Saturday, October 20, 2007

Iran's Larijani quits

Working for a lunatic is difficult...
Last update - 15:33 20/10/2007    
By The Associated Press
The top negotiator of Iran's controversial nuclear program, Ali Larijani, has resigned, the Iranian government spokesman said Saturday, adding that talks will still continue.
The spokesman, Gholam Hossein Elham, did not give a specific reason for Larijani's resignation other than to say he wanted to focus on other political activities.
"Larijani had resigned repeatedly. Finally, the president accepted his resignation," Elham told reporters.  Advertisement

Elham said Saeed Jalili, a deputy foreign minister for European and American affairs, was to succeed Larijani, whose resignation was effective immediately.
The United States and some of its allies accuse Iran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies the claim, saying its program is for peaceful purposes including generating electricity.
Elham stressed that Iran's nuclear policy would not change because of Larijani's resignation.
"Iran's nuclear policies are stabilized and unchangeable. Managerial change won't bring any changes in [those] policies," Elham said.
The spokesman said a meeting between the nuclear negotiator and the European Union foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, scheduled for Tuesday in Rome would still take place.
"Despite Larijani's resignation, meetings ... won't change. Larijani's successor will meet Solana instead," Elham said.
Larijani was considered a trusted figure within Iran's hard-line ruling Islamic establishment who replaced Iran's former nuclear negotiator Hasan Rowhani, who was considered a moderate politician, after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president in 2005.
However, differences had recently emerged between Larijani and Ahmadinejad and his resignation is seen here as a victory for the hardline president on nuclear policy, giving Ahmadinejad a free hand in dictating his views on Jalili, a little-known diplomat.
Larijani's absence during Russian President Vladimir Putin's meeting with Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, last week further raised eyebrows in Iran's political circles.
Ahmadinejad had appointed Larijani, a former Revolutionary Guards Corps commander and a close ally of Khamenei, as the top negotiator in August 2005 to replace Rowhani. Ahmadinejad had accused Rowhani and his team of technocrats as weak and giving too many concessions to Europeans in nuclear talks.
Before he was appointed, Larijani was the head of Iran's state-run radio and television network and was seen as one of the hard-liners' most effective weapon in curtailing former President Mohammad Khatami's reform program. At the time, Larijani used the official media as a weapon to suppress democratic reforms and prohibited broadcasting information that might have been harmful to hardline clerics.
After Larijani was appointed to the negotiator post, Iran took a more defiant approach to its nuclear program. It resumed uranium enrichment activities leading to its referral to the UN Security Council by the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2006. Iran's refusal to halt enrichment subsequently prompted a resolution by the Security Council imposing sanctions on Iran in December 2006 and another resolution widening the sanctions in March.
Larijani, in many cases, held a hardline view on the nuclear standoff between Iran and the West. In 2006, he rejected Western economic incentives in return for a suspension of Iran's nuclear activities, saying the "Security Council should not think that they can make us happy with candies."
But Larijani was also considered to be a moderate figure than Ahmadinejad within Iran's hardline camp. He is seen to be more committed to a diplomatic solution over Iran's nuclear program while Ahmadinejad is not seen as favoring talks with the West over Tehran's nuclear activities.
The differences between Larijani and Ahmadinejad were revealed earlier this year when Larijani was upset after the president contradicted him on whether Iran would attend a meeting in Egypt to discuss Iraq. Larijani traveled to Baghdad in May to discuss Iran's conditions to attend the meeting but was upset after a reporter at the Baghdad airport said Ahmadinejad had already confirmed that Iran would attend the meeting.
The meeting in Sharm el-Sheik brought Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki together for a rare encounter.
Iran says capable of firing 11,000 rockets in first minute of attack
Iran is capable of firing 11,000 rockets into enemy bases within the first minute after any possible attack, state-run television quoted a top Revolutionary Guards Corps commander as saying Saturday.
Gen. Mahmoud Chaharbaghi, the missile commander of the Guards, said Iran has identified all enemy positions and was prepared to respond in less than a minute to any possible attack.
"Enemy bases and positions have been identified. ... The Guards ground force will fire 11,000 rockets into identified enemy positions within the first minute of any aggression against the Iranian territory," the television quoted Chaharbaghi as saying.

G-7 Urges Banks to Weigh `Risks' of Dealing With Iran

Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Group of Seven finance ministers and central bankers for the first time in at least two decades rebuked Iran, calling on banks worldwide to be wary of risks associated with doing business with the Islamic republic.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde and their counterparts from five other wealthy countries praised the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, a 34-government agency that last week concluded Iran represents a ``significant vulnerability'' to the international financial system.

``We particularly commend FATF for taking steps to protect the international financial system from the various money- laundering and terrorist-financing risks related to Iran,'' the G-7 said in a statement after talks today in Washington. ``Financial institutions are advised to take into account these risks.''
Thomas Braun, Lima, Peru

Friday, October 19, 2007

UN Atomic Agency Sees Photos of Syrian Site Bombed Last Month

By Jonathan Tirone

Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- United Nations nuclear experts are examining satellite imagery of a Syrian site that may have been bombed by Israel last month because it was a possible nuclear facility, according to a diplomat familiar with the investigation.

The diplomat, who requested anonymity because he isn't authorized to speak to reporters, declined to elaborate on what the images show. The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency receives data equivalent to about 20,000 images a day of nuclear and suspected nuclear sites, he said.

The IAEA said this week it is in contact with Syrian authorities about media reports that an Israeli air strike was aimed at destroying a reactor based on a design used in North Korea's nuclear weapons program. On Oct. 13, the New York Times cited unidentified foreign officials as saying Israel attacked a suspected Syrian plutonium reactor on Sept. 6 to demonstrate Israel's unwillingness to allow a neighboring country to possess nuclear weapons.

The IAEA, which oversees the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, urged governments with knowledge of such a reactor in Syria to come forward with information. The agency wouldn't comment late today on the Syrian imagery.

Syria is a signatory to the nuclear accord. Under treaty guidelines, countries must inform IAEA inspectors of atomic projects ``as early as possible before nuclear material is introduced into a new facility.''

The IAEA routinely receives images from national intelligence agencies as well as commercial satellite photo vendors. The diplomat wouldn't say who produced the images of the Syrian site.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Tirone in Vienna at

Last Updated: October 19, 2007 14:06 EDT

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Crying Foul?

People make many false assumptions - like the reason there is no peace
between Palestinians and Israelis is because of the settlements or because
Israel has more power or a myriad of other reasons. None of those reasons
are why Israel and the Palestinians are not at peace with each other.
Settlements were never a deterrent to peace. The crux of the problem is
Islamic and specifically anti-Jewish. When Jews were outnumbered, long
before there was a state of Israel, Arabs rioted and there were pogroms
against the Jews. It happened in 1914 when Jews were also expelled from
towns in Palestine by the Turks pre-WWI and in 1921 when the Arabs went on
a killing spree and again in 1929 and in 1932 and Jews were not a threat.
Jews were developing land and investing in the infrastructure and Arabs
were benefiting from these improvements.

When Jews feel the age old threat of antisemitism the Jews are accused of
crying wolf -- only it isn't because they don't see the wolf. The wolf has
been there before so Jews are well acquainted with antisemtism.

A Credible Left
Would be Opposing Antisemitism
NOT Excusing It!!

When leftist Counterpunch Mag
( says "join the ever
growing crowd" of those accused of antisemitism, it is akin to blaming the
Jews for being victimized - like it is their fault and they can't tell
when there is genuine antisemitism. Counterpunch Mag has joined the army
of antisemites. A credible left would be opposing antisemitism, not
excusing it.

When the philosopher Honderich complains that he has been accused of
antisemitism for supporting Palestinian terrorism in his new book and his
publisher pulls the book he feels he has been wronged by the Jews because
how could he be antisemitic when his wife is Jewish? Well to philosopher
Honderich, I say: "There are Jewish antisemites too and when you advocate
killing Jews by supporting Palestinian terrorism you epitomize the worst
of antisemitism" - Killing Jews is certain antisemitic.


The Lebanese state's abandoned role in Hezbollah - Israel exchange of prisoners and bodies!!

The Lebanese state's abandoned role in  Hezbollah - Israel exchange of prisoners and bodies!!
By: Elias Bejjani
LCCC Chairman
October 18/07

Worldwide news agencies published on October 16, 2007 the following Report: (Israel and Hezbollah carried out a prisoner swap on Monday. The Jewish state handed over the bodies of two militants and a prisoner in exchange for the remains of an Israeli man. The exchange of bodies and a prisoner swap took place at the Naqura crossing between Israel and Lebanon," The two Hezbollah fighters were killed during the 34-day war in Lebanon last summer between the Shiite militant group and Israel. The prisoner to be released was believed to be a militant seized during the war. The dead Israeli was an Ethiopian immigrant who drowned in Israel in 2005 and whose body was swept north to the Lebanese coast, where it was recovered by Hezbollah, the source said.
There had been hopes that the prisoner swap would include two Israeli servicemen, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, whose capture in July 2006 triggered last year's war. An army report released last December said that the two soldiers were wounded, one seriously and another moderately, in the cross-border attack that led to their seizure. Israel is also seeking the return of the bodies of five soldiers which have never been recovered since their deaths during Israel's 1982 onslaught in Lebanon. The Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Sunday that the two Israeli soldiers held by Hezbollah had been handed over to Iran and could be freed in a German-brokered swap. It quoted a source it identified as a high-ranking official in the office of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying the pair had been transferred to Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards. The source claimed that the soldiers could be part of an exchange involving Germany, which decided last week to free an Iranian agent jailed for life for the 1992 murder of four Kurdish dissidents.
On January 29, 2004, Israel freed nearly 450 prisoners, most of them Palestinians and Arabs, in exchange for an Israeli businessman, Elhanan Tannenbaum, and the bodies of three soldiers. The exchange was brokered by German intelligence chief Ernst Uhrlau.
As part of the swap, Israel agreed to free Lebanese prisoner Samir Kantar at a later date in return for information on the fate of Arad. The 41-year-old Kantar was handed down jail sentences totaling 542 years by an Israeli court in 1980 for infiltrating a northern seaside resort and killing a scientist and his four-year-old daughter and an Israeli policeman. Hezbollah is also seeking the release of four Iranian diplomats believed to have been handed over to Israel by a Lebanese Christian militia after their capture in 1982. Hezbollah will provide information on Israeli airman Ron Arad, missing for more than 20 years, as part of a swap deal between the Jewish state and the militant party, an Israeli official said on Monday." As part of the exchange deal, Hezbollah will provide Israel with information on Ron Arad," an official told AFP on condition of anonymity).

As a Lebanese Canadian Non Profit organization whose prime objectives are advocacy for human rights, freedoms and democracy, we welcome all genuine human efforts and endeavors that ultimately leads to the release of prisoners or hostages, and to the whereabouts and fate of any those abducted, as well as the retrieval and delivery of soldiers or civilians remains to their families or countries, but at the same time we believe it is extremely essential that those carrying such activities must abide by a set of judicial, human rights, ethical and security standards,  so as not to reward terrorism and encourage terrorists.

The following are our observations and suggestions from the Lebanese Canadian Coordination Council (LCCC) on the exchange of prisoners and bodies between Israel and Hezbollah through Germany's mediation:

1-It was shocking, sad and extremely disappointing to learn that the Lebanese legitimate authorities and on all levels were entirely absent from the exchange process, and more regrettable was the fact that certain free world countries, well known Human Rights countries and peace advocacy bodies have willingly participated in the process without even making the Lebanese government aware of their activities, while dealing with a terrorist organization and giving its atrocities an umbrella of recognition and legitimacy. 

Meanwhile what was actually bizarre and confusing lies in the Laissez Faire condemned position that the Lebanese Government adopted. It did not only be absent and abandon its responsibilities, but even announced its indifference and irresponsibility when its Interior Minister announced publicly: "Our brothers in Hezbollah notified us 24 hours before the exchange process took place".

2-We hold fully responsible for this kind of unacceptable conduct with a terrorist group, all free world countries and  humanitarian - international Organizations who  played any role, direct or indirect in the exchange process without the consent of the legitimate Lebanese authorities in advance. All those involved overtly or covertly have in reality sided and supported the Hezbollah terrorist organization in particular, and the global fundamentalism and terrorism in general. They haves strongly contributed to strengthen the "illegal mini Hezbollah" state that Iran and Syria had erected in Lebanon, on the account of the legitimate Central Lebanese government. They have openly and bluntly infringed the Charter of the United Nations and negated all strategies and efforts tailored to combat global terrorism and fundamentalism. They have explicitly granted their recognition to a terrorist organization (Hezbollah) that is a militant spearhead in Lebanon for the axis of evil countries (Syria and Iran), who fully  sponsor, manipulate , fund and control  its decision making process on all levels and domains.

3-It is worth mentioning that the global war against terrorism and fundamentalism cannot achieve any positive results if the free world countries and all Humanitarian, judicial and international organizations are not united and their activities well defined and abided by. All those involved or concerned in this fight must be committed by all related international obligations, disciplines, laws and ethics,  and most importantly not to succumb to terrorists' threats under any circumstance and not offer its leaders or sponsors any form of legitimacy.

4-We call on the United Nations and all countries that have contributed by any means and on any level in the Hezbollah-Israeli prisoners-bodies exchange process to refrain in future from any such activities and to develop a set of well defined policies and strategies that governs all contacts with terrorist groups.
We call on all of them to limit their future contacts in any similar exchange process with the Lebanese legitimate state.

5- All concerned countries, organizations and individuals in Lebanon, the Middle East, The Arab states and the free world MUST be fully aware that the ongoing conflict in Lebanon is between the legitimate State of Lebanon and the "Mini Hezbollah State" that Iran and Syria had erected inside Lebanon. The conflict does not revolve only on the fate and future of democracy, freedoms and rights in Lebanon, but also on the fate of the Middle East peace process, and all efforts to combat international terrorism. . Accordingly, any endorsement or support  to the "Hezbollah Mini fundamental state", or even any kind of cajoling or appeasement to its  leaders or to the axis of evil two countries (Syria and Iran) is in reality an infringement to all peace efforts and a crime against humanity.

**Elias Bejjani
Chairman for the Canadian Lebanese Coordinating Council (LCCC)
Human Rights activist, journalist & political commentator.
Spokesman for the Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF)

LCCC Web Site
CLHRF Website


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Oy Vey Jerusalem

The new movie, "O Jerusalem," looked promising with its artful opening credits, but it quickly revealed itself to be one of the worst examples of filmmaking ever.

Speaking after a preview screening at the Manhattan JCC, Tovah Feldshuh, who portrays Golda Meir yet again, indicated that "O Jerusalem" had a severe budgetary problem. She related that the director Elie Chouraqui "made it work" through the liberal use of stock documentary footage and stringent editing. Two of her scenes were cut entirely. She even mentioned that the film wasn't actually finished.

With all due respect to Ms. Feldshuh, the acting met a very low standard. The actors are imprisoned by their script, which makes them speechify rather than talk to each other.

Most of the characters are so badly drawn that looking at a cast listing afterward, I didn't remember most of them. And I didn't much care about them, even though several die. To call this 'melodrama' would be a step up, as melodramas often succeed in affecting our emotions.

"O Jerusalem" is based upon the 1970s popular historical account of the same name, co-authored by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. But a postcard publicizing the movie erroneously calls the book, a "novel."

Although what has been written since may supercede some of the authority of the work by Collins and Lapierre, theirs was an honest and powerful attempt to depict history. This movie muddies history entirely.

For example, the uninformed viewer would have no notion that the Arab Legion of Transjordan captured the Old City of Jerusalem. Its Jewish defenders are bloodied but still standing at the end of the battle and the combatants on both sides literally embrace each other, illustrating the film's saccharin point of view that there are few bad guys here. There are hotheads and terrorists on both sides, with the Irgun and the Stern Gang the only ones explicitly named as such. Unseen forces have pushed Arabs and Jews into killing each other.

In the broadest sense, the conflict did make regular people (as opposed to monsters) fight each other, but this is generally the case with war. This movie is neither true to the book nor to history.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Iran Wins Neighbors' Pledge Not to Help U.S. Attack

Oct. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Iran, facing U.S. pressure over its nuclear program, secured a pledge from Russia and the other three nations that surround the Caspian Sea not to allow America or its allies to launch an attack on it from their soil.

The presidents of Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan signed a joint declaration in Tehran today to prohibit third countries from using their territory for attacks on one another ``under any circumstances.''
Thomas Braun, Lima, Peru

One Million Voices: Middle East peace and its enemies

An op-ed about the peace virus  captures much of the tragic reality of the current "peace" negotiations and has a correct prognosis in many ways. However, being a worshipper in a particular temple of received opinion, the author, Gadi Baltiansky, makes assumptions that are not in evidence.
He writes:
If the summit succeeds, the historical turning point shall come – if the principles of a final-status agreement are formulated, and if negotiations are launched on the details of the core issues. Yet it is very possible that the skeptics and cynics are right. The deal won't be reached and the summit will fail. However, even at such case, we could see a historical turning point – for the worst.
Even were a deal to be reached, there is no way that Mahmoud Abbas would be able to keep his part of the bargain, as he doesn't control the Palestinian "street" and shows no will to do so.
The peace talks and the peace conference are supposed to be his party and the party of the Fatah, but Abbas can't seem to raise support for them even in the West Bank. They would grant greater legitimacy to the government of Mahmoud Abbas as opposed to his Hamas rivals. On October 18, there was  to be a major peace event. It was planned before anyone knew of the November summit, perhaps before The United States policy makers Bush thought of the idea, but its timing was fortuitous.  It required months of preparation. The One Million Voices group was to hold simultaneous concerts in Jericho, Tel Aviv and numerous other cities as a public demonstration of the will for peace. Attendees would be called on to sign a declaration demanding of both governments that they negotiate sincerely for peace. The declaration takes no position at all regarding the outcome of the negotiations or the nature of the final status agreement to be negotiated. You can read it and sign it at the One Million Voices Web site. Threats by Palestinian terrorist groups and their groupies against the performers and organizers of the event first caused cancellation of the Jericho event (See Drowning out One Million Voices: The enemies of peace ) and now have caused cancellation of all the events. Danny Lubetzky's One Voice Movement to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, often a target of right wing Zionist extremists, was behind the event. The event was cancelled, but the campaign to gather grass roots support for peace in Israel and among Palestinians goes on.
A coalition of terror groupies and peace thugs, ranging from Abunimah and his Electronic Intifada to  PACBI - Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel to Neta Golan and ISM, smeared the One Million Voices campaign as a Zionist plot to perpetuate "apartheid" - meaning a real two state solution. The event organizers decided that there is no point in holding such events if they are not held both in Israel and Palestine. The terror camp will hold their own event, called "Another voice." At least for that one night, their "voice" will not be the boom of rockets and suicide bombers, but its meaning is the same.
There are many lessons to be learned, for those who would learn. The first is that Abu Mazen is not in control of the West Bank. He is titular head of a lawless society and cannot deliver on any promises of peace, not even in this case, where the event in question was so obviously advantageous to him.  
A second lesson is that the political will for peace is absent on the Palestinian side. Baltiansky wrote: 
The peace-loving Palestinians – and this is the majority on their side, will argue they have no partner on the Israeli side, and the only horizon they will see is the one of the fence, roadblock, and settlement.
The peace-loving Palestinians were called upon to stand up and be counted. The One Million Voices event was a way of mobilizing "people power" for peace on both sides. But the Palestinian people sat down and shut up instead - both the ordinary people and their leaders. From a BBC article about the canellation of the event we learn:
Leading Palestinians who initially supported the event have since distanced themselves from it.
These Palestinian leaders are not stupid. They understood which way the winds are blowing and what is in the interests of their longevity.
"WARNING: The surgeon general of Palestine has determined that supporting peace is hazardous to your health."
As long as Palestinian society is ruled by bandits -- latter day incarnations of Hajj Amin al Husseini and his gangs and various do-it yourself abu-Gilda's (an infamous Palestinian Arab bandit) -- there is no chance for peace, because there is no political organization that can support peace. The only "peace" conditions acceptable to the peace thugs are conditions that would result in destruction of Israel. They have never been interested in anything else. They make it clear that the "occupation" that has to end is the one that began in 1948, and the "aparheid" that has to end is the "aparheid" that prevents millions of Arabs from coming to live in Israel and destroying Jewish self-determination.
As for US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, she is apparently clueless about the Middle East. She told reporters:
"Frankly it is time for the establishment of a Palestinian state," Ms Rice told reporters in a news conference which she held with the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
If she is serious, then surely she is mad. Mahmoud Abbas cannot control his own back yard in Jericho or Nablus without the help of IDF security. What sort of state could this be? And what sort of peace could it make with Israel, if the Palestinian dark side won't even allow a concert that supports peace negotiations?
As for the Israelis, there will surely be no cause for joy if and when the conference is disastrous failure. Every Israeli must ask themselves if they have done their utmost to ensure the success of these efforts, even if the chances are slim. If it fails, it must not be our fault.
Those who urge Israel not to make "concessions" or to shun the conference are not friends of Zionism and are not promoting the welfare of Israel. We must understand that the peace thugs -- the Jeff Halpers and Neta Golans, the ISM and the Electronic Intifadah and the  Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel are right from their point of view. Peace is a ZIonist plot, that should be opposed by all right-thinking followers of CODOH and Stormfront and other such organizations obsessed with the Jews. What will be on the table at the November conference is the heart of Zionism. The heart of Zionism is not some real estate in the West Bank. The heart of Zionism is the recognition by the Arab world and in particular, the Palestinians, of the right of the Jewish people to self-determination. The two state solution would recognize the rights of both peoples to be "a free people in their own land" - the 2000 year old Jewish wish of Hatiqva. This would put all the peace thugs out of business once and for all, and that is why they are working overtime to stop it. Anyone who opposes the peace conference is thus an enemy of the Jewish people, as well as an enemy of the Palestinians.
Ami Isseroff

Monday, October 15, 2007

Al-Qaeda liberating North Jersey

Attention Americans: You don't have to travel to the Middle East. It will come to you. FBI are monitoring Al-Qaeda in New Jersey:
There are definitely facilitators in this state," said Kevin Cruise, the veteran FBI counterterror agent who directs Newark's 100-member terrorism task force of FBI and CIA agents as well as state police and even local beat cops.
One of Cruise's deputies was even more specific.
"There are people in your county who are affiliated with known al-Qaida members overseas," said Jack Jupin, the FBI agent who heads the counterterror squad for Bergen County.
Cruise, who supervised FBI investigations of terrorist bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa and the USS Cole before taking over the Newark task force, cautioned that his agents have no information about an imminent attack here. But he said several al-Qaida sympathizers would try if given the chance.
Task force investigators have discovered that every major terrorist group in the world, including Hamas and Hezbollah, has at least one North Jersey contact. The lone exception is Afghanistan's ultra-fundamentalist sect, the Taliban.

The task force is currently conducting more than 400 counterterror investigations. These range from probes into Bin Laden's network to neo-Nazis to environmental terrorists.

Each month, a task force "response" squad receives as many as a dozen new tips about possible nuclear, biological or chemical terrorism in New Jersey. These range from citizen concerns about a mysterious powder to the report that three ships were sailing to New Jersey with radiological material on board. Squad members were even dispatched to Emerson last month after school administrators received a threat to blow up schools.
Source: Kelly: Al-Qaida associates in N.J.     
New Jersey, as everyone knows is occupied Muslim territory - terrorism is bred by occupation, right?
Ami Isseroff

Sunday, October 14, 2007

INSS on United States - Turkey relations

It seems that the solution to the Kurdish/Turkish/US problem is that the US would have to do some real elbow bending on both sides. The Kurds cannot continue conducting terror activities in Turkey. The Turkish government has to give its own Kurdish minority some autonomy at least. Otherwise, we know how the story must end.

Regarding the Armenian genocide issue, the House of Representatives and the Armenians must understand that it is impossible and unwise to legislate history. It would be much more to the point to get Turkey to allow free research and discussion of the genocide issue, and to release all the relevant documentation. A meaningful result would be for Turkey to recognize that the genocide took place. At present there is only a meaningless duel between obnoxious Turkish denials and attempts to shut people up, and futile resolutions that only serve to annoy the Turks. The whole world knows that the Turks killed Armenians and that the authorities did it purposefully. Perhaps the exact number of people murdered is doubtful and can be a subject of debate, but then we are only discussing the extent of the crime.
The article makes one error that is persistent and widespread:
Turkish policy indicates that while Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Gül are acting to promote domestic reforms that run counter to the Kemalist legacy (e.g., abolishing the ban on the wearing of religiously-inspired headscarves in universities),
Mustapha Kemal Ataturk's wife wore a headscarf, and the bans on headscarfs are apparently an extension of the Kemalist legacy, not a continuation.

Ami Isseroff

October 14, 2007                                                                      No. 31
Are the U.S. and Turkey on a Collision Course?
Gallia Lindenstrauss
Turkish-American relations currently face two significant challenges.  One has to do with the Turkish inclination to enter northern Iraq in order to deal with Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) fighters operating there.  The other is connected with an upcoming U.S. House of Representatives vote on a resolution to recognize as genocide the mass killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during World War I.  Both challenges touch on very sensitive issues for the Turks, who are convinced that the U.S. is insufficiently attentive to their needs and demands. 

         The Turks have threatened to intervene in northern Iraq on several occasions since the fall of Saddam Hussein but they now appear more determined than ever to do so.  In addition to the existing massive buildup near the border, the government has now decided to ask for parliamentary approval to send forces into Iraq. This decision follows the killing of 30 soldiers and civilians by the PKK in the last two weeks, in what are considered unusually severe actions by the PKK.  According to the Turks, the U.S. has consistently failed to act against PKK fighters hiding in the area of Kandil in northern Iraq and does nothing to prevent attacks on Turkey from that region.

            The approval of the resolution by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on October 10 prompted severe condemnation by Turkish leaders and led Turkey to summon its ambassador in the U.S to Ankara for consultations.   President Abdullah Gül accused American politicians of sacrificing big issues for petty games of domestic politics.  Given the Democrat majority in the House, it was expected that the resolution would be approved by the Foreign Affairs Committee despite strong opposition by the Administration.  Nevertheless, its passage has added to Turkish frustration at the state of relations with the U.S., and the expected majority for the resolution in the full House in November promises to contribute to further tensions in relations between the two countries.

            At first glance, there is no substantive connection between the recognition of the Armenian genocide and the situation in northern Iraq.  However, the action by the Foreign Affairs Committee and the expectation of full House approval in November has strengthened the perception of the Turks that they have less to lose in terms of Turkish-U.S. relations if they do act in Iraq.  Given that Turkey is more determined to do so and less likely to heed to American warnings not to intervene, it is possible that the U.S. will decide to minimize the negative consequences of Turkish intervention by providing at least partial cooperation.  The publication of reports about secret plans for such cooperation suggests that the possibility has already been extensively discussed by the two sides, notwithstanding American concerns about stability in the Kurdish-controlled autonomous area in the north of Iraq and about a hostile reaction on the part of the Kurds, who have been the most loyal American allies in Iraq.  Indeed, these concerns suggest that if the Turks do intervene, the Americans may also have to undertake more aggressive actions.  Given American failures in Iraq up till now, it is doubtful whether the Administration can permit another failure in the form of unilateral Turkish intervention seemingly in defiance of the U.S.

            Such intervention would have negative consequences that could by neutralized, at least with respect to Turkish-U.S. relations, if the Americans actually cooperated.  By contrast, Turkey is unwilling to compromise on the Armenian genocide issue and the Administration cannot impose its will on Congress.  It is therefore difficult to see how the damage to bilateral relations of the likely forthcoming Congressional resolution can be limited.

            Turkish policy indicates that while Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Gül are acting to promote domestic reforms that run counter to the Kemalist legacy (e.g., abolishing the ban on the wearing of religiously-inspired headscarves in universities), in foreign affairs they act in conformity with the hard-line Turkish tradition.  That is reflected in the intention to intervene militarily in northern Iraq and in the ongoing campaign to confront anyone supporting the Armenian position on the issue of genocide.  It is true, of course, that close ties with the United States are also a traditionally important component of Turkish foreign policy, but it is increasingly difficult today for Turks to reconcile the contradiction between their interests and those of the U.S.  Since the American invasion of Iraq, Turkish public opinion has also become more and more anti-American, and that influences decision makers to adopt uncompromising positions regarding the Kurdish issue and ignore American attitudes.

Although Turkish-American relations appear to be headed toward a crisis, both sides remain aware of the importance of those ties and therefore try to deal with the challenges they face.  For example, the Americans are concerned that Turkey might block a main supply line to Iraq across the Turkish-Iraqi border or prevent U.S. aircraft from operating out of Inçirlik air base.  And while the Turks could act unilaterally in Iraq, cooperating with the United States might enhance international legitimacy for such an action and soften the negative consequences for Turkey's (already poor) chances of being accepted into the European Union; indeed, Turkey would probably prefer that the U.S. itself act aggressively against the PKK so that Turkey would not have to.  But despite the common desire not to harm bilateral strategic relations, there is a clash between Turkish and American interests that may very well further convulse the already complicated reality in Iraq.