"As for the enemies of freedom, those who are potential adversaries, they will be reminded that peace is the highest aspiration of the American people. We will negotiate for it, sacrifice for it; we will not surrender for it, now or ever." - Reagan, January 20, 1981

"In Vietnam, we tried and failed in a just cause. No More Vietnams can mean we will not try again. It should mean we will not fail again." - from No More Vietnams by Richard Nixon

Monday, June 28, 2010

The first "axes of Communist penetration in Africa" - The Horn of Africa Crisis

In his extraordinary 1980 autobiography - written in exile after his 2500 year old kingdom was overthrown and the fanatical tyrant Khomeini imposed a reign of terror in an illegitimate regime known as the "Islamic Republic of Iran" - the late Shah of Iran discussed what he saw as an "axes of Communist penetration in Africa" in the 1970s:

Iran, which is only separated from Africa by Arabian Peninsula, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean, was concerned to see communist penetration into Africa along three axes: The first, going from Libya toward Chad, the Sudan, and Somalia, is the Mediterranean-Red Sea-Indian Ocean axis; the second aims to link the Mediterranean to the Atlantic by land; and third cuts Africa in two from Angola to Mozambique. The axes of Communist Penetration in Africa are real dividing lines. Both the longitudinal and transverse axes sever the African continent. This penetration is a vast strategic movement which threatens to destabilize the whole of Africa.Tomorrow what is called Black Africa could become Red Africa. (In an effort to thwart such actions, I [the Shah] had dreamed of contributing financially to a modern railway line linking the east and west of Aftica.)

In May 1973, Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia meet with President Nixon in the White House to discuss "I am here on an urgent matter internationally, affecting the U.S. and Ethiopia and the Indian Ocean and Red Sea area."

There has been a change in the situation in our area. You are aware of it, but we feel it closer.

The balance of forces has changed radically because Soviet influence is expanding rapidly.


We are cooperating in these areas and our forces, which you support, have always been used in the cause of peace.

We have common peace and common objectives. Soviet influence is expounding broadly. The reasons are: (1) To supersede the West in influence. (2) To gain control of the Red Sea and the commerce and resources of the area. Their methods are to strengthen the Arab states and weaken Ethiopia. Ethiopian cooperation with the West is not liked by the Arabs and by the Soviet Union.

The danger is a convergence of views of the Arabs and the Soviet Union. A minimum sacrifice on the part of the U.S. would prevent dangerous developments in the area.

The ELF is being supported.

Somalia has Soviet support for its territorial claims, and the Soviet Union is arming Somalia.

The position of Somalia is that wherever people speak Somalian they belong to Somalia. We respond that this is a problem for all of Africa as a result of boundaries drawn by the colonial powers. Therefore, African states have agreed to recognize the existing borders. Somalia is the only one that has not agreed to this formula. We have offered to provisionally demarcate the boundary under UN auspices. Somalia has refused, and is being armed to a dangerous extent. They have air bases, naval bases, and communication bases.

South Yemen has declared the Straits are Yemini territorial waters.

Somalia has claimed Djibouti. Most of the tribes are Ethiopian and the territory has traditionally been Ethiopian.

They have many more tanks. We have 20; they have 200. In APC's, we have 54; they have 310. We have no radar, they have a radar system. Our air forces is over age; they have seven MIG-21's and ten IL-28's. As for anti-aircraft batteries, we have 24 and they have 170. We have no rocket launchers and they have 24.

This is a deliberate policy of the Soviet Union to retard Ethiopia's development and force it to change its foreign policy.

Peace in the area has been maintained by Ethiopia. We are not an aggressive country. Our country is big; distances make things different. This change in the balance of power endangers peace because our security is threatened. If we suffer defeat and humiliation, it will be bad and it will also hurt American interests.

There are sabotage and probing actions by Somalia.

What would be the consequences of aggression? Some Arab states would aid Somalia. Two-three thousand Soviet Union advisors would be directing the battle against us with the latest weapons.

It used to be said that Ethiopia was superior; now it is different. We can't use our whole force against Somalia and they have all these modern weapons. We do not know the position of the United States in case of this kind of attack. Do we have contingency plans? What are your views? We propose emergency support for Ethiopia to restore the balance quickly.

Subsequently we have plans to strengthen our forces over the coming years.

It is true this hardware would impose a burden on us, but we can survive and it is important. We are really asking for replacements for aircraft and tanks to replace obsolescent ones. Therefore, the burden on Ethiopia is not unbearable, and our people are prepared for this burden.

I am sorry to burden you with this, but we have nowhere else to go. This is a real danger which is being built up.


The President: We do share the same objectives in Africa ever since I can remember.


We have great difficulty with Congress with aid. We will again ask Congress for a substantial appropriation, but I must honestly say to you that getting it will be difficult. We are also making provisions for credit assistance in order to make up for this.

I will consider this very seriously, and to the extent I can get Congress to support, I will respond to your requests.

Ethiopia is a proud, peaceful country. Ever since 1935. It would be a tragedy if Ethiopia was subjected to new aggression. I will take up this matter when I meet with Brezhnev.

We cannot afford conflicts with the USSR over such areas of such value as the regions of the Middle East.

I have no easy answers for President Sadat. I appreciate His Majesty's acting as a friend of the court. Egypt and Israel are far apart. I will keep His Majesty's message in mind as we proceed.

I share His Majesty's concern. I will analyze all requests with a sympathetic view. I can't promise, because of the Congress, but America is with you to the extent that I can speak for Americans.

Selassie: I thank you, Mr. President, for the kind words. I know the United States has problems throughout the world, with development, with other nations, etc. The magnitude of the problem varies in different areas.


I decided to come here to tell you of the problems in the Horn of Africa because of the growing problems, and the fact that aggression against Ethiopia is a Soviet policy. Escalation of action against Ethiopia is a definite policy.

I accept what you have said, that you would consider the sympathetically to support me. I don't ask for an answer now, but just to remind you of these developments, our needs, etc.


The Soviet Union knows our relationship. They are exerting serious pressure on our people to change our policy.

Not only the Soviet Union, but the Communist associates of the Soviet Union. We have only limited association with the Soviet Union. Our loan of 15 years ago is not fully used. We are on friendly terms with The Soviet Union but we are facing the Soviet Union. This has been forced on the United States.

In February of next year, as the State Department's the Bureau of Intelligence and Research reported

Large numbers of Ethiopian enlisted men, NCO's, and some junior officers in the 46,000-man armed forces have mutinied, originally for economic redress, but now for political aims, and this has led to the resignation of the government. Asmara, Massawa, and other towns in Eritrea are under the mutineers' control. They have arrested senior military and civilian officials and secured key points, and may have taken hostage the Emperor's negotiating delegation, led by the army chief of staff. The mutineers' attempt to rally military units in other parts of the country is succeeding: air force NCO's seized the Debre Zeit base near Addis Ababa, and in the south units at Dire Dawa and Harar are reportedly supporting the Asmara elements.


Of the four Ethiopian army divisions, the most disgruntled has been the Second Division in Eritrea. Bogged down in a frustrating struggle with insurgents of the Eritrean Liberation Front, the division's troops have been severely critical of the incompetence of their commanding general and provincial governor. Heavy losses suffered by the division in a recent pitched battle with the ELF probably contributed to morale problems. ... A week of strikes and demonstrations by teachers, students, and cab drivers—concentrated in Addis Ababa—preceded the mutinies. Inflationary pressures, which throughout 1973 reduced the real income of these economically insecure groups in the modern sector, intensified in January when fuel costs rose sharply. When violence broke out during the strikes, the police and military restored order, at a cost of several dead and numerous injured. The government moved to end continuing public unrest: it reduced gasoline prices, put price controls on essential goods, and took teacher pay demands under advisement. Most importantly, the government raised military pay and allowances, but not enough to appease enlisted men.

... The cabinet has already resigned. The Emperor himself does not appear to be threatened; some military elements, however, may try to limit his powers. In doing so, the mutineers face a dilemma: no credible successor is at hand. Both the ailing Crown Prince and his son, Zara Yacob, are in Europe, and for different reasons, neither is ready or able to replace His Imperial Majesty. ...

Implication for the United States.

The close military relationship which the US has maintained with Ethiopia for almost three decades will come into question even though American military advisers will presumably succeed in keeping out of the present troubles. The remaining units at Kagnew Station in Eritrea remain unmolested, and should be able to remain uninvolved. The Ethiopian authorities may see the United States as potentially helpful in furnishing emergency economic (or military) assistance, to get the government over the acute phase of its difficulties. All courses of action pose potential problems for the US, since it may be substantially more difficult to deal with the new ruling groups that may emerge in control of the Ethiopian Government.

This information was updated by CIA in October

Ethiopia's creeping revolution—now some 8 months old— has not yet unfolded to the point where we can speak with confidence about the nature of the successor regime or the policies that will eventually take shape. Thus far, a single leader has not taken stage center and dominated the revolution; factions within the military are still locked in struggle to capture command of the revolution that is largely being played out away from public view.
With the deposition last month of Haile Selassie the military emerged as the undisputed center of supreme political authority in Ethiopia. The ruling armed forces, however, are divided within their own ranks and are not yet able to provide coherent leadership.

The political change set in motion by the military revolt is irreversible. The old order based on position, wealth, and family connections has been destroyed.
The military has, however, created expectation of further significant change, and has made numerous promises of specific new policies. At this time, the basic goals of the Armed Forces Coordinating Committee appear to be:

— Complete destruction of the feudal social order and an end to the local domination by the provincial elite. This is to be accomplished mainly by land reform and by the enactment of new laws altering the relationship between tenant and landlord.

— A reordering of economic priorities to give emphasis to improving the lot of the less affluent. The committee wants active government encouragement of economic development and plans a larger direct economic role for the government.

— A commitment to the establishment of constitutional government.

— Maintenance of Ethiopia's present boundaries, combined with the introduction of a measure of political decentralization for the country's diverse ethnic and regional groups. The new leaders clearly will not tolerate separatism, however.

Members of the coordinating committee, while endorsing these broad goals, differ on the pace and method of change. A constant shifting of alliances, both within and between the units represented on the committee, complicates the task of defining the various factions. A basic division, however, has emerged between a majority group with essentially moderate objectives, which so far has commanded majority support within the committee, and a more radically-inclined minority group.

Although the moderates are united generally on matters of public policy, there are tensions among them stemming from porsonal rivalries, ethnic and regional differences, and military unit loyalties. These animosities, even if they do not lead to an open split, will continue to drain much of the committee's energies and reduce its ability to direct effectively the country's affairs.

The radicals on the committee want an immediate return to civilian rule and the reshaping of Ethiopian society along socialist lines, together with abolition of the monarchy and harsh punishment of Haile Selassie and the imprisoned aristocrats. Advocates of Maoism, communism, ”African Socialism,” or the "Tanzanian model" can be found on the committee. At a minimum, the radicals—found mostly in the air force—want their civilian allies in the university and labor unions to have an important role in the government. Although unable so far to dominate the committee, the radicals are vocal and aggressive in pushing their demands, and they could cause considerable trouble. Their opinions therefore have to be taken into account.

AMAN is the front man for the coordinating committee, which picked him to be titular leader of the provisional military government because he is personally magnetic and popular with the ranks. He has drawn large and enthusiastic crowds during travels throughout Ethiopia, but in private meetings with the cabinet and other officials he shows deference toward the coordinating committee representative who almost always accompanies him. There have been reports of antagonism between AMAN and members of the committee; AMAN no doubt chafes at times at taking orders from his juniors, but right now he does not seem to be engaged in an outright contest for power with the committee. In recent public statements AMAN has strongly criticized those who attempt to create disunity—-the same line taken by the committee.
The Separatist Threat

During the old regime, Haile Selassie was fairly successful in submerging regional and tribal differences, with the exception of the separatist movement in Eritrea. General AMAN and the Armed Forces Coordinating Committee are acutely, sensitive to the possibility that these differences could come to the fore in the present period of instability. The military government is thus seeking to defuse such trouble spots.

In the case of the most pressing of these problems, Eritrea, the Ethiopian military and the separatist Eritrean Liberation Front seem headed toward negotiations, with the Sudanese government perhaps undertaking a role as intermediary.

Last month the military committee adopted a more accommodating position toward Eritrea and named new provincial officials to replace unpopular appointees of the old regime. The committee, of course, is unwilling to grant the province independence, and also seems unlikely to agree to a federation proposal made by some Front members. Negotiations, once begun, will almost certainly be prolonged. At present it seems likely that the ELF faction which is more prone to accept compromise will eventually join with traditional, non-ELF provincial leaders and reach some agreement with the government. The more radical ELF members will probably continue terrorist activities, but they will be more susceptible to army counterpressure.

There is a possibility that the separatist movement will develop. The Tigre are second only to the Amhara tribe in Ethiopia's traditional hierarchy of ethnic groups. Ras Mengesha Seyoum, the Tigre leader, and one of Ethiopias most powerful aristocrats, remains at large. The committee only last week issued an order for his arrest, accusing him of corruption and of trying to organize an insurrection.

The committee delayed taking action against Mengasha because it recognized that Mengesha had a better chance than the other noblemen of organizing armed resistance. Mengesha has been one of the more progressive members of the aristocracy, and as governor general of Tigre had made a conscious effort to improve living conditions for the local population. As a result, he was generally popular, and is believed to retain many loyal followers. His present whereabouts is unknown; there are some reports he has fled to Sudan. There are also reports that several thousand armed men have joined him. Although this number may be exaggerated, Mengesha could cause considerable problems for the military if he decided to lead a revolt.

The Galla tribe is another potential source of dissidence. The Galia are the largest single ethnic group in Ethiopia, but many of them are dispersed throughout the country. Separatist sentiment is felt most keenly among the large number of Galla concentrated in an area south of Addis Ababa. This group carried out an insurgency against the government from 1965-1970,and they might believe this is an advantageous time to renew their activities.

Any separatist moves by the Tigre or Calla would probably first take the form of sporadic violence and isolated attacks on government installations. The unity of the armed forces will be a major factor in determining the success of such movements. If the military avoids irreconcilable splits in its own ranks, it will probably be able to prevent large-scale organized resistance. The inauguration of land reform would also reduce the chances of peasants joining a rebellion.

Concern about Somalia

The military government's major regional worry is that neighboring Somalia has a military edge and might try to grab the Ogaden region inhabited by ethnic Somalis. The long-stnding feaar of Somali irredentism was a major factor in Addis Ababa's recent request that the US increase military grants and credits to cover the purchase of arms in lieu of cash sales previously authorized.

Mogadiscio will be on the watch for signs that the preparedness of Ethiopian forces in the Ogaden had deteriorated to such an extent that Somalia could seize a sizable portion of territory in a quick action and hold it against an Ethiopian counter-attack and the ensuing international diplomatic pressures. We do not believe, however, that Somalia will move against the Ogaden area unless thore is serious disorder in Ethiopia.

The Somalis have indicated they do not intend to take advantage of Ethiopia's preoccupation with internal affairs to interfere in the Ogaden. Thus far, Somali President Siad had adhered to this pledge. A breakdown in law and order in Ethiopia, however, would be likely to tempt the Somalis at least to support gnerrilla activity across the Ethiopian border. The Somalis realize that an outright attack by their regular forces would probably unify the Ethiopians.

The coordinating committee may hope to reach an accomodation with Somalia, but at best the Somalis are only likely to agree to a mutual thinning out of military units in the area and stricter observance of a neutral zone along the border. The Ethiopians would probably view this as buying time. They might view their military requirements in less alarmist terms, but their search for more arms would continue.

Foreign Relations

The Armed Forces Coordinating Cormittee has thus far been able to give relatively little attention to foreign relations, being preoccupied with ousting the old order and now engaged in infighting for control of the revolution. We surmise, however, that the military's use of the slogan "Ethiopia First" has implications for foreign policy as well as emphasizing the need for domestic reforms.
We know that the Ethiopians have already made inquiries to the Soviet Union about aid. Moscow has indicated a willingness to provide Ethiopia with some military assistance, but Soviet officials have been very cautious. They have requested that detailed studies of Ethiopian needs be provided and said te Soviets woald provide aid at levels "permitted bv Soviet resources.” Mosocw's diffidence stems in part from its reluctance to offend Somalia and thereby jeopardize Soviet access to military facilities there.

The fact that the Soviets have not flatly turned down the Ethiopians suggests that Moscow thinks it can have it both ways in East Africa—as long as it does not give the Ethiopians too much.

Addis Ababa is seeking more military aid because it believes Soviet arms deliveries to Somalia have given Mogadiscio the military edge. The Ethiopians are also trying to use their dialogue with Moscow to gain leverage in dealings with the US for military aid.

In Nov. 1975, an Interagency Intelligence Memorandum reported that "some element of the military will continue to dominate the power structure, probably still identified as the Provisional Military Advisory Council (PMAC)"

Within its own heartland, the government faces major problems, notably rural dissidence, which we believe will grow and greatly tax the government's capacity to govern outside the major administrative centers. Urban discontent will cause trouble too.

Meanwhile, there is no sign whatever of a flagging of Eritrean insurgent determination to fight on. The two liberation groups, the Eritrean Liberation Front and the Popular Liberation Forces, may not unite any time soon, but they have generally ceased fighting one another and have engaged in limited military cooperation. Current tactics suggest that both groups are likely to pose continuing threats to US citizens and installations. Now that the guerrillas are carrying the burden of a full-scale insurgency, they are even less inclined than in the past to take guidance from their political representatives abroad. Yet only the latter show any willingness to treat independence as a negotiable issue. We believe the war will go on.

The task of the Ethiopian military is further complicated by the necessity of guarding the Ogaden region and the ethnic Somalis who live there against frontal attack or subversion by Somalia, which claims the territory. It must also keep an eye on those other border straddlers, the Afars, whose traditional leader, now in exile, is attempting to assist the limited Afar insurgency through arms shipments via the French Territory of Afars and Issas (FTAI). We do not believe Somalia will attempt to seize the Ogaden by force in 1975-76, barring a complete breakdown of order in the Ethiopian armed forces, but we anticipate intermittent Somali encouragement of Ogadeni dissidence.


The USSR's commitment to Mogadiscio limits its maneuverability in dealing with the PMAC, and as long as all goes well in Soviet-Somali relations, there are not likely to be any departures in the Soviets' approach to Ethiopia.



1. Since September 1974 Ethiopia has been governed by the Provisional Military Administrative Council, composed of junior officers- and enlisted men who are bent on a radical restructuring of society. The Council has managed to destroy the political and economic power of the former ruling classes-to the point that no successor regime could completely restore it—-and is trying to establish a new egalitarian order.

2. But the forced pace of change-involving the abolition of the monarchy, the declaration of Ethiopian socialism, the nationalization of most of the modern economy, and land reform-has alienated both elites and peasants. Rebellions are going on in all of the country's 14 provinces, and some regions are completely outside central government control. Rural dissidence will continue to grow, and at some point the PMAC may control only the major administrative centers, vital agricultural areas, and transportation arteries. Efforts to put down these revolts, to combat the long-standing insurgency in Eritrea, and to guard the Ogaden borders against Somalia have badly strained military capabilities.

3. Despite widespread opposition to PMAC rule, however, no group appears at this time to have the organization and leadership to overthrow the Council. The most likely scenario is a shift of power within the PMAC itself.

Military Cleavages

6. The major threat to the PMAC is the lack of cohesiveness within the military establishment. The Council is led by junior officers who have come up through the ranks and who have so far been able to hold the allegiance of troops who have been steadily politicized since the initial mutinies in February 1974. The chain of command has never been completely reestablished, and indiscipline is rife. Many senior officers appear to be slated for retirement.

7. The enlisted-man majority on the PMAC has provided crucial support to the present leadership, but at the same time it has slowed decision-making and reinforced extremist tendencies within the Council. An attempt is under way to phase the enlisted men out through assignments abroad or to other government posts. Resentment on their part over the reorganization may lead them to conspire against the PMAC officers or to back a group of officers willing to curry favor with them.

8. Personal rivalries and policy disagreements continue to divide the PMAC officers. The most intensive rivalry has been between the two vice chairmen-Major Mengistu Haile-Mariam and Lt. Col. Atnafu Abate. Both are committed to revolutionary change, but differ on the methods of achieving it. Of the two, Atnafu is supposed to be more opportunistic and anti-US.

9. According to recent reports, a group of Council members, led by General Teferi Benti, the Council's chairman, has gained influence at the expense of Mengistu and Atnafu who seem to have lost some power, though both remain members of the PMAC and retain their titles. The Teferi group reportedly regarded the Mengistu-Atnafu leadership as too radical and too disruptive of military unity. The power struggle within the Council may not be fully resolved. If Teferi is able to consolidate his power, he will probably moderate some of the Council's coercive and unpopular policies.
The Eritrean Insurgency

14. The most serious provincial dissidence is the Eritrean insurgency, which over the past year has burgeoned into a war between more than 20,000 Ethiopian troops and approximately 10,000 insurgents, not all of whom are armed. The rebels are backed by most of the province's civilian population. The administration of martial law continues to be carried out in ruthless, repressive fashion. Frequent sweep operations, food rationing, and strict control of transportation have been successful in keeping the insurgents off balance. Still, heavy engagements occur sporadically, and both sides have incurred fairly heavy casualties. The insurgents' major military objective seems to be an attempt to cut the Ethiopians' long and exposed supply lines.

15. The two insurgent factions-the Eritrean Liberation Front ( ELF) and the Popular Liberation Forces (PLF)-have stopped fighting each other and have engaged in limited military cooperation against the Ethiopians. Their political leaders abroad have agreed to form joint committees to coordinate the two groups' activities, and they are making plans to hold a general conference to discuss complete unification. Real political union, however, does not appear to be imminent. The unification effort is supported by the ELF military command, but opposed by the PLF military command led by Isaias Afework.
24. The Ogaden. Barring a complete breakdown in order in the Ethiopian armed forces, Somali President SIAD probably will not try to seize the Ogaden by force during the next year or so. SIAD may not be confident that his armed forces are capable of taking and holding any significant amount of Ethiopian territory at this time, and an attack that failed could cost him his position as head of the Supreme Revolutionary Council. Over the longer term, however, Somali military capabilities will gradually improve as a result of Soviet assistance, while those of Ethiopia will continue to be degraded as a result of the Eritrean insurgency. SIAD probably believes that time is on Somalia's side. There is a tantalizing possibility that Ethiopia will fracture solely due to internal forces, while a premature external attack would likely provide a rallying point which could reverse the current decline of central government control. A conflict at this time would probably stimulate more external support to Ethiopia and could jeopardize much-needed outside assistance to Somalia.
32. The USSR. The PMAC is probably disappointed by the lack of Soviet response to its feelers for military aid. The Soviets welcome the erosion of US influence in Ethiopia and may cultivate pro-Soviet Ethiopian groups with an eye to a possibly greater role in the future. But the overriding Soviet concern is to avoid hostilities in the Horn that could lead to a polarization of forces and jeopardize access to its military facilities in Somalia. Therefore, Moscow seems resigned to continue US military aid to the PMAC, since the aid maintains a rough parity between Ethiopian and Somali armed forces and thus helps to dissuade the Mogadiscio government from an attack on the Ogaden. Moreover, Soviet influence and pressure have been exerted in varying degrees on Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY), Somalia, and Iraq to reduce their support of the Eritrean insurgents. These efforts presumably reflect Soviet concern that a breaking up of the Ethiopian state would almost certainly be followed by armed conflict. For the foreseeable future, the USSR will probably continue to assign greater value to its convenient and relatively inexpensive Somali facilities than to a closer relationship with an unstable Ethiopian regime.

On January 9, 1976 the Defense Intelligence Agency said

In East Africa, Somalia is the main center of Soviet activity. This country, which has received $165 million in military equipment since 1961, is Moscow's single largest military investment in sub-Saharan Africa. Soviet military advisors have increased from 300 in 1972 to the current number of 1,000 in 1974. The USSR is continuing the development of facilities in the Berbera area for both Somali and Soviet use, and Soviet naval reconnaissance aircraft operating from Somali airfields, including the one under construction at Berbera, give Moscow the potential to cover the entire Indian Ocean area. Substantial Soviet military assistance to Uganda and recent initiatives in Tanzania have also enhanced Moscow's presence in East Africa.

to be continued

Rush on Cold War History: The "Great Patriotic War"?

Rush: This is Obama at the press conference with Dmitry Medvedev. Just listen to this. Sound bite number 11.

OBAMA: The generation that stood together as allies in the Second World War, the great patriotic war in which the Russian people suffered and sacrificed so much.

RUSH: To call World War II the great patriotic war, which is what Stalin called it, we call it World War II. The great patriotic war. It is groveling, it's just appalling. Carter may have kissed Brezhnev on the cheek. Obama is kissing Putin's butt with that press conference. Folks, this is abominable.


You know, folks, let me tell you about this business with the war. Snerdley asked me during the break, "What's so bad about the Great Patriotic War?" That's what Stalin called it! We have the president of the United States with a Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, sucking up or whatever the hell he was doing yesterday by referring to World War II as the Great Patriotic War. "The Great Patriotic War," to give you a little history lesson here, was only coined by Stalin after Hitler turned on him. They used to be allies. The Russians and the Germans were allies. All of a sudden Hitler turned on Stalin and Stalin suddenly needed to whip up some nationalistic fervor to repel the German invasion.

The Germans were coming and Stalin needed to get his gang up in morale. So the Great Patriotic War is what he called it. You know, Stalin even reopened the churches at the same time -- and that's another cynical move. But to have our president on our soil refer to the Great Patriotic War? My friends, it's an abomination. It is just appalling. It is groveling at its most abject. I mean, the Russians? Everybody thinks the Russians were such great allies of ours in World War II. Yeah, they wouldn't even declare war on Japan until the day before it was to end! The Russians were not our big allies. They only did that so as to be able to seize a couple of Japan's northern islands. We didn't have any allied status there. Remember, Patton got into trouble because he wanted to keep going to Moscow and wipe 'em out. He had a fear of what was coming.

The Great Patriotic War. So we have an idea here of just... This is "bowboy diplomacy." ... Nobody -- nobody! -- calls it the Great Patriotic War except existing Stalinist hardliners, and there are still some around. You find 'em in California, south Florida, in New York, San Francisco. But nobody -- nobody -- refers to it as the Great Patriotic War.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Short history - why the Soviets invaded Afghanistan


Gorbachev, former head of the USSR wrote in the NYT:

In 1979, the Soviet leadership sent troops to Afghanistan, justifying that move not just by the desire to help friendly elements there but also by the need to stabilize a neighboring country.

The real reason is very different, and is clearly spelled out in a brief memo KGB head Andropov sent to Soviet dictator Brezhnev on December 1, 1979

1. After the coup and the murder of Taraki in September of this year, the situation in Afghanistan began to undertake an undesirable turn for us. The situation in the party, the army and the government apparatus has become more acute, as they were essentially destroyed as a result of the mass repressions carried out by Amin.
At the same time, alarming information started to arrive about Amin's secret activities, forewarning of a possible political shift to the West. [These included:] Contacts with an American agent about issues which are kept secret from us. Promises to tribal leaders to shift away from USSR and to adopt a "policy of neutrality." Closed meetings in which attacks were made against Soviet policy and the activities of our specialists. The practical removal of our headquarters in Kabul, etc. The diplomatic circles in Kabul are widely talking of Amin's differences with Moscow and his possible anti-Soviet steps.
All this has created, on the one hand, the danger of losing the gains made by the April [1978] revolution (the scale of insurgent attacks will increase by spring) within the country, while on the other hand - the threat to our positions in Afghanistan (right now there is no guarantee that Amin, in order to protect his personal power, will not shift to the West). [There has been] a growth of anti-Soviet sentiments within the population.
2. Recently we were contacted by group of Afghan communists abroad. In the course of our contact with Babrak [Karmal] and [Asadullah] Sarwari, it became clear (and they informed us of this) that they have worked out a plan for opposing Amin and creating new party and state organs. But Amin, as a preventive measure, has begun mass arrests of "suspect persons" (300 people have been shot).
In these conditions, Babrak and Sarwari, without changing their plans of opposition, have raised the question of possible assistance, in case of need, including military.
We have two battalions stationed in Kabul and there is the capability of rendering such assistance. It appears that this is entirely sufficient for a successful operation. But, as a precautionary measure in the event of unforeseen complications, it would be wise to have a military group close to the border. In case of the deployment of military forces we could at the same time decide various questions pertaining to the liquidation of gangs.
The implementation of the given operation would allow us to decide the question of defending the gains of the April revolution, establishing Leninist principals in the party and state leadership of Afghanistan, and securing our positions in this country.

Information not described in the memo, and what happened next, was best described by Amin's Economic advisor, Abdul Shams

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What the Soviets REALLY thought about Angola's Neto (they tried to assassinate him)

In his extraordinary 1980 autobiography, the late Shah of Iran discussed what he saw as an "axes of Communist penetration in Africa" in the 1970s:

Iran, which is only separated from Africa by Arabian Peninsula, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean, was concerned to see communist penetration into Africa along three axes: The first, going from Libya toward Chad, the Sudan, and Somalia, is the Mediterranean-Red Sea-Indian Ocean axis; the second aims to link the Mediterranean to the Atlantic by land; and the third cuts Africa in two from Angola to Mozambique. The axes of Communist Penetration in Africa are real dividing lines. Both the longitudinal and transverse axes sever the African continent. This penetration is a vast strategic movement which threatens to destabilize the whole of Africa.Tomorrow what is called Black Africa could become Red Africa.

For a little background

Interview: John Stockwell, CIA Angola Task Force

"When Bill Colby, the CIA director, went to brief the National Security Council in the White House the first time on this ... his briefing was literally: 'Gentlemen, this is a map of Africa, and here is Angola. Now in Angola we have three factions, there's the MPLA -- they're the bad guys. The FNLA, they're the good guys, and there's UNITA and Jonas Savimbi we don't know too well.' And that was to get the National Security Council involved in this thing."

The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola -- the MPLA, the largest group -- was left-wing. Based in and around the capital, Luanda, its multi- ethnic membership was led by Agostinho Neto and Lucio Lara. In the 1960s it had received training from Cuba and arms from Moscow.

Well, according to high ranking Soviet defector Arkady N. Shevchenko

[Vasily] Kuznetsov's [First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union]'s assessment of Agostinho Neto was brutally candid: "We only need him for a certain period. We know he's been sick. He's come here a couple times for treatment. And psychologically he's not all that reliable. But he's completely under our control, and that's what counts now. As for what comes later, we'll handle it."

My curiosity aroused, I began to talk with ministry officers dealing with Angolan affairs. Moscow had never trusted Neto but hailed him as a hero. Echoing Kuznetsov's thoughts, one African specialist told me frankly that "we needed Neto's prestige as the historic leader of the MPLA." There were better people in the Popular Movement, such as Iko Careira, But without Neto it would be harder to attract Organization of African Unity support for the MPLA. "There were several assassination attempts on Neto before Angolan independence."
"By whom?"
"By his own people, the MPLA," he replied.
"Were these people loyal to us?" I persisted.
"I think so, but who can guarantee it? You know," he added with embarrassment, "these matters are kept under lock and key." Once again I was disgusted to find the Soviet hand behind a crude, gangsterish operation. I did not raise the subject with Kuznetsov.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Useful articles on 1983 U.S. embassy bombing in Kuwait

10 confess to bombing in Kuwait
Dec 19, 1983
KUWAIT - The government on Sunday accused nine Iraqis and three Lebanese in the U.S. Embassy and five other targets. Authorities say 10 of the men have been arrested, have confessed, and will be tried immediatly. On Iraqi remained at large and another, the driver of a truck full of explosives that rammed the embassy, is dead, authorities said. U.S. Embassy sources said four American security experts have arrived to assist with the investigation and interrogation of the suspects. The 10 will go on trial today before a state security court on charges connected with the wave of bombings in the capital of this Persian Gulf nation, said Abdel-Aziz Hussein, minister of state for Cabinet affairs. He told reporters the prosecutor general would demand the death penalty. Hussein said those arrested had "confessed they had plotted and carried out the explosions" Dec. 12 at the U.S. and French embassies, the airport control tower, the Shuaiba oil refinery, an electric generating station, and the el-Badaa residential area where many Americans live. He said four people were killed in the attacks, but a U.S. Embassy official says six people were killed, plus the truck-bomb driver. The minister said explosives, pistols, and detonators were found at three houses used by the accused. The weapons and bombs were smuggled into Kuwait concealed inside gas cylinders and fuel oil barrels. Hussein said the driver of the explosives-laden truck that smashed into the U.S. Embasst and exploded was Raad Aqueel al-Badran, an Iraqi. Hussein said he was killed in the blast, which destroyed a three-story annex. The men in custody had not formally been indicted Sunday. Sources said the charges to be filed against them would include murder, illegal possession of explosives and firearms, smuggling weapons into the country, and other unspecified crimes. Hussein declined to say if the defendants would be arraigned today, or if the trial would be closed or public. He said the defendants were members of the militant Al-Daawa Islamic party. Its leader, Mohamed Baqer Sadr, a Shiite Moslem, was executed in Baghdad four years ago following a series of riots in Iraq. Sources said all the suspects in the Kuwait bombings belong to the Shiite sect of Islam. Officals and pro-government newspapers have blamed the blasts on religious fundamentalism and a "new form of terror" in the Middle East. They have drawn parallels between Kuwait blasts and similar attacks Oct. 23 on U.S. Marines and French soldiers in the multinational peacekeeping force in Lebanon. Arab diplomatic sources said the Kuwait attacks were intended to discredit the United States and France and show that Kuwait's ruling Al-Sabab family as vulnerable. Asked to confirm the number of victims in the blasts, Huusein said, "only four persons were killed and 61 wounded ... all other casualty estimates were wrong." The toll included three dead at the U.S. Embassy, all non-Americans, and an Egyptian worker at the airport, he said. However, a U.S. Embassy official, who asked not to be identified, said two more bodies were later recovered from the rubble. The official put the death toll at seven, including the truck driver.

Questions remain: What is Islamic Jihad and what will happen next?
Washington Post
Sep 21, 1984
WASHINGTON - The American Embassy bombing in Beirut Thursday left two troubling questions in its wake: 1. When and where will Middle East terrorists next strike against the United States? 2. Who or what is the Islamic Jihad (Islamic Holy War) organization that claimed responsibility for Thursday's tragedy and for the bombings last year of the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Marines headquarters in Beirut? The first question is not entirely hypothetical. Thursday's bombing followed a telephoned warning from Islamic Jihad on Sept. 7 that an attack on "one of the vital American installations in the Middle East" was imminent. This installation presumably was the embassy. One week later there was another call to Western news agencies in Beirut that identified still other targets. THE CALLER SAID Islamic Jihad was prepared to strike at major American cities and at U.S. facilities in Latin America and Europe. In a reference to President Reagan, the caller added: "You, governor of the White House, await a painful blow before your re-election, more painful than our blows against your embassy and your military headquarters in Beirut." Neither the Secret Service nor the State Department would speculate Thursday on the meaning or credibility of this latest threat. But it was not being ignored. The second question - the identity of Islamic Jihad - is also troublesome. One theory is that no such organization exists and that "Islamic Jihad" is merely a deceptive and convenient code name adopted by various telephone callers who make threats or claim credit for terrorist acts. Others believe the opposite, specifically that Islamic Jihad is a distinct terrorist group with international links to both Syria and Iran. There is, however, no irrefutable proof that this is so, which poses yet another problem for those in the United States and elsewhere who would like to retaliate for the Beirut incidents. Earlier this year, a team of reporters for the Washington Post assembled a great deal of circumstantial (but not foolproof) evidence linking the Marine and embassy bombing in Beirut and the U.S. Embassy bombing in Kuwait to both Syria and Iran. These links were cited Thursday night in a CBS-TV news report that the explosives used in the new bombing originated in Iran and were trucked overland to Syria where they were turned over to the terrorists. THE LINK BETWEEN Iran and the U.S. Embassy bombing in Kuwait last December was firmly established by Kuwaiti authorities. Some of the terrorists involved in the operation, as well as their weapons, entered Kuwait directly from Iran. U.S. and Israeli intelligence sources also think that the precise orders to carry out the attack were delivered by a courier from Iran. After the capture of those involved in the bombing, Tehran radio repeatedly demanded their release and threatened Kuwait with retaliation if they were tried and punished. The Kuwaiti investigation also revealed that the embassy bomber who died in the attack was a member of an Islamic sect, Al Dawa, which is based in Iran and has been linked - again, circumstantially - to the bombing of the Marine headquarters in Beirut. This connection centers on Sheik Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, a Lebanese Shiite Moslem leader who, some years ago, founded the militant Hezballah (Party of God) in Beirut. He incorporated the Al Dawa sect into his party and, according to American and Lebanese intelligence authorities, gave a religious blessing to two terrorists the night before they set out to bomb the Marine headquarters. One of Fadlallah's followers and military allies is Hussein Musawi, who the intelligence authorities believe was also implicated in the Marine bombing. One of Musawi's cousins is said by these authorities to have been involved in obtaining trucks for the bombing and to be the active head of a group called the "Hussein Suicide Commandos." THE TIES BETWEEN these men, the Syrians and the Iranians are the subject of other reliable intelligence reports, which have implicated 14 individuals in the Beirut bombings of 1983. In addition to Fadlallah and the two Musawis, the 14 include a Syrian army colonel, a former security officer for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Syrian members of the Syrian-controlled Saiqa (Thunderbolt) PLO faction and veterans of other terrorist groups. The circumstantial evidence of the involvement of these people in the bombings of the Marine headquarters and the U.S. Embassy was substantial, the intelligence services said. But it was insufficient, according to one ranking intelligence officer, to make an ironclad court and was thus insufficient to support retaliatory strikes. Sheik Fadlallah, who is often linked to Islamic Jihad in press speculation, recently granted an interview on the subject to Samir Ghattas, an Associated Press reporter in Beirut. Fadlallah insisted to Ghattas that he has no connections with violence and said he was not convinced that the Islamic Jihad organization actually exists. "As an organization," he said, "we could not discover even 1 percent that it exists. It may represent only one thing. It may represent several structures using it as a cover. They could be Islamic ... or some people who want to give Islam the brand of terrorism." Those people, Fadlallah said, could be western intelligence agents or Lebanese Christians. LAST MONTH, ISLAMIC Jihad claimed responsibility for planting mines in the Red Sea. Fadlallah ridiculed that claim: "This organization must be immense with its sophistication that it mined the Red Sea and all world nations were unable to find a clue." The lack of unambiguous information about the Beirut bombers has been blamed, in part, on deficiencies in the American and Lebanese intelligence services. A recent study indicated that the CIA, in particular, has been making serious efforts to remedy some of these deficiencies by devoting more money and more people to the effort, by creating small "strike forces" that could respond to terrorist attacks and by establishing a center for evaluating intelligence on terrorism. But there is still no indication that either the CIA or other agencies have resolved the mystery of Islamic Jihad - who or what is or where or when it might strike next.

U.S. military: Iraqi lawmaker is U.S. Embassy bomber
POSTED: 1:05 p.m. EST, February 22, 2007
From CNN Correspondent Michael Ware

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A man sentenced to death in Kuwait for the 1983 bombings of the U.S. and French embassies now sits in Iraq's parliament as a member of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's ruling coalition, according to U.S. military intelligence.
Jamal Jafaar Mohammed's seat in parliament gives him immunity from prosecution. Washington says he supports Shiite insurgents and acts as an Iranian agent in Iraq.
U.S. military intelligence in Iraq has approached al-Maliki's government with the allegations against Jamal Jafaar Mohammed, who it says assists Iranian special forces in Iraq as "a conduit for weapons and political influence."
Repeated efforts by CNN to reach Jamal Jafaar Mohammed for comment through the parliament, through the ruling Shiite Muslim coalition and the Badr Organization -- the Iranian-backed paramilitary organization he once led -- have been unsuccessful.
A Kuwaiti court sentenced Jamal Jafaar Mohammed to death in 1984 in the car bombings of the U.S. and French embassies the previous December. Five people died in the attacks and 86 were wounded.
He had fled the country before the trial.
Western intelligence agencies also accuse Jamal Jafaar Mohammed of involvement in the hijacking of a Kuwaiti airliner in 1984 and the attempted assassination of a Kuwaiti prince.
Jamal Jafaar Mohammed won a seat in Iraq's Council of Representatives in the U.S.-backed elections of December 2005. He represents Babil province, south of Baghdad, in parliament.
A U.S. Embassy spokesman said officials are actively pursuing Jamal Jafaar Mohammed's case with Iraqi officials. Al-Maliki has urged American intelligence officials to share their information with Iraqi lawmakers, who could strip Jamal Jafaar Mohammed of his parliamentary immunity.
"We don't want parliament to be a shelter for outlaws and wanted people," al-Maliki told CNN. "This is the government's view, but the parliament is responsible. I don't think parliament will accept having people like [him] or others currently in the parliament."
The prime minister says the situation is embarrassing -- not only to his government but to a U.S. administration that holds up Iraq's government as a democratic model for the region.
Top U.S. officials, including President Bush, have accused Iran of meddling in Iraq by fomenting sectarian violence and providing arms to illegal militias. Bush has authorized U.S. troops to use deadly force against Iranian agents in Iraq to defend American or allied forces, and the administration's increasingly tough warnings to Tehran have raised concerns that the four-year-old Iraq war could spread.
Al-Maliki told CNN last week that the United States and Iran should stop using his country as a proxy battleground, accusing Iran of targeting U.S. troops in Iraq but saying he doesn't want U.S. forces to use Iraq as a base to attack Iraq's neighbors.

Saddam's Shi'a Lynch Mob
Thursday, Jan. 04, 2007

The cat is out of the bag. Thanks to images from a cell phone, we now know that the Iraqi National Police unit we turned Saddam over to was in fact a Shi'a lynch mob. Saddam's hangmen made no effort to hide their allegiance, taunting the deposed Iraqi leader with the name of radical Shi'ite cleric and power broker Muqtada al-Sadr. Afterwards, they danced around Saddam's corpse.
Saddam didn't hide what he thought about them either. At one point, he called them "Persians" — in other words, traitors — and his choice of insult was very revealing. Like Saddam, most Iraqi Sunnis view Sadr as all but a paid-up Iranian agent, and his militia, the Mahdi Army, as an Iranian creation.The Sunnis are convinced that one day, given the opportunity, Sadr will hand Iraq over to Iran. For all the shock Iraq's Sunnis felt on hearing Sadr's name shouted at Saddam's execution, Iranian diplomats might as well have been in attendance.
Just as consequential, for Sunnis and anyone else who knows Iraqi history, Saddam's executioners shouted the name of Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, Muqtada's father-in-law. Ayatollah Sadr, whom Saddam executed in 1980, is perhaps as responsible as Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini for modern, resurgent Shi'a Islam. Sadr founded the Da'wa Party, a violent, secretive organization committed to the creation of an Iraqi Shi'a Islamic republic — and today a political party that counts none other than Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as a member.
In 1979, Sadr and the Da'wa took the side of the Iranian revolution, sparking demonstrations and unrest across Iraq. After Sadr's Da'wa attempted to assassinate Hussein's longtime foreign minister Tariq Aziz on April 1, 1980, Saddam, in fairly quick succession, executed Sadr and invaded Iran. Saddam was convinced that unless he pre-empted Sadr — in other words, Iran — he would end up on the gallows. Two years later, in Dujail, the Da'wa did try to assassinate Saddam. Saddam's brutal retribution against Dujail is what got him hanged last Saturday.
The West had its own bloody experience with Sadr's Da'wa. In December 1983, Da'wa attacked the American and French embassies in Kuwait. The Da'wa was the core around which Iran created Lebanon's Hizballah, another violent Shi'a group that went on to kidnap scores of foreigners and hijack half a dozen airplanes during the '80s — long before it also became a political player in Lebanon.
Only time will tell us what Sadr intends do with Iraq if he ever does take over. But the Sunnis today will tell you they don't need to wait. On Saturday, they saw all the evidence they needed: the symbolism of executing Saddam on the Muslim High Holiday of Id al-Adha as a gift to the Shi'a, and and the decision of Maliki to get special approval from Iraq's senior Shi'a clerics, the "marja'iya," to carry out the execution on that day.
No one is ever going to take a poll, but it's safe to say that most Sunnis fear that Ayatollah Sadr's dream of an Iraqi Shi'a Islamic republic has already come true.

Robert Baer, a former CIA field officer assigned to the Middle East, is the author of See No Evil and, most recently, the novel Blow the House Down.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Cold War, Jordan, Israel and Sadat

On Aug. 16, 2008, veteren Israeli diplomat Yehuda Avner wrote an extraordinary article recalling "a now all but forgotten conflagration called the War of Attrition."

It was orchestrated by the thousands of Soviet instructors in Egypt who were rapidly retraining and re-equipping that country's battered army after the Arab debacle of the 1967 Six Day War.

In March [8] 1968 the Egyptians launched a massive bombardment of Israel's fortifications along the Suez Canal, from which time on the greasy black puffs of bursting shells rained ever more relentlessly and lethally upon the IDF's forward positions - the Bar-Lev line. Casualties mounted and Israel hit back with escalating and deep-penetrating ferocity. Yet the Egyptians pounded on, intent on compelling the IDF to abandon the canal line while pushing forward their umbrella of sophisticated Soviet surface-to-air missiles - SAMs - to neutralize Israel's overwhelming air superiority. The one hope the Egyptians ever had of regaining the Sinai by force was by first knocking IAF aircraft from the skies so as to enable their amphibious forces to cross the canal. The Soviet-manned SAMs were designed to do just that.

Israel's eastern front erupted soon after (note that both Arafat and Habash were Soviet assets)
(PBS: 50 years war: Israel and Arabs)

But one year later, new leadership had been elected in both Israel and the United States - and for the next 6 years they would develop mutual respect and a dear friendship. One of these leaders, Richard Nixon, later wrote of his friendship with his counterpart, Golda Meir

We both took office in 1969. We both resigned in 1974. She became Prime Minister just two months after my own inauguration, and she served until two months before my resignation. In effect, she was “my” Israeli Prime Minister; I was “her American President."

Nixon wrote in his memoirs that

On September 25, 1969, Golda Meir came to Washington for a state visit. In Israeli terms she was a “hawk,” and a hard-liner opposed to surrendering even an inch of the occupied territory Israel had won in the 1967 war. Mrs. Meir conveyed simultaneously the qualities of extreme toughness and extreme warmth; when the survival of her country was involved, the toughness was predominant. She requested twenty-five Phantom jets and eighty Skyhawk fighters and complained about the delays in delivery of planes that had already been approved. She also asked for low-interest loans of $200 million a year for periods up to five years. I reassured her that our commitments would be met.

At a state dinner in her honor she expressed concern regarding our moves toward détente with the Soviets. I told her that we had no illusions about their motives. I said, ‘Our Golden Rule as far as international diplomacy is concerned is: “Do unto others as they do unto you.’”

“Plus ten percent,” Kissinger quickly added.

Mrs. Meir smiled. “As long as you approach things that way, we have no fears,” she said.

It was at this summit that an important accord that had been under development for months had been agreed upon. It's contents were most closely (though not completely) described by National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger in a "July 7, 1969, memorandum to Mr. Nixon titled, 'Israeli Nuclear Program,' [which] said that by the end of 1970, Israel would likely have 24 to 30 French surface-to-surface missiles, 10 of which would have nuclear warheads."

Mr. Kissinger, who later became secretary of state, wrote that ideally, the U.S. would prefer Israel to have no nuclear weapons, but that was not attainable.

He added that "public knowleadge is almost as dangerous as possession itself," arguing that an Israeli announcement of its arsenal or a nuclear test could prompt the Soviet Union to offer Arab states a nuclear guarantee.

"What this means is that: While we might ideally like to halt actual Israeli possession, what we really want at a minimum may be just to keep Israeli possession from becoming an established international fact," Mr. Kissinger wrote.

The agreement held that the US would do what it could to "shield" Israel's nukes from outside inspection as long as they did not go public about the program or detonate a nuke.

At the end of the summit, Meir would proclaim: "We discussed the problems of Israel as though they were our common problems. This means a lot ... thank you for enabling me to go home and tell my people that we have a friend, a great friend and a dear friend."

And so, "The War of Attrition went on for more than two years until, in August 1970, the Americans, under president Richard Nixon, and through his secretary of state William Rogers, brokered a cease-fire."

The Rogers initiative was a political-military package in which both sides agreed to stop shooting and start talking under a UN umbrella. The envisaged talks were to be essentially based on the famous Security Council Resolution 242, which called for "withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent [1967] conflict." This, to Menachem Begin, was anathema.

After much wrangling, prime minister Golda Meir finally accepted the US initiative, whereupon Begin and his party quit her government. As they saw it, Israel was being asked to commit itself to a withdrawal even before a concrete peace proposal was in sight.

Worse was to follow when, hours after the cease-fire came into effect, Egypt brazenly violated it by rushing its SAM umbrella into the designated standstill zone adjacent to the canal, achieving by stealth what it had failed to accomplish by attrition. Cairo now had the means to clear the skies of Israeli aircraft whenever it resolved to strike across the canal.

Golda fumed. She demanded the missiles be removed forthwith, but Nixon, embroiled in his losing war in Vietnam and fearful of a direct confrontation with the Soviets, procrastinated. He showered the prime minister with hopeful reassurances until she succumbed, igniting Begin's outrage. ...

He told the Knesset: "The Egyptians, with the aid of their Russian advisers, have violated the cease-fire in a manner so gross it threatens our security, indeed our very future. They have deployed batteries of enhanced SAM missiles capable of penetrating to a depth of 10 to 15 kilometers over our side of the canal. Hence, whenever Egypt decides to reopen fire - and knowing the realities we have to assume that such a day shall surely come - it will have a decisive advantage over us. Given its expanded missile umbrella, it will be very difficult for our air force to hit back without sustaining substantial losses. This is the reality, and our people must know it."

WITH THIS crescendo of indignation, Begin wound up his speech and stepped down from the podium into a crowd of admirers who showered him with their fervent praise, to which he responded with thanks full of grace. He made his way to the Knesset dining room where Golda was conversing with Yitzhak Rabin, then ambassador to Washington.

"That was some fire and brimstone," hissed Golda derisively as the opposition leader walked by. ...

Begin sat down uninvited. "So how does that square with Rogers cease-fire initiative, which is tantamount to appeasing the Russians and the Arabs?" he asked.

"It squares," said Rabin, sinking his teeth into the argument, "because all along Nixon and Kissinger have known that in the War of Attrition the Soviets and the Egyptians were putting us both - America and Israel - to a test. They know the Soviets are feeding and manipulating the entire Egyptian war effort. That's why I was the one to advocate deep penetration raids into the heart of Egyptian territory, to prove to the Americans that we have what it takes to stand up to the Soviets. Those raids not only changed the balance of power along the fighting front, they tipped the scales of the superpower confrontation in America's favor. And thanks to that it ensures our American arms supplies. But Nixon, nevertheless, has to strike a balance."

TO MAKE his point he extracted from his pocket a sheet of paper, and said, "Let me quote Nixon's own words to me." He read: " 'If it were just a question of Israel against the Egyptians and the Syrians, I'd say, "Let 'em have it! Hit 'em as hard as you can." Every time I hear you penetrating deep into their territory and hitting them hard on the nose, it gives me great satisfaction. But it's not just a problem of Egypt and Syria alone. The other Arab states are watching, too, so we have to play it in a manner that we won't lose everything in the Middle East. We want to help you without harming ourselves by losing the Arabs.'"

Here, Rabin paused, and when he read on there was a touch of triumph in his voice: "'Damn the oil! America can get it from other sources. We have to stand by decent nations in the Middle East. We will back you militarily, but the military escalation can't go on endlessly. We must do something politically.' And that," concluded Rabin, "is the meaning of the Rogers initiative."

To which Golda, brimming with gratification at her ambassador's first-hand analysis, said, "I, personally, don't think any American president has ever uttered such a pro-Israel statement before. Add to that, in return for our accepting the Rogers cease-fire package Nixon has promised me we will not be expected to withdraw a single soldier from the cease-fire lines except in the context of a contractual peace agreement which we would regard satisfactory to our security needs. Moreover, had we not accepted the Rogers initiative we would not be getting any more American arms."

One month later

Syria, like the PLO and PFLP, was a Soviet asset

According to Daniel Pipes "The September 1970 war between the PLO and the Jordanian government was the decisive event in Asad's rise to power. Jadid sent Syrian ground forces to help the Palestinians but Asad refused to send air cover. The defeat of Syrian armor precipitated Asad's bloodless coup d'état two months later."

At the end of September, Egypt's Nasser died.
(PBS: Yom Kippur War 1973: The Egyptian Revenge)

According to Israeli historians Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez, in May 1971

A declassified tape from the Nixon Oval Office, recently published by Craig Daigle, recorded Rogers as reporting to the President that Sadat had promised him: "If we can work out an interim settlement… I give you my personal assurance that all the Russian ground troops will be out of my country at the end of six months. I will keep Russian pilots to train my pilots because that's the only way my pilots can learn how to fly. But in so far as the bulk of the Russians--the ten or twelve thousand--they will all be out of Egypt within six months." Nixon indeed instructed Rogers to take steps to ensure that end, including a delay of arms deliveries to Israel. For Sadat, this was one immediate payoff for re-establishing some leverage in Washington.

But, by September 1971, the USSR made Nixon an almost identical offer. A newly declassified transcript shows that on his visit to the White House, Gromyko said, on direct instructions from Brezhnev and apparently referring to Kissinger's "indiscretion":

Gromyko: Some time ago you expressed interest of, I don’t know, Egypt, about our presence there -- our military presence.

Nixon: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Gromyko: In a sense we are present there -- in a sense, North of Cairo certain personnel and in connection with a full understanding on the Middle East, we are ready to agree not to have our military units there. We would leave a limited number of advisors for purely advisory purposes

Although it may be tinged with some retrospective apologetics, there is adequate evidence that the Soviets were already seeking a way to withdraw their regular units from Egypt, whose presence there they had never acknowledged (hence Gromyko's hesitation in confirming it). The financial burden of keeping them there was mounting; the ceasefire of August 1970, and its successful violation by moving the Soviet SAM batteries to the canal bank (this is what so enraged Begin at Meir's aceptance of the Rogers plan), had largely accomplished their mission; and Moscow too considered a lower profile in Egypt to be politically preferable. Both the Egyptians and the Soviets were thus using the classic negotiating ploy of offering as a concession a move that one intends to make anyway, and trying to extract some concession in return -- in the case of the Soviets, also at the global level.

Avner writes that it was "under the umbrella of [those Soviet] SAM missiles [that] Egyptian armies massively crossed the Suez Canal" in October 1973

(BBC/CNN: The Cold War)

Narration: Sadat needed the arms. He was planning to end the uneasy peace.

Interview: Mohamed Sid Ahmed, Egyptian journalist, Al Ahram

"He wanted to go to war -- he needed to go to war. He felt he couldn't do otherwise. He considered that negotiations were impossible without some heating of the whole process -- I mean, some shock therapy."

(Al Jazeera: Cold Peace)

As the Camp David agreements were being discussed, the Shah of Iran's government was overthrown by, as the Shah put it, and "unholy alliance" of Islamic extremists and communists. Sadat had this to say

Farah Pahlavi's website says

On January 16, 1979, the Shah and the Empress left Iran for an exile which was thought to be only temporary. At a strike-ridden and empty airport, in presence of only a restricted group of loyalists and Prime Minister Bakhtiar, the sovereigns left by plane for Assouan in Egypt. The Shah could hardly keep his tears. The Queen had taken tranquilizers to hide her deep sadness. President Sadat and his family welcomed them with profound friendship. It was the beginning a painful and long wandering which would take them in succession to Morocco, the Bahamas, Mexico, the United States, then Panama and finally Cairo.

On February 11, 1979, Khomeyni took power and a death warrant against the Shah and his entourage was iussued. It was a condemnation which extended to all those who would give them hospitality or help them. The Shah and the Shahbanou were obliged to leave the country without a definite destination for no land of haven had been suggested. Upon the intervention of the United States, the Bahamas Islands accepted to grant them asylum for only three months, on the condition that the Shah would refrain from taking any action or make any declaration. They went later on to Mexico, where the health of the Shah who had cancer, rapidly deteriorated. An operation becoming necessary, the United States, for humanitarian reasons accepted under the condition that the surgical intervention would take place in New York. This action provoked the wrath of the Iranian authorities. They requested the prompt extradition of the sovereign and enforced they demand by taking hostage the personnel of the American embassy in Tehran. Despite urgent medical needs, the Shah and the Shahbanou were forced to leave New York for Texas, until a new country of asylum could be found.

That country was Panama, where again the Iranian government exerted considerable pressure to obtain an extradition. The Shah was in dire need of a new surgical operation, but after having accepted American surgeons to operate the Shah on its territory, Panama recanted. ... At that time, President Sadat asked the Shah to hurry and come to Egypt. The sovereigns departed for Cairo on March 23rd 1980 ... the Shah and the Shahbanou landed on Egyptian soil where President Sadat greeted them with utmost warmth, friendship and fraternity. In Cairo, they were able to see their children who had been studying in the United States and from whom they had been separated.

The Shah passed away in Cairo's Maadi hospital on July 27, 1980. President Sadat organized official if not national funerals. The Shah's coffin, covered with the Iranian flag, was transported on a canon barrel with full military honors.

(In this photo: Former President Nixon, the only U.S. dignitary at the Shah's last rites, walks in funeral procession with the late King of Iran's family and Egyptian President Sadat)

Nixon was furious with the State Department, with other governments who declined to send delegations, but particularly with Carter, whose behaviour during the Shah's wandering exile he had yet to forgive. To a crowd of waiting reporters, he pronounced Carter's handling of the Shah "one of the black pages of American foreign policy history." It was "shameful" said Nixon, that the Administration didn't even have the grace to point out that he had been an ally and a friend of the United States for 30 years." He paused to glare at the journalists. Then he added "I think President Sadat's guts in providing a home for the Shah in his last days at a time when the U.S. turned its back one one of its friends is an inspiration to us all."

(Excerpts from "Exile," a book on President Nixon by Robert Sam Anson - Simon & Schuster . New York. )

It was Ronald Reagan who was President during Sadat's last year. He wrote in his memoirs

A few days later, President Anwar Sadat of Egypt came to Washington for a state visit. In the Oval Office, I revealed our plans for the maneuvers (in the the Libyan gulf, in response to Qaddafi's harassment of the US Navy's Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean). Before I could finish, he almost shouted: "Magnificent." Sadat was a very likable man with both a sense of humor and a sense of dignity, and he had a good grasp of events and personalities in the Middle East. He was a staunch ally of the United States and also a courageous statesman whose efforts to achieve peace with Israel had isolated him from most other Arab nations. As had Jimmy Carter, I regarded him as a giant figure in the Middle East and thought he might hold the key to resolving that region's long and bitter struggle between Arab and Jews.

During his visit, Sadat had other things on his mind besides the difficult task of resolving the Arab-Israeli dispute. Terrorists and radical Muslims who were allied with Qaddafi and Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini in trying to create an Islamic fundamentalist state were trying to subvert his government and were making significant inroads in neighboring Sudan and Chad. The goal of Libya and the fundamentalists, Sadat said, was to remove him and impose a government in Egypt modeled after Iran's fundamentalist regime. The Soviet Union, he said, was working hard to gain influence over the Islamic fundamentalist movement and was using Libya as its surrogate in the region, supplying it with large amounts of arms that Libya transferred to terrorists in the Middle East and elsewhere. In response to indications that Libya was building up hostile forces along its border with Egypt, we had agreed to give limited technical assistance and other support to Egypt if Qaddafi did attack.

I assured him we would continue doing everything we could to help Egypt, and as he left I had a good feeling about the visit. That night, writing in the diary, "I'm encouraged that between us, maybe we can do something about peace in the Middle East." ...

Just two months after Nancy and I said good-bye to Anwar and Jehan Sadat at the White House, I was awakened by an early morning call from Al Haig. He told me Sadat had been shot, but was expected to live. Several hours later we learned he had died instantly, assassinated by Muslim fundamentalists. I had to continue my regular schedule that day, but it was very difficult. The news had hit Nancy and me like a locomotive: we had spent only a few hours over two days with the Sadats, but felt we had formed a deep and lasting friendship with them. Now, suddenly, this great, kind man filled with warmth and humor was gone; it was an enormous tragedy for the world and a terrible and painful personal loss for us.

A few hours after we got news of Sadat's death, I watched Muammar al-Qaddafi on television. He was almost doing a jig, gloating over Sadat's death while Libyans danced in the streets. We discovered that even before Sadat's death was confirmed, Qaddafi had gone on the radio to call for a holy war on behalf of Islamic fundamentalism - propaganda material tied to Sadat's murder that had to have been prepared before the shots were fired in Cairo. He had to have known in advance that Sadat was going to be assassinated. As I prayed for Sadat, I tried to repress the hatred I felt for Qaddafi, but I couldn't do it. I despised him for what had happened in Cairo.


Avner writes that at 4 p.m. on October 7, 1981 "Reagan and his secretary of state, Alexander Haig, were sitting under a portrait of Thomas Jefferson which dominated one wall of the Oval Office" when Reagan "haplessly confessed, 'Al, I have a problem. My security folks won’t let me attend Anwar Sadat’s funeral. They say it’s far too risky. Got any ideas who might go in my stead?'"

They were ruminating over the assassination the day before of the president of Egypt, and Haig, a veteran soldier with a trim carriage, chiseled nose, firm chin and silver bristled hair, pushed his bottom lip forward in thought, and proffered, “How about authorizing me to lead a delegation of all the former presidents – Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon? For the Egyptians, their presence at the funeral would be an uncommon mark of respect.”

Reagan popped a jelly bean into his mouth, and mused, “Jerry, Jimmy and Dick – what a grand idea. I’ll ask them personally,” and he instructed his secretary to put him through.

A day later, "In honor of Anwar Sadat’s funeral, the 37th, 38th and 39th presidents of the United States boarded their once familiar Air Force One." All three Presidents attended the funeral, and all three spoke in his honor.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Best article I could find about the 1978 Abadan fire perpetrator

This is also what is alleged in the shah's book and his wife's book.

Man arrested for arson
Aug 29, 1978
TEHRAN, Iran (UPI) - Iraqi authorities have arrested an Iranian who confessed to a role in the Abadan cinema fire that killed 377 people, the Iraqi news agency said monday.
Hashem Abdol Reza Ashour was arrested by by the Iraqi border police last sunday while attempting to cross onto Iraq some 8 miles east of the Iraqi port of Basra, the agency said.
During questioning by the Iraqi authorities, Ashour said he was one of a group who set fire to the cinema on Aug. 18, burning alive 377 men, women and children.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Pro-*Anti-American*-War vote of Pelosi, Boxer and other "peace" democrats

I found this old book from 1990 the other day

One of the key things that shocked me from the book it this vote from 1989 - I have marked the congressmen that I know are still in congress, forgive me if I missed any

What shocks me the most is to see the name of the great civil rights leader John Lewis on here - how is it that he could not denounce the further internal aggression of a regime infamous for violence and repression? I hope he will take an opportunity to correct this error.