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  1. يرجى نشر المواضيع ذات الصلة بالعامل أو التدخل الأميركي في الأنتخابات النيابية في العراق لعام 2010
  2. Investigative Reporter Seymour Hersh: US Indirectly Funding Al-Qaeda Linked Sunni Groups in Move to Counter Iran Wednesday, February 28th, 2007 http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/28/150251 Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh joins us to talk about his explosive new article in the New Yorker Magazine. Hersh reports that John Negroponte’s decision to resign as National Intelligence Director was made in part because of the Bush administration’s covert actions including the indirect funding of radical Sunni groups - some with ties to al-Qaeda - to counter Shiite groups backed by Iran. Hersh also reports the Pentagon has established a special planning group to plan a bombing attack on Iran and U.S. military and special-operations teams have already crossed the border into Iran in pursuit of Iranian operatives. [includes rush transcript] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- John Negroponte was sworn in to his new position as Deputy Secretary of State on Tuesday at a ceremony attended by President Bush. Negroponte resigned from his post as National Intelligence Director in early January. His career includes stints as Ambassador to Iraq after the US invasion and ambassador to Honduras, where he was accused of overseeing the arming of Nicaraguan rebels during the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s. In an explosive new article, the New Yorker Magazine reports that Negroponte’s decision to resign as National Intelligence Director was made in part because of the Bush administration’s covert actions in the Middle East, which so closely echo Iran-Contra. According to investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, the Bush administration, with Saudi Arabia, is secretly funding radical Sunni groups - some with ties to al-Qaeda - to counter Shiite groups backed by Iran. Moreover, this is being done without any Congressional authority or oversight. Hersh also reports the Pentagon has established a special planning group within the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to plan a bombing attack on Iran. The new panel has been charged with developing a plan that could be implemented within 24 hours of getting the go-ahead from President Bush. Hersh also reveals that U.S. military and special-operations teams have already crossed the border into Iran in pursuit of Iranian operatives. Seymour Hersh joins me now from Washington DC. Seymour Hersh. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist for the New Yorker magazine. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- RUSH TRANSCRIPT This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution. AMY GOODMAN: Seymour Hersh is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for The New Yorker magazine, joining us now from Washington, D.C. Welcome to Democracy Now!, Sy Hersh. SEYMOUR HERSH: Good morning. AMY GOODMAN: It’s nice to have you back from Egypt. SEYMOUR HERSH: Yeah, that's right. AMY GOODMAN: Talk about what you have found. Start off with John Negroponte. SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, I did not talk to him. He did not deny the story. He simply refused to comment when The New Yorker sent a series of questions to his office at the State Department. Essentially, it was simply that there were a couple of reasons that he wanted out of the job, the job that McConnell -- you just heard in your opening -- took after him. One was that he didn't get along with Cheney very well, because he was considered to be too much of a stickler, or “legalistic” was another term people used, in terms of agreeing with some of the covert and clandestine operations by the Pentagon. As many now know, the Pentagon has been running operations without any congressional oversight for years -- this has been written about -- on the basis that they are all part of the war, preparing the battlefield, having to do with military affairs, not intelligence, and therefore, since they were not intelligence, there was no reason to abide by legislation reporting covert intelligence operations. They were simply military activities that the President could authorize without Congress. And he disagreed with that. He disagreed. I guess you could say Negroponte found some of these operations to be risky and also perhaps illegal. But the one that really upset him the most was the covert operations that we’re doing in various places in the Middle East, targeted against the Iranians and also the Shia with funds used in some part by Bandar. And, Amy, I should say one thing to correct what you said in the opening, just to adjust it. It’s not as if we’re ever going to find any evidence that American money went to any Sunni terrorist jihadist groups in Lebanon, which I allege. There is no direct connection. What there is is a flood of American money, none of it approved by Congress, into the government of Lebanon, which is Sunni. The government of Prime Minister Siniora. And they, in turn, funnel it into various -- at least three different Sunni jihadist groups. AMY GOODMAN: Now, explain -- first of all, you talked about Prince Bandar, this, the former ambassador to the United States. SEYMOUR HERSH: Twenty-two years here, yes. AMY GOODMAN: Known as “Bandar Bush.” SEYMOUR HERSH: Not by me. AMY GOODMAN: So he was the ambassador who sat with President Bush a few days after the 9/11 attacks, as they smoked cigars at the White House. SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, he’s very close to Cheney. He was ambassador here for twenty-two years. He left a few years ago, replaced by a man named Prince Turkey, who’s a very eminent member of the royal family, was head of intelligence for the Saudi government, also ambassador to London. And Turkey came, and Turkey quit after less than two years on the job, because Bandar had a backdoor or private relationship with too many people in the administration. He was seeing Cheney without telling Turkey. You know, he was arranging meetings. So Bandar has a one-on-one relationship, I assume, with the President -- I can say firsthand with Cheney -- and also very close to certain members of people inside the White House, including Elliott Abrams, the former -- who’s now a -- I think he’s the senior advisor on the Middle East for the National Security Council and a Deputy National Security Advisor to the President. AMY GOODMAN: So, what exactly is the role of Prince Bandar, who’s now no longer ambassador, back in Saudi Arabia? SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, you know, “exactly,” I don't know. We’re talking about a world that’s very murky and about which nobody wants to talk officially, unofficially even, except for a few people. In other words, I can't go to the Saudi Arabian government and say, “Give me an explanation of what’s going on.” That’s just -- you know, forget it. We try. Bandar left here, and everybody thought his career was over, including -- he did, too. And he ended up being named National Security Advisor. And lo and behold, in the last three or four months he has emerged as a major player for the United States. He’s met with the Israelis. What’s happened very simply is the president decided some time in the last three or four months, perhaps earlier, but he’s put it into effect in the last three or four months, he has decided to work with the British, the UK, and the Israelis, and join up -- all three of those countries will join up with what we call the moderate Sunni governments -- that is, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia -- all very strongly Sunni, and those six countries would work together against the Shia and against Iran collectively. And in Lebanon, for example, there is a longstanding political -- it’s been going on for months -- so really a political standoff between the Siniora government, the Sunni Siniora government, which supports us and we support, and a coalition headed by Hezbollah, the Shia group that we always call a terrorist group, that was a terrorist group but is now working pretty much in the last six or seven years domestically and politically inside Lebanon with still great capacity. We’re also working against the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria. He’s not a Sunni, he’s an Alawite, which is also a minority sect that the Sunni world -- you know, in the Sunni world, for the Sunni jihadists, if you’re not a Sunni and you don't support their particular view, political view of the Koran, you’re an infidel, you’re expendable. And as an Alawite, Bashar Assad is, too. And also, of course, everybody has also targeted Iran. So there’s been -- the article is called “The Redirection.” That’s what they call it in the White House. There’s been a sort of a massive shift of attention away from Iraq towards Iran, towards stopping Hezbollah in Lebanon and towards doing something about Assad. AMY GOODMAN: So who is getting the money in Lebanon right now? SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, it’s money that’s flowing in, covert money. A lot of it came when -- all of this started in Lebanon after the assassination of Rafik Hariri, whose assassination took place, I think, two years ago this month in February of ’05. Immediately, we, the United States and our allies, blamed Syria. There’s no empirical evidence Syria did it. That seems to be the prevailing view, but there’s just no evidence. There’s an awful lot of political assassinations in Lebanon. There’s twenty or so in the last ten years. It’s just that’s one aspect. And what happened is the Sunni government there became our big ally, and we did everything we could to support it. We flooded -- if somebody -- I think we called it the Cedar Revolution. And it was a sense of -- the Sunni government in opposition to Nasrallah, who we view as a major terrorist threat. And I think I have to tell you, digress a second to say that I don't know a thing about Bush. I know something about what Cheney thinks, and that is in terms of having some people with firsthand access. And Cheney does believe that -- the core belief of Cheney is that Iran is going to get a bomb, no matter what the intelligence is. As you know, there’s not much intelligence supporting the fact that it has a bomb. Iran’s going to get a bomb, and once it gets a bomb, its agent, its brown shirt -- and that’s the phrase they use at least once or twice inside the White House -- its brown shirts will be Hezbollah. And they have a capacity in America. They have underground facilities, cells here, and when Iran gets the bomb, they will give it to Hezbollah to distribute it, and Washington and New York will be vulnerable. In other words, Cheney sees what’s going on now as a threat to the United States directly. He doesn't view this as simply something that’s happening in Western Europe or the Middle East. He is protecting America by taking a preemptive, a proactive action right now. And so, in Lebanon, once Hariri fell and there was a crisis there, we immediately moved to support any group that was against Nasrallah and Hezbollah. And so, we’ve poured a lot of money, illicit money. It was not authorized by Congress. Money went pouring in there. Former retired CIA guys were put in there. Retired people went in there, other agencies. The funds came, nobody is quite sure where. There’s a lot of pools of black money around, a lot of money. Undoubtedly, some was, I’m told, came from Iraq. That is, as you know, there were hearings the other week that showed $9 billion in Iraqi oil money mysteriously disappeared and was unaccounted for. Some of that money was washed around. There was also a lot of money found after Saddam fell. We found several caches of huge amounts, you know, hundreds of millions, and billions of dollars in some cases, of cash. We also found money in various ministries. There’s no, really, accountability, and a lot of it could have ended up in black pools. It’s just not clear where the money came from, and it’s not supposed to be clear. What you do is you wash the money in. You get it to certain people. The government of Lebanon underwrites its internal security people. And what we do know is, in the last few years, or less than that, the last year or so, three jihadist groups, three Sunni Salafi or Wahhabi -- these are the religious sects out of Saudi Arabia, and don’t forget, fifteen of the nineteen guys who went into the building in New York, the two towers, were Saudis and from the extreme religious -- they were jihadists from -- either Salafis or Wahhabis. And we know that the groups now -- there are three groups, similar in character -- according to reports I’ve read, some of the people in these groups were trained in Afghanistan, closely associated with al-Qaeda, not everybody. It’s a loose network. What you have around the world is these terror groups operating independently of Osama bin Laden, although it’s not clear they don’t have some ways of communicating. Through the web or what, we’re not sure. But these three groups, two years ago, we would have done everything we could in the United States to arrest them and sent them to Gitmo, Guantanamo, or some other place. Instead, we’re throwing money into the country, into the government, into the internal security apparatus, and the internal security facilities or mechanisms inside Lebanon are underwriting these groups. They, as soon as one group came across the border from Syria, were immediately giving material, a place to live, arms, and resupplied. There are three such groups that are operating. And why are they there? Because in case things go bad in Lebanon and we end up in a civil war between Hezbollah and its partners in the coalition and the Sunni government, this is a very tough bunch of guys that can handle, we think, the tough guys inside Hezbollah. It’s sort of a matching game. And so, in effect, you sleep with the -- you know, the enemy of your enemy is your friend. Bandar, as I wrote in this article, Bandar has assured us that the Salafi groups in Lebanon are OK. Don't worry about them. I think somebody said -- described it to me, he said at one point, “I’m a Wahhabi.” He’s a member of that austere religious sect, himself, in Saudi Arabia. “I can go and pray and then come back from the mosque and sit down, have a business meeting and have a drink.” And he said these groups in Lebanon, he told us, are targeted, not at America necessarily, they’re targeted at Iran, at Hezbollah, at Shias elsewhere, at Syria. That’s their prime target, and they’re OK. I quote others, including senior people from Saudi Arabia, saying this is really nutty, because these people are not controllable. So that’s where we are in that situation. It’s complicated. It’s very cynical, in a way. And what you have is a major sort of redirection. I had one military friend describe it as failing forward, talking about the failures in Iraq driving this policy. And you got it, kid. AMY GOODMAN: And the US is also funding, supporting, training the Sunni police in Iraq -- rather, the Shia police. SEYMOUR HERSH: Well -- the Shia police, no. Here’s the wonderful irony of it, of course, is that after 9/11, after we invaded Iraq, the neoconservatives in Washington wanted nothing to do with the Baathist party -- that’s Saddam’s party, most of them were Sunnis -- disbanded the Baathist party, disbanded the military -- a lot of Sunnis, a lot of Shia in the military, too, of course -- and threw in our weight with the Shia. Within months, the American intelligence community was raising a lot of questions internally. I was talking to people about this by the late spring of ’03. They were trying to tell the White House: you guys are making a big mistake, because Iran is the big winner of this war, particularly when we began to see signs of the insurgency, and the Shia are going to support Iran. The Shia are going to go with the Shia of Iran over you. And the neocon mantra -- there had been a war between Iran and Iraq for eight years during the 1980s, a very, very devastating war, thousands killed in any one set-piece battle. They would just rush each other. And the assumption of the neoconservatives was that the Iraqi Shiites, having fought the Iranian Shiites for so long and so brutally, would be loyal to Iraq. Well, it turned out the Shia tie, particularly when the occupation began and the American troops began, like all occupiers, became hated, I don’t think there was much we could do. We certainly --- our activities and the bombing and the violence didn't help, but no matter how we behave, occupiers historically are always hated. And so, once that happened, and we became -- the Americans became essentially the 200-octane fuel that drove the resistance, once that began, the Shiite immediately began to work with the Iranians much more. And all of this was ignored by the White House for years, because it didn't fit in with their preconceptions. AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for The New Yorker magazine. Don't go away. When we come back from our break, we’re going to ask him about this planning group within the Joint Chiefs of Staff that is planning to attack Iran. And, he says, once it gets the word, it could happen within twenty-four hours. Stay with us. [break] AMY GOODMAN: Seymour Hersh is our guest, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for The New Yorker magazine. He has an explosive new piece called "The Redirection." Before we go to the planning group that is ready to attack Iran within the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I want to ask you about this group of players you’ve laid out, Sy. You’re talking about Elliott Abrams, about Prince Bandar and their connections to twenty years ago to the Iran-Contra scandal. Explain. SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, it’s interesting. One of my favorite paragraphs in the story -- it’s unsourced -- but it describes a meeting within the last two years that Elliott Abrams called. Elliott Abrams, as some may remember, was a key player. He was in the Reagan White House in the National Security Council. And what happened is, twenty-some-odd years ago, Ronald Reagan wanted very much to stop what he saw as the revolutionary government of Nicaragua, the Sandinista government. He thought they were pro-communist. It’s a little bit like the Chavez issue today. And the CIA began supporting a group of opposition people known as the Contras, a pretty violent bunch of people. Congress authorized an amendment called the Boland Amendment. The congressmen just -- they passed an amendment saying no money for the Contras. So instead of adhering to that, the government then -- if you remember the name Ollie North and the National Security Advisor John Poindexter -- set up a sort of a Rube Goldberg scheme to sell arms through Israel to Iran. The Iranians were our bitter enemies at that time. We were only seven years from the overthrow of the Shah and the capture of our embassy people. If you remember, they were kept for more than a year. So, and the idea was to generate profits that would -- the sale would generate a lot of profits that would be used to fund the Contras. Well, this, of course, blew up in everybody's face. There were sort of inconclusive hearings in the Senate. A few people were charged, I don’t remember. Nothing much came out of it. They never got to the bottom of it. Nobody wanted to go after Reagan. It was ’87, etc., etc., whatever happened. So two years ago, Abrams, who’s still now in the government, even more important than ever, very conservative -- Elliott Abrams -- pro-Israel, etc., etc. He convened a meeting of all of those people in the Bush administration who had been connected to Iran-Contra. It was like a reunion, somebody said to me. And they did a “lessons learned.” What was the good thing? Well, the good thing is you could do things outside of Congress, who would stop you, those bad guys in Congress. You could do things for the good of the nation. That was the plus. The negatives were pretty extreme, because, of course, it got blown. Let's see, the negatives included, you don't trust your friends, you don't trust the uniformed military, you don't trust the CIA, and you don't let it be run by the NSC, by somebody like Poindexter. You move it into the Vice President's office, Cheney, Cheney’s office. I gather that was the time that they began thinking about this possibility, and obviously they were talking to Bandar all along, as I say, the former ambassador. He later became, when he left, he became the National Security Advisor of Saudi Arabia, sort of a surprise job, a new job they set up for him. And I think at that point, some point a long time ago, they began thinking about doing what they’re doing now, using Saudi money and some of the American funds wherever they get it, whether Iraq or other pools -- there’s a lot of black pools of money around, undeclared pools -- using American and Saudi money without going to Congress for anything to fund the kind of operations they want to fund, as I was describing, against Hezbollah, against etc., etc., etc. And so, this is the genesis, if you will, history, you know -- of course, I have never known an American government to learn from history. And once again, they haven't. They have now done another Rube Goldberg scheme here. I just don't know if Congress -- I can assure you that Congress knows very little about what’s going on now in Iran. They’re not being briefed. They know nothing about the money going in there, at least I’ve been told by people who are in a position to know. There’s been no real findings. AMY GOODMAN: So will they hold hearings? SEYMOUR HERSH: Oh, will anybody do anything? I don't know. I don't know. You know, you pump out this stuff. I started writing about Iran, I think, almost a year ago, about covert operations in Iran. And for the longest time, I felt a little bit like Chicken Little, you know, the guy running around saying, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” Well, now a lot of people are very interested in Iran. But still, I haven't seen -- as you know, there’s a vibrant -- in Europe the story like I write is huge, and this story is huge around the world. But it’s hard to -- you know, the major newspapers have troubles, because -- I don't think it’s because they don't want to run the story. They can't find people that will verify it for them, because this is such inside stuff, I guess. AMY GOODMAN: Seymour Hersh, can you talk about the planning group within the Joint Chiefs of Staff? SEYMOUR HERSH: That is nothing new, really. It’s just the same old story. That’s all contingency planning. There’s been no execute order. In other words, there’s no order to bomb Iran. The President has now -- a lot of the planning was done at a place in Virginia, a very secret joint staff facility, where the services would get together and discuss what to hit. And they moved it within the last three months. They’ve set up a special cell inside the Joint Chiefs, very secret. That’s sort of normal. Everything is secret in there. And they’ve been giving a number of -- at least two new developments have taken place. One is the President or the White House has asked for a bombing raid that can be put on within twenty-four hours. What can we hit if the President wakes up one morning and scratches something and says, “I want to go”? What can you do in the next twenty-four hours? They’ve done that, or they are doing that. The other significant change is, the debate all along about bombing internally, with the Air Force being very much for it, and a lot of the other services being very much against it -- there’s been tremendous dissension about this in the Joint Chiefs -- the initial targeting was what they call counter-proliferation -- that is, against the Iranian nuclear targets. As you know, Iran is a member of the nonproliferation regime and has released or made public all of its facilities, at least all of -- it’s declared many facilities, perhaps not all, but they say it’s all, to the International Atomic Energy Agency. So, using what we know from the IAEA, we’ve targeted a lot of things that we would destroy in case of a major assault. There’s also been something called regime change targeting. The wonderful word they use inside in the system is “decapitation.” You go after leadership nodules. You hit the leaders where they live, where they work. And you get rid of the top player, the mullahs running the government, and presumably in the fantasyland that exists among the neocons, the people then rush and take over, and they set up a democratic Iran that’s secular and pro-American. But what’s happened in the last month or two, in the wake of the President’s new campaign that’s very clear, since January 10th, I think, when he made his speech, we’ve seen an absolute drumbeat of allegations that Iran is involved in operations directly against America and responsible for killing Americans, you know, the stuff about bombs that they give. And I think it’s Article 51 of the UN, I see it, some of my friends see this, as a legal argument the President’s making. Under the UN articles, you have a right of self-defense. And if some country is killing your troops or acting against them, you can attack them. That seems to be one of the bases for why the President is saying what he’s saying. The Iranians are all over Iraq. They’ve been all over Iraq. There’s thousands inside Iraq at any time. They were there very early, walking around in black suits, white shirts with no ties, black shoes, white socks. They’re very clear. They’re not hiding themselves. Many did humanitarian things and other social things, really. Iran has a strong presence in Iraq and has all along. There is no evidence they’re shooting guns. They’re certainly helping to supply them, etc., etc., which, of course, makes sense for Iran. Why shouldn't they? The longer we are stalemated in Iraq, the better it is for them. They’re the winners of this war. So, in any case, the President then asked for a new wave of targeting to take place -- that is, targeting against terrorism targets inside Iran. I’m not sure what they’re talking about, maybe base camps, etc. And we’ve also, since last summer, dramatically increased cross-border operations, very aggressive activities, sometimes hot pursuit of what we claim are Iranians. We’re attacking the border more, going across more and more. There’s some people who think we could be looking for some sort of a response by Iran that would create casus belli so that we can do some actual physical assault with some justification. It’s not clear. I’m not clear why we’re being more aggressive. It seems -- I guess common sense would tell you maybe we are looking for some response. But the Iranians have not done it. AMY GOODMAN: And Iran has just accused the United States of attacking and killing eleven Iranian soldiers. SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, this is part of the game. And don't forget, as I wrote -- you know, I hate to say it, but as I wrote a year ago, we have been deeply involved with Azeris and Baluchis and Iranian Kurds in terror activities inside the country. I mean, this is -- and, of course, the Israelis have been involved in a lot of that through Kurdistan. So this has been going on for a year. Iran has been having sort of a series of backdoor fights, the Iranian government, because they are -- they have a significant minority population. Not everybody there is a Persian. If you add up the Azeris and Baluchis and Kurds, you’re really 30-some thousand, maybe even 40% of the country. AMY GOODMAN: Seymour Hersh, Dick Cheney went to Saudi Arabia in November. Now, well, he went to Asia and then showed up suddenly, a surprise visit, both to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and supposedly there was an attempted assassination, a bombing outside the base where he was. What is Cheney doing right now? SEYMOUR HERSH: Oh, how do I know? AMY GOODMAN: You seem to know a lot about a lot of things, especially around Dick Cheney. SEYMOUR HERSH: No, I don’t know. No, I just know -- well, you know, I think he's the horse. I don’t think -- there’s always -- every two weeks there’s a story in some newspaper saying he’s lost power. I don't think so. I think he still runs things. I think, you know, if Rice is going to do anything, attend some meeting, some ambassadorial minister-level meeting, it’s only done with Cheney's approval. But, of course, that’s just my heuristic thought. AMY GOODMAN: And the latest news yesterday of, the US will be involved in direct negotiations with Iran and Syria? SEYMOUR HERSH: Our definition of negotiations with Iran are very interesting. Our definition of a negotiating offer with Iran -- remember there was a big flurry last year, where we announced we would sit down at the table with Iran. Well, here’s the way we put it. The issue for us is Iran is continuing to do nuclear research and presumably, whether or not they have a bomb, they’re learning the techniques of making a weapon. And this is probably absolutely accurate. That’s what they are learning. They’re increasing the number of centrifuges they’re running, etc., etc., albeit with a lot of problems. And they’re nowhere down near a weapon. But they’re going for that process. So our position is that we will negotiate with Iran on that issue, on what they’re doing in terms of nuclear development, only after they stop all nuclear development. So our bargaining position is we will not negotiate with you about what you’re doing in terms of the nuclear development until you stop it. I mean, it is a total nonstarter. And so, I just am very skeptical about anything that’s going to come out of any ministerial or subsequent meeting with the Iranians and the Syrians. I don't think the President of the United States and the Vice President want to leave office with things as they are right now. AMY GOODMAN: You have always said you’re afraid of President Bush as a lame-duck president. Do you seriously think -- I know you’ve been writing about it for a year in The New Yorker magazine -- that he will attack Iran? Or do you see Israel attacking Iran? SEYMOUR HERSH: No. Israel would never attack Iran. The best they could do is fire some missiles from the Indian Ocean. They have submarines with cruise missiles. No, that’s not nearly enough. What’s a small attack? A major attack, if you’re going to do one, would have to come from the Americans. And Cheney has said internally he will never let the Israelis do it, it’s much better if we do it. But that I feel reasonably rational, I can say with some confidence. I can’t say anything at all about what the President will or will not do. There are people inside the military -- there’s two aircraft carrier groups in the region right now. One is inside the Straits of Hormuz, which is that narrow straits where all of the oil passes through, going from the Middle East to Asia. And it’s such a narrow channel that the US Navy never even had a carrier go into the Straits of Hormuz, because they’re accompanied by five or six ships, destroyers, etc., and they don’t have much maneuverability. They’re very vulnerable to attack. And I’m told by people that there will be two more carriers sent this spring to relieve the two ships, fleets that are there now. And they will all be kept there for a little while. One off Oman, one in what they call the North Arabian Sea, NAS, one in the Indian Ocean, and one in the Straits of Hormuz. And once those four groups are out there, you’re dealing -- you’re talking about an enormous amount of firepower. And it’s at that point some people inside the military are worried about what the President might or might not do. I don't think he’s going to do anything next year. It’s an election year. And he’s got to spend -- you know, he’s not an old man. He doesn't want to be hated by the Republican Party all the rest of his life. He’s damaging it enough now. But in ’08, he’s got to be careful. He’s got to give the Republicans a shot at the presidency. And the way he’s carrying on right now, he’s helping the Democrats. So, if he does it, it’ll be this year. And, you know, people worry about spring. And if he is in a position where he can authorize something on short notice, and you could with carriers all over the place -- there’s an awful lot of planes. They carry -- the carrier squadrons have destroyers with cruise missiles that can fire. You can hit a lot of things in Iran if you want. The Iranians, I should tell you, are absolutely preparing for the worst. They have been digging holes. They’ve been digging what they call bunkers for their leadership, survival bunkers, and not in Tehran, outside. We know where they’re digging. They’re going to move the leadership to underground facilities. The Russians did the same thing during the Cold War, and we, of course, have the same thing, underground bunkers to protect our leaders. They’re reinforcing a lot of buildings. They’ve moved most of the sensitive nuclear stuff, I think, out of the buildings where we think they are into -- probably into Tehran in the very heavily densely populated areas. So if we’re going to bomb nuclear facilities, we’re going to have to take a chance of an awful lot of collateral damage. And there’s also the possibility -- this is always raised -- that all of this is just some big send-up, that people like me are being used, stories are planted, that this is all part of a propaganda operation by the White House to put pressure on Iran. The only argument against that is, of course, it’s not going to work, and the Iranians will never back off. AMY GOODMAN: Seymour Hersh, what about the report in the Times of London that says five or six US generals will resign if the US attacks Iran? SEYMOUR HERSH: What paper was that? That’s of interest to me. Was it the Telegraph? AMY GOODMAN: I think it was the Times of London. SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, you know, it depends. The Telegraph, I always think, have tremendous intelligence about the Americans. It’s the conservative paper there that does a great job. A year ago, I wrote that officers are willing to resign inside, high-level officers inside the Joint Chiefs, on the basis of the fact that the White House refused to take out the nuclear option in the plans that were going on. And the military won that battle. The President agreed to a new plan that did not include a nuclear option. And so, that didn’t happen. So the only thing I know is that there is a precedent for it. When you talk about resignations in the Joint Chief, what you’re really talking about are not public resignations; you’re talking about early retirements. People just say, “I’m out of here.” Nobody goes public. They just don't do that in the middle of a war, because it’s just not seen as a senior officer as something you want to do to your troops on the ground. You don’t do something to walk away from them. So it would be -- my understanding is, if they did leave, it would be quiet. AMY GOODMAN: Seymour Hersh, I want to thank you very much for being with us. SEYMOUR HERSH: No sweat. AMY GOODMAN: Thank you. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with The New Yorker magazine. His latest piece that has caused such a stir, the explosive findings in this, called "The Redirection: Is the Administration's New Policy Benefiting Our Enemies in the War on Terrorism?" www.democracynow.org
  3. Due to the importance of this topic, the Moderator has decided to re-open this topic for a public discussion. نظرا لآهمية موضوع معركة بغداد وتأثيره على الساحة العراقية قرر مدير الموقع اعادة فتح الموضوع للمناقشة العامة.
  4. Thursday , January 11, 2007 Good evening. Tonight in Iraq, the Armed Forces of the United States are engaged in a struggle that will determine the direction of the global War on Terror — and our safety here at home. The new strategy I outline tonight will change America's course in Iraq, and help us succeed in the fight against terror. When I addressed you just over a year ago, nearly 12 million Iraqis had cast their ballots for a unified and democratic nation. The elections of 2005 were a stunning achievement. We thought that these elections would bring the Iraqis together — and that as we trained Iraqi security forces, we could accomplish our mission with fewer American troops. But in 2006, the opposite happened. The violence in Iraq - particularly in Baghdad — overwhelmed the political gains the Iraqis had made. Al Qaeda terrorists and Sunni insurgents recognized the mortal danger that Iraq's elections posed for their cause. And they responded with outrageous acts of murder aimed at innocent Iraqis. They blew up one of the holiest shrines in Shia Islam — the Golden Mosque of Samarra — in a calculated effort to provoke Iraq's Shia population to retaliate. Their strategy worked. Radical Shia elements, some supported by Iran, formed death squads. And the result was a vicious cycle of sectarian violence that continues today. The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people — and it is unacceptable to me. Our troops in Iraq have fought bravely. They have done everything we have asked them to do. Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me. It is clear that we need to change our strategy in Iraq. So my national security team, military commanders, and diplomats conducted a comprehensive review. We consulted Members of Congress from both parties, allies abroad, and distinguished outside experts. We benefited from the thoughtful recommendations of the Iraq Study Group — a bipartisan panel led by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton. In our discussions, we all agreed that there is no magic formula for success in Iraq. And one message came through loud and clear: Failure in Iraq would be a disaster for the United States. The consequences of failure are clear: Radical Islamic extremists would grow in strength and gain new recruits. They would be in a better position to topple moderate governments, create chaos in the region, and use oil revenues to fund their ambitions. Iran would be emboldened in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Our enemies would have a safe haven from which to plan and launch attacks on the American people. On September the 11th, 2001, we saw what a refuge for extremists on the other side of the world could bring to the streets of our own cities. For the safety of our people, America must succeed in Iraq. The most urgent priority for success in Iraq is security, especially in Baghdad. Eighty percent of Iraq's sectarian violence occurs within 30 miles of the capital. This violence is splitting Baghdad into sectarian enclaves, and shaking the confidence of all Iraqis. Only the Iraqis can end the sectarian violence and secure their people. And their government has put forward an aggressive plan to do it. Our past efforts to secure Baghdad failed for two principal reasons: There were not enough Iraqi and American troops to secure neighborhoods that had been cleared of terrorists and insurgents. And there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have. Our military commanders reviewed the new Iraqi plan to ensure that it addressed these mistakes. They report that it does. They also report that this plan can work. Let me explain the main elements of this effort: The Iraqi government will appoint a military commander and two deputy commanders for their capital. The Iraqi government will deploy Iraqi Army and National Police brigades across Baghdad's nine districts. When these forces are fully deployed, there will be 18 Iraqi Army and National Police brigades committed to this effort — along with local police. These Iraqi forces will operate from local police stations — conducting patrols, setting up checkpoints, and going door-to-door to gain the trust of Baghdad residents. This is a strong commitment. But for it to succeed, our commanders say the Iraqis will need our help. So America will change our strategy to help the Iraqis carry out their campaign to put down sectarian violence - and bring security to the people of Baghdad. This will require increasing American force levels. So I have committed more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq. The vast majority of them — five brigades — will be deployed to Baghdad. These troops will work alongside Iraqi units and be embedded in their formations. Our troops will have a well-defined mission: to help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods, to help them protect the local population, and to help ensure that the Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security that Baghdad needs. Many listening tonight will ask why this effort will succeed when previous operations to secure Baghdad did not. Here are the differences: In earlier operations, Iraqi and American forces cleared many neighborhoods of terrorists and insurgents — but when our forces moved on to other targets, the killers returned. This time, we will have the force levels we need to hold the areas that have been cleared. In earlier operations, political and sectarian interference prevented Iraqi and American forces from going into neighborhoods that are home to those fueling the sectarian violence. This time, Iraqi and American forces will have a green light to enter these neighborhoods — and Prime Minister Maliki has pledged that political or sectarian interference will not be tolerated. I have made it clear to the Prime Minister and Iraq's other leaders that America's commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people — and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people. Now is the time to act. The Prime Minister understands this. Here is what he told his people just last week: "The Baghdad security plan will not provide a safe haven for any outlaws, regardless of [their] sectarian or political affiliation." This new strategy will not yield an immediate end to suicide bombings, assassinations, or IED attacks. Our enemies in Iraq will make every effort to ensure that our television screens are filled with images of death and suffering. Yet over time, we can expect to see Iraqi troops chasing down murderers, fewer brazen acts of terror, and growing trust and cooperation from Baghdad's residents. When this happens, daily life will improve, Iraqis will gain confidence in their leaders, and the government will have the breathing space it needs to make progress in other critical areas. Most of Iraq's Sunni and Shia want to live together in peace — and reducing the violence in Baghdad will help make reconciliation possible. A successful strategy for Iraq goes beyond military operations. Ordinary Iraqi citizens must see that military operations are accompanied by visible improvements in their neighborhoods and communities. So America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced. To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November. To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country's economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis. To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend 10 billion dollars of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs. To empower local leaders, Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year. And to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's political life, the government will reform de-Baathification laws — and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq's constitution. America will change our approach to help the Iraqi government as it works to meet these benchmarks. In keeping with the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, we will increase the embedding of American advisers in Iraqi Army units — and partner a Coalition brigade with every Iraqi Army division. We will help the Iraqis build a larger and better-equipped Army — and we will accelerate the training of Iraqi forces, which remains the essential U.S. security mission in Iraq. We will give our commanders and civilians greater flexibility to spend funds for economic assistance. We will double the number of Provincial Reconstruction Teams. These teams bring together military and civilian experts to help local Iraqi communities pursue reconciliation, strengthen moderates, and speed the transition to Iraqi self reliance. And Secretary Rice will soon appoint a reconstruction coordinator in Baghdad to ensure better results for economic assistance being spent in Iraq. As we make these changes, we will continue to pursue Al Qaeda and foreign fighters. Al Qaeda is still active in Iraq. Its home base is Anbar Province. Al Qaeda has helped make Anbar the most violent area of Iraq outside the capital. A captured Al Qaeda document describes the terrorists' plan to infiltrate and seize control of the province. This would bring al Qaeda closer to its goals of taking down Iraq's democracy, building a radical Islamic empire, and launching new attacks on the United States at home and abroad. Our military forces in Anbar are killing and capturing Al Qaeda leaders — and protecting the local population. Recently, local tribal leaders have begun to show their willingness to take on Al Qaeda. As a result, our commanders believe we have an opportunity to deal a serious blow to the terrorists. So I have given orders to increase American forces in Anbar Province by 4,000 troops. These troops will work with Iraqi and tribal forces to step up the pressure on the terrorists. America's men and women in uniform took away Al Qaeda's safe haven in Afghanistan — and we will not allow them to re-establish it in Iraq. Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity — and stabilizing the region in the face of the extremist challenge. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq. We are also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region. We will expand intelligence sharing — and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies. We will work with the governments of Turkey and Iraq to help them resolve problems along their border. And we will work with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating the region. We will use America's full diplomatic resources to rally support for Iraq from nations throughout the Middle East. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf States need to understand that an American defeat in Iraq would create a new sanctuary for extremists — and a strategic threat to their survival. These nations have a stake in a successful Iraq that is at peace with its neighbors — and they must step up their support for Iraq's unity government. We endorse the Iraqi government's call to finalize an International Compact that will bring new economic assistance in exchange for greater economic reform. And on Friday, Secretary Rice will leave for the region — to build support for Iraq, and continue the urgent diplomacy required to help bring peace to the Middle East. The challenge playing out across the broader Middle East is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time. On one side are those who believe in freedom and moderation. On the other side are extremists who kill the innocent, and have declared their intention to destroy our way of life. In the long run, the most realistic way to protect the American people is to provide a hopeful alternative to the hateful ideology of the enemy — by advancing liberty across a troubled region. It is in the interests of the United States to stand with the brave men and women who are risking their lives to claim their freedom - and help them as they work to raise up just and hopeful societies across the Middle East. From Afghanistan to Lebanon to the Palestinian Territories, millions of ordinary people are sick of the violence, and want a future of peace and opportunity for their children. And they are looking at Iraq. They want to know: Will America withdraw and yield the future of that country to the extremists — or will we stand with the Iraqis who have made the choice for freedom? The changes I have outlined tonight are aimed at ensuring the survival of a young democracy that is fighting for its life in a part of the world of enormous importance to American security. Let me be clear: The terrorists and insurgents in Iraq are without conscience, and they will make the year ahead bloody and violent. Even if our new strategy works exactly as planned, deadly acts of violence will continue — and we must expect more Iraqi and American casualties. The question is whether our new strategy will bring us closer to success. I believe that it will. Victory will not look like the ones our fathers and grandfathers achieved. There will be no surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship. But victory in Iraq will bring something new in the Arab world — a functioning democracy that polices its territory, upholds the rule of law, respects fundamental human liberties, and answers to its people. A democratic Iraq will not be perfect. But it will be a country that fights terrorists instead of harboring them — and it will help bring a future of peace and security for our children and grandchildren. Our new approach comes after consultations with Congress about the different courses we could take in Iraq. Many are concerned that the Iraqis are becoming too dependent on the United States — and therefore, our policy should focus on protecting Iraq's borders and hunting down Al Qaeda. Their solution is to scale back America's efforts in Baghdad — or announce the phased withdrawal of our combat forces. We carefully considered these proposals. And we concluded that to step back now would force a collapse of the Iraqi government, tear that country apart, and result in mass killings on an unimaginable scale. Such a scenario would result in our troops being forced to stay in Iraq even longer, and confront an enemy that is even more lethal. If we increase our support at this crucial moment, and help the Iraqis break the current cycle of violence, we can hasten the day our troops begin coming home. In the days ahead, my national security team will fully brief Congress on our new strategy. If Members have improvements that can be made, we will make them. If circumstances change, we will adjust. Honorable people have different views, and they will voice their criticisms. It is fair to hold our views up to scrutiny. And all involved have a responsibility to explain how the path they propose would be more likely to succeed. Acting on the good advice of Senator Joe Lieberman and other key members of Congress, we will form a new, bipartisan working group that will help us come together across party lines to win the war on terror. This group will meet regularly with me and my Administration, and it will help strengthen our relationship with Congress. We can begin by working together to increase the size of the active Army and Marine Corps, so that America has the Armed Forces we need for the 21st century. We also need to examine ways to mobilize talented American civilians to deploy overseas — where they can help build democratic institutions in communities and nations recovering from war and tyranny. In these dangerous times, the United States is blessed to have extraordinary and selfless men and women willing to step forward and defend us. These young Americans understand that our cause in Iraq is noble and necessary - and that the advance of freedom is the calling of our time. They serve far from their families, who make the quiet sacrifices of lonely holidays and empty chairs at the dinner table. They have watched their comrades give their lives to ensure our liberty. We mourn the loss of every fallen American - and we owe it to them to build a future worthy of their sacrifice. Fellow citizens: The year ahead will demand more patience, sacrifice, and resolve. It can be tempting to think that America can put aside the burdens of freedom. Yet times of testing reveal the character of a Nation. And throughout our history, Americans have always defied the pessimists and seen our faith in freedom redeemed. Now America is engaged in a new struggle that will set the course for a new century. We can and we will prevail. We go forward with trust that the Author of Liberty will guide us through these trying hours. Thank you and good night.
  5. By Ali Allawi, former Iraqi Defence Minister Published: 05 January 2007 - The Independant The Iraqi state that was formed in the aftermath of the First World War has come to an end. Its successor state is struggling to be born in an environment of crises and chaos. The collapse of the entire order in the Middle East now threatens as the Iraq imbroglio unleashes forces in the area that have been gathering in virulence over the past decades. It took the American-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the mismanagement of the country by both the Coalition Provisional Administration and subsequent Iraqi governments, to bring matters to this dire situation. What was supposed to be a straightforward process of overthrowing a dictatorship and replacing it with a liberal-leaning and secular democracy under the benign tutelage of the United States, has instead turned into an existential battle for identity, power and legitimacy that is affecting not only Iraq, but the entire tottering state system in the Middle East. The Iraq war is a global predicament of the first order and its resolution will influence the course of events in the Middle East and beyond for a considerable time. What we are witnessing in Iraq is the beginning of the unravelling of the unjust and unstable system that was carved out of the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire. It had held for nearly 100 years by a mixture of foreign occupation,outside meddling, brutal dictatorships and minority rule. At the same time, it signally failed in providing a permanent sense of legitimacy to its power, engaged its citizens in their governance, or provided a modicum of well-being and a decent standard of existence for its people. The Key Challenges The nature and scope of the Iraq crisis can be encapsulated in the emergence of four vital issues that have challenged the entire project for remaking the Iraq state. In one form or another, these forces also affect the countries of the Arab Middle East, as well as Turkey and Iran, and the relationships between all of them. Firstly, the invasion of Iraq tipped the scales in favour of the Shia, who are now determined to emerge as the governing majority after decades, if not centuries, of perceived disempowerment and oppression. The consequences of this historic shift inside Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East are incalculable. Secondly, the invasion of Iraq legitimised the semi-independent region that Iraq's Kurds had forged over the past decade. The Kurds whose rights to self-determination were acknowledged in the 1920 Sevres Treaty, and then subsequently ignored by the states of the post-Ottoman Middle East, have received an enormous fillip in their march towards recognition of their unique status. What is still left to be decided is the geographic extent of the Kurdish region in Iraq, and whether it would have proprietary access to the resources of that area. This may prove a way station to the beginnings of the formation of a Kurdish state. The challenges that will pose to the integrity and self-definition of Turkey, Iran and Syria now or in the future is another formidable side effect of the overthrow of the old Baathist state. Thirdly, the uneven, poorly prepared and messy introduction in Iraq of democratic norms for elections, constitution-writing and governance structures is a stark break with the authoritarian and dictatorial systems that have prevailed in the Middle East. While the Iraqi experiment has so far been marred by violence, irregularities and manipulation, it is quite likely to survive as the mechanism through which governments will be chosen in the future. Lastly, the overthrow of Saddam coincided with the attempts by Iran to assert its influence and to gain entry into regional counsels. That has exercised a number of countries in the area no end, giving rise to alarmist warnings of Iranian hegemonistic designs and "Shia crescents". The responses that are being planned for the perceived threat are terrifying in their implications, with scant attention paid to their consequences to the peace and stability of the area. Iraq was used as a foil to revolutionary Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, with devastating consequences for both. We are witnessing a possible reprise, the consequence of which, if the new warmongers get their way, will be catastrophic for it will go to the heart of the fragile societies of the Middle East. Shia will be pitted against Sunni not only in Iraq but in Lebanon, and the Gulf countries. Dangers of Sunni Insurgency In the sterile world of zero-sum politics, the loss of power of the Sunni Arab community in Iraq was soon translated into a raging insurgency that challenged not only the US occupation but also the new political dispensation. The insurgency fed on the deep resentment Sunni Arabs felt to their loss of power and prestige. It has been aggravated by the fact it was a totally unexpected force that achieved the impossible- the dethronement of the community from centuries of power in favour of, as they saw it, a rabble led by Persianate clerics. The Sunni Arabs' refusal to countenance any serious engagement with the new political order had effectively pushed them into a cul-de-sac and has played into the hands of their most determined enemies. The state is now moving inexorably under the control of the Shia Islamists, albeit with a supporting role for the Kurds. The boundaries of Shia-controlled Baghdad are moving ever westwards so that the capital itself may fall entirely under the sway of the Shia militias. The only thing stopping that is the deployment of American troops to block the entry of the Shia militias in force into these mixed or Sunni neighbourhoods. The geographic space outside Baghdad in which the insurgency can flourish will persist but the country will be inevitably divided. Under such circumstances, the power of the Shia's demographic advantage can only be counter-balanced by the Sunni Arabs' recourse to support from the neighbouring Arab states. It is inconceivable that such an outcome can possibly lead to a stable Iraqi state unless one side or another vanquishes its opponent or if the country is divided into separate states. Impact of Shia Ascendancy The response to these existential challenges emanating from the invasion of Iraq, both inside Iraq and in the Arab world has been panic-stricken or fearful, and potentially disastrous to the stability in the area and the prospects for its inhabitants. The Arab countries of the Middle East have been unable to adjust to events in Iraq, not so much because of the contagion effect of the changes that have taken place there. This had virtually disappeared as Iraq cannot be seen as model for anything worth emulating. It has less to do with the instability that might spill over from the violence in the country. It is more to do with accommodating an unknown quantity into a system that can barely acknowledge pluralism and democracy, let alone a Shia ascendancy in Iraq. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, linchpins of the American security order in the Arab world, cannot accept the principle of a Shia-dominated Iraq, each for its own reasons. They will do their utmost to thwart such a possibility, and failing that, will probably try to isolate such an entity from regional counsels Implications for Middle East It is this with this backdrop that solutions are being proffered to resolve the Iraqi crisis. However, rather than treat the problem in a much wider context, each party is determined to stake out its narrow position irrespective of its effects on other communities, groups and countries. The seeds of another 100 years of crisis are being sown, with the Middle East consigned to decades of turbulence and the persistence of unmitigated hatreds and grudges. The most serious issue that is emerging is the exacerbation of sectarian differences between Shia and Sunni. That is a profoundly dangerous issue for it affects not only Iraq but also Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon and the Gulf countries. It is plausible that the cost of a Shia ascendancy in Iraq, if it is marked as such, will be further pressure on the vulnerable Shia communities in the Gulf countries. There is already the rekindling of anti-Shia rhetoric in a remarkably similar rerun to the pattern that accompanied the Saudi-led campaign to contain the Iranian revolution in the 1980s. The effect of that was the rise of the jihadi culture that was the harbinger of mass terrorism and suicide bombings. This may drag the entire area into war or even the forced movement of people as fearful countries seek to "quarantine" or expel their Shia population. The Solution It requires genuine vision and statesmanship to pull the Middle East from its death spiral. The elements of a possible solution are there if the will exists to postulate an alternative to the politics of fear, bigotry and hatred. The first step must be the recognition that the solution to the Iraq crisis must be generated first internally, and then, importantly, at the regional level. The two are linked and the successful resolution of one would lead to the other. No foreign power, no matter how benevolent, should be allowed to dictate the terms of a possible historic and stable settlement in the Middle East. No other region of the world would tolerate such a wanton interference in its affairs. That is not to say that due consideration should not be given to the legitimate interests of the great powers in the area, but the future of the area should not be held hostage to their designs and exclusive interests. Secondly, the basis of a settlement must take into account the fact that the forces that have been unleashed by the invasion of Iraq must be acknowledged and accommodated. These forces, in turn, must accept limits to their demands and claims. That would apply, in particular, to the Shias and the Kurds, the two communities who have been seen to have gained from the invasion of Iraq. Thirdly, the Sunni Arab community must become convinced that its loss of undivided power will not lead to marginalisation and discrimination. A mechanism must be found to allow the Sunni Arabs to monitor and regulate and, if need be, correct, any signs of discrimination that may emerge in the new Iraqi state. Fourthly, the existing states surrounding Iraq feel deeply threatened by the changes there. That needs to be recognised and treated in any lasting deal for Iraq and the area. A way has to be found for introducing Iran and Turkey into a new security structure for the Middle East that would take into account their legitimate concerns, fears and interests. It is far better that these countries are seen to be part of a stable order for the area rather than as outsiders who need to be confronted and challenged. The Iraqi government that has arisen as a result of the admittedly flawed political process must be accepted as a sovereign and responsible government. No settlement can possibly succeed if its starting point is the illegitimacy of the Iraqi government or one that considers it expendable. A Brighter Future The end state of this process would be three interlinked outcomes. The first would be a decentralised Iraqi state with new regional governing authorities with wide powers and resources. Devolution of power must be fair, well planned, and executed with equitable revenue-distribution. Federal institutions would have to act as adjudicators between regions. Security must be decentralised until such time as confidence between the communities is re-established. The second essential outcome would be a treaty that would establish a confederation or constellation of states of the Middle East, initially including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. The main aim of the confederation would be to establish a number of conventions and supra-regional bodies that would have the effect of acting as guarantors of civil, minority and community rights. The existence of such institutions can go a long way towards removing the anxiety disadvantaged groups feel when confronted with the radical changes sweeping the area. The gradual build up of such supra-national institutions in the proposed confederation may also expand to cover an increased degree of economic integration and harmonisation. That may include a regional development body which would help establish and fund common energy and infrastructure policies. Lastly, an indispensable end outcome is a regional security pact that would group the countries of the Arab Middle East with Iran and Turkey, at first in some form of anti-terrorism pact, but later a broader framework for discussing and resolving major security issues that impinge on the area as a whole. That would also provide the forum for combating the spread of virulent ideologies and sectarian hatreds and provide the basis for peacefully containing and resolving the alarm that some countries feel from the apparent expansion of Iranian influence in the area. The Importance of the US It was the US that launched this phase of the interminable Middle East crisis, by invading Iraq and assuming direct authority over it. Whatever project it had for Iraq has vanished, a victim of inappropriate or incoherent policies, and the violent upending of Iraq's power structures. Nevertheless, the US is still the most powerful actor in the Iraq crisis, and its decisions can sway the direction and the manner in which events could unfold. In other areas of the world, the US has used its immense influence and power to cement regional security and economic associations. There is no reason why the regional associations being mooted in conjunction with a decentralised Iraqi state, could not play an equally important part in resolving the Iraqi crisis and dispersing the dangerous clouds threatening the region. The Iraqi proposals 1 Iraq government calls for regional security conference including Iraq's neighbours to produce an agreement/treaty on non-intervention and combating terrorism. Signatory states will be responsible to set of markers for commitments. Purpose: To reduce/eliminate neighbouring countries' support for insurgents, terrorists and militias. 2 Iraq government calls for preparatory conference on a Middle-Eastern Confederation of States that will examine proposals on economic, trade and investment union. Proposals will be presented for a convention on civil, human and minority rights in the Near East, with a supreme court/tribunal with enforcement powers. Purpose: To increase regional economic integration and provide minorities in signatory countries with supra-national protection. 3 Iraq government calls for an international conference on Iraq that would include Iraq, its regional neighbours, Egypt, the UAE, the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China that would aim to produce a treaty guaranteeing: a. Iraq's frontiers. b. The broad principles of Iraq's constitutional arrangements. c. Establishing international force to replace the multi-national force over 12 to 18 months. Appointing international co-ordinator to oversee treaty implementation. Purpose: To arrange for the gradual and orderly withdrawal of American troops, ensure that Iraq develops along constitutional lines, confirm Iraq and its neighbours' common frontiers. 4 Iraq government will introduce changes to government by creating two statuary bodies with autonomous financing and independent boards: a. A reconstruction and development council run by Iraqi professionals and technocrats with World Bank/UN support. b. A security council which will oversee professional ministries of defence, interior, intelligence and national security. Purpose: To remove the reconstruction and development programme from incompetent hands and transfer them to an apolitical, professional and independent body. Also to remove the oversight, command and control over the security ministries from politicised party control to an independent, professional and accountable body. 5 The entire peace plan, its preamble and its details must be put before the Iraqi parliament for its approval. Ali A Allawi was Minister of Trade and Minister of Defence in the Iraqi Governing Council Cabinet (2003-2004). He was in the Transitional National Assembly, and Minister of Finance, Transitional National Government of Iraq (2005-2006). His book, 'The Occupation of Iraq Winning the War, Losing the Peace' will be published in March
  6. A British documentary about Iraq in 1954 worth seeing. Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uvocjmEE-E Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv2esZVkCao
  7. This topic is mainly to discuss the new proposal given by some American law makers as a way to exit and to minimize bloodshed. These ideas can be read thoroughly by visiting http://planforiraq.com/. Iraq: A Way Forward President Bush does not have a strategy for victory in Iraq. His strategy is to prevent defeat and to hand the problem off to his successor. As a result, more and more Americans understandably want a rapid withdrawal, even at the risk of trading a dictator for chaos and a civil war that could become a regional war. Both are bad alternatives. There is a third way that can achieve the two objectives most Americans share: to bring our troops home without leaving chaos behind. The idea is to maintain a unified Iraq by federalizing it and giving Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis breathing room in their own regions. The central government would be responsible for common interests, like border security and the distribution of oil revenues. The plan would bind the Sunnis - who have no oil -- by guaranteeing them a proportionate share of oil revenues. It would convene an international conference to secure support for the power sharing arrangement and produce a regional nonaggression pact, overseen by a Contact Group of major powers. It would call on the U.S. military to withdraw most U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2007, with a residual force to keep Iraqis and their neighbors honest. It would increase economic aid but tie it to the protection of minority rights and the creation of a jobs program and seek funding from the oil-rich Gulf Arab states. The new, central reality in Iraq is deep and growing sectarian violence between the Shiites and Sunnis. In last December's elections, 90 percent of the votes went to sectarian lists. Ethnic militias increasingly are the law in Iraq. They have infiltrated the official security forces. Massive unemployment is feeding the sectarian militia. Sectarian cleansing has forced at least 250,000 Iraqis to flee their homes in recent months. At the same time, Al Qaeda is now so firmly entrenched in Western Iraq that it has morphed into an indigenous jihadist threat. As a result, Iraq risks becoming what it was not before the war: a haven for radical fundamentalists. There is no purely military solution to the sectarian civil war. The only way to break the vicious cycle of violence - and to create the conditions for our armed forces to responsibly withdraw -- is to give Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds incentives to pursue their interests peacefully. That requires an equitable and viable power sharing arrangement. That's where my plan comes in. This plan is not partition - in fact, it may be the only way to prevent violent partition and preserve a unified Iraq. This plan is consistent with Iraq's constitution, which provides for Iraq's 18 provinces to join together in regions, with their own security forces, and control over most day-to-day issues. This plan is the only idea on the table for dealing with the militia, which are likely to retreat to their respective regions. This plan is consistent with a strong central government, with clearly defined responsibilities. Indeed, it provides an agenda for that government, whose mere existence will not end sectarian violence. The example of Bosnia is illustrative. Ten years ago, Bosnia was being torn apart by ethnic cleansing. The United States stepped in decisively with the Dayton Accords to keep the country whole by, paradoxically, dividing it into ethnic federations. We even allowed Muslims, Croats and Serbs to retain separate armies. With the help of U.S. troops and others, Bosnians have lived a decade in peace. Now, they are strengthening their central government, and disbanding their separate armies. The course we're on leads to a terrible civil war and possibly a regional war. This plan is designed to head that off. I believe it is the best way to bring our troops home, protect our fundamental security interests, and preserve Iraq as a unified country. The question I have for those who reject this plan is simple: what is your alternative? Joe Biden A Five Point Plan for Iraq 1. Establish One Iraq, with Three Regions Federalize Iraq in accordance with its constitution by establishing three largely autonomous regions - Shiite, Sunni and Kurd -- with a strong but limited central government in Baghdad Put the central government in charge of truly common interests: border defense, foreign policy, oil production and revenues Form regional governments -- Kurd, Sunni and Shiite -- responsible for administering their own regions 2. Share Oil Revenues Gain agreement for the federal solution from the Sunni Arabs by guaranteeing them 20 percent of all present and future oil revenues -- an amount roughly proportional to their size -- which would make their region economically viable Empower the central government to set national oil policy and distribute the revenues, which would attract needed foreign investment and reinforce each community's interest in keeping Iraq intact and protecting the oil infrastructure 3. Convene International Conference, Enforce Regional Non-Aggression Pact Convene with the U.N. a regional security conference where Iraq's neighbors, including Iran, pledge to support Iraq's power sharing agreement and respect Iraq's borders Engage Iraq's neighbors directly to overcome their suspicions and focus their efforts on stabilizing Iraq, not undermining it Create a standing Contact Group, to include the major powers, that would engage Iraq's neighbors and enforce their commitments 4. Responsibly Drawdown US Troops Direct U.S. military commanders to develop a plan to withdraw and re-deploy almost all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of 2007 Maintain in or near Iraq a small residual force -- perhaps 20,000 troops -- to strike any concentration of terrorists, help keep Iraq's neighbors honest and train its security forces 5. Increase Reconstruction Assistance and Create a Jobs Program Provide more reconstruction assistance, conditioned on the protection of minority and women's rights and the establishment of a jobs program to give Iraqi youth an alternative to the militia and criminal gangs Insist that other countries take the lead in funding reconstruction by making good on old commitments and providing new ones -- especially the oil-rich Arab Gulf countries Plan for Iraq: What It Is - and What It Is NotSome commentators have either misunderstood the Plan, or mischaracterized it. Here is what the plan is - and what it is not: 1. The Plan is not partition. In fact, it may be the only way to prevent a violent partition - which has already started -- and preserve a unified Iraq. We call for a strong central government, with clearly defined responsibilities for truly common interests like foreign policy and the distribution of oil revenues. Indeed, the Plan provides an agenda for that government, whose mere existence will not end sectarian violence. 2. The Plan is not a foreign imposition. To the contrary, it is consistent with Iraq's constitution, which already provides for Iraq's 18 provinces to join together in regions, with their own security forces, and control over most day-to-day issues. On October 11, Iraq's parliament approved legislation to implement the constitution's articles on federalism. Prior to the British colonial period and Saddam's military dictatorship, what is now Iraq functioned as three largely autonomous regions. But federalism alone is not enough. To ensure Sunni support, it is imperative that Iraqis also agree to an oil revenue sharing formula that guarantees the Sunni region economic viability. The United States should strongly promote such an agreement. The final decisions will be up to Iraqis, but if we do not help them arrange the necessary compromises, nothing will get done. At key junctures in the past, we have used our influence to shape political outcomes in Iraq, notably by convincing the Shiites and Kurds to accept a provision allowing for the constitution to be amended following its adoption, which was necessary to secure Sunni participation in the referendum. Using our influence is not the same as imposing our will. With 140,000 Americans at risk, we have a right and an obligation to make known our views. 3. The Plan is not an invitation to sectarian cleansing. Tragically, that invitation has been sent, received and acted upon. Since the Samarra mosque bombing in February, one quarter of a million Iraqis have fled their homes for fear of sectarian violence, at a rate now approaching 10,000 people a week. That does not include hundreds of thousands of Iraqis - many from the professional class - who have left Iraq since the war. Only a political settlement, as proposed in the Plan, has a chance to stop this downward spiral. 4. The Plan is the only idea on the table for dealing with the sectarian militia. It offers a realistic albeit interim solution. Realistic, because none of the major groups will give up their militia voluntarily in the absence of trust and confidence and neither we or the Iraqi government has the means to force them to do so. Once federalism is implemented, the militias are likely to retreat to their respective regions to protect their own and vie for power, instead of killing the members of other groups. But it is only an interim solution, because no nation can sustain itself peacefully with private armies. Over time, if a political settlement endures, the militia would be incorporated into regional and national forces, as is happening in Bosnia. 5. The Plan is an answer to the problem of mixed cities. Large cities with mixed populations present a challenge under any plan now being considered. The essence of the Plan is that mixed populations can only live together peacefully if their leadership is truly satisfied with the overall arrangement. If so, that leadership will help keep the peace in the cities. At the same time, we would make Baghdad a federal city, and buttress the protection of minorities there and in the other mixed cities with an international peacekeeping force. Right now, the prospect for raising such a force is small. But following a political settlement, an international conference and the establishment of a Contact Group, others are more likely to participate, including countries like Saudi Arabia which have offered peacekeepers in the past. 6. The Plan is in the self-interest of Iran. Iran likes it exactly as it is in Iraq - with the United States bogged down and bleeding. But the prospect of a civil war in Iraq is not in Tehran's interest: it could easily spill over Iraq's borders and turn into a regional war with neighbors intervening on opposing sides and exacerbating the Sunni-Shiite divide at a time Shiite Iran is trying to exert leadership in the Islamic world. Iran also would receive large refugee flows as Iraqis flee the fighting. Iran, like all of Iraq's neighbors, has an interest in Iraq remaining unified and not splitting into independent states. Iran does not want to see an independent Kurdistan emerge and serve as an example for its own restive 5 million Kurds. That's why Iran - and all of Iraq's neighbors -- can and should be engaged to support a political settlement in Iraq. 7. The Plan is in the self-interest of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. The Sunnis increasingly understand they will not regain power in Iraq. Faced with the choice of being a permanent minority player in a central government dominated by Shiites or having the freedom to control their day-to-day lives in a Sunni region, they are likely to choose the latter provided they are guaranteed a fair share of oil revenues to make their region viable. The Shiites know they can dominate Iraq politically, but not defeat a Sunni insurgency, which can bleed Iraq for years. The Kurds may dream of independence, but fear the reaction of Turkey and Iran - their interest is to achieve as much autonomy as possible while keeping Iraq together. Why would Shiites and Kurds give up some oil revenues to the Sunnis? Because that is the price of peace and the only way to attract the massive foreign investment needed to maximize Iraqi oil production. The result will be to give Shiites and Kurds a smaller piece of a much larger oil pie and give all three groups an incentive to protect the oil infrastructure.
  8. التصويت على الاقاليم بمقاطعة نواب سنة وشيعة بغداد-11-10 : وافق مجلس النواب العراقي اليوم في جلسة قاطعها نواب جبهة التوافق السنية والتيار الصدري وحزب الفضيلة الشيعيين ومجلس الحوار على مشروع لتقسيم العراق الى اقاليم قدمه الائتلاف العراقي الشيعي الموحد على ان يبدأ العمل به بعد 18 شهرا. وقد تأخر إنعقاد جلسة مجلس النواب اليوم لمدة ساعة بسبب إمتناع معظم أعضاء جبهة التوافق وجبهة الحوار الوطني (ولهما 55 نائبا) والتيار الصدري وحزب الفضيلة عضوا الائتلاف الشيعي (ولهما 41 نائبا) عن حضورها اضافة الى كتلة التحرير والمصالحة ولها 5 نواب بهدف عدم اكمال النصاب القانوني . وقد حضر الى قاعة المجلس السيد عبد العزيز الحكيم رئيس المجلس الاعلى للثورة الاسلامية زعيم الائتلاف الحاكم بشكل لافت حيث انه نادرا ما يشارك في الاجتماعات . ويقضي النظام الداخلي لمجلس النواب أن يكون النصاب القانوني للجلسة أكثر من نصف عدد الأعضاء البالغ 275 عضوا أي 138 عضوا ولكن النصاب تحقق اليوم بحضور نواب اكبر كتلتين في المجلس مؤيدتين لتقسيم العراق الى اقاليم وانشاء الفيدراليات وهما الائتلاف الشيعي وله 128 نائبا والتحالف الكردستاني وله 56 نائبا .. وبذلك يكون مائة نائب قد قاطعوا جلسة مناقشة مشروع الاقاليم التي لوحظ انها كانت سريعة ولم تستغرق اكثر من ساعة برغم اهمية وخطورة المشروع الذي تم التصويت عليه بعدها من دون الاشارة الى عدد النواب الموافقين عليه حيث لوحظ مشاركة نواب القائمة العراقية الوطنية بزعامة رئيس الوزراء السابق اياد علاوي وهي الكتلة الرابعة في البرلمان وعددهم 25 نائبا . ويضم المشروع سبعة فصول ينص الاول على ان يتكون الاقليم من محافظة او اكثر او من اقليمين او اكثر فيما يتطرق الثاني الى وسائل تكوين الاقليم التي تكون اما "بطلب يقدمه ثلث الاعضاء في كل مجلس من مجالس المحافظات التي تريد تكوين اقليم" او "طلب يقدمه عشرة بالمئة من الناخبين في كل محافظة من المحافظات التي تريد تكوين اقليم". ويتعلق الفصل الثالث باجراءات تشكيل الاقاليم بحيث "يرفع الطلب الى مجلس الوزراء من قبل مجالس المحافظات على ان تكلف الحكومة المفوضية العليا للانتخابات خلال مدة 15 يوما من تقديم الطلب اتخاذ اجراءات الاستفتاء ضمن الاقليم المراد تكوينه". نص مشروع الاقاليم وهو كما يلي : مشروع قانون الإجراءات التنفيذية الخاصة بتكوين الأقاليم بموجب المواد (117/ ثانياً، 118، 119، 120، 121) من الدستور تقوم المفوضية العليا للانتخابات عن طريق مكاتبها في المحافظات او الاقاليم باتخاذ اجراءات الاستفتاء والانتهاء منها خلال المدة المحددة في المادة 2 / ثالثاً من هذا القانون في حالة طلب انضمام إحدى المحافظات إلى إقليم، يقدم الطلب من ثلث أعضاء مجلس المحافظة مشفوعاً بموافقة ثلث أعضاء المجلس التشريعي للإقليم. على المجالس المشكلة للاقليم سواء كانت مجلس محافظة أو مجلساً تشريعياً ان تجتمع بعد (7) ايام من اقرار تشكيل الإقليم لتقوم بالتحضير والاعداد لانتخاب مجلس تشريعي انتقالي يكلف رئيس الاقليم مرشحاً جديداً لرئاسة مجلس الوزراء في الاقليم خلال خمسة عشر يوماً عند اخفاق رئيس مجلس الوزراء المكلف في تشكيل الوزارة خلال المدة المنصوص عليها يشكل المجلس التشريعي الانتقالي المؤقت للاقليم خلال مدة اقصاها ثلاثون يوماً من تاريخ اول جلسة له لجنة مؤقتة من بين اعضائه لاعداد مسودة الدستور الدائم للاقليم. الفصل الأول المادة (1): يتكون الإقليم من محافظة أو أكثر أو من إقليمين أو أكثر. الفصل الثاني طرق تكوين الأقليم المادة (2): يتم تكوين أي إقليم عن طريق الاستفتاء، ويقدم الطلب بإحدى الطرق التالية: أولاً: طلب مقدم من ثلث الأعضاء في كل مجلس من مجالس المحافظات المشكلة بموجب الدستور التي تروم تكوين الإقليم. ثانياً: طلب مقدم من عشر الناخبين في كل محافظة من المحافظات التي تروم تكوين الإقليم. ثالثا ً: في حالة طلب انضمام إحدى المحافظات إلى إقليم، يقدم الطلب من ثلث أعضاء مجلس المحافظة مشفوعاً بموافقة ثلث أعضاء المجلس التشريعي للإقليم. الفصل الثالث إجراءات تكوين الإقليم المادة (3): أولاً: يقدم طلب تكوين الأقاليم إلى مجلس الوزراء موقعاً من رؤساء أو الممثلين القانونيين لمجالس المحافظات أو المجالس التشريعية للأقاليم حسب الأحوال خلال مدة لا تتجاوز أسبوعاً. ثانياً: يكلف مجلس الوزراء المفوضية العليا للانتخابات خلال مدى لا تتجاوز 15 يوماً من تقديم الطلب باتخاذ إجراءات الاستفتاء ضمن الإقليم المراد تكوينه وخلال مدى لا تتجاوز الثلاثة شهور. المادة (4): أولاً: إذا كانت إحدى الرغبات مقدمة وفقاً للمادة 2/ أولاً يقدم الطلب ابتداء من 500 من الناخبين إلى مكتب المفوضية العليا للانتخابات في المحافظة يتضمن شكل الإقليم المراد تكوينه، وعلى المفوضية الإعلان عن ذلك خلال 3 أيام من تقديم الطلب بالصحف ووسائل الإعلام، وأن تحدد مدة لا تقل عن شهر للمواطنين الذين تتوفر فيهم شروط الناخب في إبداء رغباتهم الداعمة للطلب ضمن سجل معد لذلك من أجل حساب تحقق النصاب المطلوب. ثانياً: إذا تعددت الرغبات في الطلبات المقدمة من أكثر من جهة وفقاً للمادة 2 من هذا القانون تتبع الإجراءات التالية: أ-إذا كانت احدى الرغبات مقدمة وفقاً للمادة 2/ أولاً وتجاوز الطلب موافقة ثلثي أعضاء أي من مجالس المحافظات تتبع الإجراءات الواردة في المادة 3/ أولاً. ب-يضع مكتب المفوضية العليا للانتخابات في المحافظة استبياناً يحدد فيه شكل الاقاليم المطلوبة، يعرض على الناخبين لاختيار أي منها في مدة لا تتجاوز شهرين من تقديم الطلبات، ويعتبر شكل الاقليم الذي يقدم للاستفتاء عليه من يحصل على اكثر اصوات الناخبين المشاركين في الاستبيان. الفصل الرابع اجراء الاستفتاء المادة (5): اولاً: تقوم المفوضية العليا للانتخابات عن طريق مكاتبها في المحافظات او الاقاليم باتخاذ اجراءات الاستفتاء والانتهاء منها خلال المدة المحددة في المادة 2 / ثالثاً من هذا القانون ومن تاريخ تكليفها من قبل مجلس الوزراء. ثانياً: يجوز للمفوضية العليا للانتخابات ان تقرر التمديد لشهر ولمرة واحدة فقط وتعلم مجلس الوزراء بذلك. المادة (6): يكون الاستفتاء ناجحاً اذا حصل على أغلبية المصوتين من الناخبين وتعلن النتائج خلال (15) يوماً من اجرائه المادة (7): أ-يجوز الطعن لكل ذي مصلحة في نتيجة الاستفتاء خلال اسبوع من تاريخ اعلانها، على ان تفصل الجهات المختصة، في هذه الطعون في مدة لا تزيد على عشرة ايام من تاريخ تقديم الطعن. ب-تتم المصادقة على النتائج النهائية من الجهات المختصة وترفع لرئيس الوزراء خلال ثلاثة ايام التالية لذلك. المادة (8): اولاً: يصدر رئيس مجلس الوزراء قراراً بتشكيل الاقليم خلال مدة لا تتجاوز اسبوعاً. ثانياً: ينشر قرار رئيس مجلس الوزراء في الجريدة الرسمية. المادة (9): في حالة عدم نجاح الاستفتاء، يجوز اعادته بعد مرور سنة من تاريخ اعلان النتيجة، وباتباع الاجراءات ذاتها. المادة (10): يتولى المكتب الوطني للمفوضية، تنظيم وتنفيذ والاشراف على جميع الاجراءات الخاصة بالاستفتاء، وله اصدار التعليمات والانظمة الخاصة بذلك. الفصل الخامس تشكيل الاقليم المادة (11): على المجالس المشكلة للاقليم سواء كانت مجلس محافظة أو مجلساً تشريعياً ان تجتمع بعد (7) ايام من اقرار تشكيل الإقليم لتقوم بالتحضير والاعداد لانتخاب مجلس تشريعي انتقالي. المادة (12): تستمر مجالس المحافظات والاقاليم المشكلة للاقليم بعملها لحين تشكيل المجلس التشريعي الاقليمي الانتقالي. الفصل السادس سلطات الاقليم الانتقالية المادة (13): اولاً: تجرى انتخابات المجلس التشريعي الانتقالي للاقليم الذي يتكون من عدد من الاعضاء، يمثلون سكان الاقليم وتتوافر فيهم الشروط الواردة في قانون الانتخابات الاتحادي، يتم انتخابهم بطريقة الاقتراع السري العام المباشر وفقاً للنسب التالية: أ- مقعد واحد لكل خمسين الف نسمة من نفوس الاقليم المشكل من محافظة واحدة على ان لا يقل عن خمسة وعشرين عضواً. ب- مقعد واحد لكل خمسة وسبعين الف نسمة من نفوس الاقليم المشكل من اكثر من محافظة او اقليم. ثانيا: تتولى المفوضية العليا للانتخابات الاعداد والاشراف على الانتخابات التشريعية للاقاليم. ثالثاً: يستمر عمل المجلس التشريعي الانتقالي للاقليم لمدة سنة من تاريخ اول جلسة. رابعا: ينظم دستور الاقليم سلطاته التشريعية والتنفيذية والقضائية. المادة (14): يعقد المجلس التشريعي الانتقالي للاقليم بناء على دعوة اكبر اعضائه سناً بعد المصادقة على النتائح النهائية للانتخابات. المادة (15): يؤدي عضو المجلس التشريعي اليمين امام المجلس قبل مباشرته للعمل بالصيغة الواردة في المادة (50) من الدستور الاتحادي. المادة (16): يترأس الجلسة الاولى اكبر الاعضاء سناً. المادة (17): أ- ينتخب المجلس التشريعي الانتقالي في جلسته الاولى من بين اعضائه رئيساً ونائبين للرئيس بالاقتراع السري المباشر. ب- يضع المجلس التشريعي الانتقالي نظاماً داخلياً له خلال شهر من انعقاد اول جلسة. المادة (18): أ- ينتخب المجلس التشريعي الانتقالي خلال اسبوعين من تاريخ انعقاد جلسته الاولى بالاغلبية رئيساً للاقليم من بين المرشحين الذين تتوافر فيهم الشروط المنصوص عليها في الدستور الاتحادي الخاص باختيار رئيس الجمهورية. ب- اذ لم يحصل اي من المرشحين على الاغلبية المطلق فيعاد التصويت بين المرشحين الحائزين على اعلى الاصوات ويكون الرئيس هو الحائز على اعلى الاصوات في المرحلة الثانية. ج- يختار رئيس الاقليم نائبين له تتوافر فيهما الشروط المنصوص عليها في الدستور الاتحادي لاعضاء مجلس النواب وتتم الموافقة عليهما بالاغلبية في المجلس التشريعي الانتقالي. المادة (19): أ- يكلف رئيس الاقليم مرشح الكتلة الاكثر عدداً في المجلس التشريعي بتشكيل مجلس الوزراء خلال خمسة عشر يوماً من تاريخ انتخابه. ب- يتولى رئيس مجلس الوزراء المكلف تسمية اعضاء وزارته مدة اقصاها ثلاثون يوماً من تاريخ التكليف. ج- يكلف رئيس الاقليم مرشحاً جديداً لرئاسة مجلس الوزراء في الاقليم خلال خمسة عشر يوماً عند اخفاق رئيس مجلس الوزراء المكلف في تشكيل الوزارة خلال المدة المنصوص عليها في الفقرة (ب) من هذه المادة. د- يعرض رئيس مجلس وزراء الاقليم المكلف اسماء اعضاء وزارته والمنهاج الوزاري على المجلس التشريعي ويعد حائزاً على ثقته عند الموافقة على الوزراء منفردين والمنهاج الوزاري بالاغلبية المطلقة. هـ يتولى رئيس الاقليم تكليف مرشح آخر بتشكيل وزارة خلال خمسة عشر يوماً في حالة عدم نيل الوزارة الثقة المادة (20): اولاً: يشكل المجلس التشريعي الانتقالي المؤقت للاقليم خلال مدة اقصاها ثلاثون يوماً من تاريخ اول جلسة له لجنة مؤقتة من بين اعضائه لاعداد مسودة الدستور الدائم للاقليم. ثانياً: على اللجنة الانتهاء من كتابة مسودة الدستور الدائم خلال مدة اقصاها ثلاثة اشهر من تاريخ تشكيلها وتعرض على المجلس التشريعي الانتقالي للاقليم لمناقشتها والموافقة عليها بالاغلبية المطلقة. ثالثاً: تعرض مسودة الدستور للاستفتاء بعد موافقة المجلس التشريعي الانتقالي للاقليم عليه ويكون الاستفتاء ناجحاً بموافقة اغلبية المصوتين من الناخبين. المادة (21): السلطة القضائية للاقليم مستقلة وتتولاها المحاكم على اختلاف انواعها ودرجاتها وفقا لاحكام الدستور الاتحادي ودستور الاقليم والقوانين الاتحادية ذات الصلة. الفصل السابع الاحكام الختامية المادة (22) اولاً: لاندماج اقليمين او اكثر يتشكل مجلس تشريعي من المجالس التشريعية للاقاليم لفترة انتقالية لا تزيد على سنة واحدة. ثانياً: تسري احكام اختيار رئيس المجلس التشريعي للاقليم ونائبيه ورئيس الاقليم ونائبيه ورئيس مجلس الوزراء وفق احكام المواد الواردة في هذا القانون. المادة (23) اولاً : تبقى القوانين الاتحادية نافذة والقوانين ذات الصلة بصلاحيات المحافظات نافذة ما لم تصدر قوانين تلغيها او تعدلها وفقاً لاحكام دستور الاقليم وبما لا يتعارض مع الدستور الاتحادي. ثانياً: يحتفظ الاقليم بحقوقه الواردة في المادة 121 من الدستور الاتحادي، يتم النص عليها في دستور الاقليم. المادة (24): ينفذ هذا القانون بعد 18 شهراً من تاريخ اقراره في مجلس النواب. الرافدين www.alrafidayn.com
  9. Dear Iraqies, Wish all of you and your families Great Eid, and may God bless you and give you patience to bear homesickness. I am still in Baghdad doing very well. Quit my job few days ago and Inshallah start my own business after Eid. A brief of what happened here in Ramadan to show you that it is never boring here, since we have all this in one month; Weather was crazy (as usual) the month started with heat over 40c, then a sand storm for 2 days, and the last 2 weeks suddenly cold for October (less than 20c at night) so people did not have time to lay carpets (remember this painful tradition :-) and getting their winter clothes out of the traditional huge cases. Now some people wearing light T-shirts and shirts, others wearing heavy clothes with a distinguish Naftaleen odor (I am sure you all recall the smell). The clothes market and business people are having the same problem, and now when going to shops there is a funny combination of woolen sweeters and jackets next to short sleeves shirts and heavy jackets only Alaskan use. Politically, you may know most news about referundum. I think it was great since more people voted. For me it doesnt matter if people say "Yes" or "No" as long as they say something. This is democracy and all of us understand, but some people still think that screaming at coffee shops or using their arms can stop that. These are really harmfull and luckily not many try to stop Iraq from being the first real democracy in region. In my humble opinion saying "Yes" would get Americans out of country sooner. After announcing the news of constitution passed and aproved, many people went out to streets hunking and dancing, but they were fewer than expected. Two days afterward there were many many more convoys of civilian cars and fireworks. First I thought they were weddings, but nobody holds Sistany's pictures in such occasions, then my friends told me they are people celebrating constitution, cause when it was approved it was the remembering of Imam Ali wound and death. The best thing happened on voting day (or did not happen) was nobody killed and no explosions. It was a success for Iraqi army and police since they took over all responsibility of security all over Iraq that day. At end of the day I was having a violet index, and feel great even before counting ballets and approval. Saddam trial was another incredible thing occured in Ramadan. The trial made me feel really proud of Iraqis. Most people agree on trial. For me it was a great resurection from bloody culture controled the country in the last 50 years to democratic trial showing directly on TV. Many people who lost loved ones thought the judge was too nice and even a trial is more than what sadam and his gang deserve. Some who were doing very well and living in a different world during sadam rule were upset to see the Leader in a cage. But overall it is justice and the government did not put sadam in the hole, therefore he was preparing himself for much worst fate than a trial if people caught him and not americans. Few funny highlights during the trial; sadam was very nice and using words he never used before like "execuse me", "Sir", and "Hathartak" when talking to the judge. Other thing when the head of formal Thawra Court asked for his 3gal. Four comments I heard about that; first the court spent time to get them their 3gals more than it was enough for him to decide executing 10 people (a fact), second when a man is in an Arabic tribal court then he is not allowed to wear 3gal and sometimes even put it around his neck. Third, when an Arabic guy has a disaster or been humilated he take off his 3gal and thru it to the ground until he get back his degnity, obviously for these guys were in court it wasnt enough disasterous neither humilating to be there. Forth and last, even in the army when you go to a trial or introduced to the commander acused of something then you have to take off your cap and belt. Barazan was by far the funniest. He first looked like the guys take fees from Coasters at public garages gates (Garagiya), then he was hiding in his 3gal, and during that he was like a naughty students sits at the back of class and wants to prove (for some reason) that he is good now, raising his hand with a question frequently. We all remember how the name Barzan was terrifying when mentioned in Iraq Over all, God is the greatest and blessed us to see such day and feel sad when such people are really nothing, but caused Iraq millions of victims killed and many more millions crying on their graves, plus losing the last 25 years of our lives. Few days ago I was watching TV with my parents and brother, and suddenly start laughing loudly. Haidar asked me "What? its only news" I replied "Can you hear the new dictionary used on TV and even between us? Can you believe that on Iraqi TV and when reading local news most words used are Election, Human Rights, Parties, National Assembly, Elected Members, Constitution Approval, Parties Coalition, Federal, and others? I still can not believe whats happening". Market and business are doing great. A friend works in clothes business told me few days "The market is like a wale, swalow everything". Standards of living is more than 20 times 3 years ago. government employees and teachers spending like crazy after having to sell most of their belongings starting from late nineties. few days ago I was saying at home that services are realy bad like water and electricity and its all because government mistakes. My father told me with a big smile that this is the best government ever, cause his retiring salary increased more than 40 times, and thats enough for him and he doesnt want from a government more than that. Obviously he forgot the currency rate, cause his raise is much more than that. Before 2003 he was earning less than US $3 (7750 Dinars) a month and now about 340 Thousands Dinars, which is more than US $220, due to higher rate of Iraqi currency. A wise taxi driver told me lately "Eid is your pocket, if it is full then Eid is great and vice versa". I wish this Eid is a start of many happier ones to come for this great country. Sorry for being so boring, but its your mistake when you encouraged me after the election email. Wish me to be busy soon to free you from such headache :-))))) Thanks and looking forward to see all. Yours, Mohammad
  10. السبت 26 فبراير 2005م، 18 محرم 1426 هـ -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- أسبوع تناقضات ساخنة في قطر: تساؤلات عربية عن استضافة الدوحة لـ"العدوان" ومقاوميه -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- دبي- العربية.نت يدور في الشارع العربي الكثير من الهمس والتساؤلات عن ما تسعى إليه السياسة القطرية والتي تبدو وكأنها تضع عددا من المتناقضات في سلة واحدة. وجاءت هذه التساؤلات بعد استضافة قطر للمؤتمر التأسيسي لـ"الحملة العالمية لمقاومة العدوان" بحضور نشطاء إسلاميين ينتمون إلى دول عربية وغربية، والذي دعا في ختامه إلى التصدي السلمي للهجمة على الإسلام، بالإضافة للتركيز على "العدوان الأمريكي" في حين أن قطر تستضيف في نفس الوقت أكبر قاعدة عسكرية أمريكية في المنطقة التي انطلقت منها حملات الحروب الأمريكية الأخيرة في أفغانستان والعراق. إلا أن التناقض الأكبر الذي لفت نظر الشارع العربي وأثار هذه التساؤلات والذي ظهر في وسائل الإعلام ومنتديات الإنترنت والمجالس الخاصة، هو استضافة قطر غير العادية لنائب وزير التعليم الإسرائيلي بدعوة من حرم أمير الدولة في نفس اليوم الذي يشارك فيه قادة حماس والجماعات الإسلامية في مؤتمر "مقاومة العدوان". وكانت صحيفة معاريف الإسرائيلية كشفت أن وزير التعليم الإسرائيلي الحاخام ميخائيل مالكيئور قام بزيارة "سرية" لقطر، "تلبية لدعوة رسمية من صندوق قطر الذي تقف على رأسه عقيلة أمير البلاد". وحسب الصحيفة التقى المسؤول الإسرائيلي وكيل وزارة الخارجية القطرية "الذي أعرب عن رغبة بلاده في دفع العلاقات بين البلدين"، مشيرة إلى أن رئيس الحكومة الإسرائيلي أرييل شارون حمّل مالكيئور رسائل إلى القيادة القطرية. معتبرة الزيارة بمثابة "سنونوة أولى في ربيع استئناف العلاقات بين إسرائيل ودول عربية". وحشدت قطر للمؤتمر الذي اختتم أعماله على أرضها عددا من الشخصيات الإسلامية البارزة من بينها خالد مشعل رئيس المكتب السياسي لحركة حماس، والدكتور عبد الرزاق الشايجي الناطق باسم الحركة السلفية الكويتية والدكتور عبد الوهاب المسيري من مصر والقاضي حسين من أفغانستان وإسحاق الفرحان من الأردن، وعباسي مدني من الجزائر، والمتحدث الرسمي باسم هيئة علماء المسلمين في العراق محمد بشار الفيضي. واتفق المجتمعون على أن تكون من أهداف الحملة التي سيطلقونها "دفع عدوان الظالمين بالوسائل المشروعة" و"الحفاظ على الهوية الحضارية للأمة وكشف مخططات أعدائها" و"كشف زيف الحملات المغرضة ضد الإسلام". وإلى جوار قاعة المؤتمر تقيم الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية أكبر قاعدة عسكرية لها خارج أراضيها، حيث اختارت ضاحية العديد – شرقي قطر – مقراً لها، ومنها انطلقت الطائرات الأمريكية باتجاه أفغانستان في شهر أكتوبر 2001 معلنة بدء الحرب على نظام طالبان الحاكم آنذاك، ومن ثم أقامت القوات الأمريكية قاعدة أخرى في ضاحية السيلية في قطر، وأدارت من خلالها الحرب على العراق في شهر مارس 2001، ومازالت القاعدتين الأمريكيتين مستمرتان في نشاطهما العسكري تجاه العراق وأفغانستان من بعد انتهاء الحرب في البلدين. وعرف أمين عام "الحملة" القطري عبد الرحمن بن عمير النعيمي طبيعة نشاطها بأنها "إطار تتضافر فيه جهود أبناء الأمة لتذكيرها بواجب النصرة" وأضاف أنها "مناهضة المعتدي بالطرق الشرعية الممكنة وبالوسائل السلمية المؤثرة اقتصاديا وإعلاميا وقانونيا أيضا". وكان النعيمي قال في بداية المؤتمر إن الفكرة "تنضج منذ سنتين" موضحا أن المقصود هو "مقاومة فكرية واقتصادية وإعلامية وتربوية وقانونية" ومنوها إلى أن "كلمة المقاومة التي نعنيها هي المقاومة السلمية للعدوان بكل أشكاله وليس بالضرورة أن تكون المقاومة المتمثلة بالعنف والقتل". وأكد أن "الهدف هو التحول إلى عمل جماهيري واسع واستنهاض الأمة من جديد لمقاومة العدوان المسلط عليها". وطلب المؤتمر من أمير قطر حمد بن خليفة آل ثاني اتخاذ قطر مقرا للحملة، وأشار مسؤولون فيها إلى أنه سيكون لها فروعا في شتى أنحاء العالم وأن "التمويل سيكون ذاتيا وسنحصل عليه من الشخصيات المنخرطة في هذه المبادرة". واختارت الحملة رئيسا لها الداعية السعودي الشيخ الدكتور سفر الحوالي، كما اختارت السعودي خالد العجيمي والأردني عبد اللطيف عربيات نائبين للرئيس والقطري عبد الرحمن بن عمير النعيمي ليكون "أمينا عاما". ولم يصدر عن المؤتمر أي تعليق حول استخدام دولة قطر كقاعدة عسكرية أمريكية لـ"العدوان على بلدان إسلامية " هي أفغانستان والعراق، أو استضافة المسؤول الإسرائيلي في ذات الوقت الذي كان المجتمعون يناقشون فيه تأسيس المؤتمر. غير أن محمد نزال المتحدث باسم حركة المقاومة الإسلامية "حماس" المشارك في المؤتمر، قال في تعليقه لصالح قناة "العربية" أن الحركة " ترفض إقامة أي دولة عربية أي اتصال مع العدو الإسرائيلي". ولكن فيما كان ذلك المؤتمر يتبنى مبدأ "مقاومة العدوان" استضافت مؤسسة تربوية علمية ترعاها زوجة أمير قطر ندوة أخرى مثيرة للجدل في العاصمة القطرية، حيث كان ضيفها لأول مرة مسؤول إسرائيلي، فيما وصف بأنه يفتح بابا للتطبيع "الثقافي" مع إسرائيل، وهو عكس ما تدعو إليه "حملة مقاومة العدوان". وكانت مؤسسة قطر للتربية والعلوم التي ترعاها الشيخة موزة بنت ناصر المسند زوجة الشيخ حمد بن خليفة آل ثاني أمير قطر قد أقامت ندوة حول "خارطة الطريق" واستضافت فيها نائب وزير التربية الإسرائيلي ميخائيل ملكيئور إضافة إلى المسؤول الفلسطيني غسان الخطيب. وفي وجه الانتقادات العربية العنيفة التي وجهت لها قالت المسؤولة عن تنظيم برنامج "ندوات الدوحة" الكسندرا ويليس لوكالة الأنباء الفرنسية إن زيارة المسؤول الإسرائيلي إلى قطر لم تكن سرية وقالت إنه جاء بدعوة رسمية و"حضر وتكلم أمام قرابة 300 شخص من أكاديميين ودبلوماسيين ومشاركين آخرين وطلاب المدينة التعليمية". وقال ملكيئور إثر عودته إلى إسرائيل إنه يعتبر حفاوة الاستقبال وكرم الضيافة من جانب القطريين بمثابة خطوة ملموسة للمضي قدما نحو تحسين العلاقات بين إسرائيل وقطر. واطلع ملكيؤر مدير عام وزارة الخارجية القطرية على تقارير عن برامج بثتها محطة التلفزة الرسمية واحتوت مضامين معادية للسامية وقد وعد المسؤول القطري أن يقوم شخصيا بمعالجة الموضوع. وتسببت زيارة المسؤول الإسرائيلي إلى قطر في حالة من الغضب في الشارع العربي في ظل أنباء ترددت عن اتجاه 10 دول عربية لإقامة علاقات دبلوماسية مع إسرائيل بعد القمة العربية المرتقبة في الجزائر خلال الشهر المقبل. وكانت أولى الدول العربية التي أقامت علاقات مع إسرائيل هي مصر التي وقعت اتفاقية سلام عام تسعة وسبعين انتهت بعلاقات دبلوماسية كاملة عام ثمانين، توقفت عام ألفين عند بدء انتفاضة الأقصى لتعود في الشهر الجاري بعد قمة شرم الشيخ. وتلاها الأردن الذي باشر علاقاته الدبلوماسية مع إسرائيل إثر اتفاقية وادي عربة عام أربعة وتسعين لتتوقف أيضا عام ألفين وتستأنف هذا الشهر، ثم أقامت موريتانيا علاقات دبلوماسية مع إسرائيل عام تسعة وتسعين تبعت تعاونا تجاريا بين البلدين استمر ثلاث سنوات. أما المملكة المغربية فقد افتتحت مكتب اتصال مع إسرائيل في الرباط عام أربعة وتسعين لتغلقه عام ألفين وتشترط تقدما في محادثات السلام قبل إعادة افتتاحه. ويوجد في قطر مكتب تمثيل تجاري إسرائيلي منذ عام ستة وتسعين وهو العام الذي شهد أيضا افتتاح مكاتب تمثيل تجارية بين العاصمة العمانية مسقط وإسرائيل قبل أن تقوم مسقط بإغلاق المكتب عام ألفين. أما تونس فقد افتتحت بالتبادل مع إسرائيل مكتبا للمصالح المشتركة عام ستة وتسعين لتجمد علاقاتها مع تل أبيب لاحقا مع اندلاع الانتفاضة عام ألفين. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- جميع الحقوق محفوظة لقناة العربية © 2004 http://www.alarabiya.net/Article.aspx?v=10720
  11. Due to the catastrophic role of this country and its TV channal on our region, we decided to keep all the posts related to them in this forum. Please post all relevant info into this forum نظرا للدور التدميري لقطر كدولة معها قناة الجزيرة الفضائية ارتاينا تخصيص باب خاص لهما الرجاء نشر الأراء ذات العلاقة هنا
  12. A joke from an Arabic Newspaper http://www.iraq4allnews.dk/viewnews.php?id=75479
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