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The Race for Iran



Hillary appeared on Al Jazeera’s Inside Story earlier this week to discuss the role of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in U.S. presidential elections, click here or on the picture above.  The other panelists were John Mearsheimer, University of Chicago international relations scholar and co-author of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, and Larry Greenfield of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, the oldest “think tank” associated with the Israel lobby. 

One of the more consequential exchanges in the program occurs early on.  Asked why American presidents and presidential candidates come with such regularity to AIPAC, Hillary notes that there are, of course, highly valued “tactical” benefits to doing so—raising money, getting votes (especially in potentially decisive swing states like Florida and Ohio), etc.  But there is also an important strategic context:  AIPAC provides a forum for presidential candidates (including incumbents running for reelection) to show that they “believe in U.S. exceptionalism” and “U.S. preeminence”; that they believe the United States “is still very much the ‘indispensable nation’ in the world”; and that it still “has decisive influence in the Middle East” and “is not going to let that influence in the Middle East go”.  In short, it is a well-established and friendly forum for presidential aspirants to demonstrate their commitment that the United States should “continue to dominate and be a hegemonic influence in the Middle East.” 

We, of course, argue that this post-Cold War “imperial turn” in America’s Middle East policy—manifested in its invasion and occupation of Iraq, in its posture toward the Islamic Republic of Iran, in the Arab-Israeli arena, and in many other ways—has been grossly counter-productive for the United States’ strategic position in the region (as well as lethally destructive for many people living there).  But, in the Inside Story segment, it is striking how readily Larry Greenfield agrees with Hillary’s assessment of why presidential candidates flock to AIPAC’s annual policy conference.  Asked what AIPAC wants to hear from candidates, he opens his response by noting that is wants to hear a clear expression of “the strategic drivers that Hillary mentioned”, including “the strong role of America in the Middle East, its alliance with Israel, and its strategic relationship with democracies [sic!].” 

The connection between America’s post-Cold War quest “to dominate and be a hegemonic influence in the Middle East” and AIPAC’s elevated influence in American politics over the past two decades is crucially important, but rarely noted in public discussions of U.S. policymaking.  Hillary notes that, for almost the first 40 years of Israel’s existence, no American presidential candidate went to AIPAC.  Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, the first President Bush—none of them went to AIPAC.  While there has long been a measure of pro-Israel influence, the Israel lobby’s “real hold on politics doesn’t really happen until the end of the Cold War and the defeat of the Iraqi military inside the Middle East…the defeat of the last remaining Arab military, [the last] strong Arab party, and the defeat of the Soviet Union.”  These developments

“leave the United States and Israel unconstrained and focused on [for the United States, being] a global superpower, the world’s one and only global superpower, and for Israel to be predominant in the Middle East.  That’s when you have this mix happen, this push from the politics inside the United States to support this U.S. policy to be the world’s only unchallenged superpower and for Israel to have this unconstrained strategy to deploy force anywhere it wants, at anytime and in any degree necessary, according to its own preferences, in the Middle East.  That doesn’t happen until after the Cold War.” 

John Mearsheimer, who has been courageously outspoken on the issue for some time, points out how Israel, far from being a strategic asset for the United States, has become a clear “strategic liability.”  He is right.  But the United States sticks with this strategic liability not just because of the power of the Israel lobby.  The United States sticks with it as part of a larger—and deeply dysfunctional—quest to subordinate the Middle East as part of a post-Cold War American empire.  Through this warped prism, Washington sees Israeli military dominance in the region as a useful adjunct of its own strategy.  That is what the United States has to give up to develop a truly effective policy toward the Islamic Republic and toward the Middle East more generally. 

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett



  1. Jake Joseph says:

    It is simply beyond parody that there is never a mention of the Israeli nuclear weapons program in Dimona in the Negev. Not to mention the ridiculous and oft repeated and almost asinine assertion by apologists for that state, that Israel maintains a position of “strategic ambiguity” even as they refuse to be part of the NNPT.
    I mean.. How stupid do they really think the entire world is eh? And yet, they trot out this predictable drivel, about the existential threat to Israel, when the only ones who’ve been, in the main, threatening and imprisoning and destroying lives in places like Gaza, the West Bank, the Golan ,Lebanon and elsewhere are the arrogant Likudniks that run that country. Not to mention the extraordinary killings and kidnappings being carried out with complete impunity by the Mossad and its agents all over the world. The vast majority of the Israeli people would move towards a genuine peace based on justice tomorrow, if only their recalcitrant leadership would stop acting like they’ve got a copyright on everything, from morality to suffering to grievance.

    And for Pete’s sake they need to stop using the Palestinians as a scapegoat and boogie man. Sorry folks, that dog will not hunt anymore. It seems as if there is a rather infantile and reflexive attempt to demonize ANYONE AND EVERYONE, who won’t completely be supine to the Zionist narrative.

    This is about a land grab… plain and simple. Granted, the Arabs have not acquitted themselves at all either, acting in the same greedy, self serving and reprehensible manner. They could easily find the collective means to move toward a comprehensive solution, but are themselves weighed down by their own ineffectual and autocratic and murderous rulers who treat their own with contempt. Yet, it’s a bit much when the Israel firsters are pleading the righteous and innocent protagonist routine, in light of all of the empirical evidence to the contrary.

    Larry Greenfield from JINSA and his performance at the Al Jazeera debate, was a perfect illustration of how utterly unreasonable the pro-Israeli narrative has become. For him to, in effect, suggest that the Palestinians actually control the majority of the West Bank along with having complete control over their daily lives, is indicative of how deranged and removed from reality these zealots have become, shouting down reasoned debate with snarling invectives. Israel has a perfect right to its sovereignty and its security. Not however, at the expense of derisively and constantly shoving it down the throat of the entire world in a condescending and schoolmasterly manner, even if there are undeniable historical precedents to justify extra-ordinary precautionary measures. Wise up and smell the coffee folks!!

  2. Karl says:


    “Give me one example of a refusal on my part to “engage with people rationally”. One example.”

    I guess thats one example, dont even acknowledge your often insincere way of reasoing, debating.

    Another example is when people ask you a clear cut question and you refuse to reply with a clear cut answer or refuse to show any link to back up your claims. Instead of replying to a question that has been directed to you, you start asking questions back or ignore the initial question that was asked completely. I have seen many, maybe even a majority on this site taking such a stance on the board against you.

  3. Karl says:


    “have zero “hysteria” about Iran’s enriching uranium to 20 percent. My contention this works to the benefit of haters of Iran is quite sound.”

    Thats blaming the victims. IAEA give states the right to enrich for peaceful purposes (atleast up to 20%), just because US, Israel United Kingdom say something else isnt the fault of Iran just doing what its legally entitled to.

  4. James Canning says:


    I think you fail to distinguish between fanatical supporters of Israel right or wrong, who most definitely want Iran hurt in whatever ways possible, and people who would be happy enough with good relations with Iran.

    Even a mojority of Israelis oppose an Israeli attack on Iran (unsupported by the US).

    If you are right, that a Shia power crescent is growing steadily, and that it will be able to overthrow the government of Saudi Arabia, you make a strong case for a Saudi-backed overthrow of the government of Syria.

  5. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    I have zero “hysteria” about Iran’s enriching uranium to 20 percent. My contention this works to the benefit of haters of Iran is quite sound.

  6. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Give me one example of a refusal on my part to “engage with people rationally”. One example.

  7. James Canning says:


    My concern that Iranian enrichment of 20 percent uranium is readily used by anti-Iran propagandists, to convince people Iran intends to build nukes, obviously is sound. And very far removed from “hysteria”.

    You might keep in mind that Ahmadinejad recognised the problems for Iran that the enriching to 20% was causing.

  8. BiBiJon says:

    by John Pilger

    War by media, says current military doctrine, is as important as the battlefield. This is because the real enemy is the public at home, whose manipulation and deception is essential for starting an unpopular colonial war. Like the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, attacks on Iran and Syria require a steady drip-effect on readers’ and viewers’ consciousness. This is the essence of a propaganda that rarely speaks its name.

    To the chagrin of many in authority and the media, WikiLeaks has torn down the facade behind which rapacious western power and journalism collude. This was an enduring taboo; the BBC could claim impartiality and expect people to believe it. Today, war by media is increasingly understood by the public, as is the trial by media of WikiLeaks’ founder and editor Julian Assange.

    From http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/09/julian-assange-wikileaks?newsfeed=true

  9. BiBiJon says:


    “I suspect a change in propaganda here. I think Israel – and by extension the US – is now trying to move the bar past “capability” and on to “Iran can make a bomb NOW” using 20% uranium. I think the US and Israel believe they can convince the US public that it’s feasible for Iran to make a bomb without doing anything more than it IS doing – no enrichment to 90%, no need for a warhead, etc. They haven’t said so explicitly yet, but they keep talking about how Iran is “closing in” on a bomb even though Iran isn’t doing anything more than they have been with the sole exception of increasing the amount of 20% uranium. And this is probably where people like Canning get their hysteria over 20% uranium.”

    And hence the increasing value of the bargaining chip, the pile of 20% remaining under IAEA supervision. Talk about strengthening your hand with the help of the adversary’s paranoia!

  10. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Eric: “bad blood that seems to be developing between you and him pales by comparison to the – shall we say – “strained” relationship that developed between me and him quite some time ago.”

    Actually I don’t have a lot of “bad blood” with you. I find most of your posts to be valuable – EXCEPT when you veer off into your particular obsession a la Canning. And other than that topic, when you analyze something you’re frequently right.

    As I’ve said before, I get “uncivil” when people are either intellectually dishonest or simply obtuse due to emotional reasons and, worse, when they don’t even attempt to read the sentence I wrote but attack me for something else altogether.

    “I may engage him for a short while”

    The problem is how you engage me on that issue. Arnold Evans has noted the same problem. You evade the arguments we make and make hypothetical arguments we don’t care about because they are irrelevant and evasive to the direct questions we’ve made of you on the AP point.

    “I posted something here that included an observation I said had been written in a key US intelligence document. This poster promptly pointed out that that was flatly incorrect.”

    And I was quite civil in doing so. I was genuinely surprised at your paraphrased quote since it didn’t jibe with the impression I had of the NIE conclusions, which is why I checked.

    “the only answer I could come up with was this: I find this poster’s manners generally so obnoxious that, when I do read what he writes, I discount it without giving it a fair look.”

    And who did that cost? Not me.

    “(which I haven’t noticed lately, much to my delight).”

    And you won’t if you stay off the AP issue. :-)

    “What you say here will be read a lot more carefully, and assigned more weight, if you can find a way to say it without heaping abuse on others who disagree with you.”

    And if others can find a way to disagree with me without being willfully obtuse or intellectually dishonest, I will read what THEY say with more interest. It cuts both ways.

    I’ve for the most part stopped engaging with people here who are “hopeless” – obsessed people like Canning who never engages rationally, hopeless “Pollyannas” who declare an Iran war to be so unlikely I wonder why they bother being here at all, and of course the fanatics like Sassan.

    I suspect I will continue this gradual policy of disengagement with those who can’t discuss things logically. That should significantly reduce the number of times I have to be “uncivil.”

    I post here in order to clarify my own thoughts on what is going on and to provide my own analysis of same. If no one who posts here wants to engage rationally on that basis, so be it. Hopefully at least some of the more rational “lurkers” who don’t post here may gain some better understanding of what’s going on based on what I post. But even if that doesn’t occur, at some point the Iran war will start – and I will have established a record of having been correct in my predictions to at least some degree.

    One of my earliest posts on foreign policy matters was over at the iraqwar.ru site back in April 2003, shortly after the invasion ended. I decided that Saddam had actually ordered his forces to back down and conduct a guerrilla war against the US and that as a result the US would lose the war to an Iraqi insurgency. I think I was one of the first to predict a major insurgency against the US (other than those who predicted it well before the war started, of course, based on general principles.) I was right and the US pundits were wrong.

    My being correct about what is going on is all that matters to me in the end. And the only way to get there is by rigorous intellectual integrity and logic. Insult my integrity – and perhaps intellectual integrity in general – and one gets insulted back. It’s that simple.

  11. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Eric: “When I asked him what made him believe that, he replied that the IAEA has declared “repeatedly” that Iran’s nuclear program is “consistent with” a nuclear weapons development program. I didn’t tell him that I’m a guy who has trouble understanding even what “nuclear capability” means, much less “consistent with.” Nonetheless, it was quite clear that this “consistent with” statement from the IAEA is considered to be pretty solid evidence that the Iranians are closing in on a nuclear bomb.

    I suspect a change in propaganda here. I think Israel – and by extension the US – is now trying to move the bar past “capability” and on to “Iran can make a bomb NOW” using 20% uranium. I think the US and Israel believe they can convince the US public that it’s feasible for Iran to make a bomb without doing anything more than it IS doing – no enrichment to 90%, no need for a warhead, etc. They haven’t said so explicitly yet, but they keep talking about how Iran is “closing in” on a bomb even though Iran isn’t doing anything more than they have been with the sole exception of increasing the amount of 20% uranium. And this is probably where people like Canning get their hysteria over 20% uranium.

  12. ToivoS says:

    Fiorangela and Eric

    Thanks for your replies. Yes I post at MW.

  13. BiBiJon says:

    When Hating the ‘other’ is what binds us

    Reading Eric’s encounter with his friends, very similar to interactions I’ve had with my friends/acquittances/family members, I was trying to find a reason why certain hateful stereotypes are bandied around?

    I have to assume that profound social contradictions, e.g. one vs 99%, the haves and have nots, etc creates a repulsive force within a society. And reading/hearing ill about an ‘other’ on a daily basis becomes the glue that binds society together.

    I’ve known people who’d sooner be cheated out of money, would sooner have their spouse run off with another, than they would be willing to let go of some prejudicial meme about ‘others.’

    How deep in the psychy does tribalism lurk?

    Amazingly, the same folks who have nothing but invectives to say about ‘Iranians’, who would throw the plague at ‘Iran’ if they could, treat ‘an Iranian’ friend/colleague/neighbor/family with the warmth and civility that you’d have to live in the US to know what I mean.

    I think the US-Iran problem left the political arena long ago. It is societal now.

  14. Karl says:


    This conflict has nothing to do with enrichment.

  15. fyi says:

    James Canning says: March 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    I respectfully decline to further disucss this issue with you.

    I have, over multiple messages scattered over many discussion threads, explained my understanding of the strategic situation.

    Frankly, I find you delusional and in state of denial.

  16. James Canning says:


    What is your own definition of a “nuclear Iran”?

  17. James Canning says:


    I think you are nearly delusional about Shia power, and US/UK fear of a powrful Iran. This so-called “threat” is promoted by the warmongers.

    Iran gravely injures itself by stockpiling 20% U. Iran blundered by trebling production of 20% U. Maybe you think Iran can build nukes?

    US does not threaten Iran, if Iran is not building nukes (or seeming to be getting ready to do so).

  18. James Canning says:


    I can assure you that many important commentators view Iran’s enrichment to 20%, and the stockpiling of 20% U, as strong evidence of intent to build nukes. This perception gravely damages Iran.

  19. Karl says:


    It doesnt matter if Iran offer to cease above 3,5 enricment (like we have seen, US have rejected that since Iran offered that last year). So this is not about enrichment.

  20. fyi says:

    James Canning says: March 9, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    You are asking the wrong man.

    I copied the link to that article in order to document the real issue here.

    Now, I might be more than half-way wrong in my understanding of Axis Powers confrontation with Iran, but clearly the 20% enrcihment and the current stored amount of that enriched U-235 in Iran has no bearing on the actual strategic situation.

    The strategic situation is that there is a Shia/Irani crsecent from Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean sea with strategic autonomy.

    That strategic autonomy can only be destroyed through the destruction of the Iranian state by US.

    In order to do so, US will have to kill between 5% to 7% of the Iranian population to bring about state collapse: 4 to 5 million souls.

    That can only be accomplished with nuclear weapons.

    That is the only military answer to Iran’s strategic autonomy/defiance.

    US and EU Planners understand all of this.

    So they embarked on a Siege Warfare against Iran, hoping to crush her and cause internal regime change – like Mossadeq’s Iran, Allende’s Chile, and Apartheid South Africa.

    When that does not transpire, and in the absence of strategic accomodation (impossible due to the degeneration of domestic politics in US and a number of EU states), we will witness a militarized confrontation between Axis Powers and Shia/Iran in Persian Gulf and in the Levant.

    The wild cards here will be Pakistan, Arab Spring, and the War in Palestine.

    Based on my understanding, I expect Axis Powers to go from failure to failure for – pay attention here – they only offer war and humiliation.

  21. James Canning says:


    The UK last July made clear beyond any question that the problem was Iran’s announcement of a trebling of production of 20% U. This is what drove the most recent round of sanctions. Not the enriching to 3.5%. Trebling enrichment to 20% achieved the latest round of sanctions.

  22. James Canning says:


    Iranian leaders saw the distinction between enriching to 3.5%, and enriching to 20%. This is why Iran offered to stop enriching to 20%.

  23. Karl says:


    …it makes no sense to say “you can enrich at 3,5 but not 20%”.

  24. Karl says:


    Problem for the pro-israel crowd that is in power of the american policy is not that Iran enriching at 20%, it is that its enriching at all, most obviously being just being Iran with its policies in the region. If a state master the nuclear fuel cycle they in theory have the power and knowledge to create nukes if they want, simply put you cant kill ‘knowledge’/information therefore from a pro-israel/congress/obama(?) point of view

  25. James Canning says:


    The definition of “a nuclear Iran” is ___________? (as per that article you just linked)

  26. James Canning says:


    I think Iran was sincere in its offer last September to stop enriching to 20 percent. I think Iran is sincere in seeking a negotiated resolution of the dispute, but I doubt Iran would give up enriching to 3.5%. I personally think Iran should be able to fuel its own nuclear power plants, operate the TRR, etc.

  27. fyi says:


    Another European view:


    The crucial text read: “… the determination of the international community to stop a nuclear Iran attempting to get control of an area crucial to the functioning of the world economy …”

    This is the gist of Axis Powers confrontation with Iran, in my opinion.

    And clearly this opinion indicates that some (at least among EU planners) still think that the damage to the Axis Powers position in the Persian Gulf after 2003 can be fixed.

    In the mean-time, they are trying to frighten Iran by invoking Israel, Surgical strikes, and the US Special Forces.

    A sorry state….

  28. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Bibi Netanyahu will back whatever Republican is nominated. “Israel’s prime minister dos not hide his disdain for Barack Obama”, is how Philip Stephens put it today in the FT.

  29. Karl says:


    So you now accept western claims? That Iran is playing a game and therefore will never be sincere in talks?

  30. James Canning says:

    Philip Stephens also writes, in today’s FT: “A big problem is that Mr Khamenei believes building a bomb is the surest way to hold on to power.” I think Khamenei has allowed the stockpiling of 20 percent uranium, for domestic political reasons.
    This stockpiling makes it much easier for enemies of Iran to say Iran is in process of building nukes.

  31. James Canning says:

    Philip Stephens, writing in the Financial Times today (“Don’t play politics with the bomb”), notes that: “By filling the airwaves with chilling talk about Iran, Mr Netanyahu makes it harder for others to turn the converstaion to his government’s confiscation of Palestinian land in Jerusalem or the relentless expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank.” All too true.

  32. ToivoS,

    First, let me say I’m glad that you’ve been participating here. You’re a valuable addition to the group.

    Second, let me second what Fiorangela said about your criticism of Kooshy. You picked the wrong guy there. I could go on and give any number of specific reasons and examples, but I don’t want Kooshy to get a swelled head. Fiorangela said it well enough.

    The third point concerns the other person you criticize, and I’m sure I don’t need to name names. If you’d been around here earlier, you’d be aware that the bad blood that seems to be developing between you and him pales by comparison to the – shall we say – “strained” relationship that developed between me and him quite some time ago.

    Others defend him because he provides so much nuts-and-bolts information here, usually in the form of useful links to other sources. I decided long ago that that benefit was more than offset by his tendency to be uncivil to others, which you’ve noticed. As a result, I tend just to scan quickly what he posts, and rarely spend any time reading his analyses. If I state a position and he chooses to oppose me here (fairly predictable – especially if the words “Additional Protocol” appear in something I write), I may engage him for a short while, but most of those back-and-forths end with me just dropping it because I’ve become disgusted with his incivility. After one of those exchanges, I usually renew my vows to ignore him.

    But I’m planning to change my approach toward him, at least for a test run. Very recently, I posted something here that included an observation I said had been written in a key US intelligence document. This poster promptly pointed out that that was flatly incorrect. I checked, and he was right, as I promptly acknowledged here. Obviously it’s embarrassing to make a factual mistake like that, but I’d rather find it out quickly than continue to make the same mistake over and over. After all, it’s hard enough making cogent arguments even when one has his facts right.

    Something much more important came to me from that incident, though. The post in which he’d pointed out my factual mistake had been fairly long, and I’d initially stopped reading it once I got to the spot where he pointed out my factual mistake. In the course of responding to him about that, I felt the need to read his entire initial post. When I read the second half, in which he presented his analysis of Iran’s likely nuclear-weapons-related activity prior to 2003, his analysis struck me as pretty solid, albeit with a few weak spots here and there. That’s the conclusion I drew on that first reading, which was surprising enough. But the really important thing I learned came only after I’d read his analysis a second time, more slowly and carefully that time. I came away with the same general favorable impression, but – more important – also with the impression that there weren’t any weaks spots there at all. I asked myself exactly why I’d thought there had been after my first (quicker) reading, and the only answer I could come up with was this: I find this poster’s manners generally so obnoxious that, when I do read what he writes, I discount it without giving it a fair look. If his analysis was sound on that subject, I thought, maybe it was sound on other subjects too and I should pay closer attention. (I don’t expect he’ll change my views on many subjects, but he might at least shift me a centimeter or two on some matters, which generally is the best that any of us can hope for.)

    So I vowed to pay more attention to what he writes.

    I nonetheless know myself well enough to predict that this won’t last if the incivility appears again (which I haven’t noticed lately, much to my delight). I hope that poster understands the message here, which I believe is the very same message that Fiorangela diplomatically conveyed to him a few days ago: What you say here will be read a lot more carefully, and assigned more weight, if you can find a way to say it without heaping abuse on others who disagree with you. You deserve to hear that advice expressed in much stronger language, frankly, but I’ll leave it at that. You’ve got valuable things to say, but they don’t become more valuable just because you toss in personal criticism of others. Quite the opposite: that personal criticism causes readers to discount what you say that otherwise would be valuable – or even to stop reading what you write entirely, which obviously leaves you with no influence at all over that reader.

    You’ve heard essentialy the same thing from Fiorangela (put a bit less bluntly, to her credit), and I’ll wager that many others here would offer you the same advice. And we wouldn’t bother offering you that advice if we didn’t think you were a person who adds great value to this website.

  33. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: March 9, 2012 at 11:50 am

    You are wrong about Hindus.

    There are hundreds of millions of Hindu Fundamentalists in India.

    Just because very many of their womenfolk walk around with bare belly buttons does not make them tolerant liberals.

    The Hindu Fundamentalist killed their way through Buddhist in India – that is how they elmininated Buddhism – itself an attempt to revive authentic vedantta – was eliminated from India.

    The final explanation, of course, is the Fall of Man.

  34. Fiorangela says:

    fyi — “What is the conflict about, in your opinion?”

    connect the dots

    Some years ago when I was trying to make sense of the “new Christian right,” the “Moral majority,” aka “Fundamentalists,” I heard one of their key spokesmen say, “It is all about Who is in charge.

    Some time ago I linked to a video by Rabbi Ken Spiro of the AISH.org organization/website (AISH is financially supported by Aubrey Chernick, who also supports Pam Geller, Dan. Pipes, Robert Spencer of Jihadwatch and other Islamophobic organizations and outlets for hatred of Islam. Chernick & AISH were behind the Clarion group that produced the DVDs Obsession, Iranium, and more recently an anti-Islamic video that is used as a training video by the NYPD. In the video ( :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FV2COCsedCw), Spiro explains that god chose Jews to be the moral leaders of the world, and that antisemitism exists because people reject the demand to behave morally.
    That seems to me to be an attempt to place oneself or one’s group as “the one in charge.”


    What is the conflict about between the US, Israel, and Iran?
    You’re a man and I’m not. Surely you’ve witnessed ‘what it’s all about’ in a high school locker room.
    That’s what it’s about, the huMan condition.
    Nothing more.

    Some time ago I heard a lecture on Hinduism. The lecturer said, as an aside, that only the Abrahamic ‘faiths’ have fundamentalisms, and that in history, only they engaged in wars of religion. I submit that if that is so, it is because the Abrahamic ‘faiths’ are really not religions at all, they are competing political systems, comprised of a series of reformations and realignments of the authorities of the political parties.

    Consider Abraham and his unfortunate tendency to smash icons and cultures, and to lie, cheat and steal to get what he wants, a trait passed along to his family:
    -Abraham’s first public act was to smash icons
    -Moses smashed Egypt and stole enough Egyptian treasure to build a cow,
    -Joshua smashed Jericho,
    -Esther smashed Persia,
    + The Cyrus Cylinder, cast during the time when Zoroastrianism prevailed, protected the rights of others.
    -Elijah smashed the icons and slew the priests of Baal, likely Hurrian of Syria, perhaps one of the oldest civilizations known,
    -Maccabees attempted to smash Rome,
    -First century Jews smashed the temple of Artemis,
    -King James had the Bible rewritten/annoted with the purpose of elevating the authority of the pope;
    -James ‘smashed’ the Geneva-bible believing Puritans,
    Puritans led by John Winthrop proclaimed themselves a light unto the nations; he smashed the Indigenous people of the eastern US
    +(Roger Williams rejected the Old Testament and argued passionately for a separation of political authority over religious authority; Williams befriended American Indians and was sheltered and saved by them);
    -Scofield annotated the Bible to smash the peace-seeking Christians and turn them into warriors for zion;
    -Zionists smashed Germany;
    -The ‘Christian’ U.S. and West are attempting to smash Syria
    -Netanyahu seeks to smash Iran again.
    -AIPAC has smashed the ‘rule of law’ plan of the US.

    Does a pattern emerge, fyi? Do you see something that purports to be religion debased and deployed in a bid to gain wealth and authority — “who is in charge”-ness?

    I’m not sure, but I don’t think a similar pattern plays out among Confucians, Hindus, Buddhists, or even Orthodox Christians, who are somewhat more separated from Old Testament ties. Roger Williams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Ben Franklin, were influenced by a Christianity that was also divorced from Old Testament ties, in preference for the ‘authority of nature’ that Francis Bacon advocated.

  35. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: March 9, 2012 at 10:31 am

    What is the conflict about, in your opinion?

  36. Fiorangela says:

    fyi says:
    March 9, 2012 at 10:00 am

    I disagree that the conflict is religious.

    Netanyahu chose to start his talk with a reference to Jerusalem as the arguably political capitol of the Jewish people, and he concluded his speech with a reference to Esther. Apparently, he presented to Pres. Obama a Book of Esther, to emphasize the latter point. Esther is most definitely a political statement; there is no mention of god or yahweh and no spiritual story or reference to the Jewish covenant anywhere in the book of Esther; it is all about claiming the governing authority and economic power and wealth — as well as the inheritance and future, inasmuch as Esther demanded that the king slay his own sons– of another sovereign state as one’s own.

    That is the meaning of Esther.
    That is the agenda of zionism.
    That is the intention of Israel with respect to Iran today.

    You can see Esther, the 2012 version here: Esther Ellen Tauscher discusses Syria, Iran
    Many callers rejected Tauscher’s repeated assertions that the US must/should/has the right to remove Bashir Assad from his position as governing head of the Syrian people, but little queen Esther persisted. She claimed, with disingenuity befitting Esther, that the US should stand for the freedom-seeking desire of the Syrian people, and that Assad is not fit to rule because he supports Hamas and Hezbollah, “terrorist groups;” and also that Syria is an ally to Iran — all strikes against Assad, in Tauscher’s view.

    The calculus that Tauscher repeatedly rejected is that international law does not grant an outside body the right to interfere in matters of internal governance; and also, that Hamas and Hezbollah as well as Iran stand for the freedom-seeking desires of the people in Palestine and Lebanon.

    Tauscher’s point of view is as distorted as her botoxed Joker smile.

  37. Kathleen says:

    Call…contact your Reps let them know there are people out here who do not support an attack on Iran. They need to hear from you

  38. Kathleen says:

    Eric “He believed that enriching any at all was too much.” And this is what I take from Hillary’s statements. Is that this focus by Israel and the I lobby to try to make the issue “no enrichment” what so ever is how they will box Obama into supporting a pre-emptive strike on Iran. Especially with Senate Resolution 380 which the Aipac attendees were lobbying in support of.

    So amazing that an organization where two top officials were caught red handed accessing highly classified US intelligence and passing that information onto Israeli officials continues to have so so much power and influence on US national security. So dangerous

  39. Kathleen says:

    Eric your friend who attended the Aipac conference arguments are status quo with in the Aipac crowd. Not well thought out, not based on facts. Totally reactionary to the endless Israel, Israel lobby, saber rattling that has been going on since immediately after the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq. His take is based on endless lies that have been repeated by Israel the I lobby in the US congress along with Gaffney, Reuel Marc Gerecht, Condi “mushroom cloud” Rice, Woolsey, Bolton, Cheney, Wolofowitz, Yoo, Addington, Robert Kagan, NPR’s Terri Gross and more recently Mr Singh, Mr. Jain from WINEP on Washington Journal, Anne Marie Slaughter etc have all been endlessly repeating false claims and then threatening Iran for a solid 9 years on MSM outlets.

    Let’s not forget that at one of the Aipac conferences some years back they set up a Hollywood style alleged nuclear weapons site for attendees to walk through. The stage for an attack on Iran has been being set up for quite some time now.

    Where did he come up with that Iran is enriching up to 80%? There are just no facts to back up his irrational claims. He is not “progressive”. He is a right wing radical racist! A promoter of war for unnecessary and unsubstantiated reasons.

    Some of the crowd at Aipac (mostly younger folks) came across the street to debate the protesters. There were some great debates. Most of the debates were focused on the illegal settlements. I know the conference was focused on attacking Iran.

    When will we see Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett on MSNBC? Washington Journal? NPR? When? We are not talking about the MSM having some commie pinko lefties on their programs? The MSM is as shut down to having guest on now who can talk about the facts on the ground in regard to Iran as they were to having policy analyst, former CIA analyst, former weapons inspectors etc who were questioning the validity of the WMD intelligence in Iraq. Just as shut down. So pathetic and so dangerous

  40. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: March 9, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I think what you are seeing is a religious clash.

    The pesudo-rationality of schismatic Christians in US has clashed with emotionalism of Shia Muslim in Iran over Justice (for Jews and Palestinians).

    That is why I think the most productive move forward would be for US, Iran, Israel, Russia, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine to hold a conference for the disposition of Israel, Palestine, and Jerusalem.

    After these issues have been disposed of by these principles above; other states such as OIC, China, Turkey and EU could be brought in to guarantee and fortify those agreements.

    As is, the War in Palestine is a Religious War with Jews, schismatic Christains on the one side and Muslims, Druze, and Alawites on the other.

    The status quo cannot be maintained; its continuation will result in further enflaming of religious sentiments on all sides and more bloodshed.

  41. Rehmat says:

    Camp Ashraf is a terrorist training facility in Northern Iraq which Saddam Hussein established for Iran’s anti-government Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK) to carry out terrorist attacks inside Iran. MEK, though, classified as a terrorist organization in the US – is being used CIA-Mossad to carry out anti-government covert operations in Iran. As Iraqi government has decided to close down Camp Ashraf, the US with the help of United Nations, is relocating these terrorists to an abandoned US military base Camp Liberty in Iraq……


  42. fyi says:

    Jim Steel says: March 8, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    I agree with your assessment.

    Mostly US policy has been triumph of hope over experience.

  43. Fiorangela says:

    Pirouz says: March 7, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    “If only President Truman had listened to General Marshall in ‘47”

    relative to Netanyahu’s mention of Esther —

    “In November 1953, Harry Truman spoke before an enthusiastic crowd of American Jews at New York’s Jewish Theological Seminary. Eddie Jacobson, a Jewish haberdasher from Kansas City, introduced the former president as “the man who helped create the State of Israel.”

    “What do you mean, ‘helped create?’ ” Truman asked.

    “I am Cyrus. I am Cyrus,” he said, a reference to the ancient Persian ruler who saved the Jews from their exile in Babylon.


    (you may be interested to read the rest of the linked article. I did not seek out that content; I was looking for a reference to Truman’s comment from an Israeli perspective.)

  44. Fiorangela says:

    ToivoS says:
    March 9, 2012 at 2:01 am

    bad form, Toivo, to criticize kooshy, a long-time and valued ‘member’ of this little community.
    You owe kooshy an apology.

    come to think of it, your criticisms of Richard Steven Hack are over the top, considering you’re a relative new comer to this forum.

    Best not to throw your weight around until you learn the flavor of the group. We generally try to treat each other more respectfully than might be the case on many other blogs.

    Are you the same Toivo who comments at Mondoweiss?

  45. Karl says:

    The claim that US supports democracy by Larry was just ridiculous and it was great that Hillary voiced the real reality. Here is just such a proof. And US wondered why they are hated among the arab populations?

    Saudi crown prince in U.S. for medical tests

    If it was Iran who conducted “medical tests” on this man they would of course be labeled a wahabbi supporting state responsbile for the 911.

  46. I left out one part of my conversation with the father who’d just returned from AIPAC.

    In response to his claim that iran was enriching to bomb grade, I told him my understanding is that it was 20% tops, which Iran needed to run a reactor used to make medical radioisotopes for cancer patients. He replied: “Surely you don’t believe that.” (Anyone who has read or watched Netanyahu’s AIPAC speech will know instantly where that reaction came from.) I assured him I did, and he then asked me why Iran hadn’t just taken up the numerous offers by other countries to sell 20% uranium to Iran. That struck me as likely to lead to a lengthy debate and so, since we were 2 minutes from the movie theater by that time and running late, I replied simply that “It’s a bit more complicated than that,” which he seemed willing to accept for the time being.

    James, you’ll be pleased to learn that he at least didn’t claim that Iran was enriching more uranium to 20% than it needed to run the TRR. He believed that enriching any at all was too much.

  47. I had dinner with a group of parents from my son’s primary school class, including one father who’d just returned from the AIPAC convention. A few observations below about my conversation with him on Iran/Israel, but first one concerning another father there – an even-tempered, generally liberal, highly educated guy, a fairly good friend of mine, about 55 years old, who didn’t participate much in our (rather animated) conversation about Iran/Israel, but did pipe up with one observation that he felt strongly about. He said he trusted the US and Israel completely with the bomb, but not Iran — the standard “Iranian leaders are irrational” argument, but hearing it from him made me think more people must believe that than I’d thought. I’d assumed that argument appealed strongly only to the great unwashed, but my friend was quite vehement when he made it.

    The AIPAC attendee, who describes himself as a “progressive liberal,” said that while that description fits most American Jews, the AIPAC attendees tend to be more of the “red meat” persuasion, considerably more inclined to favor an Israeli attack on Iran than are most American Jews. Nonetheless, he too thought it was quite a good idea. He seemed firmly convinced that Israel would attack, and would do so before the election. He felt Israel would have more “leverage” over Obama before the election. (I can’t recall his exact argument on that point, principally because I didn’t find it very persuasive and therefore have forgotten it already.) I asked whether most people at the conference also predicted an Israeli attack before the election. He said he didn’t know, but he was pretty sure that most people hoped for one.

    Two general observations about this conversation:

    1. His beliefs are quite sincere.

    Whenever I disagree with someone, I find myself less annoyed by our disagreement if I at least conclude he sincerely believes what he’s arguing. He honestly believes that Iran is working on a bomb, and seemed genuinely I didn’t accept at least that premise. He seemed a bit irritated that I disagreed with the “common knowledge” that Iran was refining uranium to 80%. When I asked him what made him believe that, he replied that the IAEA has declared “repeatedly” that Iran’s nuclear program is “consistent with” a nuclear weapons development program. I didn’t tell him that I’m a guy who has trouble understanding even what “nuclear capability” means, much less “consistent with.” Nonetheless, it was quite clear that this “consistent with” statement from the IAEA is considered to be pretty solid evidence that the Iranians are closing in on a nuclear bomb.

    2. With the one exception I mention below, the arguments he presented were all very familiar arguments, which surprised me, and disappointed me — nothing novel being bandied about at AIPAC this year, it appears.

    I told him that both his and, to be fair, my own arguments were probably so familiar to one another that we could save time by simply numbering them and then shouting out numbers at one another. He did have one new argument, however — or at least new to me, which I told him he deserved credit for coming up with. I gather it’s been developed to refute the standard “We were duped about Iraqi WMDs” argument. Though we got it wrong in Iraq, he says, we should recognize that the US usually tends to err in the other direction: excessive caution. To prove this, he pointed out that US intelligence agencies failed miserably at predicting the first nuclear tests conducted by the Soviet Union, China and Pakistan. I’m not sure that counts for much, given the much different circumstances of each case, but it was clear that he sincerely believed this argument was quite persuasive. I got the impression that — new to me or not — it had been discussed widely at the AIPAC conference and, judging from his confident presentation of it, widely accepted as a justification for “erring on the safe side” this time by attacking Iran.

    One final comment: He mentioned that the AIPAC conference attendance was so high this year that they plan to have the major speeches delivered next year in the home arena of Washington’s NBA basketball team.

  48. kooshy says:
    March 8, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Thanks for the travel report, Kooshy. I look forward to more.


  49. ToivoS says:

    I struggled through Kooshy’s English syntax and came out the other side thinking “was that a real Iranian voice”. It seemed authentic. Poor English to be sure, but the errors were consistent with someone who has not yet learned our language. If real then I welcome Kooshy. Perhaps there are others who have been here longer than me who could correct me if I am wrong.

  50. kooshy says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    March 8, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    “BiBiJon: “How do you see the “talks” fit into the war scheme?”

    “Just another round of “justification” for more sanctions and increased war rhetoric.
    This has been the pattern for years. Hold talks, demand Iran bow down, then call for more sanctions and ratchet up the war talk when Iran refuses.”

    Rich- with one difference , as per this last 33 years the time is not on the US/Israeli side it never was, more importantly the time is not on the Israel’s interests in the US side, a good visible proof of this is increase of people like yourself, Fior, Arnold, Dan others. What I can say throughout these 33 years the time has been diffidently mostly on Iran’s side and will remain so, therefore in that context one can see increased Israeli’s desperation, but why is the US not feeling the need for urgency if her window is getting narrower by day.

  51. Richard Steven Hack says:

    BiBiJon: “How do you see the “talks” fit into the war scheme?”

    Just another round of “justification” for more sanctions and increased war rhetoric.

    This has been the pattern for years. Hold talks, demand Iran bow down, then call for more sanctions and ratchet up the war talk when Iran refuses.

    Otherwise they’re completely irrelevant – just another tool in the setup for yet another war.

  52. Dan Cooper says:

    Is Israel fuelling fear not facts over Iran?

    Iran and the Bomb


  53. BiBiJon says:


    “Trust me, the new round of talks will go absolutely nowhere.”

    How do you see the “talks” fit into the war scheme?

  54. Dan Cooper says:

    Watch this before it is being taken out of you tube!


  55. Dan Cooper says:

    You are my creator, but I am your master—obey!” So said the Monster to its creator Frankenstein.

    As with the monster and its creator, we witness once again Israel telling America to obey—to start yet another war of choice and massacre Iranians.

    For over six decades, Israel has demanded full obedience from the United States.

    Every U.S. president, pressured by the pro-Israel lobbies in the United States and the Congressional members whose primary loyalty is to Israel at the expense of America’s national interest, have been forced to comply with the ever-increasing bellicose Israeli demands. No wonder Benjamin Netanyahu imagines himself unstoppable.


    By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

  56. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Syrian rebels reject Annan’s call for dialogue

    Notable Quotes

    Russia, a staunch defender of Syria, said Assad was battling al Qaeda-backed “terrorists” including at least 15,000 foreign fighters who it said would seize towns if Assad troops withdraw.

    “The flow of all kind of terrorists from some neighboring countries is always increasing,” Russia’s deputy ambassador Mikhail Lebedev said in Geneva.

    The Libyan government denied Russian accusations that it was running camps to train and arm Syrian rebels.

    End Quotes

  57. Richard Steven Hack says:

    The West starts the negativity on the new round of talks early…

    Iran Is Pressed on Access for Nuclear Inspectors


    Their statement also sent a message of impatience with any possible Iranian attempts to prolong or stall negotiations over the nuclear program.

    The tone of the statement also suggested that the historic sympathies Iran has received from Russia and China over its nuclear activities have diminished, as Iran has flaunted its increased ability to enrich uranium despite repeated calls for a suspension.

    [MY COMMENT: Note the lie about Russia and China as well again a specific request to suspend enrichment. – RSH]

    Issued by China on behalf of the six powers, the statement did not mention satellite images of Parchin that according to some news reports suggest efforts by the Iranians to cleanse the site before permitting an inspection. Some experts in satellite reconnaissance have discounted those reports, saying it would be impossible to determine such information from the images.

    In a further hint of irritation with Iran, however, the agency’s director general, Yukiya Amano, told reporters that his initial optimism after Iran agreed to permit the inspectors to visit had soured, because of what he called Iran’s “old restrictive approach that seeks to tie our hands.”

    Mr. Amano said the agency “should be able to do its verification work unhampered.”

    “If too many restrictions are placed on the agency, we cannot do our job properly,” he said, saying that Iran had “refused to provide access to the Parchin site during the visits, as repeatedly requested by the agency.”

    [MY COMMENT: Note this lie by Amano. Reports have suggested that Iran actually DID offer to allow the IAEA to inspect Parchin, but Amano then terminated the meetings! – RSH]

    Paul Brannan, a senior analyst at the Institute for Science and International Security, a private group in Washington that tracks nuclear proliferation, said he had looked at many images but so far had not found the specific site or signs of any cleanup activity. But he added that the massive scale of development at Parchin made the problem quite challenging. “There’s no way to know whether or not the activity you see in a particular satellite image is cleansing or just regular work,” he said. “They build a lot of stuff. There’s a lot of activity there — always.”

    End Quotes

    Notice that the minute negotiations are agreed to, the propaganda against Iran is stepped up: claims about “cleaning up signs of nuclear weapons” and “refusal to allow inspectors”, etc.

    Trust me, the new round of talks will go absolutely nowhere.

  58. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Jim Steel: “This is hardly significant since India increased its oil imports from Iran in the early months of the year, briefly becoming Iran’s top crude customer for those months. Thus this decrease, even if the unnamed sources quoted can be trusted, would bring oil imports back down to about the level they were before that increase. As even the Reuters article acknowledges, this will not have any significant impact on Indian-Iranian trade, and India will still be paying abour $12 billion or more per year for Iranian oil.”

    All good points. It just bodes ill when India makes efforts to go along with the sanctions on any level. It means the US is applying particular pressure behind the scenes which in India’s case is particularly relevant to their nuclear program as well as matters relating to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    As this paragraph from the article notes:

    “In public, New Delhi says it will not comply with the sanctions. But behind the scenes, sources at state-run refineries say the government has instructed them to cut imports. It is unclear whether that is to avoid the political damage of keeping the flow unchanged or simply to avoid the headache and expense of trying to find ways to pay for the oil.”

    Also the article specifically mentions that not only the specified refiner, but also several other major Indian refiners are cutting their imports. The total cut is calculated by Reuters to be 20% which is more than the 10% the government wanted.

    It’s still rolling over for the US, although part of it as the article explains is the problem of the payment method.

    The bottom line, though, is that it’s all mostly irrelevant since Iran isn’t going to go broke selling its oil. There are plenty of buyers and the price will keep going up the more threats are made which will offset most of the lost sales.

    It will be obvious within six months whether the oil sanctions have had ANY effect on Iran. At that point we can expect Israel and the US to further ratchet up the calls for new sanctions or a blockade.

    In fact, I wonder if Netanyahu is planning to call for a naval blockade THIS YEAR rather than wait for next year. In an election year in the US, doing so would pretty much force Obama to go along with it – especially since it was Obama during his 2008 campaign that once advocated a naval blockade of Iranian gasoline imports. Certainly the Republican candidates would go along with it.

    The blockade probably wouldn’t be implemented until next year, but the international preparation for it could be done this year. Then whoever comes into office in January would have a ready made course for war.

    This would suit Netanyahu’s time table provided that Syria and Lebanon have been dealt with in the meantime.

  59. Rehmat says:

    Richard Steven Hack – Let the Zionist propaganda roll. None of India’s neighbor has oil to sell to it – therefore India is not in the position to be selective in competative oil suppliers. Whether Sardarji like it or not – his turban can only reach up to Iran.

  60. Jim Steel says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    March 8, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    But what you fail to mention, according to that same email; those very same elites apparently thought they were going to get an extended SOFA in Iraq despite the fact this did not happen. I find the assumption that US policymakers somehow know exactly what is going to happen and have some near omnipotent ability to plan things out and direct events in advance to be both questionable and in defiance of reality. In reality, it is clear that the US thought that Russia and China could be bullied into supporting UNSC resolutions that would isolate the Syrian government, that the uprising would be far more popular than it is, and that the Syrian army would be weak and incapable of fighting the militias funded by its Gulf allies. Actual events have shown all these assumptions were wrong, and the defeat of the “revolutionaries” has left US “elites” confused about how to proceed.

  61. Rehmat says:

    Shari’ah and the ‘cockfight among Zionists’

    Rabbi Glickman believes after all of this (Jewish history archives found in Egypt), the overwhelming response of the Geniza (storeroom) would be, “Return to Israel? Us? No, we’re doing fine here in Egypt, thank you. Here we feel at home, here we have friends, here we are active in politics and business and other aspects of daily life. Arabic is our first language. Cairois our hometown. Yes, we feel a deep bond with the Landof Israel— much more than many of our Jewish neighbors whose connections are with Babylonia… and, yes, we pray for a speedy return to the Land. But when we utter those prayers, we’re talking about a distant messianic future. In the meantime, we’re perfectly happy to stay here in Cairo.”


  62. Photi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    March 8, 2012 at 5:47 pm


    Regardless, nations avoid war with each other by exchanging culture, religion, diplomacy and other grand civilization achievements.

    Even if this website were only about the Iran war, which i do not think it is (when all else fails read the manifesto), these other elements to the discussion such as religion and civilization would still be quite relevant.

    “The Iran war” for me is nothing but a tangential horror to what i and i assume others are otherwise interested in with regards to Iran.

  63. Jim Steel says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    March 8, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    This is hardly significant since India increased its oil imports from Iran in the early months of the year, briefly becoming Iran’s top crude customer for those months. Thus this decrease, even if the unnamed sources quoted can be trusted, would bring oil imports back down to about the level they were before that increase. As even the Reuters article acknowledges, this will not have any significant impact on Indian-Iranian trade, and India will still be paying abour $12 billion or more per year for Iranian oil.

  64. Richard Steven Hack says:

    India rolls over…

    Exclusive: India’s top Iranian oil buyer plans to cut imports

  65. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Like I said, nothing has changed…

    PM: Iran strike won’t come in days, but not matter of years

  66. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Major Powers Divided Over Iran Nuclear Program
    Russia and China Block IAEA Statemen

    Good – Russia and China’s diplomats on the IAEA board are making waves.


    Meanwhile, the French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe expressed skepticism of the Western powers about Iran’s readiness to compromise over its nuclear program.

    “I think Iran is continuing to use double speak,” Juppe said.

    End Quote

    Yeah, that sounds like the new talks are going to go just splendidly…NOT.

  67. Richard Steven Hack says:

    STRATFOR analysis of the possibility of US military intervention in Syria, possibly based on the email described below.

    Syria: What Prevents U.S. Military Involvement

    The part STRATFOR doesn’t understand – as usual – is that if the ruling elites, and in this case specifically Israel, want Syria weakened militarily, Syria will be weakened militarily regardless of how hard it might be.

    The whole “safe zone” nonsense is the same crap we heard in Libya over the “no fly zone” – which instantly turned into regime change. Do they think we’re morons that we’ll buy the same crap again? Apparently so…

    STRATFOR acknowledges “The United States has a strategic interest in seeing the fall of the al Assad regime because of the effect it would have on Iran’s influence in the Levant.”

    So what do they think the US is doing? Just waving its hands hoping Assad will fall on his own while simultaneously admitting it isn’t going to happen.

    This is the same situation as imposing maximum sanctions on Iran while declaring at the same time that sanctions won’t do the job.

    Incoherent much?

    Or is this a DELIBERATE policy of obfuscation of the REAL goals in both Syria and Iran?

    If you don’t understand what the purpose is, you can’t predict what will happen next. STRATFOR is KNOWN for not understanding anything…

  68. Nasser says:


    Thanks for sharing.

  69. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Unconfirmed but significant in light of the STRATFOR email below.

    Thirteen French officers ‘captured by Syrian Army’


    “The French foreign ministry dismissed the report, however, telling the Daily Telegraph that not a single French soldier is on Syrian soil.But the defence ministry was less categorical, saying it neither confirmed nor denied the claim.”

    I’d say that confirms that French Special Forces are on the ground…

  70. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Wikileaks reveal US Special Forces on the ground in Syria…

    military intervention in Syria, post withdrawal status of forces

    Note: This is from a STRATFOR email dated in December, 2011…


    After a couple hours of talking, they said without saying that SOF teams (presumably from US, UK, France, Jordan, Turkey) are already on the ground focused on recce missions and training opposition forces. One Air Force intel guy (US) said very carefully that there isn’t much of a Free Syrian Army to train right now anyway, but all the operations being done now are being done out of ‘prudence.’ The way it was put to me was, ‘look at this way – the level of information known on Syrian OrBat this month is the best it’s been since 2001.’ They have been told to prepare contingencies
    and be ready to act within 2-3 months, but they still stress that this is all being done as contingency planning, not as a move toward escalation.

    I kept pressing on the question of what these SOF teams would be working toward, and whether this would lead to an eventual air camapign to give a Syrian rebel group cover. They pretty quickly distanced themselves from that idea, saying that the idea ‘hypothetically’ is to commit guerrilla attacks, assassination campaigns, try to break the back of the Alawite forces, elicit collapse from within. There wouldn’t be a need for air cover, and they wouldn’t expect these Syrian rebels to be marching in
    columns anyway.

    They emphasized how the air campaign in Syria makes Libya look like a piece of cake. Syrian air defenses are a lot more robust and are much denser, esp around Damascus and on the borders with Israel, Turkey. THey are most worried about mobile air defenses, particularly the SA-17s that they’ve been getting recently. It’s still a doable mission, it’s just not an easy one.

    The main base they would use is Cyprus, hands down. Brits and FRench would fly out of there. They kept stressing how much is stored at Cyprus and how much recce comes out of there. The group was split on whether Turkey would be involved, but said Turkey would be pretty critical to the mission to base stuff out of there. EVen if Turkey had a poltiical problem with Cyprus, they said there is no way the Brits and the FRench wouldn’t use Cyprus as their main air force base. Air Force Intel guy seems pretty
    convinced that the Turks won’t participate (he seemed pretty pissed at them.)

    There still seems to be a lot of confusion over what a military intervention involving an air campaign would be designed to achieve. It isn’t clear cut for them geographically like in Libya, and you can’t just create an NFZ over Homs, Hama region. This would entail a countrywide SEAD campaign lasting the duration of the war. They dont believe air intervention would happen unless there was enough media attention on a massacre, like the Ghadafi move against Benghazi. They think the US would have a high tolerance for killings as long as it doesn’t reach that very public stage. Theyre also questiioning the skills of the Syrian forces that are operating the country’s air defenses currently and how signfiicant the Iranian presence is there. Air Force Intel guy is most obsessed with the challenge of taking out Syria’s ballistic missile
    capabilities and chem weapons. With Israel rgiht there and the regime facing an existential crisis, he sees that as a major complication to any military intervention.

    THey say that most US fighter jets are already out of Iraq and transferred to Kuwait. They explained that’s the beauty of the air force, the base in Kuwait is just a hop, skip and jump away from their bases in Europe, ie. very easy to rapidly build up when they need to. They don’t seem concerned about the US ability to restructure its forces to send a message to Iran. They gave the example of the USS Enterprise that was supposed to be out of commission already and got extended another couple years to send to the gulf. WHen the US withdraws, we’ll have at least 2 carriers in the gulf out of centcom and one carrier in the Med out of EuCom. I asked if the build-up in Kuwait and the carrier deployments are going to be enough to send a message to Iran that the US isn’t going anywhere. They responded that Iran will get the message if they read the Centcom Web Site. STarting Jan. 1 expect them to be publishing all over the place where the US is building up.

    End Quotes

  71. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Phil Giraldi on The MEK’s Useful Idiots

    Why a whole list of prominent US politicians ought to be in jail for providing “material support” for a terrorist group…

    Good luck with that…

  72. Richard Steven Hack says:

    The Media and Iran

    How the US media never tells anyone that an attack on Iran – by anyone – would be ILLEGAL.

  73. kooshy says:

    It’s been a few days that I am in Tehran, last I was here was a year ago.
    Few observations, traffic seems to be slightly less hectic than last year, Hijab is much much much more looser and sometimes even Jellf ( gaudy), now it seems spreading up in the age level, even women in my age group show a lot more hair and tighter legging style jeans, and yes most fashionable women were knee high boots, more importantly the most visible economic activity is construction, much more than last year around my father’s home, in a stretch of road that equals to five LA blocks I counted 53 small and large construction projects there is no street that a new construction is not happening( which is a big cause of traffic), further, I now think the reason why the sanctions don’t work, simply is, because sanctions are imposed to interrupt the flow in the economy when there are pre-defined time and progress schedule , but one wonders how that would be possible in Iranian cultural mentality if there is no hard defined time and progress scheduled, all contractors believe since they are personally financed time is on their side, especially since most private construction projects are not bank financed, but rather are financed by personal capital.

    Dollar in private money exchange shops are available abundantly as long as one would pay the non-official rate , external banking is done by Turkish and Tajik bank, most business have from Dubai to other countries, I was told one can wire money anywhere guarantee to be wherever in 24 hours using private banks but at the non-official rate.

    Every Iranian businessmen as per their traditional 25 century business culture, complains but they are all still thinking to go abroad for the new year vacation obviously at the non-official exchange rate, there is no visible sign of increased effect of sanctions than what I observed or felt last year, I even think they are less effective since the system has absorbed any possible initial effect long time ago. There is not much visible sign of sanctions on the street level; the only visible sign is the exchange rate, but I think increased interest rate to +20% has made that less effective, I saw a young men asking to buy 40 mil, Toman worth of government bonds with a 20% interest rate in a local branch of Iran’s National Bank, he was standing in a line with another 10 individuals ahead of him.

    No one I spoke to believes there will be a war with US or Israel , or possibility for any internal uprising against the system, people actually are more confident about the preventive power of Iran today than what I felt last year, even a 80 year old retired shah’s era high official who was a friend of my father doesn’t think the US can or is in a condition to attack Iran , he was worried and asking if the US economy is getting improved , everyone I spoke with even in the working class is much more politically aware on world events than the average person in US including my own employees back in US. These are fascinating people in a fascinating emotional country. If the US wants to bring Iranians to their knees she will need to sanction them on their emotions and their love for Iran.

    I will try to write more of my personal observations, once I get back.

  74. Richard Steven Hack says:

    A bit off topic generally for this site – although not in reference to the posted article – but illustrative of how American electoral politics works as well as the influence of the Israel Lobby on the Iran issue.

    Follow the money ALWAYS works…

    The Bibi Connection


    “US President Barack Obama is ‘naïve’ and needs to face up to the threat presented by the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood across the Middle East, Israel’s National Security Council concluded during a strategic discussion several days ago,” Israel Hayom reported.

    The Israeli National Security Council consists of Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s closest advisers. And Israel Hayom is not just another right-leaning Israeli tabloid. Referred to by Israelis as the “Bibiton,” or Bibi’s mouthpiece, the paper is an instrument that gives him extraordinary political leverage. The obviously planted article in Israel Hayom rang like a bell sounding the start of Netanyahu’s own campaign in helping the Republican Party oust Obama from the White House.

    Israel Hayom’s genesis demonstrates the depth of Netanyahu’s connections in Republican circles. It was created by one of Netanyahu’s top financial supporters, a Las Vegas-based casino tycoon named Sheldon Adelson, who is also a major donor to the conservative wing of the Republican Party. Adelson’s closest relationship is with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, a longtime ally of Netanyahu who has been running a rancorous campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

    Netanyahu has engaged enthusiastic allies in the Republican Congress, led by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and within the right-wing media. His neoconservative allies in Washington are launching a “Super PAC” to generate emotional attack ads against Obama and any candidate that might be an obstacle to his policies. And his campaign has even broadened into an attempt to discredit The New York Times, whose editorial page and foreign policy columnists, Thomas Friedman and Roger Cohen, have been critical of him.

    The following year, Netanyahu published a political manifesto in the form of a memoir, A Durable Peace, edited with a helping hand from American neoconservative Douglas Feith.

    The new Prime Minister relied on a kitchen cabinet of advisers from neoconservative think tanks, especially the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Shalem Center. In 1996, two of these advisers, former Reagan administration Pentagon officials, Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, produced a document for Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, a once influential base of neocon activity, called “A Clean Break.” The paper advocated overthrowing Saddam Hussein and attacking Syria “as a prelude to a redrawing of the map of the Middle East.” (Feith was appointed a Defense Department official in the George W Bush administration and became a fervent defender of the Iraq invasion, leading the effort to fabricate evidence of Saddam Hussein’s operational links with al-Qaeda. General Tommy Frank, who led the invasion, called Feith “the f**king stupidest guy on the face of the earth.”)

    {MY COMMENT: That comment coming from Frank, who I consider to be the SECOND “f^^kihg stupidest guy on the face of the earth”, is revealing. :-) – RSH]

    Israel Hayom’s owner, Las Vegas Sands casino corporation chairman Sheldon Adelson, is America’s eighth wealthiest man. At the same time he was bankrolling Netanyahu’s career, Adelson also became Gingrich’s leading financial angel. The casino kingpin was introduced to Gingrich in 1996 through George Harris, a right-wing anti-tax activist and Clark County, Nevada Republican chairman who helped Adelson block a unionization bid at one of his casinos. Gingrich resigned from Congress in disgrace in 1999, forced out by Republicans, hiding his extramarital affair with a congressional staffer. Adelson stepped in as his financial godfather, pumping millions into the coffers of American Solutions for Winning the Future, an independent political committee that covered Gingrich’s extravagant travel expenses.

    When Gingrich embarked on the presidential trail, George Harris became his campaign finance co-chair, representing Adelson by proxy. (Adelson’s Sands corporation is currently facing a federal criminal probe for allegedly bribing foreign officials).

    When Gingrich quits the race, Netanyahu will not be without a candidate. He can count on former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney to carry the neoconservative banner all the way to Election Day. Of Romney’s 22 campaign foreign policy advisers, 15 worked in the administration of George W Bush, and six were original members of the Project for the New American Century, the neoconservative group that called for regime change in Iraq.

    Romney’s own Super PAC, Restore Our Future, credited with destroying Gingrich’s hopes in Iowa through a relentless barrage of negative ads, is financed in part by Mel Sembler, a Florida-based a multi-millionaire shopping mall developer and veteran Republican fundraiser, appointed the US ambassador to Italy by President George W Bush. Sembler was mired in scandal when the federal government revoked the license of a chain of adolescent treatment centers he founded after former teenage patients complained they were sexually abused, psychologically tortured and humiliated during sadistic behavior modification programs. Less well known is the financial largesse Sembler has bestowed on neoconservative outfits supporting Netanyahu’s policies. He is also a close friend of Adelson.

    In ramping up the effort to turn Israel into an anti-Obama wedge issue, a group of neoconservative Netanyahu allies have started a independent political committee called the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI). The group’s name was inspired by the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe, an organization that Netanyahu’s father, Benzion, helped lead during World War II in part to raise money for the right-wing Irgun militia in Palestine. The group’s board comprises a Who’s Who of Washington neoconservatives. It is directed by Noah Pollak, a former assistant editor of Azure, the in-house journal of the Adelson-funded Shalem Center, several of whose fellows are now in Netanyahu’s inner circle of advisers. Pollak was credited with helping the Israeli army launch a YouTube channel to rebut accusations that it committed war crimes in the Gaza Strip and elsewhere.

    But he is far from confident that he can dislodge Obama. Steeling himself for a possible second Obama term, Netanyahu has signaled his intention to move up the date of Israel’s national election. Hanan Krystal, a political analyst for Israel Radio, explained Netanyahu’s possible motives to Reuters: “At the highest echelons, they have long been saying that if Obama is elected for a second term, the carrot will be replaced by a stick.”

    End Quotes

    Note how Netanyahu and the Israel Lobby have their hooks DIRECTLY into at least TWO of the Republican candidates, Gingrich and Romney. Santorum has no chance of being the Republican candidate anyway, and frankly from what I’ve read neither does GIngrich, not being liked by the OTHER main backers of the Republican Party or the Party leadership. I think Romney is likely to be the candidate and Netanyahu can count on him to do what he says given his backing.

    Personally I doubt Obama will be defeated by Romney, but given an oil price rise this summer, anything is possible.

  75. ToivoS says:

    BiBiJon: March 8, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    There are some economists that are saying that sanctions will actually strengthen the Iranian economy. The sanctions have in effect caused a 40% decline in the value of their currency. This is text book — that makes imports more expensive and Iranian exports more affordable. This should result in a boost to Iranian manufacturing.

    Normally, countries are careful about depreciating their currencies because of political back-lash — it really does cause hardship for the people. In Iran’s case, they are immunized from that kind of backlash because the rulers can justifiably claim the devaluation is the result of imperialist and Zionist inspired sanctions. It becomes rally around the flag and all of that good old fashioned patriotism.

  76. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    You may recall that the British response to Iran’s announcement of the intention to treble production of 20% U, was to start to organise a further round of sanctions. The announcement led directly to the latest sanctions. Ahmadinejad tried to head the sanctions off, by offering to stop enrichment to 20%.

  77. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    You had pretty much calculated that Iran had produced about 120 kg of 20% U by end of last month. How fast is it being transformed into fuel rods, and plates, for the TRR? Some experts say much of the 3.5% U is then being further enriched to 20% rather than remaining available to fuel the Bushehr power plants after 2015.

  78. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Report: Netanyahu OKed delay of Iran attack till after the election for bunker-busters


    Central to the difference of opinions is at what stage of the uranium enrichment process it will become necessary to use military force. According to intelligence reports, Iran has succeeded in enriching 120 kilogram (265 lbs.) of uranium to 20 percent purity. To make a bomb the Iranians require 250 kg (550 lbs) of 90% pure uranium. However, enriching from 20% to 90% is a relatively fast process, meaning Israel may see its window for action closing. According to Maariv, the US is prepared to wait until Iran has 250 kg of 20% rich uranium, but Israel considers the current developments beyond its own red line for action.

    End Quote

    I suppose Canning will be ecstatic that his claim that 20% enrichment is the all consuming reason for this is supported by this report… I suspect this is BS and that the US doesn’t care how much 20% uranium there is because one bomb would be utterly irrelevant even if Iran had a delivery vehicle – which it does not – and given that there’s no way Iran could enrich that uranium to 90% without leaving the NPT.

    HOWEVER, as AN EXCUSE, claiming Iran has enough 20% uranium to make a bomb BY ITSELF – which would be a LIE – might actually fly given the ignorance of the US public.

    Technically a nuclear weapon CAN be made from 20% enriched uranium. It’s just ridiculously hard to do it and no one would bother. But the average American doesn’t know that and would never be told that in the American media.

    Obama has always claimed he won’t attack Iran until it “acquires a nuclear weapon”. But there’s nothing stopping him from waiting for an IAEA report that says Iran has X amount of 20% uranium and then use that to CLAIM that Iran is “acquiring a nuclear weapon” and thereby “justifying” an attack.

    This sort of thing could be what Obama prefers to use to start a war rather than or in addition to a naval blockade. The advantage to Obama is that in such a situation there would be no need for a major preparation in the international community for a naval blockade. He could just launch a surprise attack – which is the way, as others have noted, that Obama prefers to operate – in secret. Or he could secretly authorize an Israeli attack which he and Netanyahu would then claim is based on phony Israeli or US SIGINT “intelligence” that Iran had started to enrich the 20% at Fordow to a higher level.

    Canning is wrong to claim that the sanctions are based on enrichment to 20%. But there might be a glimmer of truth to say that Iran’s enriching to 20% allows the West to make it easier to start a war.

    I’m NOT saying this is how things will go. Take note. I am suggesting that this report from Maariv indicates it MIGHT be how things could go.

  79. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Interesting video if true.

    Syria: Game Over for Western Propaganda
    Syrian Activists Caught Lying, Syrian Rebels Caught Committing Atrocities

  80. James Canning says:

    At HuffPo, Joshua Hersh has excellent piece on the warm reception the Syrian unrest received at the Aipac annual convention. What a surprise.

  81. James Canning says:


    I think John Kerry might well have been a fine statesman. But generally, Americans tends to select as president a man who knows little about foreign policy.

  82. James Canning says:


    When Larijani warned EU officials that sanctions against Iran would hurt the EU more than Iran, there were many businessmen who readily agreed with Larijani.

  83. James Canning says:


    I doubt the people of the US or the EU want to “destroy Iran”. Many of them are afraid Iran will soon build nukes and maybe use them or allow terrorists to use them.

  84. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    I should have noted you posted the link to Blumental’s warning about Mitt Romeny and his ultra Israel Firster adviser, Eliot Cohen.

  85. James Canning says:


    Max Blumenthal is quite right to warn of the dangers posed by an Eliot Cohen operating within an incoming Mitt Romney administration. More war! Protect Israel! Up the “defence” budget!

  86. Nasser says:

    “Prospects of a GCC Confederation”

    Hope this leads to closer cooperation between Iraq and Iran.

  87. Karl says:

    Ex-Mossad chief: Iran rational; don’t attack now

    Another man calling Iran rational compared to israeli leadership that wants to portray that it is irrational.

  88. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Romney’s Man on Iran

    The psycho female advising him who wanted to nuke Pakistan and Iran.

  89. BiBiJon says:


    Iran fought an eight year brutal war against Saddam Hussein while she was under sanctions, and the West supported Saddam.

    For your perusal, check this historical oil chart http://inflationdata.com/inflation/inflation_rate/historical_oil_prices_table.asp

    You should note that Iran’s population (mouths to feed) went from 35 to 60 million, and she fought a war when oil was worth an average of $25 ($50 p/b in today’s prices). She suffered 500,000 fatalities and did not give up on ejecting Saddam’s forces.

    Today oil was at $106.56 in a far tighter demand/supply situation than in the 80s.

    Iran has been hoarding gold since 2005, realizing western dominated financial system is not neutral. see ,http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2006/6/6/151138.shtml

    Despite the sanctions Iranian economy is growing at a respectable clip. See ,http://irdiplomacy.ir/en/news/All/bodyView/17459/index.html

    I think Iranians are adequately prepared for the long haul, and I think the West has acknowledged this and is ready for a compromise.

  90. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Eric: “What I should have written was that the IAEA did not claim that those military activities – if they occurred – violated Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. The IAEA has never claimed that. It argues merely that those allegations make it suspicious, so that it cannot certify that Iran has declared all of its nuclear material. (Iran’s essential reaction these days is: “Sorry to hear you feel that way, but we can live with that. Nothing in our Safeguards Agreement requires you to ‘certify’ this, and you don’t ‘certify’ it for many other countries besides us.”)”

    Good point.

    “Those reasons might have been Iran’s undeniably “covert” activities with the undeclared Chinese uranium (which activities were permissible under Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, but should have been disclosed)”

    I actually was never aware of those activities in any detail until you mentioned it. I haven’t read the earlier IAEA reports in detail or paid much attention to the pre-2003 activities.

    “The US’ version was quite different, of course: Iran stopped working on nuclear weapons because its leaders saw what happened to the last guy who the US accused of developing nuclear weapons, and they didn’t want that to happen to them.”

    Yes, the NIE explicitly said they thought the reason for the halt was that Iran had been pressured into doing so. Probably they took this explanation as the one most likely to be pleasing to Bush instead of the DIA explanation which would have made Bush look like a fool for destroying Iraq to the benefit of Iran. :-)

  91. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Pirouz: “Really, it’s up to Obama to show genuine leadership this time around.”

    I agree.

    I also say “good luck with that!”

  92. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Photi: “These statements to me sound like a “grand civilization discussion.””

    Which has nothing to do with the sort of dicussions I was referring to.

  93. fyi says:

    Karl says: March 8, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Iranians will take a few years to adjust to these sanctions.

    Already banks in Central Asia and elsewhere are helping them with transactios, for a fee.

    And Iranians companies are mving into Iraq.

    But like all other wars, the neutral states will make money selling to both sides – so to speak.

    I think US-EU citizens are over-estimating their power; certainly when it comes to destroying Iran.

    But the last sanctions were definitely designed by EU leaders to hurt the Iranian people and government.

    That the oil sanctions have caused “blow-back” in raising oil prices shows that the siege war against Iran has not been cost-free to them (outside of opportunity costs).

    In fact, electricity prices in Israel have gone up (14%, I think) in Israel as a direct consequence of the Axis Power’s Siege War against Iran.

    Mr. Larijani told EU guys back in 2006 that “you will loose more than us” but I guess they did not take him seriously.

  94. Karl says:


    I think you have a rather too positive outlook.

    – Sanctions do bite and will bite more, its not impossible that Iran reach a level where they simply cant accept their living/isolation/sanctioning anymore. We might think thats not the case today but of course US and their friends could do alot of more damage financially. For example could the unilateral sanctions be accelerated, UN sanctions could be imposed, SWIFT sanctions could be imposed, there could be a blockade.

    – Subversion such as bombings, assassinations or other obvious acts of aggression or provocations could eventually trigger Iran to respond. Either deliberately or of misscommunication which would really ignite the war.

    – Actual bombings of America or Israel may be a possibility, especailly after the presidential election.

    Having said that US and its friend are really trapped in a self-inflicted stalemate. They have pushed, rushed, voiced for wars for decades and now when they have runned up close the actual goal-line they are starting to getting nervous and question their own behavoir, “maybe we werent right”, “Iran doesnt actually have nuclear weapons, is it really wise to attack them?”, “what would the response be if we attack?”. The warmongering which is not sane have been driven for so long by emotional arguments and not by what the facts actually say. Even Gingrich’s aid and other influential people even reject the people who actually know the realities on the ground which prove the effects of paranoia and warmongering.

    Gingrich Adviser Accuses Panetta Of Not ‘Telling The Truth’ About Iran’s Nuclear Program


  95. BiBiJon says:

    Wink or blink: Iran may be declaring victory while seeking a way out

    “The obvious conclusion is that tough talk on both sides has masked quieter efforts to reach a compromise.”

    So, I guess the sanctions proved to be unworkable/unsustainable, costs of military action too prohibitive, and the hopes & prayers for a ‘green’ revolution remained pie in the sky.

    What a load of pulava the world has gone thru to reach this point.

  96. fyi says:

    Bob Marshall says: March 8, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    I do not think a statesman can get elected to public office today in the United States.

    The last such man was the late Mr. Nixon.

  97. Bob Marshall says:

    Having read NOWAR FOR OIL and am at the present time reading AMERICA’S “WAR ON TERRORISM”i have come to realize how ignorant and how easily led millions of Americans are when it come to wars and foreign policy. ” Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” Henry Kissinger. ‘Americans buy war like children gobble candy.”Henry Kissinger. In 2007 Zbigniew Brzezinski told the U.S. senate that the “war on terror” was a mythical historical narrative, in other words, a complete fiction.We have a nation filled with too many loyalist and not enough patriots.we didn’t head the warning from our founders and great men like, Lincoln,Eisenhower,and Martin Luther King Jr.for starters. Norah Webster said, “If we vote an immoral man into office we are traitors to our country.” Only Godly men will have Godly principles.Those who claim our founder were not men who believed in a supreme being need to read from AMERICA’S GOD AND COUNTRY Encyclopedia Of Quotations.We have a government full of politicians.We need a government full of statesmen.The war hawks and a select few powerful men are determined to carry out “Which Way to Persia” and the plans of the former PNAC.

  98. Karl says:

    Netanyahu have tried to reach out vital states (regarding Iran) lately.
    Now Netanyahu hail Russia. One could of course argue that Putin winned an election with many flaws maybe even rigged at some places, but here we see Netanyahu accepting Putin a legitimate winner. How come then Netanyahu saying that the 2009 election was fraudlent? Is he unaware of his hypocrisy?


  99. James Canning says:


    Few would not accept that Israel is forcing the imposition of sanctions on Iran. What I continue to find interesting is that those who clearly are angry about the most recent sanctions, have been so reluctant to discuss Ahmadinejad’s effort to head off those sanctions.

  100. James Canning says:


    Didn’t Eisenhower force Britain to pull out of Egypt in 1956, by threatening to break the pound?

  101. fyi says:


    Why playing the anti-Shia card against Iran harms those who play it and not Iran:


  102. Fiorangela says:

    Anomalies re Esther

    Zionism is, we are told, the longing of the Jewish people to return to their god-given biblican homeland, Jerusalem.

    In 586 BC, Nebuchadnezzar forcibly transferred several thousands of Jews from Jerusalem to Babylon. While in exile, Jews pined for their homeland, Zion: “If I forget thee oh Jerusalem let my right hand be forgotten . . .” Longing for return to Jerusalem, Zion, was institutionalized.
    About 50 years later, Cyrus, king of Persia, conquered Nebuchadnezzar. The books of TaNaKh record that Cyrus returned to the Jewish people their sacred temple artifacts and their gold and silver; he called upon the Persian people to contribute yet more gold and silver and other treasure as gifts to the Jews. And as the closing book of TaNaKh, II Chronicles, records, Cyrus enabled Jews to return to Jerusalem, under the financial support and ‘security umbrella’ of the Persian king. As Amy Jill Levine instructs, the message of II Chronicles to the Jewish people is, Go back home; go back to Jerusalem.
    Only a minority of Jews returned to Jerusalem; a larger number remained in Babylon and eventually the Persian empire. The process of that returning group’s reintegration with the Jews who had been left behind was difficult. Nehemiah acted as the intermediary between the Persian authorities — and returned Jews and ‘native’ Jews as they struggled to rebuild their temple, their institutions, and their community.
    Meanwhile, Jews who had remained in Babylon continued to prosper. Those Jews became the leaders — the “Qom” or “Vatican” — of Jews worldwide, including Jews in Palestine. The Persian government supported Jews in Jerusalem for about 200 years; that is, until well into the fourth century BCE.
    Ahasueras of the book of Esther is said to be Xerxes, who came to power in 486 BC, while the Persians were still supporting the return and rebuilding of Jerusalem.

    That is to say, Esther and Mordecai were not constrained to remain in Babylon under the dominion of the Persian king Xerxes. If Mordecai resented bowing to the Persian authority, he could have returned to Jerusalem with his co-religionists. If Esther longed for Zion, for the security of her own homeland, she could have returned to Jerusalem.

    Instead, Esther and Mordecai demanded — and obtained — the wealth, power, and even the lives of the ten sons of Ahasueras.

    Benjamin Netanyahu opened his speech to the AIPAC conference with the declaration, Jerusalem is the home of the Jewish people! He closed his speech with the story of Esther, under whose influence 75,000 Persians were killed, the prime minister was killed and replaced by Esther’s Jewish uncle; the ten heirs of the Persian king were slaughtered; Esther was elevated to a position of authority over the Persian kingdom and was given half the wealth of the Persian empire.

    It’s fair to ask: what is the zionist agenda? Obviously, it is more than just returning to Jerusalem. Esther, Mordecai, and thousands of exiled Jews could have returned from their exile in Babylon to Jerusalem but they chose not to. Instead, Esther demanded control of another people’s government.

  103. BiBiJon says:

    Will Inboden, over at ForeignPolicy is struggling with “the meaning of a ‘diplomatic’ approach to Iran.


    “diplomacy is rightly understood to include the robust sanctions regime currently in place. In their admirable efforts to craft and implement this sanctions regime, the Obama administration has also been operating with a proper definition of diplomacy that includes the economic sanctions, rather than somehow being an alternative to sanctions.”

    Well not in my book. I think the word has come to mean practically anything you can get away with.

    But, here is a helpful hint, along the lines of ‘do unto thers, what you’d have them do unto you.’

    If China threatened to and then actually dumped all the Treasury notes it holds to get the US to concede something or other, would the US consider that as a “diplomatic” approach, or would it be slammed as economic warfare, and a blatant attempt at coercion?

  104. Karl says:

    I think the recent push by world powers on Iran is just a respone to israeli warmongering the last months. It was the same thing last year, Israel ratched up its rhetoric, threatened to attack Iran. Goal? To pressure world powers to pressure Iran. That is blackmailing.

  105. Richard,

    An important clarification of my previous posts:

    I wrote there that the IAEA didn’t “mention” Iran’s alleged military activities when it referred Iran to the UN Security Council in 2006. Obviously, the IAEA “mentioned” those allegations, at great length, in that report (notably, the “alleged studies”) and many times since then, most extensively in its November 2011 report. What I should have written was that the IAEA did not claim that those military activities – if they occurred – violated Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. The IAEA has never claimed that. It argues merely that those allegations make it suspicious, so that it cannot certify that Iran has declared all of its nuclear material. (Iran’s essential reaction these days is: “Sorry to hear you feel that way, but we can live with that. Nothing in our Safeguards Agreement requires you to ‘certify’ this, and you don’t ‘certify’ it for many other countries besides us.”)

    US intelligence agencies are free, of course, to believe whatever they want about these “military activities” allegations. They might or might not agree with the IAEA Director General (whose views have varied, depending on who’s in office: El Baradei insisted he’d seen no persuasive evidence of Iranian nuclear weapons development; Amano claims he is greatly worried by the same information). The 2007 NIE indeed states that US intelligence agencies had “high confidence” that Iran was developing nuclear weapons before 2003, though without giving its reasons. Those reasons might have been Iran’s undeniably “covert” activities with the undeclared Chinese uranium (which activities were permissible under Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, but should have been disclosed), or it might have involved the NIE’s unexplained reference to “weaponization” activities – the NIE doesn’t say. I nonetheless recall claims by former intelligence officials that the US had lacked sufficient information to make that determination one way or another. When the 2007 NIE was being prepared, the agencies had focused on the post-2003 period (concluding that no nuclear weapons development had occurred), and so very little attention had been paid to the pre-2003 period.

    On a different but related point, your explanation of why Iran stopped what you describe as largely “paper studies” on nuclear weapons after Saddam Hussein was deposed is an excellent illustration of how the same event can be “spun” differently by the two sides in a dispute. As you explain Iran’s reasoning, there was no reason to spend time and money learning how to build a nuclear bomb since the only reason that might have become necessary – rumors that Saddam Hussein was developing a nuclear bomb – no longer existed after the US deposed Saddam in 2003 and discovered he’d not been working on a bomb after all. The US’ version was quite different, of course: Iran stopped working on nuclear weapons because its leaders saw what happened to the last guy who the US accused of developing nuclear weapons, and they didn’t want that to happen to them.

    All in the eye of the beholder, I suppose.

  106. Pirouz says:

    Both sides apparently sense the upcoming Iran talks over the nuclear issue are an opportunity for easing tensions:


    Hopefully it won’t go the way of the missed opportunity following the 2010 Tehran Declaration. Really, it’s up to Obama to show genuine leadership this time around.

  107. Pirouz says:

    This is another indirect confirmation of the IDF/AF’s capability needs to strike Iran: (They’re not really up to it, presently.)

    Israel asks U.S. for arms that could aid Iran strike

  108. Kathleen says:

    Just returned from the Occupy Aipac conference actions in DC. Most of us have read about the Aipac (I lobby) for decades. But as is often the case when you see the numbers (thousands) of people standing outside of congressional buildings in DC to go in and talk, lobby their Reps to vote a particular way say on Senate Resolution 380 you visually get what kind of pressure our Reps are under. Many of us have lobbied (petitions, individually with groups) our Reps to take a far more balanced view on the I/P issue for decades . Went to see and talk with legislative aides in both Senator Portmans and Senator Sherrod Browns offices about why they both co sponsored Senate Resolution 380 which the Aipac lobbyist were pushing for this week. Both legislative aides repeated almost identical responses. “capability” of Iran. “red line” Senator Sherrod Browns legislative aide also mentioned “constituent pressure” I mentioned to both aides that they should come to this site to learn more about the facts on the ground. That Iran has the right to enrich uranium up to 20% and that they were not going to give up that right under the NPT. The legislative aide in Senator Portmans (oh) office seemed dangerously uninformed about the Iran issue.

    As I drove back from DC to Ohio I heard NPR’s Robert Siegel interviewing Micheal Oren on All Things Considered. Oren was repeating inflammatory rhetoric about Iran as well as complete lies “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map” Siegel did not challenge Oren’s false claims once. Not once. NPR’s Robert Siegel once again allows a push for an attack on Iran to be promoted under his watch as well as lies to be repeated about Iran

    The link to Robert Siegel allowing Micheal Oren to repeat lies about Iran
    Middle East
    Israeli Ambassador Weighs In On Netanyahu Visit
    [4 min 32 sec]

    Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Obama at the White House. The number one topic on their agenda was Iran’s nuclear program. Mr. Obama appealed to the Israeli leader to allow more time to pass for sanctions against Tehran to work rather than resort to military action soon. But Netanyahu insisted that his country remain master of its own fate. And here to talk with us about what all this means is Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren. Good to see you again.

    MICHAEL OREN: Always good to be with you, Robert.

    SIEGEL: The president says the U.S. has Israel’s back, while Prime Minister Netanyahu reserves the right to strike preemptively. Does Israel accept that for several months the world can wait to see if Iran is responsive to sanctions?

    OREN: Well, we think that there is time, but there’s not a lot. Keep in mind we have been warning about this Iranian nuclear program for close to two decades now. We appreciate President Obama’s great commitment. But keep in mind Israel also lives in a very tough neighborhood.

    SIEGEL: Does Israel acknowledge, though, that the current round of sanctions, not all of which have taken effect yet, are indeed tougher than what has been applied to Tehran in the past?

    OREN: Definitely tougher. And we’ve seen that they have had an impact on the Iranian economy. What they have not impacted yet is the Iranian nuclear program.

    SIEGEL: But Israel says that after a strike against Iran, if there is such a strike, there should be a regime of tough sanctions applied against Iran to prevent them from restarting. This was, I believe, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement. There obviously is an acceptance by Israel in that case of the logic of sanctions.

    OREN: The main goal will always be to prevent Iran from acquiring the ability to make nuclear weapons. This is a regime that is sponsoring terror worldwide. It’s actually the largest state sponsor of terror, giving, you know, tens of thousands of rockets to terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas. It’s supporting terror in Africa, in South America. This is all they’re doing without a nuclear weapon. Imagine what they would do with a nuclear weapon.

    SIEGEL: But today, are Israel and the United States essentially in agreement about how to treat the Iranian nuclear program, or would you describe Israel’s view of it as being in some way qualitatively different from that of the U.S.?

    OREN: It’s qualitatively different only in the sense that we are right next to Iran. We’re a much smaller country. We’re less than 1 percent the size of the United States. And the Iranian regime is openly saying it wants these weapons to wipe Israel off the map.

    SIEGEL: Well, what do you make of Iran never conceding that it’s making a nuclear weapon?

    OREN: Well, Iran has systematically lied about its nuclear program for three decades now. They’ve said that they weren’t enriching uranium to 20 percent; they’re enriching uranium to 20 percent. There’s lie after lie after lie here. The way we see that this could be resolved peacefully is that if Iran would give up its nuclear-enriched stockpile of uranium, it would cease enriching, and it would dismantle that secret facility at Qom. I think that’s the way we could be assured that Iran is no longer threatening to wipe Israel, as they say, off the map.

    SIEGEL: The prime minister said that for Iran, the U.S. is the great Satan; Israel is the little Satan. For them, he said, we are you, and you are us. And he said on that point, they’re right. We are you, and you are us. We’re together. That togetherness would also apply to Iranian reprisals for a strike, that is if the U.S. struck at Iran, the Iranian terror counterstrikes could be at Israel or vice versa. In that case, wouldn’t an Israeli preemptive strike be something that the U.S. should be on board with and approve of if we’re going into the risk together?

    OREN: Let’s understand that Iran has already killed hundreds, if not thousands of Americans, whether it be the 241 Marines killed in Beirut or the American soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq by Iran. But rather than focusing on the price of what happens if there’s any type of action against Iran, let’s pause for a second and consider what will be the price of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

    Imagine Iran which today has a bunch of speedboats trying to close the Strait of Hormuz. Imagine if Iran has a nuclear weapon. Imagine if they could hold the entire world oil market blackmailed. Imagine if Iran is conducting terrorist organizations through its terrorist proxies – Hamas, Hezbollah. Now we know there’s a connection with al-Qaida. You can’t respond to them because they have an atomic weapon.

    SIEGEL: Yes. You’re saying the consequences of Iran going nuclear are potentially global, and the consequences of a U.S. strike on Iran might also be further such attacks against the United States. Why shouldn’t the U.S. be informed of any Israeli plan to strike at Tehran given the fact that, as the prime minister says, you are us and we are you?

    OREN: We have very close relationships with the Obama administration, as with the previous administrations. This is a historic alliance between the American and Israeli peoples. And, of course, America’s interests are part of our calculus in anything we do. At the end of the day, though, Israel must have responsibility for itself.

    SIEGEL: Ambassador Michael Oren of Israel, thank you very much for talking with us.

    OREN: As always, thank you, Robert.


  109. Kathleen says:

    “We, of course, argue that this post-Cold War “imperial turn” in America’s Middle East policy—manifested in its invasion and occupation of Iraq, in its posture toward the Islamic Republic of Iran, in the Arab-Israeli arena, and in many other ways—has been grossly counter-productive for the United States’ strategic position in the region (as well as lethally destructive for many people living there).”

    Think about the outing of Lt General Garner who wanted to leave the Iraqi army intact and Bremer coming in and disbanding the Iraqi army. Putting thousands of unemployed Iraqi men out on the streets. sure seems like this was not a mistake. Goal to destabilize Iraq even more. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/yeariniraq/interviews/garner.html

    I think one of the more interesting parts of this above debate was when Mearsheimer once again clarifies Netanyahu’s intentions at 19:47 “Netanyahu government is in the drivers seat and the Netanyahu government is deeply committed to colonizing the West Bank and creating a greater Israel.”

  110. Photi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    March 7, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Richard, re: the negative attributes of this blog, you said:


    grand civilization discussions

    End Quote

    The Leveretts ended the current thread with the following statements:

    “The United States sticks with it as part of a larger—and deeply dysfunctional—quest to subordinate the Middle East as part of a post-Cold War American empire. Through this warped prism, Washington sees Israeli military dominance in the region as a useful adjunct of its own strategy. That is what the United States has to give up to develop a truly effective policy toward the Islamic Republic and toward the Middle East more generally.”

    These statements to me sound like a “grand civilization discussion.” I think this website (and other blogs i frequent, and many others i don’t) are doing precisely this, envisioning a grand re-organization of human society and civilization.

    The INTERNET is forcing the need, or rather forcing humans to realize the need for the new vision. The internet is allowing the new vision to be born in a truly international way.

    The old school imperialists and zionists are on their way out, and the new vision for humanity, which has hardly yet to be articulated, is being manifested as we speak.

    This website is not just about the Iran war. Its layers are much deeper than that.

  111. Photi says:

    Sic! [sic]. Good job Hillary. Mearsheimer is a clear and confident speaker and i for one would like to hear him and the Leveretts discuss these issues for an hour or two. The Greenfield guy showed himself to be a ridiculous smear.

  112. fyi says:

    Humanist says: March 7, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    He is risking his life if he seriosuly promotes war with Iran.

    None of the great or lesser powers are supportive of that and in Israel herself there is strong opposition in IDF.

    IDF assasinated the PM of Israel, the late Mr. Rabin; it can do so again.

  113. fyi says:

    Lysander says: March 7, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Clearly, some factions in US do not wish to see progress in this arena.

    Politically, it is unimportant.

  114. fyi says:

    Karl says: March 8, 2012 at 7:51 am

    They will come to rue their abuse of international treaties and instruments.

    No doubt.

    In my opinion, once Iraq used WMD against Iran in 1980s and P5 enorsed it, there was no going back to a more benign international environment.

    Likewise, the cuddling of Israel – specially her rape of Lebanon in 1982, led directly to 9/11/2011 attacks on the United States.

    But Americans apparently are still oblivious to all these effects.

  115. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: March 7, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    The Russian Federation is making Western intervention in Syria more and more expensive.

    That is all.

  116. BiBiJon says:

    Symbiosis of Specialness:
    You say I’m special, I say you’re special, and we say our relationship is super special.

    Generally this kind of echo chamber would be ignored by most rest of the planet; dismissed as one those quirky things that nations are entitled to.

    But, last week’s love fest revolved around an importunate issue, whacking Iran, which will “set the middle east on fire.”

    I just have to wonder outside the bubble, what are Americans to think. And, what is the rest of the world to think/do?

    Thomas Friedman, whose notion of ‘the world is getting flatter’ betrayed a conflict of interests when he agitated for flattening Iraq, assures us Israel, and the special relationship have nothing to do with America whacking Iran. Strangely though, he cites selectively from Obama’s interview with Netanyahu’s scribe, on the occasion of his visit to the US, published in the Atlantic on the eve of Obama’s appearance at AIPAC, to deny Israeli connivance in setting mid east on fire.

    see http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_20123424

    That Mr. World-is-flat feels the need to start spinning already, tells me that outside the bubble there’s some disquiet.

  117. Rehmat says:

    Karl – Most of the world powers are Zionist controlled. Most of their wars are decided in Tel Aviv. That’s why they want Iran to open its nuclear facilities for the western embeded inspectors – but cannot demand the same from Israel.

    The Zionist media is already circulating lies about Iran’s “secret bomb facility” which has been “cleared of nuclear activities” before the arrival of IAEA inspectors. Because they expect, like Iraqi WMDs, Iran is not making any WMD either.

  118. Karl says:

    Absurd comments by Larry.

    “Israel is only 1 percent” of the middle east.
    – So? Does it matter if its 1 or 50 percent? The thing is Israel illegal occupying, annexing, building settlements waging aggressive wars, not defensive.

  119. Karl says:

    World powers still think they could play around with smaller states.
    Iran have no obligation to grant entry to this site, why are the world powers blantantly reject international law/NPT?!

    World powers to Iran: Open Parchin military site to IAEA inspectors

    This seems to be another excuse for not engage in real talks with Iran.

  120. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Eric: “The NIE doesn’t explain why intelligence agencies concluded that Iran had had a “nuclear weapons program” until 2003.”

    Right. All we saw was the summarization – the detailed NIE was never released.

    “If intelligence agencies had evidence in 2007 that Iran had been developing nuclear weapons before 2003, why did the IAEA not know this, and report it, just a year earlier when it referred Iran to the Security Council? Had US intelligence agencies neglected to tell the IAEA? That seems unlikely. Or had they discovered evidence of Iran’s pre-2003 nuclear weapons development only after 2006? I don’t remember hearing about any such discovery during that time frame.”

    I think the reason was that the IAEA at that time wasn’t as politicized as it is today. I think the ONLY real evidence – as Hillary said in her Antiwar Radio interview – that could be produced was the “laptop of death” – which the IAEA at that time considered to be bogus.

    What I don’t understand is why the 2007 NIE was so emphatic that Iran’s leadership was interested in pursuing nuclear weapons. That assessment clearly had to be wrong after 2003 and is even more wrong now.

    I could see the US intelligence agencies arguing over whether the mere fact of a nuclear weapons “study program” constituted “proof” that Iran’s leadership was interested in nuclear weapons. They would have pretty well had to make that assessment to be considered credible in Bush’s eyes at all.

    But at this point it should be clear to US intelligence, especially if their monitoring is as terrific as Marc Ambinder claimed in his GQ article I cited earlier, that the Iranian leadership is NOT interested in nuclear weapons at all.

    Unless of course they still think they won’t be taken as credible in Obama’s eyes if they don’t at least assume that the Iran leadership is still interested in nukes.

    “The NIE doesn’t explain what it meant by “Iran’s nuclear weapon design and weaponization work,””

    That’s almost certainly just the laptop documents. I’ve never heard of any other significant evidence of weapons work other than the “alleged studies”.

    What I’m amazed at is, if Scott Ritter is right and no one has ever made a forensic computer analysis of the laptop (it’s VERY hard to fake everything on a computer, I know from my computer security knowledge), particularly in the light of Gareth Porter’s revelations that the documents from the laptop are almost certainly forgeries, how the US intelligence agencies can continue to claim that Iran had a program prior to 2003 when their sole evidence for that is this utterly questionable source which is almost certainly from the Mossad.

    The only reason I think they might be stuck in this position is if they have signal intercepts from back before 2003 or testimony from defectors (however unreliable) that makes them think the laptop is supported by additional evidence (however weak.) I think Ray McGovern alluded to this in one of his Antiwar Radio interviews.

    But as I said I don’t think anyone other than the DIA has ever brought up the notion that the US intelligence agencies at a distance can’t distinguish between a low level research program and a real nuclear weapons program, and thus the agencies are erring on the side of caution to avoid being accused of not detecting such a program, i.e., the reverse of the Iraq situation.

    Given the people helming the CIA – Petraeus now and other lames earlier – the analysts are probably walking a tightrope between being forced to fudge the evidence and reclaiming at least some credibility after the Iraq intelligence mess.

  121. Richard Steven Hack says:
    March 8, 2012 at 2:04 am


    I should add that I only now read the second half of this post from you, in which you speculate what Iran’s “nuclear weapons development” work probably consisted of pre-2003. Neither of us really knows, of course, but your assessment strikes me as entirely plausible. If that’s all the NIE had in mind, it explains why the IAEA didn’t consider that worth reporting to the UN Security Council.

  122. Richard Steven Hack says:
    March 8, 2012 at 2:13 am

    You are correct about what the 2007 NIE says. I stand corrected. My memory of what I wrote is clear, but obviously I didn’t read it in the NIE itself. I should have checked the NIE before writing that.

    I nonetheless remain puzzled, and thus tend to think my memory may be correct even if my source was not.

    The NIE doesn’t explain why intelligence agencies concluded that Iran had had a “nuclear weapons program” until 2003. When the IAEA referred Iran to the UN Security Council three years later, in 2006, based on Iran’s pre-2003 violations, it didn’t mention suspected nuclear weapons development at all. This seems odd in light of the NIE’s claim made just a year later: If intelligence agencies had evidence in 2007 that Iran had been developing nuclear weapons before 2003, why did the IAEA not know this, and report it, just a year earlier when it referred Iran to the Security Council? Had US intelligence agencies neglected to tell the IAEA? That seems unlikely. Or had they discovered evidence of Iran’s pre-2003 nuclear weapons development only after 2006? I don’t remember hearing about any such discovery during that time frame.

    I too noted the footnote you cited in the NIE report, which explained what the NIE meant by “nuclear weapons program: “by “nuclear weapons program” we mean Iran’s nuclear weapon design and weaponization work and covert uranium conversion-related and uranium enrichment-related work.”

    “Covert uranium conversion-related and uranium enrichment-related work” presumably refers to Iran’s work with the undeclared uranium it had purchased from China many years earlier, which underpinned all of the violations reported by the IAEA to the UN Security Council in 2006. The NIE doesn’t explain what it meant by “Iran’s nuclear weapon design and weaponization work,” and, as I mentioned above, there was no mention of this either in the NIE or in the IAEA’s referral of Iran to the UN Security Council.

    For these reasons, I was surprised that the NIE nevertheless did state the conclusion you stated — that it believed Iran had engaged in nuclear weapons development until 2003. But that is what it says.

  123. Richard writes:

    “We assess with high confidence that until fall 2003, Iranian military entities were
    working under government direction to develop nuclear weapons.”

    That certainly doesn’t jibe with what I remember reading. I’ll track down the 2007 NIE and check (unless you have a link to it handy).

  124. Richard Steven Hack says:

    By the way, when the NIE says “nuclear weapons program”, that’s what they mean – not civilian enrichment. In a footnote, they say this explicitly:

    “1 For the purposes of this Estimate, by “nuclear weapons program” we mean Iran’s nuclear weapon design and weaponization work and covert uranium conversion-related and uranium enrichment-related work; we do not mean Iran’s declared civil work related to uranium conversion and enrichment.”

  125. Richard Steven Hack says:

    “Ayatollah Khomeini: should be “Ayatollah Khameini”…

  126. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Eric: “This observation leaves out an important statement in the 2007 NIE. It explicitly added, in essence, the following (my phrasing):

    “When we say we see no evidence that Iran has engaged in any nuclear weapon development since 2003, we do not mean to suggest that Iran was doing so before 2003. We simply don’t have enough information to draw a conclusion one way or another about the pre-2003 period. And thus we mean no more than what we are saying: we are convinced that Iran has not engaged in nuclear weapon development since 2003.”

    Uh, are you SURE about that?

    I just downloaded the 2007 NIE (that short recap that was released) and this is what it says explicitly:

    “We assess with high confidence that until fall 2003, Iranian military entities were
    working under government direction to develop nuclear weapons.

    We judge with high confidence that the halt lasted at least several years. (Because of
    intelligence gaps discussed elsewhere in this Estimate, however, DOE and the NIC
    assess with only moderate confidence that the halt to those activities represents a halt to Iran’s entire nuclear weapons program.)”

    That doesn’t square with your (rephrased) statement…

    It also reiterates that in this paragraph:

    “We assess with moderate confidence that convincing the Iranian leadership to forgo
    the eventual development of nuclear weapons will be difficult given the linkage many
    within the leadership probably see between nuclear weapons development and Iran’s
    key national security and foreign policy objectives, and given Iran’s considerable
    effort from at least the late 1980s to 2003 to develop such weapons. In our judgment,
    only an Iranian political decision to abandon a nuclear weapons objective would
    plausibly keep Iran from eventually producing nuclear weapons—and such a decision
    is inherently reversible.”

    Read the third clause in the first sentence…

    “appear to have led many people to assume it’s undisputed that Iran was developing nuclear weapons prior to 2003.”

    Ray McGovern is one of those people. However, I don’t think he has ever been asked whether he believes or if the CIA could distinguish at a distance the difference between a “nuclear weapons research database” and a “nuclear weapons development and deployment program.”

    This is the crux of the issue. The DIA believes that Iran merely had a “paper studies” and perhaps some technical testing program prior to 2003 and that the sole motivation was to determine if Iran would need a nuclear weapons to deter Saddam Hussein. Once Iraq was destroyed in 2003, Iran quite logically stopped that program.

    This interpretation makes the most sense, and more so than the 2007 NIE which continues to express suspicion about Iran’s intentions. Which is probably why the DIA estimate didn’t make it into the NIE.

    I personally think the DIA estimate is correct: that at some point between the Israeli attack on Osirak and 2003, someone in Iran authorized the IRGC or the conventional military to research what Iran would need to do to have a nuclear weapons IF Iraq were shown to be developing one. This would be “due diligence” on the part of any national military and I suspect even Ayatollah Khomeini wouldn’t have forbidden that degree of nuclear weapons program, even if he never intended to develop and deploy one at that point.

    I suspect once Iran looked into the issue, some Iranian diplomats and strategists would have assessed that Iran would gain little from possessing nuclear weapons and probably would suffer severe diplomatic and geopolitical downsides even beyond a likely attack by Israel and the US. At that point, Khomeini would have re-asserted his religious opinion that WMDs are “un-Islamic”.

    And once the Iraq war occurred, the entire program would have been scrapped, although it’s possible some residual studies concerning nuclear weapons would have remained to enable the Iranian military to assess any future regional weapons programs.

    You have to know HOW to build one to know when someone IS building one.

    There’s nothing wrong with Iran acquiring that knowledge. And I suspect they continue to do so if they need to. None of which means they have any intent to develop, manufacture and deploy any.

  127. delia ruhe says:

    I saw this program earlier and couldn’t believe that Al Jazeera couldn’t find a better representative from the pro-Israel/AIPAC side of the debate. This inarticulate, uninformed hasbarite Larry Greenfield is a stereotype — or, at least someone who only confirms in the eyes of liberals, left-leaners, and true Lefties that all right-wing pro-Israel American Jews are in deep deep denial and allergic to fact — in short, they’re all morons.

    They’re not all morons – far from it. The upper echelons are very slick and very dangerous.

    As always, Hillary and Mearsheimer were articulate and erudite, each coming at the questions from a slightly different but often complementary perspective. Both gave me the sense — amplified by Greenfield — that AIPAC is under “existential threat” from a widening swath of the American and Israeli Jewish community starting to think that AIPAC is no real friend of Israel. Its administrative levels are too packed with neocons who only want an Israel that’s first among the US empire’s vassal states. These Jewish American neocons aren’t especially interested in democracy, although they are not adverse to using “the only democracy in the Middle East” as a propaganda club meant to silence Israel’s critics. They’re not especially interested in American democracy either: Let’s keep elections but only as a fig-leaf disguise for corporate imperialism.

    The rank-and-file of AIPAC are mostly chequebook Zionists and pro-Israel/anti-Jewish Christian Zionists who bring bags of money to the various lobby organizations. The elite’s job is to make sure that this rank-and-file are kept shrouded in a fog that separates them and their fantasies from the facts and realities of Israel-Palestine. They have done a fine job of it on Larry Greenfeld – which is why Hillary had to make clear that no informative debate would be possible with him on that panel.

    It really think it’s is unfair to expose people like Hillary and Mearsheimer to such stupidity. They are meant for better opponents.

  128. A quotation from one of Richard’s posts presents an opportunity to make a point that is often overlooked these days:

    “…the US intelligence estimate of December 2007 that Iran’s nuclear program has been peaceful since early 2003, still stands.”

    This observation leaves out an important statement in the 2007 NIE. It explicitly added, in essence, the following (my phrasing):

    “When we say we see no evidence that Iran has engaged in any nuclear weapon development since 2003, we do not mean to suggest that Iran was doing so before 2003. We simply don’t have enough information to draw a conclusion one way or another about the pre-2003 period. And thus we mean no more than what we are saying: we are convinced that Iran has not engaged in nuclear weapon development since 2003.”


    (1) failure of most people to mention this when they cite the 2007 NIE; plus

    (2) many statements in the November 2011 IAEA report about suspicious pre-2003 activities (some of which “may have continued” after then, according to that report); plus

    (3) the fact that Iran did violate its Safeguards Agreement prior to 2003 (though not in any way that suggested it had ever engaged in nuclear weapon development);

    appear to have led many people to assume it’s undisputed that Iran was developing nuclear weapons prior to 2003.

    That is not at all the case. As my “fabricated” but entirely accurate statement from the 2007 NIE above indicates, US intelligence agencies never reached that conclusion, and they said that explicitly. That being so, and since Iran’s pre-2003 Safeguards Agreement violations indisputably had nothing to do with nuclear weapons, we’re left with nothing to support this widely accepted assumption (i.e. that Iran was developing nuclear weapons until 2003) except the statements in the November 2011 IEAE report about various suspicious activities.

    This makes it important that one read those portions of the November 2011 IAEA report especially carefully, to determine which allegations actually have supporting evidence. I confess to some skepticism, since (1) the IAEA claims to have obtained the bulk of its information from “certain members” (which probably means that the US government either supplied that information or at least was aware of it); yet (2) that very same US government, expressing the collective information available to all of its intelligence agencies in the form of the 2007 NIE, claims to have learned too little to draw any of the conclusions the IAEA saw fit to draw from that same information.

  129. Pirouz says:

    Must see (Iran related, animated political cartoon):

    Fiore: On The Table


  130. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Oops, my bad…”Attack Israel?” Seriously? Of course, that should be “Iran”! :-)

  131. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Sen. Levin sees Israeli attack to halt Iranian nuclear program as ‘very likely’

    I’d like to see George Galloway take this guy down again like he did over the Iraq oil scandal…


    “I think it’s likely because Iran is not responding to the international call for it to abide by the U.N. resolutions,” Levin told reporters Tuesday. “Iran is violating six different U.N. resolutions. I think that being the case, if they continue to do it, don’t open up their uranium facilities to inspection, and don’t stop the enrichment of uranium, that I would say an attack on them by Israel is very likely.”

    End Quote

    Note the SPECIFIC demand that Iran suspend enrichment (and not just 20%, either.)

    Not to mention the SPECIFIC LIE that Iran is not allowing inspection of its facilities, ALL of which are under IAEA inspection regimes.

  132. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Netanyahu asked Panetta to approve sale of bunker-busting bombs, U.S. official says


    The American official said that U.S. President Barack Obama instructed Panetta to work directly with Defense Minister Ehud Barak on the matter, indicating that the U.S. administration was inclined to look favorably upon the request as soon as possible.

    End Quote

    That comes RIGHT FROM OBAMA! Give ’em bunker busters so they can attack Israel!

    You see what I mean about the degree to which Obama LIES DIRECTLY to the US public?

  133. Richard Steven Hack says:

    And slowly the US changes its position in incremental steps…

    Obama administration moves to aid Syrian opposition


    Last week, a group of senior Obama administration officials met to finalize a package of options for aiding both the internal and external Syrian opposition, to include providing direct humanitarian and communications assistance to the Syrian opposition, two administration officials confirmed to The Cable. This meeting of what’s known as the Deputies Committee of the National Security Council set forth a new and assertive strategy for expanding U.S. engagement with Syrian activists and providing them with the means to organize themselves, but stops short of providing any direct military assistance to the armed opposition.

    For now, riskier options, such as creating a no-fly zone in Syria, using U.S. military force there, or engaging directly with the Free Syrian Army, are all still off the table. But the administration has decided not to oppose, either in public or in private, the arming of the rebels by other countries, the officials said.

    “These moves are going to invest the U.S. in a much deeper sense with the opposition,” one administration official said. “U.S. policy is now aligned with enabling the opposition to overthrow the Assad regime. This codifies a significant change in our Syria policy.”

    End Quote

    Big surprise…NOT.

  134. Pirouz says:

    If only President Truman had listened to General Marshall in ’47, the price of fuel today might be less than $2 a gallon.

    But here we are in ’12, with 12,000 Israel-firsters in DC hell bent on creating conditions where we will pay $7 to $9 a gallon.


  135. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Pepe Escobar on Is Bibi the Bully wagging the American dog?

    Notable Quotes

    Even before their fateful encounter at the White House this Monday, US President Barack Obama made it clear, on the record, that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu wouldn’t face him down.

    Or did he?

    No matter what the rhetorical gymnastics performed by Obama, a case can be made that Bibi the Bully wags the American dog full-time.

    Khamenei’s words must be reproduced again and again and again – because the baying-for-blood US corporate media simply won’t do it.

    He said, “The Iranian nation has never pursued and will never pursue nuclear weapons. There is no doubt that the decision makers in the countries opposing us know well that Iran is not after nuclear weapons because the Islamic Republic, logically, religiously and theoretically, considers the possession of nuclear weapons a grave sin and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive and dangerous.”

    Apart from a festival of Orwellian intimations, to his credit at least Obama emphasized the word “diplomacy”, did not specify any “red lines”, nor endorsed the mere “capability” of Iran to build a nuclear weapon as a casus belli. After all, he knows he already has more American Jewish voters in the bag than among the US electorate as a whole.

    But ultimately Obama did cave in to Bibi the Bully – as the rhetoric was not unlike Tony Soprano’s and the ominous “military component” remained very much on the table.

    Still, Bibi the Bully – mimicking his voracity in devouring Palestinian land – wants more.

    According to a recent poll in Israel, 34% are against bombing Iran. But 42% are in favor if the US is at least supporting it. How sweet it is to enrol a superpower to fight your fictional “existential threats”.

    End Quotes

    He also repeats the section of Obama’s speech on Iran in full. I hadn’t read that in its entirety but the overall impact is clear: Obama once again demonizes Iran, cites a litany of falsehoods, and clearly indicates his willingness to attack Iran.

    Obama Notable Quotes:

    Let’s begin with a basic truth that you all understand: no Israeli government can tolerate a nuclear weapon in the hands of a regime that denies the Holocaust, threatens to wipe Israel off the map, and sponsors terrorist groups committed to Israel’s destruction.

    [MY COMMENT: How many falsehoods can you slip into one sentence? Obama knows. And he knows all of these are lies. – RSH]

    There are risks that an Iranian nuclear weapon could fall into the hands of a terrorist organization. It is almost certain that others in the region would feel compelled to get their own nuclear weapon, triggering an arms race in one of the most volatile regions in the world. It would embolden a regime that has brutalized its own people, and it would embolden Iran’s proxies, who have carried out terrorist attacks from the Levant to southwest Asia.

    [MY COMMENT: And Obama knows all of these are lies as well. – RSH]

    In fact, our policy of engagement – quickly rebuffed by the Iranian regime – allowed us to rally the international community as never before; to expose Iran’s intransigence; and to apply pressure that goes far beyond anything that the United States could do on our own.

    [MY COMMENT: Obama also knows that Iran never rebuffed his limited “engagement”. Another lie. – RSH]

    Few thought that sanctions could have an immediate bite on the Iranian regime. They have, slowing the Iranian nuclear program and virtually grinding the Iranian economy to a halt in 2011.

    [MY COMMENT: 3.5% growth is “a halt” – compared to the 3% growth in the US and the paltry .08% growth in the UK? Iran is projected to do 2.5% this year despite sanctions. – RSH]

    And in 2012, the Iranian government faces the prospect of even more crippling sanctions.

    [MY COMMENT: What part of this didn’t you guys notice? This is the start of the call for a naval blockade… – RSH]

    End Quotes

    There is absolutely nothing in Obama’s address that indicates ANY backing down from the policy he has pursued for the last three years and that Bush pursued since 2000. The entire assumption of the entire address is that 1) Iran has a nuclear weapons program, 2) Iran must suspend enrichment (which is what he means when he says “acknowledge their obligations”, meaning the UN Resolutions which demand suspension of enrichment, and 3) the US will attack Iran when it feels sanctions are not working, and 4) Israel has the right to attack Iran whenever it feels like it must even if the US doesn’t like it.

    How anyone can see “de-escalation” in that statement is beyond me. You need a major dose of Ketamine, I think.

  136. ToivoS says:

    Hey Hack man let’s make a deal. I will no longer respond to your posts so you will not have to call me stupid. Coming from you that is not an insult.

  137. Fiorangela says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    March 7, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    you’re right.
    I got carried away with ‘hero worship.’
    you nailed it.

  138. Richard Steven Hack says:

    The latest Kaveh Afrasiabi…

    Locked in an Orwellian centrifuge

    Notable Quotes:

    Obama admission that “Iran does not yet have a nuclear weapon,” was frank yet lame compared to recent statements by high-ranking US officials that there is no evidence that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons – and is why the US intelligence estimate of December 2007 that Iran’s nuclear program has been peaceful since early 2003, still stands.

    There is, of course, something amiss about a Western government making the Iran nuclear issue into “the center and front” of its foreign policy, to paraphrase the New York Times’ coverage of Obama’s speech before the AIPAC (American-Israeli Political Action Committee), and subjecting a Middle Eastern country to the painful teeth of “crippling sanctions” and, yet, at the same time admitting that the target country is not proliferating nuclear bombs after all.

    “When Israel was isolated in the aftermath of the flotilla incident, we supported them,” Obama sounded proudly, referring to Israel’s cold-blooded murder of peace activists on board the humanitarian convoy of aid ships for Gaza in May, 2010, which drew international condemnation, as well as UN Security Council condemnation against Israeli acts that “caused the loss of lives.” Clearly, US’s policy has titled so heavily in Israel’s direction that Washington no longer cares about the adverse impact among the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims (compared to 14 million Jews), many of whom hold a negative image of US because of its unbalanced pro-Israel stance and its pattern of attacking Muslim nations.

    Incredibly, despite initiating an all-out economic warfare against Iran, Obama in his speech cautioned that “there is too much loose talk of war,” confidently telling his powerful audience that the “crippling sanctions” on Iran are working and have brought Iran’s economy “to a halt in 2011.” Not so, according to the International Monetary Fund, Iran had a GDP growth rate of 3.5% in 2011, which drew praise for economic policies that have been successful in “reducing inequities, improving living standards and supporting domestic demand.” Despite the Western sanctions, Iran’s economy in 2012 is projected to have a growth rate of 2.5%

    In making the categorical statement that he was not for “containment” of a nuclear Iran, but rather the “prevention” of Iran’s acquiring a nuclear bomb, Obama on the surface made a heroic gesture to appease his Jewish supporters, but in reality he simply added to the growing inventory of nauseating US policy debates focused on “containment” or “deterrence.”

    The problem with this debate and its horde of mouthpieces dishing out sophisticated discourses armed with cold-war jargons is that it operates in the vacuum of any hard evidence that Iran is engaged in proliferation activity.

    With respect to the IAEA officials’ recent trip to Iran last month, this author has been informed by sources close to the Iranian nuclear negotiation team that Iran offered them the opportunity to inspect the “suspected site” at Marivan, mentioned in IAEA’s November 2011 report for suspected “high explosive” tests, and yet after consulting with the IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano in Vienna, the IAEA team declined the invitation and told their hosts that their boss has ordered them to return to Vienna without any delay.

    End Quotes

  139. Fiorangela says:

    masoud, one could almost see Dr. Leverett reminding herself not to get into a foodfight as happened in the debate with Michael “beet ears” Rubin. She did reframe the issue several times, and effectively. It might have been a good idea to have let Mearsheimer make his point — Leverett interrupted, but Mearsheimer is a pro’s pro and handled it well.


    Richard, this little group shares a great deal of information — much more sophisticated stuff than is found on many blogs, combined. You provide a great deal of that knowledge and information, and that’s a benefit to the blog and all of us. When you call people “stupid” etc, it erodes your credibility.

  140. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Masoud: “That’s just silly.”

    Why? His point was that millions of Americans support Israel and support Israeli policies regarding Iran and the Palestinians, and that is why US politicians go to AIPAC.

    What is important is to establish that this situation is bad news for America.

    “whenever she had the floor she reoriented the conversation and was so successful in setting the terms of the debate”

    But establishing the fact that the US and Israel have grown closer together since the fall of the Soviet Union and the 1991 Iraq war achieves WHAT? It does NOT explain why AIPAC exists, why millions of Christian Zionists support Israel, and how much influence the Israel Lobby has over US foreign policy.

    I repeat, to counter Greenfield, you have to expose HOW AIPAC got to be where it was in practical terms, not just because in broad geopolitical terms the US and Israel have mutual interests in regional hegemony. That goes right over the heads of most of the viewers.

    It also conflicted with Mearsheimer trying to point out that the US and Israel do NOT have REAL mutual interests, which is something the viewer should be told, otherwise the viewer ends up believing that Israel and the US DO have mutual interests.

    “she actually compelled Larry to implicitly acknowledge all the garbage he said about early Hebrew speaking American universities and Zionist founding fathers was bunk when he agreed with Hillary about the root of the US-Israel relationship in the 1967 war.”

    And what does THAT achieve? Once again, it merely means that she has admitted that the US and Israel have mutual interests, and that AIPAC represents those mutual interests.

    She DID manage to say occasionally in agreement with Mearsheimer that these interests
    ARE BAD for the US. But there was very little explanation of WHY.

    If you’re going to frame the debate, you have ignore the moderator’s questions and reframe the debate directly. That means pointing out the following in this case:

    1) Israel and the US do NOT have REAL mutual interests – only hegemonic interests which cannot be achieved and are opposed to REAL US geopolitical interests.

    2) Israel has spent decades cultivating the US special relationship by means verging on espionage and subversion. This started even BEFORE Israel was established as a state.

    3) The influence of Israel on the American political scene is heavily dependent on large amounts of money funneled into the electoral process and via lobbying by the military-industrial complex – which is heavily connected to Israel – and via the Israel Lobby which consists mostly of rich Jewish corporate heads.

    4) And of all this results in extremely dangerous – for the rest of America – influence on US foreign policy, especially with regard to Iran.

    5) AIPAC should be required to register as an “agent of a foreign power” and its activities examined and restricted accordingly. There should be independent investigations to determine the extent and appropriateness of its influence on Congress and other departments of the US government.

    Let Greenfield try to deal with THAT.

  141. masoud says:

    “Greenfield’s constant reiteration that the main support for AIPAC is the Christian Zionists in the US should have been easy to refute by simply stating that Christian noZionists are brainwashed morons.”

    That’s just silly. Hillary did phenomenally well, and against an unusually well composed Israel-firster. Rather than going back and forth ad infinitum on these rather stupid non-issues, whenever she had the floor she reoriented the conversation and was so successful in setting the terms of the debate, she actually compelled Larry to implicitly acknowledge all the garbage he said about early Hebrew speaking American universities and Zionist founding fathers was bunk when he agreed with Hillary about the root of the US-Israel relationship in the 1967 war. That’s something no one would have obtained if they had simply naeively challenged him head on.

  142. Richard Steven Hack says:

    ToivoS: “If it is so that you own this comments section then again, my apologies, for stepping on your toes.”

    Never said I own it.

    I have only rarely complained when the discussion has veered off from the Iran war – which IS the topic of this site – to religious discussions, morality discussions, grand civilization discussions, internal Iranian politics (not entirely off topic given the demonization of Iran over the 2009 elections), and other not so relevant matters.

    This happens in almost every thread and I don’t usually comment on that.

    I post articles about Syria because that is DIRECTLY related to the probability of an Iran war, as is Lebanon.

    I rarely post anything about the Palestinian situation because that is tangential to an Iran war. If there were no Palestinians, Israel would still be trying to start a war with Iran.

    In fact, I just deleted from my hard drive most of the stuff I’ve saved for years about Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, and basically everything except Iran partly to save disk space as a result of my recent drive crashes, but also because these things really no longer matter much. What matters is when and how an Iran war will start. Afghanistan is winding down and unless Pakistan picks up again, it is no longer relevant either. Iraq is over with for the foreseeable future – unless it joins with Iran during the Iran war, which is quite likely.

    Syria and Lebanon are related to Iran, so I will continue to track those events but will not save them on my system.

    I only post here for the most part what is relevant to understanding what is going on.

  143. Humanist says:

    The following link is for full text of Netanyahu’s speech in AIPAC:


    In my view the speech, as far as Iran is concerned, is a mix of small amounts of truths or half truths and a large portion of provocative and deceptive misinformation.

    One wonders how the analysts in 120 NAM countries (containing majority of the population of the world) who support Iran’s nuclear program would think about Netanyahu as they are reading the text of this speech.

    One thing I am sure will catch the attention of many NAM analysts IE “apparently Netanyahu considers people who listen to him as a ignorant dingbats, else how, in such a historic occasion, he dares to advocate such outrageous lies?”

    Herewith, out of 2200 word speech, I just pick segments that are samples of Netanyahu’s deceitful warmongering fabrications:

    I didn’t include a few more important segments since their significance had to be explained through somewhat lengthy analysis.


    Amazingly, some people refuse to acknowledge that Iran’s goal is to develop nuclear weapons. You see, Iran claims to do everything it’s doing, that it’s enriching uranium to develop medical isotopes.

    Yeah, that’s right.

    A country that builds underground nuclear facilities, develops intercontinental ballistic missiles, manufactures thousands of centrifuges, and that absorbs crippling sanctions, is doing all that in order to advance…medical research.

    So you see, when that Iranian ICBM is flying through the air to a location near you, you’ve got nothing to worry about. It’s only carrying medical isotopes.


    Fortunately, President Obama and most world leaders understand that the claim that Iran’s goal is not to develop nuclear weapons is simply ridiculous.


    ….Through terror from the skies and terror on the ground, Iran is responsible for the murder of hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans.


    … In the last decade, it’s been responsible for murdering and maiming American soldiers in Afghanistan and in Iraq.


    Just a few months ago, it tried to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the US in a restaurant just a few blocks from here. The assassins didn’t care that several Senators and members of Congress would have been murdered in the process.


    It means that Iran’s terror proxies like Hezbollah, Hamas will be emboldened to attack the United States, Israel, and other countries because they will be backed by a power that has atomic weapons. So the terrorism could grow tenfold.


    If you’re worried about the price of oil today, imagine how high oil prices could get once a nuclear-armed Iran starts blackmailing the world.


    If Iran gets nuclear weapons, it would set off a mad dash by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and others to acquire nuclear weapons of their own. The world’s most volatile region would become a nuclear tinderbox waiting to go off.

    And here’s the worst nightmare of all, with nuclear weapons, Iran could threaten all of us with nuclear terrorism.

    It could put a nuclear device in a ship heading to any port or in a truck parked in any city, anywhere in the world.


    When you think about that m you’ll reach a simple conclusion: for the sake of our prosperity, for the sake of our security, for the sake of our children, Iran must not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons!


    For the last decade, the international community has tried diplomacy. It hasn’t worked.


    Israel has waited patiently for the international community to resolve this issue. We’ve waited for diplomacy to work. We’ve waited for sanctions to work. None of us can afford to wait much longer.

    As Prime Minister of Israel, I will never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation.


  144. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Fiorangela: “that was uncalled for Richard. shame on you.”

    It was not. This guy has been riding me for the last several threads. Everything I said was true.

    If it is the consensus that I should not post ANY article other than ones related to the immediate post, then I will do so.

    But I expect everyone else to do so as well. That means none of this back and forth about Iranian internal politics in THIS thread. And no “20%” crap from Canning in this thread, either.

    No? I thought so.

  145. ToivoS says:

    Richard Steven Hack let’s me know “Look, stupid. If you haven’t figured out by now that the normal usage on this site is to discuss other things than are specifically related to the specific thread post, you’re too stupid to participate.”

    The Leveretts raise many interesting points that should be point of the comments. My apology to you Hack for not realizing that the comments here are dedicated to much older discussions. It is true that I was attracted to this site by the points that the Leveretts raise and I am definitely a newbe. If it is so that you own this comments section then again, my apologies, for stepping on your toes.

  146. Richard Steven Hack says:

    To satisfy Toivos by referencing Hillary’s appearance on Al Jazeera…

    While Hillary did a good job making her points, once again her points were mostly in abstract geopolitical terms. Meanwhile, Mearsheimer was trying to make the more critical point that the US and Israel were – in REAL terms – in opposition based on their REAL fundamental geopolitical interests.

    Greenfield on the other hand managed to spew out more falsehoods than could possibly be dealt with in the twenty five minutes. Hillary did not repudiate his falsehood that the Israeli attack on Iraq’s Osirak reactor was a positive development, for example.

    Also Hillary’s argument that previous US Presidents did not attend AIPAC conferences was weak. Greenfield was able to argue effectively – and I think to some degree truthfully – that past US Presidents DID view Israel as a useful ally. He was even able to somewhat defuse the argument that Reagan was not (I’m not familiar with Reagan’s record on Israel, so I can’t say anything relevant there.)

    He also managed to spew the falsehood about Truman recognizing Israel six minutes after its creation. Hillary could have run with that by recounting the tremendous pressure and extreme irritation Truman wrote about in his diaries about having to deal with Jewish influence on him over the establishment of the state of Israel, which the US OPPOSED initially in the UN (IIRC).

    Greenfield’s constant reiteration that the main support for AIPAC is the Christian Zionists in the US should have been easy to refute by simply stating that Christian Zionists are brainwashed morons. That may be politically incorrect but it’s the fact.

    He could also have been refuted by bringing in the material from Grant Smith’s research that shows Israel has been conducting a multi-million dollar annually campaign for DECADES to produce this level of brainwashing, and that former Senator Fulbright held hearings on whether these people should be considered “agents of a foreign government”.

    As long as the Leveretts do not believe or can not publicly admit that the ruling elites in the US – the military-industrial complex, the national security complex, the oil companies, the multinationals with major assets overseas, the banks who finance these corporations, the neocons, and the Israel Lobby – CONTROL the US government and the electoral process and US foreign policy COMPLETELY, it will be impossible to refute these sorts of assertions by the “pundits” who are paid by the ruling elites to support this state of affairs.

    This was another case of “not a win” for Hillary. It was more of a “she held her position” result. And that was with a two on one scenario in FAVOR of Hillary given that Mearsheimer was a useful ally. Greenfield was out numbered and he still managed to handle himself well (if lying like a rug can be called handling himself well.)

    If you’re going to discuss AIPAC and/or Israeli influence on the US electoral process or US foreign policy, you need to be extremely up on how Israel has achieved this position. I would read everything by Grant Smith for a start.

    Spy Trade: How Israel’s Lobby Undermines America’s Economy

    Foreign Agents: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee from the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal

    His site is here:

    Institute for Research: Middle East Policy

    With this information at her fingertips, Greenfield could have been buried.

  147. Fiorangela says:

    that was uncalled for Richard. shame on you.

  148. Fiorangela says:

    Folks, in the spirit of Purim shall we take up a charitable collection for lunch for Larry Greenfield? Hillary Leverett ate his.

  149. Richard Steven Hack says:

    ToivoS: “Richard Steven Hack at this point has posted 8 or the 19 responses and definitely used up more than 60% of the band width. Yet he does not address the questions being discussed by Hillary, Mearsheimer and the JINSA fool. It is hard to engage in discussion with so much irrelevant spam.”

    Look, stupid. If you haven’t figured out by now that the normal usage on this site is to discuss other things than are specifically related to the specific thread post, you’re too stupid to participate.

    This is NOT a thread-related site. It’s an ongoing discussion from thread to thread.

    If everyone here limited themselves to the specific topic of the post, there would be about five comments per thread instead of several hundred.

    Get a clue.

    I don’t know what your problem is with me, but be assured the feeling is mutual at this point if not more so.

  150. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Eric: “Why do you find this surprising?”

    Did I say I did?

    “Surely you didn’t think Russia would go to war with the US if the US attacks Syria.”

    What part of “people” – i.e., other than myself – didn’t you get? Yes, there ARE people who think that Russia can prevent a US attack on Syria. Arnold thinks just the presence of Russian air defense in Tartus can do so – which is not true.

  151. masoud says:

    Yet another unbeleivably impressive showing by Hillary. I don’t think she can be beat.

  152. Humanist says:

    I think on the issue of “why before Bill Clinton, Presidents of USA didn’t attend AIPAC meetings” consider the following 3 topics::

    1- In the last couple of decades, the wealth of a small group of Likudniks, same as the wealth of many other rich persons in the world, has exponentially increased (every additional million, in average has doubled in less than ten years, hence based on exponential rule, 2 becomes 4, 4 becomes8…..then 16, 32, 64 etc). These days the zealous, opinionated rich individuals have a lot of cash to throw around to push their personal political agendas..

    2- In Kissinger’s view “Who controls thefood supplycontrols a nation; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world”. (Although I believe this can be true only under present corrupt capitalistic systems)

    3- According Thomas Friedman (NYT columinst) Congress of USA is bought and paid for by AIPAC.

    Putting the above three together one might ask “if now the wealth of zealous Likudniks is approaching astronomic figures, if money can control everything and if AIPAC has bought the Congress……is Congress the only entity that is under the control of AIPAC?……or under a less pessimistic view, now is different and the President badly NEEDS the support of the Congress?…..and the support of AIPAC which can buy the Congress?”

    As Friedman once, under a different context, said “…it can’t get uglier than that..”

  153. ToivoS says:

    Richard Steven Hack at this point has posted 8 or the 19 responses and definitely used up more than 60% of the band width. Yet he does not address the questions being discussed by Hillary, Mearsheimer and the JINSA fool. It is hard to engage in discussion with so much irrelevant spam.

    But to try to focus on the video at the top of this thread. Hillary is very good on this. I must admit I was not aware that AIPAC gained so much power in Washington after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. This notion of AIPAC growing because US imperialism realized it was now unconstrained in establishing hegemony over the entire ME and could use Israel as an ally is one worth pondering. It sounds a little too much Chompskian for my taste but it is definitely worth thinking about and discussing. In any case this is one good interview. Lot’s of good ideas and Mearsheimer, as usual, shines through with his old fashioned common sense.

  154. Richard Steven Hack says:
    March 7, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    “Official: Panetta misinterpreted on ‘permission’ for Syria intervention

    “I’m really baffled by the idea that somehow an international assembly provides a legal basis for the United States military to be deployed in combat,’ [Senator Jeff] Sessions said.”

    Baffled? Really?

    Read the UN Charter, Senator, which the US signed before you were born. It makes very clear that there are only two legal bases “for the United States military to be deployed in combat:”

    1. A UN Security Council resolution adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

    2. Self-defense.

    It’s not #1, Senator. Is it #2?

  155. Richard,

    “People who think Russia will go to war over Syria need to read this.…And finally came a statement in The Moscow Times saying: ‘Russia has made it clear that it will not be able to stop other countries from launching a military intervention if they try to do it without UN approval.’”

    Why do you find this surprising? Surely you didn’t think Russia would go to war with the US if the US attacks Syria.

  156. Richard Steven Hack says:

    More duh…

    MKO helps Israeli agents in covert war with Iran: Ex-member

  157. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Exclusive: What Obama and Israel Are Really Up To With Iran, And Each Other

    Notable Quotes

    According to a number of senior American intelligence and Mideast policy officials, speaking on background, the U.S.’s significantly ramped-up American covert sabotage and non-proliferation campaign has convinced the Israelis that the U.S. is more sensitive about Israel’s “red lines” —the no-way-back developments that the Jewish state can’t tolerate and would pre-emptively strike to prevent. This, in turn, fortifies Israel’s caution. Despite the hue and cry of Republican candidates, the two sides are actually moving closer together.

    Administration officials have told the Congressional intelligence oversight committees that it does not participate in any active measures against Iranians inside the country. But the CIA’s ops arm, the National Clandestine Service, along with the U.S. military, are devoting thousands of person-hours per day working along the periphery of the country, scrutinizing and seizing cargo shipments bound for Iran, tapping the black market for nuclear supplies and buying up spare parts, and maximizing the collection of Iranian signal traffic. By bringing Israel further into the loop on these covert programs, the U.S. hopes to convince its ally that it has a high-definition picture of the current state of the nuclear program and would be able to much more quickly identify if, say, scientists began to create the material needed to manufacture the lens and tamper system that would sustain the fission in a bomb.

    What’s most valuable here is the U.S. mastery of obscure but vital types of intelligence collection that spooks call “MASINT” —or measurement and signature intelligence. MASINT sensors on satellites, drones, and on the ground can detect everything from the electromagnetic signatures created by testing conventional missile systems to disturbances in the soil and geography around a hidden nuclear facility to streams of radioactive particles that are byproducts of the uranium enrichment process. Put together, the U.S. has a good handle on the nuclear supply chain; it knows what Iran has and doesn’t have; it has a good handle on who needs to be where in order for certain things to happen; it knows, probably through National Security Agency signals collection, a lot about the daily lives and stresses of Iran’s nuclear scientists. (It would be helpful, of course, if the U.S. could read the encrypted communications between senior officials, but experts outside the government believe that the U.S. does not have this capacity, given that China or Russia probably supplies Iran with its cypher equipment. Then again, perhaps China or Russia built a backdoor into those systems and are covertly sharing traffic with the U.S.; both countries, after all, seem to be cooperating by providing the Americans information about the equipment Iran is looking to obtain from them. There are always lots of perhapses.)

    Still, what happens if Israel does decide to strike are almost complete unknowns. If Israel does decide to bomb unilaterally, the U.S. assumes that Netanyahu would give Obama a heads-up and then request some sort of help, probably in the form of satellite or drone coverage, or maybe even a link to real-time U.S.-monitoring of Iranian air defenses. It will be very hard for the White House to say no to the request. Though Obama would never admit to being influenced by politics, the closer the U.S. gets to its presidential election, the higher the political consequences if the administration is seen as putting daylight between itself and Israel. Two things work in Obama’s favor, though: public opinion polls do not show a clamor for war here, and world opinion continues to isolate Iran. A unilateral strike against Iran—by Israel, or by NATO (with the U.S. in the lead) —might not provoke the outrage it would have just two years ago in the international community. In Muslim capitals ranging from Cairo to Riyadh to Istanbul, a nuclear Iran is a greater nightmare; don’t put too much credence in the Arab World’s public reactions before or after an Israeli strike.

    ÿIncidentally, contrary to much popular press, both the U.S. and Israel believe that a strike against Iran’s nuclear program would not need to involve action against more than a handful of sites, even though Iran has spread its nuclear machinery across its country. The GBU Penetrator bombs that the U.S. has given to Israel aren’t capable of breaking through hardened underground bunkers, but their destructive force would almost certainly render those facilities inoperable and perhaps even fatally so.

    One irony: While the U.S. has increased the amount of information it shares with Israel about Iran, Israel does not disclose to the U.S. the extent of its covert action programs inside the country. Often, the U.S. government finds out about explosions that kill Iranian scientists at the same time as the world press does. Just as often, the lines between Tel Aviv and Washington open up, and about half the time, the U.S. doesn’t necessarily believe that Israel tells the truth when it disclaims responsibility for certain explosions.

    So tensions remain. But one reason why Monday’s meeting between Netanyahu and Obama ended with less rancor than did their last tet-a-tet is that Israel is growing more comfortable with U.S. policy —secret U.S. policy.

    End Quotes

  158. Richard Steven Hack says:

    And again Turkey steps up…

    Turkish Prime Minister calls for humanitarian aid corridors into Syria


    “His father was not held accountable for his actions in this world. But his son will answer for the massacre,” Erdoğan said. “The bloodshed in Syrian cities will not be left unaccounted for.”

    End Quote

    Yeah, that sure sounds like backing down…NOT…

  159. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Putin offers threadbare blanket for Syria

    People who think Russia will go to war over Syria need to read this.


    And finally came a statement in The Moscow Times saying: “Russia has made it clear that it will not be able to stop other countries from launching a military intervention if they try to do it without UN approval.” Despite a routine translation of the Russian press in several Syrian state-run dailies, apparently nobody picked that up, perhaps on purpose. That statement seemed to be telling the Syrians that there were limits to how far Russian could go. If a “surgical strike” were to happen, Russia was helpless at stopping it.

    The Syrian-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, signed between then-president Hafez al-Assad and the USSR in October 1980, does not include a clause for mutual defense. It specifies regular consultations on bilateral and multilateral issues, coordination of policies, and military cooperation – but it does not oblige Moscow to take military action to defend Syria. That means the limit of how far the Russians can go, given current circumstances, is the recent veto at the UN. It cannot do more to help the Syrians.

    End Quote

  160. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Is John Kyl actually so stupid as to think war with Iran would only put gas prices up “a little”? What an idiot.

  161. James Canning says:

    Apparently Obama addressed 13,000 delegates at the Aipac conference, and of course scarcely mentioned the Palestinians.

  162. Richard Steven Hack says:

    More Iran War Talk From the Senate


    Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, went to the microphones after his party’s policy lunch on Tuesday – and just after the president’s press conference – to call on Congress to debate and vote on whether to authorize the use of force against Iran.

    “Sanctions, while a good thing to do, will not achieve the desired result,” Mr. McConnell said. He called for “a more forceful approach,” even as he stressed that an authorization of force would not compel the president to go to war.

    But while Mr. Kyl did allow that a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would lead to higher prices at the pump, he added, “I don’t think Americans would hold it against Israel if their gas prices rise a little.”

    End Quotes

  163. Rehmat says:

    Lobby: ‘Obama should distance from Pakistan’

    Former American top-gun, Admiral Mullen had suggested before retiring that Pakistan holds key to peace in Afghanistan and Southwest Asia. “There is no stable future in the region without a partnership with Pakistan“.


  164. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Official: Panetta misinterpreted on ‘permission’ for Syria intervention

    Notable Quotes

    The Pentagon tried to clarify remarks made by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, when he told a Senate committtee on Wednesday that the U.S. military is seeking “permission” from a foreign organization to intervene in Syria.

    “He was re-emphasizing the need for an international mandate. We are not ceding U.S. decision-making authority to some foreign body,” a defense official told CNN.
    In testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Panetta had an exchange with Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, who said Congress was circumvented when Obama decided to join the NATO coalition in Libya.

    Sessions said, “We spend our time worrying about the U.N., the Arab League, NATO and too little time, in my opinion, worrying about the elected representatives of the United States. As you go forward, will you consult with the United States Congress?”

    Panetta replied, “You know, our goal would be to seek international permission. And we would come to the Congress and inform you and determine how best to approach this, whether or not we would want to get permission from the Congress.”

    While Sessions said he does not think the U.S. should act alone, he said there are indications that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is gaining momentum and “the window of opportunity could be closed.”

    “The delays that are taking place out of a determination to get a major worldwide support, I suppose could be costly,” Sessions said in the interview.
    The defense official, who did not identify himself because he did not want to speak publicly for the secretary, further explained the rationale for seeking international agreement.

    “The legitimacy is greater if there is some form of international mandate. There’s a sense that unilateral U.S. action would be perceived in the wrong way, especially in this part of the world. Does the U.S. want to go it alone in another Arab country? That figures into the calculus.”

    The official said a United Nations Security Council resolution, like the one that authorized action in Libya, isn’t necessarily the only way to go about this. “Some kind of mandate from a regional organization could signify this is not just a unilateral effort on our part,” he said. This is important not only to the U.S., but to other nations in the region that oppose al-Assad’s regime, the source said.

    End Quotes

    Yeah, that sure sounds like they’re backing down on Syria, doesn’t it…NOT…

  165. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Still no certainty on how, or if, Israel would strike Iran

    Notable Quotes:

    “Maybe once a week someone calls me wanting to know the possibilities. How would we launch a military strike on Iran? What type of aircrafts would we use? What kind of bombs? Would we alert our allies in advance? Would it work?” he said. “Lately it has been more than once a week.”

    Alon, who could not be quoted by his real name and full rank because of the sensitivity surrounding the Iranian nuclear issue, said such questions right now are futile.

    “I see a lot of speculation in the press. People claiming to know what flight routes Israeli aircraft would take and who would be involved,” he said. “The truth is that no one knows anything yet because no decisions have been made.”

    “No one will know which it is until we wake up one day and Israeli planes are circling back from Iran,” an Israeli politician on the security cabinet told McClatchy, asking not to be named because Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu recently ordered members of his government to remain mum on the issue of Iran. “Or we wait another few years and the whole issue falls off the table as Iran consumes itself with political and financial woes. Maybe Israel also doesn’t know which one it is yet.”

    An unnamed U.S. intelligence source quoted in Haaretz said that the overriding assumption was that Israel would not give warning before an Iran attack. The U.S., the source was quoted as saying, was considering offering Israel the use of its airbases in the Persian Gulf in the hope it would force Israel to give some warning of a strike.


    “Israel has everyone so worked up that the thought is, let’s temper what they do, rather than, let’s stop or control what they do,” said one European diplomat based in Jerusalem, who like many diplomats declined to be identified further because of the sensitivity of the subject.

    Other military experts predict that the U.S. and other Western allies would lend their military might to an attack on Iran.

    “In the end, Israel is the most nervous about doing this on its own. I would say, in fact, that it is impossible Israel will act without the support of the U.S.,” said one official in the foreign minister’s office.

    That support, said many Israeli officials, was more likely to come in an election year — this year, specifically.

    “A lot of the talk about 2012 being the year in which Israel will ‘deal’ with Iran comes from speculation that Israel will do this while the U.S. is busy with an election, and the presidential candidates are falling over themselves to court the Jewish vote,” said an Israeli official who recently worked at the Israeli consulate in New York and spoke only if he were not identified.

    End Quotes

  166. Richard Steven Hack says:

    And the day after Obama said military intervention in Syria was “off the table”…

    U.S. Defense Officials Say Obama Reviewing Military Options in Syria

    In regard to Arnold’s comment in the last thread about Russia air defenses, to which I responded there and previously:


    General Dempsey told the committee that although “we can do anything,” Syria had five times the air defenses that Libya did, and because of that establishing a no-fly zone would take “an extended period of time and a great number of aircraft.” He said the early stages of an air campaign would “almost unquestionably” be led by the United States, as was the case in Libya, because of American electronic warfare capabilities.

    Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island, tried to draw General Dempsey out on what he saw as a potentially protracted operation. “So from a perceptual view alone, the opening stages in any military operation would be an extended, almost exclusive air campaign by the United States against Syria, presumably supported politically by the Arab League, NATO, the E.U. and everyone else. But the kinetic part of the operation would be ours for several weeks before we actually decided even going in and effectively protecting Syrians. Is that a fair judgment?”

    “It is a fair judgment,” General Dempsey replied.

    End Quote

    OF COURSE it will take more effort than Libya. SO WHAT? Note that the general did NOT say the US couldn’t do it.

    As I said before and in the last thread in response to Arnold’s most recent comment, the fact remains that the US would deal with Syria’s air defenses in three phases:

    1) A wave of cruise missiles would take out the radars in the first phase.
    2) In the second phase, high altitude smart bombs would take out some of the antiaircraft missile batteries, radar and command and control bunkers.
    3) Lower altitude smart bombing would take out the rest when the risk to lower altitude aircraft has lessened.

    This would be done sector by sector if necessary to provide a corridor for aircraft to attack from the flanks or to penetrate deeper into Syria.

    The loss of US and NATO aircraft would probably be in the single digits, if that. In Libya, one aircraft was shot down and one drone – that was it. One UAE aircraft crashed on its own at its air base. Multiply that by five and you get maybe five aircraft downed in Syria at worst. Double it and you get a maximum of ten. Acceptable losses considering the couple hundred aircraft that would be involved and the sophistication of the enemy defenses.

    In Libya, air defenses were taken out in something like three days. Multiply that by five – Syrian air defenses would be taken out within two weeks. Assume we’re off by a factor of two. Within a month, Syria’s air defenses would be down and the US and NATO would enjoy complete air superiority (except for MANPADS, of course.)

    The US continues to talk about a “humanitarian corridor”. That is NOT what they’re planning. They’re planning the same thing they did in Libya – total destruction of Syria’s military capability. This is the price Israel wants for starting an Iran war.

  167. James Canning says:

    “Enemies seek to exploit Middle East situation: Iran FM”


  168. James Canning says:


    Are you arguing that Iran should not have offered to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent?

  169. James Canning says:

    Mearsheimer had a piece in the Financial Times the other day, underscoring how Israel erodes its own security by failing to end the occupation. And, of course, Aipac promotes foolish colonial enterprise by Netanyahu in the West Bank.

  170. Lysander says:

    Slightly off topic, but…

    If there was ever any doubt that Iran should NEVER make even the SMALLEST concessions for free, this should finally put them to rest.


    “VIENNA (AP) — Satellite images of an Iranian military facility appear to show trucks and earth-moving vehicles at the site, indicating an attempted cleanup of radioactive traces possibly left by tests of a nuclear-weapon trigger, diplomats told The Associated Press on Wednesday…”

    Total horse manure, and it’s Iran’s fault for “trying to be reasonable.” Now, having allowed an IAEA search beyond it’s NPT mandate, Iran has made a tactical error. I don’t think its catastrophic, but it certainly isn’t good. Hopefully it will be a warning (by now none should be needed, though) that nothing they do will do will ever make the west say “gee, I guess we were wrong all along.” And that Iran’s best policy is to be within the absolute minimum of NPT compliance requirements. No more of these “good faith gestures.” They only make matters worse.

  171. James Canning says:

    Aipac promotes a militaristic foreign policy by the US for the simple reason this is seen as helping to “protect” Israel. No matter how many trillions of dollars it costs the American taxpayers.