As Arafat peers through that candle-lit shadows of his own captivity and the
humiliation of his courageous people, the impotent dictators of the Arab
League continue to use the Palestinian suffering to tighten their grips on
power while reciting 'His Mater's Voice'.
The much touted 'Saudi Peace Initiative,' written by Thomas Friedman of the
New York Times and dutifully delivered by Prince Abdullah to the 22-member
Arab League, begs one simple question. If Arab countries go ahead and
establish 'full normal' relations with Israel, where does this leave
countries like Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia who have stood in
solidarity with their Palestinian cousins for so long? Out in the cold, I
But there is more to it than meets the eye. The Saudi Peace initiative
should be seen in the context of the 'Axis of Evil' strategy that
essentially is targeted at Iran, the only society flirting with democracy
with some semblance of an independent economy and infrastructure, free of
manipulation by Washington DC.
The target of the Saudi peace plan is to isolate Iran and divert the
attention of its own repressed people from the tragedy of the Palestinians.
It seeks to shift responsibility away the impotence of the multi-billion
Arab military machine that only functions to protect the Arab regimes.
The combined machinations by the Saudis and the New York Times came to
another head when last Sunday the NYT reported secret meetings in Moscow
between Palestinians and Iran to help the intifadah (as if that would be a
The attached article from the Iranian website, 'Paywand', attempts to refute
the newly crafted Iran-Palestinian conspiracy theory; a theory that neatly
fits into the mysterious objectives of the Abdullah plan.
Read and reflect.
Much Ado About Nothing:
New York Times and Israeli Disinformation Campaign
By Kaveh L. Afrasiabi, Ph.D.
Iran may be guilty of a lot of things, but entering into a strategic
alliance with Arafat's Palestinians and assuming their military patronage by
all verifiable indications is not one of them, contrary to the prominent
front page article in last Sunday's New York Times trumpeting the secret
meetings in Moscow leading to this sort of alliance.
In the few days that have past, the top U.S. officials including the
National Security Adviser have invariably stated their ignorance of any
Moscow meetings between Arafat's men and certain Iranian officials, nor have
the intelligence officials or other national media such as the Washington
Post confirmed any aspect of the New York Times report, which was based
almost exclusively on information from Israeli sources.
But, God forbid any one criticizing Israel for spreading disinformation on
Iran and desperately seeking to turn America's war machine against Iran now
that the entire Arab world has seemingly succeeded in blocking the attack on
Iraq (for now at least). The question is why would a respected international
paper like the New York Times overindulge the Israeli disinformation
campaigners at a time like this?
Certainly, by any media parameter that report did not warrant the central
focus of the front page given the paucity of its sources other than Israel
and the fact that below the article was written in small print "U.S.
Government officials cannot confirm report." One may also legitimately ask
why the report failed to even entertain the possibility that the Israelis
may have ulterior motives in their offer of unique information on
"Iran-Palestinian alliance," such as politics of scapegoat.
None of this is to suggest that Iran is not funneling money or arms to the
Palestinians, and chances are Tehran is to some small extent, but the
problem with the Times piece was that it overstated the case and inferred
too much from the Karin A fiasco. Also, the reporters readily dismissed the
notion of a rogue operation, or perhaps, Iran's gamble to showcase itself on
the scene through a one-shot deal. The fact is we have too little empirical
information to conclude one way or another and, thus, are forced to
perpetual guessing games.
This recalls a chance encounter with Iran's deputy foreign minister in New
York a couple of weeks ago. Dr. Zarif adamantly denied Iran's role in the
Karin A arms shipment and told this author and an American journalist that
"if we had done it we would at least make sure to wipe out the Farsi words
on the arms. It is obvious that whoever is behind it wanted to leave no
doubt that it is Iran's doing." Dr. Zarif went on to say that after thorough
investigation by the government there is no evidence of any Iranian
involvement in the Karin A shipment, yet he would not rule out the role of
arms smugglers and conceded that it is a very lucrative business.
As to the situation in Afghanistan, Dr. Zarif, rightly in my opinion,
criticized the U.S. government for being ungrateful for all the support that
Iran provided to the refugees, Northern Alliance, and the Bonn meeting --
"they woke me up at 2 in the morning to intervene because the meeting (of
Afghan leaders- KA) was falling apart." Above all, Zarif criticized the U.S.
for not crediting Iran for the peaceful takeover of Kabul by Northern
Alliance. "Musharaf was warning of a bloodbath and yet we allowed General
Fahim to bring in only one militia to town."
Surely Iran has a stake in post-Taliban Afghanistan and is forced into a
"new great game" along at least half a dozen other players, regionally and
non-regionally, in the area, but to jump from this, as the Bush
Administration has wrongly done, to the conclusion that any security move
Iran makes is by nature "evil" or "destabilizing" is pure nonsense. What the
Bush Administration needs is to disengage itself from the Israeli
disinformation campaign and take a new hard look at the region's map and
Iran's role in it.