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Archive for August, 2011

Israeli Columnist Is Fired for Writing That Palestinian Terrorism Is ‘Justified’

Posted by alanmirs on August 31, 2011


By ROBERT MACKEY

In a brief “Note to Readers” published Tuesday on the front page of The Jerusalem Post, the newspaper announced that it had parted ways with a columnist who wrote last week on his blog that terrorist attacks on Israelis were “justified” because Palestinians living under Israeli occupation since 1967 “have a right to resist.”

The note from the English-language daily read in full: “Due to a professional disagreement with Larry Derfner connected to his personal blog, he will no longer be working at The Jerusalem Post.”

According to Mr. Derfner, he was fired by the newspaper even after he had published a lengthy apology on his personal Web site for what he described as a poorly worded attempt to shock Israelis into considering the possibility that the continued occupation of Palestinian land seized by Israel provokes terror attacks.

When he posted that apology last Friday, Mr. Derfner alsoremoved the offending post from “Israel Reconsidered,” the private blog he shares with another Israeli journalist. Before he could delete it though, another blogger, who agreed with the argument, had made a copy of the complete text of Mr. Derfner’s original post, “The Awful, Necessary Truth About Palestinian Terrorism.”

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The awful, necessary truth about Palestinian terror

Posted by alanmirs on August 31, 2011


The awful, necessary truth about Palestinian terror.

I think a lot of people who realize that the occupation is wrong also realize that the Palestinians have the right to resist it – to use violence against Israelis, even to kill Israelis, especially when Israel is showing zero willingness to end the occupation, which has been the case since the Netanyahu government took over (among other times in the past).

But people don’t want to say this, especially right after a terror attack like this last one that killed eight Israelis near Eilat. And there are lots of good reasons for this reticence, such as: You don’t want to further upset your own countrymen when they are grieving, you don’t want to say or write anything that could be picked up by Israel’s enemies and used as justification for killing more of us. (These are good reasons; fear of being called a traitor, for instance, is a bad reason.)

But I think it’s time to overcome this reticence, even at the cost of enflaming the already enflamed sensitivities of the Israeli public, because this unwillingness to say outright that Palestinians have the right to fight the occupation, especially now, inadvertently helps keep the occupation going.

When we say that the occupation is a terrible injustice to the Palestinians, but then say that Palestinian terror/resistance is a terrible injustice to Israel, we’re saying something that’s patently illogical to anyone but a pacifist, and there aren’t many pacifists left, certainly not in Israel. The logical, non-pacifist mind concludes that both of those statements can’t be true – that if A is hurting B and won’t stop, then B damn sure has the right to hurt A to try to make him stop. But if everybody, not only the Right but the Left, too, is saying that B, the Palestinians, don’t have the right to hurt A, the Israelis, then the logical mind concludes that Israel must not be hurting the Palestinians after all, the occupation must not be so bad, the occupation must not be hurting the Palestinians at all – because if it was, they would have the right to hurt us back, andeverybody agrees that they don’t. So when they shoot at us or fire rockets at us, it’s completely unprovoked, which gives us the right, the duty, to bash them and bash them until they stop – and anybody who tries to deny us that right doesn’t have a leg to stand on, so we’re just going to keep right on bashing them. And when the Palestinians complain about the occupation, we Israelis can honestly say we don’t know what they’re talking about.

This, I’m convinced, is how the Left’s ritual condemnations of terror are translated in the Israeli public’s mind – as justification for the occupation and an iron-fist military policy.

But if, on the other hand, we were to say very forthrightly what many of us believe and the rest of us suspect – that the Palestinians, like every nation living under hostile rule, have the right to fight back, that their terrorism, especially in the face of a rejectionist Israeli government, is justified – what effect would that have? A powerful one, I think, because the truth is powerful. If those who oppose the occupation acknowledged publicly that it justifies Palestinian terrorism, then those who support the occupation would have to explain why it doesn’t. And that’s not easy for a nation that sanctifies the right to self-defense; a nation that elected Irgun leader Menachem Begin and Lehi leader Yitzhak Shamir as prime minister.

But while I think the Palestinians have the right to use terrorism against us, I don’t want  them to use it, I don’t want to see Israelis killed, and as an Israeli, I would do whatever was necessary to stop a Palestinian, oppressed or not, from killing one of my countrymen. (I also think Palestinian terrorism backfires, it turns people away from them and generates sympathy for Israel and the occupation, so I’m against terrorism on a practical level, too, but that’s besides the point.) The possibility that Israel’s enemies could use my or anybody else’s justification of terror for their campaign is a daunting one; I wouldn’t like to see this column quoted on a pro-Hamas website, and I realize it could happen.

Still, I don’t think Hamas and their allies need any more encouragement, so whatever encouragement they might take from me or any other liberal Zionist is coals to Newcastle. What’s needed very badly, however, is for Israelis to realize that the occupation is hurting the Palestinians terribly, that it’s driving them to try to kill us, that we are compelling them to engage in terrorism, that the blood of Israeli victims is ultimately on our hands, and that it’s up to us to stop provoking our own people’s murder by ending the occupation. And so long as we who oppose the occupation keep pretending that the Palestinians don’t have the right to resist it, we tacitly encourage Israelis to go on blindly killing and dying in defense of an unholy cause.

And by tacitly encouraging Israelis in their blindness, I think we endanger their lives and ours, their country and ours, much more than if we told the truth and got quoted on Hamas websites.

There’s no time for equivocation anymore, if there ever was. The mental and moral paralysis in this country must be broken. Whoever the Palestinians were who killed the eight Israelis near Eilat last week, however vile their ideology was, they were justified to attack. They had the same right to fight for their freedom as any other unfree nation in history ever had. And just like every harsh, unjust government in history bears the blame for the deaths of its own people at the hands of rebels, so Israel, which rules the Palestinians harshly and unjustly, is to blame for those eight Israeli deaths – as well as for every other Israeli death that occurred when this country was offering the Palestinians no other way to freedom.

Writing this is not treason. It is an attempt at patriotism.

There is nothing to add. I fully agree! “Writing this is not treason. It is an attempt at patriotism!” Thank you, Larry!

http://thepilotwoman.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/the-awful-necessary-truth-about-palestinian-terror/

 

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US embassy cables: Washington calls for intelligence on top UN officials

Posted by alanmirs on August 31, 2011


US embassy cables: the documents

Friday, 31 July 2009, 20:24
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 24 STATE 080163
NOFORN
SIPDIS
EO 12958 DECL: 07/31/2034
TAGS PINR, KSPR, ECON, KPKO, KUNR
SUBJECT: (S) REPORTING AND COLLECTION NEEDS: THE UNITED
NATIONS
REF: STATE 048489
Classified By: MICHAEL OWENS, ACTING DIR, INR/OPS. REASON: 1.4(C).

Summary
  1. The state department asks US diplomats around the world and at UN heaquarters to provide detailed technical information, including passwords and personal encryption keys for communications networks used by UN officials. It also wants to know about potential links between UN organisations and terrorists, and any corruption in the UN. Key passage highlighted in yellow.
  2. Read related article

1. (S/NF) This cable provides the full text of the new National HUMINT Collection Directive (NHCD) on theUnited Nations (paragraph 3-end) as well as a request for continued DOS reporting of biographic information relating to the United Nations (paragraph 2).

A. (S/NF) The NHCD below supercedes the 2004 NHCD and reflects the results of a recent Washington review of reporting and collection needs focused on the United Nations. The review produced a comprehensive list of strategic priorities (paragraph 3) and reporting and collection needs (paragraph 4) intended to guide participating USG agencies as they allocate resources and update plans to collect information on the United Nations. The priorities should also serve as a useful tool to help the Embassy manage reporting and collection, including formulation of Mission Strategic Plans (MSPs).

B. (S/NF) This NHCD is compliant with the National Intelligence Priorities Framework (NIPF), which was established in response to NSPD-26 of February 24, 2003. If needed, GRPO can provide further background on the NIPF and the use of NIPF abbreviations (shown in parentheses following each sub-issue below) in NHCDs.

C. (S/NF) Important information often is available to non-State members of the Country Team whose agencies participated in the review of this National HUMINT Collection Directive. COMs, DCMs, and State reporting officers can assist by coordinating with other Country Team members to encourage relevant reporting through their own or State Department channels.

2. (S/NF) State biographic reporting:

A. (S/NF) The intelligence community relies on State reporting officers for much of the biographical information collected worldwide. Informal biographic reporting via email and other means is vital to the community’s collection efforts and can be sent to the INR/B (Biographic) office for dissemination to the IC.

B. (S/NF) Reporting officers should include as much of the following information as possible when they have information relating to persons linked to : office and

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organizational titles; names, position titles and other information on business cards; numbers of telephones, cell phones, pagers and faxes; compendia of contact information, such as telephone directories (in compact disc or electronic format if available) and e-mail listings; internet and intranet “handles”, internet e-mail addresses, web site identification-URLs; credit card account numbers; frequent flyer account numbers; work schedules, and other relevant biographical information.

3. (S/NF) Priority issues and issues outline:

A. Key Near-Term Issues 1) Darfur/Sudan (FPOL-1) 2)Afghanistan/Pakistan (FPOL-1) 3) Somalia (FPOL-1) 4)Iran (FPOL-1) 5) North Korea (FPOL-1)

B. Key Continuing Issues 1) UN Security Council Reform (FPOL-1) 2) Iraq (FPOL-1) 3) Middle East Peace Process (FPOL-1) 4) Human Rights and War Crimes (HRWC-3) 5) UN Humanitarian and Complex Emergency Response (HREL-3) 6) Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDN-5H) 7) Terrorist Threat to UN Operations (TERR-5H) 8) Burma(FPOL-1)

C. UN Peace and Peacebuilding Operations 1) Africa(FPOL-1) 2) Outside Africa (FPOL-1) 3) Policy Issues (FPOL-1)

D. UN Security Council 1) Procedures and Dynamics (FPOL-1) 2) Sanctions (FPOL-1)

E. UN Management 1) UN Leadership Dynamics (FPOL-1) 2) Budget and Management Reform (FPOL-1)

F. UN General Assembly Tactics and Voting Blocs (FPOL-1)

G. Other Substantive Issues 1) Food Security (FOOD-3) 2) Climate Change, Energy, and Environment (ENVR-4) 3) Transnational Economic Issues (ECFS-4H) 4) Arms Control and Treaty Monitoring (ACTM-4) 5) Health Issues (HLTH-4) 6) Terrorism (TERR-5H) 7) Trafficking, Social, and Women’s Issues (DEPS-5H)

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H. Intelligence and Security Topics 1) GRPO can provide text of this issue. 2) GRPO can provide text of this issue. 3) Foreign Nongovernmental Organizations (FPOL-1) 4) Telecommunications Infrastructure and Information Systems (INFR-5H)

15. Collection requirements and tasking

(Agriculture is the Department of Agriculture; Commerce is the Department of Commerce; DHS is the Department of Homeland Security; DIA/DH is Defense Intelligence Agency/Defense HUMINT; Energy is the Department of Energy; DNI/OSC is the Open Source Center of the Director of National Intelligence; FBI is the Federal Bureau of Investigation; HHS is the Department of Health and Human Services; Navy is the Navy HUMINT element; NCS/CS is the CIA’s Clandestine Service; OSC/MSC is the Map Services Center of OSC; State is the Department of State; TAREX (Target Exploitation) collects information using HUMINT Methods in support of NSA’s requirements; Treasury is the Department of Treasury; USAID is the U.S. Agency for International Development; USSS is the U.S. Secret Service; USTR is the U.S. Trade Representative; WINPAC is the Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control Center.)

A. Key Near-Term Issues

1) Darfur/Sudan (FPOL-1). — Views of United Nations (UN) member states on contributing troops and air transportation equipment, such as helicopters, to the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) and the African Union (AU)-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). — Details of deployments of troop contributor countries to UNMIS/UNAMID. — Details on actions and views of UN personnel deployed in UNMIS/UNAMID. — Views of UNSC members on the success or failure of UNMIS/UNAMID. — Operational plans of UNMIS/UNAMID from both the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York, and UNMIS/UNAMID in Sudan. — Details of diplomatic engagement between UNMIS/UNAMID Special Envoys for the Darfur Peace Process in Sudan, and the Sudanese government or Darfur rebel groups. — Views of member states on UN activities in Sudan (including Darfur). — Divisions between UN member and UN Secretariat assessments of the situation on the ground as it affects UN action.

Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Indonesia, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, Rwanda, Sudan, Turkey, Uganda,

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Vietnam International Organizations: AU, European Union (EU), UN

2) Afghanistan/Pakistan (FPOL-1). — Plans and intentions of key UN leaders and member states regarding the ongoing operations of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), including force protection in Afghanistan. — Information on plans and intentions of UN leadership or member states affecting elections in Afghanistan. — Reactions to and assessments of security threats directed at the UN or aid personnel attempting to render humanitarian assistance. — Plans and intentions of key member states and Secretariat leadership concerning Afghan political and economic reconstruction, including efforts to combat warlords and drug trafficking. — Afghan, Pakistani and Iranian intentions or reluctance to secure and safeguard UN and nongovernmental organization (NGO) personnel (international as well as locally-hired staff).

Countries: Afghanistan, Austria, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Iran, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam Terrorist Groups: Taliban International Organizations: EU, UN, World Bank

3) Somalia (FPOL-1). — UN plans and potential to expand, reinforce, or replace the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) and African Union (AU) Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). — Plans and intentions of UN leadership, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and member states to deploy a UN-led maritime force to monitor piracy off the coast of Somalia. — Willingness of member states to pledge troops or air transport to a possible UN or multinational force in Somalia. — Views of Somali population on the deployment of a UN or multinational peacekeeping force in Somalia. — Details of diplomatic engagement between UN envoys and Somali government or Somali opposition officials. — Information on World Food Program activities in Somalia. — Details of UN Development Program (UNDP)-Somalia training Transitional Federal Government police officers and Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia officials in the Joint Security Force.

Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ethiopia, France, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Russia, Somalia, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam International Organizations: AU, EU, NATO, UN

4) Iran (FPOL-1). — Plans and intentions of the UN Secretary General (SYG),

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Secretariat staff, or member states to address efforts by Iran to develop, test, or proliferate nuclear weapons. — Positions and responses of member states to future International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) Director General reports on Iran,s Implementation of Safeguards and relevant provisions of UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. — Specific plans and activities of the UK, France, Germany (EU-3), and Russia with respect to IAEA policy toward Iran. — Plans and intentions of key UN leaders and member states, especially Russia and China, regarding human rights in Iran, sanctions on Iran, Iran,s arming of HAMAS and Hizballah, and Iran,s candidacy for UN leadership positions. — Plans and intentions of Perm 5, other key member states, coalition partners, and key Secretariat officials concerning sanctions against Iran. — Member support/opposition/subversion of US positions regarding Iranian sanctions. — Iranian diplomatic efforts with the IAEA and UN member states to avoid passage of additional sanctions and effective implementation of existing sanctions, as well as its efforts to end UNSC involvement in Iran’s nuclear program by returning Iran’s nuclear file to the IAEA. — Information on Iran,s activities as chair of the UNDP and within the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). — Development and democratization activities of the UNDP in Iran; details about the UNDP Resident Coordinator,s relationship with Iranian officials.

Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam Terrorist Groups: HAMAS, Hizballah (Lebanese) International Organizations: EU, IAEA, UN Non-State Entities: West Bank and Gaza Strip

5) North Korea (FPOL-1). — Plans and intentions of UNSC members, especially the P-5, to consider additional resolutions against North Korea and/or sanctions under existing resolutions. — Information on the plans and actions of UNSC members to address efforts by North Korea to develop, test, or proliferate nuclear weapons. — UN views on food aid to North Korea, designating it as a nation in famine, and misuse of aid. — North Korean delegation views and activities; instructions/plans of delegation officials on North Korean WMD-related issues. — Development and democratization activities of the UNDP in North Korea. — Details about the UNDP Resident Coordinator,s relationship with North Korean officials. — Biographic and biometric information on ranking North Korean diplomats.

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Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, Burma, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Japan, Libya, Mexico, North Korea, Russia, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam International Organizations: EU, IAEA, UN

B. Key Continuing Issues

1) UN Security Council Reform (FPOL-1). — Positions, attitudes, and divisions among member states on UN Security Council (UNSC) reform. — Views, plans and intentions of Perm 5 and other member states on the issue of UNSC enlargement, revision of UNSC procedures or limitation of Perm 5 privileges. — International deliberations regarding UNSC expansion among key groups of countries: self-appointed frontrunners for permanent UNSC membership Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan (the Group of Four or G-4); the Uniting for Consensus group (especially Mexico, Italy, and Pakistan) that opposes additional permanent UNSC seats; the African Group; and the EU, as well as key UN officials within the Secretariat and the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Presidency. — Willingness of member states to implement proposed reforms. — Reactions of UN senior leadership towards member recommendations for UNSC reform.

Countries: Austria, Brazil, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam International Organizations: AU, EU, UN

2) Iraq (FPOL-1). — Plans and intentions of the Perm 5, other key member states, coalition partners, and key Secretariat officials concerning Iraqi political and economic reconstruction, the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), and internal Iraqi boundaries. — Plans and intentions of the International Organization for Migration to assist with the reintegration of internally displaced persons and refugees. — Extent to which member states will support or subvert US positions regarding Iraqi objectives, including reconstruction efforts. — Information on plans and intentions of the SYG, Secretariat staff, or member states affecting elections in Iraq. — Iraqi actions to convert UNAMI to a Chapter 6 mission. — Iraqi attitudes toward the UN. — Reactions to and assessments of security threats directed at the UN or aid personnel attempting to render humanitarian assistance.

Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Iraq, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam

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Terrorist Groups: Insurgents in Iraq, Iraqi Shia Militants International Organizations: EU, UN, World Bank

3) Middle East Peace Process (FPOL-1). — Details on views, plans and intentions of key Secretariat decision-makers, member states and influential blocs and coalitions on UN engagement and role in the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP), including implementation of the roadmap. — Indications that a UNGA special session on the Middle East might be reconvened. — Developments within the UN system that would further the Arab-Israeli peace process. — Details about Quartet (EU, UN, US, and Russia) MEPP plans and efforts, including private objectives behind proposals and envoy negotiating strategies. — Strategy and plans of SYG special envoy regarding US positions, Quartet plans, and other (EU, Russia, UK) special envoys. — Indications member states or donor countries might scale back UN peacekeeping presence in or aid donations to the Middle East. — Plans of the SYG or member states to pressure the US on the MEPP. — Views, plans and tactics of the Palestinian Authority, including its representative to the UN, to gain support in the UNSC, UNGA, or UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for its strategies and positions on Palestinian-Israeli issues, including from Russia and EU countries, especially France, Germany, and UK. — Views of Secretary General,s Special Envoy and UNSC on possible settlement of the Shab’a Farms dispute to include Syria/Lebanon border demarcation. — Secretariat views regarding water management as part of the Middle East Peace Process, including domestic and regional competition for allocation. — Quartet views on Syria’s policies and approach toward Israel and Palestinians and on Syrian motives behind and efforts to subvert or support Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. — UN efforts to influence negotiating positions on territorial boundaries, water resources and management, and right of return. — Views, plans and tactics of HAMAS to gain support in the UNSC or UNGA for its strategies and positions on HAMAS-Israeli issues, and on HAMAS-Palestinian Authority issues, including from Russia, China, Iran, and EU countries, especially France, Germany, and the UK. — Information on UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) activities in Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank, and its relations with HAMAS/Hizballah. — Plans and intentions of member states to support/oppose US priority to reduce the number of Middle East resolutions.

Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica,

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Croatia, Egypt, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mexico, Spain, Syria, Russia, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam Terrorist Groups: HAMAS, Hizballah (Lebanese) International Organizations: EU, UN Non-State Entities: Palestinian Authority, West Bank and Gaza Strip

4) Human Rights and War Crimes (HRWC-3). — Plans and policies of UN leaders, member states, and foreign NGOs to promote human rights. — Plans and intentions of member states toward the International Criminal Court (ICC), International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and other UN-related courts and tribunals dealing with human rights issues. — Plans and intentions of UNHRC members to support or oppose US policies in the UNHRC. — Views of UNSC and other member states on Zimbabwe,s government policies on human rights, humanitarian assistance, democracy, and candidacy for any UN leadership positions. — Views and intentions of UNSC, UN human rights entities, and members regarding Sri Lankan government policies on human rights and humanitarian assistance; UN views about appointing a Special Envoy for Sri Lanka. — Plans and perceptions of member states toward establishment of new measures to prevent genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other systematic human rights abuses. — Plans and intentions of member states toward proposals and resolutions supported by the US or like-minded states, including those advancing democracy; women’s rights, particularly implementation of UNSC Resolutions 1325 and 1820; those pertaining to children in armed conflict; or those condemning human rights abuses in individual countries. — Information on reactions of member states to resolutions designed to promote democracy, human rights and reforms in the Muslim world. — Perceived success or failure of abilities and priorities of the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR), and efforts by member states to undermine OHCHR independence. — Views, intentions and tactics of UNHRC members regarding reform and the role of the US. — Member state support for/opposition to objectives of human rights, refugee, development, and emergency relief agencies. — Plans and intentions of member states or UN Special Rapporteurs to press for resolutions or investigations into US counterterrorism strategies and treatment of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan or Guantanamo. — Degree of coordination by and among human rights agencies, especially between the UN Human Rights Council, the OHCHR,

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the UNGA Third Committee, the UN Economic and Social Council, and the International Labor Organization. — Plans and agenda for upcoming UNGA Third Committee and UNHRC sessions and world human rights conferences, particularly plans by developing countries to stymie criticism of their human rights records through procedural motions or influencing votes. — Plans of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to sponsor resolutions or conventions in the UN restricting freedom of speech under the rubric of criminalizing “defamation of religion.” — Details of UNHRC and OHCHR budget shortfalls.

Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, Burma, Chad, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, France, Georgia, Iraq, Japan, Lebanon, Libya, Mexico, North Korea, Russia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam, Zimbabwe International Organizations: AU, EU, Human Rights Entities and War Crimes Courts, ICC, OIC, UN

5) UN Humanitarian and Complex Emergency Response (HREL-3). — Information on the planning and execution of responses to humanitarian emergencies by UN member states and Secretariat; indications US assistance may be requested. — Efforts of UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), World Food Program (WFP), UN Development Program (UNDP), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO), and other UN entities to respond to and to coordinate activities in humanitarian or refugee crises, including environmental disasters. — Views of UN Secretariat, UNSC members, and key member states on UNRWA. — Details on effectiveness of UNHCR and OCHA leadership. — Information on ability of UN to gain/not gain humanitarian access to troubled areas, especially in light of security concerns. — Location of humanitarian facilities, including GPS coordinates, and number of personnel. — Details of friction between UNHCR, OCHA and UN Security Coordinator Headquarters and field offices. — Level of cooperation and coordination or lack thereof between UN aid agencies and non-UN aid programs. — Interoperability and willingness to work with US coalitions in humanitarian assistance operations; willingness to provide support despite security threats. — Indications of donor fatigue. — Status of and member support for/opposition to efforts by UNHCR to refocus organization’s work and to redistribute programs to other agencies. — Details on UNHCR funding shortfalls. — Perceived ability of the UNDP to coordinate an effective UN presence in each country and to promote democratic

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governance. — Plans and ability to care for and protect internally displaced persons. — Communications and logistics problems.

Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam International Organizations: Economic-Societal Entities, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UN, World Health Organization

6) Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDN-5H). — Plans and intentions of member states to address threats to international security from the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. — Views of member states on tactical and substantive aspects of resolutions pertaining to missile proliferation, missile defense, nuclear disarmament, the IAEA, and Israel’s nuclear program. — Information from key Secretariat decision-makers, key IAEA Secretariat staff, member states, or influential blocs or groups, such as the Nonaligned Movement (NAM), the OIC, or the Group of 77 (G-77), on the role of the UN on nuclear proliferation or addressing the expansion of capabilities to produce or use weapons of mass destruction.

Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, Burma, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam International Organizations: EU, IAEA, International Arms Control Organizations, OIC, UN

7) Terrorist Threat to UN Operations (TERR-5H). — Plans and intentions of Secretariat and member states to respond to individuals affiliated with terrorist groups or state sponsors of terrorism threatening the safety or security of domestic and overseas UN personnel, facilities, protectees, or installations. — Evidence of relationship or funding between UN personnel and/or missions and terrorist organizations. — Debate in Secretariat, UNSC counterterrorism bodies (subcommittees), UN agencies and among member states about measures for funding of security for UN domestic and overseas facilities, operations, and personnel. — Host-country intentions to secure and safeguard UN and NGO personnel. — Reactions to and assessments of terrorist acts directed at the UN, UN personnel, UN protectees, or domestic and overseas UN installations, including foreign UN missions in New York. — Details of UN efforts to acquire, collect, assess and disseminate threat information within the US and overseas. — Plans of UN security offices to upgrade security at UN

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domestic and overseas UN facilities.

Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam International Organizations: UN

8) Burma (FPOL-1). — Views of UNSC and member states on Burma,s policies and actions on human rights, humanitarian assistance, democracy, and attempts to play a larger UN role. — Plans and intentions of the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on Burma regarding future interaction with Burma and engagement with UN member states. — Plans and intentions of the SYG on Burma; level of trust in his Special Adviser. — Views of Burmese officials on the SYG, on his Special Adviser on Burma, and on key countries in the UN. — Role of the UN in Burmese elections. — Development and democratization activities of UNDP in Burma; details about the UNDP Resident Coordinator,s relationship with Burmese officials.

Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, Burma, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Indonesia, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam International Organizations: EU, UN

C. UN Peace and Peacebuilding Operations.

1) Africa (FPOL-1). — Plans and intentions of UN leaders and member states regarding peace operations, especially in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Chad/Central African Republic, Burundi, Cote d,Ivoire, and Liberia. — UN peacekeeping plans and intentions regarding military operations against rebels based in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. — Early warning information available to the Secretariat on potential threats to peace and security. — UN views on the role of AFRICOM in African conflict resolution and post-conflict capacity building. — UN expectations of US military involvement in African peacekeeping missions and how this may influence UN willingness to establish, curb, or end missions. — Extent to which UN peace operations in Africa are straining the resources of the UN and member states; impact of current operations on future operations and readiness. — UN views on peacekeeping mission creep and pressures to expand the UN role in African conflict zones, either in the form of more comprehensive “peacemaking” mission mandates or in areas where security threats demand more aggressive and timely UN-led multilateral intervention. — Details on views of the UN Department of Peacekeeping

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Operations on operational plans, including the ability of the UN and its member states to build capacity in Africa, including by working with the AU or other regional organizations and NGOs. — Efforts by China, France, Iran, and others to gain influence in Africa via UN peace operations. — Information on extent of support and capabilities for peace operations by the AUand the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS). — Official stance on deploying HIV positive troops and actual practice. — Degree to which official peacekeeping reporting matches unofficial communications of events; views on those discrepancies. — Views of African states that host peacekeepers regarding UN peacekeeping troops and troop contributing countries. — Attitudes and intentions of Ghana and Rwanda concerning UN peace operations in Africa and perception of their relative ability to contribute to such efforts. — Attitudes of other African States to Ghana/Rwanda participation and leadership.

Countries: Austria, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Congo, Cote d,Ivoire, Democratic Republic, Costa Rica, Croatia, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, India, Japan, Jordan, Liberia, Libya, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay, Vietnam, Zimbabwe International Organizations: AU, EU, ICC, NATO, UN Non-State Entities: Lord,s Resistance Army

2) Outside Africa (FPOL-1). — Plans and intentions of UN leaders and member states regarding ongoing peace operations outside Africa. — Willingness of UN leaders and member states to support UN peacekeeping efforts and utilize preventive diplomacy in areas of potential conflict. — Views of member states on and plans to respond to the US-backed G-8 plan to expand global peace operations capabilities. — Views and positions of key member states and Secretariat toward proposed resolutions, mandates, peacekeeping issues, and US-sponsored initiatives. — Information on whether member states will utilize references to the ICC to condition support for peace operations. — Information on deployment benchmarks, pre-deployment screening, and supply and logistic shortfalls in peace operations. — Ability to obtain pledges and deploy capable military forces, including surge capabilities. — Views of UNSC members, the Secretariat, and key member states on Haiti,s government policies and actions on human rights, humanitarian assistance, and democracy.

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— Views and positions of UNSC members, the Secretariat, and key member states regarding the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and peacekeeping in Lebanon.

Countries: Austria, Brazil, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Georgia, Haiti, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Libya, Mexico, Nepal, Russia, Spain, Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay, Vietnam International Organizations: AU, EU, ICC, NATO, UN

3) Policy Issues (FPOL-1). — UN member views, plans, and intentions concerning the capability of the UN to organize, lead, and carry out new, complex military operations and civilian police operations. — Information on Secretariat or member views on or initiatives for peace operations reform. — Information on the appointment of SYG special representatives for new peace or political operations. — Scope, objectives, command structures, rules of engagement, and threat environment for proposed peacekeeping activities, including transportation and communications infrastructures and any available maps. — Types, number, and capabilities of troops, equipment, and materiel that countries are willing to contribute. — Information on interoperability of equipment and material available for logistic support. — Information on turf battles between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Department of Field Support, and Department of Political Affairs over control of peace operations. — Information on turf battles between logistic and military sides of peace operations. — UN member views on reform of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. — Information on troop contributing countries’ tendency to follow orders given by troop contributing country commanders vice UN field commanders. — Influence of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) on including human rights and refugee concerns within peace operations mandates. — Host government views and concerns about UN policies toward that country. — Influence of UN security coordinator on operational planning; field personnel reaction to UN security directives. — Capability/plans for Standby High-Readiness Brigade (SHIRBRIG) deployments. — Details on peacekeeper abuse of women and children; national and UN responses. — Changes in ability of member states, especially member states of EU, AU and ECOWAS, to contribute troops to peace operations, including for economic, social, and operational reasons. — Details on contributions of member states (in kind,

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personnel, or financial).

Countries: Austria, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, India, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Libya, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay, Vietnam International Organizations: AU, EU, UN

D. UN Security Council

1) Procedures and Dynamics (FPOL-1). — Plans, intentions, and agendas of UNSC members and Secretariat on issues that come before the UNSC, especially voting intentions of UNSC members and priorities or frictions among the Perm 5. — Plans and intentions of UNSC members to support or oppose US policies in the UNSC. — Specific views and positions of key member states on US-sponsored initiatives, initiatives with implications for the US, and other proposed resolutions and mandates. — Plans, intentions, views, positions, lobbying, and tactics of regional groups, blocs, or coalitions on issues before the UNSC, especially those that do not include the US (particularly the Africa Group, AU, EU, NAM, G-77, Rio Group, Arab League, the OIC, and the Group of Latin America and Caribbean Countries (GRULAC). — Differences in the positions of member states, differences between UN missions and their capitals, internal procedures for determining voting instructions, and voting instructions to delegations. — Priorities, plans, and intentions of new member states joining the UNSC, and influences on them by regional groups, blocs, or coalitions on issues before the UNSC, especially those that do not include the US (particularly AU, EU, NAM, G-77, Rio Group, Arab League, and the OIC). — Plans and intentions of member states of regional groups regarding UNSC candidacy. — Biographic and biometric information on UNSC Permanent Representatives, information on their relationships with their capitals.

Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam International Organizations: AU, EU, OIC, UN

2) Sanctions (FPOL-1). — UNSC member plans, intentions, and views toward sanctions issues, especially during negotiations of sanctions resolutions. — Willingness of and efforts by UN member states to violate sanctions. — Perceived and actual impact of sanctions on target

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governments, individuals, entities, as well as on civil population. — Plans, intentions, and agendas of UNSC sanctions committee members. — Plans, intentions, and agendas of UNSC sanctions committee expert groups and their ability to support sanctions monitoring. — Pressure to limit scope and length of new sanctions, especially from coalitions and regional groups. — Views and actions of the Secretariat or member states with regard to sanctions, including to bolster UN ability to support sanctions implementation and to address violations. — Views of target government on sanctions imposed on it.

Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Russia, Sierra Leone, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam International Organizations: EU, UN

E. UN Management

1) UN Leadership Dynamics (FPOL-1). — SYG’s management and decision-making style, and his influence on the Secretariat. — Plans, measures and efforts undertaken by the SYG and subordinates on US political and bureaucratic objectives for UN management. — Role and influence of Secretariat and other key officials with SYG and other UN system agencies. — Views of and brokering by key officials on major issues. — Changes in and appointment and selection process for key officials of Secretariat, specialized agency, committee, commission, and program officials in New York, Geneva, Vienna, and other UN system cities, to include special assistants and chiefs of staff. — Personalities, biographic and biometric information, roles, effectiveness, management styles, and influence of key UN officials, to include under secretaries, heads of specialized agencies and their chief advisers, top SYG aides, heads of peace operations and political field missions, including force commanders. — Relations between key UN officials and member states. — Views of member states on the next SYG race, to include preferred candidates and candidates lacking UN member support. — Views of UNSC members and other member states on Cuban, Iranian, or Syrian candidacy for any UN leadership positions.

Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, France, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Russia, Syria, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam International Organizations: UN

2) Budget and Management Reform (FPOL-1). — Plans, measures and efforts undertaken by the SYG and

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subordinates on US political and bureaucratic objectives for UN management. — Perceptions of member states of the effectiveness of the Office for Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) to combat waste, fraud, mismanagement, and corruption. — Effectiveness of the OIOS, in light of the review of the OIOS mandate. — Plans and moves to implement OIOS recommendations. — SYG’s view of the role of the OIOS. — Secretariat attitudes toward and evidence of corruption in UN agencies and programs, and willingness to implement measures to reduce corruption. — Plans and intentions of UN member states or the Secretariat to address corruption issues at the UN and UN agencies. — Plans and intentions of UNDP Executive Board members to push for or block management reform proposals. — Plans and intentions of UNDP Executive Board members or senior UNDP managers to address potential or actual cases of corruption or mismanagement by field missions, including efforts to cover up waste, fraud, or abuse. — Internal complaints by UNDP staff about waste, fraud, or abuse and efforts by UNDP management to respond to them. — Plans and intentions of Board members, such as Iran, to push for increased UNDP funding for programs in their own countries or those of their friends. — Degree of independence from UN headquarters of UNDP Resident Coordinators in the field and perceptions of field staff on UN aid consolidation reforms under the “One UN” Program. — Efforts by the G-77 Board members to develop common group platforms, especially on budget and management reform issues. — Developments in the implementation of the performance based personnel system and contractor reform. — Plans, intentions, and agendas of UN specialized agency executive committees. — Impact and effectiveness of whistle-blowing provisions on the UN reform process. — Attitudes of UN staff and member states towards extending a common whistle-blower protection program to all UN funds and programs. — Indications of pressure by member states or groups to increase or control growth in the budget. — Secretariat and member attitudes towards changes in the scale of assessments. — Options under consideration to resolve financial problems. — SYG views on and plans for responding to Government Accountability Office reports calling on the UN to more effectively implement results-based budgeting, and make further progress on management reform. — Secretariat and member attitudes and plans to improve the UN budget process. — Status and use of advanced information systems to

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streamline UN processes.

Countries: Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Egypt, France, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Syria, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam International Organizations: UN

F. UN General Assembly Tactics and Voting Blocs (FPOL-1). — Plans, intentions, views, positions, lobbying, and tactics of regional groups, blocs, or coalitions on issues before the General Assembly, especially those that do not include the US, i.e., the Africa Group, AU, EU, NAM, G-77, Rio Group, Arab League, the OIC, and the GRULAC. — Details of bargaining on votes or candidacies and attempts to marginalize or undermine proposed or planned US positions or policy initiatives. — Information on the EU agenda in the UNGA, especially as it relates to US priorities in the First, Third, and Fifth Committees. — Information on efforts by the EU or other member states to secure additional voting rights in the UN and its specialized agencies. — Lobbying by member states for committee membership assignments or vice presidencies. — Information on current and likely future leadership of regional groups, blocs, and coalitions. — Differences over positions between UN missions and their respective capitals. — Voting instructions to delegations on key resolutions. — Plans, intentions, and agendas of key committee chairs; member views of issues that come before these committees. — Efforts of Third World countries to moderate, via NAM and G-77, Third World positions on development, defamation of religion, or human rights issues. — Intentions of UN members to use non-UN bodies and working groups to bypass perceived UN bureaucracy. — Perceptions of member states of the viability and potential impact of the US-backed Democracy Caucus. — Biographical and biometric information on key NAM/G-77/OIC Permanent Representatives, particularly China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, Senegal, and Syria; information on their relationships with their capitals.

Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Egypt, France, Indonesia, Japan, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam International Organizations: AU, EU, OIC, UN

G. Other Substantive Issues

1) Food Security (FOOD-3). — Status and proposals related to the UN Comprehensive

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Framework for Action to address the global food crisis. — WFP activities and proposals related to reforming donor food aid policies and establishing a new standing global fund to address regularly occurring food crises. — WFP and FAO plans and proposals regarding the impact on food prices and food security of the growing use of ethanol and biofuels. — Internal UN responses to international calls for reform of FAO and WFP.

Countries: Afghanistan, Austria, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ethiopia, France, Haiti, Iraq, Japan, Libya, Mexico, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia, Sudan, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam, Zimbabwe International Organizations: FAO, UN, World Animal Health Organization Non-State Entities: Palestinian Authority, West Bank and Gaza Strip

2) Climate Change, Energy, and Environment (ENVR-4). — Country preparations for the December 2009 Copenhagen UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Meeting. — Developments related to other UNFCCC meetings and discussions on a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol. — Perceptions of key negotiators on US positions in environmental negotiations. — Developments on the Montreal Protocol, including reactions to US efforts to limit hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). — Indications that member states working through the UN and its specialized agencies are/are not fostering environmental cooperation, partnerships and capacity building between and among member states and regional and sub-regional organizations. — Monitoring of and compliance with UN-sponsored environmental treaties; evidence of treaty circumvention. — Information on adherence to member states’ own national environmental programs, including protection, monitoring, and cleanup efforts. — Efforts by treaty secretariats to influence treaty negotiations or compliance. — Information on the Convention on Biological Diversity, particularly on access, benefit sharing and bio-safety. — Information on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, including potential efforts to modify or amend its provisions. — Information on excessive maritime claims, including those relating to ridges. — Information on efforts to develop a mechanism to add chemicals to the list of persistent organic pollutants. — Information and perceptions on the strategic approach to international chemicals management, especially efforts of the EU’s management program. — Information on participation in and compliance with the UN Basel Convention. — Status of efforts to set standards to promote

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environmental protection, including protection of forests, desertification, and invasive or endangered species. — Efforts within the UN to protect water resources, and to promote development of alternative sources of energy.

Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam International Organizations: EU, UN

3) Transnational Economic Issues (ECFS-4H). — Information on efforts by UN member states or organizations to promote or obstruct regulatory reform, including banking and financial reforms, transparency, international law, trade, development, and foreign direct investment to reflect the Monterrey anti-poverty consensus and the Millennium Development Goals. — Plans, intentions, and tactics of the UNGA President regarding international financial problems; views of member states regarding these plans. — Plans and intentions of member states to support US priorities related to economic freedom and promotion of democracy. — Secretariat or member plans to develop multilateral economic, trade, or development agreements impinging on US interests. — Efforts by member states and the Secretariat to reconcile international differences over globalization, especially the perceived impact of globalization on human rights, labor, and environmental issues. — Member positions on UN decisions, plans, and activities concerning environmentally sustainable economic growth through market economies, free trade, private investment, and efficient multilateral development assistance. — Efforts to expand the global compact involving corporations committed to observing human rights, environmental, and labor standards. — SYG’s views and statements on trade issues and efforts to influence future World Trade Organization rounds. — Plans and intentions of UN member states that may impact freedom of navigation. — Information on international taxation initiatives.

Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam International Organizations: EU, FAO, International Financial Institutions and Infrastructures, UN, World Bank, World Trade Organization

4) Arms Control and Treaty Monitoring (ACTM-4). — Plans, tactics, timetables, and draft proposals for the Eighth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and especially

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information related to the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East and a Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone initiative, from interested individual member states (especially China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Russia, and South Africa) and like-minded groups such as the NAM and the New Agenda Coalition (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, and Sweden). — Member state views of the major problems facing the NPT; whether or under what conditions states would consider withdrawing from the NPT. — Member views on and responses to US plans and policies on missile defense and positions on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, particularly those of Russia, China, and Pakistan. — Information on IAEA plans for safeguards, international fuel banks, or other nuclear fuel supply arrangements, and meetings of the Board of Governors at the IAEA. — Member views on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT); prospects for country ratifications and entry into force. — Member plans for plenary meetings of the Nuclear Suppliers Group; views of the US-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative. — Readiness of member states to reform the agenda of the UN General Assembly’s First Committee; proposals prepared by member states for the First Committee. — Views of key delegations on US proposals on land mines. — Tactical and substantive information regarding periodic arms control meetings in New York, Geneva, Vienna and elsewhere, including the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review process, UN experts group on missiles, and meetings on conventional arms. — Plans and intentions of member states to introduce new arms control or proliferation prevention measures or make significant changes to existing agreements. – Member or Secretariat plans to address WMD proliferation, safeguards, arms control and disarmament, or other threat reduction efforts. — Foreign attitudes on UN-sanctioned arms control negotiations. — Biographic and biometric data on, and positions of key UN arms control interlocutors, especially candidates for the position of Director General of the IAEA, and the heads of other international institutions.

Countries: Austria, Brazil, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Egypt, France, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Japan, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam International Organizations: EU, IAEA, International Arms Control Organizations, NATO, OSCE, UN

5) Health Issues (HLTH-4). — UN, WHO, and other international organizations,

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forecasts, expected impacts, plans, proposals, key studies, and reactions to major health crises and other health-related issues, including efforts on disease eradication, improving health standards and access to care and medicine, and programs to monitor and respond to emerging infectious disease outbreaks and other disasters or emergencies. — Information on deliberations in the UN and other international health organizations on health issues and the policy positions and objectives of member states and key figures, including compromises, insertions, and items omitted in published declarations and studies. — Information on international health organizations, relationships and interactions with countries and other organizations, including relationships with regional offices or subsidiaries. — Details on limits and restrictions placed on international organizations to investigate reports of diseases that pose an international threat, including restrictions placed on the nationality of members of investigation teams. — Details on disease transparency, particularly indications about inconsistent reporting of outbreaks to appropriate international organizations and delivery of specimens to WHO- and FAO-affiliated laboratories, and including discussions or agreements impacting the publicly disclosed occurrence of diseases. — Details of discussions related to the accessibility of HIV/AIDS drugs (antiretroviral drugs or ARVs). — Details related to the availability, accessibility, and regulation of health care, particularly medications, vaccines, and counterfeits. — Member state attitudes toward maintenance of smallpox stocks. — Information on global counterfeit medications to include surveillance, countermeasures, and research and development issues. — Details on efforts to implement health-related Millennium Development Goals. — Details on corruption in international health organizations or the corrupt use of goods and services provided for health issues by bilateral and multilateral donors and international health organizations, including WHO, UNAIDS, FAO, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. — Details on irregularities in Global Fund fundraising, spending, and treatment of whistle blowers. — Personalities, biographic and biometric information, roles, effectiveness, management styles, and influence of key health officials, to include the Director General of the WHO, head of UNAIDS, the Pan American Health Organization, under Secretaries, heads of specialized agencies and their chief advisers, and top aides.

Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Russia, Turkey,

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Uganda, Vietnam International Organizations: EU, FAO, UN, World Animal Health Organization, WHO

6) Terrorism (TERR-5H). — Information on plans and intentions of UN bodies and member states to respond to or address within UN fora the worldwide terrorist threat. — Structure, plans and key figures of UN counterterrorism strategy. — Information on plans and activities of UNSC,s four counterterrorism sub-bodies. — Plans and intentions of member states to address terrorism by implementing anti-terrorism legislation as called for under resolutions, particularly as they relate to tracking financial transactions. — Views of member states on US policy toward terrorism. — Efforts of member states to support or oppose activities undertaken by UN specialized agencies such as the International Maritime Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization to improve maritime and airline security. — Information on UN support for technical assistance to member states to combat terrorism, particularly in Africa. — Views of member states about inclusion or exclusion of terrorism against Israel in counterterrorism efforts and definition of terrorism. — (For further requirements, see the NHCD on Terrorism Threats to US Interests at Home and Abroad, July 13, 2005.)

Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam International Organizations: UN

7) Trafficking, Social, and Women’s Issues (DEPS-5H). — Plans and intentions of member states to support or oppose US priority to combat trafficking and exploitation of men, women, and children. — Member state perceptions of ability of UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to follow through on strategies to support women and children through UN specialized bodies. — Information on member efforts to combat organized crime, narcotics trafficking, and trafficking in persons. — Plans and intentions of member states to address reproductive issues, including the aims of the EU vis-a-vis the US, GRULAC, Arab, and OIC nations. — Member state perceptions or plans regarding efforts to reconcile religious differences worldwide. — Information on reforms undertaken within the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and future plans of the organization. — Member views on education initiatives.

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Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam International Organizations: EU, OIC, UN

H. Intelligence and Security Topics

1) GRPO can provide text of this issue and related requirements.

2) GRPO can provide text of this issue and related requirements.

3) Foreign Nongovernmental Organizations (FPOL-1). — Influence of key UN-affiliated foreign NGOs on UN decision-making. — Efforts of foreign NGOs to undermine US policy initiatives. — Foreign NGO role in, views toward, and influence on UN policies and activities on globalization, justice, human rights, the environment, and family/women/children/reproductive issues. — Ability and capacity of foreign NGOs to assist refugees, displaced persons, and victims of disasters through the UNHCR and WFP. — Ability and capacity of foreign NGOs to support the UN Environmental Program or national efforts with environmental protection, pollution monitoring, and cleanup efforts. — Contacts between foreign NGOs and Secretariat staff that could involve sharing of confidential data. — Foreign efforts to strip US or foreign NGOs of UN affiliation and to block US or foreign NGOs seeking UN affiliation. — Efforts by member states-*particularly China, Cuba, Israel, Russia, and Islamic countries*-to obtain NGO affiliation for organizations supporting their policies. — Efforts by organizations affiliated with terrorist organizations or foreign intelligence organizations to obtain NGO affiliation with the UN. — Efforts by the EU through the Arhus convention to place NGOs on UN bureaus; reactions of member states to those efforts. — Role of NGOs at the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (OHCR), OHCHR, and UNHRC in the Third Committee of the UNGA.

Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, France, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam International Organizations: EU, OIC, UN

4) Telecommunications Infrastructure and Information Systems (INFR-5H). — Current technical specifications, physical layout, and planned upgrades to telecommunications infrastructure and

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information systems, networks, and technologies used by top officials and their support staffs. — Details on commercial and private VIP networks used for official communications, to include upgrades, security measures, passwords, personal encryption keys, and types of V P N versions used. — Telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of key officials, as well as limited distribution telephone numbers/directories and public switched networks (PSTN) telephone directories; dialing numbers for voice, datalink, video teleconferencing, wireless communications systems, cellular systems, personal communications systems, and wireless facsimiles. — Information on hacking or other security incidents involving UN networks. — Key personnel and functions of UN entity that maintains UN communications and computer networks. — Indications of <abbr title="IO“><abbr title="IO“>IO/IW operations directed against the UN. — Information about current and future use of communications systems and technologies by officials or organizations, including cellular phone networks, mobile satellite phones, very small aperture terminals (VSAT), trunked and mobile radios, pagers, prepaid calling cards, firewalls, encryption, international connectivity, use of electronic data interchange, Voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP), Worldwide interoperability for microwave access (Wi-Max), and cable and fiber networks.

Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam International Organizations: UN CLINTON

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/219058

 

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The Iran sanctions fallacy

Posted by alanmirs on August 27, 2011


International sanctions have exacerbated the pain of the middle class stuggling with high levels of unemployment.
Reza Marashi Last Modified: 26 Aug 2011 17:12
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The economy, and its poor performance, is a major concern for average Iranians [GALLO/GETTY]

Iranians’ displeasure with their government is palpable and transcends demographics. Before the contested 2009 presidential election, few were satisfied with the government’s performance. Since then, this displeasure has only increased – but not for the reasons that many assume. More than politics, the state of Iran’s economy is the greatest source of discontent. Despite record profits from high oil prices, many Iranians are forced to navigate an economy plagued with unemployment, inflation and corruption. However, the assumption in the West that sanctions will aggravate Iranian government mismanagement to the point of popular revolt is largely misguided.

This presents an arduous task for American policymakers. Publicly, they justify broad-based sanctions as punishment for the Iranian government’s refusal to yield to pressure over its nuclear programme. That is a hard sell to even the most liberal 30-something in urban Tehran – and the majority of Iranians residing outside the capital are far less progressive and politicised. They embrace neither sanctions nor their own governments’ malfeasance. From Ahvaz to Mashhad, Iranians outside Tehran are undoubtedly dissatisfied with the status quo, but their political discussions focus more on skyrocketing prices and dwindling employment rather than the lack of political and social freedoms.

During my experience living and traveling throughout Iran, I spoke regularly with global business executives, entrepreneurs, bazaaris, intellectuals and students. I witnessed first-hand their struggles managing day-to-day and future planning of business affairs in a damaged economic climate. Conversation about the impact of mismanagement and sanctions on their businesses and families was a frequent topic of conversation at meetings and social gatherings. When I speak with those same friends and associates today, they are vexed by an environment in which mismanagement persists and sanctions increasingly bite. Many Iranians are unclear about how to manage the present and plan for the future, as this toxic combination limits their ability to make business, career and investment decisions.

Potential unreached 

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Israel wages war on Iranian scientists

Posted by alanmirs on August 27, 2011


Asia Time Online - Daily News

By Mahan Abedin

As the trial of Majid Jamali Fashi, the confessed murderer of Iranian physicist Massoud Ali Mohammadi, gets underway in Tehran, more light has been shed on the secret but intense Israeli war against Iranian scientists.

Amid the confusion, rampant speculation and propaganda, two issues are clear. Foremost, the four-year Israeli assassination campaign exposes the weaknesses in Iranian protective security measures. Second, if the campaign continues apace, Iran will come under increasing pressure to strike back.

Posthumous hero
In many ways, Ali Mohammadi fits the profile of the dozens of

Iranian scientists that have been targeted for recruitment, coercion or in his case assassination by Western and Israeli intelligence services. With a long and distinguished academic career, during which he published 53 research articles in peer-reviewed academic journals, Ali Mohammadi was also engaged in undeclared projects that were clearly of immense interest to intelligence services.

A quantum field theorist and a professor of elementary particle physics at Tehran University, Ali Mohammadi was assassinated by means of a booby-trapped motorbike on January 12, 2010, immediately outside his home in the Gheytariyeh neighborhood of northern Tehran.

Although Ali Mohammadi is not known to have any declared links to Iran’s nuclear program or any other sensitive project, it is clear from the trial of his alleged murderer that he was involved in work that was deemed to be of great national importance.

His bereaved wife Mansoureh Karami made an emotional appearance at the trial where she poured scorn on Israel and the terrorist methods employed by the Jewish state’s intelligence services and ended by declaring that her husband’s only crime was great “love” for and dedication to his country.

Although it is pure speculation, Karami’s description of her husband may be a calculated admission by the late Ali Mohammadi’s family that the physicist may have been involved in work beyond that of his declared academic job and interests.

In the immediate aftermath of Ali Mohammadi’s assassination, there were attempts to link him to the opposition “Green” movement with reports claiming the scientist held “reformist” views and had even signed a petition to that effect. The implication of these essentially speculative reports and rumors was that the Iranian government had arranged the scientist’s murder.

But even if Ali Mohammadi had been a reformist and a supporter of the “Green” movement, there is no contradiction between that position and a strong commitment to the Islamic Republic and its goals. Indeed, most reformists and the mainstream sections of the movement would argue the same

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The allegation that Iran is developing nuclear weapons is a mirage

Posted by alanmirs on August 24, 2011


Dr. Arshin Adib-Moghaddam is a political commentator and lecturer in the comparative and international politics of western Asia at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He was born in the Taksim area of Istanbul to Iranian parents and raised in Hamburg/Germany. He studied at the University of Hamburg, American University and Cambridge. He is the author of The International Politics of the Persian Gulf: A Cultural Genealogy, Iran in World Politics: The question of the Islamic Republic and A metahistory of the Clash of Civilisations.

He is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Cambridge’s European Trust Society and he was the first Jarvis Doctorow Fellow at St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford.

His articles and commentaries have appeared on Guardian, CNN, Monthly Review, Independent, Open Democracy, Antiwar and Daily Star. His scholarly papers also have been published in “Critical Studies on Terrorism”, “Cambridge Review of International Affairs”, “Third World Quarterly” and “International Studies Journal.”

Dr. Adib-Moghaddam’s latest book “A Metahistory of the Clash of Civilisations: Us and Them Beyond Orientalism” was published in 2011 by the Hurst & Co. and Columbia University Press.

As described by Amazon.com, “Adib-Moghaddam’s investigation explains the conceptual genesis of the clash of civilizations and the influence of western and Islamic representations of the other. He highlights the discontinuities between Islamism and the canon of Islamic philosophy, which distinguishes between Avicennian and Qutbian discourses of Islam, and he reveals how violence became inscribed in western ideas, especially during the Enlightenment. Expanding critical theory to include Islamic philosophy and poetry, this metahistory refuses to treat Muslims and Europeans, Americans and Arabs, and the Orient and the Occident as separate entities.”

He joined me in an in-depth interview and answered my questions regarding the continued controversy over Iran’s nuclear program, the Western media’s black propaganda against Iran, the future of Iran-West relations and the prospect of Iran’s Green Movement.

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Iran is not in breach of international law

Posted by alanmirs on August 20, 2011


uranium-enrichment 

A view of what is believed to be a uranium-enrichment facility near Qom, Iran. Photograph: Digital Globe/Reuters

It has been exactly a year since the last UN security council resolution imposed extra sanctions on Iran. International debate is resuming on the country’s continued failure to heed UN decisions, and a new report by the International Atomic Energy Agency rightly draws attention to the questions Iran has not answered about experiments it has made on nuclear bomb technology

As ambassadors to Iran during the past decade, we have all followed closely the development of this crisis. It is unacceptable that the talks have been deadlocked for such a long time

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Iran Praises Russian Plan to Restart Nuclear Talks

Posted by alanmirs on August 17, 2011


New York Times

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: August 16, 2011

TEHRAN (AP) — Iran’s top nuclear negotiator said Tuesday that a Russian proposal could be “a basis to start negotiations” on Iran’s disputed nuclear program.

The proposal calls for the other countries to make limited concessions to Iran for each step it takes toward opening its nuclear program fully to international inspection and giving up activities that could yield nuclear weapons.

“The proposal by our Russian friends can be a basis to start negotiations for regional and international cooperation, specifically in the field of peaceful nuclear activities,” the Iranian negotiator, Saeed Jalili, said on Iranian state television.

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It makes sense for the US to take Mujahedin-e-Khalq off its terrorist list

Posted by alanmirs on August 16, 2011


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It is no wonder that the savage MEK is despised in both the US and Iran, but delisting it now looks like the right move

The Guardian

The US state department is considering whether to remove Iranian opposition movement Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) from its terrorist list. The MEK has already been taken off the EU’s terrorist list, and in the US the group is generally treated as if it were not listed.

 

Opponents of delisting rightly remind us that the MEK has been involved in acts of violence against Americans, Iranians and even its own members, and that the group is a cult-like and anti-democratic force. Founding members of the MEK murdered several Americans in Iran in the 1970s, and the group actively supported taking Americans hostage in Tehran in 1980.

 

The MEK supported Saddam Hussein’s war against Iran in 1980. That war, in which Iraq also used chemical weapons, left some 500,000 Iranians dead and maimed, destroyed about 120 Iranian cities and towns, and caused close to $120bn in economic damage. The MEK also helped Saddam suppress the Kurdish rebellion in 1991 following the first US war with Iraq.

 

It is no wonder that the MEK is despised in both the US and Iran. It is a terrorist group to the Americans, a monafegh (“hypocritically Muslim”) group to the Islamic Republic, and a khaen (“traitor”) group to most Iranians. Former members of the MEK have charged that it forbids internal democracy and treats members critical of the group’s activities quite savagely.

 

While the MEK is building support among western officials, it is still censured by most Iranians. This was not the case in its formative years in the 1970s when the guerilla group was considered heroic by young Iranians challenging the dictatorship of the shah and American domination. The original MEK included Islamists and Marxists; before long they split violently and the Islamists took over.

 

The MEK’s conversion from a loyalist to a traitor group began in 1979 when it parted with the Islamic Republic, murdered state officials – including a president and a prime minister – and joined Saddam. Ever since those early blows, a tragically vicious cycle of violence has continued between the Islamic Republic and the MEK, resulting in several thousand deaths.

 

Opponents of delisting believe the group may never become democratic or even pragmatic. However, it is ridiculous to assert, as many of them do, that removing the MEK from the US terrorist list will strengthen the Islamic regime, demoralise Iranian reformers, threaten the freedom of Iranian-Americans and give the MEK the power to impose a US war on Iran.

 

Delisting the MEK might even be a step in the right direction. As far as the Iranian people are concerned, the MEK has long been a source of extremism, violence and fear but delisting could have a moderating effect. A delisted MEK will have to transform itself from a paramilitary into a political group. If this were to happen, the Iranians would be relieved.

 

By delisting the MEK the US will lose a useless bogeyman, but gain a redundant anti-Iran propaganda machine. This will not result in a better policy towards Iran unless the delisted MEK is put on a tight leash. This must begin by demilitarising the MEK, which will help to resolve the humanitarian crisis in Camp Ashraf in Iraq where some 3,400 people reside, including children.

 

Given the MEK’s dreadful human rights record and US support for human rights in Iran, delisting could make the US look hypocritical but in combination with other steps it could also advance US-Iran relations.

 

To achieve that, the US would also have to renounce regime change and the use of force, while incrementally lifting sanctions and easing Iran’s security concerns. In return, Iran must gradually address American/IAEA’s nuclear concerns. The ball is in the US court of goodwill.

 

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Spinning Iran’s centrifuges

Posted by alanmirs on August 15, 2011


Asia Time Online - Daily News

By Yousaf Butt

Consider yourself warned – “[I]n the next few years Iran will be in position to detonate a nuclear device,” so writes Ray Takeyh, confidently, in a recent Washington Post OpEd [1]. Why? Because the Iranian government willingly informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it would begin installing additional centrifuges with higher capacity to enrich uranium. [2]

Just like fertilizer can be used to increase crop yields – or make bombs – uranium is a dual use material.

Uranium enrichment has been conflated with nuclear weaponization so often that it has morphed into a virtual bogeyman bomb itself – an absolutely impermissible activity for the likes of Iran to pursue. This was not always the case. In irony that only history can muster, Iran’s nuclear program was kicked off in the 1950s with the full encouragement and support of the United States, under the auspices of president Dwight D Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace program. [3]

In 1970, the US proposed installing 23 nuclear power plants in Iran by the year 2000. A 1976 directive by then-president Gerald Ford offered Iran a US-built reprocessing facility for extracting plutonium from nuclear reactor fuel, another key ingredient for making nuclear bombs. [4] This “nuclear fuel-cycle” infrastructure is precisely the type of technology the US is now keen to keep out of Iran.

While it would be nice if Iran stopped enriching uranium, does the international community have any right to insist on that? Unfortunately, none of treaties and legal agreements that Iran is party to have changed since the time of the shah: what was legal then is legal now. [5]

Iran is a signatory of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and, as such, is entitled to enrich uranium under IAEA safeguards, which it does. Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the US all enrich uranium without any fuss.

In Brazil’s case, there actually ought to be some fuss: their leaders have publicly expressed great interest in nuclear weapons [6] and have – unlike Iran – restricted IAEA inspectors from full access to their main uranium enrichment facility. [6]

Uranium enrichment is useful for generating the fuel for nuclear power plants, and for making radioisotopes for medical and agricultural uses – and, yes, for nuclear weapons as well. Asking how many years Iran is from making a bomb only makes sense if we know – or suspect that – Iran has a nuclear weapons development program.

But earlier this year, the US Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper released a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on the Iranian nuclear program that could settle this question. [7]

This document represents the consensus view of 16 US intelligence agencies. Although the content of the new NIE is classified, Clapper confirmed in senate questioning that he has a “high level of confidence” that Iran “has not made a decision as of this point to restart its nuclear weapons program”. [8]

This jibes with the Intelligence community’s 2007 NIE, the unclassified version of which publicly stated that Iran wrapped up its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Recent State Department cables provided by WikiLeaks back this up – for instance State Department officials confirmed that some rehashed IAEA reports of suspicious Iranian activities in 2004 were “consistent with the 2003 weaponization halt assessment, since some activities were wrapping up in 2004”. [9]

To be clear, what the NIE and the State Department cables refer to as Iran’s “nuclear weapons program” (or “weaponization”) pre-2003 was some possible – but disputed – evidence of research by Iranian scientists having to do building and potentially delivering a bomb, not a full-blown actual bomb factory.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient who spent more than a decade as the director of the IAEA, recently told investigative journalist Seymour Hersh that he had not “seen a shred of evidence that Iran has been weaponizing, in terms of building nuclear-weapons facilities and using enriched materials … I don’t believe Iran is a clear and present danger. All I see is the hype about the threat posed by Iran.” [10]

Indeed, every year, the IAEA has confirmed that Iran has complied with its nuclear materials’ accountancy. There has never been any diversion of nuclear material into any alleged weapons program. Ever.

So, unless Iran starts a real nuclear weapons program it will never make the bomb – no matter how much enrichment takes place.

The only “evidence” of Iran’s nuclear weapons program is its refusal to grant the IAEA completely unfettered access to whatever facilities the IAEA would like to inspect. But since the Iranian government has not ratified the “Additional Protocol” agreement it has no obligation to open every door to the IAEA.

Pretty much everything the US and its allies have done with regards to Iran’s nuclear program has been counter-productive: the sanctions have improved Iran’s domestic scientific capabilities. [11]

The assassination of Iranian scientists has led to one of the victims-to-be – Professor Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani – to be named head of the Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization and therefore, automatically, one of the vice-presidents of the country. [12] And cyber-warfare, like the STUXNET virus suspected to be the work of US and Israel, [13]

has not made a significant dent in Iran’s enrichment capabilities: to the contrary, the Iranians have reportedly begun deploying second- and third-generation centrifuges which may boost their enrichment capability three-fold. [14]

So what to do?

Call off the cyber-warfare. Call off the assassinations. Call off the sanctions.

Not only are United Nations sanctions counterproductive, they are not even legal. The UN charter clearly outlines the conditions needed to kick off such sanctions – only after a determination of “the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression” is found, something that has never been done.

Far from marching towards making a nuclear bomb, Iran has repeatedly offered to place additional restrictions on its nuclear program well in excess of its legal obligations, including opening the program entirely to joint US participation and limiting the number of centrifuges they operate. More recently they agreed to a Turkish-Brazilian brokered deal to export their enriched uranium for fabrication into reactor fuel abroad. In each case, the US deliberately undermined or ignored these offers.

The underhanded way in which the US and its allies are misusing the IAEA to issue trumped up reports about Iran’s alleged – and it should be stressed many years’ past – “intransigence” over possible military activities threatens the very legitimacy of that agency.

The 118 nations that make up the non-aligned movement (NAM) – ie the real “international community” – have raised howls (or, at least, what passes for “howls” in diplomatic circles) about how politicized the agency has become lately [15].

In a statement read during an IAEA board of governors meeting, representatives of the NAM nations noted “with concern, the possible implications of the continued departure from standard verification language in the summary of the report of the director general [Yukio Amano]”. [16]

As it turns out, Amano himself comes with some baggage attached. Leaked cables cast him as “solidly in the US court” on Iran. [17]. To save the legitimacy of the IAEA, Amano should give serious thought to gracefully resigning his post.

Surely, Iran should be stopped – but only when it does things that are illegal. A lot of dust has been kicked up recently because Iran has expressed interest in enriching uranium to 19.75% as fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor so that it can produce medical isotopes. (Normally, reactors used for generating nuclear power use uranium of 3.5% enrichment.) But anything less than 20% is considered low-enriched uranium (LEU) by the IAEA – not highly enriched uranium (HEU) as some have reported.

And in fact there is nothing in the law stopping Iran from enriching uranium to any level it pleases, so long as it does so under IAEA safeguards.

The most objective reading of Iran’s intentions is that it may be stockpiling enough LEU to give itself a “break-out” option to weaponize in the future – unfortunately for the US and its allies, there is nothing illegal about that. The fault lies with NPT that allows such behavior – not with Iran. The US may as well insist that Iran also not produce fertilizer since that, too, can be used in bombs.

Iran could certainly take its stock of LEU and enrich it to a grade required for making bombs, but its LEU is under the surveillance of the IAEA – and has been for decades.

Diverting this material for military purposes would be discovered by the IAEA. So either Iran could cheat and get caught, or it could kick out the IAEA inspectors. [18] These, then, should be the real “red-lines” for taking any tougher actions on Iran.

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Tehran and Moscow cheek by jowl

  Aug 17, 2011By Kaveh L Afrasiabi

This is an important week in Russia-Iran relations, in light of the visit to Moscow by Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, who is scheduled to discuss a wide range of sensitive issues in talks with Russian officials.

The agenda for the two sides includes “fighting American unilateralism” as well as Russia’s recently-unveiled “step-by-step” plan to resolve the Iran nuclear standoff, according to Mehdi Sanai, a member of the Iranian parliament’s foreign policy and national security committee, who is accompanying Salehi to Moscow for the talks on Tuesday,

The so-called “Lavrov plan”, named after Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, was submitted to Tehran last month and calls on Iran to expand its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), envisaging a scenario in which for every proactive Iranian step to resolve any outstanding issues with the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the international community would grant Iran limited concessions, such as freezing some sanctions.

Iran’s rather warm reception of the Russian initiative has led some Tehran pundits to conclude that another round of multilateral nuclear talks is approaching, depending on the United States’ willingness to forego its initial skepticism and give a cautious if not enthusiastic nod to the plan.

One reason for the new stir in the often turbulent Tehran-Moscow ties is the announcement by Fereydoon Abbasi, the head of Iran’s atomic organization, that the opening of much-delayed Russian-made Bushehr power plant is imminent, a position shared by Russia’s envoy to Iran, Alexander Sadovnikov, who has been an enthusiastic supporter of expanding business and trade relations between the countries.

If true and Bushehr goes on line within the next few weeks – initially at 40% capacity according to Abbasi – then in all likelihood Iran will pursue new nuclear contracts with Russia, following the pre-existing memorandum of understanding signed by officials of both countries. This is not to mention the prospect of greater Russian investment in Iran’s oil and gas projects in the coming years.

To open a parenthesis, Abbasi was vilified in a Wall Street Journal editorial for his alleged role in a clandestine nuclear weapons program, an accusation relying on unnamed expert close to the IAEA in a recent report by the Institute for Science and International Security. This is a good example of how the US media and think-tanks keep the mill rolling over an Iranian nuclear threat – irrespective of the recent admission by IAEA’s former chief Mohamad ElBaradei that he saw no evidence of Iranian proliferation.

Clearly, Russia’s willingness to act as an intermediary in the nuclear standoff has impressed Tehran, which nowadays foresees long-term strategic synchronicity with Moscow on a range of external issues, including Syria, Libya and the future of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Envisioning a post-US Iraq and Afghanistan, Moscow and Tehran need to expand their regional cooperation to address the potential implications of US troop withdrawals from those two countries, although few Tehran political analysts are willing to hedge their bets on a complete US pullout from either countries.

If Salehi’s trip goes as planned, we may witness a more explicit Russian position on the thorny issue of Iran’s right to enrich uranium, the subject of four UN Security Council resolutions voted on by Russia. According to unconfirmed reports, whereas the UN has demanded a complete cessation of Iran’s enrichment program, the Russian plan envisages a scenario where under strict international surveillance Iran could continue with its controversial nuclear program, which has fueled Western suspicions of an Iranian nuclear weapons agenda, a charge Iran has flatly denied.

One thing going for the Russian plan is the willingness of some European countries to support it, even though it is highly disliked in some US policy circles since it crosses the US’s “red line” on Iranian enrichment. A visit to Tehran by the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, is called for; it could go a long way in clearing the European response to the Russian plan.

Perhaps equally important is the reaction of the IAEA, whose head Yukiya Amano has been highly critical of Iran for insufficient cooperation with the atomic agency. Amano has yet to accept Tehran’s invitation to visit Iran’s nuclear facilities and may find it difficult to maintain an inflexible approach at a delicate time when Russia is effectively playing the role of a mediator.

While in Moscow, Salehi may insist on the delivery of the S-300 air defense system that Russia has unilaterally canceled. There is no justification for the Russian move, especially when one factors in that scores of Russian scientists are and will be busy at Bushehr for the foreseeable future and an air defense system to protect them and the nuclear facility that they have put up in Bushehr makes sense, irrespective of the American and Israeli pressure to renege on the contract. At the moment, however, this does not seem very likely, as Moscow is careful not to introduce new points of contention with Washington.

However, for the nuclear proposal to have a chance of acceptance by the US and its Western allies, it must be disentangled with the complicating web of current US-Russia relations that of late have deteriorated due to the divisive issues such as human rights and North Atlantic Treaty Organization interventions.

Henceforth, if Washington perceives the Russian nuclear initiative as part of a Moscow strategy to gain regional influence at the US’s expense, US opposition to the plan is guaranteed. The US has dispatched a high-ranking official, Robert Einhorn, to Moscow for clarification on the details of Lavrov plan and if the issue of Iranian enrichment is not resolved, then a widening gap between Moscow and Washington on Iran becomes inevitable. That is unless Moscow veers back into line and toes Washington’s zero tolerance for Iran’s enrichment that would, in turn, alienate Tehran.
The trick is how to advance the Lavrov plan with the West when the US is wary of Russia’s intentions and of any coming Iran-Russia “groupthink” on the US in the Middle East.

Little surprise then, if Washington opts to distance itself from the Lavrov plan and to sing the tune of negativism in the coming days, in order to prevent it paying the cost of a strategic symbiosis between Tehran and Moscow.

This may be risky with the US’s European allies, some of whom – such as Germany – may prefer to see a relaxation of Iran sanctions that could translate into expanded trade with Iran at a time of European economic malaise.

An important consideration for the US should be over the implications of long-term Iran-Russia growing interdependence. In contrast to the US’s lack of business relations with Iran, that could well translate into the end of Russia’s cooperation with the West on Iran’s nuclear threat at the UN.

This possibility alone should suffice to produce fresh thinking from Washington on how to end the Iran nuclear crisis.

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