American military sources say the gigantic new 15 ton bunker-blaster is designed to hit fortified underground targets such as Iran’s uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz.
It will be capable of drilling through many meters of earth or concrete. When it falls from a high altitude, the MOP – composed of 20% explosives, 80% hardened metal – will punch a hole in the toughest protective casing before exploding in depth. It is GPS guided.
DEBKAfile’s military sources reveal that Israel’s RAFAEL has upgraded its US-made SPICE air-to-ground missile, adding a stand-off precision guidance kit.
This kit has been cleared for the US-made BLU-109 penetrator warhead, carried by Israeli warplanes, which is rated one of the top-line US weapons capable of hitting fortified targets from the air or warship.
Its effective drop range has been extended from 60km to 90km enabling Israeli warplanes to release the missile to target from outside enemy territory without being exposed to air defense fire.
The Israel-made PGM cannot be jammed since it does not depend on coordinates which can be falsified. After the targets are loaded into the bomb’s computer and dropped, it navigates and guides itself without pilot intervention and cannot therefore be diverted in mid-flight.
The unveiling of these super-weapons comes shortly after satellite pictures showed new digging efforts in the mountains just outside Iran’s Natanz facility. Analysts worldwide believe a tunnel complex is under development.
Human Rights Travesty
By Kenneth R. Timmerman
FrontPageMagazine.com | July 23, 2007
If human rights abuses were ranked like baseball careers, Iran’s ruling clerics and the mighty midget they’ve installed as president would deserve honored places in the 21st Century’s Hall of Shame. On July 10, Iran’s Interior ministry confirmed the sentence, handed down ten days earlier by a court in the north of the country, condemning a man to death by stoning.
If you’ve never witnessed a stoning (and most of us haven’t, I trust), you can get a flavor for the barbarity of this Koranic punishment from a short video clip shot at one of these events.
The fellows in military dress belong to the bassij force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, the thugs and enforcers the regime uses to cow the Iranian population – or, as in this case, to whip up the frenzy of its remaining supporters.
The YouTube version of stoning is mercifully brief. Iranian human rights activist Dr. Manouchehr Ganji sat down with me a few years ago and showed me the full Monty, and it’s not a pretty sight. You see, the rocks have to be just the right size: not too large, so they won’t kill the victim outright, and not too small, as to be harmless.
The victim is wrapped in a white shroud and cemented into a hole in the ground up to the waist, arms wrapped to his sides. It can take fifteen minutes or more of pounding by the crowd for the first blood to appear through the shroud. Until then, the crowd seems to just mill about. Some are just curious onlookers. The bassijis, always helpful, have rocks ready and make sure that everyone gets their shot. Many of them miss the target.
But when the blood appears, the bassijis go wild. This part has been censored from the YouTube version. This is where they break free from the circle and make their mad dashes up close to the victim, smashing their skull with rocks. They come in like banderillos at a bullfight, or like vultures descending on carrion. In the video Dr. Ganji showed me, you can see the froth on their lips.
Even when the victim lurches forward, no longer able to stand upright in the hole, they continue to dash forward with their rocks. By this time, the white shroud has become soaked with blood. You can see them screaming in hate as they pound the bloody rags that the white shroud has become.
Welcome to the Islamic Republic of Iran, where the chairman of the Iranian Human Rights (sic) committee argues that stoning is an appropriate punishment. (Thanks to Michael Ledeen and Pyjamas media for that link).
International human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and even the left-leaning Human Rights Watch (which spends more effort blasting America’s presence in Iraq than it ever did exposing Saddam Hussein’s crimes against his own people) generally have done a good job in exposing the Islamic regime’s abuses over the years.
They will present some of this evidence at an informal hearing organized from 12:00-2:30 PM in room B369 of the Rayburn House Office Building on Thursday, July 26.
But in a travesty that defies comprehension, the moderator of this panel on Iranian regime human rights abuses is an individual I have described in these pages as “the mullahs’ voice” in Washington, DC.
Trita Parsi has been very active in creating a pro-regime lobby to oppose U.S. sanctions on Iran. He has also criticized the Bush administration for its half-hearted attempt to provide funding for pro-democracy activists inside Iran.
But he has never joined the front lines of the struggle on behalf of human rights in Iran. On the contrary, by arguing that the United States and the West should cut a deal with the Tehran regime, he has been denounced by pro-democracy activist Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi – the daughter of long-time jailed journalist Siamak Pourzand – as “un-Iranian.”
Independent Iranian writer Hassan Dailoleslam, who exposed Trita Parsi’s ties to key figures in the Iran oil mafia in April, believes that this latest venture is an attempt by the regime to use human rights as a bargaining chip with the West.
The goal of the Iranian lobby is “to present human rights as a negotiating item on the engagement table in hopes of getting human rights organizations to argue for Tehran-friendly rapprochement, easing of sanctions and tolerance of a nuclear Iran,” he told me.
“In a nut shell, the lobby’s message is that the more West pressures the regime, the more violent it becomes, hence, lift the pressure.”
Parsi’s lawyer, Afshin Pishavar, has accused me of publishing “false and defamatory” information about NIAC.
To what facts did NIAC object? Apparently none, because none are mentioned in the lawyer’s June 19, 2007 letter, which is addressed to Voice of America and, while mentioning my article, focuses instead on other issues.
NIAC’s initial on-line “rebuttal” of my article states that I equated “opposition to a US-Iran war with support for the Iranian government,” and then refers to my “support for war” with Iran.
In fact, as readers of this page know, I have argued consistently that war with Iran is the last, worst option that will be thrust upon the United States if we don’t take the wiser course, which is to support the legitimate aspirations of the Iranian people to freedom.
This not-so-subtle twisting of message and intent seeks to disguise the real agenda of Trita Parsi and NIAC, which is to support a negotiated deal with so-called “reformist” elements in Tehran, led by former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, a multi-billionaire cleric who was defeated by Ahmadinejad in the 2005 presidential elections.
NIAC admits this without a flinch. Referring to a C-SPAN appearance which I criticized in my earlier piece, NIAC noted that “Mr. Parsi insists that the US should follow the Iraq Study Group’s recommendation to pursue diplomacy with Iran.”
NIAC has consistently opposed U.S. assistance to pro-democracy groups in Iran.
When Senator Sam Brownback (R, KS) unveiled the original Iran Democracy Act in 2003, NIAC noted that 80% of users of its on-line legislative center opposed the bill, which provided $50 million to pro-democracy groups.
For someone such as Trita Parsi to be mentioned in the same sentence as the phrase “human rights” is a travesty For him to host a panel to discuss human rights abuses in Iran defies comprehension.
Liberals and conservatives have found rare unity when it comes to opposing the radical, terrorist regime in Tehran. In the California legislature, Democrats and Republicans unanimously supported Assembly Bill 221, to disinvest the state pension funds from companies doing business in the Iranian oil and gas sector.
In the U.S. Congress, Democrats and Republicans regularly work together to strengthen U.S. sanctions on Iran, and to expand funding for the pro-democracy movement.
But NIAC’s agenda is different. As the group announced just this week, they support expanded U.S. talks with Iran “to include issues of contention between the two countries” that go well beyond Iranian support for Iraqi terrorist groups.
In Tehran, dissident cleric Ayatollah Hossein Kazameni Borujerdi waits on death row after his execution was temporarily stayed on June 25. His crime? Opposing absolute rule of the clergy.
Borujerdi recently appealed to the Pope – and to the same human rights organizations that will sit together in Washington next week with the enemy of Iranian freedom, Trita Parsi.
On July 10, armed thugs abducted well-known labor leader Mansoor Osanloo as he stepped off a bus in Tehran, shouting to passersby that he was “an enemy of Islam.”
These are but a few short takes of the most recent outrages committed by the Tehran regime against the people of Iran. But don’t look to Mr. Parsi and his group for information on such events, or to rally support for Iranian freedom fighters.
They are too busy lobbying Congress to lift sanctions against the Tehran regime and to negotiate a grand bargain with Tehran’s ruling clerics.
It has become apparent that the billions of US dollars annually spent on Saudi oil seldom reciprocate loyalty anymore.
The recent military figures made available to The Los Angeles Times by senior American officials state that roughly 45% of all foreign combatants in the Iraq war theatre come solely from Saudi Arabia. However, this should, in no way, be a revelation.
For years, many in the West have overtly expressed their outrage at Wahabbist odium towards religious plurality, the backwards indoctrination of Saudi school children through their public educational system, the apocalyptic conspiracy theories that are rife in Saudi state-run media, and the profound antipathy that the majority in their religious establishment have towards western values.
In 2002, with the images of 9/11 still fresh in the American mindset and approximately nine months before the start of the Iraq war, scholar Victor Davis Hanson wrote a most detailed analysis about America’s self-defeating “alliance” with the House of Saud.In Our enemies the Saudis, Hanson examines the conundrum of why a western, liberalized society that bases its entire identity on pluralism can have any diplomatic relations, let alone a strong alliance, with the reactionary neo-Caliphate oligarchy of Saudi Arabia. The “anomaly raises the key question: why have close relations with the Saudis been a cornerstone of American foreign policy for decades?” Considering the complexities and sheer irrationality of Middle Eastern politics, one can imagine that this aspect of American foreign policy must certainly possess some esoteric meaning.
Yet, “the answer” could not be more salient. To Hanson, it is simply “oil, and nothing more” that the keeps the American government reluctantly married to the Saudi royal family. The US clearly lacks what they have and, as a result, practicality trumps the American motto of liberty and justice for all.
Hanson’s analysis was 5 years ago and the brunt of his argument still rings true. Yet, the dynamics in this troubled region have since shifted dramatically. In removing Sadaam, what the US has ultimately done is uncover the unintended consequences and the nonsensicality of its long-held diplomatic ties to certain nefarious parties of the Middle East. The Saudi alliance is only one of several.
Think about it.
When on any given Monday, a sharply dressed official from the US State Department conducts a one hour harangue on the evils of Iran for supplying Shia militias in Southern Iraq with roadside bombs and then, that same official, only a few hours later, attends a “working lunch” with his Saudi counterpart, the utter stupidity of American foreign policy manifests itself to the world.
How can the American government expect to be taken seriously when it applies different standards to two parties, who in essence, commit the same offence? Why is Shia radicalism viewed as somehow more pernicious than Wahabbi fundamentalism when both parties engage in similar activities? In fact, Hanson himself clearly points out that “Saudi terrorists have killed more Americans than all those murdered by Iranians, Syrians, Libyans, and Iraqis put together.”
It is time for the American government to stop splitting hairs and reconcile itself with the byproducts of decades of misdirected foreign policy.
What President Bush must understand is that the same Saudi delegate who is yearly invited to his Crawford ranch, who sits down to dinner with him as they exchange pleasantries, is just as evil and inimical to American interests as any mystic Ayatollah on the streets of Qom.
For years, successive American administrations have courted Saudi allegiance in return for American interests to be played out in the broader Middle East. Yet, they have turned a blind eye to the Saudi government’s rampant human rights abuses, support for terrorism, and mass indoctrination of Stalinist ideology upon their public.
It is now a sober reality that the American alliance with Saudi Arabia is of no further use. It is disingenuous of the Bush administration to proclaim that they “will go after the terrorists” all the while attempting to “win hearts and minds” when they are clearly married to ‘the makers of terrorists’, those who vitiate young hearts and minds. If blind American allegiance towards the House of Saud stems only from energy concerns, then certain shifts in trade with Russia, Azerbaijan, Canada, Mexico, and dare I say, Iran, can easily alleviate those concerns.
Yes…Iran, and why not? If the American government can do business with a nation like Saudi Arabia, which has a citizenry that is intoxicated with hate towards the West, teaches its children that Jews are monkeys, and actively supports “charities” that send money to the families of suicide bombers, then surely the US can do business with any other rogue regime. Follow the numbers: 80% of those who murdered 3,000 people on 9/11 were Saudis; and now 45% of foreign combatants in Iraq are Saudis.
American credibility is marred, not because of its stance towards Iran, its alliance with Israel, or Saudi subterfuge. The damage to US credibility comes from the schism between American rhetoric and action – because of its inconsistency.
For years, America ignored calls to back away from the serpent that is Saudi Arabia. Therefore, now, it cannot complain if, every so often, it is bitten by it.
By Linda Michaud-Emin and Heymi Bahar, GLORIA
Having won Turkey ’s July 22 parliamentary elections, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is set once again to form a single-party government. This triumph is especially impressive as it is the first time in a half-century that a government party wins reelection. Ironically, this means that while the July 22 elections have taken place amidst so much controversy they are in fact producing the most stable government in many years.
In recent years, the Turkish government has been plagued by an on-going battle between Deniz Baykal’s opposition socialist Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the AKP on the issue of secularism. When it was time for parliament to choose a president on April 27, 2007, the AKP selected its number-two leader, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, for the post. In turn, the CHP boycotted the balloting, thus blocking it. As a result, parliamentary elections were moved up to an earlier date. With street demonstrations protesting AKP’s Islam-oriented program, it seemed as if the opposition might seriously challenge the government. Instead, the government did very well.
Still, the probable continuation of an AKP single-party government does not mean there will be no change. The emergence in third place of Turkey’s far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), as well as an increase in independent members could bring some important changes.
First, the MHP as a second opposition party—after the CHP–with an intensely nationalist ideology could harass the AKP considerably, as well as polarizing the system to a far greater extent. The MHP is particularly hostile to demands for more rights by the Kurdish minority. At the same time, though, Kurds may be more significant because the Kurdish forces ran as independents—their main party has been banned—and could sometimes hold the balance of power.
Nevertheless, in September or October the AKP will now probably propose and elect a presidential candidate from its own party which is what led to this whole mess in the first place. It may, however, seek someone less controversial than Gul and try to reach a consensus with the CHP.
The presidency in Turkey up to now has always been a bulwark of the secular system. The president appoints the prime minister, the military’s chief of staff, university rectors, diplomats, and members of the country’s highest court. An AKP presidency coupled with an AKP government can dramatically change the nature of both Turkish politics and society.
Secularists fear that with AKP controlling executive, legislative, and—by appointing judges–judicial branches of government it would be a point of no return for the country. In 2004, for example, the AKP passed a law lowering the compulsory retirement age as a way of forcing out thousands of civil servants. Many of them were replaced by graduates of the imam hatips, Islamic schools, who might have been less qualified but who were very loyal to the AKP and its policies.
A confident, more assertive AKP has serious ramifications for Turkish foreign policy in terms of its positions on U.S. interests, the West in general, radical Islamist forces, and Israel. Examples include the recent natural gas agreement between Turkey and Iran as well as Turkey ’s differences with the United States over Iraq .
While it is possible to exaggerate marginal phenomena or short-term public opinion trends, anti-American and anti-Jewish feelings have been rising in the country since 2002, the year the AKP came to office. The question is to what extent changes in the society are boosting the AKP and a more Islamic approach to issues or whether it is the AKP government that is altering these attitudes.
Linda Michaud-Emin is a research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center http://gloria.idc.ac.il, at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC). Heymi Bahar is a research associate at the GLORIA Center .