Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Algiers Accords

(All emphases by Always On Watch)

Does this sound like a good idea? From the front page of the Februay 15, 2006 edition of the Washington Post:
Rice Asks for $75 Million to Increase Pressure on Iran

"Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asked Congress yesterday to provide $75 million in emergency funding to step up pressure on the Iranian government, including expanding radio and television broadcasts into Iran and promoting internal opposition to the rule of religious leaders.

"The request would substantially boost the money devoted to confronting Iran -- only $10 million is budgeted to support dissidents in 2006 -- and signals a new effort by the Bush administration to persuade other nations to join the United States in a coalition to bolster Iranian activists, halt Iran's funding of terrorism and stem its nuclear ambitions, State Department officials said....

"Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), who has called for $100 million to promote democracy in Iran, applauded the initiative as the 'absolutely right move at this point in time'...

"Under the proposed supplemental request for the fiscal 2006 budget, the administration would use $50 million of the new funds to significantly increase Farsi broadcasts into Iran, mainly satellite television broadcasting by the federal government and broadcasts of the U.S.-funded Radio Farda, to build the capacity to broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"An additional $15 million would go to Iranian labor unions, human rights activists and other groups, generally via nongovernmental organizations and democracy groups such as the National Endowment for Democracy. The administration has already budgeted $10 million for such activity but is only just beginning to spend the $3.5 million appropriated in 2005 for this purpose.

"Officials said $5 million will be used to foster Iranian student exchanges -- which have plummeted since the 1979 Iranian Revolution -- and another $5 million will be aimed at reaching the Iranian public through the Internet and building independent Farsi television and radio stations...."
Of course, the above proposal came in reaction to the news that Iran is moving ahead with its iranium-enrichment program, not to mention Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's public and strident calls for the annihilation of Israel. Since December of 2006, Iran Watch has been posting solely on the various developments with the mahdi-would-be and the ever-more-alarming rhetoric and events. The log which Iran Watch maintains is not a comforting one!

But the United States has previously tried to promote change in Iran. According to the above-cited Washington Post article,
"The Clinton administration, under pressure from Congress, tried to assist such groups in the 1990s, Indyk said, but Iran interpreted the effort as an attempt to overthrow the government and responded by funding a series of terrorist attacks in Israel."
Actually, promoting change within Iran may be even more complicated. According to "Renounce the Iranian Hostage Agreement," a February 13, 2006 letter to the editor of the Washington Post,

"In his Jan. 29 op-ed, Robert Kagan said that the United States should be 'supporting liberal and democratic change' for the Iranian population.

"He might be on to something, but the 1981 Algiers Accords for the return of the 52 hostages held by Iran -- agreed to by both President Jimmy Carter and President Ronald Reagan -- forbid the United States from 'interfering in the internal affairs of the Iranian government.' Thus, seeking a covert or even overt effort to remove the mullahocracy is against U.S. law.

"This prohibition might be overlooked because it was negotiated under the threat to execute the hostages but for one detail. In 2000 former hostages sought to sue Iran for their captivity through the 1996 Anti-Terrorism Act (bolstered by its 2000 amendment), which gave American victims of state-sponsored terrorism the right to sue in U.S. federal courts the foreign governments that committed those acts of terrorism."

"However, the State and Justice departments, at the direction of President Bush, challenged the former hostages' lawsuit in court on the basis that the accords are 'sacred' agreements and that the 'credibility' of the U.S. government was at stake in following their strictures.

"The U.S. government prevailed on the grounds argument that presidential executive agreements must be obeyed.

"So if the Bush administration wishes to instigate a peaceful regime change in Iran, it should renounce the Algiers Accords.

"But to do so would give former hostages and their families legal remedy to pursue damages against the regime.

"When this president says he 'feels' for U.S. victims of international terrorism, apparently his sympathy doesn't extend to those who were the first victims of state-sponsored terrorism in modern times -- the 52 Americans held and abused by the Iranian regime for 444 days 25 years ago."

Savannah, Ga.

The writer was a hostage in Iran from 1979 to 1981.
Is Mr. Daugherty correct? Or do Iranian nukes and proposed genocide trump the Algiers Accords?


At 2/19/2006 6:27 AM, Anonymous Don said...

What a silly question. Sorry Bill, no bucks today. You don't win the Iranian lottery.

At 2/19/2006 10:25 AM, Blogger Mike's America said...

Good point. I had forgotten about the Algerian Accords. But you are right in pointing out that we still give them some credence, as in this lawsuit.

So, it would appear there is a conflict with our current policy, which I believe is WAY PAST DUE, of supporting democratic forces.

At 2/19/2006 12:24 PM, Blogger Bassizzzt said...

If the Algiers accords stand in the way of the spread of democracy, let them violate it.

On a sidenote, however, I am a bit disappointed with this UAE plan on buying US ports whilst Bush is in strong support of it. For once I would agree with Hillary Clinton - she's against it.

At 2/19/2006 12:24 PM, Blogger Pim's Ghost said...

Oddly, I thought that Republicans were staunchly opposed to dealing with problems by being "throwing money at them". I think the rudder broke on this party as well, folks.

At 2/19/2006 2:52 PM, Blogger Warren said...

Treaties and agreements are made to be broken.

If we have learned nothing else from the 20th century, surly we should know this by now.

The well being and security of our nation has precedence over a bureaucratic dog and pony show which culminates with the signing of a paper, (which our enemies regard as only binding on the US).

Ratchet it up, its time for this boil to be lanced.

At 2/19/2006 3:34 PM, Blogger Iran Watch said...

When we first went into Iraq the Bush administration said that the total expenditure would be under 75 billion. He is now asking for an additional 100 billion bringing the total to almost $450 billion. People who claim we are only there for the oil much realize that this would be by far the world's most expensive oil. 75 million to Iran's democracy movement is probably a smart move but I hope they do a better job of keeping a lid on the expenditures.

At 2/19/2006 6:03 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

How many of U.S. signed agreements and treaties contradict each other and/or present policy?

At 2/19/2006 8:53 PM, Blogger Mike's America said...

I'm not at all worried about the money we might spend to help freedom activists in Iran. It could be billions and worth ten times that much if it succeeds.

As much as I am concerned with out of control domestic spending, the federal government has no higher priority than our national security.

P.S. The update at Error Theory wasn't exactly clear. So the meeting took place but no announcement about the design? So what did they do at the meeting? Have you heard?

At 2/19/2006 9:34 PM, Blogger LASunsett said...

"Is Mr. Daugherty correct? Or do Iranian nukes and proposed genocide trump the Algiers Accords?"

I think you know what I would say. ;)

At 2/19/2006 10:14 PM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

The United States should back out of every treaty it is party of, until the rest of the world develops along the path of human civilization enough to be worthy of kissing our ass.

At 2/20/2006 9:45 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

According to the pre-meeting publicity, the formal announcement of acceptance of the design was supposed to be made at said meeting. But the announcement of acceptance never came. At least, that is my understanding. If I am correct, now is the time to write some letters to the Parks Service, our representatives, et al.

Also, you can email the blogmaster of Error Theory for further clarification. Alec Rawls's email is easily available. He emailed me after the meeting, which wore him out. No wonder!

At 2/20/2006 9:48 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Mike said, the federal government has no higher priority than our national security...

Good point! LA and Beamish said the same thing, in different words. And Beamish's words are definitely an LOL.

At 2/21/2006 1:05 AM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

As long as the world breathes oxygen emitted by American trees, I think we deserve nothing but respect.

At 3/09/2006 11:45 PM, Blogger Mike's America said...

Asst. Secretary of State,Nicholas Burns, was up before the House International Relations Committee on Wednesday.

Towards the end, one Congressman pointed out that the Algiers Accords should be considered null and void. But it was part of a multi-part statement and Burns never responded.

At 3/10/2006 10:05 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Thanks for the update. I appreciate it.


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