Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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March 16, 2007

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In-Depth Issues:

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: "I Decapitated American Jew Daniel Pearl" - Dafna Linzer and Josh White (Washington Post)
    The Pentagon Thursday released an additional portion of the transcript of a military hearing for al-Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed in which, in gory detail and boastful prose, he said he personally beheaded Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in February 2002.
    "I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew Daniel Pearl in the city of Karachi, Pakistan," Mohammed is quoted telling the military panel Saturday.
    "For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his head."
    FBI and CIA officials who reviewed a videotape of the murder have long known that Mohammed took part in the killing.

Israel HighWay
- March 15, 2007

Issue of the Week:
    Unusual Places to Visit in Israel

Iranian Military Force Finds Its Wealth Under Attack - Najmeh Bozorgmehr and Gareth Smyth (Financial Times-UK)
    Among sanctions against Iran in the draft UN Security Council resolution are measures targeting the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, an elite military force with wide economic interests.
    Business makes up about 30% of the Guards' operations, according to an interview given last year by Brig.-Gen. Abdol-Reza Abed, the IRGC's deputy commander and head of Khatam-ol-Anbia, one of its many companies.
    A former senior official estimated the IRGC had annual earnings of about $1b., and that this would rise to $1.5 or $2b. with new projects agreed upon since the election two years ago of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Report: Egyptian Forces Arrest Palestinian Wearing Explosives (Reuters/Ha'aretz)
    A potential Palestinian suicide bomber, Hamid al-Nador, was detained Tuesday while wearing an explosive belt inside a beach resort in el-Arish in the northern Sinai peninsula, an Egyptian security official said Thursday.
    An Egyptian, Ahmed Abdel Moaz Mohammed, who was also arrested, said he was plotting attacks against Israelis, according to the official.

Saudi King Abdullah Used Peace Initiative to Stabilize His Rule - Guy Bechor (Ynet News)
    The offspring of Hassa Sudairi, who came from Saudi Arabia's largest tribe, eventually took over the Saudi kingdom.
    But the current reigning king, Abdullah, 84, is not a Sudairi.
    When he was crown prince, Abdullah sought a solution to the quandary of the order of succession in the monarchy and at the beginning of 2002 laid out what became known as the Saudi Initiative.
    The American administration shifted their support from the Sudairies to Abdullah, and that's how Abdullah assured himself the crown.

Hamas TV: Gaza Evacuation Shows How to Destroy Israel - Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook (Palestinian Media Watch)
    The most frequent message being repeated this month in Hamas' new Al Aqsa Satellite TV broadcasts is a statement by Ahmad Yassin, founder and former head of Hamas, made in 2005 in response to Israel's plan to evacuate Israeli towns in Gaza.
    Yassin's message was that the Palestinians had found the key to destroying Israel. Since terror was forcing Israel to leave Gaza, the Palestinians only have to keep up the terror in Israel's other cities and Israel would run from those as well.

Putin's New Friends: Moscow Hosts Hamas - Matthew Levitt (Weekly Standard)
    In July, Russia's Federal Security Service, successor agency to the KGB, released a list of 17 organizations the Russian Supreme Court had identified as "terrorist."
    All were described as a threat to the Russian state and almost all were linked in some way to the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the 17.
    Hamas, however, was not listed, though it openly describes itself as the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood and expresses solidarity with Chechen fighters, including suicide bombers.
    The writer directs the Stein program on terrorism, intelligence, and policy at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Terror Camp in China Had Links to Al-Qaeda (AP/Jerusalem Post)
    Shi Dagang, a lawmaker from China's Xinjiang region, confirmed Friday that 18 people from the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), who were killed in a raid on a terror camp in January, had links to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
    "The terrorists were trained by the Taliban in Afghanistan and sent to China by them," Shi said. "They had close connections to al-Qaeda."
    Militants among the region's dominant ethnic Uighurs are leading a violent Islamic separatist movement in Xinjiang. The Uighurs are Turkic-speaking Muslims with a language and culture distinct from the majority of Chinese.

Muslim Women Can Reshape Islam - Editorial (Christian Science Monitor)
    The U.S. State Department gave out its first awards for "women of courage" to 10 foreign recipients: Seven of the women had demonstrated their honored bravery within Muslim countries.
    Mullahs in many Islamic nations are nervous these days about educated women smartly arguing against post-Muhammad interpretations of the Koran that treat women differently than men.
    Dr. Siti Musdah Mulia of Indonesia led an effort in 2004 to revise the legal code, seeking a ban on polygamy and forced marriages.

Israel No. 2 in Hours On-Line - Judy Siegel-Itzkovich (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel ranked second only to Canada in the average amount of hours spent on-line, a comScore Networks poll has reported.
    Canadian surfers spend 39.6 hours a month on-line, followed by Israel - 37.4, South Korea - 34, U.S. - 31.6, and UK - 31.2.
    747 million people used the Internet worldwide in January 2007, a 10% increase over last year.

Buffing Israel's Image - Eric Simons (East Bay Express)
    A San Francisco public-relations firm is wrapping up a two-month, $17,000 billboard and BART ad campaign about the "Real Israel."
    The 25 billboards scattered around the East Bay (and fifty in San Francisco) highlight what BlueStar PR calls Israel's positives.

Useful Reference:

UNESCO Report on the Mughrabi Gate Dig in Jerusalem (UNESCO)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Hamas-Fatah Coalition Misses West's Goals - Steven Erlanger
    The Hamas-led Palestinian government, boycotted by the West since its election more than a year ago because of Hamas' support of terrorism, announced Thursday a unity coalition with Fatah in hopes of ending the boycott. But the political document guiding the new government does not fulfill the international community's three demands - to recognize Israel, forswear violence, and accept previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements - and Israel announced that it would therefore not deal with the new government or any of its ministers, Hamas or not. The U.S. is expected to follow suit but the EU will face a fierce internal debate. (New York Times)
        See also New PA Government Seen Complicating Rice's Middle East Effort - Glenn Kessler
    The completion of a Palestinian unity government that includes ministers from the radical Islamic group Hamas will further complicate Secretary of State Rice's efforts to rekindle peace efforts in the region. U.S. officials privately acknowledge that Abbas' announcement last month that he had struck a deal with Hamas was a blow to U.S. and Israeli efforts to elevate Abbas as an alternative to Hamas. Israeli officials have rejected any dealings with the new government, saying even the respected figures it contains are shills for terrorists. (Washington Post)
        See also Cool Reception for Palestinian Government - Tim Butcher (Telegraph-UK)
  • Israel, U.S. Eye Bank Sanctions to Curb Aid to Palestinian Cabinet - Adam Entous
    Israel and the U.S. intend to use restrictions on banks to limit the ability of donors to transfer funds to a Palestinian unity government, senior Israeli and American sources said. International, regional and Palestinian banks will still be able to send funds directly to Mahmoud Abbas' office, but the sources said this week that Israel and the U.S. were not prepared to give a green light to banks to resume transfers directly to the unity government. "As long as the demands of the U.S. and the Quartet are not fulfilled, no money will be allowed to be transferred to the government itself. That's the decision," a senior Israeli security source said. Banks that make transfers without authorization risk being frozen out of the U.S. banking system.
        "The question for the banks is, from the perspective of due diligence and reputational risk, do you really want to be doing business with an entity like Hamas?" said Matthew Levitt, who until Jan. 31 was U.S. deputy assistant secretary of Treasury for intelligence and analysis. (Reuters)
  • Six Powers Agree on Sanctions for Iran - Colum Lynch
    After three weeks of intense negotiations, the UN Security Council's five major powers and Germany have agreed in principle to ban all Iranian arms exports and freeze the financial assets of 28 Iranian officials and institutions, including several commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. (Washington Post)
        See also Ahmadinejad Seeking to Address the UN - Benny Avni
    Iranian President Ahmadinejad officially filed a request to address the UN, setting up a dramatic showdown as early as next week. Iran asked the State Department for entry visas for Ahmadinejad and 38 associates. Jewish organizations Thursday urged America to deny Ahmadinejad's visa request "on numerous grounds, including his violation of the United Nations Charter and the Genocide Convention with his threats to annihilate the State of Israel." The leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations made their statement in a letter to Secretary of State Rice and Attorney General Gonzales.
        Interpol announced Thursday that it would issue capture notices on five Iranians charged recently by Argentina with a 1994 terrorist bombing of Jewish targets in Buenos Aires. (New York Sun)
  • Hamas Fortifying Gaza with Iranian Expertise - Abraham Rabinovich
    Hamas is busily fortifying Gaza with the help of Iranian expertise and funding. "They're digging bunkers and tunnels 20 meters underground equipped with air conditioning," retired Israeli intelligence officer Brig.-Gen. Shalom Harari said. "That's something the Iranians taught them." Since Israel's withdrawal from Gaza 18 months ago, hundreds of Hamas fighters have gone to Iran for intensive military training sometimes lasting months, according to Shin Bet security service chief Yuval Diskin. Harari said: "Hamas and Iran have formed a strategic alliance. Iran sees Hamas as part of a pincer aimed at Israel." The other arm of the pincer is Hizbullah in Lebanon.
        Iran is also funding militant groups in the West Bank, which borders Israel's heartland. However, Israeli forces are still deployed in the West Bank and arrests of militants have prevented Hamas from gaining traction. (The Australian)
  • A New Face of Jihad Vows Attacks on U.S. - Souad Mekhennet and Michael Moss
    A new militant Islamic organization called Fatah al-Islam, whose leader is a fugitive Palestinian named Shakir al-Abssi, has set up operations in a refugee camp in Tripoli, Lebanon, training fighters and spreading the ideology of al-Qaeda. A former associate of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda of Mesopotamia who was killed last summer, Abssi was sentenced to death in absentia along with Zarqawi in the 2002 assassination of an American diplomat in Jordan, Laurence Foley. Just four months after arriving in Tripoli from Syria, Abssi has a militia estimated at 150 men and an arsenal of explosives, rockets, and even an antiaircraft gun. Intelligence officials say he has 50 militants from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries fresh from fighting with the insurgency in Iraq.
        Intelligence officials have warned that al-Qaeda is reforming as an alliance of small groups around the world that share a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam but have developed their own independent terror capabilities. If Khalid Sheikh Mohammed represents the previous generation of Qaeda leaders, Abssi and others like him represent the new. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • The Return of the Eastern Front - Anshel Pfeffer
    Four years ago, when the U.S. and Great Britain brought Saddam Hussein's rule in Iraq to an end, there was a collective sigh of relief within the Israeli defense establishment. The "Eastern Front" had ceased to exist. The nightmare scenario of the Republican Guards' armored brigades sweeping across the lightly defended Hashemite Kingdom to attack Israel on its long and unfortified Jordan Valley border could be taken off the list of threats. Nor would Hussein's Scud missiles be once more pointed at Tel Aviv.
        For more than three decades, ever since the Yom Kippur War, the Arab states haven't tried to use their conventional forces against Israel. Two facts, though, seem unavoidable. Any prospective president planning to win the November 2008 U.S. election will have to promise a clear time frame for extricating American troops. And whenever that evacuation is over, there will still be sizable groups of terrorists of various stripes and colors holding out who will celebrate the U.S. departure as their victory.
        At that moment, the Eastern Front will once again become a threat for Israel. Thousands of Islamist fighters, both Sunni and Shi'ite, will be anxious to take on "Little Satan." Flushed with what they will obviously see as their success at having evicted Big Satan from the land of Islam, they will believe that the same thing can be done to the Zionist entity. Their arrival will boost the capabilities of Hizbullah, Hamas and the other Palestinian terror groups and further encourage them to seek violent confrontations with Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel Fears U.S. Iraq Exit Could Topple Jordanian Regime - Shmuel Rosner and Aluf Benn
    Israel is worried a hasty American withdrawal from Iraq could topple the Hashemite regime in Jordan. Prime Minister Olmert has received an assessment from the security services that says a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq before that country has stabilized would have immediate repercussions on the domestic situation in Jordan. These effects could even threaten the stability of the Hashemite monarchy. Israel views Jordan as a strategic asset whose stability is a vital Israeli interest. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel: Normalization Now - Shmuel Rosner and Aluf Benn
    A senior Israeli official says it is necessary to welcome the idea inherent in the Saudi initiative, that the Arab world is prepared to accept Israel. However, Israel will not agree to absorb even a single refugee in its territory. What Foreign Minister Livni did this week, and which Secretary of State Rice echoed to some extent after their meeting, was to propose that they reverse the order. Instead of waiting with the normalization for Israeli-Palestinian peace - normalize now, and thus help advance the peace process. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Egypt: Normalization Later
    Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said on Thursday that Arab countries will not accept a normalization of relations with Israel until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved. (AFP/Yahoo)
  • Strategically Crafted Ambiguity - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The political program of the new Palestinian Authority unity government has been drafted in such a way as to allow both Hamas and Fatah to argue that neither had totally abandoned its traditional position. The program sets a number of conditions for halting the "resistance": ending the "occupation" and achieving independence and the right of return for Palestinian refugees, as well as an end to Israeli security measures including the construction of the security fence. In other words, Fatah and Hamas are saying that the violence will continue as long as Israel does not meet these demands. It also makes no mention of the two-state solution.
        The program states that the new government will only "respect" agreements signed by the PLO. Hamas leaders have explained that there is a huge difference between "respecting" an agreement and making a pledge to fulfill it. In other words, Hamas is saying that while it accepts the agreements with Israel as an established fact, it will not carry them out. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Three Conditions: Still Standing - Herb Keinon
    The Israel Foreign Ministry on Thursday launched a campaign to ensure that the Quartet's three conditions that a PA government needs to accept to gain international legitimacy and funding remain intact in light of the new Palestinian unity government. Since the conditions were first enunciated on January 30, 2006, there has been concern that they would soon be thrown by the wayside. Yet they have survived the last 13 months, and Israeli government officials sounded confident Thursday that they would continue to last - especially since the U.S. is firmly behind them - for the foreseeable future.
        Four days after Hamas won the Palestinian Legislative Council elections, then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan read out the Quartet's statement: "It is the view of the Quartet that all members of a future Palestinian government must be committed to nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the road map." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues
    Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket that landed in Israel's western Negev region on Thursday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Renewed Clashes between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza: 1 Dead, 9 Injured, 12 Abducted
    Clashes between Hamas and Fatah erupted Wednesday in Gaza, leaving one Fatah militant dead, nine other Palestinians injured, and 12 abducted. (Maan News-PA)
        See also Assailants Kill Palestinian Intelligence Officer in Gaza Friday - Yoav Stern (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Pulling Tehran's Purse Stings: Leveraging Sanctions and Market Forces to Alter Iranian Behavior - Matthew Levitt
    Already there are signs of domestic discontent within Iran, and targeted financial measures can produce further political pressure within Iran. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the nuclear crisis (and subsequent sanctions) "is imposing a heavy opportunity cost on Iran's economic development, slowing down investment in the oil, gas and petrochemical sectors, as well as in critical infrastructure projects, including electricity." A 2003 World Bank report on Iran noted the "daunting unemployment challenge" facing Iran and concluded: "Unless the country moves quickly to a faster path of growth with employment, discontent and disenchantment could threaten its economic, social and political system."
         We are already seeing the benefits of this strategy. Banks like UBS, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Commerzbank, and others have decided to cut off or curtail dealings with Iran. Some foreign banks are refusing to issue new letters of credit to Iranian businesses, and Iran now faces a standoff with Russia over Tehran's apparent desire to pay for Bushehr in euros, not dollars. Targeted financial measures are not symbolic sanctions. They have teeth, and Tehran is wary of their bite. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Al-Jazeera: The Muslim Brotherhood Channel - Steven Stalinsky
    "The Muslim Brotherhood has at its disposal media that transcends borders, from newspapers to satellite channels, which have taken over the minds of millions...throughout the entire Arab world," wrote Mamoun Fandy about the movement's relationship with the Al-Jazeera satellite network in the London-based Arabic daily Asharq Alawsat. "If you watch a debate program presented on will be amazed at the supreme defend the Muslim Brotherhood," Fandy says. Pierre Akel, founder and editor of a prominent Arabic reformist Web site,, concurs: "When it comes to satellite television in the region, Al-Jazeera is controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood." Many leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood use Al-Jazeera for their own platform. To understand this network better, we should listen to what Arab reformists who are battling the culture of hate within their society are saying about it. (MEMRI/New York Sun)
  • The Biased Broadcasting Corporation - Frank H. Stewart
    The BBC World Service plans to start an Arabic television service this fall. The BBC has been broadcasting in Arabic on the radio for more than 60 years and has a huge audience. But if the BBC's Arabic TV programs resemble its radio programs, then they will be just as anti-Western as anything that comes out of the Gulf, if not more so. They will serve to increase, rather than to diminish, tensions, hostilities and misunderstandings among nations.
        The authoritarian regimes and armed militants of the Arab world get sympathetic treatment on BBC Arabic. When a State Department representative referred to Syria as a dictatorship, his BBC interviewer immediately interrupted and reprimanded him. By contrast, the words and deeds of Western leaders, particularly the American president and the British prime minister, are subject to minute analysis, generally on the assumption that behind them lies a hidden and disreputable agenda. The writer is a professor in the department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a visiting scholar at New York University. (New York Times)
  • What Israel Can Learn from the International Court of Justice Ruling on Genocide in Srebrenica - Manfred Gerstenfeld
    On 26 February 2007, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ruled that the July 1995 massacre of an estimated 7-8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb Forces was an act of genocide. Since it has now been ruled that states can be tried for genocide, a case can probably be brought under the Genocide Convention against Iran since Article III of the Genocide Convention describes incitement to genocide as a punishable act. The ICJ ruling may have applicability to the Palestinian Authority, as well. The Charter of Hamas, the leading party in the PA, calls for genocide. As recently as 12 March 2007, Hamas announced that it was still seeking Israel's destruction. (ICA/JCPA)
  • The Rewards of Peace with Israel - Charles Jalkh
    We Lebanese should do the obvious and honorable, and make a wholehearted peace with Israel. We need to end, once for all, and permanently, for the sake of all children, this futile bleeding conflict we were pushed into on behalf of the anti-civilization forces. We have lost 60 years of our lives, our brightest have emigrated, our country is ravished, left at the crossroad of partition, fighting for its life. Peace with Israel means opening new trade and shipping routes southward, with and through Israel, then to Jordan and Egypt, nations with open borders and honored peace treaties with Israel. Peace with Israel means economic cooperation, massive foreign investments, and faster economic development for Lebanon.
        All these beautiful possibilities are threatened by the current bloody Syrian dictatorship. There will be no peace for Lebanon, and by consequence none for Israel, unless the Assad dictatorship is defeated or brought to justice for its crimes. (Global Politician)
  • French Jews Flock to South Florida - Alfonso Chardy
    French Jews living in South Florida say hostility from Islamic militants in France after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S. spurred them to leave. Departures surged after last year's abduction and death of Ilan Halimi in France. Officials in U.S. Jewish organizations said the number of French Jews could be anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 in South Florida. ''I would say they're in the thousands now,'' said Mendy Levy, a rabbi at The Shul synagogue in Surfside. Jewish Agency figures show that almost 14,000 French Jews have resettled in Israel since 2001. Vanessa Elmaleh, an attorney who specializes in French Jewish immigration, said perhaps more than 50,000 French Jews are moving or actively planning to move to Israel and more than 10,000 are in South Florida. (Miami Herald)

    AIPAC Policy Conference

  • Remarks by the Speaker of the House of Representatives - Nancy Pelosi
    When Israel is threatened, America's interests in the region are threatened. America's commitment to Israel's security is unshakable. As we all know, the source of Hizbullah's weapons is Iran. President Ahmadinejad continues with hate-filled rhetoric about the U.S., Israel and the Holocaust. His recklessness with words underscores our concerns about his development of nuclear weapons. Iran must not be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon. It threatens the security of Israel, the stability of the region and the safety of the world.
        There are those who contend that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is about Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. In truth, the history of the conflict has never been about the occupation. It is over the fundamental right of Israel to exist. The success of Hamas in last year's election, followed by the decision by Abbas to form a unity government, is a major disappointment. Peace efforts are at a standstill because of Hamas' failure to meet the most basic standards of the international community: first, recognition of Israel's right to exist, second, renunciation of terror, and third, there must be acceptance of prior agreements. (AIPAC)
  • Remarks by the House Republican Leader - John Boehner
    The enemies of America and Israel are the same. And the rise of radical Islamic fundamentalism has real security implications for both nations. And the same ideology that's been at work to destroy Israel is the same ideology attempting to destroy America and its allies. We didn't start this war with radical Islam. They started the war with us. A lot of people believe that America wasn't involved in this until the attacks of 9/11. But look at what happened in Tehran in 1979, when they took 400 of our hostages in Iran. Look at what happened in Beirut in 1983, when radical Islam attacked our Marine barracks. Somalia in 1993. The Khobar Towers attack in 1996. Our two embassies that were bombed in 1998 in Africa. The USS Cole off the coast of Yemen. All attacked by radical Islamic fundamentalists, intent on bringing war to America.
        The rise of radical Islamic fundamentalism continues to grow throughout the world. And it's not just growing in the Middle East. It's growing in Europe, it's growing in Asia and it's growing in Africa. People are being taught to hate Israel and to hate America, and they're being raised this way and they're raising armies of people to take us on. And they don't believe that we have the fortitude to stand up and to protect Israel, or the fortitude, as Americans, to stand up and protect ourselves. (AIPAC)
  • Taming Leviathan
    This week saw yet another reminder of the awesome power of the American-Jewish lobby. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) brought more than 6,000 activists to Washington for its annual policy conference. They heard from the four most powerful people on Capitol Hill - Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner from the House, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell from the Senate - as well as the vice-president (who called his talk "The United States and Israel: United We Stand"). Several first-division presidential candidates held receptions.
        Congress has more Jewish members than ever before: 30 in the House and a remarkable 13 in the Senate. (There are now more Jews in Congress than Episcopalians.) About two-thirds of Americans hold a favorable view of Israel. Arab-Americans have been growing in numbers and influence for years - there are probably about 3.5m. Institutions such as the Arab American Institute and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have plenty of access to Middle Eastern money, but so far their performance has been unimpressive. Arab-Americans are split between Christians (63%) and Muslims (24%). (Economist-UK)
  • Observations:

    What Was Once a Revolutionary Guard Is Now Just a Mafia - Mohsen Sazegara (Forward)

    • Today the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution - known in English as the Revolutionary Guard - is a mafia-like organization with a corrupting influence on Iran's army, police, media, industries, judiciary and government.
    • As originally planned, the Revolutionary Guard was to be, quite literally, a people's army - not, as it has become, a force separate from the general public, let alone opposed to it. The Revolutionary Guard was no longer a people's army, just another coercive force at the service of the ruling establishment.
    • Although I was involved with the Revolutionary Guard at its birth, in 2003 I was arrested and imprisoned by the secret intelligence unit run by the Revolutionary Guard.

      The writer served the Islamic Republic as deputy prime minister for political affairs and managing director of the National Radio of Iran. He is currently a visiting researcher at Harvard University.

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