Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Roxana Saberi Still languishing in an Iranian jail!

On March 6 the Iranian press reported that Roxana Saberi, an American freelance journalist who was detained by Iranian authorities in January, "would be released within the next few days.”

I welcomed the good news at the time, but I noted that Miss Saberi should have been released long before that. The decision to release her came less than 24 hours after the Obama administration had announced it was inviting Iranian officials to attend an international conference on Afghanistan.

"Unfortunately," I wrote at the time, "the Iranians have learned a valuable lesson about the "Obama Doctrine" - otherwise known as the "Policy of Appeasement" - namely, that Obama can be bought off if you force his hand."

However, I got to thinking about Miss Saberi again today after reading the following news item in the Washington Post - h/t Atlas Shrugs:

Two American journalists detained last week by North Korean soldiers are likely to become bargaining chips for North Korea in its feuds with the outside world, according to analysts and politicians in South Korea.

Laura Ling and Euna Lee, reporters working for Al Gore's San Francisco-based Current TV, were seized at 3 a.m. March 17 after walking from China across the shallow Tumen River into North Korea... The two women have been moved to Pyongyang, the capital, where they were being interrogated as possible spies...

No matter what charges are made against the journalists, North Korea will probably use them... as leverage in negotiations with the United States and other countries over aid, nuclear weapons and, most urgently, the planned test launch in early April of a long-range missile, several analysts said...

Koh Yu-whan, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul, called the capture of the two Americans an "unexpected" new negotiating card in the missile dispute...

"North Korea is likely to make the most of this opportunity, especially prior to launching their rocket," Koh said. "This new card can be used for multipurpose tactics."

Koh said release of the journalists is highly unlikely until after the missile launch, as the North will probably want to use custody of the two women to put pressure on the United States to soften its complaints...
Apparently, both North Korea and Iran are keenly aware of America's new foreign policy, namely, "The Obama Doctrine" or the spineless "Policy of Appeasement". And undoubtedly, they're going to milk this 'appeasement policy' to the max.

Nevertheless, if Obama is choosing to appease the enemy and embolden rogue regimes by inviting them to international conferences etc., one would expect that he would at least get something back in return. You would think that Obama's recent heart-warming video-address to the Iranian people [in honor of the Nowruz holiday] would have melted the Mullah's hearts by now and that Iran's fist would be completely "unclenched".

But, as you will soon see, it seems Iran is in no hurry to reciprocate Obama's overtures. They're undoubtedly planning to squeeze even greater concessions from the president, and in all likelihood, they'll receive them too. Which leads me to Roxana Saberi.

The American detainees in North Korea got me thinking about her today. I wondered what had happened to her. Sadly, I discovered that she's still languishing in an Iranian jail cell, despite Obama's recent overtures to Iran and despite the Iranian regime's promise to release her within days of their March 6 announcement:
The father of an Iranian-American journalist imprisoned in Iran said Tuesday that officials had told her they would keep her in custody for months or even years, in what appeared to be a reversal of a pledge that she would be released shortly...

This month [on March 6] a judicial official in Tehran said she would be released in a few days. But according to her father, Reza Saberi, she said in a call to him on Tuesday that a prosecutor had told her otherwise. “She was so upset,” said Mr. Saberi. “We tried to tell her to be patient. She sounded very hopeless.”
She may have "sounded very hopeless", but Obama has plenty of hope for the Iranian regime, and apparently, that's all that matters.

Oh well, so much for Obama's 'policy of appeasement' and his "carrots and sticks approach"......

But in all likelihood, the Saberi situation will probably lead to even more "carrots" and additional concessions, in the hope of pacifying the enemy.

By the way, whatever happened to Obama's "sticks" approach? So far, I've seen plenty of sticks from the Iranians and only carrots from Obama - and a whole lot of carrots, for that matter.

P.S. More on Saberi from the AFP:

A US journalist who was supposed to have been freed from an Iranian jail has been reduced to a "dangerous" mental state by her continued imprisonment, her family said Thursday.

"She is under great psychological pressure and her condition seems to be dangerous now," Reza and Akiko Saberi wrote in an open letter begging Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to release their daughter.

"We are very worried about her health and fear that something tragic may happen to her."
"Hope" and "Change", indeed!

Update: Saberi's father "said on Tuesday that his daughter had become suicidal and threatened to mount a hunger strike as her confinement drags on."
"I am very worried. She is pretty suicidal," said the elder Saberi. "She is saying she will go on a hunger strike if they keep her there. I tried to calm her down. I told her we are doing everything and to just hold on. Don't give in. We will try to secure her release."

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