Bush on warpath over UN's shock report on Iran A-bomb

 By Con Coughlin


7 September 2003




America will tomorrow demand that the United Nations takes urgent action to prevent Iran acquiring the atom bomb as fears mount that Teheran is on course to develop a nuclear weapons capability within two years.

United States officials will make the demand at a special meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna that has been arranged to consider a 10-page report by Mohammed al-Baradei, the agency's director-general, into the state of Iran's nuclear programme.

Washington has already expressed deep concern about the discovery of traces of weapons grade uranium found in soil samples taken from one of Iran's top secret nuclear facilities last July.

In his report, a copy of which has been obtained by The Telegraph, Mr al-Baradei lists serious concerns raised by UN weapons inspectors about the scope of Iran's nuclear programme, which Teheran continues to insist is aimed at developing a nuclear power industry.

Inspectors are particularly concerned about activity at a nuclear complex at Natanz, in central Iran, which has sophisticated equipment for enriching uranium to weapons grade standard.

Even though the complex was built five years ago, the Iranian authorities only confirmed its existence to the IAEA earlier this year after its location was revealed by Iranian exiles.

The report also details the inspectors' concerns about the development of a heavy water facility at Arak, which they believe could help Iran to manufacture weapons grade uranium.

Mr al-Baradei writes in the report's conclusion that "there remain a number of important outstanding issues, particularly with regard to Iran's enrichment programme, that require urgent resolution".

US officials, however, are concerned that Mr al-Baradei, who this year argued in favour of UN inspectors being given more time to locate Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, will try to play down the significance of the recent discoveries made in Iran.

One American closely involved in monitoring Iran's nuclear programme said: "The big difference between Iraq and Iran is that the Iranians now have the ability to develop an atom bomb within two years. The time has come to force the Iranians to come clean about their real intentions."

Although Mr al-Baradei admits that the Iranians have deployed a variety of delaying tactics to prevent UN inspectors gaining access to secret nuclear facilities, he believes that they should be given more time to comply with their obligations under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

American officials fear that many Europeans on the IAEA's 35-member board of governors, some of whose countries have lucrative trade ties with Teheran, will back Mr al-Baradei's position


Israel failed to assassinate Sheikh Ahmed Yassin
Sheikh Ahmad Yassin

Amman- Fact International

From Dr. Zakaria Al-Sheikh

6 September 2003

In a move described to be one of the most dangerous assassination attempts by Israeli occupying forces, Sheikh Ahmed Yassen the founder of the popular Jihadic Palestinian Islamic movement (Hamas) survived an assassination attempt by an apachee American made gun ship in a heavily populated area in Gaza strip, news agencies reported.
Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, who is totally paralysed suffered minor injuries on his hands, while Sheikh Ismael Abu Hania, a top ranking official of Hamas who was on the scene of the targeted building did not suffer any injury, according to Abu Hania who was interviewed by Arab satellite channels.
Ariel Sharon, the prime minister of the Israeli occupying forces, the master mind of Dair Yassin and Sabra and Shatela massacres, adopted the strategy of assassination of the political leaders of Hamas and all Islamic and national Palestinian resistance movements since he gained power, such policy led to the circle of violence and revenge which resulted to the collapse of all efforts exerted by the international community to implement the Road Map peace plan.
It is believed by political analysis that Sharon is trying to take advantage of the internal political Palestinian crisis taking place at this time, due to the resignation of the prime Minster of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas today, by hunting down important Palestinian leaders such as Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, to send a message to the world opinion that Hamas is behind the collapse of the peace process.       

Arafat Accepts PM's Resignation

6 September 2003

Mahmoud Abbas

By LARA SUKHTIAN, Associated Press Writer

RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, increasingly unpopular and worn out by a power struggle with Yasser Arafat , resigned Saturday dealing a serious blow to a U.S.-backed peace plan.

Arafat accepted the resignation, and now has two weeks to name a new prime minister, said a senior Palestinian official who spoke on condition of anonymity. In the meantime, Abbas' Cabinet will remain in place as a caretaker government.

Abbas' departure after only four months in office meant even greater uncertainty for the "road map" peace plan, already in serious trouble because of a major spike in violence in recent weeks and the collapse of a unilateral truce by militants.

With Abbas gone, Israel and the United States don't have a negotiating partner, at least temporarily. The two nations shun Arafat, saying he is an obstacle to peace-making.

Israel said Saturday it will not accept a government controlled by Yasser Arafat or one of his loyalists.

"Israel is monitoring the developments, and says it will not accept a state of affairs in which control over the Palestinian Authority reverts back to Yasser Arafat or one of his loyalists," said a statement from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon .

Abbas' departure was expected to further hurt Arafat's international standing if he is seen as having engineered the prime minister's departure.

It could also lower the threshold for possible Israeli action against Arafat; Israel's defense minister has raised the possibility of sending Arafat into exile.

Israeli Cabinet Minister Danny Naveh on Saturday called for Arafat's ouster, Israel Army Radio said. Other government officials withheld comment Saturday, and Israel's position on the matter remained unclear.

Abbas, who might have been ousted anyhow in a confidence vote in parliament next week, had his resignation letter delivered to Arafat by two senior officials Saturday before addressing the legislature in a closed-door session to explain his decision.

Palestinian officials said they feared the resignation would lead the region into further chaos.

"We are entering a new crisis and the price of this crisis will be the shedding of a lot of blood," said Kadoura Fares, a legislator from the ruling Fatah movement.

Abbas had been frustrated by the constant wrangling with Arafat, his aides said. He was also hurt by the near-collapse of the road map and his inability to improve the daily lives of Palestinians.

On Thursday, when Abbas addressed legislators, he was heckled and shoved by an angry crowd of Arafat supporters, including several armed and masked men.

Even if he hadn't resigned, Abbas might have been forced out. He faced a vote of confidence in parliament in the coming days, and there was growing dissatisfaction in parliament with his performance and his difficulties with Arafat.

Abbas' resignation could also end up being a blow to Arafat, even if at first it appeared the veteran leader had outmaneuvered his politically inexperienced prime minister.

Israel's defense minister, Shaul Mofaz, said earlier this week that Israel might have to expel Arafat before the end of the year, if Arafat keeps getting into the way of peace efforts. Israeli analysts have said Abbas' departure was one scenario in which Israel might decide to act.

Until now, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has held back on expulsion, both because of U.S. opposition and because of warnings from his security advisers that sending Arafat abroad would do more harm than keeping him relatively isolated at his West Bank headquarters.

Abbas and Arafat have been at odds ever since Arafat appointed the prime minister under intense international pressure in April. The latest standoff was over control of the security forces. Abbas, backed by the United States, demanded command over all men under arms, but Arafat refused to relinquish control over four of the eight security branches.

Abbas had said he would not clamp down on militants as required by the U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan. However, being in control of all the security forces would have given him greater authority in renewed negotiations with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and renegades from his own Fatah movement.

Earlier this week, Abbas told parliament it must either back him or strip him of his post, saying he was not clinging to the job and would just as soon step down.



Anger at top Arab reporter's arrest

6 September 2003



                                   Tayseer Alouni                                Judge Baltasar Garzon

Arabic news channel al-Jazeera has condemned the arrest of its correspondent Tayseer Alouni by police in the southern Spanish city of Granada.

Mr Alouni was detained at his home on the orders of Judge Baltasar Garzon on suspicion of links with al-Qaeda as part of an investigation into Islamic militant operations in Spain.

The Qatar-based television channel said it had contacted human rights organisations for support

"There are other journalists who have relations with al-Qaeda suspects and there are other networks who air tapes and statements from al-Qaeda," the channel's editor-in-chief, Ibrahim Hilal, told the Associated Press.

"Why is al-Jazeera's correspondent the one arrested then?"

Bin Laden interview

A celebrated correspondent, Mr Alouni became well-known throughout the Arab world for his work in Afghanistan during the US-led war there.

He was one of the few reporters allowed to work under the Taleban regime and interviewed Osama Bin Laden in October 2001.

"Anyone can have acquaintances who are linked to al-Qaeda, and this is not a crime," Mr Hilal said of his correspondent.

"It is only a crime when these relations are used in an illegal way and not when they are used for journalistic purposes."

Al-Jazeera spokesman Jihad Blut told the AFP news agency that the network had appointed a lawyer to defend Mr Alouni.


Mr Alouni, Syrian by birth but now holding a Spanish passport, was arrested at his home by police with a warrant, his wife Fatima said.

"Police in civilian clothes came to our door with a warrant to search the house and to arrest Tayseer..." she said.

She dismissed the allegations against him and saying: "This is not true."

Police sources said Mr Alouni had been taken to Madrid after his arrest at noon on Friday.

The sources said Mr Alouni was suspected of giving support to Edin Barakat Yarkas, also known as Abu Dahdah, who was arrested in Spain in November 2001 on suspicion of being the leader of an Islamist fundamentalist cell in the country.

Mr Alouni is expected to appear in court on Monday.

A report on al-Jazeera's website said the organisation had been informed by Spanish intelligence sources that Mr Alouni was being held under anti-terrorist laws and so could be held for three days while being questioned without access to a lawyer.

A number of suspected al-Qaeda members have been arrested in Spain since the 11 September attacks in New York and Washington.

Some have been accused of links to the attack and remain in custody but others have been released because of lack of evidence.



Toronto Sun | September 6, 2003

Israel is real


It's strange how when it comes to the Middle East, people's sense of
history evaporates before our eyes. I realize this from the letters I
receive when I write about the issue. So much hatred, so much ignorance, so
much anti-Semitism. Yet without history there can be no foundation to

Is Israel a Jewish land? Yes, without doubt. If anyone questions this, let
them read rather than rant, think rather than react. Jewish land for
millennia, before the Arabs were a people and Islam a religion. Pagans
drove the Jews out long before the time of Christ, but they returned to
their beloved nation. Where they remained until the second century AD. Even
after this forced expulsion, many stayed. The Jewish presence in Israel is
without pause.

A seamless garment of historical reality and miraculous determination. The
rebirth of a language and a people the world wished to expunge.
This last expulsion was at the hands of the Romans. And what a struggle it
was. It took Julius Caesar 25,000 men to conquer all of France and then the
Anglo-Saxons across the English Channel. Alexander the Great needed just
32,000 warriors to form an entire empire. The Germanic tribes were subdued
with 15,000 legionnaires.

But the Romans required more than 80,000 hardened men to take the land of
the Jews, who had little more than 23,000 soldiers. It also took several
bloody and costly years. Jerusalem was besieged, but the Jews stood firm.
Finally the legions broke through, and days of hand-to-hand fighting
ensued. Tooth and fist, dagger and knife, sword and club. Bow and arrow,
pike, axe and sling, rock and shield.

Until the Romans were thrown back. Knowing they could not win by force of
arms, the invaders made sure that disease and starvation so weakened the
Jews that defence eventually folded. In the aftermath of the conquest more
than 600,000 Jewish civilians were murdered, including women and children.
Rape, slavery, torture. But still the Jews returned.

Sixty years later they rose again, and repeatedly defeated the Romans and
their allies. Once more, however, sheer weight of numbers eventually
triumphed. The Jews were expelled from their national home, with a special
few managing to evade the authorities and stay put.
Those who could not remain fled to whichever nation would take them. For
1,800 years they were at best treated with a grudging tolerance, at worst
with hatred and violence. With the latter half of the 20th century came a
change in perception and understanding. First class citizens at last; at
least in most places.

The hatred never quite evaporated. Countries as far apart as Russia and
Argentina still spewed out their venom. The Arab states expelled 800,000
Jews, not because they were supporters of Israel - they were loyal citizens
of these Arab states - but simply because they were Jews. The world said
little. One country, however, would accept these victims with open and
loving arms. Israel.
Jewish people began to return en masse to their once and future nation in
the 19th century, and to immigrate to their land of origin in ever larger
numbers after pogrom and Holocaust. They still return today, even though
Israel has become the scapegoat for the more base citizens of this morally
addled world.
Thus the anti-Zionist position is largely racist and certainly
intellectually vacuous. Simply it is this: "You Jews had a home, but were
thrown out by a grasping empire. Few treated you well in your Diaspora, but
get used to it. You have no right to go back to the land of your fathers
and mothers."

Such a position, based as it is on the precise opposite of ethical and
Biblical norms, should be anathema to Jew, Christian and, yes, Muslim; and
to anybody who understands justice and fairness. Give the Palestinians a
state and give them dignity and happiness, but not in a country that does
not belong to them. And goodness me, the Arab people already have so many
countries, and so much empty and unused land.

Jerusalem fell. It will not do so again. Israel is splashed by its enemies
with bestial terror, psychotic hatred, unscrupulous denial, murderous
paranoia and blood lust. But none of this will bring down the walls of
Judah. Never again.

Michael Coren is a Toronto-based writer and broadcaster. He can be emailed
at info@michaelcoren.com and his web site is michaelcoren.com.
Letters to the editor should be sent to editor@sunpub.com.




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