied in Germany has been arrested on espionage charges in Israel. Khaled K., of Palestinian descent, allegedly spied for the Hezbollah Shiite militia. His case is expected to highlight Hezbollah recruiting activities in Germany.

When Khaled K. stepped off the plane from Germany to start his summer vacation, it wasn't his family that awaited him at the gate. Instead Shin Bet agents and police greeted the 29-year-old Israeli man of Palestinian descent when he arrived on July 16 at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport. He was arrested and disappeared into custody for two weeks until Israeli officials filed charges against him on Wednesday and lifted a gag order on coverage of his arrest.

Hezbollah might be more active in Germany than officials thought.
AFP

Hezbollah might be more active in Germany than officials thought.

The charges filed by state prosecutors are serious. They allege the man, who comes from the Israeli-Arab town of Kalanswa, sought contact with an agent with connections to Hezbollah in an effort to pass on information.

The indictment alleges he also supplied names of potential recruits to the Shiite militia and that he had expressed his preparedness to take a job at the Rambam Hospital in the Israeli city of Haifa after completing his studies in Germany, where he is enrolled as a student at the University of Göttingen near Hanover. Israeli soldiers in the 2006 war against Hezbollah are still being treated at the Rambam Hospital, and K. was apparently supposed to sound them out in order to obtain information that could be useful to Hezbollah.

Prosecutors also allege that the Israeli-Arab was paid a total of €13,000 for his services. According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, he has confessed to the charges.

Suspect Khaled K. is to be tried on espionage charges in Israel.
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AP

Suspect Khaled K. is to be tried on espionage charges in Israel.

The Khaled K. case has attracted tremendous interest in Israel -- not least of which because he is the embodiment of the Israeli secret service's ultimate nightmare of the "enemy within." In recent months, Palestinians holding Israeli passports or residence permits perpetrated several attacks, and the problem ranks high on the agenda of the country's terrorism experts.

"This incident provides new proof that Israeli-Arabs are attractive recruiting targets for Hezbollah," an Israeli Foreign Ministry statement read. Close to 20 percent of all Israeli citizens are so-called Israeli Arabs -- mostly Palestinians and Druze.

But the case also comes as a surprise to German security officials. SPIEGEL ONLINE has learned that German authorities first learned from Israeli authorities that Khaled K. was under suspicion of espionage.

An acquaintance of K's, however, is well known to the Germans. According to files from the Israeli state prosecutor's office, K. met with a Lebanese surgeon named Hicham H. in Germany sometime in 2002 or earlier. H. is the head of the Orphans Project Lebanon (Waisenkinderprojekt Libanon), which, according to the Israelis, is a cover organization for the Lebanese Martyr Institute. That group is suspected of collecting money for Hezbollah.

For three years, Hicham H. and Khaled K. are suspected of having met every two weeks -- before H. suggested that K. should meet one of his acquaintances. This contact person, also Lebanese, operated under the aliases Rami or Mazen and suggested during their first meeting in Erfurt in 2005 that K. should get himself an unregistered mobile phone. He also said that further contact should only take place via e-mail, according to Israeli investigators.

Security authorities say that K. thus slipped into the orbit of senior officer Mohammed H., a 50-year-old Lebanese man whose task was to recruit spies for Hezbollah in Europe.

The senior officer allegedly met with his recruits at least four times -- twice in the eastern German city of Erfurt and twice in Frankfurt. At the final meeting, the group is thought to have discussed the exact layout of Hicham H.'s village Kalanswa using Google Earth.

Just why Kalanswa, located near Israel's border with the West Bank, caught the attention of the Hezbollah man is unclear. But the officer asked his protégés to find other natives of the town living in Germany. If they were found to be in financial difficulties, it was thought they might be receptive to becoming well-paid Hezbollah informants.

If Israeli state prosecutors are correct, the case could indicate that Hezbollah is much more active in Germany than previously thought.

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11 août 2008 1 11 /08 /août /2008 23:37

Iran Worried Over Georgian Conflict


August 11, 2008 - by Meir Javedanfar

Tehran is concerned that the Iranian nuclear program may become a bargaining chip in resolving the question of South Ossetia.

 

In Iran, as in much of the world, the current conflict between Georgia and Russia is viewed as part of a bigger struggle between the West and Russia over influence in the Caucasus region.

Tehran sees Georgia as an important part of U.S. plans to increase its influence in the region — and fears that such a plan may affect them directly.

These concerns were reflected in an article published in Tabnak, owned by former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsen Rezai. In an interview with Dr. Mehdi Senai, a politics lecturer at Tehran University, Senai said that Tehran’s nuclear program, and the international approach to resolve the dispute surrounding it, may become part of a wider agreement between the U.S. and Russia after the end of the conflict. What worries him is that “Russia’s capacity to confront the U.S. is limited.”

Iran is concerned that if Russia comes out looking bad in this conflict, it could have two negative repercussions for Tehran.

One is that Iran will lose the influence and support of one of its important allies in the 5+1 group of nations. This influence is very important for Tehran, as Russia recently broke ranks with other members of the group by stating that Iran should be given more time to respond to the recent incentives proposal.

The other worst-case scenario for Tehran is that a weakened Russia, seeking a deal over Georgia, could give the U.S. the green light to launch a military operation against Iran’s nuclear facilities. “In the dealings between international powers [i.e., Russia and the U.S.], Iran has to be very careful,” warns Dr. Senai.

There are also cultural reasons why Iran would want the Russian-backed South Ossetians to emerge victorious, as their local dialect is very close to Farsi, Iran’s national language. Many of the province’s citizens have Iranian heritage, as a number of countries in the Caucasus used to belong to Persia before Russia annexed them in the early 18th century.

There are other angles of this conflict which could concern Iran, notably the Israeli connection.

According to the Israeli news site Ynet, Israel has had a seven-year military relationship with Georgia. A wide range of sophisticated weaponry, including remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs) and training programs for Georgia’s special forces, were sold to Tiblisi.

One important person in the Georgian government who helped Israel get these contracts is Davit Kezerashvili, Georgia’s defense minister and a former Israeli citizen who speaks fluent Hebrew.

What could cause worry in Tehran is that Jerusalem is trying to use its influence over Georgia as potential leverage to prevent Russia from selling advanced weaponry to Iran in the future.

Israel hopes to achieve this through its recent declaration that it will no longer sell weapons and systems which could be used for attack purposes to Georgia. This means that instead of selling rifles or RPVs, it will confine its sales to defensive equipment such as communication devices.

This move is likely to win new friends and allies for Israel in the Kremlin. Even if Russia doesn’t immediately reciprocate, it might do so in the future. The Georgian experience will serve as a good personal example for Russia’s leadership and the threat they pose by supplying sophisticated weapons to another country’s enemy, especially Iran, which Israel sees as an existential threat, something far more serious than the Georgian threat poses for Russia.

For now, it seems that Ahmadinejad will be doing his utmost to widen Iran’s circle of friends. One notable effort is his upcoming trip to Turkey scheduled for August 14. This has already proven to be controversial. Initially, it was declared as a state visit. However, soon his administration realized that all politicians who are on state visits to Turkey must visit the mausoleum of Ataturk, who is considered to be the founding father of secular Turkey.

To religious Iranian revolutionaries like Ahmadinejad, Ataturk represents everything they oppose. The iconic Turkish leader removed religion from government; Ahmadinejad wants religion to be the center point of government. In order to avoid the mausoleum pilgrimage, he changed the title of his trip from a “state visit” to a “working visit,” which means he will only visit Istanbul and not Ankara, where Ataturk is buried.

To make matters even stickier for the Iranian president, Israel waded into the story by protesting to Turkey about Ahmadinejad’s visit. While the Iranian government described the letter as “lacking value,” Iran’s decision makers are aware of Turkey’s close relationship with Israel, especially when it comes to the recent peace talks between Jerusalem and Damascus.

It is very likely that Ahmadinejad will use Iran’s importance as a supplier of energy to Turkey as leverage to convince Ankara to reduce its support for Israel. Unfortunately for him, he will most likely fail. Like the Russians, the Turks are far more interested in boosting their own regional position than in President Ahmadinejad’s friendship.


Meir Javedanfar is the co-author with Yossi Melman of The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran. He runs Middle East Economic and Political Analysis (MEEPAS).

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11 août 2008 1 11 /08 /août /2008 10:32
'We'll Neutralize S-300 if they're Sold to Iran'

August 10, 2008
The Jerusalem Post
Yaakov Katz



If Russia goes through with the sale of its most advanced anti-aircraft missile system to Iran, Israel will use an electronic warfare device now under development to neutralize it and as a result present Russia as vulnerable to air infiltrations, a top defense official has told The Jerusalem Post.

The Russian system, called the S-300, is one of the most advanced multi-target anti-aircraft-missile systems in the world today and has a reported ability to track up to 100 targets simultaneously while engaging up to 12 at the same time. It has a range of about 200 kilometers and can hit targets at altitudes of 27,000 meters.

While Russia has denied that it sold the system to Iran, Teheran claimed last year that Moscow was preparing to equip the Islamic Republic with S-300 systems. Iran already has TOR-M1 surface-to-air missiles from Russia.

Mixed media reports have emerged recently regarding the possible delivery of the system to Iran. Two weeks ago Reuters quoted a senior Israeli official who said the system would be delivered to Iran by the end of the year. In response, the Pentagon released a statement rejecting the assessment and saying that the US did not believe Iran would get it in 2008.

According to the Israeli defense official who spoke to the Post, "no one really knows yet if and when Iran will get the system."

A top IAF officer also said this week that Israel needed to do "everything possible" to prevent the S-300 from reaching the region.

"Russia will have to think real hard before delivering this system to Iran, which is possibly on the brink of conflict with either Israel or the US, since if the system is delivered, an EW [electronic warfare] system will likely be developed to neutralize it, and if that happens it would be catastrophic not only for Iran but also for Russia," the defense official said.

Neutralization of one of the main components of Russian air defense would be a blow to Russian national security as well as to defense exports. "No country will want to buy the system if it is proven to be ineffective," the official said. "For these reasons, Russia may not deliver it in the end to Iran."

Also on Thursday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told an Italian paper that a nuclear Iran would be "dangerous to world order."

Barak emphasized that all options for dealing with threat of a nuclear Teheran were "open and ready," and stressed the importance of "strengthening and accelerating economic sanctions against Iran."

"Either way, we need to keep every option open. If they provoke us, or they attack us, our army is prepared to attack and to succeed uncompromisingly," he asserted in an interview with the daily Corriere della Sera . "It's up to us to find the best way to get the best result with minimum damage," Barak added.

"Iran confirmed its message when it stood against the whole world: to deceive and to reject. Their aim is to obtain an atomic bomb," he continued.

The defense minister also spoke of the results of the Second Lebanon War, telling the Italian paper, "Two years ago, we saw the price that's paid for a lack of an experienced leadership. Nevertheless, today we're equipped with a good understanding to prevent this from happening again."

He added that UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that brought an end to the war was inefficient since Hizbullah, Syria and Iran were doing what they wanted in Lebanon.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report

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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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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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