Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Sydney last night in a spectacular fashion celebrated the start of the 2011. Estimated one and half million Australians and tourists from all around the globe had gathered around the world-famous Sydney's icons, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, to watch a well-done creative fireworks--it costs the NSW residents 5 millions dollars though. 

Nevertheless, people experienced a joyful night to carry with them its pictures through the year.

I would like to wish you and your families all a safe, happy and prosperous year.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Who Is The Real Human Rights Violator?

The UN General Assembly last week has passed yet another resolution to condemn the egregious violations of human rights in Iran. The resolution was also to underline the international community's concerns over the Islamic Republic treatment of Iran's dissidents.

While the Islamic Republic is not a stranger to such condemnations, it has been condemned almost every year since its birth over 30 years ago, it is a mistake to attribute the violations to the state of Iran. After all states do not commit crimes; individuals do. Just a quick look at the history of the last century, shows us that the history has not been in shortage of dictators. There have been many people in the past who considered themselves as political leaders, revolutionary leaders, head of states ... etc; and they all committed worst possible crimes against humanity that one could not even imagine. Examples are people like Joseph Stalin of Russia, Pol pot of Cambodia and more recent one, Saddam Hussein of Iraq.

In these cases it was not the state of Russia, Cambodia or Iraq which committed crimes but the individual leaders did. This view has been supported by the ICC (the international Criminal Court) in recent cases of Charles Ghankay Taylor, former Liberian president, and Omar Al-Bashir, the current president of Sudan. Both have been indicted for their committed crimes in the respective countries. Furthermore, while the UN itself, since its inception in 1945 and for whatever reasons, mainly politics which may have been justified in the past, had always restrained from directing its criticisms or condemnations to individuals, it has been slowly but surely drifted from this approach in recent decades.

Today however, the UN has condemned the state of Iran for the violation of human rights. But according to the foregoing examples, the state of Iran is not, and has never been, able to violate human rights or commit crimes against humanity. But the individuals in power such as Ali Khameneei and his Revolutionary Guards generals are, and most probably have been. They are those whom must be held responsible for their actions and condemned; not the state of Iran.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tragedy at Sea

30 people have lost their lives, 18 more are still unaccounted for, and 42 have injured in a horrific sea-disaster last week just meters from the shores of the Christmas Island, Australia. Heavy waves smashed their boat on rocks on the Island on Wed 15, December. They were Iranian and Iraqi refugees, 90 in total, on board of an Indonesian wooden fishing boat.

It is said the trip was arranged by an Iranian people-smuggler. These people believed to have paid thousands of dollars each, including number of children, to secure their passage to Australia.

While the blame game was on--as usual, the underlying reason behind the tragedy of this magnitude was untouched. Politicians regardless of their affiliations were all jumping into race to make some mileage out of it. The relevant policies, immigration and processing of refugees reaching Australia, which could or could not avoid this kind of tragedy were discussed.

What was not discussed, however, was the situations on the ground of countries where these people had come from, Iran and Iraq. Iran, a country under a militarised despotic regime in which, only since the last year uprising, thousands of people arbitrarily arrested, tortured, killed and disappeared. There are still thousands in prisons, and their family are being threatened and harassed. Iraq on the other hand, 7 years after its regime change, is still unstable. The country hasn't had a government in power since its last parliamentary election in March. The religious and factional killing are still going on daily bases. Only months ago its Christian population were threaten to either leave Iraq or facing death.

Therefore before jumping to the conclusion and label these may well be 48 dead people as illegal immigrants or queue jumpers ... etc; Australian politicians may need to take a matter of this kind to the UN and its relevant bodies such as the Human Rights Council and the Human Rights Committee for the investigation of those countries' human rights record.  


Friday, December 17, 2010

What now?

Well, more than a year ago, after experiencing over 30 years of dictatorship, a new generation of Iranians decided to take the helm of its destiny. They went to the polling booths to elect a new president. They did that on the backdrop of the irrelevancy of their participation; had the leader and his unelected buddies chosen their own candidate. However, the young Iranians were clever. They purposely decided to participate and by doing so put the ball into the dictator's court. It was done in a unique way as well--by close to 80% participation. They basically left the dictator and his associates with no choice but to have the result rigged. For the people, the timing was right too. It was after the US presidential election and the international community had focused on Iran and its presidential election. In that sense Iranians sent their message loud and clear to the outside world; we are sick of dictatorship. The world received the message and responded accordingly.

Not only president Obama has so far refused to talk to the leader-appointed president Ahmadi Nejad; but he has also utilized the toughest sanctions yet against the regime of Mullahs in Tehran. The so-called Supreme Leader and his associates had wrongly perceived president Obama's message, when he offered an olive branch to the would-be Iran's president before the election. There was a little technicality, I perceived, surrounding the president Obama's offer. He was ready to talk and shake hand with a freely elected president by the people of Iran; not just 'any president'. That was a mistake on part of the Iran's dictator. My perception, up against the dictator's one, is supported by all of harsh treatments of the appointed-president Ahmadi Nejad and his government. The toughest sanctions yet have been drawn against them both by the UN and individual states such as the US are the direct results of the dictator's misperception.

What now?

Both the Iranian people and the West are against this little group of the so-called leader and his appointed government; for different reasons however. There are some facts to be considered first. This group has turned Iran into a big prison and the Iranians into prisoners. At the same time, in order to ensure their security, the group is eagerly pursuing a nuclear device. Simultaneously it has also activated all their terrorist networks both regionally and internationally. They had recently shipped two cargoes of weapons concealed as building materials into Africa which have been sized by the respective African governments. They are worried of their position against the Iranian people and the outside world.

But an interesting development this week added to the excitement of the Iran-West game. A recently released Wikileaks document suggests Australia believed that the Islamic Republic's nuclear activities are of the deterrent nature only. What does that mean? It may be interpreted as "we can talk to these people." This is a dangerous proposition. While from a westerner view-point, who has been involved in two wars for too long, it may look an attractive proposition; it doesn't work. The price is unimaginable. This little group has no hesitation of killing its own people by any means just to hold to their position. They have been threatening Israel and the rest of the world by their long-range missile capabilities. They have been actively pursuing nuclear bomb. They have an army of terrorists based in Lebanon--Lebanese Hezbollah. They have their connections with Syria, Hamas, Al-Qaeda and all the terrorists organizations you can name. Whoever wrote and suggested that 'we can talk to these people'; must answer a simple question. Does he or she really think if it comes to this group political livelihood; they will hesitate for a second to use a nuclear bomb on Israel or any European targets Or hand a device to their terrorist associates?! These kind of political analysis are just gross miscalculations.

In a simple hostage taking scenario; you cannot and should not negotiate with hostage takers. If you do; you will put yourself in a very awkward and vulnerable position in future. Now imagine a terrorist is going to acquire a nuclear device and have the Middle East and Europe and the rest of the world as his hostage. Do you talk to him or just simply stop him attaining the bomb? It does not really mean, in Iran scenario, attacking the nuclear sites is the answer. A big NO. Because these people considers it as their best possible scenario; since they still stand on their feet and they then can easily massacre their political opponents in Iran. That would be a disaster for all parties concerned. The best option is to leave the task to the Iranian people. How? By implementing the already measured sanctions on their full capacities. Given tens of millions of Iranians denounced the regime and wanted it changed, the economic sanctions give them enough impetus to finish the job.

On the other hand this little group is controlling billions of dollars of oil and gas revenues from Iran. Their livelihood and their terrorists associates are depended on the revenues. Well, put as much pressure economically as possible on them to make them realise that they have to choose between two options only. Either submit to the people's will Or go to war with the prospect of paying the ultimate price!

Sending any other signal may cause you getting what you may have not planned for.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Islamic Republic Is Neither Iran Nor Republic; And Not Even Islamic

The outside world has been deceived for so long to recognise the Islamic Republic Regime in Iran for Iran. The regime has also purportedly presented itself as a republic and an Islamic state as well.

Is it really a Republic?

The Islamic Republic of Iran is not, and has never been, a republic. It would be simplistic to call the Islamic Republic's system of government a republic; just because it has a president as its head of state instead of a monarch. Republic as a system of government has its own conceptual meaning. Oxford dictionary defines the republic as "a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote", emphasize added, whom directly or indirectly elect their leader. This profound right of citizens is then supposed to be protected by law. That is the constitutional law of such state which translates to the contents of the constitution itself. In that sense a quick examination of the Islamic Republic's constitution, however, reveals boundless flaws which render it effectively worthless than the paper it has been written on.  Article 57 of the constitution provides "[T]he powers of government in the Islamic Republic are vested in the legislature, the judiciary, and the executive powers, functioning under the supervision of the absolute wilayat al-'amr"*, emphasize added. The article impliedly brings all the three branches of government under the realm of the leader. An example of the leader exercising this over-arching power was in 1981 when Ayatollah KhomeiniIn, the founder of regime, found his relationship with Dr. Abolhassan Banisadr, the first president of the Islamic Republic, lapsed; he had the president impeached by the Parliament and then removed him from the office. But article 110 of the constitution more explicitly, and without a doubt, removes the people's sovereignty all together and bestows it wholly in the hand of one person, the leader. It astonishingly confers the following powers and authorities to him:
"110 (1) Delineation of the general policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran after consultation with the Nation's Exigency Council.

(2) Supervision over the proper execution of the general policies of the system.

(3) Issuing decrees for national referenda.

(4) Assuming supreme command of the armed forces.

(5) Declaration of war and peace, and the mobilization of the armed forces.

(6) Appointment, dismissal, and acceptance of resignation of:

     (a) the fuqaha' on the Guardian Council.

     (b) the supreme judicial authority of the country.

     (c) the head of the radio and television network of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

     (d) the chief of the joint staff.

     (e) the chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps.

     (f) the supreme commanders of the armed forces.

(9) Signing the decree formalizing the election of the President of the Republic by the people. The suitability of candidates for the Presidency of the Republic, with respect to the qualifications specified in the Constitution, must be confirmed before elections take place by the Guardian Council, and, in the case of the first term [of the Presidency], by the Leadership; " emphasizes added.

 According to the article 110(6)(a) above, the leader appoints the members of the Guardian Council. The council then in turn, provided by the article 110(9) above, over looks the presidential candidates' qualifications and the suitability. Then after the citizens cast their vote; both the leader and his appointed council reserve their assenting power over the result. Basically the whole process is nothing but a sham. Presumably Ayatollah Rohollah Khomeinei, the founder of the regime, loved to assume such notorious powers--as all dictators do.** In addition the leader, more officially by appointing and the power to remove, holds his domination over the judiciary as well, article 110(6)(b). However, during his ascendancy except that of president Banisadr case, Khomeinei has never, at least in an apparent and obvious way, interfered with the the government's branches. By contrast his successor, Ali Khamenei, the current so-called Supreme Leader, has exercised those powers in many occasions --the recent ones were before, during and in the aftermath of the last year rigged-election. 

A year before the election, when president Ahmadi Nejad was in his final year of his first term in office, in a meeting with him and his cabinet; Khameneei had instructed him to plan and study his government policies the way as he would be president for the next 5 years! What he was signaling then was simply determining the result of future presidential election! The rigged-election therefore was his own play to ensure the Ahmadi Nejad election. And after that, his rejection of the demands for the investigation of election irregularities was obviously predictable. So was his orders to savagely crush the peaceful protesters on streets; extra judicial detentions; barbaric tortures; raping and the killing of innocent people.

The Islamic Republic is not and has never been a republic.

Is it Iran?

Having a president doesn't merely make Iran a republic. According to the country's constitution the people's vote has no effect on the final determination of a presidential election result. Appointing president Ahmadi NejadAhmadi Nejad into the office of president in a direct contempt to the people's will was a clear demonstration of constitutional power of the leader in action. On the other hand ensuing demonstration of power by tens of millions of Iranians on streets wanting their votes back was a clear indication of a clash. That is a constitutional clash between a dictator sitting on the top of the country's constitution and the people. This is a new generation of Iranians, almost 50 millions under 35 years of age, whom are against the constitution which was cemented in by the last generation of Iranians, their parents! In contrast supporters of the constitution, however, have always argued on 98% votes for the constitution. What they don't like to answer though is that who were those 98% people and; where are they now? The answer is simple. They are either dead or perhaps over 55 years of age. Those who are still alive in comparison with the new young generation of Iranians will form less than 30% of the 70 millions Iran's population. That was the leader and his associates dilemma when they tried to put Ahmadi Nejad into the office of president against the people's will. The new generation of Iranians had no role in the creation of the country's constitution. They ardently denounced it last year. When you are in a situation where people of a country are against the establishment in its entirety, the constitution; you cannot possibly relate the system and its government to the country. The Islamic Republic is not Iran.

Nonetheless, so far international community has granted this regime and its appointed governments, through out its history, their international status and recognised them as Iran. But we, the friends of free Iran, believe this attitude towards this people must be changed. They have no mandate from the people of Iranian and until such a time they do; they are not representing Iran and its people. Their representative therefore is only representing a dictator and his close associates.

Is it an Islamic state?

How Islamic is the regime? I am not sure, since I am not a religious scholar. But I only know that, by Islamic rules, rape, especially boys, is punishable by death. And we have been witnessing a systematic rape of political opponents has been adopted as a political tool against Iranian young during and aftermath of the rigged-election by the regime. In addition medieval tortures, in many cases people killed under tortures, and extra-judicial killing have exercised just for the leader to hold into his political power. We learned through the history of the regime that the highest or sometimes, again I am not an expert to know how and under what circumstances, a lower ranking clerics has the authority to issue a Fatwa*** for such crimes to be carried out. A Fatwa such as the one Ayatollah Khomeneei, when he was alive, issued against Mr. Salman Roshdi, the British author, to be killed. However, I haven't heard that such Fatwas can be issued for rape or barbaric tortures under which a victim can be killed too. Many Islamic scholars inside the country saw these actions unIslamic, condemned them and distanced themselves from them.

p.s. The statistics provided on the demographic of Iran's population are the authors' personal view only. However, the percentage of under 35 years of age is in fact registered statistic which compromises over 50 millions people. 

* The so-called Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.
** Nevertheless, those who had anything to do with the drafting of such constitution are guilty of treason, treason against the Iranian people and their sovereignty. It is a matter for future investigation.
*** Fatwa is a religiously issued order. It can be issued to kill someone in the name of god or religion.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A nuclear negotiation Or just A time wasting exercise

I initially intended to present here my insight on the issues that - I think - may be on the negotiation table between the Islamic Republic and the 5+1 powers (the US, UK, France, China and Russia plus Germany). However, owing to a hectic week I had, I was unable to finish it. I apologise for that. Nonetheless, since the meeting is already underway, I am going to briefly express my view on what I think would happen in Brussels.

In doing so properly it would be a good idea to look back at the history of the Islamic Republic's nuclear program and when and how it started. It was Mr. Mohammad Khatami, former Iranian president, who on Feb 9, 2003 announced Iran's program for building sophisticated facilities at Natanz and several other cities that would eventually produce enriched uranium. February 2003 was a month before the invasion of Iraq, on March 2003, by the US and the Coalition of Willing Forces. Just a simple coincidence? May be or may be not. I found it hard to believe, considering the intelligence and diplomatic world, that a big neighbour such as Iran was supposed to sit dully and witness the mobilisation of a huge military forces around its long, over 900 kilometers, border with Iraq without being informed about it in advance. I would argue that Tehran had most probably known that the invasion was inevitable at the time of Mr. Khatami's announcement. It is also probable that, even before that, Iran had been given assurances over its security. Mr. Khatami's announcement then may be interpreted as what Tehran would have thought deters any future adventurer.
When we trace back Tehran's behaviour in regard to its nuclear matter in the past 7 years, it certainly points to that direction. The Islamic Republic, not Iran, we should remember that, during this period has always been vocal about its security--that is of course the security of a bunch of power-hungry unelected people like Taliban in Afghanistan or Saddam and his fellows in Iraq--and asked for a security guaranty from the US in return for abandoning its enrichment program.

If this is a correct assumption to draw a link between the Mr. Khatami's announcement and the invasion of Iraq in 2003; then it leads us to believe that Tehran considers its uranium enrichment capability along with its parallel long-range missile program--it is tirelessly pursuing--as its insurance policy. For Tehran, in that sense, nothing has really changed since the last meeting they had with the 5+1 over 14 months ago. The only change occurred in this period is that since the last year rigged-election and the following protests by tens of millions of Iranians chanting against the Islamic establishment; the regime has lost its legitimacy domestically, if not internationally for now. The 5+1 is now conscious of that fact; they heard the Iranian people's fervour for democracy. This single fact, I strongly believe, was behind the US' boosted confidence to successfully pursue and convince the Security Council, the European Union, Japan, South Korea and the rest of its friends in the world to tighten the sanctions' noose.

The noose is now tightened badly around the neck of Revolutionary Guards generals and their political associates such as Ali Khameneii (the leader) and their appointed president Ahmadi Nejad, whom jointly overtake 80+ percent of the country economy. They are desperately trying to offer themselves as a viable partner at the negotiation table. But they are not; the 5+1 is attentive of that fact. It knows that this government and its representative cannot give what they don't have. They are unstable. And an unstable regime in Iran and the Middle East for that matter has no credibility to offer anything. Therefore the 5+1 cannot possibly afford to risk any compromise without guaranteed human rights and democracy for the people of Iran. Simply because it is the people who can give you guaranty and stability.

In this sense, any compromise on the side of the regime must force it to return to the same position as it was before their last year election-coup. This is, I trust, the desirable out-come for the 5+1. And perhaps the new sanctions were designed to achieve that goal. But Tehran did not expect it, and the scale of sanctions caught them by surprise. Very least--I would say--Ali Khameneei (so-called Supreme Leader) and his associates have been fooled by the president Obama's friendly gesture before the last year presidential election in Iran. They wrongly interpreted the president gesture as a green-light to bring the country under their clout, while--I believe--president Obama only intended to gauge their popularity and standing in Iran. When they failed the test, it came the most stringent sanctions against them.

These developments have changed the setting for this meeting, the parameters have been changed, said the White House Spokesman recently. The significant difference is that the Mullahs' regime has received a no-confidence vote from the people of Iran. The election-coup and the ensuing unrest undermined the very sovereignty of this regime. Iran now officially runs by mafia which has gone on rampage and indiscriminately eliminate their opponents. Now imagine this mafia has an ambition to acquire a Big Bomb too; the result is unimaginable! The new-sanction regime was a consistent response to this fact. What the mafia wants, other side of the table, is to be left alone and be given a security guarantee by the US. In fact they have always wanted it since the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Nonetheless, the US, its allies and the world community, understandably, have always been more cautious in dealing with Tehran for a single and simple reason; the young Iranian generation. The generation which forms close to 50 millions of the total 70 millions Iran's population. These are those who mostly were on streets chanting 'death to dictator', the so-called Supreme Leader. They are the crucial elements to be considered by the West at the table.

In conclusion and considering foregoing, this negotiation is not going to yield any meaningful out-come. The 5+1 has no choice but to tighten the noose and eventually, if it is necessary, use other means as well to hit many Middle Eastern birds with one stone. It also needs to stand with the Iranian people in their battle against a tyrannic regime which in a sense is for its own benefit!