compiled by Cem Ertür
1) Secret SOFA provisions exposed
2) ‘Israel may attack Iran via Turkey’
3 ) Chavez slams Obama’s response to Ahmadinejad
4) Iran summons British envoy over Miliband nuclear comments
Secret SOFA provisions exposed
Press TV, 27 November 2008
An Iraqi media outlet has exposed ‘secret’ provisions of the US-sought security pact amid ongoing parliamentary deliberations on the deal.
The US seeks to legitimize its presence in Iraq beyond the expiration of its December 31 UN mandate in the country. The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) it has pressured Iraq to finalize could provide Washington the legal backing it needs.
As far as the actual content of the pending SOFA is concerned, the White House has refused to publish the official English text of the agreement.
While US and Iraqi government officials have alleged that no part of the US agreement has been kept confidential, al-Moheet on Wednesday published what it called secret segments of the pending agreement.
The ‘secret’ articles posted on the Arabic-language website follows:
1. US forces are authorized to set up military bases to support Iraqi troops based on the security situation in the country.
2. This document is an agreement and not a treaty.
3. The Iraqi government and judiciary cannot prosecute US civilians or military personnel stationed in the country. All Americans are subject to immunity.
4. US forces are authorized to set up security establishments such as prison centers, which will be operated by the US military.
5. US forces have the privilege to do as they please inside their military bases and in transit. The Iraqi government has no authority to intervene.
6. US forces are authorized to arrest individuals who disrupt security and stability without Iraqi government approval.
7. The Iraqi intelligence, interior and defense ministries will remain under US supervision for 10 years.
The US-proposed SOFA has been passed by the Iraqi Cabinet and has received parliamentary approval but will be put to a referendum in 2009.
‘Israel may attack Iran via Turkey’
by Ümit Enginsoy, Hurriyet, 27 November 2008
If Israel were to attack Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons facilities, its bomber aircraft would most likely fly through Turkish air space, a prominent neo-conservative U.S. columnist has said.
“The Israelis would not attack over Iraq. The way to go is through Turkey,” Charles Krauthammer, a syndicated columnist who writes for the Washington Post and some other publications, said on the political panel “Inside Washington” on WJLA TV in Washington DC. The program was broadcast Sunday.
He was asked if Israeli aircraft would have to fly through Iraqi air space in the event of an air attack inside Iranian territory. Krauthammer claimed that when Israeli fighter-bomber jets attacked and destroyed a suspected nuclear installation in Syria on Sept. 6 last year, they used Turkish air space on the way.
“When Israel attacked the reactor in Syria, it went up the Mediterranean and through Turkish air space,” he said.
Chavez slams Obama’s response to Ahmadinejad
Iran Visual News Corps, 25 November 2008
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez yesterday condemned as “disrespectful” the response by the US president-elect, Barack Obama to a letter of congratulations by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad upon winning the Oval Office on 4 November.
“Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent him [Obama] a letter. The reply wasn’t good. It was disrespectful. Obama was unable to get away from the cliché. He spoke like [President George W.] Bush. They are very bad signs,” Chavez was quoted by AFP as saying to foreign reporters in a news conference late last night.
In his first press conference following his win in the US presidential elections, Obama had said that he would “respond appropriately” to a letter of congratulations from Ahmadinejad.
In his letter of 6 November, the Iranian president had told Obama that the nations of the world expected the U.S. not to follow policies of “belligerence, occupation, bullying, deceit, humiliation of nations and imposition of discriminatory and unjust relations on them”, which caused the “hatred” of America by other countries.
Chavez continued to say that the U.S. is “the empire that kills, bombs and assassinates. If Obama can convert that infernal machine into a machine that benefits the world, I think that would be a lot to hope for,” AFP reports.
He went on to recommend to Obama to “honor his color” and remember that “his wife is black, [and] what beautiful children they have.”
Chavez also expressed concern for Obama’s safety, saying: “Hopefully they’re not going to kill Obama, but that murdering machinery [the U.S.] is capable of anything.”
Although Venezuela is one of the main suppliers of crude oil to America, under President Chavez the relations have been tense.
In September of this year Venezuela expelled the US ambassador; a move that was reciprocated in kind by the US government.
Also commenting on Obama’s language, Iran’s former minister of defense, Major General Ali Shamkhani today said that he thinks with Obama taking the reins, there will not be a big change in the overall US policy toward Iran.
However, he cautioned that Obama does not offer any policy change, but brings forth changes in his “literature” and that “this is dangerous for us [Iran],” reports the Tehran daily, Qods.
Shamkhani added: “In keeping in mind what the reality is about Obama, Iran should not allow him to win [arguments] with this language and this requires political savvy, meaning that our diplomatic savvy must be more than before. We should not allow for a scenario where one day we would say we wished McCain would have been elected.”
Iran summons British envoy over Miliband nuclear comments
Iran Visual News Corps, 26 November 2008
Iran’s Foreign Ministry today summoned Jeffrey Adams, Britain’s ambassador in Tehran, to protest at what it called “aggressive and provocative” comments by UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who had warned on Monday that a nuclear-armed Iran might eventually lead to a regional “nuclear arms race”.
Yesterday, the Iranian embassy in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates [UAE], also issued a statement criticizing Miliband’s remarks and saying that Britain “had no authority to judge” Iran’s “peaceful” nuclear program.
Speaking at the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research [ECSSR] in Abu Dhabi on Monday, Miliband said: “A nuclear armed Iran would be a decisive blow against those seeking to promote pragmatic and peaceful solutions to the region’s problems. The consequent nuclear arms race would be very dangerous,” the Financial Times reported.
However, Miliband also stressed that Britain was committed to a diplomatic solution to the standoff over Iran’s nuclear dossier.
“The pressure we are applying to Iran, the sanctions we have supported in both the EU and the UN, are not an attempt at regime change. And nor are they a precursor to military action. We are 100 percent committed to a diplomatic resolution of this dispute. We will work closely with the new US administration on this issue,” the BBC quoted him as saying.
Iran’s embassy in Abu Dhabi responded to these comments by linking Miliband’s words to support for Israel and by saying that only a “handful of countries” are questioning the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.
The Iranian statement then warned Britain against creating divisions in the region.
“A few countries have always tried to question the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program by bringing up ambiguities and baseless claims,” argued the statement published today by the conservative Fars News Agency. “Britain, which is one of the main supporters of [Israel] – itself a nuclear armed country – has no authority to judge Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.”
The statement concluded by saying: “The English government should change its failed policy of creating divisions among regional countries through enmity and differences.”
Yesterday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson responded to Militant’s comments, saying: “If Multiband himself conducts an opinion poll inside England, [he will find that] they themselves view Israel as a threat,” Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency reported.
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