Saturday, February 05, 2005



5 February 2005


Is Iran developing a military enabled, nuclear armament programme?

The question is increasingly appearing to be redundant. The fact that the European Union 3, has been in active negotiation with the Iranians to publicly disclose the full nature and extent of its programme and developing capabilities is strongly suggestive that the Iranians are ‘up to no good’ on this issue. The lack of clear disclosure by the Iranian shouldn’t be unexpected or a surprise, as it is in line with many years of international deceit and deception in terms of its international statements and actions since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

The issue has obviously attracted the attention of the United States. Israel is of course in the background, and given its capability and history (re: the attack on the Iraqi nuclear weapons programme). But in a short time, the ability of Iran (if unchecked) to cast a nuclear shadow over the region as a political as much as military threat, will have to bring out the regional governments – the Saudis, Kuwaitis, the Gulf nations – to bring strong and persistent diplomatic pressure to bear on Iran to at best stop its programme or as a minimum at least disclose publicly what they are up to.

At face value, there are a number of questions that Iran has still to answer, even if there is acceptance that the nuclear programme they are developing is to meet purely civilian energy requirements and demands.

1. In a region resplendent in natural energy resources such as oil and gas, why the need for a nuclear programme?
2. How will the Iranians process their nuclear waste? Where will it be stored? What environmental audit and controls have they enacted with regards storage?
3. Iran regularly experiences earthquakes. What provisions (if any) have the Iranians implemented to minimize the impact from an earthquake on a nuclear reactor(s)?
4. From which country(s) will the Iranians be sourcing their unprocessed uranium?

Finally, concerning Bushes’ State of the Union address’ comments on Iran, the Iranian government controlled media made the interesting comment:
“Why is Bush only interested in promoting democracy in oil-rich regions?” (source,5744,12149830%255E2703,00.html) This is a very interesting comment, which has gone without comment. By asking why is Bush only interested in promoting democracy in oil rich regions, the Iranians have admitted that there is no democracy in that region. But it’s also interesting that in the recent State of the Union, Bush also in respect of US allies such as Egypt and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia said:
The government of Saudi Arabia can demonstrate its leadership in the region by expanding the role of its people in determining their future. And the great and proud nation of Egypt, which showed the way toward peace in the Middle East, can now show the way toward democracy in the Middle East.

Crime and Terrorist links
Paul McGeough prepared a fascinating article (see link documenting the issue of crime and the insurgents in Iraq.

The suggestion that the insurgent/terrorists are fuelling their energies and activities on religious faith alone, has been long over due for refutation.

The terrorists have long used foreign exchange markets, the billion (USD) dollar trade in counterfeit goods, and the facility of the internet, to fund and promote their campaigns. The rampant theft that has occurred in Iraq provides significant capital funding and ready laundered cash.

The terrorist network that the West finds itself exposed to, is calculating and resourceful. The book Inside Al Qaeda by Rohan Gunaratna, provides an extensive audit of Al Qaeda and its financial and bureaucratic capacities. The terrorists, despite deriding the technological (and cultural) advancements of the West, find no moral or intellectual contradiction in using Western initiatives and resources to progress their cause – particularly United States denominated currency.

The UN & the Middle East
The United Nations has long had a troubled history in the Middle East. The recent public report into the UN’s handling of the Oil for Food programme in Iraq (a programme that involved the management of $US67 billion of related activities), is testament to a body that has probably reached the end of its working life.

The fundamental problem for the UN, goes beyond mere structural reforms, but goes to its very heart. The UN is just a body representative of national governments. In itself it has no power, no authority, and no internally driven capacity to enact change, to progress democracy, to furnish the advancement of human rights.

Those abilities rest with national governments, and the UN can only undertake those functions if commissioned by the General Assembly, and in particular the Security Council.

With regards to Iraq, the UN was found to be very, very wanting. In respect to the audit of the oil for food programme, the audit into the programme found that:
The oil-for-food program, which began in December 1996 and ended in November 2003, allowed Saddam Hussein's government to sell oil in order to buy humanitarian goods. It was intended to ease the hardship of ordinary Iraqis under UN sanctions, imposed in mid-1990.
But since the US invasion of Iraq, documents have emerged that show Saddam Hussein skimming funds from the program, illegally selling oil outside the program, often with the knowledge of big powers on the Security Council, and bribing a variety of officials around the world. (see The Age: UN official 'got oil kickbacks during aid program' Feb 5, 2005)
The other serious concern, still yet to be addressed by the international community is that ultimately the international Coalition that set about the liberation of Iraq were ultimately enforcing the resolutions confirmed by UN such as resolution 1441. The difficult for the UN was and remains that it effectively opposed its own resolution(s) when the international Coalition set about its mission in Iraq.

For more on the criticism of the UN, its worth reading the book We Did Nothing by Dutch journalist Linda Polman. Granted it’s not a terribly well written book (perhaps suffering from the translation into English) but nonetheless important comments and issues are raised about the activities, usefulness and future effectiveness of the UN.

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