Wednesday, September 10, 2003

WMD use by Iraq according to IranVision.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

What the Road Map actually looked / looks like:

Press Statement
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
April 30, 2003

A Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The following is a performance-based and goal-driven roadmap, with clear phases, timelines, target dates, and benchmarks aiming at progress through reciprocal steps by the two parties in the political, security, economic, humanitarian, and institution-building fields, under the auspices of the Quartet [the United States, European Union, United Nations, and Russia]. The destination is a final and comprehensive settlement of the Israel-Palestinian conflict by 2005, as presented in President Bush’s speech of 24 June, and welcomed by the EU, Russia and the UN in the 16 July and 17 September Quartet Ministerial statements.

A two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror and willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty, and through Israel’s readiness to do what is necessary for a democratic Palestinian state to be established, and a clear, unambiguous acceptance by both parties of the goal of a negotiated settlement as described below. The Quartet will assist and facilitate implementation of the plan, starting in Phase I, including direct discussions between the parties as required. The plan establishes a realistic timeline for implementation. However, as a performance-based plan, progress will require and depend upon the good faith efforts of the parties, and their compliance with each of the obligations outlined below. Should the parties perform their obligations rapidly, progress within and through the phases may come sooner than indicated in the plan. Non-compliance with obligations will impede progress.

A settlement, negotiated between the parties, will result in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors. The settlement will resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and end the occupation that began in 1967, based on the foundations of the Madrid Conference, the principle of land for peace, UNSCRs 242, 338 and 1397, agreements previously reached by the parties, and the initiative of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah – endorsed by the Beirut Arab League Summit – calling for acceptance of Israel as a neighbor living in peace and security, in the context of a comprehensive settlement. This initiative is a vital element of international efforts to promote a comprehensive peace on all tracks, including the Syrian-Israeli and Lebanese-Israeli tracks.

The Quartet will meet regularly at senior levels to evaluate the parties' performance on implementation of the plan. In each phase, the parties are expected to perform their obligations in parallel, unless otherwise indicated.

Phase I: Ending Terror And Violence, Normalizing Palestinian Life, and Building Palestinian Institutions -- Present to May 2003
In Phase I, the Palestinians immediately undertake an unconditional cessation of violence according to the steps outlined below; such action should be accompanied by supportive measures undertaken by Israel. Palestinians and Israelis resume security cooperation based on the Tenet work plan to end violence, terrorism, and incitement through restructured and effective Palestinian security services. Palestinians undertake comprehensive political reform in preparation for statehood, including drafting a Palestinian constitution, and free, fair and open elections upon the basis of those measures. Israel takes all necessary steps to help normalize Palestinian life. Israel withdraws from Palestinian areas occupied from September 28, 2000 and the two sides restore the status quo that existed at that time, as security performance and cooperation progress. Israel also freezes all settlement activity, consistent with the Mitchell report.

At the outset of Phase I:

Palestinian leadership issues unequivocal statement reiterating Israel’s right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere. All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel.
Israeli leadership issues unequivocal statement affirming its commitment to the two-state vision of an independent, viable, sovereign Palestinian state living in peace and security alongside Israel, as expressed by President Bush, and calling for an immediate end to violence against Palestinians everywhere. All official Israeli institutions end incitement against Palestinians.

Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere.
Rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus begins sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons and consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption.
GOI takes no actions undermining trust, including deportations, attacks on civilians; confiscation and/or demolition of Palestinian homes and property, as a punitive measure or to facilitate Israeli construction; destruction of Palestinian institutions and infrastructure; and other measures specified in the Tenet work plan.
Relying on existing mechanisms and on-the-ground resources, Quartet representatives begin informal monitoring and consult with the parties on establishment of a formal monitoring mechanism and its implementation.
Implementation, as previously agreed, of U.S. rebuilding, training and resumed security cooperation plan in collaboration with outside oversight board (U.S.–Egypt–Jordan). Quartet support for efforts to achieve a lasting, comprehensive cease-fire.
All Palestinian security organizations are consolidated into three services reporting to an empowered Interior Minister.
Restructured/retrained Palestinian security forces and IDF counterparts progressively resume security cooperation and other undertakings in implementation of the Tenet work plan, including regular senior-level meetings, with the participation of U.S. security officials.
Arab states cut off public and private funding and all other forms of support for groups supporting and engaging in violence and terror.
All donors providing budgetary support for the Palestinians channel these funds through the Palestinian Ministry of Finance's Single Treasury Account.
As comprehensive security performance moves forward, IDF withdraws progressively from areas occupied since September 28, 2000 and the two sides restore the status quo that existed prior to September 28, 2000. Palestinian security forces redeploy to areas vacated by IDF.
Palestinian Institution-Building

Immediate action on credible process to produce draft constitution for Palestinian statehood. As rapidly as possible, constitutional committee circulates draft Palestinian constitution, based on strong parliamentary democracy and cabinet with empowered prime minister, for public comment/debate. Constitutional committee proposes draft document for submission after elections for approval by appropriate Palestinian institutions.
Appointment of interim prime minister or cabinet with empowered executive authority/decision-making body.
GOI fully facilitates travel of Palestinian officials for PLC and Cabinet sessions, internationally supervised security retraining, electoral and other reform activity, and other supportive measures related to the reform efforts.
Continued appointment of Palestinian ministers empowered to undertake fundamental reform. Completion of further steps to achieve genuine separation of powers, including any necessary Palestinian legal reforms for this purpose.
Establishment of independent Palestinian election commission. PLC reviews and revises election law.
Palestinian performance on judicial, administrative, and economic benchmarks, as established by the International Task Force on Palestinian Reform.
As early as possible, and based upon the above measures and in the context of open debate and transparent candidate selection/electoral campaign based on a free, multi-party process, Palestinians hold free, open, and fair elections.
GOI facilitates Task Force election assistance, registration of voters, movement of candidates and voting officials. Support for NGOs involved in the election process.
GOI reopens Palestinian Chamber of Commerce and other closed Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem based on a commitment that these institutions operate strictly in accordance with prior agreements between the parties.
Humanitarian Response

Israel takes measures to improve the humanitarian situation. Israel and Palestinians implement in full all recommendations of the Bertini report to improve humanitarian conditions, lifting curfews and easing restrictions on movement of persons and goods, and allowing full, safe, and unfettered access of international and humanitarian personnel.
AHLC reviews the humanitarian situation and prospects for economic development in the West Bank and Gaza and launches a major donor assistance effort, including to the reform effort.
GOI and PA continue revenue clearance process and transfer of funds, including arrears, in accordance with agreed, transparent monitoring mechanism.
Civil Society

Continued donor support, including increased funding through PVOs/NGOs, for people to people programs, private sector development and civil society initiatives.

GOI immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001.
Consistent with the Mitchell Report, GOI freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements).

Phase II: Transition -- June 2003-December 2003
In the second phase, efforts are focused on the option of creating an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders and attributes of sovereignty, based on the new constitution, as a way station to a permanent status settlement. As has been noted, this goal can be achieved when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror, willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty. With such a leadership, reformed civil institutions and security structures, the Palestinians will have the active support of the Quartet and the broader international community in establishing an independent, viable, state.

Progress into Phase II will be based upon the consensus judgment of the Quartet of whether conditions are appropriate to proceed, taking into account performance of both parties. Furthering and sustaining efforts to normalize Palestinian lives and build Palestinian institutions, Phase II starts after Palestinian elections and ends with possible creation of an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders in 2003. Its primary goals are continued comprehensive security performance and effective security cooperation, continued normalization of Palestinian life and institution-building, further building on and sustaining of the goals outlined in Phase I, ratification of a democratic Palestinian constitution, formal establishment of office of prime minister, consolidation of political reform, and the creation of a Palestinian state with provisional borders.

International Conference: Convened by the Quartet, in consultation with the parties, immediately after the successful conclusion of Palestinian elections, to support Palestinian economic recovery and launch a process, leading to establishment of an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders.
Such a meeting would be inclusive, based on the goal of a comprehensive Middle East peace (including between Israel and Syria, and Israel and Lebanon), and based on the principles described in the preamble to this document.
Arab states restore pre-intifada links to Israel (trade offices, etc.).
Revival of multilateral engagement on issues including regional water resources, environment, economic development, refugees, and arms control issues.
New constitution for democratic, independent Palestinian state is finalized and approved by appropriate Palestinian institutions. Further elections, if required, should follow approval of the new constitution.
Empowered reform cabinet with office of prime minister formally established, consistent with draft constitution.
Continued comprehensive security performance, including effective security cooperation on the bases laid out in Phase I.
Creation of an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders through a process of Israeli-Palestinian engagement, launched by the international conference. As part of this process, implementation of prior agreements, to enhance maximum territorial contiguity, including further action on settlements in conjunction with establishment of a Palestinian state with provisional borders.
Enhanced international role in monitoring transition, with the active, sustained, and operational support of the Quartet.
Quartet members promote international recognition of Palestinian state, including possible UN membership.

Phase III: Permanent Status Agreement and End of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict -- 2004 – 2005
Progress into Phase III, based on consensus judgment of Quartet, and taking into account actions of both parties and Quartet monitoring. Phase III objectives are consolidation of reform and stabilization of Palestinian institutions, sustained, effective Palestinian security performance, and Israeli-Palestinian negotiations aimed at a permanent status agreement in 2005.

Second International Conference: Convened by Quartet, in consultation with the parties, at beginning of 2004 to endorse agreement reached on an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders and formally to launch a process with the active, sustained, and operational support of the Quartet, leading to a final, permanent status resolution in 2005, including on borders, Jerusalem, refugees, settlements; and, to support progress toward a comprehensive Middle East settlement between Israel and Lebanon and Israel and Syria, to be achieved as soon as possible.
Continued comprehensive, effective progress on the reform agenda laid out by the Task Force in preparation for final status agreement.
Continued sustained and effective security performance, and sustained, effective security cooperation on the bases laid out in Phase I.
International efforts to facilitate reform and stabilize Palestinian institutions and the Palestinian economy, in preparation for final status agreement.
Parties reach final and comprehensive permanent status agreement that ends the Israel-Palestinian conflict in 2005, through a settlement negotiated between the parties based on UNSCR 242, 338, and 1397, that ends the occupation that began in 1967, and includes an agreed, just, fair, and realistic solution to the refugee issue, and a negotiated resolution on the status of Jerusalem that takes into account the political and religious concerns of both sides, and protects the religious interests of Jews, Christians, and Muslims worldwide, and fulfills the vision of two states, Israel and sovereign, independent, democratic and viable Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security.
Arab state acceptance of full normal relations with Israel and security for all the states of the region in the context of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace.


Released on April 30, 2003

What Brits pay the BBC to do.........

Monday, September 08, 2003

An interesting article on the "Iraq Effect" , in the New York Post.

Here is the article:



September 8, 2003 -- THe conventional wisdom, at least in Europe, is that President Bush's hope of turning Iraq into a catalyst for democratization in the Arab world has already failed. Footage of the carnage from bombings is presented, along with almost daily sabotage operations, to back the claim that democratization is a forlorn cause in the Arab world. But is it?
It is too early to tell.

To be sure, Iraq has not been transformed into a democracy, and may need a generation or more to develop the institutions it needs. But the fact is that Iraqis now enjoy a measure of political freedom they did not know before.

Iraq is the only Arab country today where all political parties, from communist to conservative, operate freely. Visitors will be impressed by the openness of the political debate there, something not found anywhere else in the Arab world. Also, for the first time, Iraq has no political prisoners.

Almost 150 newspapers and magazine are now published there, offering a diversity not found in any other Arab country. One theme of these new publications is the need for democratization in the Arab world. This may be putting the cart before the horse. What Arabs, and Muslims in general, most urgently need is basic freedom, without which democracy cannot be built.

The impact of Iraq's liberation is already felt throughout the region.

* In Syria, President Bashar Assad has announced an end to 40 years of one-party rule by ordering the Arab Ba'ath Socialist Party to no longer "interfere in the affairs of the government." The party is planning a long-overdue national conference to amend its constitution and, among other things, drop the word "socialist" from its official title.

Assad has also liberated scores of political prisoners and promised to hold multiparty elections soon. In July, a petition signed by over 400 prominent Syrians offered a damning analysis of Ba'athist rule and called for political and economic reform. The fact that the signatories were not arrested, and that their demands were mentioned in the state-controlled media, amount to a retreat by Syrian despotism.

"What we need is a space of freedom in which to think and speak without fear," says a leading Syrian economist. "Bashar knows that if he does not create that space, many Syrians will immigrate to Iraq and be free under American rule."

* A similar view is expressed by Hussein Khomeini, a mid-ranking mullah and a grandson of the late Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic in Iran.

"I decided to leave Iran and settle in Iraq where the Americans have created a space of freedom," Hussein Khomeini says. "The coming of freedom to Iraq will transform the Muslim world."

Hussein Khomeini is one of more than 200 Iranian mullahs who recently moved from Qom, the main centre of Iranian Shiism, to Najaf and Karbala, in central Iraq, to escape "the suffocating atmosphere of despotism in Iran."

* Saudi Arabia is also feeling the effects of Iraqi regime change. Last month King Fahd ordered the creation of a Center for National Dialogue where "issues of interest to the people would be debated without constraint." The center will be open to people from all religious communities, including hitherto marginalised Shi'ites. More importantly, the gender apartheid, prevalent in other Saudi institutions, will be waived to let women participate.

Encouraged by the current state of flux, Saudi women have organized several seminars in the past few weeks, in which they called for equal legal rights.

The Iraq effect has also been felt in the Saudi media. Newspapers now run stories and comments that were unthinkable last March. Words such as reform (Islahat), opening (infitah) and democracy (dimuqratiah) are appearing in the Saudi media for the first time.

* Both Kuwait and Jordan have just held general elections in which pro-reform candidates did well. The new Kuwaiti parliament is expected to extend the franchise to women and to over 100,000 people regarded as "stateless." In Jordan, the new parliament is expected to revise censorship laws and to relax rules regarding the formation of political parties.

* In Egypt, the state-controlled media are beginning to break taboos, including reporting President Hosni Mubarak's refusal to name a vice president, as required by the constitution, and to end the tradition of single-candidate presidential elections.

Some non-governmental organizations are also testing the waters by raising issues such as violence against women, street children and, above all, the state's suffocating presence in all walks of life.

* In a recent television appearance, Col. Muammar Khadafy (whose one-man rule has been in place since 1969) told astonished Libyans that he now regarded democracy as "the best system for mankind" and that he would soon unveil a package of reforms. These are expected to include a new Constitution to institutionalize his rule and provide for an elected national assembly.

Having just settled the Lockerbie affair, the Libyan despot is looking for new legitimacy on the international stage.

* Even in remote Algeria and Morocco, the prospect of a democratic Iraq, emerging as an alternative to the present Arab political model, is causing some excitement. A cultural conference at Asilah, Morocco, last month, heard speakers suggest that liberated Iraq had a chance of becoming "the first Arab tiger" while other Arab states remained "nothing but sick cats."

Similar views are expressed in countless debates, some broadcast on satellite television, throughout the Middle East.

All this, of course, may be little more than cynical Arabesques designed to confuse critics and please Washington. The proposed Arab reforms may well prove to be purely cosmetic. After all, several Arab regimes played the same trick in 1991 when, in the wake of the war to liberate Kuwait, they came under U.S. pressure to introduce some reforms.

But as far as the Arab masses are concerned, there is no reason to believe that they hate freedom and, if given a chance, would refuse to choose their governments.

Many Arab countries (including Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan) already enjoy a degree of freedom that could, in time, lead toward democratization. But, being small and peripheral states, none could have a major impact on the Muslim world as a whole.

Iraq is in a different category. A free Iraq is already affecting the political landscape of the Middle East; a democratic Iraq could change the whole Arab world. The goal is worth fighting for.

Despite the current difficulties in Iraq, the United States, Britain and other democratic nations should keep their eyes on the big picture.

E-mail: amirtaheri@benadorassociates.com

Lots of work to be done to modernize the Arab world, but at least there is recognition of what needs to be done.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Rick is reading my blog, and getting eduMacated.

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