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Sami Zaatari
05-28-2007, 06:55 PM
US funds terror groups to sow chaos in Iran
By William Lowther in Washington DC and Colin Freeman, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 12:30am GMT 25/02/2007



America is secretly funding militant ethnic separatist groups in Iran in an attempt to pile pressure on the Islamic regime to give up its nuclear programme.


In a move that reflects Washington's growing concern with the failure of diplomatic initiatives, CIA officials are understood to be helping opposition militias among the numerous ethnic minority groups clustered in Iran's border regions.

The operations are controversial because they involve dealing with movements that resort to terrorist methods in pursuit of their grievances against the Iranian regime.

In the past year there has been a wave of unrest in ethnic minority border areas of Iran, with bombing and assassination campaigns against soldiers and government officials.

Such incidents have been carried out by the Kurds in the west, the Azeris in the north-west, the Ahwazi Arabs in the south-west, and the Baluchis in the south-east. Non-Persians make up nearly 40 per cent of Iran's 69 million population, with around 16 million Azeris, seven million Kurds, five million Ahwazis and one million Baluchis. Most Baluchis live over the border in Pakistan.

Funding for their separatist causes comes directly from the CIA's classified budget but is now "no great secret", according to one former high-ranking CIA official in Washington who spoke anonymously to The Sunday Telegraph.

His claims were backed by Fred Burton, a former US state department counter-terrorism agent, who said: "The latest attacks inside Iran fall in line with US efforts to supply and train Iran's ethnic minorities to destabilise the Iranian regime."

Although Washington officially denies involvement in such activity, Teheran has long claimed to detect the hand of both America and Britain in attacks by guerrilla groups on its internal security forces. Last Monday, Iran publicly hanged a man, Nasrollah Shanbe Zehi, for his involvement in a bomb attack that killed 11 Revolutionary Guards in the city of Zahedan in Sistan-Baluchistan. An unnamed local official told the semi-official Fars news agency that weapons used in the attack were British and US-made.

Yesterday, Iranian forces also claimed to have killed 17 rebels described as "mercenary elements" in clashes near the Turkish border, which is a stronghold of the Pejak, a Kurdish militant party linked to Turkey's outlawed PKK Kurdistan Workers' Party.

John Pike, the head of the influential Global Security think tank in Washington, said: "The activities of the ethnic groups have hotted up over the last two years and it would be a scandal if that was not at least in part the result of CIA activity."

Such a policy is fraught with risk, however. Many of the groups share little common cause with Washington other than their opposition to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose regime they accuse of stepping up repression of minority rights and culture.

The Baluchistan-based Brigade of God group, which last year kidnapped and killed eight Iranian soldiers, is a volatile Sunni organisation that many fear could easily turn against Washington after taking its money.

A row has also broken out in Washington over whether to "unleash" the military wing of the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), an Iraq-based Iranian opposition group with a long and bloody history of armed opposition to the Iranian regime.

The group is currently listed by the US state department as terrorist organisation, but Mr Pike said: "A faction in the Defence Department wants to unleash them. They could never overthrow the current Iranian regime but they might cause a lot of damage."

At present, none of the opposition groups are much more than irritants to Teheran, but US analysts believe that they could become emboldened if the regime was attacked by America or Israel. Such a prospect began to look more likely last week, as the UN Security Council deadline passed for Iran to stop its uranium enrichment programme, and a second American aircraft carrier joined the build up of US naval power off Iran's southern coastal waters.

The US has also moved six heavy bombers from a British base on the Pacific island of Diego Garcia to the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, which could allow them to carry out strikes on Iran without seeking permission from Downing Street.

While Tony Blair reiterated last week that Britain still wanted a diplomatic solution to the crisis, US Vice-President Dick Cheney yesterday insisted that military force was a real possibility.

"It would be a serious mistake if a nation like Iran were to become a nuclear power," Mr Cheney warned during a visit to Australia. "All options are still on the table."

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany will meet in London tomorrow to discuss further punitive measures against Iran. Sanctions barring the transfer of nuclear technology and know-how were imposed in December. Additional penalties might include a travel ban on senior Iranian officials and restrictions on non-nuclear business.

Additional reporting by Gethin Chamberlain.

(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...25/wiran25.xml)

oh well as usual the US government shows itself to be hypocrites.
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Zman
05-28-2007, 10:50 PM
Originally Posted by Sami Zaatari
US funds terror groups to sow chaos in Iran
:sl:

"You're either with us or with the terrorists!" [Emperor Bush]

Conveniently, we now choose to be with the terrorists. What utter hyprocrisy!
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Encolpius
05-28-2007, 10:55 PM
Originally Posted by Zman
:sl:

"You're either with us or with the terrorists!" [Emperor Bush]

Conveniently, we now choose to be with the terrorists. What utter hyprocrisy!
Ahem. They're not terrorists because they're on the Americans' sides. There was a time when Saddam Hussein was a staunch US ally in the War on Ayatollah-based Fundamentalism, and when the Taleban were US allies in the war on Soviet invaders.
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wilberhum
05-28-2007, 11:18 PM
Iran funds terrorists groups against the US. Iran has been conducting an informal war against the US since day one. It would be total stupidity for the US not to do the same.
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Sami Zaatari
05-28-2007, 11:20 PM
Originally Posted by wilberhum
Iran funds terrorists groups against the US. Iran has been conducting an informal war against the US since day one. It would be total stupidity for the US not to do the same.
hey if the US wants to support al-qaeda linked groups against iran, go ahead, just dont complain about iran helping hamas, hezbollah and others, because that would just be double standards.

and iran are much smarter than us, because iran funds groups who will not eventually turn around and attack them as the us does! at least if the us wanted to fund millitans they could fund ones who wont become their enemies in 20 years, such as saddam, and bin laden! sheeshhhhhhhhh louise!
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Sami Zaatari
05-28-2007, 11:23 PM
Originally Posted by wilberhum
Iran funds terrorists groups against the US. Iran has been conducting an informal war against the US since day one. It would be total stupidity for the US not to do the same.
and also correction, iran has NEVER funded a group that attacked american soil, US on the other hand funds attacks on iranian soil, imagine iran did that, imagine the reaction of your people. therefore iran is very within its legal rights to attack the soil of the usa through a third party as usa has done against iran. you and your ppl cannot complain to that.

infact you started the war against iran in the 50's, with operation ajax, you overthrow a legitimate iranian regime who was backed by the ppl, the USA overthrow him, and installed the shah, so quite frankly iran is very within its rights to attack the USA as you have done it against them time and time again. you began the war against iran, not the other way.
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wilberhum
05-28-2007, 11:28 PM
Originally Posted by Sami Zaatari
and also correction, iran has NEVER funded a group that attacked american soil, US on the other hand funds attacks on iranian soil, imagine iran did that, imagine the reaction of your people. therefore iran is very within its legal rights to attack the soil of the usa through a third party as usa has done against iran. you and your ppl cannot complain to that.

infact you started the war against iran in the 50's, with operation ajax, you overthrow a legitimate iranian regime who was backed by the ppl, the USA overthrow him, and installed the shah, so quite frankly iran is very within its rights to attack the USA as you have done it against them time and time again. you began the war against iran, not the other way.
Of course, America is the great evil. Iran has been pushing for war singe it started. Maybe some day it will get it's wish.
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Sami Zaatari
05-28-2007, 11:29 PM
Originally Posted by wilberhum
Of course, America is the great evil. Iran has been pushing for war singe it started. Maybe some day it will get it's wish.
hey facts are facts, the first nation to open hostilities was the usa in operation ajax, do you deny this? i mean its like denying the sun exists! everyone knows about operation ajax, so plz man take responsibility that you began the war against iran, so hence dont complain of what comes with it, you started this mess up hence you take responsibility for it.
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wilberhum
05-28-2007, 11:30 PM
Originally Posted by Hashim
:sl:

Let the Americans play their game, the snake always gets caught and when the snake is dangerous to others the snake is taken care of.

Their unconditional support for the illegal state of 'Isreal', their relentless war on Islaam and their devestating interference in the affairs of matters which do not concern will lead to their downfall.

:w:
Or maybe unconditional hatred of Israel will bring down Iran.
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wilberhum
05-28-2007, 11:34 PM
Originally Posted by Hashim
:sl:

Funny how you people say Iran is 'pushing' for war yet America is the one who is actually initiating war's in Iraq and Afganistan etc. Funny how you people harp on about Iran planning to get nukes whilst America already has tons of nukes and the only ones to use them.

Funny how I used the term funny when this is actually enfuriating, anyways, at least know you know why gud'ol US of A is the most hated nation on gods green earth!

:w:
It is truly funny. We may all die laughing.
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Sami Zaatari
05-28-2007, 11:38 PM
Originally Posted by wilberhum
It is truly funny. We may all die laughing.
hey willber plz stop running away from what i said, which is that you began this war against iran with operation ajax, comment on this instead of going quiet because this point of history debunks every claim you want to make on who began the war and who the good and bad buys are.

it seems your shy of this fact, that you began war against iran in operation ajax, plz dont act like it didnt happen, because operation ajax has led to all this, you placed the shah whom ppl greatly disliked, hence the Islamic party became the victors through wide public support, and out of this led to their large animosity towards USA due to the strong backing of the shah and your placing the shah in power over a very popular leader. every action has a reaction, and your violent provoking act against a legitimate iranian goverment causes a very angry reaction.
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Zman
05-29-2007, 12:04 AM
Originally Posted by Encolpius
Ahem. They're not terrorists because they're on the Americans' sides.

LOOOL...Like I said, utter hypocrisy.

There was a time when Saddam Hussein was a staunch US ally in the War on Ayatollah-based Fundamentalism,
A lot of good his "satunch US ally" status did him. Too bad we didn't remember his past service to us, when we captured him, treated him like a dog, then allowed him to be executed on our watch.
and when the Taleban were US allies in the war on Soviet invaders.

Yes. I used to see the Journalists proudly call the Afghans: Mujahideen, on the nightly news. Now, the same Journalists and "experts on Islam, easily switched it to: terrorists.

They are no more than "media prostitutes."

There is way too much hypocrisy in our foreign policy. We deal with terrorists and dictators like there is no toworrow, then turn around and act like we're the only righteous people around.

Much of our actions abroad is considered terrorism...
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wilberhum
05-29-2007, 12:13 AM
Originally Posted by Sami Zaatari
hey willber plz stop running away from what i said, which is that you began this war against iran with operation ajax, comment on this instead of going quiet because this point of history debunks every claim you want to make on who began the war and who the good and bad buys are.

it seems your shy of this fact, that you began war against iran in operation ajax, plz dont act like it didnt happen, because operation ajax has led to all this, you placed the shah whom ppl greatly disliked, hence the Islamic party became the victors through wide public support, and out of this led to their large animosity towards USA due to the strong backing of the shah and your placing the shah in power over a very popular leader. every action has a reaction, and your violent provoking act against a legitimate iranian goverment causes a very angry reaction.
So the US started the war? :skeleton: I guess you are to young or have never bothered to read about them taking US diplomats hostage for over a year. :?
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Zman
05-29-2007, 12:18 AM
Originally Posted by wilberhum
So the US started the war? :skeleton: I guess you are to young or have never bothered to read about them taking US diplomats hostage for over a year. :?

Well, if we're gonna go way back. Let's go all the way back to the catalyst that started all this hatrered:

Our (with the help of the Brits) overthrow of the democratically elected Mossadeq government of Iran, and the ushering in of our proxy-psychopath, the Shah, who created the dreaded Gestapo-like, SAVAK, secret police...
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wilberhum
05-29-2007, 12:21 AM
If you want to go "way back", why don't we go back to when Muslims conquered the area?
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Zman
05-29-2007, 12:42 AM
Originally Posted by wilberhum
If you want to go "way back", why don't we go back to when Muslims conquered the area?

That's illogical.

The point is the friction between Islamic Iran and certain Western Christian nations.

The point isn't Muslims entering Iran, 1400 years ago. It's the current Western meddling in Iranian affairs.

No one can forecast what would have transpired if Persia remained outside Islams realm.

We are talking about modern Iranian-Western "relationship."

Therefore, your point is irrelevant...
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wilberhum
05-29-2007, 12:51 AM
Originally Posted by Zman

That's illogical.

The point is the friction between Islamic Iran and certain Western Christian nations.

The point isn't Muslims entering Iran, 1400 years ago. It's the current Western meddling in Iranian affairs.

No one can forecast what would have transpired if Persia remained outside Islams realm.

We are talking about modern Iranian-Western "relationship."

Therefore, your point is irrelevant...
No your point is irrelevant. Because I say so. :skeleton: Da.

So we are back to square one.
On day one the "Islamic Iran" declared a cold war against the "Western Christian nations". So the "Western Christian nations" protect themselves in a cold war against "Islamic Iran".
I, and most of the world think "Islamic Iran" will build nuks and the war will no longer be cold. It seams obvious to me that will make most of the Islamic world happy.
As Kennedy said "The taste of victory will be ashes in the mouth".
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Sami Zaatari
05-29-2007, 12:54 AM
Originally Posted by wilberhum
So the US started the war? :skeleton: I guess you are to young or have never bothered to read about them taking US diplomats hostage for over a year. :?
the hostage incident occured AFTER operation ajax, not before, again you openeed hostilities first.
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Sami Zaatari
05-29-2007, 12:57 AM
Originally Posted by wilberhum
If you want to go "way back", why don't we go back to when Muslims conquered the area?
erm that has NOTHING to do with usa, lol how pathetic you change topics now! lets deal with the LATEST problem between iran and usa, which was all started due to operation ajax. show me ANY historical source showing muslims from iran EVER attacking usa, go on, YOU WILL NEVER DO IT, the first one to open hostilities was usa during operation ajax, so even if you want to go back 1400 years ago history will still show operation ajax began the hostilities between iran and usa, so your latest bogus argument still backfires, because there has never been any attack by the muslims from iran after muslims conquered it! so see? you still lose.

so again, why did your country start hostilities with iran from operation ajax, you keep dancing around and blabbering to avoid this issue, and everytime you blabber you end back AT OPERATION AJAX. so plz adress it, were all waiting.
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Sami Zaatari
05-29-2007, 01:03 AM
and willy boy lets further expose your ignorance, lets assume Islam never came to iran, lol you assume that the persian empire particularly the zorostrians were friendly with the west!!!!!! UMMMMMMMM think again, because history shows the persian empire was always in open warfare and hostilities with the byzantine empire who were essentially the romans! the persians who were from the east despised the west at the time, and didnt even like the religion and vice versa! so that point is very very mute, as usual.
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NoName55
05-29-2007, 01:32 AM
Iran an Islamic state? would make me laugh if it was not so tragic for the muslims through out the world specifically palestine and to some extent pakistan too. most dangerous enemy is the one you cannot see within your "own group" for they have the same names as Muslims and outwardly practice same as you.
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wilberhum
05-29-2007, 02:09 AM
Originally Posted by NoName55
Iran an Islamic state? would make me laugh if it was not so tragic for the muslims through out the world specifically palestine and to some extent pakistan too. most dangerous enemy is the one you cannot see within your "own group" for they have the same names as Muslims and outwardly practice same as you.
I was thinking the same thing. I have heard a thousand time that there are no "Islamic States".
But then you need to conceder the pre-teen source. :thumbs_up
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wilberhum
05-29-2007, 02:49 AM
Originally Posted by Sami Zaatari
the hostage incident occured AFTER operation ajax, not before, again you openeed hostilities first.
You call me ignorant. Da! :skeleton:

The Islamic republic Of Iran didn’t exist in 1953. :?
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Sami Zaatari
05-29-2007, 04:18 AM
Originally Posted by wilberhum
You call me ignorant. Da! :skeleton:

The Islamic republic Of Iran didn’t exist in 1953. :?
the islamic republic came as a result of your overthrowing a legitimate goverment, it seems you want to play ignorant.

your goverment overthrew a popular iranian goverment, installed the shah whom no one liked, which led them to support the islamic party hence they were in charge, the islamic party would never come to power if you didnt carry operation ajax out!

why did your goverment overthrow a legitimate iranian goverment? why? thats what you should be answering instead of evading this.
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wilberhum
05-29-2007, 04:31 AM
Originally Posted by Sami Zaatari
the islamic republic came as a result of your overthrowing a legitimate goverment, it seems you want to play ignorant.

your goverment overthrew a popular iranian goverment, installed the shah whom no one liked, which led them to support the islamic party hence they were in charge, the islamic party would never come to power if you didnt carry operation ajax out!

why did your goverment overthrow a legitimate iranian goverment? why? thats what you should be answering instead of evading this.
Here we go with this "I will start history where it best suites my argument" routine again.
After all you said:
lets deal with the LATEST problem
Change the time line, change the rules, Good technique. :skeleton:

Well I might as well use one of your pre-teen tactics.

I Win, debate over. :thumbs_up
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Cognescenti
05-29-2007, 04:51 AM
Originally Posted by Encolpius
Ahem. They're not terrorists because they're on the Americans' sides. There was a time when Saddam Hussein was a staunch US ally in the War on Ayatollah-based Fundamentalism, and when the Taleban were US allies in the war on Soviet invaders.
Listen Encopresis;

Under no definition of the word "staunch", could Saddam ever have been considered a "staunch ally" of the US. He wasnt armed by the US and he certainly wasn't directed by the US. The Iraqis did get some satellite intel from the US when it appeared the Iranians might actually win a battle :)

As Henry Kissinger once said, "the unfortuante thing about the Iran/Iraq Was is that BOTH sides couln't lose".
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August
05-29-2007, 04:58 AM
Originally Posted by Sami Zaatari
why did your goverment overthrow a legitimate iranian goverment? why? thats what you should be answering instead of evading this.
It was done because that "legitimate" government was socialist, and friendly toward the Soviet Union, which was our arch-enemy. It was in our national inerest to have Iran on our side. This is an unfortunate example of when the solution to one problem sowed the seeds of the next. The Eisenhower administration did the right thing at the time.
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Sami Zaatari
05-29-2007, 05:00 AM
Originally Posted by August
It was done because that "legitimate" government was socialist, and friendly toward the Soviet Union, which was our arch-enemy. It was in our national inerest to have Iran on our side. This is an unfortunate example of when the solution to one problem sowed the seeds of the next. The Eisenhower administration did the right thing at the time.
well this action has led to iran becoming your enemy and the forming of the mullah's and the islamic republic, and i think most americans should take responsibility for causing the hostilities with iran and taking the first shot.
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August
05-29-2007, 05:05 AM
Originally Posted by Sami Zaatari
well this action has led to iran becoming your enemy and the forming of the mullah's and the islamic republic, and i think most americans should take responsibility for causing the hostilities with iran and taking the first shot.
They wouldn't have become our enemy if Carter hadn't abandoned the Shah. Like I said, solving one problem often causes another. The truth is, that dealing just with what's going on right now, if Iran would stop threatening and antagonizing the world, there would be no hostilities between us.
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wilberhum
05-29-2007, 05:19 AM
Originally Posted by Sami Zaatari
well this action has led to iran becoming your enemy and the forming of the mullah's and the islamic republic, and i think most americans should take responsibility for causing the hostilities with iran and taking the first shot.
Us? When did you become one of Us? You are as anti-West as they come. :? :enough!:

And No I do not take responsibility for causing the hostilities with Iran and I don't know any one that does.
My country, the US, has done many things wrong. So I don't buy any to the my country right or wrong BS. But taking hostages was the work of Khomeini.

In my opinion Khomeini was one of the more evil modern day leaders. :raging: :raging:
He deceived his people and turned into you typical power hungry tyrants.
The world was a better place the day he died. :thumbs_up
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August
05-29-2007, 05:21 AM
Originally Posted by wilberhum
The world was a better place the day he died. :thumbs_up
Amen!
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guyabano
05-29-2007, 09:33 AM
To the topic:

Nobody wash his hands in innocence. That USA do a lot of illegal actions is well known. Even all Banktransfers worldwide are controlled by them (SWIFT). But NOBODY should pretend, that Iran does not use illegal actions against other countries. Everybody do it. There is nothing new about it.
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AHMED_GUREY
05-29-2007, 01:42 PM
The US never considers the consquences of it's actions when it's arming or supporting one group against the other, IMO this tactic is quite myopic to be frank. Let say the US succeeds in toppling the current Iranian government through proxies, how do they know the groups there supporting today won't in a few years time shift back in the same track as the current Iranian Government when there no longer dependent on US support?

They don't! and they don't care!
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Cognescenti
05-29-2007, 03:02 PM
Originally Posted by AHMED_GUREY
The US never considers the consquences of it's actions when it's arming or supporting one group against the other, IMO this tactic is quite myopic to be frank. Let say the US succeeds in toppling the current Iranian government through proxies, how do they know the groups there supporting today won't in a few years time shift back in the same track as the current Iranian Government when there no longer dependent on US support?

They don't! and they don't care!
To some extent that is true. For example, the PKK was founded as a Marxist organization. :D They have changed their tune a bit to attract a greater following. They cold certainly make trouble for the Turks (ah..too bad) and would likely be a force to agitate for an independant Kurdistan (not the end of the world either). Similarly, the Baluchistan nationalists could make trouble for Afghanistan (part of ethnic "Baluchistan" is in Afghanistan).

Still, you have to consider the alternatives:

1) Nuclear armed Iran isolated by sanctions. New nuclear arms race in the ME (Arab states ..the Suadis for eg.)
2) Israel attacks Iran by air..at best a temporary delay
3) Overt war with Iran..oil delivery from the ME disrupted for many weeks or months..possible world-wide recession

That is the problem with the real world. The choices are often imperfect.
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Encolpius
05-29-2007, 04:13 PM
Originally Posted by Cognescenti
Listen Encopresis;

Under no definition of the word "staunch", could Saddam ever have been considered a "staunch ally" of the US. He wasnt armed by the US and he certainly wasn't directed by the US. The Iraqis did get some satellite intel from the US when it appeared the Iranians might actually win a battle :)

As Henry Kissinger once said, "the unfortuante thing about the Iran/Iraq Was is that BOTH sides couln't lose".
Fair enough, I stand corrected in the use of the word "staunch" but please have the decency to spell my name correctly.
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Cognescenti
05-29-2007, 04:39 PM
Originally Posted by Encolpius
Fair enough, I stand corrected in the use of the word "staunch" but please have the decency to spell my name correctly.

Fair request on your part, sir. It was a cheap gag. Sorry.

For extra credit..who can identify where Hussein got the anti-ship missile that nearly sank the USS Starke in the Persian Gulf during the Iran/Iraq War.

:)
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don532
05-29-2007, 04:48 PM
Originally Posted by Cognescenti
Fair request on your part, sir. It was a cheap gag. Sorry.

For extra credit..who can identify where Hussein go the anti-ship missile that nearly sank the USS Starke in the Persian Gulf during the Iran/Iraq War.

:)
I think it was a French exocet.
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don532
05-29-2007, 05:06 PM
Originally Posted by don532
I think it was a French exocet.
Final answer.

(cheap US TV gag)
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Cognescenti
05-29-2007, 05:07 PM
Originally Posted by don532
I think it was a French exocet.
Give the man a cigar.

Oh wait...is that your final answer?

You sure you don't want to call anyone?
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don532
05-29-2007, 05:09 PM
Originally Posted by Cognescenti
Give the man a cigar.
I'll have a Monte Cristo #2. I'd like to thank the academy and all our hosts for making this award possible.

(another cheap US TV gag)
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Encolpius
05-29-2007, 08:35 PM
Originally Posted by don532
I think it was a French exocet.
Wouldn't surprise me. In the 80s Dassault were basically selling fighter planes and missiles to anyone who was willing to pay regardless. Didn't Argentina buy the Super Étondale that sunk the HMS Sheffield off the French as well?
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NobleMuslimUK
05-29-2007, 09:36 PM
Only to the naive and ignorant who are blinded to the internal decay the US is going through. Yet they concern themselves more with the unfair and evil tactics of mass murder and genocide their US dictatorship is involved in. Trying to justify these evil actions. Brainwashed by the mass zionist media and the zionist scum government in place. The Bush regime knows, that it will all hit the fan soon, and they will flee with their wealth to Dubai, Paraguay, Israel etc... Leaving US in a complete state of chaos and disaster. The ignorant Americans are too busy chasing their own tails going in loops, while being deceived and dumbed down further. Every evil empire like US in the past has had its downfall, US is nearing its downfall, InshAllah.
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wilberhum
05-29-2007, 09:50 PM
Brainwashed by the mass zionist media and the zionist scum government in place.
The Brainwashed are easy to find. :skeleton:
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Zman
05-29-2007, 10:40 PM
Originally Posted by Encolpius
Wouldn't surprise me. In the 80s Dassault were basically selling fighter planes and missiles to anyone who was willing to pay regardless. Didn't Argentina buy the Super Étondale that sunk the HMS Sheffield off the French as well?

Let's not forget that the U.S. is the largest arms supplier to the world.

It sells them to anyone who'll pay. Many nations put their people into debt for generations at the behest of our government, the military machine and arms suppliers.

We sell weapons to people/nations who shouldn't have weapons; who should concentrate on education/health/economic development; for the almighty dollar and to get our hooks into them.

The leading weapons suppliers to the world are located in the West (including Russia), China isn't in our league...
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don532
05-29-2007, 11:02 PM
It sells them to anyone who'll pay.
Obviously you have not been in international business. I am. The state department maintains a very closely held reign on companies that sell military hardware, including even items that could be "dual use" to a long list of countries it is forbidden to sell to. "Dual use" refers to an item that is civilian in nature and could be used in the military. Why do you think the Iraqi and Iranian armies had(have) AK-47s and MiG planes.......including the MiG29s Saddam swore he didn't have? That stuff is not US hardware, nor can it be sourced in the US.
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Zman
05-30-2007, 01:06 AM
Originally Posted by don532
Obviously you have not been in international business. I am. The state department maintains a very closely held reign on companies that sell military hardware, including even items that could be "dual use" to a long list of countries it is forbidden to sell to. "Dual use" refers to an item that is civilian in nature and could be used in the military. Why do you think the Iraqi and Iranian armies had(have) AK-47s and MiG planes.......including the MiG29s Saddam swore he didn't have? That stuff is not US hardware, nor can it be sourced in the US.

So, our illustrious leaders didn't arm Saddam with Chemical Weapons?

Hmmm, I guess the good old boys at State, forgot that one...
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don532
05-30-2007, 03:36 AM
Originally Posted by Zman

So, our illustrious leaders didn't arm Saddam with Chemical Weapons?

Hmmm, I guess the good old boys at State, forgot that one...
You said:
It sells them to anyone who'll pay.
That is garbage. Everyone with any experience in ITAR regulations knows that.

Now if you want to ask about chemical weapons from 20+ years ago, it's still clear you don't know what you are talking about. Saddam's path to possessing chemical weapons was not a simple, single purchase, and the US was not the main source.

Certain technologies were purchased from the US, UK, France, Germany and China. The largest suppliers of precurser chemicals for chemical weapons were Singapore, Netherlands, Egypt, India, and West Germany. The US wasn't even in the top five for precurser chemicals and Germany sold the bulk of the hardware necessary for production.
Reply

Zman
05-30-2007, 09:16 PM
:sl:/Peace To All,

don532

That is garbage. Everyone with any experience in ITAR regulations knows that.

Now if you want to ask about chemical weapons from 20+ years ago, it's still clear you don't know what you are talking about.
The following is my response to don532, about our (U.S.) "Minimal" involvement in the arming of Saddam. Especially in the realm of chemical weapons.

But it's obvious to see that the major suppliers with the best armaments, were those of the West.

These are the same nations who built him up, then later bellowed that he's a danger to the "World," "butchered" his people, and "attacked" his neighbors...
How The US Armed Saddam Hussein With Chemical Weapons

28 August 2002
BY NORM DIXON
Green Left

On August 18, the New York Times carried a front-page story headlined, “Officers say U.S. aided Iraq despite the use of gas”. Quoting anonymous US “senior military officers”, the NYT “revealed” that in the 1980s, the administration of US President Ronald Reagan covertly provided “critical battle planning assistance at a time when American intelligence knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war”. The story made a brief splash in the international media, then died.


While the August 18 NYT article added new details about the extent of US military collaboration with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during Iraq's 1980-88 war with Iran, it omitted the most outrageous aspect of the scandal: not only did Washington turn a blind-eye to the Hussein regime's repeated use of chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers and Iraq's Kurdish minority, but the US helped Iraq develop its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs.

...One of the more comprehensive and ****ing accounts of Iraqgate was written by Douglas Frantz and Murray Waas and published in the February 23, 1992, Los Angeles Times. Headlined, “Bush secret effort helped Iraq build its war machine”, the article reported that “classified documents obtained by the LA Times show … a long-secret pattern of personal efforts by [George Bush senior] — both as president and vice president — to support and placate the Iraqi dictator.”

Even William Safire, the right-wing, war-mongering NYT columnist, on December 7, 1992, felt compelled to write that, “Iraqgate is uniquely horrendous: a scandal about the systematic abuse of power by misguided leaders of three democratic nations [the US, Britain and Italy] to secretly finance the arms buildup of a dictator”.

The background to Iraqgate was the January 1979 popular uprising that overthrew the cravenly pro-US Shah of Iran. The Iranian revolution threatened US imperialism's domination of the strategic oil-rich region. Other than Israel, Iran had long been Washington's key ally in the Middle East.

Washington immediately began to “cast about for ways to undermine or overthrow the Iranian revolution, or make up for the loss of the Shah. Hussein's regime put up its hand. On September 22, 1980, Iraq launched an invasion of Iran. Throughout the bloody eight-year-long war — which cost at least 1 million lives — Washington backed Iraq.

As a 1990 report prepared for the Pentagon by the Strategic Studies Institute of the US War College admitted: “Throughout the [Iran-Iraq] war the United States practised a fairly benign policy toward Iraq… [Washington and Baghdad] wanted to restore the status quo ante … that prevailed before [the 1979 Iranian revolution] began threatening the regional balance of power. Khomeini's revolutionary appeal was anathema to both Baghdad and Washington; hence they wanted to get rid of him. United by a common interest … the [US] began to actively assist Iraq.”

At first, as Iraqi forces seemed headed for victory over Iran, official US policy was neutrality in the conflict. Not only was Hussein doing Washington's dirty work in the war with Iran, but the US rulers believed that Iraq could be lured away from its close economic and military relationship with the Soviet Union — just as Egypt's President Anwar Sadat had done in the 1970s.

In March 1981, US Secretary of State Alexander Haig excitedly told the Senate foreign relations committee that Iraq was concerned by “the behaviour of Soviet imperialism in the Middle Eastern region”. The Soviet government had refused to deliver arms to Iraq as long as Baghdad continued its military offensive against Iran. Moscow was also unhappy with the Hussein's vicious repression of the Iraqi Communist Party.

Washington's support (innocuously referred to as a “tilt” at the time) for Iraq became more open after Iran succeeded in driving Iraqi forces from its territory in May 1982; in June, Iran went on the offensive against Iraq. The US scrambled to stem Iraq's military setbacks. Washington and its conservative Arab allies suddenly feared Iran might even defeat Iraq, or at least cause the collapse of Hussein's regime.

Using its allies in the Middle East, Washington funnelled huge supplies of arms to Iraq. Classified State Department cables uncovered by Frantz and Waas described covert transfers of howitzers, helicopters, bombs and other weapons to Baghdad in 1982-83 from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait.

Howard Teicher, who monitored Middle East policy at the US National Security Council during the Reagan administration, told the February 23, 1992, LA Times: “There was a conscious effort to encourage third countries to ship US arms or acquiesce in shipments after the fact. It was a policy of nods and winks.”

According to Mark Phythian's 1997 book Arming Iraq: How the US and Britain Secretly Built Saddam's War Machine (Northeastern University Press), in 1983 Reagan asked Italy's Prime Minister Guilo Andreotti to channel arms to Iraq.

The January 1, 1984 Washington Post reported that the US had “informed friendly Persian Gulf nations that the defeat of Iraq in the three-year-old war with Iran would be ‘contrary to US interests' and has made several moves to prevent that result”.

Central to these “moves” was the cementing of a military and political alliance with Saddam Hussein's repressive regime, so as to build up Iraq as a military counterweight to Iran. In 1982, the Reagan administration removed Iraq from the State Department's list of countries that allegedly supported terrorism. On December 19-20, 1983, Reagan dispatched his Middle East envoy — none other than Donald Rumsfeld — to Baghdad with a hand-written offer of a resumption of diplomatic relations, which had been severed during the 1967 Arab-Israel war. On March 24, 1984, Rumsfeld was again in Baghdad.

On that same day, the UPI wire service reported from the UN: “Mustard gas laced with a nerve agent has been used on Iranian soldiers … a team of UN experts has concluded … Meanwhile, in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, US presidential envoy Donald Rumsfeld held talks with foreign minister Tariq Aziz.”

The day before, Iran had accused Iraq of poisoning 600 of its soldiers with mustard gas and Tabun nerve gas.

There is no doubt that the US government knew Iraq was using chemical weapons. On March 5, 1984, the State Department had stated that “available evidence indicates that Iraq has used lethal chemical weapons”. The March 30, 1984, NYT reported that US intelligence officials has “what they believe to be incontrovertible evidence that Iraq has used nerve gas in its war with Iran and has almost finished extensive sites for mass producing the lethal chemical warfare agent”.

However, consistent with the pattern throughout the Iran-Iraq war and after, the use of these internationally outlawed weapons was not considered important enough by Rumsfeld and his political superiors to halt Washington's blossoming love affair with Hussein.

The March 29, 1984, NYT, reporting on the aftermath of Rumsfeld's talks in Baghdad, stated that US officials had pronounced “themselves satisfied with relations between Iraq and the US and suggest that normal diplomatic ties have been restored in all but name”. In November 1984, the US and Iraq officially restored diplomatic relations.

According to Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, in a December 15, 1986 article, the CIA began to secretly supply Iraq with intelligence in 1984 that was used to “calibrate” mustard gas attacks on Iranian troops. Beginning in early 1985, the CIA provided Iraq with “data from sensitive US satellite reconnaissance photography … to assist Iraqi bombing raids”.

Iraqi chemical attacks on Iranian troops — and US assistance to Iraq — continued throughout the Iran-Iraq war. In a parallel program, the US defence department also provided intelligence and battle-planning assistance to Iraq.

The August 17, 2002 NYT reported that, according to “senior military officers with direct knowledge of the program”, even though “senior officials of the Reagan administration publicly condemned Iraq's employment of mustard gas, sarin, VX and other poisonous agents … President Reagan, vice president George Bush [senior] and senior national security aides never withdrew their support for the highly classified program in which more than 60 officers of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) were secretly providing detailed information on Iranian deployments, tactical planning for battles, plans for air strikes and bomb-damage assessments for Iraq.”

Retired DIA officer Rick Francona told the NYT that Iraq's chemical weapons were used in the war's final battle in early 1988, in which Iraqi forces retook the Fao Peninsula from the Iranian army.

Another retired DIA officer, Walter Lang, told the NYT that “the use of gas on the battlefield by the Iraqis was not a matter of deep strategic concern”. What concerned the DIA, CIA and the Reagan administration was that Iran not break through the Fao Peninsula and spread the Islamic revolution to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Iraq's 1982 removal from Washington's official list of states that support terrorism meant that the Hussein regime was now eligible for US economic and military aid, and was able to purchase advanced US technology that could also be used for military purposes.

Conventional military sales resumed in December 1982. In 1983, the Reagan administration approved the sale of 60 Hughes helicopters to Iraq in 1983 “for civilian use”. However, as Phythian pointed out, these aircraft could be “weaponised” within hours of delivery. Then US Secretary of State George Schultz and commerce secretary George Baldridge also lobbied for the delivery of Bell helicopters equipped for “crop spraying”. It is believed that US-supplied choppers were used in the 1988 chemical attack on the Kurdish village of Halabja, which killed 5000 people.

With the Reagan administration's connivance, Baghdad immediately embarked on a massive militarisation drive. This US-endorsed military spending spree began even before Iraq was delisted as a terrorist state, when the US commerce department approved the sale of Italian gas turbine engines for Iraq's naval frigates.

Soon after, the US agriculture department's Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) guaranteed to repay loans — in the event of defaults by Baghdad — banks had made to Iraq to buy US-grown commodities such as wheat and rice. Under this scheme, Iraq had three years to repay the loans, and if it could not the US taxpayers would have to cough up.

Washington offered this aid initially to prevent Hussein's overthrow as the Iraqi people began to complain about the food shortages caused by the massive diversion of hard currency for the purchase of weapons and ammunition. The loan guarantees amounted to a massive US subsidy that allowed Hussein to launch his overt and covert arms buildup, one result being that the Iran-Iraq war entered a bloody five-year stalemate.

By the end of 1983, US$402 million in agriculture department loan guarantees for Iraq were approved. In 1984, this increased to $503 million and reached $1.1 billion in 1988. Between 1983 and 1990, CCC loan guarantees freed up more than $5 billion. Some $2 billion in bad loans, plus interest, ended up having to be covered by US taxpayers.

A similar taxpayer-funded, though smaller scale, scam operated under the auspices of the federal Export-Import Bank. In 1984, vice-president George Bush senior personally intervened to ensure that the bank guaranteed loans to Iraq of $500 million to build an oil pipeline. Export-Import Bank loan guarantees grew from $35 million in 1985 to $267 million by 1990.

According to William Blum, writing in the August 1998 issue of the Progressive, Sam Gejdenson, chairperson of a Congressional subcommittee investigating US exports to Iraq, disclosed that from 1985 until 1990 “the US government approved 771 licenses [only 39 were rejected] for the export to Iraq of $1.5 billion worth of biological agents and high-tech equipment with military application …

“The US spent virtually an entire decade making sure that Saddam Hussein had almost whatever he wanted… US export control policy was directed by US foreign policy as formulated by the State Department, and it was US foreign policy to assist the regime of Saddam Hussein.”

A 1994 US Senate report revealed that US companies were licenced by the commerce department to export a “witch's brew” of biological and chemical materials, including bacillus anthracis (which causes anthrax) and clostridium botulinum (the source of botulism). The American Type Culture Collection made 70 shipments of the anthrax bug and other pathogenic agents.

The report also noted that US exports to Iraq included the precursors to chemical warfare agents, plans for chemical and biological warfare facilities and chemical warhead filling equipment. US firms supplied advanced and specialised computers, lasers, testing and analysing equipment. Among the better-known companies were Hewlett Packard, Unisys, Data General and Honeywell.

Billions of dollars worth of raw materials, machinery and equipment, missile technology and other “dual-use” items were also supplied by West German, French, Italian, British, Swiss and Austrian corporations, with the approval of their governments (German firms even sold Iraq entire factories capable of mass-producing poison gas). Much of this was purchased with funds freed by the US CCC credits.

The destination of much of this equipment was Saad 16, near Mosul in northern Iraq. Western intelligence agencies had long known that the sprawling complex was Iraq's main ballistic missile development centre.

Blum reported that Washington was fully aware of the likely use of this material. In 1992, a US Senate committee learned that the commerce department had deleted references to military end-use from information it sent to Congress about 68 export licences, worth more than $1 billion.

In 1986, the US defence department's deputy undersecretary for trade security, Stephen Bryen, had objected to the export of an advanced computer, similar to those used in the US missile program, to Saad 16 because “of the high likelihood of military end use”. The state and commerce departments approved the sale without conditions.

In his book, The Death Lobby: How the West Armed Iraq, Kenneth Timmerman points out that several US agencies were supposed to review US exports that may be detrimental to US “national security”. However, the commerce department often did not submit exports to Hussein's Iraq for review or approved them despite objections from other government departments.

On March 16, 1988, Iraqi forces launched a poison gas attack on the Iraqi Kurdish village of Halabja, killing 5000 people. While that attack is today being touted by senior US officials as one of the main reasons why Hussein must now be “taken out”, at the time Washington's response to the atrocity was much more relaxed.

Just four months later, Washington stood by as the US giant Bechtel corporation won the contract to build a huge petrochemical plant that would give the Hussein regime the capacity to generate chemical weapons.

On September 8, 1988, the US Senate passed the Prevention of Genocide Act, which would have imposed sanctions on the Hussein regime. Immediately, the Reagan administration announced its opposition to the bill, calling it “premature”. The White House used its influence to stall the bill in the House of Representatives. When Congress did eventually pass the bill, the White House did not implement it.

Washington's political, military and economic sweetheart deals with the Iraqi dictator came under even more stress when, in August 1989, FBI agents raided the Atlanta branch of the Rome-based Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) and uncovered massive fraud involving the CCC loan guarantee scheme and billions of dollars worth of unauthorised “off-the-books” loans to Iraq.

BNL Atlanta manager Chris Drougal had used the CCC program to underwrite programs that had nothing to do with agricultural exports. Using this covert set-up, Hussein's regime tried to buy the most hard-to-get components for its nuclear weapons and missile programs on the black market.

Russ Baker, writing in the March/April 1993 Columbia Journalism Review, noted: “Elements of the US government almost certainly knew that Drougal was funnelling US-backed loans — into dual-use technology and outright military technology. The British government was fully aware of the operations of Matrix-Churchill, a British firm with an Ohio branch, which was not only at the centre of the Iraqi procurement network but was also funded by BNL Atlanta... It would be later alleged by bank executives that the Italian government, long a close US ally as well as BNL's ultimate owner, had knowledge of BNL's loan diversions.”

Yet, even the public outrage generated by the Halabja massacre and the widening BNL scandal did not cool Washington's ardour towards Hussein's Iraq.

On October 2, 1989, US President George Bush senior signed the top-secret National Security Decision 26, which declared: “Normal relations between the US and Iraq would serve our long-term interests and promote stability in both the Gulf and the Middle East. The US should propose economic and political incentives for Iraq to moderate its behaviour and increase our influence with Iraq... We should pursue, and seek to facilitate, opportunities for US firms to participate in the reconstruction of the Iraqi economy.”

As public and congressional pressure mounted on the US Agriculture Department to end Iraq's access to CCC loan guarantees, Secretary of State James Baker — armed with NSD 26 — personally insisted that agriculture secretary Clayton Yeutter drop his opposition to their continuation.

In November 1989, Bush senior approved $1 billion in loan guarantees for Iraq in 1990. In April 1990, more revelations about the BNL scandal had again pushed the department of agriculture to the verge of halting Iraq's CCC loan guarantees. On May 18, national security adviser Scowcroft personally intervened to ensure the delivery of the first $500 million tranche of the CCC subsidy for 1990.

According to Frantz and Waas' February 23, 1992, LA Times article, in July 1990 “officials at the National Security Council and the State Department were pushing to deliver the second installment of the $1 billion in loan guarantees, despite the looming crisis in the region and evidence that Iraq had used the aid illegally to help finance a secret arms procurement network to obtain technology for its nuclear weapons and ballistic-missile program”.

From July 18 to August 1, 1990, Bush senior's administration approved $4.8 million in advanced technology sales to Iraq. The end-users included Saad 16 and the Iraqi ministry of industry and military industrialisation. On August 1, $695,000 worth of advanced data transmission devices were approved.

“Only on August 2, 1990, did the agriculture department officially suspend the [CCC loan] guarantees to Iraq — the same day that Hussein's tanks and troops swept into Kuwait”, noted Frantz and Waas.


From Green Left Weekly, August 28, 2002.

Source:
http://www.greenleft.org.au/2002/506/27605
Did The U.S. Help Saddam Acquire Biological Weapons?

Congressional Record: September 20, 2002 (Senate)
Page S8987-S8998


HOW SADDAM HAPPENED

Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, yesterday, at a hearing of the Senate Armed
Services Committee, I asked a question of the Secretary of Defense. I
referred to a Newsweek article that will appear in the September 23,
2002, edition. That article reads as follows. It is not overly lengthy.
I shall read it. Beginning on page 35 of Newsweek, here is what the
article says:

...The history of America's relations with Saddam is one of
the sorrier tales in American foreign policy. Time and again,
America turned a blind eye to Saddam's predations, saw him as
the lesser evil or flinched at the chance to unseat him. No
single policymaker or administration deserves blame for
creating, or at least tolerating, a monster; many of their
decisions seemed reasonable at the time. Even so, there are
moments in this clumsy dance with the Devil that make one
cringe. It is hard to believe that, during most of the 1980s,
America knowingly permitted the Iraq Atomic Energy Commission
to import bacterial cultures that might be used to build
biological weapons.

Let me read that again:

It is hard to believe that, during most of the 1980s,
America knowingly permitted the Iraq Atomic Energy Commission
to import bacterial cultures that might be used to build
biological weapons. But it happened.



Source: Federation of American Scientists, (Complete Report On The Congressional Hearing):
http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2002_cr/s092002.html

The Arming Of Iraq


Source: PBS, Frontline:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl...tc/arming.html


Arming Saddam: The Supply Of British Military Equipment To Iraq, 1979-90

Originally published 1991

History | Military Expenditure | Arms Supplies | UK Government Policy | British Weaponry Components and Technology | The Supergun Affair | Chemical Weapons Biological Weapons | Nuclear Weapons | Training | Via Friends | Conclusion

Source:
http://www.caat.org.uk/publications/...1-briefing.php


How Reagan Armed Saddam With Chemical Weapons: The Ties That Bind

By Norm Dixon
June 17, 2004

Source:
http://www.counterpunch.org/dixon06172004.html


How The West Armed Saddam: He Takes His Secrets to the Grave. Our Complicity Dies with Him

By Robert Fisk
Published on Sunday, December 31, 2006
The Independent / UK

How the West armed Saddam, fed him intelligence on his ‘enemies’, equipped him for atrocities - and then made sure he wouldn’t squeal


We’ve shut him up. The moment Saddam’s hooded executioner pulled the lever of the trapdoor in Baghdad yesterday morning, Washington’s secrets were safe. The shameless, outrageous, covert military support which the United States - and Britain - gave to Saddam for more than a decade remains the one terrible story which our presidents and prime ministers do not want the world to remember. And now Saddam, who knew the full extent of that Western support - given to him while he was perpetrating some of the worst atrocities since the Second World War - is dead.

Gone is the man who personally received the CIA’s help in destroying the Iraqi communist party. After Saddam seized power, US intelligence gave his minions the home addresses of communists in Baghdad and other cities in an effort to destroy the Soviet Union’s influence in Iraq. Saddam’s mukhabarat visited every home, arrested the occupants and their families, and butchered the lot. Public hanging was for plotters; the communists, their wives and children, were given special treatment - extreme torture before execution at Abu Ghraib.

There is growing evidence across the Arab world that Saddam held a series of meetings with senior American officials prior to his invasion of Iran in 1980 - both he and the US administration believed that the Islamic Republic would collapse if Saddam sent his legions across the border - and the Pentagon was instructed to assist Iraq’s military machine by providing intelligence on the Iranian order of battle. One frosty day in 1987, not far from Cologne, I met the German arms dealer who initiated those first direct contacts between Washington and Baghdad - at America’s request.

“Mr Fisk… at the very beginning of the war, in September of 1980, I was invited to go to the Pentagon,” he said. “There I was handed the very latest US satellite photographs of the Iranian front lines. You could see everything on the pictures. There were the Iranian gun emplacements in Abadan and behind Khorramshahr, the lines of trenches on the eastern side of the Karun river, the tank revetments - thousands of them - all the way up the Iranian side of the border towards Kurdistan. No army could want more than this. And I travelled with these maps from Washington by air to Frankfurt and from Frankfurt on Iraqi Airways straight to Baghdad. The Iraqis were very, very grateful!”

I was with Saddam’s forward commandos at the time, under Iranian shellfire, noting how the Iraqi forces aligned their artillery positions far back from the battle front with detailed maps of the Iranian lines. Their shelling against Iran outside Basra allowed the first Iraqi tanks to cross the Karun within a week. The commander of that tank unit cheerfully refused to tell me how he had managed to choose the one river crossing undefended by Iranian armour. Two years ago, we met again, in Amman and his junior officers called him “General” - the rank awarded him by Saddam after that tank attack east of Basra, courtesy of Washington’s intelligence information.

Iran’s official history of the eight-year war with Iraq states that Saddam first used chemical weapons against it on 13 January 1981. AP’s correspondent in Baghdad, Mohamed Salaam, was taken to see the scene of an Iraqi military victory east of Basra. “We started counting - we walked miles and miles in this ****ing desert, just counting,” he said. “We got to 700 and got muddled and had to start counting again … The Iraqis had used, for the first time, a combination - the nerve gas would paralyse their bodies … the mustard gas would drown them in their own lungs. That’s why they spat blood.”

At the time, the Iranians claimed that this terrible cocktail had been given to Saddam by the US. Washington denied this. But the Iranians were right. The lengthy negotiations which led to America’s complicity in this atrocity remain secret - Donald Rumsfeld was one of President Ronald Reagan’s point-men at this period - although Saddam undoubtedly knew every detail. But a largely unreported document, “United States Chemical and Biological Warfare-related Dual-use exports to Iraq and their possible impact on the Health Consequences of the Persian Gulf War”, stated that prior to 1985 and afterwards, US companies had sent government-approved shipments of biological agents to Iraq. These included Bacillus anthracis, which produces anthrax, andEscherichia coli (E. coli). That Senate report concluded that: “The United States provided the Government of Iraq with ‘dual use’ licensed materials which assisted in the development of Iraqi chemical, biological and missile-systems programs, including … chemical warfare agent production facility plant and technical drawings, chemical warfare filling equipment.”

Nor was the Pentagon unaware of the extent of Iraqi use of chemical weapons. In 1988, for example, Saddam gave his personal permission for Lt-Col Rick Francona, a US defence intelligence officer - one of 60 American officers who were secretly providing members of the Iraqi general staff with detailed information on Iranian deployments, tactical planning and bomb damage assessments - to visit the Fao peninsula after Iraqi forces had recaptured the town from the Iranians. He reported back to Washington that the Iraqis had used chemical weapons to achieve their victory. The senior defence intelligence officer at the time, Col Walter Lang, later said that the use of gas on the battlefield by the Iraqis “was not a matter of deep strategic concern”.

I saw the results, however. On a long military hospital train back to Tehran from the battle front, I found hundreds of Iranian soldiers coughing blood and mucus from their lungs - the very carriages stank so much of gas that I had to open the windows - and their arms and faces were covered with boils. Later, new bubbles of skin appeared on top of their original boils. Many were fearfully burnt. These same gases were later used on the Kurds of Halabja. No wonder that Saddam was primarily tried in Baghdad for the slaughter of Shia villagers, not for his war crimes against Iran.

We still don’t know - and with Saddam’s execution we will probably never know - the extent of US credits to Iraq, which began in 1982. The initial tranche, the sum of which was spent on the purchase of American weapons from Jordan and Kuwait, came to $300m. By 1987, Saddam was being promised $1bn in credit. By 1990, just before Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, annual trade between Iraq and the US had grown to $3.5bn a year. Pressed by Saddam’s foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, to continue US credits, James Baker then Secretary of State, but the same James Baker who has just produced a report intended to drag George Bush from the catastrophe of present- day Iraq - pushed for new guarantees worth $1bn from the US.

In 1989, Britain, which had been giving its own covert military assistance to Saddam guaranteed £250m to Iraq shortly after the arrest of Observer journalist Farzad Bazoft in Baghdad. Bazoft, who had been investigating an explosion at a factory at Hilla which was using the very chemical components sent by the US, was later hanged. Within a month of Bazoft’s arrest William Waldegrave, then a Foreign Office minister, said: “I doubt if there is any future market of such a scale anywhere where the UK is potentially so well-placed if we play our diplomatic hand correctly… A few more Bazofts or another bout of internal oppression would make it more difficult.”

Even more repulsive were the remarks of the then Deputy Prime Minister, Geoffrey Howe, on relaxing controls on British arms sales to Iraq. He kept this secret, he wrote, because “it would look very cynical if, so soon after expressing outrage about the treatment of the Kurds, we adopt a more flexible approach to arms sales”.

Saddam knew, too, the secrets of the attack on the USS Stark when, on 17 May 1987, an Iraqi jet launched a missile attack on the American frigate, killing more than a sixth of the crew and almost sinking the vessel. The US accepted Saddam’s excuse that the ship was mistaken for an Iranian vessel and allowed Saddam to refuse their request to interview the Iraqi pilot.

The whole truth died with Saddam Hussein in the Baghdad execution chamber yesterday. Many in Washington and London must have sighed with relief that the old man had been silenced for ever.

‘The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East’ by Robert Fisk is now available in paperback

© 2006 Independent News and Media Limited

Source:
http://news.independent.co.uk/fisk/article2114403.ece
Reply

don532
05-30-2007, 11:25 PM
Nice cut and paste. YOU still don't know what you're talking about. The tonnage of precurser chemicals sold to Iraq, and by whom, can even be found on the internet. Check it out. The US isn't even in the top five.

Chemicals didn't even figure into later conflicts with Iraq. It was mostly hardware.

But it's obvious to see that the major suppliers with the best armaments, were those of the West.
The best armaments came from the west? It seemed in an earlier post you implied Russia was included in the west, but it isn't. Take a look at the planes, trucks, most of the helicopters, rifles, artillery, tanks, etc. that rolled into Kuwait (yes he did invade a neighboring country) and what the US faced later. Does that look like US hardware? In case you can't tell, the vast majority is Russian T-series tanks, AK rifles, RPK machine guns, the occasional Dragunov, RPGs, MiG planes, Mi-series copters, Russian vehicles, etc.

Here's a cut and paste of my own showing Iraq's sources for weapons hardware. The columns are sloppy, but the message is there. The first number on the left in red is dollars. The number on the right in bold is percent of total and is rounded. The percentages do not total 100 exactly. You can see Russia supplied 57.26% of Saddam's weapons at a cost of 25145 million 1990 US dollars, and so on down the line.

Imported weapons to Iraq in 1973-2002 (shown in millions of 1990 US dollars)
Country $MM USD 1990 % Total

1. USSR 25145 57.26
2. France 5595 12.74
3. China 5192 11.82
4. Czechoslovakia 2880 6.56
5. Poland 1681 3.83
6. Brazil 724 1.65
7. Egypt 568 1.29
8. Romania 524 1.19
9. Denmark 226 0.51
10. Libya 200 0.46
11. USA 200 0.46
12. South Africa 192 0.44
13. Austria 190 0.43
14. Switzerland 151 0.34
15. Yugoslavia 107 0.24
16. Germany (FRG) 84 0.19
17. Italy 84 0.19
18. UK 79 0.18
19. Hungary 30 0.07
20. Spain 29 0.07
21. East Germany (GDR) 25 0.06
22. Canada 7 0.02
23. Jordan 2 0.005
Total 43915
source: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

Of the top five suppliers of weapons imports to Iraq, only one was a western country. Good old France.

Yeah, the US certainly helped arm Iraq (at the same level Libya did, #10 on the list) and was complicit when he used chemical weapons. So were most of the other nations of the world. His major suppliers were Russia, France, China(they are in our league), Czechoslovakia and Poland.
Reply

Zman
05-31-2007, 12:23 AM
Originally Posted by don532
Nice cut and paste. YOU still don't know what you're talking about. The tonnage of precurser chemicals sold to Iraq, and by whom, can even be found on the internet. Check it out. The US isn't even in the top five.

Chemicals didn't even figure into later conflicts with Iraq. It was mostly hardware.

The best armaments came from the west? It seemed in an earlier post you implied Russia was included in the west, but it isn't.

Take a look at the planes, trucks, most of the helicopters, rifles, artillery, tanks, etc. that rolled into Kuwait (yes he did invade a neighboring country) and what the US faced later. Does that look like US hardware? In case you can't tell, the vast majority is Russian T-series tanks, AK rifles, RPK machine guns, the occasional Dragunov, RPGs, MiG planes, Mi-series copters, Russian vehicles, etc.

Here's a cut and paste of my own showing Iraq's sources for weapons hardware. The columns are sloppy, but the message is there. The first number on the left in red is dollars. The number on the right in bold is percent of total. You can see Russia supplied 57.26% of Saddam's weapons at a cost of 25145 million 1990 US dollars, and so on down the line.

Imported weapons to Iraq in 1973-2002 (shown in millions of 1990 US dollars)
Country $MM USD 1990 % Total

1. USSR 25145 57.26
2. France 5595 12.74
3. China 5192 11.82
4. Czechoslovakia 2880 6.56
5. Poland 1681 3.83
6. Brazil 724 1.65
7. Egypt 568 1.29
8. Romania 524 1.19
9. Denmark 226 0.51
10. Libya 200 0.46
11. USA 200 0.46
12. South Africa 192 0.44
13. Austria 190 0.43
14. Switzerland 151 0.34
15. Yugoslavia 107 0.24
16. Germany (FRG) 84 0.19
17. Italy 84 0.19
18. UK 79 0.18
19. Hungary 30 0.07
20. Spain 29 0.07
21. East Germany (GDR) 25 0.06
22. Canada 7 0.02
23. Jordan 2 0.005
Total 43915 100.0%
source: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

Of the top five suppliers of weapons imports to Iraq, only one was a western country. Good old France.

Yeah, the US certainly helped arm Iraq (at the same level Libya did, #10 on the list) and was complicit when he used chemical weapons. So were most of the other nations of the world. His major suppliers were Russia, France, China(they are in our league), Czechoslovakia and Poland.

I said Best weapons, came from the West.

According to your own chart, out of the 23 nations listed, all but: China, Egypt, Libya, Jordan, Brazil, and South Africa are Western nations.

Out of the above non-Western nations, China, Brazil and South Africa have some good weapons, but nothing close to anything the West develops.

Out of the Western nations, the US, UK, France, and Russia, have top tier armaments.

Any weapons transactions couldn't have been done with the awareness and/or aprroval or looking the other way by the US (of course, depending on the political climate of the time and the time period, between the US & a particular non-Western entity).

Also, before we went to war with him in 1991, we forced all his military suppliers (like: France, Russia, etc) to give us the specs, strengths and weaknesses of all their weapons in his arsenal. Like his air defense capabilities, missiles, radars, etc. Therefore, we were able to disable his weapons and render them useless.That was even reported in the MSMs, and was gloated about constantly on the history and discovery channels.

You didn't address our being his supplier for chemical and biological agents, why is that?
Reply

don532
05-31-2007, 12:58 AM
I said Best weapons, came from the West.
And you also said the western nations armed Hussein. What western weapons did we face in either conflict with Iraq?

According to your own chart, out of the 23 nations listed, all but: China, Egypt, Libya, Jordan, Brazil, and South Africa are Western nations.
The top five supplied over 90% of Hussein's weapons. The only western country in the top five is France. Russia is not a western country and was by far Iraq's biggest supplier.

Out of the above non-Western nations, China, Brazil and South Africa have some good weapons, but nothing close to anything the West develops.

Out of the Western nations, the US, UK, France, and Russia, have top tier armaments.
Really. You obviously don't know anything about weapons these countries produce in any detail.

You didn't address our being his supplier for chemical and biological agents, why is that?
Sounds like you didn't read my post and yours on this subject very well.

Look, the propaganda you spew shows you don't know what you're talking about when it comes to this kind of stuff. Stick to something you know something about.
Reply

Zman
05-31-2007, 01:44 AM
Originally Posted by don532
Sounds like you didn't read my post and yours on this subject very well.

Look, the propaganda you spew shows you don't know what you're talking about when it comes to this kind of stuff. Stick to something you know something about.

Actually, you are the one who didn't bother to read the articles I posted which prove what the West supplied him with.

You then counter by saying that since we didn't face any Western-made Jets or tanks, that's the proof that we didn't arm him. Which is a pretty sophomoric defense.

You counter my proof with your own opinion, and accuse me of disseminating propaganda? Thanks for the chuckle.

You still refuse to address the chemical & biological agents we supplied him? Got any of your propaganda to share with us?

It looks like YOU are the one who doesn't know anything about the topic...
Reply

don532
05-31-2007, 02:34 AM
I did read your response completely. Here are some excerpts.

From your response, or your "proof" as you called it:

Last winter, in Baghdad's annual Army Day parade, Hussein displayed some of Iraq's extraordinary arsenal, . At least half of Iraq's conventional weapons were purchased from its ally, the Soviet Union, but France was also a major source, providing its sophisticated Mirage fighters and deadly Exocet missiles. And there were many others -- China, South Africa, Czechoslovakia, Egypt and Brazil. At one point, in the 1980s, Iraq was the biggest importer of arms in the world.
As you can see, this substantiates my information.

Again, from your response:
Officially, most Western nations participated in a total arms embargo against Iraq during the 1980s, but as we shall see in this broadcast, Western companies, primarily in Germany and Great Britain, but also in the United States, sold Iraq the key technology for its chemical, missile, and nuclear programs.
Yes, the US was involved, but not alone or the majority player in chemicals.

The majority player in chemicals technology was Germany:
By the late '70s, however, they discovered that there were West German companies that would gladly provide this kind of equipment. So, basically, they went into Germany, they found companies and individuals who would help them, and over the course of four or five years they built a small but capable production infrastructure.
Also in your response, it shows some of the ways in which Iraq did get chemicals from the US was illegal and with shell companies, not with consent from the US government.
The technique used by Iraq to separate itself from the orders began here in New York. The actual orders were made by NUKRAFT, which the government says is a shell company based in this warehouse district in Brooklyn.


“Officers say U.S. aided Iraq despite the use of gas”.
This doesn't say we provided the gas, it says we aided him in spite of it, which is correct. We did that.


But the US helped Iraq develop its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs.
That's true. We were involved. But we were far from the ones that supplied him with his chemical weapons program as a major supplier.

Again, from your response:
Despite the attempts by governments to control such weapons, there is much evidence that Iraq received a great deal of outside, and especially European, help with building its chemical warfare capability. West German companies in particular seem to have played a leading role in this. (Stern, 23.8.90)
You can see from your own response, as I previously stated, Russia and France were Iraq's biggest suppliers of conventional weaponry. The US was involved in chemical weapons technology and supplies getting to Iraq, but Germany was the major supplier of chemical weapons technology.

I found this on wikipedia regarding the supplies of precursor chemicals shipped to Iraq:
By far, the largest suppliers of precursors for chemical weapons production were in Singapore (4,515 tons), the Netherlands (4,261 tons), Egypt (2,400 tons), India (2,343 tons), and West Germany (1,027 tons). One Indian company, Exomet Plastics (now part of EPC Industrie) sent 2,292 tons of precursor chemicals to Iraq. The Kim Al-Khaleej firm, located in Singapore and affiliated to United Arab Emirates, supplied more than 4,500 tons of VX, sarin, and mustard gas precursors and production equipment to Iraq.[2]
Reply

Zman
05-31-2007, 03:10 AM
Originally Posted by Zman

Let's not forget that the U.S. is the largest arms supplier to the world.

:sl:

U.S. Sells The Most Weapons To Others

Posted: 8/30/2005
USA Today

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is the largest supplier of weapons to developing nations, delivering more than $9.6 billion in arms to Near East and Asian countries last year.

The U.S. sales to the developing countries helped boost worldwide weapons sales to the highest level since 2000, a congressional study says.

The total worldwide value of all agreements to sell arms last year was close to $37 billion, and nearly 59% of the agreements were to sell weapons to developing nations, according to the Congressional Research Service report.

The weapons being sold range from ammunition to tanks, combat aircraft, missiles and submarines.

As economic pressures led to a worldwide decline in weapons orders — from about $42 billion in 2000 to $37 billion last year — competition is forcing the U.S. and European countries to forge agreements to develop weapons jointly.

The CRS report released Monday said worldwide arms deliveries to developing nations rose from $20.8 billion in 2003, to $22.5 billion last year. Agreements to sell weapons, meanwhile, shot up from $15.1 billion to nearly $21.8 billion last year. China, Egypt and India were the heaviest buyers of the weapons.

Last year, for example, the U.S. completed agreements to sell helicopters and other weapons to Egypt, radar systems to Taiwan, helicopters to Brazil and Israel and other weapons systems to Oman and Pakistan.

...Developing countries are the weapons' primary buyers. And the U.S. has been the most active seller for the past eight years, resulting mainly from agreements made in the aftermath of the first Gulf War. The U.S. was responsible for more than 42% of the deliveries to developing nations in 2004.

Russia, which ranks second, sells mostly to China and India, as well as a number of smaller, poorer countries.

The CRS study, which is done each year, was written by national defense specialist Richard Grimmett. He said in the study that developed nations have tried in recent years to emphasize joint projects rather than simply buying the weapons from each other, so they can preserve their own industrial bases.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Source & Complete Report:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washing...s-dealer_x.htm
Reply

don532
05-31-2007, 03:42 AM
Originally Posted by Zman

Let's not forget that the U.S. is the largest arms supplier to the world.

It sells them to anyone who'll pay. Many nations put their people into debt for generations at the behest of our government, the military machine and arms suppliers.

We sell weapons to people/nations who shouldn't have weapons; who should concentrate on education/health/economic development; for the almighty dollar and to get our hooks into them.

The leading weapons suppliers to the world are located in the West (including Russia), China isn't in our league...
If you like, let's get back to your statement that started our exchange.

The US is the largest, as measured in dollars, supplier of arms to the world. That is true. To put it simply, ships, jets and missiles are a lot more expensive than AK-47s and land mines. Also, US hardware is generally, but not always, better engineered than most, so it's in demand.

What you charged is the US sells to anyone with money. That's not true today, nor was it true in Iraq as I have shown you. In fact, the US has now instituted international trafficking in arms regulations that are so far reaching, even companies that sell seemingly benign hardware have to closely watch what they sell, where they sell it, and what its final destination ultimately is. Google ITAR and try to read through that stuff. My employer has a whole crew of people that monitor what we do for ITAR compliance, and we aren't even 100% defense related. The penalties for violation can also be levied against company officers personally. The US government periodically sends ITAR auditors to visit us to ensure compliance.

You also charged that the sales of arms occur to some nations at the behest of our government. Nations come to us to buy. There's generally not a lot of salesmanship involved. I have a relative that works for a civilian company involved directly in the legal sale of military hardware (mostly parts, but not all) overseas. The US government doesn't push anything. In fact, what he does is very tightly controlled.

You may not accept all that, because it doesn't fit into the agenda you seem to adhere to in your posts. However, ITAR and other government regulations are facts. The records of what were shipped to Iraq are facts.

The statement about my relative, I admit is heresay. I am not going to publish his name as a source.

Do with this information what you want. I'm offering you some first hand knowledge and experience. This stuff is not my opinion, nor is it carelessly put together. I've been in this business almost 30 years. My experience has been there's a lot of talk about the arms business, but nobody really knows a lot about it. The US is not perfect, but the US is not the profit motivated gun runner some try to make it out to be.

I guess that last statement is an opinion, but it's an educated opinion you can take or leave.
Reply

Pygoscelis
05-31-2007, 11:26 AM
Originally Posted by Sami Zaatari
and also correction, iran has NEVER funded a group that attacked american soil, US on the other hand funds attacks on iranian soil, imagine iran did that, imagine the reaction of your people. therefore iran is very within its legal rights to attack the soil of the usa through a third party as usa has done against iran. you and your ppl cannot complain to that.

infact you started the war against iran in the 50's, with operation ajax, you overthrow a legitimate iranian regime who was backed by the ppl, the USA overthrow him, and installed the shah, so quite frankly iran is very within its rights to attack the USA as you have done it against them time and time again. you began the war against iran, not the other way.
He's right.

Not many americans will ever realize it, but he's right.

The Iranians didn't just wake up one day and decide "DEATH TO AMERICA". No.... America has earned the honour of being the recipient of that hatred.

The US is the one way waging wars on the other side of the planet, not Iran. It shocked me when the US had the gall to complain about possible Iranian involvement in Iraq post invasion. I mean... Iraq is Iran's neighbour. If the US has a right to invade countries halfway around the world, certainly Iran can take an interest in its neighbours that are freshly invaded by a force clearly looking to Iran as the next potential target.

It further shocks me that the US has the gall to try to claim moral high ground and label its actions a "War on Terror" as it sponsors terrorist organizations to infiltrate Iran.

If Bush was serious about fighting a war on terror, I'm afraid he'd have to bomb washington.
Reply

AvarAllahNoor
05-31-2007, 11:33 AM
We know this. Then they have the cheek to ask Iran to stop meddling in Iraqi affairs. Practice what you preach springs to mind.

Not long for dubya to sling his hook now....
Reply

Cognescenti
05-31-2007, 11:47 PM
Originally Posted by Sami Zaatari
and also correction, iran has NEVER funded a group that attacked american soil......
Other than the US Embassy, you mean? :D

The US Embassy in Tehran was US soil. That was a government-sanctioned invasion of US soil and the illegal capture of American diplomats. This was an unequivocal causus belli. Fortunately, for the Iranians, Carter was President and he was so ennervated from "lusting after other women" that he was unable to summon the tumescence to do something decisive about it. Had Reagan been in office, the outcome might have been different.

You might also ask the suriving families of the Marines killed in the Beirut barracks bombing how they felt about the small technicality that they weren't on US soil when they were murdered trying to protect the Palestinians from Sharon.
Reply

Pygoscelis
06-01-2007, 07:05 PM
Um, Muezzin, you deleted my post about how this war is misnamed yet leave the post in which I am called Rosie O'Donnel? I think your bias is showing. How embarrasing for you.
Reply

Muezzin
06-01-2007, 09:20 PM
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
Um, Muezzin, you deleted my post about how this war is misnamed yet leave the post in which I am called Rosie O'Donnel? I think your bias is showing. How embarrasing for you.
Not bias so much as a mistake. Sorry. That chain of posts (including mine) has all been deleted because it's off-topic. Peace? :)
Reply

Zman
06-02-2007, 07:50 AM
:sl:/Peace To All

Why The U.S. Granted 'Protected' Status To Iranian Terrorists

By Scott Peterson
Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
From The July 29, 2004 Edition
CSMonitor

The US State Department officially considers a group of 3,800 Marxist Iranian rebels - who once killed several Americans and was supported by Saddam Hussein - "terrorists."

But the same group, under American guard in an Iraqi camp, was just accorded a new status by the Pentagon: "protected persons" under the Geneva Convention.

This strange twist, analysts say, underscores the divisions in Washington over US strategy in the Middle East and the war against terrorism.

It's also a function of the swiftly deteriorating US-Iran dynamic, and a victory for US hawks who favor using the Mujahideen-e Khalq Organization (MKO) or "People's Holy Warriors," as a tool against Iran's clerical regime.

"How is it that [the MKO] get the Geneva Convention, and the people in Guantánamo Bay don't get it? It's a huge contradiction," says Ali Ansari, a British expert on Iran.

"This will be interpreted in Iran as another link in the chain of the US determination to move onto Iran next" in the US war on terror.

For months, Tehran has quietly signaled that it would turn over high-ranking Al Qaeda members in exchange for MKO members now in Iraq. The MKO's new status likely puts an end to any such deal.

The shift also comes as momentum builds in Washington to take some action against the Islamic republic. Wednesday, it was reported that Tehran has broken United Nations inventory seals and may resume work on constructing centrifuges - the machines used for enriching uranium.

Senior European diplomats - who brokered a private deal with Iran last October that included halting suspected nuclear weapons programs, in exchange for Western nuclear power expertise - are expected to secretly meet Iranian counterparts Thursday in London or Paris to see what can be salvaged of their agreement.

"US-Iran relations are drifting into very dangerous waters at the moment," says Mr. Ansari.

Indeed, the Pentagon decision comes amid a string of critical reports about Iran that are causing some US lawmakers to wonder whether the Bush administration's action against Iraq should have been aimed instead at Iran.

But some analysts see the change as related to the US presidential election.

"This whole dynamic is tied up with [US] domestic politics...and not about the MKO itself, which is not really a major threat to Iran anymore," says Mohamed Hadi Semati, a political scientist from Tehran University now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

"The neocons were losing ground, and this new Iran bashing is seen by them as an opportunity to drum up the theme of terror and the possibility of a collision with Iran - therefore, you need a very decisive leader in the White House," says Mr. Semati.

"At the same time, Iran is giving a lot of ammunition to [Bush administration hawks on Iran]."

The Mujahideen is a cultish Marxist group that was ordered to leave Iraq last December by the US-appointed Iraqi leadership, which decried the "black history of this terrorist organization." The expulsion was never carried out.

A website of the National Council of Resistance of Iran - the MKO's political wing - on Sunday quoted its exiled leader Maryam Rajavi as saying the US decision was a "triumph for the Iranian Resistance and the Iranian people."

The MKO, which would like to topple the Islamic regime in Tehran, says they would establish a more democratic, secular government.

The MKO is not known to have conducted any anti-US attacks, according to the US State Department, since assassinating several Americans in the 1970s.

While hosted by Saddam Hussein in Iraq, MKO militants stood shoulder to shoulder with their hosts during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s - a choice that permanently damaged their standing among most Iranians.

In Iraq itself, the MKO played important roles in the violent suppression of Kurdish and Shiite uprisings in 1991 and 1999 - actions that still grate with Iraq's new leadership.

US forces bombed MKO camps during the Iraq invasion, then made a cease-fire deal. Last August, the US forced the MKO to close its offices in Washington.

The State Department says it does not plan take the MKO off its terrorism list. But a July 21 memo from Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the US deputy commander in Iraq, told the MKO the decision "sends a strong signal and is a powerful first step on the road to your final individual disposition," according to a copy quoted by The New York Times.

Militants in the camp signed a statement renouncing violence and terrorism. In the memo, General Miller said he was "writing to congratulate each individual living in Camp Ashraf" of their status.

Tehran, which has demanded either the prosecution of MKO members or their handover to Iran, responded angrily.

"We already knew that America was not serious in fighting terrorism," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said on Tuesday, adding that the US had now created a new category of "good terrorists."

"The American resort to the Geneva Conventions to support the terrorist hypocrites [MKO] is naïve and unacceptable."

The changing status of the MKO is little surprise to some experts.

"The [terrorism] designation process is often hijacked for political purposes, and may shift with the wind," says Magnus Ranstorp, head of the Center for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at St. Andrews University in Scotland.

"Your enemy's enemy is your friend," says Mr. Ranstorp. "And certainly since the Iraq conflict, the MKO has gravitated toward a more serious category, because of political expediency."

That expediency appears to be part of a growing cascade of anti-Iran sentiment in the US that some say could eventually lead to military action.

Among the signals: The Sept. 11 Commission report found that perhaps half of the 9/11 hijackers passed through Iran without having their passports stamped, though they may have crossed without official knowledge.

Some US and Iraqi officials - facing continued bloodshed and chaos in Iraq - accuse Iran of intervening to undermine the US occupation and the new "sovereign" Iraqi leadership.

Questions remain about the true intentions of Iran's nuclear power effort, which the US accuses of being a front for a weapons program. Several senior Al Qaeda members remain - in custody, according to Iranian officials - in Iran.

And Europeans - once supportive of constructive engagement with Iran - have been taken aback by Iranian waffling on nuclear inspections, the rejection of thousands of candidates from elections last February, and the spectacle of British sailors arrested last month.

In Washington earlier this month, Republican senators introduced the "Iran Freedom and Support Act of 2004," a $10 million measure to support pro-democracy groups and broadcasting.

Tehran responded that "those who draft such plans lag behind the times, they live in their daydreams."

In a recent Council on Foreign Relations report, several Iran experts have called for a limited re-engagement with Iran. They say that lack of any official contact with Iran for 25 years has harmed US interests.

But British historian Ansari says, "At the moment, I would lay more blame on the Iranians, because they are in a position of strength...and should now seize the initiative and make bold and constructive suggestions." He adds, "they're not doing anything.... they are miscalculating."

Meanwhile, the MKO may have its own model to follow, and use its "protected" status as a springboard.

"They are trying desperately to set themselves up as Iran's equivalent of the Iraqi National Congress," says Ansari, referring to the Iraqi opposition group led by former Pentagon favorite Ahmed Chalabi.

"The Iranians will be aware that the Americans are trying to keep them as a potential INC."

Source:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0729/p07s01-wome.html
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