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Media War in Egypt: Information or Incitement

February 2, 2011

“Democracy of Cannibals” by Daniel Greenfield aka Sultan Knish

February 2, 2011

Some excerpts from a great article by a fellow foreign relations blogger:

(you can read the entire article here:

“The reality that much of the rest of the world may not see things the way we do. They may want the same things, but they don’t want the same way or on the same terms. Our narrative tangles material success with political freedom. Theirs associates material success with honor and public order. The American Dream is not the same thing as the Muslim Dream. The conflict is apparent in the Clash of Civilizations. If we use our democracy to protect the American Dream, they will use theirs to protect the Muslim Dream.”

“The American system makes it very difficult for even democratic elections to undo Constitutional rights. But the Constitution of the Muslim world is the Koran. And it can only be temporarily repressed, not undone. It is always waiting around the corner, promising an answer to everything. The Koran is not that old by the standards of Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism or Hinduism– but it is still far older than Arab nationalism. It is younger than the tribes and the families, but older than their collective memory. The Koran with its narrative of tribalism in the service of Islam defines the Muslim, as much as the 4th of July with its narrative of armed independence against government authority defines the American. In times of turmoil, it is to Mohammed, and the Koran’s narrative of him as a religious visionary fighting against a corrupt leadership, that the Muslim turns to. Is it the model that is embedded in his culture and will always be there in his politics.”

“Given a choice between a tangle of Arab Socialist parties and the Koran, it’s not much of a competition. The Socialists and the Islamists both promise family benefits, and the usual bread and circuses. But the Islamists also promise to restore morality and honor by putting everyone from independent women to Christians to Israel and America in their place. That’s how the Koran spells a winning ticket.”

“If the Muslim world were truly ready to reform, it would have already reformed itself by now. And all the Soros front groups and US and EU funded grass roots organizations won’t change that. Their 0.001 percent of angry college students will provide the impetus and legitimacy for what will turn into an Islamist takeover. That’s democracy for you.”

Meet the New Boss: Mohammed Badie, Chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood

February 1, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at 2010 AIPAC Conference

March 22, 2010

Honoring a terrorist…

March 17, 2010

Brazilian president places wreath on Arafat’s tomb


RAMALLAH, West Bank — Brazil’s president placed a wreath on the tomb of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on Wednesday and sharply criticized Israeli policies, leading Israeli officials to suggest he was not being evenhanded.

Making the first visit by any sitting Brazilian president to Israel and the Palestinian territories, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has termed the trip amission of peace.” The visit appears aimed at helping Brazil emerge as a bigger player in foreign affairs.

Brazil could play a bridging role: the country is Israel’s largest trading partner in Latin America, but also has close ties to Iran, Israel’s archenemy. Silva has been a defender of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which Israel sees as a potentially grave threat.

Silva laid a yellow and green wreath on Arafat’s mausoleum on Wednesday, following protocol for visiting leaders. The visit came a day after Israel’s hawkish foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said he boycotted meetings with Silva because the Brazilian did not pay a similar visit to the grave of Zionist founder Theodor Herzl.

The mayor of the West Bank city of Ramallah draped an iconic Palestinian black-and-white checkered scarf on the shoulders of the Brazilian president, who told a crowd of Palestinian officials and several dozen people waving Brazil’s flag that he had participated in pro-Palestinian protests in the past.

Speaking at a press conference, Silva criticized Israel’s West Bank separation barrier, called on Israel to lift its punishing blockade of the Gaza Strip and described Jewish settlements in the West Bank as extinguishing “the candle of hope.”

Those statements could diminish Silva’s chances of winning the trust of Israelis.

Silva showed “sympathy, understanding and support” to Palestinians, said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor, but “courtesy, politeness and correctness” to Israel.

“This is a divide we regret,” Palmor said.

Silva later traveled to Jordan, with a focus on boosting economic ties. He signed 11 agreements pertaining to science, technology and tourism, according to a palace statement.

It quoted Silva as saying Brazil wanted to launch joint ventures with Jordan, but did not provide details.

Associated Press Writer Jamal Halaby contributed to this report from Amman.

The Godfather speaks…

March 14, 2010

Pakistani scientist Khan describes Iranian efforts to buy nuclear bombs

By R. Jeffrey Smith and Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 14, 2010

The father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program has written an official account that details an Iranian attempt to buy atomic bombs from Pakistan at the end of the 1980s.

Bombmaker Abdul Qadeer Khan states in documents obtained by The Washington Post that in lieu of weapons, Pakistan gave Iran bomb-related drawings, parts for centrifuges to purify uranium and a secret worldwide list of suppliers. Iran’s centrifuges, which are viewed as building blocks for a nuclear arsenal, are largely based on models and designs obtained from Pakistan.

Khan’s narrative calls into question Iran’s long-standing stance that it has not sought nuclear arms. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said last month that “we won’t do that because we don’t believe in having them.”

The account also conflicts with the Pakistani government’s assertion that Khan proliferated nuclear know-how without government approval.

Pakistan has never disclosed Khan’s written account. A summary of interrogations of Khan and four others in 2004, conducted by Pakistan’s intelligence service and later provided to U.S. and allied intelligence officials, omitted mention of the attempt to buy a nuclear bomb. But Pakistan’s former top military official in 2006 publicly hinted at it.

In interviews, two military officers whom Khan links to the bargaining with Iran denied that finished nuclear weapons were ever on the table. Spokesmen for Iran’s mission to the United Nations and the Pakistani Embassy in Washington did not respond to requests to comment.

However, a top Pakistani government official at the time said Ali Shamkhani, the senior Iranian military officer named by Khan, came to Islamabad, Pakistan, seeking help on nuclear weapons. The former official also said Khan, acting with the knowledge of other top officials, then accelerated a secret stream of aid.

The U.S. ambassador to Pakistan at the time, Robert Oakley, separately said in an interview that he thinks Pakistan’s top military officer urged and approved Khan’s bomb-related assistance to Iran.

Who directed the deal?

Khan is a controversial figure, and he has complained bitterly about long-standing restrictions on his movements by Pakistan’s government, which says it seeks to ensure he does not restart his nuclear dealings. Several U.S. experts have noted that as a result, Khan is eager to depict others as more culpable than he was in those dealings.

Most observers now think Khan’s work for Iran was directed by “senior elements of Pakistan’s military, if not by its political leaders,” said Leonard S. Spector, director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. “Khan is clearly out to vindicate his reputation, but the issues remain murky enough that you can’t be certain when he is telling the truth and when he is embellishing.”

Khan’s 11-page narrative, prepared in 2004 during his initial house arrest, states that “at no time did I seriously believe that they [Iranians] were capable of mastering the technology.” But Western intelligence officials say his assistance was meaningful and trace its roots to a deal reached in 1987.

Pakistan has said little about that deal. Iran later told international inspectors that a Pakistani “network” in 1987 offered a host of centrifuge-related specifications and equipment, and turned over a document detailing how to shape enriched uranium for use in a bomb.

Pakistan’s intelligence service sought to explain the cooperation partly by noting that “due to religious and ideological affinity, Pakistanis had great affection for Iran.” But Khan also cited Iran’s promise of financial aid, as well as the government’s ambition of forever thwarting Western pressure on both countries.

“It was a deal worth almost $10 billion that had been offered by Iran,” Khan wrote.

Khan’s account and related documents were shared with The Post by former British journalist Simon Henderson, now a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The Post had no direct contact with Khan, but it independently verified that he wrote the documents.

The intelligence service’s summary said Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg, a former army chief of staff who was arguably Pakistan’s most influential figure, was “in favour of very close cooperation [with Iran] in the nuclear field in lieu of financial assistance promised to him toward Pakistan’s defense budget.”

Khan’s written statement to Henderson states that after Shamkhani’s arrival in Islamabad on a government plane, he told the chairman of Pakistan’s Joint Chiefs of Staff committee that “he had come . . . to collect the promised nuclear bombs.”

When the chairman, Adm. Iftikhar Ahmed Sirohey, proposed to discuss other matters first and then “see how Pakistan could assist the Iranians in their nuclear program,” Shamkhani reportedly became irate, Khan wrote. He reminded Sirohey that “first Gen. Zia [ul Haq, the Pakistani president until 1988] and then Gen. Beg had promised assistance and nuclear weapons and he had specifically come to collect the same.”

Such a transfer was theoretically feasible. Although Pakistan exploded no nuclear bombs until 1998, the U.S. intelligence community concluded it had the capability to make weapons by 1986.

Shamkhani, a founding leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, was long active in the country’s nuclear program, according to U.S. officials. A longtime defense minister and presidential candidate in 2001, he now runs a Tehran think tank. The Iranian mission in New York did not respond to questions about him.

Khan said that after hearing Shamkhani’s demand for three finished weapons, Sirohey demurred and that other ministers backed him up. But Beg pressed then-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and her top military aide “to honour [Beg’s] . . . commitment,” Khan wrote.

Under pressure, the aide asked Khan to “get components of two old (P-1) discarded machines and pack them into boxes with 2 sets of drawings,” which were passed to Iran through an intermediary, he said. P-1 is the designation for the centrifuge model used in Pakistan.

Asked to comment, Sirohey said he did not recall the meeting “or ever hearing about a deal to sell nuclear weapons to Iran.”

In an interview, Beg denied bartering nuclear weapons for cash. He said that when an Iranian delegation “asked me about nuclear technology” in 1988, he advised discussing it with Bhutto.

A 2006 Associated Press article reported Beg’s recollection of a 1990 visit by an Iranian delegation: “They asked, ‘Can we have a bomb?’ My answer was: By all means you can have it but you must make it yourself.” But on a Pakistani television program in June, Beg said he has “always” urged the transfer of nuclear arms to Iran.

The former Pakistani official said, “Shamkhani thought he had a deal when he came to Pakistan.” Various top officials, the former official said, were aware that Beg told the Iranians, “You have the money, we have the technology. Beg saw this as a win-win . . . a way to take care of the Army’s endless budget problems.”

‘The supply network’

U.S. intelligence officials say Khan’s initial exports of disassembled P-1 centrifuges disappointed his Iranian counterparts; the International Atomic Energy Agency states that Iran reported a 2003 offer of new parts by “the supply network.”

In his narrative, Khan states that his next direct contact with Iranian officials was at a meeting in 1994 or 1995, when some Iranian scientists complained about their lack of progress.

Khan said in a note to Henderson that he subsequently agreed to send centrifuge parts to Iran. The IAEA says Iran admitted that Khan’s network in 1996 also turned over the design for a more advanced centrifuge that Pakistan had constructed, known as P-2.

Malaysian police reported in 2004 — based on interrogations of a Khan associate — that the parts were shipped aboard an Iranian-owned ship after first passing through Dubai. In return, the associates were paid $3 million.

The Pakistani intelligence service report differs slightly: It said Iran paid $5 million for drawings of equipment used in enriching uranium. Some funds were deposited in a Dubai bank account controlled by Khan and two associates under the name “Haider Zaman,” the report said. Khan used that name in a government-issued passport to conceal some foreign travel.

Khan has told Henderson that the funds went to associates and that he never retained any, which some U.S. officials consider implausible. Khan also said in a separate note that he supplied “the names and addresses of suppliers” to the Iranians. Western officials say that act could have given Tehran access to companies that possessed drawings of Pakistani bomb parts and to components of the more advanced P-2 centrifuges used by Pakistan.

Iran last month promised to install such advanced centrifuges, which it calls IR-2s, at two sites this year.

Warrick reported from Islamabad. Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

Not so “ronery” anymore…

March 8, 2010

TEHRAN, March 8 (UPI) – “…From London, the IHS Jane’s information group reported that satellite imagery has uncovered that the Iranians are building a new launch pad at the Semnan Space Center east of Tehran, apparently in cooperation with North Korea. It is believed to be intended to launch the Simorgh, or Phoenix, rocket, a space launch vehicle that can be adapted into a multistage intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead…”

Mind you, this video is from the English language propaganda channel Press TV which is funded by the Iranian regime: