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The Race for Iran

AMERICA’S DRIVE FOR MIDDLE EAST DOMINANCE SETS THE STAGE FOR ATTACKING IRAN—NEVER MIND INTERNATIONAL LAW (OR EVEN U.S. INTERESTS)

Throughout our work on U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic of Iran, one of the more fundamental themes is the corrosive impact that America’s post-Cold War quest for unadulterated hegemony in the Middle East has had on the strategic calculations of successive U.S. administrations (Democratic and Republican) and, by extension, on U.S. standing and influence in this vitally important region.  Instead of dealing soberly and effectively with the Middle East’s complex political and security dynamics and defending its legitimate interests there, the United States has, for the past two decades, tried to coerce political outcomes across the region, with the goal of bringing it under a U.S.-led, highly militarized political and security “umbrella.”  Of course, the United States was certainly not above trying to do this sort of thing before the end of the Cold War (witness the CIA’s 1953 coup in Iran).  But the Cold War definitely imposed limits on American initiative in the Middle East that effectively disappeared 20 years ago.

From this perspective, the big problem with the Islamic Republic is not that it is irrevocably and aggressively anti-American (it is not).  The problem is that the Islamic Republic refuses, as a matter of both principle and strategic interest, to accept and endorse American dominance in the region

By our reckoning, the evidence of the damage that America’s determination to assert hegemonic dominance over the political and strategic orientation of key states in the region has done to its strategic position, in the Middle East and globally, is already overwhelming.  And yet bipartisan attachment to the illusory and demonstrably counter-productive goal of Middle Eastern hegemony persists; currently, its most salient manifestation is the rising crescendo of voices advocating U.S. military action—we will call it what it would be, an illegitimate U.S. attack—against the Islamic Republic, ostensibly over its nuclear activities. 

One of the more prominent current specimens of this sort of argument is an article in the forthcoming, January/February 2012 issue of Foreign Affairs; authored by the Council on Foreign Relations’ Matthew Kroenig, the article is entitled, “Time to Attack Iran:  Why a Strike Is the Least Bad Option”, see here.  Here is the thrust of Kroenig’s argument: 

“[S]keptics of military action fail to appreciate the true danger that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to U.S. interests in the Middle East and beyond.  And their grim forecasts assume that the cure would be worse than the disease—that is, that the consequences of a U.S. assault on Iran would be as bad as or worse than those of Iran achieving its nuclear ambitions.  But that is a faulty assumption.  The truth is that a military strike intended to destroy Iran’s nuclear program, if managed carefully, could spare the region and the world a very real threat and dramatically improve the long-term national security of the United States.” 

Needless to say, as thoroughgoing “skeptics of military action”, we are not persuaded by Kroenig’s piece.  His article has already been critically dissected on strategic and military grounds by Steve Walt, see here, in a blog post delightfully entitled “The Worst Case for War With Iran”.  As Steve points out, “There is a simple and time-honored formula for making the case for war, especially preventive war”, which Kroenig’s article exemplifies: 

“First, you portray the supposed threat as dire and growing, and then try to convince people that if we don’t act now, horrible things will happen down the road.  (Remember Condi Rice’s infamous warnings about Saddam’s ‘mushroom cloud’?)  All this step requires is a bit of imagination and a willingness to assume the worst.  Second, you have to persuade readers that the costs and risks of going to war aren’t that great.  If you want to sound sophisticated and balanced, you acknowledge that there are counterarguments and risks involved.  But then you do your best to shoot down the objections and emphasize all the ways that those risks can be minimized.  In short, in Step 1 you adopt a relentlessly gloomy view of the consequences of inaction; in Step 2 you switch to bulletproof optimism about how the war will play out.” 

Steve takes it from there, in bracing fashion.  We largely agree with his more specific criticisms of Kroenig’s article, although we take issue with his drive-by assertion that some of the Iranians who would be victims of a U.S. attack on their country “despise the clerical regime (and with good reason)”.  This uncritical repetition of a seemingly de rigeur acknowledgement that the Islamic Republic’s legitimacy is dubious actually contributes to the case for a U.S. attack on the Islamic Republic, which we do not believe Steve wants to do.   Paul Pillar, see here, has also offered an arrestingly sharp critique of Kroenig’s article, describing it as “so far removed from anything resembling careful analysis that one would hardly know where to start in inventorying its flaws”.  Paul then performs outstandingly in doing precisely that—inventorying the article’s myriad flaws. 

With Steve and Paul’s pieces on the table, we will not devote much attention to reviewing Kroenig’s article ourselves, save to highlight one of its dimensions that is virtually omnipresent in current “bomb Iran” discourse, but does not get discussed nearly as much as it should.  This element is noted in passing by Paul, in his critique, when he raises “a further disturbing thought, or rather a question:  how did mainstream discourse within the American foreign policy establishment come to include proposals to launch a war of aggression?”  Answering Paul’s question takes us back to our opening point about hegemony and the enormous damage that its pursuit has imposed on American foreign policy, especially in the Middle East. 

Just consider what Kroenig himself writes regarding the real motive for a prospective U.S. attack on Iran:  “a nuclear-armed Iran would immediately limit U.S. freedom of action in the Middle East.”  Let’s translate that into more concrete terms:  in the view of many advocates of U.S. aggression against the Islamic Republic, a nuclear Iran might raise anxiety levels in Washington the next time a U.S. administration plans to invade another Middle Eastern country in a quixotic effort to install a secular liberal (and pro-U.S.) political order that its people do not want and, ultimately, will not accept (see Lebanon, post-Saddam Iraq, and Egypt on this point, for starters).  Kroenig and others like him argue that, in order to keep those anxiety levels at manageable levels in the future, the United States needs to attack Iran now

Now that is a hegemonic program, if ever there were one.  It’s not about American security or the defense of real interests.  It’s about the preservation of imperial prerogatives in the Middle East—prerogatives whose reflexive and persistent exercise actually diminishes American security and makes it harder for the United States to assure its tangible, material interests in the region

In this regard, we were powerfully struck by, and want to discuss here, a recent article authored by John Yoo.  Yoo, currently a University of California law professor, is one of the more striking figures to emerge from the George W. Bush Administration’s assault, in the name of prosecuting its self-proclaimed “global war on terror”, on the U.S. Constitution and American adherence to international law.  Perhaps most notoriously, it was Yoo who, as a member of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, authored the so-called “torture memo” in August 2002; this document set the bar for what constitutes torture so high that U.S. government agencies could get away with a lot of stuff that most of the rest of the world (including some brave lawyers serving in the U.S. military) thought was torture. 

Yoo has now turned his legal acumen and moral judgment to assessing the optimal American posture toward the Islamic Republic of Iran.  On this subject, National Review’s year-end issue features a piece by him, arguing that—as its title proclaims—“Now is the time to make the case for military action against Iran”; see here.  It opens as follows: 

“Our political calendar and one of our nation’s greatest threats have synchronized.  In the upcoming year, the American people will render their judgment on Barack Obama’s presidency.  Meanwhile, if the International Atomic Energy Agency’s November report is accurate, Iran will soon join the ranks of the world’s nuclear powers.  Because of the Obama administration’s reluctance to confront this looming threat, others—such as the Republican presidential candidates—must begin preparing the case for a military strike to destroy Iran’s nuclear program.” 

In Yoo’s assessment, President Obama’s “reluctance” to confront the Iranian nuclear “threat” has “left the public uninformed about the nature and possible consequences of military action, which must be serious and sustained enough to destroy complex, protected, and dispersed facilities”, for “pinpoint bombing of a single facility will not end Iran’s nuclear program.”  He “has also failed to explain the heavy costs of containment, which would involve a constant, significant conventional and nuclear military presence on Iran’s perimeter.”  (That strikes us as, more or less, the status quo.)  Moreover, “Obama has compounded this political negligence by failing to build the legal case for attacking Iran”, instead tethering “American national security to the dictates of the United Nations.” 

On this latter point, Yoo—who lists international law as one of his academic and professional specialties—accurately lays out the current state of international law regarding the use of force and the UN Security Council’s role in international decision-making on this highly consequential matter: 

“The UN Charter guarantees the ‘territorial integrity’ and ‘political independence’ of each member nation, and prohibits the use of force except in self-defense, which many scholars and international officials interpret to mean that force is prohibited except when an invader has attacked across a border or is about to do so.  It does provide an exception for war to prevent threats to international peace and security, but only if approved by the Security Council…Not surprisingly, UN authorizations to use force are rare.” 

Nothing objectionable in this summary, as far as we can see.  And by this standard, a U.S. attack on Iran would be blatantly illegal—a point that Steve Walt makes well, in his assessment of Kroenig’s article:

“[L]et’s by crystal clear about what Kroenig is advocating here.  He is openly calling for preventive war against Iran, even though the United States has no authorization from the U.N. Security Council, it is not clear that Iran is actively developing nuclear weapons, and Iran has not attacked us or any of our allies—ever.  He is therefore openly calling for his country to violate international law.  He is calmly advocating a course of action that will inevitably kill a significant number of people, including civilians…

Kroenig tries to allay this concern by saying that the main victims of a U.S. attack would be the ‘military personnel, engineers, scientists, and technicians’ working at Iran’s nuclear facilities.  But even if we assume for the moment that this is true, would he consider Iran justified if it followed a similar course of action, to the limited extent that it could?”  Suppose a bright young analyst working for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards read the latest issue of Foreign Affairs and concluded that there were well-connected people at American universities and in the Department of Defense who were actively planning and advocating war against Iran.  Suppose he further concluded that if these plans are allowed to come to fruition, it would pose a grave danger to the Islamic Republic.  Iran doesn’t have a sophisticated air force or drones capable of attacking the United States, so this bright young analyst recommends that the Revolutionary Guards organize a covert action team to attack the people who were planning and advocating this war, and to do whatever else they could to sabotage the forces that the United States might use to conduct such an attack.  He advises his superiors that appropriate measures be taken to minimize the loss of innocent life and that the attack should focus only on the ‘military and civilian personnel’ who were working directly on planning or advocating war with Iran.  From Iran’s perspective, this response would be a ‘preventive strike’ designed to forestall an attack from the United States.  Does Kroenig think a purely preventive measure of this kind on Iran’s part would be acceptable behavior?  And if he doesn’t then why does he think it’s perfectly OK for us to do far more? ” 

Aptly put—and, from John Yoo’s description of the current state of international law regarding the use of force, one would think that Steve, though not a lawyer himself, is on impeccable legal footing.  But Yoo then provides an answer to Steve’s question as to how one could manage to think that “it’s perfectly OK” for the United States to act illegally. 

More specifically, Yoo argues that the United States is entitled to ignore the arrangement he succinctly described—the Security Council and all the rest—on the grounds that it “lacks political legitimacy” and “is contrary to both American national interests and global welfare because it subjects any intervention, no matter how justified or beneficial, to the approval of authoritarian nations.”  In other words, America need not consider itself bound by international legal mechanisms that it played a central role in creating because it is a global hegemon: 

“The United States has assumed the role, once held by Great Britain, of guaranteeing free trade and economic development, spreading liberal values, and maintaining international security.  An attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, though it would impose costs in human lives and political turmoil, would serve these interests and forestall the spread of conflict and terror.  The Republican presidential candidates should begin preparing the case now for this difficult but unavoidable challenge.” 

And just in case the next (presumably Republican) president should harbor some residual attachment to the quaint idea that the United States might want to get its wars legitimated by the Security Council, Yoo argues that he should “make a case much like the one that the Bush administration made regarding Iraq.  It can argue that destroying Iran’s nuclear weapons is a combination of self-defense and protecting international security” (sic). 

Frankly, we are hard put to think of anyone other than on-duty British officials, a few other subservient Europeans, and Israel who would be willing, in public, to hold up the George W. Bush Administration’s legal justification for its illegal invasion of Iraq as a model for future U.S. decisions to initiate otherwise wholly illegitimate wars in the Middle East.  But that is exactly what John Yoo has done.  And he could end up with a position of considerable importance in the next Republican administration. 

We note that John Yoo earned his law degree at Yale.  During the 1950s and 1960s, Yale Law School was the locus for what came to be described as the “New Haven School” of international law.  Closely associated with long-time Yale law professor Myres McDougal, the New Haven School disdained “positivist” conceptions of international law as a body of rules defined by the consent of sovereign states, which then has some standing apart from individual states’ whims as a guide for and constraint on states’ decision-making and actions.  For McDougall and his associates, working in a Cold War context, such a conception of international law might prove unacceptably limiting on the United States. 

So, they came up with an alternative:  international law, in their version, aims to promote human dignity, by encouraging the development of free, democratic society.  Therefore, what matters in determining the legality of any particular international action is not its compatibility with some body of rules that “evil” states as well as “good” states (like the United States) have some say in; what matters are the “values” motivating the action in the first place.  (Yes, one could get an endowed chair at one of America’s most prestigious law schools writing this kind of stuff.)  And who specifies these values?  Those powerful states (like America) that have some capacity for independent international action. 

This is, of course, a recipe for the United States doing whatever it wants to and can get away with, without being bothered by trifles like internationally-agreed (including by the United States) rules and norms.  Though originally defined in a Cold War context, this perverted notion of international law has gotten a new lease on life in the post-Cold War era, in an America “liberated” from Cold War constraints to intensify its pursuit of hegemonic standing in places like the Middle East.  John Yoo is too young to have studied with McDougall, but he has clearly imbibed the “New Haven School” mindset. 

We find one additional aspect of note in both Kroenig and Yoo’s articles.  If one takes their language literally, their arguments rest on an assumption that the Islamic Republic is going to build nuclear weapons; their analyses then purport to build a case for war against an Islamic Republic in possession of assembled nuclear devices.  But what if Tehran never gives the Matthew Kroenigs and John Yoos of the world the satisfaction of actually building atomic weapons?  Would they still argue for a U.S. attack against an Iran with what some would construe as, at most, a theoretical nuclear weapons “option”? 

One hopes that Kroenig, Yoo, and other advocates of U.S. aggression against the Islamic Republic might be willing to make at least this distinction.  But, then, the truth about Iraq’s WMD programs did not seem to matter much to the Administration that John Yoo served so assiduously in 2003. 

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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749 Responses to “AMERICA’S DRIVE FOR MIDDLE EAST DOMINANCE SETS THE STAGE FOR ATTACKING IRAN—NEVER MIND INTERNATIONAL LAW (OR EVEN U.S. INTERESTS)”

  1. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    You will recall that Aipac went virtually berkserk after Obama this past May endorsed the Green Line or “1967” borders.

  2. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    I would expect the Saudis and other Gulf Arabs to invest substantial amounts of money in development projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, if Israel agreed to the peace plan. Bringing prosperity to the Palestinians would help make amends for the terrible sacrifices they have made (or been forced to make).

  3. Castellio says:

    So, okay, lets say the Saudi peace plan isn’t dead, that it is “pending”. (We will ignore for the moment that neither the US nor Israel support it, or give it any time at all)

    Is the backing of this “pending” plan the full extent of Saudi action and success in its support of Palestine?

    Is that a reflection of Saudi Arabian importance in the oil industry or the armament industry?

  4. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    You are quite right to underline the great service to peace in the Middle East, bestowed on the region by Hezbollah, when it resisted Israel’s effort to take it out by smashing Lebanon. Lebanon got smashed (to tune of $7 billion in damage), but Hezbollah remained in place. Preventing Dick Cheney’s conspiracy to have yet another illegal war in the Middle East from succeeding (with crucial help from CIA and the 2007 NIE on Iran).

  5. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    I do not think the Saudi peace plan is “dead”. Perhaps you would prefer it be dead, but it is not. Again, it is peculiar that you buy into the Zionist extremist narrative that growing colonies of Jews changes borders.

  6. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Delusional Israelis think they can carve up the West Bank at will, growing illegal colonies of Jews. Why do you buy into this delusional narrative? Saudi Arabia says Israel cannot change the borders by growing colonies of Jews in the West Bank (or the Golan Heights). Clearly this is the sensible approach.

  7. Castellio says:

    You’re persistent, James, and that’s a virtue.

    Given the lull, I want to ask you a question in the hopes you won’t avoid a straight answer. You often say that the Saudis support Palestine. However Palestine has largely disappeared. Palestinians struggle along in refugee camps and concentration camps without any legal standing, but Palestine as a geographical or national entity is a hodge podge of disconnected bantustans. And Israel has made it quite clear that there will be no Palestine other than civic administration of those ever smaller, more isolated and more deprived camps.

    Now, Saudi Arabia is spending huge amounts of momeny on armaments that are being sold by the US, the nation backing the Israelis in their conquest of Palestine. The US is happy knowing that these arms are going to SA, and celebrates the sell. Israel is also content with arms going to SA, knowing that they are no threat.

    So, how is it, in any real sense other than verbal rhetoric for its own restless population, that SA supports the Palestinians?

    Given SA extraordinary importance in the oil trade, and its extraordinary importance in the American aramaments trade, it has nothing to show for its support of Palestine. Absolutely nothing!

    So I do not know how you can honourably repeat your statements that the Saudis support Palestine, and I hope you take this opportunity to convince myself – and others – of why you believe that to be the case.

    I expect you to talk of financial support for Hamas, and perhaps of the (very dead) Saudi peace plan, but I’m hoping that you will make a somewhat more inclusive and coherent case for SA’s active and sustained support for Palestine that actually fits with the events of the last 60 years.

  8. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Who are the “US elites” that you claim want Syria and Iran “gone”? Some of the rich and powerful Jews? Some of the rich Christian Zionists? A know a considerable number of rich Americans and virtually none of them wants war in Syria or Iran.

  9. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Iran virtually insisted that the UK seek another round of sanctions.

    I have stated a number of times my concern that the Israel lobby increasingly tries to manipulate the UK government in the style they routintely achieve in the US. This is being naive?

  10. James Canning says:

    Lysander,

    Russia and China are unlikely to back a UNSC resolution on Syria that would allow bombing by Nato.

  11. Lysander says:

    Two Russian ships heading to Syria.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/report-two-russian-warships-to-visit-syria-1.405938

    Not sure if this is serious, but so far it seems Russia is standing by Syria. I’m impressed. I would have thought they would have dropped Assad by now but they seem pretty firm. Russia can’t challenge the western navies, but I don’t think they will want to start a bombing campaign while Russian ships are there. At least, I hope not.

    This may all be “previously scheduled visits,” but the perception is nevertheless important.

  12. James Canning: “William Hague and David Cameron seriously disapproved of the Israeli smashing of Lebanon in 2006. I doubt the UK would do anything to encourage or set up a repeat disaster.”

    THEY ARE. That’s the bottom line. They have supplied British troops and support to the Syrian dissidents as they did to the Libyan dissidents. This is directly involved in overthrowing the Assad regime, which in turn is directly involved in Israel’s upcoming attack on Hizballah, and in turn deliberately involved in furthering the Iran war.

    In any event, the UK will do what the US (and the equivalent of the Israel Lobby in the UK) and the UK military-industrial complex and UK oil companies tells them to do. Just like in the US.

    The UK is by no means somehow independent of the US, NATO, and Israel. The UK, as George Galloway likes to remark, is barely keeping its head above water while continuing to push for sanctions on Iran’s oil exports and for starting another Iran war as a result.

    You’re far too naive.

  13. Karl: “US are probably more keen on good relations with the arab world more than ever before which stems from 2 things.”

    Trust me, US elites couldn’t care less.

    “1. Unifying arabs against Iran.”

    Like that’s really going to happen. The ONLY way the US could achieve that would be to put Israel in it’s place vis-a-vis the Palestinian situation – and that ain’t happenin’.

    “2. Trying to establish good relations with the new, post-revolution, islamist parties which will be harder to bribe than the earlier US-puppets that some already now have been toppled.”

    When push comes to shove, the US elites want Iran and Syria gone, regardless of how the Arab street sees things. With Syria and Hizballah weakened, Israel will be much less worried about Egypt, even if Egypt repudiates the peace treaty at referendum (which is very likely).

    Israel’s primary concern is and always has been Iran because Iran is too far for Israel to take out militarily (short of nuking Tehran which Israel can’t do for international relations reasons.) Therefore Israel requires the US to take out Iran. But as I said, this can only happen once both of Iran’s allies next to Israel, Hizballah and Syria, are weakened so that neither can be used against Israel during the Iran war.

    Israel isn’t worried about Egypt or Jordan at all, regardless of who’s in power. It’s not worried about Hizballah or Syria, either, except for the nuisance value in an Iran war. But that nuisance value IS important if Israel’s leaders want to keep the Israeli population in favor of the leadership’s actions. The Israeli population won’t mind if Israel attacks Iran, but they WILL mind having to spend months in bomb shelters under Hizballah and Syrian missile attacks. So Israel has to avoid that.

    And as I’ve said repeatedly, there is only ONE way to do that: push Hizballah further north so its missiles can’t reach Tel Aviv. And there is only ONE way to do THAT: attack the Bekaa Valley via Syria. And there is only ONE way to do THAT: weaken Syria first or at the same time. And the BEST way to do THAT is the Libya model.

    “How will they do that? Since China, Russia will veto any intervention.”

    Russia and China can veto in the UN all they want. It won’t change things any more than George Bush was dissuaded from attacking Iraq. The UN can still put up a resolution and support that resolution, even if it gets vetoed. The US and NATO can then claim “moral authority” even if they don’t have actual legal authority.

    “Do you really think that US soldiers will running from Israel to fight Syria or to fight Lebanon thus even breaching the UN force in the middle?”

    I said absolutely nothing about that. What will happen is that US troops will assist Israel with anti-missile protection from Syria and Lebanon from within Israel as well as probably engaging in military intelligence operations (SIGINT) against Syria and covert ops in support of the Syrian dissidents – just as they did in Libya. You do know there were US CIA forces as well as French and British forces on the ground in Libya supporting the dissidents, right? US and NATO air strikes – with no ground troops involved except covert ops forces – will attack Syria. Israel will attack Lebanon with air strikes AND ground troops advancing through Syrian territory while Syrian troops are pinned down by US/NATO air strikes.

    And Israel couldn’t care less about UNFIL…UNFIL will be pulled out before the Israeli attack. They’ll be warned in advance. And they’ll run if faced with Israeli armor if they’re not warned.

    “Thats not going to happen. Obviously US arent going to do such a dirty work, they have neither the interest nor capability to fight two wars (Syria + Iran, and even Hezbollah).”

    Like I said, the US isn’t going to be fighting Hizballah. And the US won’t be fighting Syria and Iran at the same time. Syria goes first (with Israel taking down Hizballah – if they can), THEN Iran.

    The strategic plan is so obvious it’s pathetic. One doesn’t need a crystal ball, the progression from Libya to Syria is completely transparent.

    They tried this in 2006 already! Israel attacked Hizballah, but failed to drive it north because they tried a frontal assault and badly underestimated Hiaballah’s capabilities. So Bush and Cheney couldn’t pull off an attack on Iran in 2006 or 2007 because Israel balked at starting the war with Hizballah still on their rear (and the 2007 NIE ruined the politics).

    THIS is why we had no Iran war in 2006-2007.

    Israel had to spend the next couple of years re-evaluating their strategy against Hizballah. Then they had to deal with Cast Lead in 2009.

    At some point, someone came up with the Libyan idea, and it was tested out on Libya. Now that model will be applied to Syria, which will enable Israel to deal with Hizballah (they hope, anyway – I’m not so sure it will work.)

    After that, it will be Iran’s turn (assuming the Lebanon and Syria wars don’t turn into complete disasters for the US, NATO and Israel – which is quite possible.)

  14. Rd. says:

    Nasser says:

    – I keep failing to post the weblink for some reason.

    —————

    I have the same problem.. for some reason this site rejects the inclusion of any reference to the ambassadors wen site!?!?!

  15. Nasser says:

    MK Bhadrakumar writes:

    “Momentous turn in India’s West Asia Policy

    External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna is most certainly assured of an exciting visit to Israel on Monday. Israel announced Thursday that it is planning to hold its biggest-ever military exercise with the United States. Of course, unannounced, thousands of American troops are also being deployed in Israel.

    British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond paid his first visit to the Pentagon and then went on, after meeting with his American counterpart Leon Panetta to express readiness to put the British forces in the Persian Gulf at the disposal of the US in the region. Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper has virtually called for war naming Iran as the “world’s most serious threat to international peace and security.” When Britain and Canada speak out belligerently, clearly, they are acting as choir boys.

    Alongside, European Union is moving toward an oil embargo on Iran. The embargo may come into force by end-January once alternate supplies are lined up for Europe. For Iran, the EU is its second biggest consumer of oil after China, but EU can dispense with Iranian oil as the supplies only amount to some 4 percent of Europe’s total imports. The US has already signed into law a decision to target foreign parties that have dealings with the Iranian central bank, a move aimed at putting financial pressure on Iran.

    On the diplomatic plane, Iran has put the western powers in a fix by offering to talk on the Iran nuclear issue and also allowing in the IAEA inspectors. Plainly put, western powers are not ready for talks and have put a pre-condition that a letter written by EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in October must be replied to first — of course, in appropriate wording that the west would then have the right to accept or reject. Which means, a stalemate has been reached. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad spoke to Russian president Dmitry Medvedev yesterday.

    The problem for the US and its western allies is that the Russian proposal for negotiations (which Iran ahas accepted), mooted first in July last year, envisages an easing and incremental lifting of existing sanctions in parallel with Tehran answering the IAEA’s queries on its nuclear programme. Of course, Russia is firmly opposed to any fresh sanctions on Iran.

    What emerges, therefore, is that the US wants to keep the nuclear issue as an alibi (although there is no evidence that Iran pursues a nuclear weapon programme) to create a case for military actions against Iran. The core issue is that the US cannot accept the surge in Iran’s regional influence, which renders ineffectual Israel’s military dominance in the Middle East.

    Quite obviously, Krishna’s visit to Israel next week, punctuating a 10-year interlude in such high level visits from India, makes a big statement of solidarity with the US-Israeli game plan vis-a-vis Iran. Amidst the war clouds gathering in the Middle East, India’s West Asia policy is taking a momentous turn, and, unsurprisingly, the government is receiving accolades for standing up and being counted in full view of the Arab world as a friend of Israel.

    But it is useful to remind the US and israel that there is nothing like free lunch. It isn’t a small thing that a founding member of the non-aligned movement like India jettisons principles and gets down to realpolitik by fulfilling covertly yet another stipulation spelt out in the Hyde Act that provides the underpinning of the US-India nuclear deal of 2008. Will Barack Obama reciprocate the Indian leadership’s compliance with the Hyde Act? Will the powerful Israeli Lobby in Washington put in a word for India?

    The Indian wish list is languishing in the sideboard in the Oval Office — membership of the NSG and other technology control regimes, affirmation of waiver on transfer of ENR technology to India. Then, indeed, there lies the mother of all Indian wishes: India’s UN Security Council membership. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu may have some answers for Krishna.”

    – I keep failing to post the weblink for some reason.

  16. Dave says:

    Dear All,

    See attached Ron Paul’s predictions in 2002.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGDisyWkIBM

  17. Nasser says:

    Haaretz interviews General Pervez Musharraf.

    Regarding Iran’s nuclear program: “The question is about a nuclear weapon and a delivery system. Do they have it? I don’t know. My knowledge is that proliferation did take place from Pakistan. Yes, unfortunately there was proliferation…But that involved enrichment of uranium. That does not mean possession of a bomb. Because turning uranium into a bomb is a totally different technology. Not only that, but exploding that bomb means you need a trigger mechanism – a totally different technology again. And then that mechanism needs to be of the right size to be fired in a delivery system, another issue because that means reducing its size. So, I really don’t know if Iran has all this.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/magazine/relations-with-israel-could-help-pakistan-says-former-president-musharraf-1.405846

  18. Nasser says:

    James Canning,

    “Michael Peel of the Financial Times, in a report from Riyadh dated Nov. 21st, said that the Saudis were producing 12 million barrels per day, and that if world markets needed more oil, it should be available from Iraq.”

    – My understanding was that 12 mbd is roughly Saudi Arabia’s peak capacity and they are infact producing below that amount (around 10 mbd, I think) as agreed to by OPEC. So they usually have about 2 mbd of spare capacity if they decide to break with OPEC quota.

    – It is also my understanding that the Saudis have done a great deal of lobbying at both Asian and European capitals to let purchasers of Iranian oil know that they can wholly make up for any disruption of Iran’s roughly 2 mbd of exports.

    – You are right though that without Iraq’s rehabilitation, the West wouldn’t have had the courage to turn against Iran’s energy sector in such a way.

    – Fyi pointed out that there still exists some technical complications to replacing Iranian oil so easily. But it seems the Western countries are aware of this and are readying the IEA to balance such temporary shortfalls.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/06/us-iea-contingency-idUSTRE8051FV20120106

    – It seems a lot of countries, with the Saudis in particular are willing to go well out of their way and in fact do harm to themselves just to hurt Iran.

  19. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 6, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    That flexibility got nothing for Iran.

    Iran has gone back to the postion she held under the late Mr. Khomeini.

    The peace process, the Saudi Plan, the HAMAS Hudna, etc. are all gone.

    There is only war and blooshed in the cards.

  20. kooshy says:

    James Canning says:

    January 6, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    “Nine or ten years ago, Iran gave signals it will accept the Saudi peace plan if the Palestinians accept it. This to me is obvious way forward.”

    Gavener James- almost 1400 years ago Iran offered her own peace plans but the Muslim Arabs didn’t want any of it, as a consequence “way forward” was, that Iran permanently became a Muslim majority country, maybe that’s what’s awaiting to happen in the occupied Palestine.

    Don’t they say that the history repeats itself?

  21. James Canning says:

    “Neocon hysteria over defense cuts falls flat”, by Kelley Vlahos:

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/blog/

  22. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    The “western colonial powers” did not “create” Saudi Arabia or the Saudi royal family. I do not know where you get that idea.

  23. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Nine or ten years ago, Iran gave signals it will accept the Saudi peace plan if the Palestinians accept it. This to me is obvious way forward.

  24. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think the Saudi peace plan would work with an internationalised Old City. Perhaps special rights of Hashemite kings of Jordan could be helpful.

  25. James Canning says:

    Philip Weiss has great piece Jan. 6th: “Spouse of ‘NYT’ correspondent calls on Israeli gov’t to wage ‘war’ on int’l threat to its image”

    http://mondoweiss.net

    Hirsh Goodman, husband of NYT reporter Isable Kershner, is agitated that Israel’s existence is, in his own view, threatened by bad PR.

  26. Rehmat says:

    Saudia is the greatest threat to US, not Iran, Stupid!

    Says, John Stanton is a Virginia-based journalist, author and writer in security and Jewish matters ….

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/saudia-is-the-greatest-threat-to-us-not-iran-stupid/

  27. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Al Quds must be a Muslim city for th war to end.

    There is no other way.

  28. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    You do not know the Jews; do you understand the symblism of crushing of tumblers during a Jewsih wedding?

    No, Mr. Canning; endless war is in the cards until and unless Isrzel, Iran, US, Lebanon, and Palestine can agree on a settlement.

  29. James Canning says:

    Nasser,

    Michael Peel of the Financial Times, in a report from Riyadh dated Nov. 21st, said that the Saudis were producing 12 million barrels per day, and that if world markets needed more oil, it should be available from Iraq.

  30. James Canning says:

    Philip Hammond, British defence secretary, says UK opposes any preemptive strike on Iran.

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/219646.html

  31. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I do not expect “regime change” in Iran or the US. But many American Jews are asking themselves if they want endless war or near-war in the Middle East. Due to Israeli stupidity.

  32. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think Israel would agree to an international status for the Old City in Jerusalem. Many Israelis, of course, would object strenuously.

  33. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 6, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    The Al Aqsa Mosque – where God gathered all prophets from Adam to Mohmammad for prayer is now controlled by Israel – the Jewish Fortress.

    The Dome of the Rock, where Mohammad ascended to Heaven, is controlled by Israel – the Jewish Fortress.

    They will not give that up; they will use a nuclear bomb first.

    As I sated before; tactically, the HAMAS Hudna was a possibility until last year.

    Now even that is no longer in the cards.

    US and Iran, therefore, will remain antagonistic until regime change in either or both countries.

    A few more decades, I should think.

  34. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Obama inevitably is beholden to the rich and powerful Jews who were responsible for arranging for him to get into the White House. And Jews provide half of all funding for Democrats seeking senate or house seats.

  35. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    William Hague and David Cameron seriously disapproved of the Israeli smashing of Lebanon in 2006. I doubt the UK would do anything to encourage or set up a repeat disaster.

  36. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    The Saudis are keenly aware that if oil prices go too high, global recession will bring them down much lower than they are currently.

  37. Karl says:

    Another blatant chutzpah by disconnected-from-the-reality-US that still thinks it could control the latin americans will.

    “US warns Latin America not to tie itself to Iran”
    http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/middleeast/news/article_1684312.php/US-warns-Latin-America-not-to-tie-itself-to-Iran

  38. Karl says:

    fyi:

    saudi could have avoided escalation and possible war in the region by just stating that they would not accept another war in the region that is, to say no to export more oil in case an oil embargo is imposed on its neighbour. Instead they play along with US and israeli goals.

  39. fyi says:

    Nasser says: January 6, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    I think that the crude that Saudi can release is not of the same constituency as that of Iran’s; the refineries in many countries have to be retro-fitted.

    I also think that way, OPEC will also be in a bind.

    The Saudis will be fools to go that route but those that Gods wish to destry they first make stupid.

  40. Karl says:

    Richard Steven Hack:

    “US elites couldn’t care less about the US image. Just as Abbie Hoffman used to say that you can’t call cops “Nazis” – because they LIKE that – every time the US is accused of being an imperialist power, the US elites smile. They LIKE that – that’s their intention”

    – US are probably more keen on good relations with the arab world more than ever before which stems from 2 things.
    1. Unifying arabs against Iran.
    2. Trying to establish good relations with the new, post-revolution, islamist parties which will be harder to bribe than the earlier US-puppets that some already now have been toppled.

    “So Israel wants the US and NATO to take on Syria while it takes on Hibzallah.”

    – How will they do that? Since China, Russia will veto any intervention.

    “Says who? There’s always a first time. If the US and NATO intend to attack Syria, where better to stash your forces than in Israel, your “aircraft carrier in the Middle East”. Why do you think US forces stash literally billions of dollars of military supplies in Israel?”

    – History tells us. Do you really think that US soldiers will running from Israel to fight Syria or to fight Lebanon thus even breaching the UN force in the middle? Thats not going to happen. Obviously US arent going to do such a dirty work, they have neither the interest nor capability to fight two wars (Syria + Iran, and even Hezbollah).

    “A massive war game at this point in time IS. The US has never, to my knowledge, held a war game of this size in Israel. And the timing, when Syria is on the verge of a civil war, clearly fits.”
    – Well if we use your rhetoric “there must be a first time”. Its just for war games and deterrence since its as always non-existent. What matter does the ammouth of troops really make? The object is that they are having wargames.

  41. Nasser says:

    James Canning,

    “If Iranian oil exports are cut by, say 1 million barrels per day, oil will go to $125 and this will likely bring global recession if it is sustained.”

    – Saudi Arabia has something like 2.5 mbd of excess capacity and has been very vocal in stating that they can make up for any loss in Iranian supplies. US and EU leaders share this view. And Iraq’s rehabilitation has increased the supply in world markets. These facts together lead Western leaders to believe that disruption of Iran’s supply would have negligible impact on the world markets.

    – Iran has failed in what should have been its number one strategic priority, which would be raising its oil production capacity. In fact Iran’s production is roughly 2.2mbd less than it was before the revolution.

  42. Nasser says:

    fyi,

    “Marjaiyah will fight tooth and nail to maintain the Shia ascendancy there and the territorial integrity of Irqa – there will be no sectarian federalism there.”

    – A dismemberment of Iraq would very much be in Iran’s interest. As would the dismemberment of Afghanistan. This would be the best possible outcome from the people of those countries as well.

  43. Rd. says:

    Karl says:

    “What possible ways of counter-measures could Iran possibly initially use if EU/US oil embargo is getting through or any other provocation/war tactics?”

    possible option;

    “Now the Iranian Majlis (Parliament) is re-evaluating the use of Iranian waters at the Strait of Hormuz. Legislation is being proposed by Iranian parliamentarians to block any foreign warships from being able to use Iranian territorial waters to navigate through the Strait of Hormuz without Iranian permission; the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee is currently studying legislating this as an official Iranian posture on the basis of Iranian strategic interests and national security. “

    http://www.voltairenet.org/Would-the-US-be-defeated-in-the

  44. Karl: “Israel could take on any state in the region. Just as Israel couldnt attack Iraq back in the 90s. US dont want its image to erode even more in already troubled times.”

    US elites couldn’t care less about the US image. Just as Abbie Hoffman used to say that you can’t call cops “Nazis” – because they LIKE that – every time the US is accused of being an imperialist power, the US elites smile. They LIKE that – that’s their intention.

    Also, appearances aren’t relevant when it comes to REAL money and power.

    It’s irrelevant whether Israel could attack Iraq OR Iran. What Israel can attack is Lebanon and Syria – and defeat both simultaneously.

    But as I said, Israel doesn’t want to fight Lebanon and Syria simultaneously if it doesn’t have to because it means more casualties than it wants to admit to the Israeli public.

    So Israel wants the US and NATO to take on Syria while it takes on Hibzallah.

    “1. US have never fighten a war, with Israel and will never do.”

    Says who? There’s always a first time. If the US and NATO intend to attack Syria, where better to stash your forces than in Israel, your “aircraft carrier in the Middle East”. Why do you think US forces stash literally billions of dollars of military supplies in Israel?

    “2. Hizbollah is no threat to Israel.”

    Oh, yes, it is. Israel doesn’t want forty thousand rockets landing as far as Tel Aviv in the middle of a war with Iran. While Hizballah can’t ever overthrow Israel, it can definitely cause trouble the Israeli government would prefer to blunt before starting the Iran war.

    It’s just stupid to allow an enemy in your rear while you’re engaging a far off enemy. Israel needs to push Hizballah out of southern Lebanon so its missiles can’t reach major Israeli cities. To do that it needs to defeat Hizballah in the Bekaa Valley, which is Hizballah’s “strategic depth”. To do that, it needs to hit the Bekaa Valley from Syrian territory. To do that, it needs to engage Syria. To AVOID that, it needs to have the US/NATO engage Syria.

    Q.E.D.

    “3. Syria is neither capable to do something, neither a threat to Israel. They have domestic problems.”

    Please. Syria isn’t going to attack Israel. Israel and US/NATO are going to attack Syria. It’s not a question of Syria’s decision.

    “3. Since actions against Syria will be blocked by China, Russia, there will be no foreign intervention by the US.”

    It’s not clear that Russia and China can block US/NATO from attacking Syria, short of actually threatening military intervention. The US and NATO can go it alone without UN authorization. They can put up a UN resolution and once blocked by Russia and China, they can simply declare the resolution’s irrelevance and go ahead. What is Ban Ki-Moon going to do? Declare his disappointment? Whoop-de-do.

    China can’t do anything militarily in the region. Russia has warships but Russia will not confront a US Naval Battle Group in the Med over Syria. Russia will denounce the war but be unable to do much more than ship arms to Syria – which will probably be irrelevant in the long run.

    To some degree, it depends on what Putin wants to do. I think Putin would like to ratchet up pressure on the US over the European missile defense shield and related matters, so he might be willing to push the envelope in confronting the US. But Russia still has limits on its ability to project power in the region compared to the US. So I don’t see Russia being able to do anything until the situation in Syria has deteriorated to the point where it’s “clear” (to the suckers) that the US and NATO need to establish a “no fly zone” – at which point the situation will be “de facto over”.

    “War games between states are not something new.”

    A massive war game at this point in time IS. The US has never, to my knowledge, held a war game of this size in Israel. And the timing, when Syria is on the verge of a civil war, clearly fits.

    As the Global Research article points out, “The drill, which is unprecedented in its size, will include the establishment of US command posts in Israel and IDF command posts at EUCOM headquarters in Germany – with the ultimate goal of establishing joint task forces in the event of a large-scale conflict in the Middle East.”

    Well, what “large scale conflict” in the Middle East is imminent, if not Syria? What “large scale conflict” is likely beyond Syria? Iran.

    As you pointed out, Israel can take any country around it by itself. Why would the US need to hold such a large scale war game AT ALL with Israel? For some future war two or three decades from now? With whom?

    But in the two-front war scenario I outlined, it makes perfect sense. In the Syria overthrow context that’s clearly in the cards, it makes perfect sense. It’s not the US “protecting Israel” – it’s the US using Israel as a launching point against Syria while ALSO protecting Israel while it takes on Hizballah.

    It also makes perfect sense if you expect both Israel and the US to be fighting Iran in the future. Because fighting Iran likely means fighting Syria and Hizballah as well. That’s the whole point. Israel doesn’t want an Iran war until Syria and Hizballah are weakened.

    That’s likely WHY we haven’t had an Iran war yet – because Israel has balked at allowing itself to be attacked by at least Hizballah (and possibly Syria) in addition to Iran. Israel wants an Iran war “on the cheap” – with the US doing the heavy lifting and very few casualties from either Iranian or Hizballah missiles.

    Israel is the one with “domestic issues”. It couldn’t sustain the 2006 Lebanon war because of the number of casualties it suffered at Hizballah’s hands compared to their relative numbers. There was considerable public criticism of the Israeli military after that war, and some Israeli officers got trounced.

    Israel wants to avoid a repeat of that. So it needs to weaken Hizballah decisively and the only way to do that is through Syria. And the best way to do that is to allow the US and NATO to take on Syria.

    Note that I’m not saying that Israel will necessarily beat Hizballah. But they have to try, otherwise they have to accept Hizballah’s forces being in the rear during the Iran war (as well as the possibility of Syria being involved in an Iran war.) And that’s unacceptable to Israel, as it would be to any strategic planner.

  45. Karl says:

    All:

    What possible ways of counter-measures could Iran possibly initially use if EU/US oil embargo is getting through or any other provocation/war tactics?

    *Burn its oil fields, thus rising the cost of oil to an even higher price.

    *Mine the Hormuz and delay or completely cut off shipping tanks from entering, also this will rise the price of oil.

    *Initiate Hezbollah?
    *Initiate palestinian groups?

    *Create havoc in Iraq?
    *Destroying the pipelines running from Iraq?
    *Attacking oil tanks in the gulf?

  46. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 6, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Mr. Obama is owes too much to the Zionists in US to have much of an independent policy on Iran, on Palestine, or anywhere in between.

    Did you know that during the Mavi Marmara incident he was personally involved to limit diplomatic damage to Israel?

  47. Karl says:

    unknown unknowns:

    “1) China 543,000 10
    2) India 341,000 11
    3) Japan 251,000 5.9
    4) Italy 249,000 13.3
    5) South Korea 239,000 7.4
    6) Turkey 217,000 30.6
    7) Spain 149,000 9.6
    8) Greece 111,000 22.6
    9) South Africa 98,000 25
    10)France 78,000 3.7 ”

    Remove in the coming weeks: Japan, Italy, South Korea, Spain, Greece, France

    “1) China 543,000 10
    2) India 341,000 11

    6) Turkey 217,000 30.6

    9) South Africa 98,000 25

    I am not sure about them others, also China have began to reduce its ties, starting with their delaying in South Pars area some months ago.
    So Iran does indeed face a threat, we could remove the thesis that export will soar this year. Thats for sure.

  48. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 6, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Let us hope so.

  49. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Sunni Arab leaders are doing their best to undermine the Rise of Shia.

    They are all fools; playing to US-EU Agenda.

    THieu, Shah of Iran, Lon Nol, Saddam Hussein, Mubarak, Zia all pushed forward the US-EU Agenda to the determient of themselves and their countries.

    Caveat Emptor!

  50. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    If Iranian oil exports are cut by, say 1 million barrels per day, oil will go to $125 and this will likely bring global recession if it is sustained.

  51. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    American military leaders are certainly not irrelevant, though of course Obama could order them to launch an idiotic attack on Iran.

    Obama was very reluctant to attack Libya, and this came about due to lobbying from France and the UK. William Hague opposed military intervention in Libya, and caught a good deal of flak as a result.

  52. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Sunnis do not want Iraq partitioned. Nor of course do the Shia. (Kurds have a different take)

  53. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns (and Empty),

    Yes, Iran will do well to diversify its exports, and to seek to achieve as high quality as possible.

  54. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Is anyone who claims to understand the Middle East actually suggesting the Sunnis could recapture control of the Iraqi central government? Shia control is not in doubt. I do not see this as posing a “threat” to the peace of the Middle East. But perceived unfairness to the Sunnis will of course make it more likely there will be incidents of terrorism against Shia civilians in years to come.

  55. Unknown Unknowns says:

    fyi says:
    January 6, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    You are absolutely correct. The Qom-Najaf-Beirut axis will also fight tooth and nail to maintain Damascus, and with Turkey committing suicide in Syria, and the Weasels imposing sanctions, this will pave the way for the consolidation of Damascus in the Resistance Axis. The Egyptian Brethren’s announcement of their intention to put the Camp David Accords to a referendum is also very welcome news indeed for the good guys. I note also that Khalid Masha’al is in Cairo today. Another very good sign.

  56. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Castellio:

    Interesting. With regard to this line:

    And Pyongyang is flexible about the method of payment as long as it helps the international pariah regime

    I believe Hennessey Cognac was the currency of choice for the late Kim Jung Il.

  57. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 6, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    The Shia are in power now in Iraq.

    Marjaiyah will fight tooth and nail to maintain the Shia ascendancy there and the territorial integrity of Irqa – there will be no sectarian federalism there.

    The seat of Marjaiyah, Naja, is the on the other point of the line from Qum – the seat of Marjaiyah in Iran.

    These two are the axis that will determine the future of Iraq and Iran – and Entente against all enemies of Shia – domestic or foreign.

    Hizbullah already dominates Lebanon; it has the most potent force and the most potent political program.

    The Shia have risen and cannot be rolled back.

    US-EU States are loath to learn to live with it.

  58. Unknown Unknowns says:

    The top 10 buyers of Iranian crude last year were as follows. Figures for OECD countries are from the IEA and for the second quarter. Figures for China, India and South Africa are for the first half of 2011 from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

    Country Imports bpd Percent Imports:

    1) China 543,000 10
    2) India 341,000 11
    3) Japan 251,000 5.9
    4) Italy 249,000 13.3
    5) South Korea 239,000 7.4
    6) Turkey 217,000 30.6
    7) Spain 149,000 9.6
    8) Greece 111,000 22.6
    9) South Africa 98,000 25
    10)France 78,000 3.7

    I don’t know how many of these players are going to cry Uncle before the day is done, but what keeps coming to mind is that (1) Iranian non-oil exports have soared under Ahmadinejad (to about $45 billion per year, expected to rise to $60 billion in 1391 (3/2012 – 3/2013) and may well exceed that with the fall of the Rial relative to the Dollar, that (2) we have something approaching $150 billion in Forex reserves, and that we did just fine for two decades when oil prices averaged between $20 to $40 per barrel.

    In conclusion, I think you are right, Empty: now is the time for Iran to diversify. I imagine one of our export best-sellers for the second decade of the 21st century will be unmanned aircraft. As our military inductry’s motto goes: First world quality; Third world prices! LOL.

  59. Castellio says:

    From June, 2009. Perhaps just a strange curiosity, or a piece of deliberate misinformation, or the actual case?

    http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/NK-quest-for-dollars-part1

    “In southern Lebanon following the 2006 war, Israel’s Defense Forces and the United Nations found several of the underground complexes, which by then had been abandoned by Hezbollah militants. By coincidence or not, these tunnels and underground rooms – some big enough for meetings to be held there – are strikingly similar to those the South Koreans have unearthed under the Demilitarized Zone that separates South from North Korea. Under small, manhole cover-sized entrances hidden under grass and bushes were steel-lined shafts with ladders leading down to big rooms with electricity, ventilation, bathrooms with showers and drainage systems. Some of the tunnels are 40 meters deep and located only 100 meters from the Israeli border. North Korea’s possible involvement in digging these tunnels is however, difficult to ascertain. According to Israeli investigative journalist Ronen Bergman, a senior officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, who had defected to the West, revealed that, “thanks to the presence of hundreds of Iranian engineers and technicians, and experts from North Korea who were brought in by Iranian diplomats…Hezbollah succeeded in building a 25-kilometer subterranean strip in South Lebanon.”

    Beirut sources suggest that it is more likely that Hezbollah has used North Korean designs and blueprints given to them by their Syrian or Iranian allies – both of whom are close to the North Koreans. (Both Iran and Syria have acquired missile technology from North Korea, and what was believed to be a secret nuclear reactor in Syria built with North Korean help was destroyed by the Israeli air force in September 2007.) Either way, North Korean expertise in tunneling has become a valuable commodity for export. And Pyongyang is flexible about the method of payment as long as it helps the international pariah regime.”

  60. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 6, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    US military leaders are irrelevant; they cannot oppose foolish, but otherwise leagal, commands from their Commander-in-Chief.

    In case of EU embargo, one should hope for the implosion of Euro or further damage to Spanish, Italian, and Greek economies.

  61. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Can you elaborate on the “Shia/Iranian power” you expect to see growing signficantly, unless the US and others can roll it back? Do you mean Hezbollah will take complete control of Lebanon? I think this is unlikely.

  62. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 6, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    US-EU torpedoed the Russian initiative back in November of 2011.

    They need to keep the nuclear file alive to have the option of going to war with iran under the pretext of non-proliferation to roll back the Shia / Irani power.

    That is the crux of the matter.

    Since the internal politics of US is so degenerated to be dysfunctional, and since the Shia / Irani power shows no sign of implosion or weakness; in spite of the massive harms done to her by US, EU, Saudi Arabia and others, certain circles in US and EU are becoming more and more shrill.

    3.5% or 20% are irrelevant – Iran can declare a moratorium on nuclear enrcihment tomorrow; it will not make any difference to the US-EU posture.

    Like the war in Palestine that US and Arab leaders kept alive until they lost control – this is another such case.

  63. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    If the EU embargo puts oil up 20%, Iran can sell less oil and earn the same amount of money from the lower sales. Unless China or other buyers can force discounts.

  64. Castellio says:

    James, are you unaware of powerful Jewish interests backing Obama?

  65. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    American military leaders clearly do not want war with Iran. Certain powerful Jewish interests do want to set up an attack on Iran, to “benefit” Israel. These certain powerful Jewish interests might well back an idiot Republican in the 2012 elections.

  66. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    So, you appear to say Iran enriches to 20%, to trigger an EU embargo on Iranian oil exports, that might be observed by other countries, so Iran can have an insane war?

  67. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Is the UK trying to “roll back Shia/Iranian power”? UK sought better relations with Hezbollah, Syria and Iran, when Hague came into office.

    Are you arguing that enriching to 20% enhances Iranian/Shia power? This is a dubious proposition.

  68. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 6, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    If Iran cannot sell her oil there will be war.

  69. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 6, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    American planners know that the war with Iran will be a land war.

    They do not want that.

    But they are loath to acknowledge the changed situation in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East.

    many of them, I have surmised, still have “Hope” that their Iran Problem would disappear (a no-cost foreign policy).

    Now, US Congress and Mr. Obama, in their own ways, have hastened to the point where they either have to be ready for war or to de-escalate.

    I believe that they will de-escalate.

  70. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I very much doubt Iran would attack the UAE, Qatar, or Saudi Arabia. And certainly not Oman.

  71. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Yes, Iran suffered greatly in the Second World War. Soviet tank was indeed excellent. Britain did not expect Stalin to enter into deal with Germany allowing partition of Poland and setting off European war. US supplies were essential to victory of USSR in the war.

  72. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says: January 6, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    It is not convenient for the Axis Powers to change from Siege warfare to an actual assault at the present time.

    Like all Siege Warfare, this one is geared to the erosion of besieged’s power of resistance.

    The cresendo of the last 2 months are indicative of some people’s desperation; most likey Israelis and Jews in US.

    Now pay attention here:

    Americans are sending their troops to Israel to re-assure them of their committment to the defense of Israel. This is clearly Mr. Obama’s own initiative to further discharge his debt to his Zionist supporters in US.

    On the other hand, US Congress has pre-empted him and escalated, per their fanatsies, to the strategic Never-Never Land.

    Furthermore, US planners doing their best to bolster Arab defenses in the Southern Persian Gulf, as well as their offensive capabilities.

    I think the actions against Iran emanating from Axis Powers has had the singular advantage of bringing forward the decision point for the Axis Powers.

    Just like the War in Palestine, US (and EU) leaders have lost control of the dynamics of their confrontation with Iran.

    Now, they either have to back away from the escalations of the lat 2 months or pursue their current course to the bitter end of war with Iran.

    It is their choice now.

    Note that they keep on adding to the festering problems in the Middle East. No state or combination of other states has the power or the inclination to oppose them.

  73. James Canning says:

    Sakineh,

    financial Times todaq reports Japan and South Korea have said they will reduce oil imports from Iran. Perhaps not by much, but this remains to be seen. FT commentator said oil may go to $150 if Japan and SK stop importing Iranian oil.

  74. James Canning says:

    Campaign message by the idiot Republican, Rick Santorum, today:

    “I am sick of watching President Obama give the cold shoulder to Israel.”

    Iran “wants to see Israel wiped off the map.”

    Just the other day, Santorum claimed yet again there were no Palestinians living in the West Bank. Only Israelis.

  75. James Canning says:

    Sakineh,

    Yes, David Gregory is aware that the IAEA monitors Iranian nuclear sites and keeps tabs on nuclear materials. But he lets an idiot like Rick Santorum rant against Iran because this pleases the rich and powerful Jews who ensure his career benefits from promoting such viciousness.

  76. James Canning says:

    Let us all hope Ron Paul makes a good showing in the New Hampshire primary. The better he does, the more risky it is for the foolish Republican nominee to try to play the Iran card.

  77. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    Sadly, there is no programme by Obama to cut “defence” spending. In fact, the Pentagon is trying to make it appear such cuts are in store, when the truth is that Pentagon (and other “security” spending) actually will increase. US spent more than $1 trillion on “defence” in 2011.

  78. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    What do you mean when you say American planners do not want war with Iran but they “cannot afford peace”? Do you mean Obama fears the attacks the foolish Republican presidential nominee is likely to make? Romney accuses Obama of trying to appease Iran and claims that is undermining US national security. Rubbis, of course.

  79. Empty says:

    Sankineh Bagom & Unknown Unknowns,

    They just suffering from two things: کمی خون و گشادی…..”شلوار” [as unknown unknowns would say “large pants”]. :)

  80. Empty says:

    Sankineh Bagom & Unknown Unknowns,

    I think Iran can do a lot better than just resisting and surviving. It has been a long-standing dream of the Iranian people to move away from an oil-based economy to a non-oil-based one. Now is the time. I am seeing some really promising signs.

    For the next 700 years, God willing, Iran doesn’t need to knock at other nations’ door to get energy. It is blessed with one of most remarkable, fertile, and rich (with all sorts of natural resources) geographies. And it has a population with an insatiable appetite for knowledge and creativity. It has the capacity to be self sufficient in all areas it just needs “توکل به خداوند و همت و وحدت” That’s it! God has given all the rest. انشألله.

  81. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Europe is falling apart, and it is sanctioning Iran, the strongest nation in the Middle East. Pretty damn stupid. My question is: what are they going to do now that they have played their last card, and we are still standing, completely unaffected? Start a war before the whole thing starts to unravel, no doubt.

    AL-ZALZALA (THE EARTHQUAKE)
    Total Verses: 8
    Revealed At: MAKKA

    099.001
    YUSUFALI: When the earth is shaken to her (utmost) convulsion,
    PICKTHAL: When Earth is shaken with her (final) earthquake
    SHAKIR: When the earth is shaken with her (violent) shaking,

    099.002
    YUSUFALI: And the earth throws up her burdens (from within),
    PICKTHAL: And Earth yieldeth up her burdens,
    SHAKIR: And the earth brings forth her burdens,

    099.003
    YUSUFALI: And man cries (distressed): ‘What is the matter with her?’-
    PICKTHAL: And man saith: What aileth her?
    SHAKIR: And man says: What has befallen her?

    099.004
    YUSUFALI: On that Day will she declare her tidings:
    PICKTHAL: That day she will relate her chronicles,
    SHAKIR: On that day she shall tell her news,

    099.005
    YUSUFALI: For that thy Lord will have given her inspiration.
    PICKTHAL: Because thy Lord inspireth her.
    SHAKIR: Because your Lord had inspired her.

    099.006
    YUSUFALI: On that Day will men proceed in companies sorted out, to be shown the deeds that they (had done).
    PICKTHAL: That day mankind will issue forth in scattered groups to be shown their deeds.
    SHAKIR: On that day men shall come forth in sundry bodies that they may be shown their works.

    099.007
    YUSUFALI: Then shall anyone who has done an atom’s weight of good, see it!
    PICKTHAL: And whoso doeth good an atom’s weight will see it then,
    SHAKIR: So. he who has done an atom’s weight of good shall see it

    099.008
    YUSUFALI: And anyone who has done an atom’s weight of evil, shall see it.
    PICKTHAL: And whoso doeth ill an atom’s weight will see it then.
    SHAKIR: And he who has done an atom’s weight of evil shall see it.

  82. kooshy says:

    Professor Scott, considering the US/EU self-imposed restriction on importing Iranian oil, or frankly said sanctioning their own economies from the Iranian oil market, I thought I should modify this old Persian proverb that can actually become very handy advise to yourself, if and when use of electricity becomes restricted in Birmingham. On the positive side it actually can be very cozy
    to review and grade term papers under an Aladdin lamp.

    Modified Iranian proverb to fit current situation in the west

    “The Lamp (Ali baba Variety) that is needed at home (when electricity is restricted) should not be donated to your local church or Synagogue”

    http://www.amazon.com/Pretty-Aladdins-Oil-Table-Lamp-1445/dp/B003JNJFME/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1325870028&sr=8-7

    PS: Currently priced at $59.95 and obviously made in china, is still a barging before this coming summer.

  83. Unknown Unknowns says:

    fyi: your post is #666, just FYI.

  84. fyi says:

    Castellio says: January 6, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Iran will not implode; that is a pipe-dream.

  85. Castellio says:

    This article suggests that waiting for the implosion of Iran is the answer:

    http://www.straight.com/article-575421/vancouver/law-prof-says-iran-holds-key-middle-east

  86. fyi says:

    Rd. says: January 6, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Yes, American planners do not want war with Iran but they cannot afford Peace either. So they need to keep the Siege War against Iran going while hoping something else happen to Iranians.

    Internally, US domestic politics is too degenerated to leave any scope for anything else.

    Iranians will push their own agenda in Syria and in Afghanistan; their efforts to reach a consensus on Syria with Turkey and on Afghanistan with India has failed.

    China will not go out of her way tp help Iran; she is trying to remove any source of friction with US in order to prevent or delay the implementation of US containment strategy against her.

    In Iraq, Iranians will prevent the disintegration of Iraq; one way or another.

    As US-EU Axis economy deteriorates further in 2012, there will be opportunities for all to revisit their decisions.

    The strategic situation, while fluid, has not fundamentally been altered in the Persian Gulfor in the Levant since 2008; the expansion of Shia / Irani power (the Najaf-Qum Axis) etc.

    US will be out of Afghanistan and Iranians will wreck NATO project there.

  87. Rd. says:

    Castellio says:

    So, why is Patrick Seale so convinced that there will be no war against Iran? Or, more accurately, does his position make sense?

    There is just way too much noise.. If there was war, the noise would be heard after the fact. It is peculiar in the middle of all these noises, Obama is announcing the biggest military budget cuts. Is some of the noise related to that??

    The question is, what are the hidden objectives, a complete oil embargo it is not. To reduce Iran’s oil income, perhaps. However, until the chickens come home, it is all noise. It is all conjecture till there is clear evidence Iran’s oil income has been reduced substantially down the road (not barrels exported).

    The dynamics on the ground are just far too many to make a simple conclusion because of who said what..

    Turkey earlier this week dispatched a team to Syria. Presumably to assess their policy. Given Turkey surrounded by Syria, Iraq and Iran, it is obvious their well being is impacted by events in these three countries. Regardless of disturbances in these countries or the potential for the resistance block gaining the upper hand. Are Turks completely oblivious to that?

    The same dynamics hold for EU, China, others. Just to jump up on the noise bandwagon, well, leave that to the Oblivious professor.

  88. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Kathlene,
     
    Here is Robert Naiman railing on so-called journalists whom don’t call out politicians for their bogus statements.
    ”On Sunday, Republican Presidential Rick Santorum told David Gregory on NBC’s Meet the Press that, unlike President Obama, he would “be saying to the Iranians, you either open up those [nuclear] facilities, you begin to dismantle them and, and make them available to inspectors, or we will degrade those facilities through airstrikes and make it very public that we are doing that.”
     
    David Gregory did not challenge Santorum’s statement. But Gregory knows — or should know — that Iran’s nuclear facilities are already under the inspection of the International Atomic Energy Agency.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/david-gregory-should-tell_b_1186410.html
     
    Rehmat, yes, this was posted on your favorite site.

  89. fyi says:

    All:

    Sorry, meant to say “110” dollars per barrel of oil.

  90. fyi says:

    Scott Lucas says: January 6, 2012 at 9:58 am

    We will have to wait perhaps until the end of 2012 to see tha shape of the World oil market.

    I think my assessment has been correct that the confrontation between the Axis Powers and Iran has becpme permanent feature of the international system.

    In a way, it is good for Axis Powers and it is good for Iran.

    Axis Powers will be delaying the consolidation of Shia / Irani power by harmig Iran while Iranians can continue that consolidation while ignoring US 7 EU.

    Sometime in 2015, when oil consupmtion and price is at $ 100 per barrel in 2011 dollars, all of this will be revisited.

  91. Rd. says:

    Scott Lucas says:

    “Publicly, the EU’s spokesman is going to say that no decision has been reached before the Foreign Ministers on 30 January. Privately, the European diplomats — following Greece’s statement this week that it will accept a cut-off of imports,”

    ——————-

    LEAD: No deal yet on Iranian oil embargo, EU sources says
    “The devil is in the detail, we are still discussing,’ the EU source said, indicating that a series of exemptions to the embargo were being considered. “

    http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/middleeast/news/article_1684081.php/LEAD-No-deal-yet-on-Iranian-oil-embargo-EU-sources-says

  92. Scott Lucas says:

    fyi,

    “It is not just any oil; the refineris are adjusted for specific type of petroleum – in this case the Iranian one.”

    Exactly — which is why there have been months of talks amongst those who want sanctions on Iran with suppliers and customers about the arrangements.

    S.

  93. fyi says:

    Scott Lucas says: January 6, 2012 at 8:07 am

    It is not just any oil; the refineris are adjusted for specific type of petroleum – in this case the Iranian one.

    They have to find sources that match that type; elese they refinery has to be retrofitted for a different type of oil – a time consuming process.

  94. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Empty,
     
    Pepe discusses all the exemptions, now that the sanctions on ICB are signed into law.
    “Show me your balls Apart from that self-defeating, terminally in crisis euro/North Atlantic Treaty Organization bunch, everyone and his neighbor will be bypassing this Israeli-American declaration of economic war”
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NA07Ak01.html
     

  95. fyi says:

    Castellio says: January 5, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    If Iranians cannot sell their oil, there will be war.

    It is up to US and EU to decide if they want war now or will they retreat.

    One salient fact is that after the war, US will be unable to pay the cost of defending Israel – that much is certain.

  96. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 5, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Siege warfare is not diplomacy, is just another kind of war.

    UK will not be able to roll-back Shia / Irani power; you are trying to force people into risking their lives.

  97. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 5, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    The Generals were planning a coup against Staling.

    Stalin was trying to avoid war at any costs.

    The country most responsible for WWII, after Germany, was the United Kingdom.

    By the way, the Soviet T-32 tank was the best tank in WWII.

    In regards to US material help to USSR; it all went through ocuupied Iran a country that had declared her neutrality.

    For Iran, the best course of action was neutrality as her enemies killed and maimed one another.

    Alas, it was not to be.

  98. fyi says:

    imho says: January 6, 2012 at 2:47 am

    Yes, and the Shia/Irani Combine has the potential to neutralize Saudi Arabia.

    That is why EU is so shrill and US escalating to strategic nowhere.

    That is the problem with them, they cannot roll-back Shia/Irani Power by war and have to try Siege Warfare first.

  99. Karl says:

    Richard Steven Hack:

    “Wrong. Of course they are. Because they will be defending Israel from Syria (and probably Hizballah as well once Israel attacks Lebanon) – which THE US will be bombing as part of “responsibility to protect”.”

    – Israel could take on any state in the region. Just as Israel couldnt attack Iraq back in the 90s. US dont want its image to erode even more in already troubled times.

    Its simply makes no sense.
    1. US have never fighten a war, with Israel and will never do.
    2. Hizbollah is no threat to Israel.
    3. Syria is neither capable to do something, neither a threat to Israel. They have domestic problems.
    3. Since actions against Syria will be blocked by China, Russia, there will be no foreign intervention by the US.

    “The scenario here is so obvious it’s hard to deny. Why does the US need to send “thousands” of US troops to Israel just to hold a “war game” with Israel if they aren’t planning to HAVE “thousands” of US troops IN ISRAEL at some point? For what? Who’s going to attack Israel that the US needs to have troops and missile battalions on the ground in Israel?”

    -War games between states are not something new.

    And to something else..
    Just read between the lines of the standard propagandist shapiro:

    “US loves Israel, they love us so much that even their economy crash, they will still give us billions of dollars and protect us uncondtionally, we are so great and people cant anything about it”

    The self-rightousness of Israel never stops to amaze.

    http://www.radiohc.cu/ing/news/world/3632-us-and-israel-plan-largest-war-games-in-history.html

  100. Scott Lucas says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    January 6, 2012 at 7:06 am

    Publicly, the EU’s spokesman is going to say that no decision has been reached before the Foreign Ministers on 30 January. Privately, the European diplomats — following Greece’s statement this week that it will accept a cut-off of imports, as alternative supplies are being arranged — have let it be known that the Ministers are ready to proceed with the announcement of the suspension.

    What is up in the air is the timing of implementation. It probably will not happen until late spring/early summer, after assurance that southern European states have supplies to cover the loss of Iranian oil.

    S.

  101. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Meanwhile, back in the ranch, and in keeping with Uncle $cam’s policy of not paying the sand niggers for thier oil in dollars but in projects that benefit the natives not in the least but feed the growling endless pit of a stomach of the multi-national behemouths,

    http://www.arabianbusiness.com/saudi-arabia-spend-over-100bn-on-nuclear-solar-434339.html

    Not to worry, though, Gavner. Alhamdu-li’llah, the towel-heads will not be doing any of the spinning themselves, not even to 3.5% let alone 20. Hell, they can barely spin yarn down there. I shit ye knot.

  102. BiBiJon says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    January 5, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    In defense of naivete, idleness, obesity, and love for all peoples
    ==================================================================

    RSH, I do throw in wildly optimistic notions, I admit. I do so just to nudge the stylus out of a war groove for the heck of it. Beyond the mea culpa, there are good reasons for a brief pause for even the most jaded.

    Take AP for example, or the offer to stop 20% enrichment, or releasing ‘hikers’, etc. These Iranian initiatives do enter non-western discourse, and do change the parameters of discussions. Iran would have been economically strangulated, and diplomatically isolated a long time ago had it not been for these gestures. So, while not dismissing western jaundiced attitude towards Iran no matter what, one cannot completely ignore the rest of the world’s perceptions that to some degree will shape their less-than-enthusiastic deference to the west vis-a-vis Iran.

    To be clearer, I understand any damn thing Iran is willing to say ‘yes’ to will immediately be poo-pooed as insufficient/insincere etc. After all, who could forget the swap deal brokered by Turkey and Brazil to the exact specifications detailed in Obama’s letters.

    But, I think that clumsy let-it-all-hang-out Tehran Declaration fiasco did serve Iran’s purposes. Beyond the immediate Turkish and Brazilian ‘no’ vote at the UNSC, other non-western countries took note of exactly how red the red herring really is.

    I think the AP should not be characterized as an 100% something-for-nothing. There are other members of audience. If done right, at the right time, it will shrink western options. It will certainly limit the choice of fragrance wafting out of the west after starting a war: pungent cheesy.

  103. Unknown Unknowns says:

    b is on top of everything as usual. He posted this from China Daily:

    BRUSSELS – A spokesman of the European Union (EU) on Thursday denied reports that the EU member states have reached agreement over import ban on Iranian oil.

    “It’s not true,” Michael Mann, the spokesman of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, told Xinhua over telephone.

    “We are still discussing potential sanctions, we are hoping to reach a decision before the next foreign affairs council at the end of the month,” he added.

    It was reported on Wednesday [by Uncle $cam’s French Foreign Minister Poodle] that European governments have agreed in principle to ban imports of Iranian crude oil to enhance pressure on the country over its nuclear program.

  104. Scott Lucas says:

    UU,

    Thank you for those engaging remarks — completely off-topic, but delightfully humourous as always!

    S.

  105. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Scotty Boy & Pak/ Sassan Watch update (Highly informative post by Don Bacon):

    The government (together with its MSM friends) has a euphemism for propaganda: Strategic Communications.

    from the National Defense Strategy:

    Strategic communications will play an increasingly important role in a unified approach to national security. DoD, in partnership with the Department of State, has begun to make strides in this area, and will continue to do so. However, we should recognize that this is a weakness across the U.S. Government, and that a coordinated effort must be made to improve the joint planning and implementation of strategic communications.

    DOD definition:

    Strategic communication is focused United States Government efforts to understand and engage key audiences to create, strengthen, or preserve conditions favorable for the advancement of United States Government interests, policies, and objectives through the use of coordinated programs, plans, themes, messages, and products synchronized with the actions of all instruments of national power.

    from State:
    Bureau of Public Affairs: Strategic Communications

    The Office of Strategic Communication (SCT) develops and executes the strategic media goals of the Secretary of State. In addition to determining the long-term media goals of the Secretary, the SCT team is responsible for the day-to-day execution of the Secretary’s strategic media plans, including the use of other principals to support the Secretary’s initiatives. In close coordination with the Secretary’s staff, SCT plans and executes all S events with a media component; crafts remarks for all S events with a media component; and, plans and executes the Secretary’s travel and related media.

    Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 5, 2012 10:06:00 PM | 15

  106. Unknown Unknowns says:

    “Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit atrocities.” – Voltaire (1765)

    Posted by: DakotabornKansan | Jan 5, 2012 8:39:07 PM | 14

  107. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Richard:

    Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
    All the Trans-humans and all the King’s men
    Couldn’t put Abu Humpty back together again
    You know why?
    Cause he was pushed, motherfluffer!

  108. Unknown Unknowns says:

    In case anyone was wondering what a Cosmic War looks like, you’re looking at it, or better, you’re living through it: Shi’a Islam vs. Liberal Democracy & the Exigencies of Capitalism. And all you Greens, all you followers of that pitiful Mussavite Dupe, who are on the wrong side of history: don’t look to me come the Rapture when the Escaton takes a bite out of your sorry ass, chews you up and spits you out.

  109. Rehmat: “American journalist, editor and author, Tom Engelhardt wrote the other day: “Over the last decade, the US has been taught a repitive lesson when it comes to ground wars on the Eurasian mainland: don’t launch them.”

    And he’s quite wrong. The US hasn’t learned a damn thing and couldn’t care less. NO ONE in position of authority has lost anything from the Iraq or Afghanistan wars – unless you count General McChrystal who got fired for bad-mouthing his superiors.

    Petraeus has “failed upward” and will probably be running for President in 2016. Bush and Cheney haven’t lost a dime.

    The US supposedly was “taught a lesson” in Vietnam. Obviously it didn’t take. And it never will take until the US homeland itself is brought under fire.

  110. Canning: “Looking again at your posts”

    Perhaps you can read, after all?

    “you seem to claim the US and the EU will attack Syria, from the air, to enable Israel to cross Syrian territory for an invasion of Lebanon.

    I doubt this plan would get much support in the EU.”

    And that makes you terminally naive. What part of US, British and French military forces ALREADY IN TURKEY ON THE SYRIAN BORDER TRAINING SYRIAN DISSIDENTS AND running SIGINT/PSYOPS campaigns inside Syria don’t you understand?

    The war for Syria is ON. It will be happening within the next six months if not sooner. It will involve air strikes from the US, NATO and probably Turkey as well as Turkish forces establishing a “buffer zone” INSIDE Syria, and thousands of Libyan mercenaries aiding however many Syrian dissidents there are.

    The only thing that might slow that down would be if the current numbers of Syrian dissidents are just too small, even with Libyan mercenary help, to be effective against the Syrian military even with US/NATO air strikes. All that means is that it might start later rather than sooner.

    But the goal is QUITE clear: weaken Syria and preferably overthrow Assad by military force, EXACTLY like Libya and Iraq before that. And that will be taken advantage of by Israel to attack Lebanon to push Hizballah farther north in order to eliminate the threat of Hizballah missiles during the upcoming Iran war.

    Which by the way IMPLIES that as soon as the Lebanon campaign is concluded that the war with Iran will be undertaken within a reasonable time afterward – because Israel will not want Hizballah to re-arm and rebuild and move south again within range of major Israeli cities.

    Of course, if Syria is badly damaged, it will take longer for Hizballah to re-arm. So the war on Iran might still be a couple years away depending on how long the Syrian and Lebanon campaigns take and how much damage is actually inflicted on both countries.

    We can assume Iran will do whatever it can to assist both Syria and Hizballah in re-arming once the situation stabilizes.

  111. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Scotty Boy says: Iran Analysis: Why the Currency Fell….And What That Means for Iranians

    Puh-leeeeze, knee-grow. Now you are an expert on economics and opine on currency fluctuations??? WTF?! I guess when you are a spiritually destitute presstitute or a sub-moronic card-carrying member of Scholars for Dollars, you should not be expected to have any shame. Still, if you can’t be shamed, you’ll be flamed.

    Everyone here hates this guy, and he knows it, and he still comes around. What a complete asshole. Come the revoution, can I please, please, please have the honor of personally putting the noose around his neck? Ta very mooch, I’m sure.

  112. Canning: “Are you suggesting the US and the EU would attack Lebanon?”

    Your dyslexia is becoming tiresome. If you can’t read English, stop asking me questions because I’m not wasting any more time answering them when it’s clear you have no clue what I wrote.

  113. Lysander: “Not that it would make a difference but it might make the west feel awkward for a moment and it wouldn’t cost Iran anything.”

    Actually it would. The ONLY bargaining chip Iran has over the nuclear program is the demand that its LEU enrichment be officially accepted in exchange for further guarantees such as signing the AP that the program is peaceful.

    The situation is now way past that, of course, but the fact remains Iran has that one chip and that one only. So it would be a waste of time and accomplish nothing to throw it away for nothing.

    What Iran COULD do at this point would be to retract its demand that the sanctions be lifted in exchange for suspending enrichment and merely demand that the US and EU acknowledge its right to enrich to (to 20% or just 3%) in exchange for implementing the AP.

    But I’m pretty sure the US and EU would reject that offer because it would fundamentally undercut their desire to force Iran to suspend all enrichment which is how they keep the cause for war on track. The US and the EU will never give that up because that’s how they keep the pressure on and guarantee that sooner of later there has to be a war – which is their real goal: a war.

  114. Karl: “The US are about to go to Israel for a wargame, of course US arent going to fight side by side with Israel.”

    Wrong. Of course they are. Because they will be defending Israel from Syria (and probably Hizballah as well once Israel attacks Lebanon) – which THE US will be bombing as part of “responsibility to protect”.

    The scenario here is so obvious it’s hard to deny. Why does the US need to send “thousands” of US troops to Israel just to hold a “war game” with Israel if they aren’t planning to HAVE “thousands” of US troops IN ISRAEL at some point? For what? Who’s going to attack Israel that the US needs to have troops and missile battalions on the ground in Israel?

    No one, that’s who – unless of course the US AND Israel are attacking someone else.

  115. BiBiJon says:

    For James Canning’s eyes only. Psst, top secret: a vassal’s intellectual honesty
    ===========================================================================

    Tanaka, director of the JIME Center at the Institute of Energy Economics Japan in Tokyo said:

    “There are some thorny issues between the U.S. and Japan, but since we’re so dependent on the U.S. forces for our national defense, I don’t think we have any other choice but to follow the lead of Washington.”

    On Friday, Japan’s industry minister acknowledged Tanka is saying the bleeding obvious.

    From http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/asian-economies-look-to-keep-iranian-oil-flowing/2012/01/06/gIQAgNgUeP_story_1.html

    James, I hope you understand why folks are perplexed here when you keep harping about Saudi’s independent, powerfully influential position in international affairs.

  116. Scott Lucas says:

    Latest on the currency and economic situations, including the attempt to escalate sanctions against Iran….

    The Latest from Iran (6 January): Squeezing the Regime
    ,http://www.eaworldview.com/home/2012/1/6/the-latest-from-iran-6-january-squeezing-the-regime.html

    Iran Analysis: Why the Currency Fell….And What That Means for Iranians
    ,http://www.eaworldview.com/home/2012/1/5/iran-analysis-why-the-currency-felland-what-that-means-for-i.html

    S.

  117. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Castellio,

    I think that Seale is correct as far as he goes. IN other words, Obama and his administration have decided, like Israel, to continue and intensify the cold war, and to hear it up into a warm one, and to avoid a hot one. Seale is correct to point to the resignation of Dennis Ross as evidence of this. Other evidence too is Obama’s desire to put the brakes on the warm war: he was forced to sign the bill sanctioning Iran’s central bank. Call me an optimist, but I think Obama’s plan is to ride out the election year without going to war, and then do whatever he wants in his last term as president irrespective of Jewish pressures. (Don’t get me wrong, he is still a complete a$$h*le…)

    That said, the danger of a hot war that will enflame the whole region and thus the whole world is not diminished. In fact, to the contrary. The rhetoric and brinksmanship increase its chances. With forces thus arrayed – the level of animosity is unprecedented – anything is possible. Like I have said before, sparks will fly, and one of them may land on the tinderbox which is continually being piled up with kindling. Look at how the War of 1914 started: a single gunshot. Add to this the very real danger of a false flag event orchestrated either by zionist traitors within Uncle Flatfoot’s army, by Christian Zionists in same (a la The Family), or by the Israelis themslleves, and we have a situation that is highly explosive.

    Someone who has Captain America’s ear – Patrick Seale or whomever – should tell him that it is not sufficient to take the military option off the table and not announce it: he must state explicitly that resorting to military force is NOT an option. Of course, with the Jews having hijacked public discourse in your “democracy” (read Judaocracy), he will not be able to do so until after November 2nd.

  118. imho says:

    James Canning says:
    January 5, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    “Can you name a single country in Africa where the US has tried to interfere with Chinese business dealings, industrial development schemes, or whatever?”

    Libya comes to mind immediately. The “assault” on resource-rich Africa is pretty obvious from China and even Iran (for Uranium) since few years. That was without counting on US. AFRICOM has been set up just for that, to contain China. This doesn’t mean China can’t do business here and there. It’s just that business is done in areas under US control. This is a subject of blackmail in “peace” time and a non-starter if China ever thinks a war with US.

    “Saudi Arabia keeps oil prices as high as possible, to benefit Saudi Arabia. It hurts China, and India, and other major oil importers including Japan and South Korea.”

    Keeping oil prices high or low has many implications and is another complicated subject. But can you give a single reason why you think Saudis can solely decide on the price, the most important factor on world economy, finance, developments and involving so much interests of powerful circles ?!
    Can you imagine a country with few millions people without any industrial and military might could dictate the FED how many Dollars should be printed so countries around the world can buy oil ?!
    Controlling the price of oil is much more important than having it. That’s why it is set only in New York and London. That is the basis on which the Dollar and the west’s financial system works.

  119. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas,

    You’ve brought your sidekick with you today. I guess US sanctions and hardpower need extra soft power these days.

  120. Castellio says:

    Photi, thanks for your comment. Seale is a good journalist, usually well informed. I’m finding it hard to reconcile his opinion here with the constant upping of US-Israeli provocations/illegal acts.

  121. Photi says:

    *I may owe a reference to either Professor Marandi (UU’s link earlier) or Richard Steven Hack, because i think i may have picked up the point of a strategic diversion for a surprise attack from one of them or from some other commentor here at RFI.

  122. Photi says:

    Castellio, Seale’s last sentence is:

    “If Obama could summon up the political courage for a long-overdue dialogue with Iran — interrupted 32 years ago — the danger of war would be dispelled, to everyone’s relief.”

    Until there is a face-to-face dialogue between the Presidents of Iran and the United States i will continue to assume America’s short- to medium-term goal is to wreak havoc on Iran through warfare. It is happening now and continues to escalate. In the absence of genuine diplomacy, i would say Seale’s observations are more wishful thinking than anything else, or possibly a strategic diversion to let the hype die down in the hopes of a future political climate more favorable to war(I know next to nothing about Seale, but if i were a Zionist intent on war with Iran i might decide to delay the war until less tense times to gain the advantage of surprise).

    Assuming there will be a war of aggression against Iran is an assumption I am willing to be wrong about.

  123. Castellio says:

    So, why is Patrick Seale so convinced that there will be no war against Iran? Or, more accurately, does his position make sense?

    http://www.agenceglobal.com/Article.asp?Id=2713

  124. Photi says:

    *Excuse me, i left out a whole part of a sentence. For Nasr to use those words to describe Iran in the current context is what i meant,.

  125. Photi says:

    Irshad says:
    January 5, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Irshad,

    Thanks for the link. For Vali Nasr to use the words “aggressive” and “belligerence” within the context of the current Israeli-American belligerence towards Iran tells us a bit about the clarity with which Nasr sees the Middle East.

  126. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Why is Hormoz continually mis-spelled Hormuz? Anyone? Probably those Internatinoal Bankers up to no good again, huh?

  127. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Ding.
    Zzzzzzzzz.
    Ding.

  128. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Zzzzzzzzzz
    Ding.

  129. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Zzzzzzzzzzz
    Ding.

  130. Unknown Unknowns says:

    James Canning says: one object I have in mind is to help the Palestinians to get Israel out of the West Bank. The Saudis are the most important country in seeing to it that this happens.

    *

    How are the Saudis the “most important country” in seeing to this if they not only have not been able to get Israel out of the Saudi islands it continues to occupy, but seem to be perfectly fine with that endless occupation?

  131. Rehmat says:

    James Canning – Your expert William Hague is much a poodle of “Conservatives Friends of Israel” as is his Boss David Cameron. They all look the world through Israeli prism.

    In May 2010 – the idiot told the Jewish Lobby: ““I am a natural friend of Israel”, and to prove it he asserted that “it would be a mistake to ever rule out military action against Iran (Jewish Chronicle)”…..

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/hague-i-will-fight-iran-for-israel/

  132. kooshy says:

    Sassan says:

    January 5, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    “James Canning: Clearly sabotage. There is no doubt the one in Karaj was sabotage and in fact, was aimed at Khamanei as Khamanei was scheduled to appear there.”

    Sassan Jaan- With this kind of confirmed information you have, you should become one of Professor Scott’s confirmed sources on the ground. If you have good information like this, possibly like Pak you may qualify to get a scholarship from his organization (DOI).

  133. Karl says:

    James Canning:

    “To clarify: are you claiming the Iranian announcement of trebling capacity to enrich to 20% made no difference? That EU embargo on Iranian oil would have come anyway?”

    Like I said earlier, check the earlier post and get back if you dont understand why your argumentation are flawed.

  134. Rehmat says:

    American journalist, editor and author, Tom Engelhardt wrote the other day: “Over the last decade, the US has been taught a repitive lesson when it comes to ground wars on the Eurasian mainland: don’t launch them. The debacle of the impending double defeat this time around couldn’t be more obvious. The only question that remains is just how humiliating the coming retreat from Afghanistan will turn out to be. the longer the US stays, the more devastating below to its power“.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/qatar-to-help-us-exit-from-afghanistan/

  135. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    I think the better explanation is simply that Hague, with a strong understanding of British and European (and world) history, is able to see the potential for diplomacy.

  136. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    To clarify: are you claiming the Iranian announcement of trebling capacity to enrich to 20% made no difference? That EU embargo on Iranian oil would have come anyway?

  137. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    When BiBiJon linked story re: Olli Heinonen’s statement that Iran has sufficient 20% U to build plates for TRR sufficient to operate the plant for 4-5 years, you said Heinonen was effectively working for the US and Israel. But other scientists have claimed Iran has enought 20% U to build plates good for 8 to 12 years of TRR operation. Heinonen was in effect defending Iran, by saying the amount is good for only 4 -5 years.

  138. Karl says:

    James Canning:

    “I’ll look again. To clarify, do you understand that the Iranian announcment of trebling production of 20% U led directly to latest round of sanctions the EU and US are adopting?”

    Great, get back if you still dont understand your flawed argumentation on this.

  139. kooshy says:

    James Canning says:

    January 5, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    “In fact, William Hague oversees an energetic Foreign (and Commonwealth) Office.”

    I agree my jolly dear Gavner, but I wondered if Eric was questioning the source of this hidden energy imbedded in her majesties’ foreign office.

  140. Sassan says:

    James Canning: Clearly sabotage. There is no doubt the one in Karaj was sabotage and in fact, was aimed at Khamanei as Khamanei was scheduled to appear there.

  141. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    I’ll look again. To clarify, do you understand that the Iranian announcment of trebling production of 20% U led directly to latest round of sanctions the EU and US are adopting?

  142. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Looking again at your posts, you seem to claim the US and the EU will attack Syria, from the air, to enable Israel to cross Syrian territory for an invasion of Lebanon.

    I doubt this plan would get much support in the EU.

  143. Karl says:

    James Canning:

    You could check for yourself where you have missed to reply or do you maybe deny that no one on this site ever have approached you on your argument regarding this?
    Check for example my comments to you about this issue.

  144. James Canning says:

    Angry Anti-Imperialist,

    My own opinion is that some of the strongest haters of Iran, wanted Iran to enrich to 20%. So that fact could be employed to set up more sanctions and worsen Iran’s relations with “the West”.

  145. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    I will appreciate your kindly directing my attention to any instance where I “dropped out of the discussion” on any given issue. It was inadvertent, if it happened.

  146. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    My understanding is that the Libyan interim government will adhere to the contracts Gaddafi made (re oil & gas). I would be surprised if they were changed to benefit the oil companies, no matter from which country they come.

    Russians are worried arms deals with Gaddafi will not be honoured.

  147. Karl says:

    James Canning:

    “Refuted where? By whom? Timeline, in case you forgot: early June 2011, Iran announces trebling of capacity to enrich to 20%. Later that month, Saudis tell Nato they will build nukes if Iran is not stopped. Hague meets with Saudis. Hague addresses Parliament and warns of danger of the 20% U production. Latest sanctions get underway.”

    Many times in this thread for example. Everytime users here approach you, you suddenly drop out of discussion. I recomend you read this thread and also previous ones before you use that flawed argumentation again.

  148. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Discussions of British foreign policy, while Hague is foreign secretary, logically include discussions of Hague.

    I think that the Palestinians likely would be major losers, if the US gets dragged into war with Iran.

  149. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    You appear to have argued that the purpose of oil deals by western oil companies was to exploit Libyan workers unfairly. If this was not your intent, I stand corrected.

  150. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Refuted where? By whom? Timeline, in case you forgot: early June 2011, Iran announces trebling of capacity to enrich to 20%. Later that month, Saudis tell Nato they will build nukes if Iran is not stopped. Hague meets with Saudis. Hague addresses Parliament and warns of danger of the 20% U production. Latest sanctions get underway.

  151. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    In fact, William Hague oversees an energetic Foreign (and Commonwealth) Office.

  152. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Stalin did industrialise the Soviet Union. He killed many of his senior generals, several years before the Second World War erupted. And he virtually refused to believe that Germany had invaded the USSR, when it happened.

    Yes, Soviet manpower was a key element in defeat of Germany. Plus American (and British) war supplies, provided to the Soviet Union and without which defeat was certain.

  153. kooshy says:

    Eric addressing James

    “Why is that not realistic? Doesn’t the UK think for itself every now and then? If not, why not just close down the Foreign Office and save British taxpayers some money?”

    Eric- by suggesting that, are you trying to move Gavener James back to her majesties’ colonies on distanced shores. How cruel of you my dear lad.

  154. Karl says:

    James: Its getting tiresome since you have been refuted countless of times. So its no need for you to use that flawed argumentation anymore.

  155. James Canning says:

    Liz2,

    To answer your question, one object I have in mind is to help the Palestinians to get Israel out of the West Bank. The Saudis are the most important country in seeing to it that this happens.

  156. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Why is it tiresome? Clearly the Iranian announcement of trebling capacity to produce 20% U started the latest round of sanctions. And those pending sanctions are the subject of the day.

  157. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Are you suggesting the US and the EU would attack Lebanon?

  158. Karl says:

    James Canning:

    And stop talking about 20%. This is getting tiresome.

  159. Karl says:

    Their business, related to the oil.
    US and some western nations got scared straight when Qadaffi said this:

    english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/3/12/7661/Business/Economy/Gaddafi-offers-Libyan-oil-production-to-India,-Rus.aspx

    “West to lose contracts, but not Germany: Gaddafi”
    af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFJOE72E0FV20110315

  160. James Canning says:

    Liz2,

    Are you arguing that Saudi Arabia is not in effect encouraged to seek common ground with Israel, regarding Iran, as a response to Iranian enrichment to 20%? Do you think the Saudis hate Iran and Israel, and pretend to seek common ground with Israel? Or that they pretend to hate Israel?

  161. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    The UK has taken a public position on Israel/Palestine that is significantly different from that of the US. US is way out on a limb by itself, on some of Israel/Palestine issues. And Hague was furious at the smashing of Lebanon Israel carried out in 2006.

  162. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    All Six Powers (or EU 3+3) try to maintain unity in their public stance regarding Iran. This is a Russian objective as much as that of any other country.

  163. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    I understand China continues to buy oil from South Sudan, but that China is having problems due to disputes between the two Sudans. Other Chinese deals in Sudan are met with no difficulties caused by the US of which I am aware.

    What problems did China meet in Libya, due to the US?

  164. James Canning says:

    Lysander,

    I would not expect the UK to take a public position specifically endorsing Iranian enrichment to 3.5% – 5%, at this time, even if Iran said it will stop enriching to 20%. I would expect William Hague to assess whether the P5+1 could agree to approve Iran’s IAEA application to buy the needed plates for the TRR.

    I agree with you Iran should do its best to make clear it commenced enriching to 20% because its IAEA application was blocked. (Very stupidly, of course, by the US)

    Since Iran offered to stop producing 20% U if its application to buy the TRR fuel is approved, then obviously Iran would do well to follow through.

    I continue to think that five of the Six Powers would accept Iranian enrichment to 3.5%.

  165. Karl says:

    James Canning:

    Libya, Sudan for example.

  166. James Canning says:

    imho,

    Can you name a single country in Africa where the US has tried to interfere with Chinese business dealings, industrial development schemes, or whatever?

    Saudi Arabia keeps oil prices as high as possible, to benefit Saudi Arabia. It hurts China, and India, and other major oil importers including Japan and South Korea.

  167. imho says:

    James Canning says:
    January 5, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    quite to the contrary. The US does actually contain China militarily everywhere, from Africa to the south east Asia. All recent events in Africa were to contain China. Any country needing oil, be it China or Europe, may only get it from areas controlled by US. This is a form of blackmailing the US already did to Europe. No oil, no army and no imperial pretensions. For those countries having oil, the US blackmail them by controlling the price. USSR fell by cheap Saudi oil. Iranian economy depends entirely on oil. The key is controlling the oil. Producing more or less depends on the situation.

  168. Lysander says:

    RSH,

    “Canning: Try this question. Do you REALLY believe that if Iran announced suspension of 20% enrichment PERMANENTLY TOMORROW – upon condition that Hague had to announce UK support for 3.5% enrichment in Iran – that he would do so?”

    Of course he never would, but I wonder if it would be a good idea for Iran to make that offer, in public, knowing full well it would be rejected. Not that it would make a difference but it might make the west feel awkward for a moment and it wouldn’t cost Iran anything.

    The timing would have to be right though. If Iran did it now, the west would just say they are squirming under sanctions. Anyway, the point is that if war comes, it’s important to not let the west pin the blame on Iran in the eyes of the world.

    All,

    Regarding sanctions on CBI, I wonder if Iran could retaliate by announcing a 10 day moratorium on all oil sales while they “reassess the situation.” The intended effect would be enhanced if those dastardly Sunni insurgents in Iraq blow up a couple of pipelines halting Iraqi oil sales for a while.

    I don’t no if Iran could tolerate the lost revenue for that long, but if it can, it would send oil prices skyrocketing and western stock markets plunging.

    They could do this periodically while offering the Chinese oil at a 10-15% discount below whatever the spot price would be at the moment.

    I’m thinking that could be a means to retaliate and inflict some pain on western economies without offering an excuse for war.

    If they could persuade Hugo Chavez to go along for a couple of days that would be icing on the cake.

  169. imho says:

    James Canning says:
    January 5, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    No, not officially anymore

  170. James Canning writes:

    ““It is not realistic for [Richard Hack] to expect the UK foreign secretary to take public position on Iranian enrichment that conflicts with that taken by the US.”

    Why is that not realistic? Doesn’t the UK think for itself every now and then? If not, why not just close down the Foreign Office and save British taxpayers some money?

  171. Karl says:

    The US are about to go to Israel for a wargame, of course US arent going to fight side by side with Israel.

  172. Fiorangela: “Richard Silverstein: US To deploy troops to Israel”

    My guess is this is directly intended to support the US/EU attack on Syria – and perhaps Lebanon. The fact that there’s bringing in anti-missile systems clearly indicates they expect Israel to be attacked by Hizballah and Syrian missile systems and they intend to bolster Israel’s defenses against same.

    Syria is not Libya. It has much better defenses and it has missile systems. The US clearly sees it needs to have much bigger support to attack Syria. It also needs to support Israel against Hizballah’s missile arsenal which is allegedly much bigger with more advanced models than it had in 2006. So it’s bringing that support to Israel.

    The US has been pre-positioning much larger quantities of military supplies in Israel for some time now, clearly in anticipation of this operation.

    Combine that with Sibel Edmonds reporting on US troops training Syrian militants at Incirlik and providing communications support from Incirlik for the militants, and the war with Syria is definitely on.

    I now expect the US and EU to be bombing Syria before June of this year, possibly sooner. This provides a time line for the US, EU and Israel to attack Syria and Lebanon before the US election, thus influencing the election and raising the odds that a war with Iran will occur – regardless of who wins the election – in 2012 or later.

  173. Liz2 says:

    JamesCanning>

    “Did it make good sense for Iran virtually to insist that more sanctions be brought against Iran? Does it make good sense for Iran to frighten the Saudis and encourage them to cooperate with Israel?”

    Oh please man, this is just getting ridiculous.
    I think its time James tell what hes agenda really is.

  174. Castellio says:

    FYI (and others): you have anything you might want to share as I enter into the works of Sayyid Mujtaba Musavi Lari?

  175. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 5, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Stalin dragged a largely agrarian society into industrial age, knowing that without doing so USSR would be destroyed.

    He correctly anticipated the NAZI War against USSR and tried to get UK and France to join an alliance aimed at containing that aggression.

    [UK killed that initiative, forcing Stalin to sign a non-agression pact with Germany in order to delay the war.]

    And it was Stalin that defeated Hiltler; not US, not UK, and not France.

  176. Canning: “Do you see Libyan oil workers as “slaves”, while Iranian oil workers are not slaves?”

    Can you read? I did NOT say they WERE slaves, I said if the West could make them so, it would.

    Really, if you can’t even read a sentence intelligently, just shut up.

  177. Canning: “Given that you openly hope for the launch of an illegal war against Iran, it seems just a bid curious you would attack William Hague’s moral standards.”

    I don’t even know where to begin on this one…

    First of all, I have no moral standards. Morality is a set of rules enforced by guilt for the benefit of the person setting the rules. I have rational principles of behavior which I follow – most of which really aren’t doing me any good because of the utter irrationality of the rest of the world.

    Second, the reality is war with Iran is inevitable. The consequences of that war are likely to be negative for the US in general, even if it profits certain US elites. This means the US is going to lose power overall, which is a Good Thing. It might even eventually, as Fyi predicts, result in the destruction of the Israeli state which would also be a Good Thing.

    Third, Hague is a cheap politician. I can’t be compared to that even if I were to rape little girls in the street. There’s nothing lower than a cheap politician – except maybe a cheap BRITISH politician.

    The ONLY British politician I have even the slightest interest in or respect for is George Galloway, If you want to talk about straight talk from a British politician, I suggest you compare Hague to Galloway. Then stop talking about Hague.

  178. James Canning: “I would appreciate an explanation from you as to why Iran would seek to treble its production of 20% U, when apparently Iran has enough on hand to build the rods/plates for TRR for at least next ten years. How would you explain it to William Hauge?”

    I and others here already have:

    1) There is a market for 20% LEU.

    2) Supply is inconsistent due to political and technical situations.

    3) Negotiations over supply may take years.

    It’s very simple.

    “It is not realistic for you to expect the UK foreign secretary to take public position on Iranian enrichment that conflicts with that taken by the US.”

    Yet for you it is “realistic” that the UK will lie about Iran nuclear program in general while being “genuinely” concerned about 20% enrichment.

    Not to mention that if the UK can’t tell the truth about Iran’s nuclear program, why the hell should ANYONE care about the UK’s position AT ALL?

    Frankly, I think your problem is that you just can’t accept that the UK is STILL – just as it was under Blair – the lap dog of the US.

    Give it up. The British Empire was over decades ago.

  179. James Canning: “Why would Libyan leaders need to be “bribed” so sell Libya’s oil. All Gaddafi oil contracts will be honoured by new government. If somehow an insurgent group manages to take power, it will want to sell oil as fast as possible, and it probably would honour existing oil and gas contracts.”

    Yes, but on what TERMS? THAT is why you bribe national leaders – to get better TERMS.

    And given that the US and EU has just demonstrated their willingness to bomb the country into the Stone Age – again – to get better terms, you can bet the new “government” – which by the way as yet doesn’t control anything – will be happy to give better terms than Gaddafi was.

  180. Canning: Try this question. Do you REALLY believe that if Iran announced suspension of 20% enrichment PERMANENTLY TOMORROW – upon condition that Hague had to announce UK support for 3.5% enrichment in Iran – that he would do so?

    Are you that naive?

  181. Canning: “And you seem to claim Iranian production of 20% U is not the triggering event in latest round of sanctions? (Coupled with the latest IAEA report)”

    Ah, now you change the context! OF COURSE the IAEA report and 20% enrichment are the tags Hague will claim justify the latest sanctions!

    That is NOT the same as claiming that 20% enrichment is THE problem for the UK, let alone the US and Israel. It isn’t.

    As I’ve said, it’s just the latest EXCUSE to impose sanctions and move the course for war with Iran.

    Where you are sadly naive is believing Hague when he says this is all he cares about – and he doesn’t even say that. The quote I gave makes it clear that he supports the entire process of attacking Iran based on ALL the excuses he gives which have been established as bogus as we all know here.

    Stop INTERPRETING what he says and comprehend that the UK is in lock step with the US and Israel on this issue as much as France.

    The UK has sent military advisers to Turkey to support the Syrian dissidents. What part of this DIRECTLY supporting the advance to war with Iran don’t you get?

  182. BiBiJon: “Dovatoglu’s visit today on the heals of Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun visit to Tehran last week will convince Iran to sign the AP with China guaranteeing Iran (and Turkey) unfettered economic shelter.

    Obama will go for the compromise, claiming his pressure track worked, and he avoided a war.”

    Naivity rules. While Iran might indeed make such a “grand gesture” and it’s even possible Obama might – mildly – proclaim that a “victory”, it would change nothing. The US and the EU and Israel would merely continue to proclaim Iran as “intransigent”, that the additional inspections proved nothing, that Iran still has a “secret program” so where, etc., etc.

    Nothing would change except Iran would have given up its last bargaining chip.

    We discussed all this during my exchanges with Eric many months ago. Since the “nuclear program” is just a red herring, anything having to do with it is irrelevant. The only thing that would happen is a temporary derailing of the rush to war – much like the 2007 NIE (allegedly) derailed Bush and Cheney’s attempts.

    Things would be back on track within a year or so. In the meantime, the US, EU and Israel would use the time to attack Syria and Lebanon in any event.

  183. Castellio says:

    The following two minute video put together by B’tselem is “unlisted”, that is, it can only be found or accessed by those with the specific link.

    The video is described this way: In 2011, volunteers in B’Tselem’s camera project filmed over 500 hours of footage in the West Bank. There are two minutes we collected from it, in order to sum up the passing year.

    Worth seeing, worth sharing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEukvh_Ajv4&utm_source=

  184. Angry Anti - Imperialist says:

    Reply to James Canning
    January 5, 2012 at 1:23 pm
    “Did it make good sense for Iran virtually to insist that more sanctions be brought against Iran? Does it make good sense for Iran to frighten the Saudis and encourage them to cooperate with Israel.”
    I am not advocating for more sanctions or any particular threat to the Saudi Regime, what I`m saying is Iran needs to show the red line to the U.S and EU. These new sanctions ( if indeed they go ahead ) are in my view a national security threat to Iran, in fact an act of war, and hence Iran needs to respond accordingly by showing the willingness of harming key regional western interest. Now as I am writing, I can think of at least 15 key western regional interest ( excluding Saudi ) that Iran can target, and I`m sure the Iranians must have more and better targets than I do.

    Ps – Apparently Obama has announced plans for a ” leaner ” U.S military, with main focus on Asia Pacific region. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16430405

  185. fyi: “An Israeli attack on Iran was never predicated on the availability of the Iraqi Air Space; US was never ever going to shoot down Israeli airplanes on their way to Iran. That US is no longer occupying Iraq is not materail to Israeli aerial attacks.”

    While you’re correct that the US would not shoot down Israeli aircraft, being removed from “official” control of Iraqi air space (the US is still in “de facto” control, of course) allows the US to claim they don’t have to. This is a value to both Israel and the US – deniability.

    “Israel cannot do ANY damage to Iran’s nuclear assets.”

    Israel can do SOME damage, but of course can’t fly enough sorties to do any real damage. An Israeli attack has always been just a means to drag the US into the war in any event. So how much damage it can do was always irrelevant.

    “Furthermore, an Iran-Israel attack will rally Muslims around Iran (including Arabs) and will almost certainly destroy the latest US-EU sanctions.”

    It won’t have any effect on the sanctions except in Middle East countries. The EU will continue the sanctions, and Russia and China are mostly ignoring them now anyway. The one advantage is that Russia and China are more likely to OPENLY supply arms and equipment like the S-300 to Iran once the war starts.

    “I am cautiously optimistic that Israel will attack Iran and that US will sit that attack out.”

    No chance of that, in my opinion.

    “In fact, for Mr. Obama, the failure of Likud attack on Iran will be politically beneficial.”

    Since no Israeli attack can “succeed” in any event, it can’t be called a “failure”. And if Obama does not support that attack, his Presidency will be doomed. The Republicans and the Israel Lobby will rip him to shreds – assuming they don’t already intend to do that, which is likely. Whatever Obama believes, he either gets on board fully with an attack on Iran or he’s a one term President. It’s that simple.

    “For Israel, the war that they start will be their end; the destruction of Israel will be the Shia project for however long it will take.”

    The problem is, it might take a very long time unless Arabs get smart and use Israel’s own nuclear weapons against it.

    “In regards to US war with Iran; you know it is in the cards when Mr. Khameneie alludes to it in his speeches. So far he has not done so; he did twice in 2006.”

    Perhaps. If he can’t see the progression of war with Iraq, then Lebanon, then Libya, and now Syria on to Iran, he’d better get with the program.

  186. Rd: “The first stage used to be Hezbollah/Lebanon!!! But after they got their noise bleed, now they are looking for another link!”

    No, the take down of Syria is required in order for Israel to attack Hizballah successfully.

    As Colonel Pat Lang has said, the most effective way for Israel to take out Hizballah is to cross Syrian territory and attack the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon from the right. This necessitates war with Syria since Israel must enter Syrian territory to do this.

    However, if Israel engages both Hizballah and Syria by itself, it faces a two-front war with Hizballah engaging in guerrilla war to the front and what’s left of Syrian forces doing the same in Israel’s rear. This is not a good position to be in.

    So Israel has now convinced the US and the EU – using Libya as the “demonstration model” – to attack Syria. With Syria thus occupied with US and EU air strikes, Israel can then cross Syrian territory and attack Hizballah.

    All of which is intended to weaken both Syria and Hizballah so the war on Iran can proceed without Israel having to “watch its back”.

  187. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    I doubt Salehi would welcome an insane Israeli attack on Iran. Obviously, Iran in that event would much prefer the US not intervene.

  188. James Canning says:

    Sassan,

    Re: CS Monitor piece you linked. Was the Nov. 12th explosion or explosions an accident? Or was it sabotage? (At the base west of Tehran)

  189. Rehmat says:

    Dubai-based excercise club, Circuit Factory, in Al-Quoz, has been slammed by Jewish groups for using Holocaust images on its promotional poster. The poster in question shows the image of Auschwitz labor camp with the slogan “Kiss your calories goodbye“.

    Phil Parkinson, the founder of the Circuit Factory has removed the ad from its Facebook page. However, he claims the company had seen a surge in visits after attracting criticism for the controversial poster.

    The Zionist Lobby claims that German Nazis murdered four million Jews at the Auschwitz camp. However, no reputable historian, not even those who generally accept the extermination story, believes this figure. Israeli Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer said in 1989 that it is time to finally acknowledge the familiar four million figure is a deliberate myth. In July 1990 the Auschwitz State Museum in Poland, along with Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Center, suddenly announced that altogether perhaps one million people (both Jews and non-Jews) died there. Neither institution would say how many of these people were killed, nor were any estimates given of the numbers of those supposedly gassed.

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2012/01/05/jewish-groups-slam-dubai-auschwitz-diet-poster/

  190. James Canning says:

    One of the stooges of the Israel lobby seeking the Republican nomination, Rick Santorum, claims that the inhabitants of the West Bank are Israelis. And that there are no Palestinians.

    “Santorum: What Palestinians?”, by Jordan Bloom

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/blog/

  191. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Iran has made clear it is willing to purchase needed TRR fuel from a source in the “West”. US quite foolishly continues to block Iran’s IAEA application to re-fuel the TRR. Some US nuclear scientists calculate Iran has enough 20% U to build the plates sufficient for ten years of operation of TRR. But Iran has indicated it might replace the TRR facility.

  192. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Stalin destroyed the small independent farmers in the Ukraine and elsewhere, and helped to set up the disastrous Soviet failures in agriculture that helped to bring down the USSR. He also liquidated millions of citizens of his own country. Admirable, in your view?

  193. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The US and the EU want Iraqi oil production to increase as fast as possible.

  194. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    The Saudis try to keep oil prices as high as possible, over the longer term. They can be expected to reduce production if Iraqi oil production rises substantially, if this is necessary to keep oil at $100 (assuming they see $100 oil as sustainable).

  195. James Canning says:

    Angry Anti-Imperialist,

    Did it make good sense for Iran virtually to insist that more sanctions be brought against Iran? Does it make good sense for Iran to frighten the Saudis and encourage them to cooperate with Israel?

  196. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The US is not actually trying to “contain” China. Zero interference in Chinese business deals, as a rule.

  197. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I rather think a majority of the people of the US do not want war with Iran. Wording of question is key. How many say yes when asked if the US should start yet another illegal war in the Middle East on false pretenses?

  198. James Canning says:

    imho,

    Isn’t the US still controlling Iraqi airspace?

  199. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Excellent post and comments by ‘b’ & co. over at MoA re the situation in Egypt:

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2012/01/egypts-fight-the-brotherhood-vs-the-military.html#comments

  200. Castellio says:

    The idea that Israel attacks “without the US” is just silly. The US has armed and financed Israel, shares all intelligence and co-ordinates all military plans in the area with Israel.

    Putting US soldiers in Israel is just a small part of the larger plan.

    And the recent confirmation of the right of the American military to hold any person anywhere indefinitely without charge is also part of the same plan.

    RSH is quite right that Obama only pretends to distance himself, because if he were serious there’s much he could do, starting with straight speech. Right now he is just trying to get the optics right to minimize dissent in the US.

  201. Empty says:

    Memo to Obama by McGovern and Murray. The “recommendations” are interesting.
    http://consortiumnews.com/2011/12/30/urging-obama-to-stop-rush-to-iran-war/

  202. imho says:

    fyi says:

    “IF what Porter reports is accurate, Can Salehi’s comment above be interpreted as Iran’s message to US, stay out of Israeli belligerence, and we will deal with them accordingly?

    In other words, so long as US is out of PG and out of the fight, we have no fight with them? Specially coming from a military man?”

    That is quite possible. The US leaving Iraq, Israel can attack via Iraqi air space without the need of US authorization. That, together with the leaving of the American warship may be a sign the US cannot dictate Israel to not start a war but doesn’t want to interfere and be seen as associated. The Iranian Central bank embargo has been passed in congress following extensive AIPAC lobbying.
    However, I wonder how the US could keep out of a Iran-Israel war unless it is very limited.

  203. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Maranci on RT: “War is Hell”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01L7dDntDbA

  204. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Rd. & fyi:

    Hope you don’t mind if I join your conversation. As to Rd’s question or theory about Iran having no bone to pick with the US if it stays out of the conflict with Israel, I dont think the scenario obtains at all as all of Israel’s materiel is provided, free of charge, by Uncle Asshole. Furthermore, in any war that Israel is involved in that lasts anything more than a couple of weeks, there will be a guaranteed supply line feeding the massacre of the sand-niggers by the European settlers and their aforementioned Uncle. So, my answer would be no; the two are inseparably joined at the hip.

    Rather, I think that Iran’s warning to Captain America to go away and stay away from the Persian Gulf comes in light of the fact that we are, after the Velaayat 90 war games and manouvers, 100% certain of being able to sink the flagship of the fifth fleet.

    But as to fyi’s statement that there will be war if Iran cannot sell its oil, I would think that’s right. But that is not what seems to be happening. China and Japan and Korea have already stated that they will not cry Uncle, and my gut tells me that India will fall on the same side of that fence. If this holds, then all it means is that Iran, 18% of whose current production is being sold to EU states, will have to find alternate buyers for that 18%. And if the spike in prices holds, it will only have to find buyers for 5% to maintain the same income level. It would not surprise me if Turkey, who currently gets 30% of its supply from Iran and whose Foreigh Minister is in Iran as we speak, following their president’s visit, announces a deal to increase its purchasing of Iranian oil. Or China… At those events then (which are more likely), fyi, I assume you would agree that not only will there not be war, but that Team Weasel would have shot its last load, which has turned out to be a dud.

    The implications of the Velayat war games (and the successful test firing of the new medium-range missile), as well as the fact that Uncle Flatfoot’s ace in the hole turned out to be a deuce are giddying, and is not, we can be sure, escaping the attention of the Moslem street: a Moslem country has stood up against the seemingly invincible, and lived to tell the tale.

    Allahu Akbar!

  205. fyi says:

    Rd.

    I cannot answer your question.

    I think there is a minority group of people in US who do not want war with Iran.

  206. Rd. says:

    fyi says:
    January 5, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Rd. says: January 5, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Yes.

    So you don’t subscribe to Porter’s assertions of Israeli’s desire to force the issue despite hesitations by obama/US mil? In essence this is strictly US desire?

  207. fyi says:

    Angry Anti – Imperialist says: January 5, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Not just them, but also China, Japan, India, and others.

    The only state that will reap benefits immediately will be Russia.

    And this (potential) war will contain US in the Middle East for a few more decades.

    And puts to rest all the US efforts (with India) to “contain” China – a foolish undertaking in its own way.

  208. fyi says:

    Rd. says: January 5, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Yes.

  209. Rd. says:

    fyi says:
    January 4, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Iranians or their allies will not start a war.
    ————–

    fyi says:
    January 5, 2012 at 10:32 am
    There will be war if Iran cannot sell her oil.

    ——————–

    There will be war vs Iran will not.. there is a bit of ambiguity of language in those two statements? Are you suggesting Iran will take actions that would force their hand??

  210. Angry Anti - Imperialist says:

    “Iran has to internationalize the confrontation with US and EU”

    I agree, Iran needs a strong response if these sanctions go ahead. The response must hit the U.S and EU interest hard regionally and globally.

  211. fyi says:

    Irshad says: January 5, 2012 at 10:25 am

    They are not “Sleep-walking”.

    There will be war if Iran cannot sell her oil.

  212. Angry Anti - Imperialist says:

    “You guys are openly discussing becoming terrorists and supporting a rogue terrorist regime which is among the worst kind of terrorists and oppressors in the entire world and no one is speaking out on it on this website?? What kind of people do you people call yourselves? It appears most of you on here are either fascists or appeasers of fascists.”

    Dear Sassan,
    No comment to your remarks above. I will just say this :
    You really sound a frustrated dissident, a selfish traitor who is under the CIA payroll ! :) What did the CIA promise you ? Humm let see, are you going to be their next puppet president if ( a big if ) they succeed in bringing down the Islamic Revolution ?! :)

  213. fyi says:

    Rd. says: January 5, 2012 at 10:24 am

    No.

    US has escalated to the point of trying to get an effective financial-based embarg of Iranian oil.

    Iran has to respond.

    In a few months or weeks, war will start if US does not back down.

    Iran has to internationalize the confrontation with US and EU – the entire world has to pay for the coming war; and will.

  214. fyi says:

    Kark:

    Just that the combined Iraq-Iran oil production can neutralize the potential pricing power of Saudi Arabia.

  215. hans says:

    My predictions for 2012 where source of tension or war may erupt

    India,Pakistan or just India
    Armenia
    Qatar, Saudi definitely Saudi

    I do not think Iran or Syria will “suffer” a major war rather destabilisation might cause internal tensions. Both countries will survive.

    Price of silver will hit $50 then Iran should be on full alert.

  216. Irshad says:

    Sleep walking to war?:

    Hard-line U.S. Policy Tips Iran Toward Belligerence: Vali Nasr

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-05/hard-line-u-s-policy-tips-iran-toward-belligerence-vali-nasr.html

  217. Kathleen says:

    The Diane Rehm show is discussing escalating tension between the US and Iran. 20 minutes in. Micheal Rubin is one of the guest. They have yet to discuss just which country and which lobby in the US ihas been pushing this excalation. Please call, emall, facebook, twitter your guestions. 1800-433-8850 they love frst time callers. be clear concise…..comment then quesiton. You can also go to the Diane Rehm comment page.
    email drshow@wamu.org

    Have been trying like crazy to push the Rehm and other MSM outlets to have Flynt and Hillary Man Leverett on their programs…what are they afraid of ….oh yeah the truth

  218. Rd. says:

    Gareth Porter ;
    “At a meeting with Obama a few weeks later, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, and the new head of CENTCOM, General James N Mattis, expressed their disappointment that he had not been firm enough in opposing an Israeli attack, according to Sale. “

    “Salehi warned Pentagon to avoid military trafficking in the region, and stated, “We advise, warn and recommend them (US Navy) not to return this carrier to its former position in the Persian Gulf.”

    IF what Porter reports is accurate, Can Salehi’s comment above be interpreted as Iran’s message to US, stay out of Israeli belligerence, and we will deal with them accordingly?

    In other words, so long as US is out of PG and out of the fight, we have no fight with them? Specially coming from a military man?

  219. Rd. says:

    fyi says:

    “Once Iraq’s production of oil is back to 1979 level, together with Iran they will neutralize Saudi Arabai’s oil pricing power.”

    can you elaborate on that? given current demand levels, how would an increase in Iraq production , plus Iran plus the Saudi willingness to increase production on demand, help the saudi pricing power?

  220. fyi says:

    All:

    The closing of the Straits of Hormuz is almost certainly an Iranian deception.

    There are far easier ways to prevent oit from being shipped from the Persian Gulf.

    And those ways do not involve immediate confrontation with US Navy and Airforce.

    The fact of the matter is that the Iran’s position in Iraq – and indeed the region – cannot be rolled back.

    Once Iraq’s production of oil is back to 1979 level, together with Iran they will neutralize Saudi Arabai’s oil pricing power.

    This is the crux of the shrillness of US and EU.

    If US does not backdown, there will be war.

  221. Karl says:

    bibijohn:

    olli heinonen is just another proponent of US/Israel interests for the region.
    Here in this co-written article, he even praise Israel attack on Syria. No mention that such an attack is a sheer violation of international law, no mention that no nukes were found. No mention of israeli nukes.
    belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/20584/break_the_silence_on_syrias_nuclear_program.html?breadcrumb=%2Fexperts%2F2107%2Folli_heinonen

    Here is another fearmongering and myth-filled article that could have been written the lobby iself, although a bit polished.

    belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/21147/us_house_of_representatives_committee_on_foreign_affairs.html?breadcrumb=%2Fexperts%2F2107%2Folli_heinonen%3Fgroupby%3D1%26hide%3D1%26id%3D2107%26back_url%3D%25252Fexperts%25252F%26%253Bback_text%3DBack%252Bto%252Blist%252Bof%252Bexperts%26filter%3D150

    Also, note which ties he have:

    “Chairwoman Ros-Lehtinen, Congressman Berman, distinguished members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me back to address this hearing on “Iran and Syria : Next Steps”.”

    Isnt it this year that its supposed to be a nuclear summit in Helsinki/Finland (where Heinionen comes from). Is this man going to be there too its bound to be another anti-Iran event just like the washington nuclear summut 2010 with obama.

    I think it was in Scott Ritters book that its exposed that Heinonen often met hit israeli intelligence services and was provided document from them.

  222. fyi says:

    Sassan says: January 5, 2012 at 6:19 am

    One could only hope if Iranian leaders were as ruthless, efficient, competent, and visionary as the late Joseph Stalin.

  223. BiBiJon says:

    Olli Heinonen, a former IAEA deputy director general and head of the safeguards department (ie chief inspector):

    “ran’s current stock of 20 % enriched uranium should be sufficient to
    provide fuel for next 4-5 years for the TRR. And there is no need for Iran to produce more 20 % enriched uranium.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/julian-borger-global-security-blog/2012/jan/05/iran-nuclear-fuel?newsfeed=true

    I don’t see how 4-5 years of supply for TRR is already plenty, unless of course ‘oily’ ignores the fact that Iran has been trying and failed to purchase the fuel for over 2 years, already. Drive-by assertions, and cheesy proclivity to spew nonsense will be recorded as a hallmark of this decade in history books.

  224. BiBiJon says:

    Hopes that Iranians will effect regime change appear overstated. …

    – IMF data on real per capita income growth show that Iran has the 2nd best results in the region since 1990, behind only Qatar (which spreads its natural gas riches over 1.7 million people). Other factors that might contribute to cohesion: “freedom shares”, handed out as part of a $100 billion privatization program; and the recognition of progress in human development. Since 1990, of the 94 countries in the United Nations Human Development Report ranked as “high” or “very high”, Iran recorded the single largest improvement, reflecting progress in life expectancy and education.

    From http://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2012/01/05/learning-to-live-with-a-nuclear-iran/

  225. Jay says:

    Sassan’s latest regurgitated word salad is more rambling and incoherent than his typical nonsense scrawl.

    He has been busy gorging on the jumble emanating from his favorite neo-nonsense outlets so he can come back here to unload.

    Mr. Sassan, do you really think the folks here are buying your wares.

    By the way, I noticed that you don’t respond to posts that put you in your place.

    Cheerios!

  226. Sassan says:

    A snippet:

    “However, the mullahs’ biggest worry is the Revolutionary Guard themselves, the very force that has been the regime’s pillar of support ever since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. A letter written by one of its commanders to Mohammad Nourizad, a conservative journalist who himself continues to criticize Khamenei and the regime despite being jailed, beaten, and threatened, was recently published on Mr. Nourizad’s blog.

    The commander, whose name was withheld for security purposes, states that, “Like many millions of suffering Iranians, myself and hundreds of freedom-loving and free-thinking commanders of the Revolutionary Guard do think about the devastation” that Khamenei has forced on the country.

    The commander continues, “I can positively assure you and announce to the dear people of Iran that a collective majority of the Revolutionary Guard absolutely despise the regime leadership, but they are stuck in an exceedingly cruel and bloodthirsty system. This authority does not tolerate an alternative approach by the so-called insiders, and so they orchestrate military courts in order to label members of the Revolutionary Guard as traitors and send them to the gallows.”

    The Revolutionary Guard are human too, the commander says, and contrary to their military facade, they also have democratic views and are waiting on more favorable conditions so that they can join the people in opposing the regime. He assures the Iranians that the majority of the Guard forces will not participate in any suppression of the people, and the brutality that the people have witnessed is due to those vicious members who fall under the jurisdiction of the Basij auxiliary and security forces.

    In criticizing the supreme leader, the commander says that Khamenei is behind the terror machine of the Quds Forces with their assassination and terrorist activities outside the country and the Basij forces as a military and oppressive force inside the country.

    The commander brazenly declares, “Without a shadow of a doubt and based on documentation and proof, many of which will be produced and presented in time, the assassinations of Kazem Rajavi, Shahpour Bakhtiar, Dr. [Abdul Rahman] Ghassemlou and the heinous murders of Dariush and Parvaneh Forouhar and many other opposition figures inside and outside of Iran were carried out under the supervision of the Guard Corps and the Intelligence Ministry.”

    The commander says the nation is suffering from an epidemic of hopelessness and that the possibility of an uprising like the one of 2009 is not great. He believes that now the only possibility for regime change is an attack from outside, such as the one that toppled Saddam Hussein in Iraq, but it would be highly costly for Iran and Iranians.

    In a stern warning to Iranians and the world, the commander states that if the regime is not overthrown, it will soon test its first nuclear bomb, becoming essentially untouchable. It will then suppress anyone opposing it just as Stalin did in the Soviet Union.”

  227. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Sassan says:
    January 5, 2012 at 4:31 am

    Only idoits like you and perhaps increasingly the more and more perverted and sick “Homeland” Security of your police state would take what I and my interlocutor said seriously. You take what is said half in jest and half as an expression of frustration-without-end seriously, and you fail to take seriously what is said in extreme seriousness by your lying president and his Secretary of State towards Iran, to wit: threats of military force, which are a violation of the UN charter and war crimes as such. Go back under the Kool-Aid barrel you crawled out from under, you pathetic fool.

  228. Scott Lucas says:

    This morning’s latest on the currency issue and the economy:

    The Latest from Iran (5 January): Shaky Currency, Desperate Measures, and An Outright Lie
    ,http://www.eaworldview.com/home/2012/1/5/the-latest-from-iran-5-january-shaky-currency-desperate-meas.html

    Iran Feature: Is Ahmadinejad’s Government Fuelling the Currency Crisis?
    ,http://www.eaworldview.com/home/2012/1/5/iran-feature-is-ahmadinejads-government-fuelling-the-currenc.html

    S.

  229. Sassan says:

    “Angry Anti – Imperialist says: Right now I wish I could help the Iranians wage a sabotage warfare against the EU ( Britain and France in particular ), I would do it for free !”

    “Unknown Unknowns says: I thank you in advance and refer you to the Iranian embassy nearest you. Best case you will become a shahid-e gomnam-e emam and worst case, you’ll get a chay-e qand-pahlou and a smile :o)”

    You guys are openly discussing becoming terrorists and supporting a rogue terrorist regime which is among the worst kind of terrorists and oppressors in the entire world and no one is speaking out on it on this website?? What kind of people do you people call yourselves? It appears most of you on here are either fascists or appeasers of fascists.

  230. Sassan says:

    “Angry Anti – Imperialist says: Right now I wish I could help the Iranians wage a sabotage”

    “Unknown Unknowns says: I thank you in advance and refer you to the Iranian embassy nearest you. Best case you will become a shahid-e gomnam-e emam and worst case, you’ll get a chay-e qand-pahlou and a smile :o)”

    You guys are openly discussing becoming terrorists and supporting a rogue terrorist regime which is among the worst kind of terrorists and oppressors in the entire world and no one is speaking out on it on this website?? What kind of people do you people call yourselves? It appears most of you on here are either fascists or appeasers of fascists.

  231. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Of interest to Arnold, and as a follow-up to my earlier statements regarding the Egyptian Brethren, which in light of this news, were mistaken. The Brethren had stated that they would abide by Egypt’s international treaty obligations, and specifically, the Camp David accords. Based on readings of the misleading Western press and its wishful thinking, I had mistakenly concluded that the Brethren (being in the pay of and under the influence of Saudi and Qatari paymasters) had sold out to the Sauid-Israeli-US triangle in order to gain power. It turns out that this was, thankfully, mistaken. What the Brethren meant was that they would abide by treaty obligations, but would pursue legal means to anull the peace treaty with Israel, including referring the issue to the newly formed parliament (in which they and the Salafi an-Nour party have a majority) and to a general referendum if necessary.

    سرویس بین‌الملل ـ ما به همه معاهده‌های بین‌المللی پایبندیم، ولی اقدامات حقوقی درباره معاهده صلح با رژیم صهیونیستی را انجام خواهیم داد.

    به گزارش «تابناک» به نقل از «الحیات»، «رشاد البیومی»، جانشین دبیر کل (مرشد عام) اخوان المسلمین مصر، آب پاکی را روی دست غرب و اسرائیل ریخته است و روشن کرده که از مصر پس از بیداری اسلامی چه باید انتظار داشت.

    پیش از این، منابع غربی مدعی شده بودند که اخوانی‌ها برای جلب اعتماد طرف‌های غربی، به پیمان صلح با اسرائیل ـ که در سال 1979 توسط انور سادات امضا شد ـ به عنوان یک سند حقوقی بین‌المللی پایبند باقی خواهند ماند؛ اما اظهارات آقای بیومی، نشان می‌دهد که اخوان‌المسلمین ـ که حزب اصلی پیروز انتخابات مصر است ـ زیرکانه و در قالبی دمکراتیک، پیمان ننگین کمپ دیوید را نابود خواهد کرد.

    به نوشته الحیات، آقای بیومی، به همراه مخالفت با به رسمیت شناختن رژیم صهیونیستی گفته است: آیا شرط حکومت کردن، به رسمیت شناختن اسرائیل است؟ اصلا چنین چیزی نیست. اسرائیل رژیم اشغالگر، غاصب و جنایتکار است و ما در هیچ شرایطی، آن را به رسمیت نخواهیم شناخت.

    بیومی با غیر ممکن خواندن هر گونه تماس گروه اخوان المسلمین با اسرائیل در آینده بیان کرد: من هرگز به خودم اجازه نخواهم داد، با جنایتکاران همنشین شوم و هیچ تعاملی با اسرائیل نخواهیم داشت.

    معاون رهبر اخوان المسلمین یادآور شد: ما به همه معاهده‌های بین‌المللی پایبندیم، ولی اقدامات حقوقی درباره معاهده صلح با رژیم صهیونیستی را انجام خواهیم داد.

    بیومی اظهار داشت: ما پیمان را نقض نمی‌کنیم، اما هر طرفی حق بازنگری در این معاهده را دارد، به ویژه که مردم مصر پیشتر در این باره نظر خود را اعلام نکرده‌اند. معاهده یاد شده، باید به همه پرسی عمومی گذاشته یا به پارلمان منتخب عرضه شود تا درباره آن تصمیم‌گیری شود.
    به این ترتیب، مردم نظر خود را اعلام می‌کنند و همه طرف‌های مصری، می‌توانند دوباره پیمان را بررسی کنند.

    Highlights:

    Bayumi [Deputy Chief of the Moslem Brethren]: “Israel is a usurping, occupying force and under no circumstances will we recognize it.”

    “I will never place myself [lit. permit myself to be] in the company of [these] criminals, and we will never have any interaction (تعامل) with Israel.”

  232. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Angry Anti – Imperialist says:
    January 4, 2012 at 8:17 pm
    According to the media EU has agreed in ” principle ” to ban import of crude oil from Iran. As an EU citizen I am really disgusted with those imperialist American puppets in Brussels ! Right now I wish I could help the Iranians wage a sabotage warfare against the EU ( Britain and France in particular ), I would do it for free !

    *

    I thank you in advance and refer you to the Iranian embassy nearest you. Best case you will become a shahid-e gomnam-e emam and worst case, you’ll get a chay-e qand-pahlou and a smile :o)

  233. BiBiJon says:

    I guess Gary Sick knows better than anyone else what language his home country understands best.

    http://www.lobelog.com/who%E2%80%99s-afraid-of-the-ayatollahs/#more-10975

    In all likelihood Iran will use that language within the next few weeks.

  234. Lysander says:

    Thanks UU and BiBijon for pointing out RD’s link. I have that site bookmarked now.

  235. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas,

    A lot of countries have immense resources, not just your’s. Your regime denies others from using them. Your comments speak for themselves. You are clearly an American exeptionalist.

    You have no interest in Iran either except to push an American agenda.

  236. Angry Anti - Imperialist says:

    According to the media EU has agreed in ” principle ” to ban import of crude oil from Iran. As an EU citizen I am really disgusted with those imperialist American puppets in Brussels ! Right now I wish I could help the Iranians wage a sabotage warfare against the EU ( Britain and France in particular ), I would do it for free !

  237. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Zzzzzzzzzz
    Ding.
    Why does Iran enrich to 3.5%?
    Zzzzzzzzzzzz
    Ding.
    Why does Iran enrich to 20%?
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
    Ding.
    Why does Iran enrich?
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
    Ding.
    Why doesn’t Iran stop enriching?
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
    Ding.

    Enough already! It is NOT about enrichment. Hegemony, YES.
    When are people going to get this concept?

  238. Rehmat says:

    2012 – Iran and the Israeli poodles

    “The world had witnessed how the United States attacked Iraq for, as it turned out, no reason at all (except to please Israel). Had the Iranian not tried to build nuclear weapons, they would be crazy,” Martin Van Creveld, Israeli military historian, New York Times, August 21, 2004.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/01/05/2012-iran-and-the-israeli-poodles/

  239. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    January 4, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    “I agree that the Iranian government does not want nukes. At least, that seems clear at this time. So, why enrich large amounts of 20% U when this was virtually guaranteed to bring more sanctions against Iran?”

    The ANSWER IS BLOW’N IN THE WIND.

  240. Karl says:

    James Canning:

    “Karl,

    Of the Six Powers (P5+1), which ones do you think would accept Iranian enrichment to 5%?

    Russia, China would accept any LEU percentage. The UK+EU+US reject them all, they aim for regime change.

  241. Karl says:

    James Canning:

    “Do you have a plausibe reason for Iran to enrich significant amounts of 20% U, far beyond what is needed to operate TRR for next ten years? Perhaps you think it is a gratifying show of defiance?”

    Its not me that are fixiated on enrichment percentage, you got to ask yourself why you constantly make the 3,5% argument without any basis. Like I said LEU is up to 20%.


    I think the Saudis by this time are aware that having Pakistan build nukes, and for some Pakistanis then to seek profit from nuclear proliferation, was not such a good thing.

    Why? I dont see saudi urging pakistan to sign the NPT, I also hear that saudi might want to seek nukes themselves, (unless they dont already have them or the technology.)

  242. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Actually the US will be stronger if it pulls out of Central Asia and reduces its military presence in the Persian Gulf.

  243. James Canning says:

    Philip Giraldi, “Another Long War”, helps combat foolish drift toward another idiotic war in the Middle East.

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/blog/

  244. Karl says:

    Seems like US are about to shift their agressive foreign policy, an indication of a continuned weaker superpower.

    “U.S. to unveil “more realistic” plan for military”

    “”We expect to see a strategy that’s driven less by the threats we face than the math we face,” he said.”

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/sns-rt-us-usa-military-obamatre8031z0-20120104,0,7797473.story

  245. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Of the Six Powers (P5+1), which ones do you think would accept Iranian enrichment to 5%?

  246. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Do you have a plausibe reason for Iran to enrich significant amounts of 20% U, far beyond what is needed to operate TRR for next ten years? Perhaps you think it is a gratifying show of defiance?

    I think the Saudis by this time are aware that having Pakistan build nukes, and for some Pakistanis then to seek profit from nuclear proliferation, was not such a good thing.

  247. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    I agree that the Iranian government does not want nukes. At least, that seems clear at this time. So, why enrich large amounts of 20% U when this was virtually guaranteed to bring more sanctions against Iran?

  248. kooshy says:

    Scott

    “If this was a forum devoted to the US, then I would be noting the economic issues in the US. If it was about European matters, then I would be bringing in the latest from the Eurozone.’

    Sorry my dearest regime change professor, you are wrong, this site is about US/West- Iran, relations did you ever care to notice the flags on the top banner, as much as the Iranian economy could be an strategic concern for the west with regard to their planning, so is the western US/EU economy for Iran with her concern referencing positions she takes to her plantings.

    So you can address both who better than a Birmingham professor to enlighten us with his respective home and residence country economy if there exist any. American exeptionalists always see everything in one direction, their own, you are not excluded although that’s is not your fault it is the fault of the system that has brought you up.

    I still can’t figure out if I am living in the LaLa land or you are professor.

  249. Fiorangela says:

    Richard Silverstein:

    US To deploy troops to Israel

    “In a separate development, the U.S. military announced it would hold major war game exercises in Israel during which thousands of U.S. troops would be deployed there. The Jerusalem Post described the size of the operation as “unprecedented.” While I’m not an expert on specific military exercises of this fashion, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of such a large contingent of our troops being based in Israel for such a length of time. This is clearly a warning to Iran not to attack Israel. It also highlights more than almost anything could the symbiotic relationship between our two countries. It isn’t clear whether Israel is our protectorate or whether Israel is actually the tail wagging our dog. But the fact that U.S. troops are stationed now in Israel offers that country the relationship we’ve had with Germany and South Korea for decades.

    The difference is that those two countries were always sensitive to the highly flammable nature of relations between the U.S. and its enemies. They strove not to escalate tensions and force the U.S. to clean up the mess they made. Israel is an entirely different matter. Israel will not curb its appetite or perceived interests in order to protect the U.S. from such hostilities. If Israel wants to go to war it will. If it can use the death of U.S. soldiers to manipulate U.S. involvement in such hostilities, it will do that as well. If Israel attacks Iran and the latter retaliates and in doing so kills U.S. troops stationed on Israeli soil, does that become a causus belli? You bet it does in the eyes of national security hawks like Obama.

    U.S. troops should not be in Israel. It does not need our troops to defend it. Iran will not attack Israel unless the latter attacks it first. Placing our troops there is yet another escalation on the road to certain war.

    Further, the worse this situation becomes the less pressure there will be to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is a good part of Bibi’s political calculation here.”

    Mondoweiss: “Several thousand US troops headed to Israel for “unprecedented” joint missile drills” :http://mondoweiss.net/2012/01/jpost-several-thousand-us-troops-to-israel-for-unprecedented-joint-missile-defense-exercise.html

    “The drill, which is unprecedented in its size, will include the establishment of US command posts in Israel and IDF command posts at EUCOM headquarters in Germany – with the ultimate goal of establishing joint task forces in the event of a large-scale conflict in the Middle East.

    The US will also bring its THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) and shipbased Aegis ballistic missile defense systems to Israel to simulate the interception of missile salvos against Israel.”

  250. Nasser says:

    A couple analysis on Iran’s ability to close the Straits of Hormuz. Takeaway lesson: Iran should expand its mine laying and surveillance including radar capacity.

    http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/files/IS3301_pp082-117_Talmadge.pdf

    http:// web.mac.com/caitlintalmadge/Site/Publications_files/isec%252E2009%252E33%252E3%252E190.pdf

  251. Scott Lucas says:

    kooshy/BiBiJon,

    If this was a forum devoted to the US, then I would be noting the economic issues in the US. If it was about European matters, then I would be bringing in the latest from the Eurozone.

    This site is ostensibly about Iran and Lysander raised an important question. I offered information to meet that question.

    I realise that the Leveretts no longer give much attention to Iran in the sense of what is happening internally, and that many of the current political and economic matters are rarely noted in discussion. But I am genuinely interested in any further information and insight about the internal situation, given the importance of the issues, first and foremost to Iranians but also to others outside Iran.

    Best,

    S.

  252. Scott Lucas says:

    Liz,

    “Also, I find the statement of yours below to be pretty disgusting: ‘For all the problems that the United States has had, whether we talk about economically or politically, there’s always a point from which you can start again, rebuild, grow. Other countries don’t have that luxury.'”

    Thanks for noting this — I didn’t realise the Al Jazeera documentary was out.

    The context of that statement was that the US has had the benefit of a lot of resources and land that other countries do not enjoy. It was not an exaltation of US exceptionalism, precisely I am a critic of that concept.

    S.

  253. kooshy says:

    My dear Professor Scott and associated bad news storming entourage.

    Now that you have been encouraged to momentarily took off your human rights and color revolution hats, and put on your economic hat, you should really be more interested on the dire state of your own country’s (US or UK, EU) economy, rather than Iran’s, keep in mind no matter what the value of the Iranian currency is, unlike US Iran is still a surplus country on her balance sheet, with almost no long term debt.

    Now that you have suddenly became interested on currency devaluation think how much easier would have been for Greece if she had the luxury of devaluating her currency, or for the same reason US had the same luxury, if so we would have been easily able to balance our budget and payoff the mounting Chines loans we took and put back 22 million Americans to work with exports, that’s what you should be interested to ask and promote not the state of Iranian economy which should not be any of interest to you since I don’t believe you have any “interest” vested in Iran other than a mission for a regime change.

    Cheers from LaLa land

  254. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas,

    Your problem is that you have an agenda. Iran obviously has economic problems. We live here and we know, but they are not nearly as bad as you claim, despite the barbaric sanctions. However, people like you merely attempt to weaken the Islamic Republic in the eyes of its enemies and the ignorant.

    Also, I find the statement of yours below to be pretty disgusting:

    “For all the problems that the United States has had, whether we talk about economically or politically, there’s always a point from which you can start again, rebuild, grow. Other countries don’t have that luxury.”

    America is not an exceptional country. Your statement is tribalistic to say the least and clearly implies hierarchies among nations.

  255. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    January 4, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    “The Saudis do not want Iran to build nukes. Full stop. Period. Hard to comprehend?”

    James, stop your rancid warmongering, fear-mongering, etc. Iranian government does not want nuclear weapons. That is all that counts.

    A double gloucester to you.

  256. Rd. says:

    Sibel Edmonds over at the Boiling Frog has write up on Syrian coverage and how the MSM reporting is quieting down.. along with Mr zero problems with Turkish FP is visiting Tehran.. one hopes Ahmed D will see the light at the end of tunnel sonner than later..

    http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/

  257. Unknown Unknowns says:

    My connection has been down and so I have been away for a while… but what happened to the boycott of the troll? WEren’t we going to boycott Scotty Boy until he apologized to Reza and reinstated him at Enduring America’s Weaseling Ways? And weren’t we going to boycott him anyway?? All he does is muckrake and put up any slime he can against the Islamic Republic on the flimsiest excuse. He is no different then BBC Persian and the cruder VoA. Nothing but scumbag presstitutes in the service of the enemies of the people of Iran.

  258. Karl says:

    James Canning:

    Your logic is also flawed on another point.
    Whats the thing if saudis reject nukes as you say? Iran doesnt have nukes. So why does saudi accept the oil embargo?

    Also you forget that saudiarabia pretty much funded the pakistani nukes, you also forget that back in 2003 pakistan were trading nuclear weapons information maybe even technology to saudiarabia. We are talking about 2003, so were Iran enriching at 20% in 2003 too according to you, if not you must now realize how weak you 3,5% argument really is?

  259. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Note to Captain America:

    All this rhetoric of war and your picayune brinksmanship only adds kindling to the tinderbox which is your house. How many times do I have to tell you that you live in a house made of wood, whereas we live in mud huts and caves? You should worry that a spark my fly off your rhetorical anvil and bring down your whole way of life all around you.

    Meanwhile, I’ll keep my book of matches in my pocket.

  260. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Lysander:

    The economy here has many problems, not the least of which is the inability of the government to control inflation. But compared to the other countries of the region, we are doing just fine, thank you; and of course, compared to the economies of the West, it is a veritable party – complete with birdy num num.

  261. Karl says:

    James Canning:

    You seems to miss my point.

    1. saudis say they dont want war
    2. saudis fully support oil embargo

    You cant have both since oil embargo would be an act of war, not to mention the dangerous escalation. saudis doing the bid of US and therefore Israel and dont even know about it.

    You should also stop using your “US support 3,5% enrichment”-rhetoric, you have been refuted many times by practically all of the users on this forum. You should also now that LEU doesnt stop at 3,5% but at 20%.

  262. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    I will say it again: the P5+1 are trying to maintain a unified position in public. Do not expect China or Russia to say: Iran can enrich to 3.5% and the US and the Israeel lobby can go stuff themselves.

    By definition one needs to assess the wording, phrasing, etc., of the various communications.

  263. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    You appear to claim that Italian leaders trying to cut off illegal immigraton from Libya are only pretending to want to achieve this. I surmise you have little understanding of the depth of public anger in Italy, arising from Gypsy immigration from Rumania, sub-Saharan Africans from Libya, etc.

  264. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    The Saudis do not want Iran to build nukes. Full stop. Period. Hard to comprehend?

  265. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    It appears you have little understanding of how many well-educated Libyans there are these days, who pursue economic and social improvements in Libya. Huge potential for luxury tourism, just to mention one area.

    Do you see Libyan oil workers as “slaves”, while Iranian oil workers are not slaves?

  266. Karl says:

    Its also very telling (no surprise though) that oil embargo wouldnt be possible unless US and EU asked saudiarabia etc for help. This is the same regime that constantly say they doesnt want war to be waged on Iran, and now they are once again exposed to be fully part of the scheme.

  267. BiBiJon says:

    Scott,

    “But there was nothing “planned” about this devaluation.”

    Where has there ever been “plans” preceding wild swings and devaluations?

    “The causes are multiple — the exacerbating effect of subsidy cuts on inflation; the weakness of the banking system including the large fraud cases; the large gap between official and free-market rates, leading to speculation and profit-taking; weakness in manufacturing; conflicts within the Government bureaucracy”

    Did you copy and paste this from an existing analysis of the Russian Ruble fiasco, the British Pound, or did you actually type this parody of bleeding obvious fresh from your mind?

    “but none of them are part of Government strategy and none of them should be treated as minor inconveniences.”

    You continue to amaze with your grasp of the obvious.

    “Of course, other countries have their economic problems. But the invocation of them in this post is no more than an evasion of dealing with the situation in Iran, on which there is no information.”

    Not mentioning them, paves the way for attributing context-free uniqueness to a situation for grinding axes.

    “Lacking that information, the post falls back on cheesiness and polemic.”

    Save some of your hypocrisy for next time you want to complain about others’ polemicisms.

  268. Rd. says:

    Scott Lucas says:

    to have information on what may be a serious economic situation inside Iran.,/b>

    Yes the economy is is facing challenges, no doubt given sanctions..

    You might want to add to your list the following incredible ‘analysis’.. among many others. please note the dates/./.

    “A few weeks before the new government took over, the Tehran Stock Market had begun to drop and since Ahmadinejad formed his [incomplete] cabinet, the indices have kept on nose-diving,” a stockbroker said. Oct 20, 2005

    ;http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/GJ20Ak01.html

    Iran’s economy is so damaged that it is impossible to tell how bad things are. Except perhaps for the oilfields of southern Iraq, and perhaps also northern Saudi Arabia, there is nothing the West can give Iran to forestall an internal breakdown. May 30, 2007

    ;http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IE30Ak03.html

    A record boom in Tehran’s stock market will end in a spectacular crash that could trigger a prolonged depression producing multiple bankruptcies, mass unemployment, and acute economic hardship, analysts say. Sep 30, 2010

    ;http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LI30Ak01.html

    So if you wish to make a name for your self.. by all means

  269. Karl says:

    James Canning:

    My point was, Israel got its goal accomplished that is oil embargo and in return Israel engaged in phoney peace talks.

  270. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Given that you openly hope for the launch of an illegal war against Iran, it seems just a bid curious you would attack William Hague’s moral standards.

  271. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Israel wants the so-called “peace talks”, and so does Obama. The Palestinians were coerced.

  272. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    I would appreciate an explanation from you as to why Iran would seek to treble its production of 20% U, when apparently Iran has enough on hand to build the rods/plates for TRR for at least next ten years. How would you explain it to William Hauge?

    In case you have forgotten, the UK is very close ally of the US. It is not realistic for you to expect the UK foreign secretary to take public position on Iranian enrichment that conflicts with that taken by the US. There is a need for some subtle communication on what the UK (and other P5+1 countries) would accept.

  273. Karl says:

    Interesting that Israel accepted new phoney peace talks this particular week. The same week US made oil embargo publicly. A coincidence? Of course not. Just proves once again that US blindly follow Israel diktat. This is getting absurd.

  274. fyi says:

    Scott Lucas says: January 4, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Yes, and this why interest rates have to be raised.

    Rial cannot be defended.

  275. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Why would Libyan leaders need to be “bribed” so sell Libya’s oil. All Gaddafi oil contracts will be honoured by new government. If somehow an insurgent group manages to take power, it will want to sell oil as fast as possible, and it probably would honour existing oil and gas contracts.

  276. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Some idiot neocons may have convinced themselves Iraq would be so stupid as to sell its oil at a significant discount, and that somehow this discount would be passed through to American consumers. Only an idiot could have believed this. Some seem to have been swallowing it on Capitol Hill.

    Cheaper oil was a propaganda ploy to dupe the American people. To help sell an illegal war.

  277. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I agree completely. Iran will not start a war. Nor will Hezbollah.

  278. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Early June, Iran announces intent to treble production of 20% U. Later in month, Nato is told by Prince Turki al-Faisal that if Iran goes forward with nukes, so will Saudis. William Hague then denounces, in House of Commons, Iranian production of excessive amounts of 20% U. And Hague follows up with July 11, 2011 article in the Guardian. And you seem to claim Iranian production of 20% U is not the triggering event in latest round of sanctions? (Coupled with the latest IAEA report)

  279. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 4, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Iranians or their allies will not start a war.

    This is for certain.

  280. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Very interesting piece by Gareth Porter, on top US military disappointment Obama has not been firmer in opposing an insane Israeli attack on Iran.

    Obama, of course, is under constant pressure from rich and powerful Jews to treat Netanyahu with kid gloves.

  281. Scott Lucas says:

    BiBiJon,

    “Currency fluctuations recently in Iran came about after a long overdue need for revaluation of the Rial.”

    As economists have noted, the rial has long been at an artificially high level, supported by the oil price. And when a country’s inflation rate is 30%, then its currency should fall by a corresponding amount on the open market.

    But there was nothing “planned” about this devaluation. The causes are multiple — the exacerbating effect of subsidy cuts on inflation; the weakness of the banking system including the large fraud cases; the large gap between official and free-market rates, leading to speculation and profit-taking; weakness in manufacturing; conflicts within the Government bureaucracy; and some effects from sanctions, especially on financial transactions — but none of them are part of Government strategy and none of them should be treated as minor inconveniences.

    Of course, other countries have their economic problems. But the invocation of them in this post is no more than an evasion of dealing with the situation in Iran, on which there is no information.

    Lacking that information, the post falls back on cheesiness and polemic. Fair enough, but wishfulness and hurling the word “morons” at those paying the price right now in Iran is a poor substitute for understanding the situation.

    One correction on the one fact you propose: the dollar is not at 14,000 rials today — that is the rate the Central Bank tried to impose on open-market exchanges this morning, as well as the rate they put up on Meshgal (blocked inside Iran, but open outside it as a bit of propaganda for foreign eyes). They failed to get vendors in Tehran to use that rate — instead, vendors sold at 15700:1 or 15800:1.

    Best,

    S.

  282. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    January 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    “FYI wrote that an Israeli attack on Iran would give Iran …”

    See James here you go again. You even correctly quote fyi’s CAVEAT. But you draw a conclusion nobody else would reading the same sentence.

    Oh, what’s the use? Forget about it.

  283. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    One reason some fantatical “supporters” of Israel in the US, helped the conspiracy to set up war with Iraq, is that they feared the 2002 Saudi peace plan and they wanted it swept under the rug.

    Hezbollah would be very unlikely to attack Israel unless Israel attacks Lebanon first. I think it is unwise to encourage the Saudis to seek common cause with Israel.

  284. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    FYI wrote that an Israeli attack on Iran would give Iran “the chance to inflict [pain and suffering on Israel” so that “the destruction of Israel will be the Shia project for however long it will take.”

    We should remember that some of the neocons who aided and abetted the conspiracy to set up the illegal invasion of Iraq on knowing false pretenses, did so because they thought taking out Saddam would make it easier for Israel to coerce the Palestinians into accepting the deal Israel wanted to make.

  285. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    There are a few Israelis that do comprehend the significance of Shia Wrath; they are mostly Iranian Jews.

    But they are not present in Israeli government.

    Mr. Mofaz understood it, but he is a minority of one in a sea of European Jews (Romanians, mostly and now Russians) who do not.

  286. Karl says:

    EU have once again showing itself to be a true lackey of US warmongering and Israel warmongering schemes by internally accepting an oil embargo.

  287. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I do comprehend the utter lunacy of an Israeli attack on Iran. One reason is that an element of the insane Israeli warmongers want an attack on Iran in order to generate an excuse to expel large numbers of non-Jews from the West Bank.

    And maybe, by attacking Iran in a reckless and in fact insane fashion, Israel would be making a good case for its termination as a “Jewish” state.

  288. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    You do not understand Shia or indeed all those emotional people with an emotional religion (including Sikhs).

    I am telling you what Israelis attacking Iran would cause; leaders of Israel will become, for the Shia, the equivalents of Shmr, Yazid, and other Evil Doers of Krbala.

    That just the way it is.

  289. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    January 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    “fyi,

    I don’t think you do the Shia a great service when you openly call for what sounds like a military effort to “destroy” Israel.”

    James, this is getting tiring. Are you dyslexic or something. Where did fyi suggest such a thing?

  290. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has family connections in Syria that may partly explain his thinking.

    One might ask whether concerns about Bahrain, and potential unrest in Shia areas of Saudi Arabia, contribute to the equation.

  291. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I don’t think you do the Shia a great service when you openly call for what sounds like a military effort to “destroy” Israel.

  292. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    January 4, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Or, conversely ….

    Dovatoglu’s visit today on the heals of Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun visit to Tehran last week will convince Iran to sign the AP with China guaranteeing Iran (and Turkey) unfettered economic shelter.

    Obama will go for the compromise, claiming his pressure track worked, and he avoided a war.

  293. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: January 4, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    There will be in place a complete or partial embargo of Iranian oil by US, EU and likely Korea before this years is out.

    Rial should be devalued even more than it is today.

  294. BiBiJon says:

    Scott Lucas says:
    January 4, 2012 at 11:59 am

    “Thanks for the interesting, if irrelevant, posts.”

    Don’t mention it, ever.

    Currency fluctuations recently in Iran came about after a long overdue need for revaluation of the Rial. Predictably, self-servingly, and wishfully Iran’s adversaries link this to either internal systemic issues or external influences. While almost anything can be fingered as the catalyst, the fact is the British Sterling, USD, Norwegian Kroner, the Euro, Argentine Peso, etc. have all succumbed to market pressures because of underlying valuation issues, and all have done so with wild swings before settling down. Non of those events were the harbingers of domestic/regional/international revolutionary new political orders.

    Scott & co rubbernecking at the scene of every accident, and clutching at any straw is the cheese ala cheese of the cheesies. Morons who listen to them deserve their losses. Amusingly Scott is surprised why nobody is rushing in to sell their Dollars at 14,000 today when they bought them yesterday for 17,800 Rials a piece.

  295. Fiorangela says:

    Help please?

    Somewhere in the last article or two on RFI a link was posted to an essay by an Iranian author whose name and web location I do not remember.

    The essay was a chronological review of sanctions imposed on Iran from 1979 to 1995-96; the author noted that the first sanctions had been planned in 1977 for financial motives.

    Does anyone remember the link?
    thanks.

    __________

    Also, yesterday, Michele Bachman said some things about Iran’s Constitution that were probably inaccurate. In an attempt to assess the situation for myself, I read the IRI Constitution. I’m having trouble with some of the concepts in the listed paragraphs. Can anyone help me out, or refer to an online site or book/s that might explain the Constitution in layman’s terms ?

    from Article 1: what was this referendum about? —
    in the referendum of Farwardin 9 and 10 in the year 1358 of the solar Islamic calendar, corresponding to Jamadi al-‘Awwal 1 and 2 in the year 1399″

    from Article 2, #5: what is meant by “continuous leadership” — am I correct in understanding it as analogous to the papal line of succession from Peter to the present pope?
    “5.continuous leadership (imamah) and perpetual guidance, and its fundamental role in ensuring the uninterrupted process of the revolution of Islam; “

    also Article 2, #6, 1.: please explain terms —
    “1.continuous ijtihad of the fuqaha’ possessing necessary qualifications, exercised on the basis of the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Ma’sumun, upon all of whom be peace; “

    Please define or explain
    “fuqaha’ of the Guardian Council are judges in this matter” in Article 4,

    and, in Article 5,
    “the wilayah and leadership of the Ummah devolve upon the just (‘adil] and pious [muttaqi] faqih, who is fully aware of the circumstances of his age;”

    In Article 8, is it correct to understand

    “al-‘amr bilma’ruf wa al-nahy ‘an al-munkar is a universal and reciprocal duty that must be fulfilled by the people with respect to one another,”

    as a combination of the Golden Rule + I Am My Brother’s Keeper?

    Article 12 is a little puzzling, but the above is enough for now.

    Thanks again.

    This essay by law student Jefrey Usman at Vanderbilt — http://www.drsoroush.com/PDF/E-CMO-20020000-The_Evolution_of_Iranian_Islamism-Usman.pdf

    is useful (in my uninformed opinion) in that it frames Islamic references in terms Westerners can apprehend. We, westerners & Iranian, have different mental landscapes; Usman makes the connections.

  296. Scott Lucas says:

    BiBiJon/BiB,

    Thanks for the interesting, if irrelevant, posts.

    S.

  297. fyi says:

    All:

    Finally someone who understands that Shia-Sunni sectarianism hurts not Iran but others.

    http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/1/5/worldupdates/2012-01-04T161019Z_1_TRE80318E_RTROPTT_0_UK-TURKEY-REGION&sec=Worldupdates

    Arab leaders clearly are too stupid to yet grasp that.

  298. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: January 4, 2012 at 12:31 am

    An Israeli attack on Iran was never predicated on the availability of the Iraqi Air Space; US was never ever going to shoot down Israeli airplanes on their way to Iran. That US is no longer occupying Iraq is not materail to Israeli aerial attacks.

    At the present moment, attack by Israel is something that Iran can live with; it gives her the chance to inflict pain and suffering on Israel; specially since Israel cannot do ANY damage to Iran’s nuclear assets.

    Furthermore, an Iran-Israel attack will rally Muslims around Iran (including Arabs) and will almost certainly destroy the latest US-EU sanctions.

    I am cautiously optimistic that Israel will attack Iran and that US will sit that attack out.

    In fact, for Mr. Obama, the failure of Likud attack on Iran will be politically beneficial.

    For Israel, the war that they start will be their end; the destruction of Israel will be the Shia project for however long it will take.

    In regards to US war with Iran; you know it is in the cards when Mr. Khameneie alludes to it in his speeches.

    So far he has not done so; he did twice in 2006.

  299. Sakineh,

    The report you asked about contains the following statement, which gives a clear idea of the intellectual blinders (spelled BIAS) of the authors: “Since 1979 Washington has tried everything from undeclared warfare to unilateral concessions.” This statement just barely touches the furthest limits of “truth.” After all, the U.S. even tried cake (remember Reagan’s illegal and idiotic efforts to subvert the will of Congress?), so I guess Washington sorta tried “everything.” But in fact this is the type of glib propaganda that right-wingers use to prevent serious evaluation of US policy. What the US did not even once try with Iran was sincerely and consistently listening to Iran’s perception of its place in the world and considering how the US elephant might learn to step more lightly so as to avoid backing Iran into a corner. This comes down, in my opinion, to three issues: Iranian national security, Iranian desire for a respectful inclusion in regional affairs, and recognition that Iran has a right to an independent foreign policy even if Israel expansionist factions happen not to like it.

    Bottom line: the report is well worth reading but not to understand how to solve the Iran problem so much as to understand the perceptual biases that cloud the minds of Washington players.

  300. It is utterly amazing how glib people can be in making assurances about things they cannot really know much about but which are life and death matters. Being a reformed naïve country boy, now cynical about everything, I am greatly tempted to read into this the intent to mislead.

    You quoted Kroenig saying: “The truth is that a military strike intended to destroy Iran’s nuclear program, if managed carefully, could…” The rest of the sentence makes no difference, logically. Of course, an ice cube “could” survive a stay in hell, “if managed carefully.” I wonder how long an ice cube would last in hell if it managed its affairs, say, as well as Washington regulators managed Wall Street as it was cooking up the ‘2008-20?? Financial Crisis’ or as well as the neo-cons managed the delivery of a wrecked Iraq into the arms of Iran? During a quarter century in the Washington bureaucracy and more years analyzing US foreign policy from the outside, I have never seen anything managed that well, but there always “could” be a first time.

    And no doubt the first historical example of perfect management will come in the execution of an act of aggression employing all manner of Weapons of Mass Destruction, perhaps including nuclear, to take out a vast, well-buried nuclear infrastructure consisting of hundreds of sites and slaughter intentionally any number of political and scientific leaders. Back to that ice cube…

  301. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Maybe douche bag also has some super-awesome “sources” among Iranian exporters who are absolutely thrilled over the current currency situation.

  302. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Don’t get your knickers in a twist…

    How devaluation of currency affects import and export of country?
    answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100528060428AAR2bEB

  303. BiBiJon says:

    Scott,

    You can only sell your wares to amnesiacs.

    ,http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=nwggAAAAIBAJ&sjid=PWUFAAAAIBAJ&pg=3073,2872460&dq=overnight+interest+rates+europe&hl=en

    The man who broke the Bank of England
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/229012.stm

    Looking forward to ignoring your next bogus sky’s falling warnings.

  304. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Irshad,
     
    Re: Has anyone here read the report – Path to Persia?
     
    Yes, I believe it was linked awhile back by fyi. http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/rc/papers/2009/06_iran_strategy/06_iran_strategy.pdf
    It suffers from the usual anemic views of Americans (we own the world) towards Iran.
    If I remember correctly it sounded like AIPAC talking points, was self referencing (other articles by the same authors whom wrote the paper), and left out convenient detail, such as Iran’s suspension of nuclear activity for three years while negotiating.
    The article offers many scenarios of how a war with Iran may go down (with little attention paid to diplomacy as an alternate course). It offered to change Iranian behavior.
    Worth a glance if you have extra time.

  305. Rd. says:

    Irshad says:

    Although not mentioned, the “strategic prize” of the first stage of this war on Iran is Syria; the first campaign in a much wider sectarian power-bid. “Other than the collapse of the Islamic Republic itself,” Saudi King Abdullah was reported to have said last summer, “nothing would weaken Iran more than losing Syria.” [1]

    The first stage used to be Hezbollah/Lebanon!!! But after they got their noise bleed, now they are looking for another link!

    These are acts of desperation’s, to slaughter as many as you can and hope for the best. Blitzkrieg too at first appeared successful and indefensible. Brutality has its limits.

  306. Scott Lucas says:

    BiBiJon,

    “The last moron who bought dollars….”

    You may risk insulting a lot of Iranians with this — from a foreign exchange trader in Tehran today, “Vverybody is coming to buy dollars, but no one is selling.”

    http://www.eaworldview.com/home/2012/1/4/the-latest-from-iran-4-january-if-you-yell-victory-does-it-c.html#1250

    S.

  307. Empty says:

    Source: Letter #53 to Malek Ashtar, Nahjol-Balagheh, Imam Ali (a.s.); [Translation/Interpretation]:

    “Do not turn away from a peace to which your enemy invites and which pleases God because it provides peace of mind to your soldiers and security to your cities. However, once peace is settled, never be unmindful of your enemy. It is quite possible that your enemy has agreed to this peace to disarm and deceive you. On this, err on the side of caution and do not step into the path of wishful thinking and misplaced optimism.”

    “If you become a partner in a treaty between you and your enemy, or if you provide a safe haven for him, always honor your promise and execute your pledges fairly and justly. Make yourself a shield that protects your promise for nothing of God’s diverse and multiple orders are as crucial to people as honoring one’s promise. Even the disbelievers, just like Muslims, knew the importance of honoring treaties for they had experienced the bitter taste of broken promises. Therefore, do not betray your pledge and do not break your promise. And do not deceive your enemy. No one would be so arrogantly disobedient to God as a miserable ignorant.”

    “God has made promises and treaties safe in God’s bounty and has made the honoring of them required for all people. Pledges and promises are safe havens under which all people could seek refuge with a sense of peace. Therefore, it is never acceptable to betray treaties and break promises. Do not sign treaties which are vague, open to interpretation, and contain elements that open the path for future betrayal and deception. Ensure you write a contract/treaty that is quite clear and solid and free of any double-speaks and double-meaning language. This would prevent you from having to either honor an illegitimate request or disobeying God’s order to break a promise. It is better for you to exercise patience in honoring a difficult treaty and pledge. This is better than betraying your pledge and promise to which you would be answerable to God and for which you would have very little option of asking for forgiveness in this world and the hereafter.”

  308. Rehmat says:

    For the last few days, internet was flooded by Zionist propagandists claiming Iranian agents had murdered a Jewish chemist, Dr. Elie Lalouz in Israel, as revenge for Mossad’s assassination of Iranian military engineer Hassan Tahrani Moqaddam in November 2011.

    On January 3, 2012, Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported the good-old Jewish chemist was murdered by two Israeli prostitutes in his Tel Aviv apartment while having sex with them.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/french-chemists-killed-by-israeli-prostitutes/

  309. Rehmat says:

    Richard Steven Hack – The Lebanese Daily Star is owned by anti-Hizbullah Zionist-friendly Opposition family connected to Hariri family. Just visit its Discussin Forum and find out who post there the most – the Israeli propaganda filth.

    I have been there…..

  310. BiBiJon says:

    The last moron who bought dollars at 17,800 Rials yesterday, is the same moron who rushed out to be part of 100s of 1000s strong Greenies that cheesy Lucas had promised would be there in otherwise empty streets.

  311. Scott Lucas says:

    Irshad,

    Thanks for kind words — I just put up the links for those who want to have information on what may be a serious economic situation inside Iran.

    Of course, if you prefer not to have the information and to say “crap”, that’s fine.

    Best,

    S.

  312. Irshad says:

    @Sly Lucas

    What makes you think people will go to your propaganda sites for information?

    You still think your site is credible? Its like me wanting to know the history of the Palestinian people going to the AIPAC website about it!

    Crap will always smell like crap no matter how you package it!

  313. Scott Lucas says:

    lysander says:
    January 4, 2012 at 12:29 am

    “Can anyone update us on the currency situation in Iran? Is it as serious as portrayed?”

    Open-market rate of Iranian rial vs. US $ is 15800:1. That is down from low point on Monday of 17800:1 (a 35% drop in three months and a 15% drop in 48 hours), but Central Bank has failed this morning to impose a rate on exchange traders of 14000:1.

    Reports from Tehran claim Central Bank has blocked websites on currency rates — Meshgal (www.meshgal.ir), which publishes the imposed rate of 14000:1, is filtered at moment.

    Latest information and analysis:

    The Latest from Iran (4 January): If You Yell Victory, Does It Count?
    ,http://www.eaworldview.com/home/2012/1/4/the-latest-from-iran-4-january-if-you-yell-victory-does-it-c.html

    Iran Feature: Explaining the Currency Crisis
    ,http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/2012/1/4/iran-feature-explaining-the-currency-crisis-naghshineh-pour.html

    Iran Snap Analysis: Finding a Scapegoat in the Currency Crisis
    ,http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/2012/1/3/iran-snap-analysis-finding-a-scapegoat-in-the-currency-crisi.html

    S.

  314. Irshad says:

    MUST READ – RE: Whats going on in Syria

    A mistaken case for Syrian regime change
    By Aisling Byrne

    “War with Iran is already here,” wrote a leading Israeli commentator recently, describing “the combination of covert warfare and international pressure” being applied to Iran.

    Although not mentioned, the “strategic prize” of the first stage of this war on Iran is Syria; the first campaign in a much wider sectarian power-bid. “Other than the collapse of the Islamic Republic itself,” Saudi King Abdullah was reported to have said last summer, “nothing would weaken Iran more than losing Syria.” [1]

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NA05Ak03.html

    Photi – what you were looking for is mentioned in this articles:

    “Key aspects for instigating a popular uprising and building a “full-fledged insurgency” are evident in relation to developments in Syria.

    These include:
    “Funding and helping organize domestic rivals of the regime” including using “unhappy” ethnic groups;
    “Building the capacity of ‘effective oppositions’ with whom to work” in order to “create an alternative leadership to seize power”;
    Provision of equipment and covert backing to groups, including arms – either directly or indirectly, as well as “fax machines … Internet access, funds” (on Iran the report noted that the “CIA could take care of most of the supplies and training for these groups, as it has for decades all over the world”);
    Training and facilitation of messaging by opposition activists;
    Constructing a narrative “with the support of US-backed media outlets could highlight regime shortcomings and make otherwise obscure critics more prominent” – “having the regime discredited among key ‘opinion shapers’ is critical to its collapse”;
    The creation of a large funding budget to fund a wide array of civil-society-led initiatives (a so-called “$75 million fund” created under former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice-funded civil society groups, including “a handful of Beltway-based think-tanks and institutions [which] announced new Iran desks)” [30];
    The need for an adjacent land corridor in a neighboring country “to help develop an infrastructure to support operations”.

    “Beyond this,” continues the report, “US economic pressure (and perhaps military pressure as well) can discredit the regime, making the population hungry for a rival leadership.” ”

    Has anyone here read the report – Path to Persia? Whats your thoughts on it (I am presuming its the usual trash about different ways to overthrow the Islamic system)

  315. Empty says:

    RE: The greed and stupidity of very many Iranian leaders were resposnible for those self-inflicted wounds.

    Facts do not support your statement. Some could be safely accused of mismanagement, distrusting of any and all deals with Western companies (especially if they appear too good to be true), and very cautious. Once bitten, twice shy.
    But they cannot be accused of either greed or stupidity.

    With respect to Shell, review the documents published by the council on foreign relation that evaluated the impact of sanctions on Iran beginning with ILSA in 1996. In them, the US state department’s success in undermining Shell’s contract with Iran is clearly bragged about. Tame your “know-it-all” ego so that your analyses become much more sober.

  316. BiBiJon says:

    lysander says:
    January 4, 2012 at 12:29 am

    “Can anyone update us on the currency situation in Iran? Is it as serious as portrayed?”

    Rd provided this worthwhile link yesterday:

    Rd. says:
    January 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    The fall of the Iranian rial: too much of a good thing?

    http://djavad.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/the-fall-of-the-iranian-rial-too-much-of-a-good-thing/

  317. BiBiJon says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    January 3, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    “As Noam Chomsky put it recently: “The U.S. and its Western allies are sure to do whatever they can to prevent authentic democracy in the Arab world” because “if public opinion were to influence policy, the U.S. not only would not control the region, but would be expelled from it.” ”

    RSH, which IMO makes clear Iran’s warning to US carrier not to return to PG is as much a PR ploy as it is a military posture.

  318. Karl says:

    RSH:

    “In my view, this is not a desire on Obama’s part to “distance the US from an Israeli attack” but merely to distance HIMSELF from PUBLIC RESPONSIBILITY for an Israeli attack. The two are not the same.”

    You are of course fully right. Its like a person who want to commit a crime. He get all the guns, support, intelligence and even install the sniper rifle, all this supplied by his friend that is a lawyer. When the man is about to shoot, the lawyer walks away. Just to comeback to celebrate the murderer some seconds later.

    He continued Guantanamo, he continued with Bush war in Iraq, even spending more on the military making him a bigger warmonger. Invaded Libya, kept more soldiers coming to Afghanistan. Escalated the drone attacks in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan. Did not push Israel to make peace, instead using his veto and political power to support illegal settlers, annexation and the killings on the freedom flotilla.
    And now he want to wage another war? And this man got the peace prize?!

  319. Nasser says:

    “Certainly people who are so indecent as to suggest letting the less fortunate starve, freeze or otherwise die (of preventable causes) while, at the same tyime, supporting the policies that commit US to going abroad searching for monsters to destroy are beneath contempt.”

    – American people believe in the law of the strongest. Iranians will do well to realize this and devote more resources to their defense.

  320. Gareth Porter on Obama Seeks to Distance US From Israeli Attack:
    http://original.antiwar.com/porter/2012/01/03/obama-seeks-to-distance-us-from-israeli-attack/

    Interesting Quotes:

    At a meeting with Obama a few weeks later, the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and the new head of CENTCOM, Gen. James N. Mattis, expressed their disappointment that he had not been firm enough in opposing an Israeli attack, according to Sale.

    Obama responded that he “had no say over Israel” because “it is a sovereign country.”

    Obama’s remark seemed to indicate a desire to distance his administration from an Israeli attack on Iran. But it also made it clear that he was not going to tell Netanyahu that he would not countenance such an attack.

    End Quote

    In my view, this is not a desire on Obama’s part to “distance the US from an Israeli attack” but merely to distance HIMSELF from PUBLIC RESPONSIBILITY for an Israeli attack. The two are not the same.

    Obama is a serial liar. Nothing he says can be taken as the truth. In this case it is clear to me that he intends to fully back an Israeli attack on Iran, but to be able to cite these and similar statements as “evidence” that he is not to blame for the resulting war.

    Quote:

    In an interview with CNN in November, Barak warned the international community that Israel might have to make a decision on war within as little as six months, because Iran’s efforts to “disperse and fortify” its nuclear facilities would soon render a strike against facilities ineffective.

    Barak said he “couldn’t predict” whether that point would be reached in “two quarters or three quarters or a year.” The new Israeli “red line” would place the timing of an Israeli decision on whether to strike Iran right in the middle of the U.S. presidential election campaign.

    Netanyahu, who makes no secret of his dislike and distrust of Obama, may hope to put Obama under maximum pressure to support Israel militarily in a war with Iran by striking during a campaign in which the Republican candidate would be accusing him of being soft on the Iranian nuclear threat.

    If the Republican candidate is in a strong position to win the election, on the other hand, Netanyahu would want to wait for a new administration aligned with his belligerent posture toward Iran.

    Meanwhile, the end of U.S. Air Force control over Iraqi airspace with the final U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq has eliminated what had long been regarded as a significant deterrent to Israeli attack on Iran using the shortest route.

    End Quote

    I think this is a realistic scenario. What is Obama going to do if Netanyahu attacks Iran in the middle of an election year? Denounce Israel? Really?

    Some may recall that I predicted that Bush and Cheney would attack Iran during the 2006 mid-term election year, as a means of promoting the Republican Party candidates, and also before or after the 2008 elections, ditto. This didn’t happen, allegedly because Cheney wanted Israel to do the attack and Israel – at that time – wanted the US to do the attack, believing Bush could be forced into doing so. In 2008 (and possibly in 2006), I suspected that Bush held back partly because he did not want to be blamed for THREE disastrous wars, and in 2008, partly because the 2007 NIE as well as push back from the Pentagon had undercut his capability to start a war as a lame duck President. I’m not entirely sure all of that is true, but clearly there were reasons – possibly including the fact that Iraq was still a major mess in 2006 – that prevented Bush and Cheney from starting their war.

    However, in THIS election year, it would be entirely reasonable for Netanyahu to launch an attack and thus FORCE Obama – not to mention WHOEVER gets elected – to start a war with Iran. OR as Porter suggests, if the Republicans look to win, wait until 2013.

    I cannot predict that will occur, however, I think it’s reasonable to conclude that 2012 is the most dangerous time yet for an Iran war.

    However, we should also keep in mind that there are VERY clear indications that the US and the EU intend to take out Syria first. And I would expect Natanyahu to attempt to take down Hizballah in Lebanon first as well.

    So the question now is whether Netanyahu will ratchet up the pressure on Lebanon early this year, and whether the US and the EU will speed up the war on Syria, in order to allow Netanyahu to launch his Iran attack before the election. There is also the suggestion that Netanyahu plans a new, shorter but much more violent, attack on Gaza.

    Clearly 2012 is going to see a new Middle East war of some sort, whether it be Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and/or Iran. I don’t see how the year can play out in any way peacefully.

  321. lysander says:

    Can anyone update us on the currency situation in Iran? Is it as serious as portrayed?

  322. Ray McGovern on Urging Obama to Stop Rush to Iran War:
    http://consortiumnews.com/2011/12/30/urging-obama-to-stop-rush-to-iran-war/

    Good luck with “urging” Obama to do anything, Ray…

  323. The source for the PressTV article:

    SYRIA WILL BE BLOODIEST YET
    http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/view/227911/Syria-will-be-bloodiest-yet/Syria-will-be-bloodiest-yet

    Granted, it’s the Daily Star Sunday, not exactly the Washington Post, but still…

  324. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: January 3, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    Yes, it is frustrating when you expect so much more from your country and her leaders.

    I think US is probably still a generation away from GM-like Bankruptcy point (bankruptcy used as a metaphor).

    Certainly people who are so indecent as to suggest letting the less fortunate starve, freeze or otherwise die (of preventable causes) while, at the same tyime, supporting the policies that commit US to going abroad searching for monsters to destroy are beneath contempt.

    You have to patiently wait for that “bankruptcy” point.

    US used to have really competent men in her leadership; like Gen. Marshall, or FDR – not so many now, it seems.

  325. kooshy says:

    A very sobering article for delusional American exceptionalists, I would have made this article a requirement to American history 101 curriculum

    The New Big Show
    Iran and Historical Forgetting
    By JOHN GRANT

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/01/03/iran-and-historical-forgetting/

    “Official history is limited to antiseptic and patriotic narrative and anything that supports the Myth of American Exceptionalism. All other history is certainly available for those so inclined, but it’s not the stuff of American politics or our mainstream media. It’s not something to be learned from. History is written by winners, and the US is always a winner – even when it loses, as in Vietnam. Then official history focuses on scapegoats and on whom to pin the Stabbed in the Back Myth. “

  326. UK’s secret plots for Syria
    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/218938.html

    Quote:

    A British security official has revealed that Britain’s Ministry of Defence has been drawing up secret plots to secure a NATO-sponsored no-fly zone over Syria as intelligence agents from MI6 and the CIA are examining the situation on the ground in the country, reported the Daily Star.

    “MI6 and the CIA are in Syria to infiltrate,” revealed the newspaper.

    End Quote

    Big surprise…not.

    Hey, Canning, tell me how the UK isn’t involved in all this corrupt crap and really just wants everything to be nice in Syria.

  327. Juan Cole has not a bad recap of the problem of sanctions on Iran, but why bother worrying about the effect on Obama’s election prospects? Because Cole STILL doesn’t get that Obama is a JAAP – Just Another Asshole Politician.

    Will his New Sanctions on Iran Cost Obama the Presidency?
    http://www.juancole.com/2012/01/will-his-new-sanctions-on-iran-cost-obama-the-presidency.html

    Personally I HOPE Obama goes down to defeat this year, I HOPE some TOTAL butthead like Gingrich or Santorum or Perry gets elected, and the war with Iran starts on January 20, 2013, five minutes after the swearing in ceremony.

    Then we can move on with a perhaps more realistic perception of how corrupt the U.S. actually is.

  328. Good piece by Glenn Greenwald which addresses Iran in several paragraphs. He reads in many places like our Arnold Evans! :-)

    End of the pro-democracy pretense
    http://www.salon.com/2012/01/02/end_of_the_pro_democracy_pretense/singleton/

    Quote:

    But even more significant is Egyptian public opinion specifically on the issue of greatest concern for American (and Israeli) foreign policy officials: a nuclear Iran. A 2010 Brookings/University of Maryland/Zogby poll found vast, overwhelming Egyptian support for the view that Iran has the right to have a nuclear weapon, and for the view that a nuclear Iran would be a net positive for the region. That, too, tracks general public opinion in the Arab world, which supports Iran’s right to have nuclear weapons. In light of these facts, does anyone believe that the U.S. government and its pool of experts that exist to justify what it does — the Foreign Policy Community — have even a slight interest in actual democracy in Egypt specifically or the Arab world generally?

    Of course not. As Noam Chomsky put it recently: “The U.S. and its Western allies are sure to do whatever they can to prevent authentic democracy in the Arab world” because “if public opinion were to influence policy, the U.S. not only would not control the region, but would be expelled from it.”

    End Quote

  329. Worth checking out…

    The Globalization of War: The “Military Roadmap” to World War III
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=28254

  330. Karl says:

    “US says doesn’t seek confrontation over Gulf transit”

    http://www.xe.com/news/2012/01/03/2378045.htm?utm_source=RSS&utm_medium=TL&utm_content=NOGEO&utm_campaign=News_RSS_Art1

    Oh so you dont seek confronation, thats ridiculous? Thats why you push for oil embargo, sanctions, assasinations, regime change, lies, warmongering, that is acts of war?

  331. James Canning: “In his July 11, 2011 piece in the Guardian, William Hague said that Iran on June 8th had announced plans to treble production of 20% U, which Hague said “makes even clearer the fact Iran’s programme is not designed for purely peaceful purposes.”

    Surely you can see that the UK is putting the emphasis on 20% U as the problem, rather than the enriching to 3.5%.”

    No, we don’t need to conclude that at all. From the article in The Guardian by Hague:

    Quote:

    Iran’s intensified uranium enrichment is envisaged to take place at a previously covert site, buried deep beneath the mountains. That it claims to allow International Atomic Energy Agency monitoring is not a safeguard. Iran has a persistent record of evasion and obfuscation with the IAEA. It has failed to provide the IAEA with access to relevant locations, equipment, persons or documents. It has not replied to questions from the IAEA on its procurement of nuclear-related items and aspects of its work that could be useful only for developing a nuclear weapon – such as multipoint detonation for the initiation of hemispherical explosive charges or, in plain English, detonators for an atom bomb. It has an active ballistic missile programme, including the development of missiles with a range of over a thousand kilometres, and carried out a range of missile tests in June. A reasonable observer cannot help but join the dots.

    End Quote

    His list of reasons why Iran must be sanctioned does not depend solely on the 20% argument. That is just the most recent veneer he puts on the UK’s opposition to Iran. The list of reasons cited for suspicion of Iran’s nuclear intentions are completely bogus as we all know well here on this site. And if Hague is too stupid to know that, then he shouldn’t be in his position, just as Obama can’t possibly believe what is clear to all of us here is bogus.

    Also note this statement:

    “This is why there are already six UN security council resolutions that require Iran to suspend enrichment immediately, all ignored by Iran. Iran has so far refused to enter into any negotiations on its nuclear programme until the E3+3 agrees to lift all sanctions and immediately recognise Iran’s right to enrich. But there will remain no rationale for lifting sanctions until Iran engages in negotiations to address what are well-founded concerns about its nuclear programme. So far, Iran has done the opposite.”

    In other words, Hague is FULLY on board with forcing Iran to suspend ALL enrichment, not just the 20%, until Iran “proves a negative”.

    Finally, Wikipedia quotes this information about Hague:

    “He was President of the Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA), but was also “convicted of electoral malpractice” in the process.[4] OUCA’s official historian David Blair notes that Hague was actually elected on a platform pledging to clean up OUCA, but that this was “tarnished by accusations that he misused his position as Returning Officer to help the Magdalen candidate for the Presidency, Peter Halley. Hague was playing the classic game of using his powers as President to keep his faction in power, and Halley was duly elected…There were accusations of blatant ballot box stuffing.”[5] On a subsequent visit to OUCA as a guest speaker in the 1990s, Hague was reported to have told them “It is not the election that one needs to worry about…it’s more the tribunal thereafter.””

    And this: “Hague’s reputation suffered further damage towards the end of his leadership, with a 2001 poll for the Daily Telegraph finding that 66% of voters considered him to be “a bit of a wally” and 70% of voters believed he would “say almost anything to win votes””

    This is the guy you’re believing when he says Iran’s 20% is the main reason Iran must be sanctioned.

    It’s embarrassing.

  332. Karl says:

    In the end of january, EU states are about to meet dicuss Iran amongst other things.

    I think that if EU on this meeting also implement an oil embargo, then EU states through nato will join in case of war with Iran. If not, they are not supporting the escalation and wont back a US/Israel assault on Iran, while doing nothing to stop it.

    The irrational psychosis by EU/US to follow the will of Israel is getting absurd, do these elected men and women have no shame waging war that are first and foremost not in the western interests? Why would the EU-states, burdend with their weak economies accept an embargo that raises the price of oil, thus hurting them even more? For the sake of what? Preserving the only colonial regime?

  333. Arnold Evans: “Libya has transformed from a mostly pro-Western state to a state that after elections may be mostly pro-Western. I don’t see that as a strategic success.”

    I’m not even sure we can count on Libya being “pro-West” either more or less than Gaddafi was at any given point in his rule.

    Right now, Libya is a mess of warring factions. No one knows who will come out on top. It’s as likely to descend into permanent civil war as cohere into a viable state. It’s much like Iraq at this point without even the level of a Maliki government. So the question will devolve to: who will be bribed by the U.S. and EU corporations to become the new rulers and sell the oil? And will they be able to hold enough power over the country to enable the oil to be sold?

    How Juan Cole can justify this state of affairs in Libya on the grounds of “avoiding a massacre by Gaddafi” is beyond me. Whatever one’s opinion of Gadafi (or Saddam), clearly the results of both Iraq and Libya are worse than the dictatorships that preceded them. And those results clearly only serve the purposes of the U.S. and EU elites and Israel.

  334. Rd: “It is not necessarily a question of arming!!! vs interfering..The Pro-Israel NGO behind NATO’s War on Libya Targeting Syria”

    Thanks for the link. It’s no surprise to me that Israel is working against Syria! But just because a guy has an Uzi OR an NGO sponsored by Israel is working for the dissidents doesn’t mean Israel is THE Number One force involved here. Clearly the U.S. and the EU and the Saudis and the GCC are the number one interfering parties.

    That NGO may be supporting NATO’s war on Syria, but it’s not “behind” that war. Of course the whole point of taking out Syria is to benefit Israel and set up for the war on Iran, but the U.S. and the EU have equal stakes in that process since it will enable them to continue to control the Middle East region for their benefit. The U.S. supports Israel because the U.S. elites – those who aren’t Jewish, at least, who are more supporters of Israel than the U.S. – believe Israel is a benefit to THEM (note: NOT a benefit to the U.S.’ real interests, but to THEIR interests.)

    But the U.S. elites have other more direct reasons for wanting Syria taken down than just to benefit Israel. Syria resists U.S. hegemony. A war on Syria will be profitable. A war with Syria sets up the war with Iran – even more profitable. All of that (supposedly) leads to control of the oil wealth of the Middle East which is even more profitable.

    Israel is just another component in the U.S. elites moves to control the world – except, again, for those Jewish members of the U.S. elites who are more Israeli than American.

    In other words, once again, like in the Iraq war, what we have is a “perfect storm” of beneficiaries: U.S. elites, EU elites, Israel, Saudis, etc. They’re all working together for their own reasons. Singling any one out as the “leader” or prime beneficiary isn’t particularly useful, although it IS useful to KNOW what their individual reasons are for conducting this process.

  335. James Canning: “Why would the US want Libya to “fracture”? Strong economic growth in Libya is what the US and the EU want.”

    GROWTH? Oh, hell, no! They want the OIL! They couldn’t care less about “economic growth” in any country but their own! If they could arrange for the entire Libyan population to be slaves working for free in the oil fields, they’d do it.

    Just how naive are you about politicians?

    “And Italy and other EU countries want illegal immigration (that transits Libyan territory )stopped.”

    Yeah, and how is that going to work now that Libya is fractured into warring factions?

    Look, the morons in the UK, France, Germany and Italy are only looking out for themselves. They don’t care about “immigration” except as a political football, just as U.S. politicians have immigrant labor watering their lawns except when they want to complain about it. They don’t care about “economic growth” or “stability” in any country except their own.

    They want the MONEY and POWER. Period. And above that, whatever notions of political organization they might “adhere to” as long as it doesn’t get in the way of said MONEY and POWER.

    You need to stop taking these people at their word. It’s embarrassingly naive.

  336. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Neocons used to aburd notion that overthrowing Saddam Hussein would bring lower oil prices, to dupe some of the Americans conned into supporting the illegal invasion of Iraq. Totally absurd, that Iraq would sell its oil for lower prices than otherwise would obtain.

  337. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Rick Santorum is of course an idiot. Has he actually said that states should be allowed to forbid birth control?

  338. Fyi: “When US, pursuant to her revolutionary new Bush Doctrine destroyed the Ba’athist Iraq, she expected to be able to exert indirect political control over the price of oil as well as – in extreme cases – on who gets to get the oil out of Persian Gulf.

    Together, Iran and Iraq now could actually have some say in the price of oil (in principle) and the role of Saudi Arabia could be diminished (in principle).

    That is why as the scope of Irani/Shia gains have become more and more clear, the expressed hostility of US-EU against Iran has become more and more shrill.

    In my opinion, war will not change the geopolitical situation – perhaps that is why we have not seen US attacking Iran yet.”

    You make some possibly very valid points.

    As Greg Palast established, the Iraq war was intended by the neocons to get cheap Iraqi oil to pay for the wars to destroy Iraq, Iran, Syria, etc. However, the oil companies did NOT want cheap Iraqi oil on the market. They wanted Iraq to adhere to OPEC (i.e., Saudi, Iran and GCC) oil price guidelines. And they used Jim Baker and the Saudi influence on the Bush family to insure that is what happened.

    So now we have Iraq cooperating with Iran – perhaps in terms of oil prices as well. After all, Iraq’s only revenue is oil, and the higher the oil price the better for Iraq in terms of rebuilding its infrastructure that the U.S. destroyed in the war. So Iraq has every reason to cooperate with Iran and OPEC in terms of setting the oil price.

    As a result, of course the neocons get angrier since once again their plans to destroy the Middle East for the benefit of Israeli and U.S. hegemony have been thwarted.

    The military-industrial complex, however, is not that concerned about the oil companies desires. So they will continue to push for war with Iran regardless.

    And of course, a war with Iran will up the price of oil, and the oil companies won’t mind that, either, even if they never get control of either Iraq’s or Iran’s oil as a result of the war.

    So I wouldn’t conclude that the fact that a war on Iran won’t really change things for the better for certain pro-war parties necessarily indicates that such a war won’t happen. It might delay such a war depending on whose political campaign contributions are the largest in a given election year, but overall I think the U.S. elites are still in agreement that a war with Iran is desirable from their standpoint, even if the standpoints may differ in detail.

    Certainly the Israel Lobby thinks so, and they have a lot of influence as well, if not more so than the military-industrial complex and the oil companies.

    And who has the most influence at any given time or over what period of time is clearly not something that is easy to discern or prove, and probably fluctuates for many reasons.

  339. Karl says:

    The old criminal, senile minister of france, keep warmongering, keep lying.

    http://presstv.com/detail/219133.html

  340. Karl says:

    James Canning:

    “Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Rybakov, said last Friday: “We have verified data showing there is no reliable evidence for the existence of a military component” in Iran’s nuclear programme. You should be able to pick this up if you have not already seen it. Translation: Iran’s enriching to 3.5% is OK with Russia.”

    I said explicitly. I am not talking what you perceive being stated, but what are actually stated.

  341. Rehmat says:

    On December 31, 2011 – Former MK Uri Avnery posted a column at Gush Shalom website, entiled Shukran, Israel. In his column, Avnery claims that all Islamic movements in the Muslim East owes their existence to the Zionist regime. According to him, had it not been Israel – there would not have been Muslim Brotherhood (established 25 year before the establishment of Israel), Islamic Revolution in Iran (1979), Hizbullah or Hamas…..

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/israel-the-midwife-to-islamic-resistance/

  342. Rehmat says:

    Cyrus_2 – Neyth. I don’t see any Iranian blunder except another Israeli hasbara crap. China, India, Afghanistan, Iraq and Turkey are starving for Iranian oil. Iranian export has increased 500% during the last eight year US-Israel sanctions.

  343. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Rybakov, said last Friday: “We have verified data showing there is no reliable evidence for the existence of a military component” in Iran’s nuclear programme. You should be able to pick this up if you have not already seen it. Translation: Iran’s enriching to 3.5% is OK with Russia.

  344. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Surely you follow presstv. Any number of reports about Russian or Chinese support of Iranian enrichment to 3.5%, couched in larnguage of support for civilian nuclear power programme.

    Russia, it should be noted, originally wanted to maintain control of nuclear fuel cycle for all five Bushehr nuclear power platns. The US foolishly failed to support the Russian initiative. Why? ISRAEL LOBBY.

  345. James Canning says:

    “Parsi: Issraeli pressure helped scuttle Obama overtures to Iran”, by Alex Kane:

    http://mondoweiss.net/2012/01/parsi-israeli-pressure-helped-scuttle-obama-overtures-to-iran.html

  346. Karl says:

    James Canning:

    “Are you not aware that China and Russia have made robust statements in support of Iran’s domestic civilian nuclear programme, inferring approval of Iran’s enriching to 3.5%?”

    When did China and Russia explcitly said they accept 3,5%? Provide sources.

  347. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    Re; the partial sentence, do you mean you think it was not a blunder for Iran to make it easier for more sanctions to be brought against Iran?

  348. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    In his July 11, 2011 piece in the Guardian, William Hague said that Iran on June 8th had announced plans to treble production of 20% U, which Hague said “makes even clearer the fact Iran’s programme is not designed for purely peaceful purposes.”

    Surely you can see that the UK is putting the emphasis on 20% U as the problem, rather than the enriching to 3.5%.

  349. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    AFP had a report on William Hague’s statement to MPs about Iran’s nculear programme. The Australian printed in July 1, 2011. It has been linked before on this site, as I recall. Quote: “In a statement to [Parliament], Mr Hague said . . . Iran had announced plans to triple its capacity to produce 20 per cent enriched uranium.”

  350. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    How much experience do you have in “decoding” statements by British foreign secretaries? I think fairly little.

    Are you not aware that China and Russia have made robust statements in support of Iran’s domestic civilian nuclear programme, inferring approval of Iran’s enriching to 3.5%?

    It is unrealistic for you to expect a shouting from the rooftops of a position that is deliberately couched in some vagueness (referring to William Hague’s piece in the Guardian last July).

  351. Cyrus_2 says:

    Did Iran made a blunder here?

    [quote]
    Iran Crude Oil Exports to China set to Fall in January

    The contract dispute with Chinese buyers is one of several likely to face the world’s fifth largest crude exporter: Iran is trying to sell its biggest Asian customers oil at higher prices and on tougher terms, even as it faces the prospect of fewer sales as Western nations mull sanctioning its economic lifeline.
    [/quote]

    http://www.topcoevents.com/topco/industry-news/industry-news/View.aspx?nid=2919

    The answer is “yes”, unfortunately.
    Iran is not in a position to loose oil exports to China.

  352. Arnold Evans says:

    the last sentence fragment to Canning was left accidentally, I hit submit before deleting it.

  353. Arnold Evans says:

    fyi says:
    January 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    His single strategic success has been Libya.

    Libya has transformed from a mostly pro-Western state to a state that after elections may be mostly pro-Western. I don’t see that as a strategic success.

  354. Arnold Evans says:

    James Canning says:
    January 3, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    therefor it is not likely that one would see Russia, China, Germany, France and the UK issue a statement saying “we support Iranian enrichment to 3.5%”

    If they haven’t said it or can’t say it for whatever reason, then what makes you think it’s true?

    That is a very poor and invalid technique of argument. You don’t get to just make up positions for countries after you assert that they have a reason not to say they hold that position.

    Iranian enrichment to 20% is the issue that has driven the UK (and Saudi Arabia) to push for more sanctions against Iran.

    Again, Saudi Arabia is not an independent country or it would have had some tangible response to Israel’s nuclear arsenal. I know some people here have joked that you speak for Saudi Arabia, but really you do not. Saudi Arabia wants what Barack Obama wants and that is for Iran to stop all enrichment. Not for Arabian reasons but because that government is accountable to Barack Obama and not the population of the country.

    I have not read a single UK official statement that even mentions the word “20%” either provide a link that includes that term “20%” or you’re making this up.

    it is not I think it is a significant blunder on the part of Iran to make it easier for more

  355. Rd. says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    Rd: I don’t know if I’d take one picture of a Syrian dissident with an Uzi as proof that Israel is arming the dissidents.

    It is not necessarily a question of arming!!! vs interfering..

    The Pro-Israel NGO behind NATO’s War on Libya Targeting Syria

    http://www.almanar.com.lb/english/adetails.php?eid=37706&cid=23&fromval=1&frid=23&seccatid=20&s1=1

  356. fyi says:

    Jay says: January 3, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    In fact, Mr. Obama has been unsuccessful in other areas of foreign policy such as in Venezuela, in Palestine, in Russia, in Afghanistan, and in China.

    His single strategic success has been Libya.

  357. Jay says:

    James Canning,

    I did not suggest that you argued for a stalemate. I said that “if” you are “suggesting” that we are at a stalemate… You did not use the word stalemate. However, there seems to be an implicit subtheme in your position that unless Iran cedes to the (extralegal) demands of the US/UK/FR block, no progress is possible. I do not accept this argument. Every action by “the block” so far indicates that their demands will continue to surpass the Iranian desire for a sovereign foreign policy.

    I reject the notion that actions of the President can be attributed mainly to lobbying. During the health care legislation debate Mr. Obama said in essence that if standing on principle meant a defeat in his rerun for the office, then so be it – he would stand for the principle. If I take the President at his word, and if his principle is to resolve the issues with Iran, then whatever lobby could not stop the President. Was he then not truthful when he suggested that he is willing to loose his second term? Or, is he not truthful when he suggests that he wants to negotiate with Iran? In either case, his statements cannot be accepted as genuine!

    My point regarding the cost of energy (Oil) was not to emphasize the benefit to Iran but the harm to “the block”. It is ultimately a self-destructive and self-defeating approach. As some one who points out “low yield” Iranian policies you must recognize this.

  358. Karl says:

    Would an oilembargo hurt Europe more than Iran?

    If an oilembargo are imposed by Europe/US, Iran would loose clients in the western world no doubt, however, since the price of oil, atleast initially, will rise alot, Iran would still get that money that were lost due the departure of US/EU, right? Not to mention that Iran would probably find other clients that it could export to.

  359. BiBiJon says:

    Rd. says:
    January 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Thanks Rd.

  360. James Canning says:

    jay,

    I mis-directed last comment to FYI, but it was meant for you.

  361. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You are quite right to say enormous stresses on the EU, caused by an increase in oil price to sustained $120 from about $100. And the $100 was caused to considerable degree by the military intervention in Libya (assuming Gaddafi otherwise would have crushed the revolt).

    And Iran obviously profits from oil at $120, assuming resulting global economic slowdown does not cause oil to drop back to $60 or $70.

  362. James Canning says:

    jay,

    Surely you are aware that Aipac and other Jewish groups virtually “own” the US Congress on matters involving Israel/Palestine. And Iranian issue is 80% Israel/Palestine, even if FYI and others do not like to view it that way.

  363. James Canning says:

    jay,

    I did not argue for stalemate, and I in fact have never made that argument because I do not see one.

    If you go back to last summer and read the statements by William Hague and the Saudis, you will be able to ascertain that Iranian enrichment to 20% is the largest problem. Or “problem”, as viewed by the UK, the Saudi, and others.

  364. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    Thanks for the piece you linked (on falling exchange rate of the rial). Those who keep rial bank accounts obviously get hurt when the value of the rial falls much faster than the interest gained on the deposit.

  365. jay says:

    James Canning,

    Repeating the assertion that the Western pressure is the result of “xx”% enrichment by Iran while evidence points more heavily towared desire for hegemony is curious.

    Yet more curious is the presentation of a littany of excuses for the President of the United States not being able to do what he thinks is good for the country.

    Nonetheless, even if we take your points as given, there is no incentive for Iran to take any steps such as enriching to 3.5% because the President is unable to do anything to reciprocate.

    If you are suggesting that we are at a stalemate, you are mistaken. There are yet several levers of power remaining to be exercised by both sides. For example, note that Iran did slow the traffic in the Strait, partially stopping it for a time, oil futures are up, and

    “Standard & Poor’s has warned it could soon downgrade the triple-A ratings of Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium and Luxembourg by one notch and the ratings of other euro zone countries, including top-rated France but excluding Greece and Cyprus, by two notches.” “…the downgrades would reinforce fears the currency union could collapse under the weight of member states’ debt. This could inflict severe damage on even the bloc’s financial powerhouse and perceived least risky country – Germany.”

    Speculate on the economic havoc that would wreak from a $120/barrel oil for Europe resulting from jittery insurers’ premium increases.

  366. James Canning says:

    In his New Year’s Address to the Russian people, Dmitry Medvedev said: “It is our duty to preserve [Russia] and to build a progresssive state, where all of us can live comfortably and do stimulating work.”

  367. Rd. says:

    BiBiJon says:

    I may be exaggerating how bad the CBI sanctions would be, but I’d like to hear reasons why it is nothing to worry about.

    Here is one explanation on one of the side effects. perhaps those with more of an economic background can comment.

    The fall of the Iranian rial: too much of a good thing?

    http://djavad.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/the-fall-of-the-iranian-rial-too-much-of-a-good-thing/

  368. James Canning says:

    Writing in the Washington Post today, Richard Cohen claims that the Iraq War “had no real purpose”! What a calculated deception! In fact, the real purpose of the Iraq War was to exploit American fear and anger resulting from “9/11” to take out an enemy of Israel and attempt to re-fashion Iraq into a stable “ally” of Israel and the US.

  369. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    You seem to have difficulty understanding that the P5+1 try to maintain unity, and therefor it is not likely that one would see Russia, China, Germany, France and the UK issue a statement saying “we support Iranian enrichment to 3.5%”. Even if those countries would support it.

    Iranian enrichment to 20% is the issue that has driven the UK (and Saudi Arabia) to push for more sanctions against Iran. I think it is a significant blunder on the part of Iran to make it easier for more sanctions to be adopted by “the West”.

  370. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Why would the US want Libya to “fracture”? Strong economic growth in Libya is what the US and the EU want. And Italy and other EU countries want illegal immigration (that transits Libyan territory )stopped.

  371. James Canning says:

    Empty,

    I think you are mistaken to believe Obama did not want dialogue with Iran. The truth of the matter is he did not comprehend how strong Aipac and other groups would be in their determination to block any improvement in relations between the US and Iran. To “benefit” Israel. And Obama did not comprehend how he needed to approach the matter. And Obama relied on Hillary Clinton too much, when her primary object is to protect the interests of Democrats in the US Congress by mollifying powerful Jews.

  372. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I talk to a number of Americans and very few of them want war with Iran.

  373. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 3, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Under the UN Oil-for-Food program?

    I do not know.

    But that, even tru, would not mean much; US was calling the shots.

  374. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Didn’t the US buy more oil from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq during the 1990s, than any other country?

  375. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 3, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Yes, it is.

    Else they would not be able to extract geopolitical concessions from these states.

    Look at how Americans (and Arabs) kept alive the Communal War in Palestine until it became a Religious war and thus lost control of that dynamics.

  376. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says: January 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    There is no formal alliance structure between US and Israel.

    This is a dangerous situation since it is not clear what the obligations of each side is to the other – as opposed to NATO where there is no ambiguity as to what would happen if a NATO member state is attacked.

    Israel has harmed US a great deal; US support for Israel has poisoned her relaionship with Muslim World.

    But US is a sovereign state and her leaders, like those of GM, are entitled to ruin their country.

  377. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Surely it is not US policy to create insecurity in the Middle East. Foolish American support for Israel right or wrong creates insecurity as an unwanted side-effect.

  378. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi says:
    January 3, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    “…(due to the US policies of creating insecurity to sell geopolitical protection [and involvement as well]) are also subject to the same logic.”

    isn’t this the underlying logic for Israel being a strategic asset? I think Flynt Leverett is quite right about the question of hegemony. if having hegemony is the U.S goal in the region, which naturally every state would like to maintain that, a strong alliance with Israel makes sense. I slowly came to believe that the emphasis on the unshakable nature of the alliance has some merits.

  379. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: January 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I do not think so.

    UAE will be committing suicide if it rescinds Iranian trade.

    And Turkey, in fact, continued buying Iraqi oil throughout the 1990s.

    The Siege of Iran is just what it is; a Siege – with lots of holes in it.

    But future would tell.

    [Look at what happened in Cyprus; they lost a 550 million Euro power plant which will not be made good.]

  380. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    January 3, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    “Will US-EU make good potential losses here?

    I think not.”

    On two counts I’m not persuaded.

    1) Historically, US-EU have not bothered to make good on losses to other countries. On Iraq for example, Putin was complained that ‘comrade wolf is eating and not sharing’, and Erdogan decried Turkish losses caused by American military adventures. However, ultimately they were both powerless to seek compensation a next time.

    2) The trade value between Iran and countries you listed are less impressive when compared to US-EU trade value with the same countries. Again, historically, when push comes to shove, they will all be persuaded to stop crying and imagine something worse.

  381. Fiorangela says:

    fyi says:
    January 3, 2012 at 11:47 am to BiBiJon says: January 3, 2012 at 11:26 am

    “American people are itching for a war with Iran; the same derelict young man who drives a 50-dollar car with “Bush-Cheney 2004″ on it is persuaded that Iran is the greatest enemy of the United States and must be smashed (per the Jewsih/Protestant Propaganda).”

    To my double-shame, you must add American Catholics to that list, and prominent Italian-Americans, too.

    Rick Santorum, Catholic and the grandson of Italian immigrants to US, enjoys high-profile access to mainstream American media. He uses those opportunities to advocate killing Iranians. No official from the Roman Catholic hierarchy that I am aware of has slammed the hammer on Santorum’s statements advocating the deaths of other human beings, but in 2004, prominent Vatican prelates decreed that John Kerry should be denied Communion based on the thesis that A Catholic may never obey an immoral law, such as legalized abortion:

    “Man may never obey a law which is in itself immoral, and such is the case of a law which would admit in principle the liceity of abortion. Nor can he take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law or vote for it. Moreover, he may not collaborate in its application. It is, for instance, inadmissible that doctors or nurses should find themselves obligated to cooperate closely in abortions and have to choose between the law of God and their professional situation.”[1].

    One must assume that the silence of the Church hierarchy gives consent to Santorum’s declarations that Iranians or anyone who participates in nuclear research in Iran should be killed.

  382. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: January 3, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    An effective economic strangulation of Iran would require other states to also effectively harm themselves.

    One such state is Turkey: trade with Tureky was $ 10 billion in 2010 and $ 15 billion in 2011 with Iran.

    With Iraq, trade is close to $ 10 billion.

    With UAE it is close to $ 25 billion.

    With Afghanistan close to $ 2 billion.

    Will US-EU make good potential losses here?

    I think not.

    Likewise for Korea, China, Russia, Japan, India and many others.

    Specifically about rials – that is government’s fault; they should either devalue the currency or raise the interest rates.

  383. fyi says:

    Irshad says: January 3, 2012 at 6:37 am

    You have to understand that these pipelines are stupid.

    US creates insecurity and then persuades these Arab states to undertake costly initiatives.

    Qatar, for example, could make a swap deal with Iran or with Iraq for oil delivery to Turkey.

    The pipe-line to bypass the Straits of Hormuz (due to the US policies of creating insecurity to sell geopolitical protection) are also subject to the same logic.

    As is said in Persian: “Why wrap you head if it is not aching?”

    The real source of these troubles is US and EU.

    When US, pursuant to her revolutionary new Bush Doctrine destroyed the Ba’athist Iraq, she expected to be able to exert indirect political control over the price of oil as well as – in extreme cases – on who gets to get the oil out of Persian Gulf.

    Together, Iran and Iraq now could actually have some say in the price of oil (in principle) and the role of Saudi Arabia could be diminished (in principle).

    That is why as the scope of Irani/Shia gains have become more and more clear, the expressed hostility of US-EU against Iran has become more and more shrill.

    In my opinion, war will not change the geopolitical situation – perhaps that is why we have not seen US attacking Iran yet.

  384. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    January 3, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    “They have a full-plate of issues to go through:

    – Iraq’s political crisis
    – Regime change in Syria on terms acceptable to Iran
    – Scuttling of US initiative in Afghanistan
    – Domestic development issues”

    Indeed, and all of those are an anathema to America’s perceived interests, and all of those Iranian agenda items can be scuttled with an effective economic strangulation of Iran. I may be exaggerating how bad the CBI sanctions would be, but I’d like to hear reasons why it is nothing to worry about.

    Any thoughts?

  385. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: January 3, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I believe Iranians will do nothing belligerent.

    They have a full-plate of issues to go through:

    – Iraq’s political crisis
    – Regime change in Syria on terms acceptable to Iran
    – Scuttling of US initiative in Afghanistan
    – Domestic development issues

  386. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    January 3, 2012 at 11:47 am

    fyi, fair enough. There’s equal amounts of serious deliberation as there is obvious downsides to a war with a superpower.

    But, then again, timing, and location, etc. is the only marginal albeit temporary advantages than Iran might have in such a conflict.

    I’m persuaded that over the US election season anti-Iran rhetoric is assumed to get louder, and media coverage of it will be more extensive. Having signed the Central Bank sanctions into law, is it sensible for Iranians to give time for adequate supply alternatives to come online, and for those sanctions to be fully implemented and only then react, or is it not ‘right now’ the better time for a reaction?

    Note the word ‘reaction.’ Of course every Iranian action can be (will be) construed as starting a war. But, surely these are semantics, and playing with chronology is apsstime for pundits, and apologists, not for decision makers of either side.

  387. fyi says:

    Empty says: January 3, 2012 at 8:14 am

    In South Pars, to take a concrete case, Shell was ready to sign a deal for several years; it was the Iranian political leaders that kept on changing the terms of already negogiated agreements.

    The greed and stupidity of very many Iranian leaders were resposnible for those self-inflicted wounds.

    [You know, just like the Persian rugs that shed color and ruin the rug; excellent example of self-satisfied Iranian rug-makers cunning.]

  388. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: January 3, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Mr. Khamenei, Dr. Larijani, and other iranian officials have stated multiple times that Iran makes decisions based on deliberation, discussion, and consensus. And further, that Iran will not initiate a war.

    American people are itching for a war with Iran; the same derelict young man who drives a 50-dollar car with “Bush-Cheney 2004” on it is persuaded that Iran is the greatest enemy of the United States and must be smashed (per the Jewsih/Protestant Propaganda).

    American Military is actually not so persuaded but they are powerless to stop a war that would be – initially at least – quite popular in US.

  389. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    January 3, 2012 at 11:18 am

    “You are wrong.”

    Entirely possible. But, be kind enough to elaborate, particularly on the ‘starting a war.’

  390. fyi says:

    Mr. BibiJon:

    You are wrong.

  391. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    January 3, 2012 at 10:59 am

    The half-life of misquotes/’empty threats’ have long expired. I really think Iran has had enough, and wants to skip the preliminary niceties (e.g. starving to death) and play its hand at the endgame. The target though I think is Russia and China. I.e. Iran is saying they are ready to rumble, its up to you guys to reign in the US.

    I suspect Hu, and Putin are insisting Pres. Obama wake the hell up as we speak.

    Rehmat, I often quote folks I regard as cheesy.

  392. Rehmat says:

    Hillary Clinton: ‘I love gays and lesbians’

    Last month, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton in her Human Rights Day address in Geneva – did not talk about the rights of religious minorities in her country or the West. What did she talk about and to a great length how she feels the gays, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) being denied of human rights.

    “Today, I want to talk about the work we have left to do to protect one group of people whose human rights are still denied in too many parts of the world today. In many ways, they are an invisible minority. They are arrested, beaten, terrorized, even executed. Many are treated with contempt and violence by their fellow citizens while authorities empowered to protect them look the other way or, too often, even join in the abuse. They are denied opportunities to work and learn, driven from their homes and countries, and forced to suppress or deny who they are to protect themselves from harm.

    I am talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, human beings born free and given bestowed equality and dignity, who have a right to claim that, which is now one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time. I speak about this subject knowing that my own country’s record on human rights for gay people is far from perfect. Until 2003, it was still a crime in parts of our country. Many LGBT Americans have endured violence and harassment in their own lives, and for some, including many young people, bullying and exclusion are daily experiences. So we, like all nations, have more work to do to protect human rights at home,” said Hillary.

    Very admirable statement from a woman whose country is home to world’s largest child sex slaves. However, Hillary is quite aware of the fact that her Democrat Party needs 28 million LGBT votes while those sexually abused children are not registered voters.

    According to the Family Research Council: “Each year, right under our noses, 100,000 American children each year are victimized by sex traffickers. Make no mistake, this is not a problem that’s just “over there.” These heinous crimes are happening in our own backyards”.

    As a confirmed Israel-Firster, I never expected Hillary Clinton to speak about human rights of Palestinians, Kashmiris, Chechen, Gypsies in Europe, or Muslim minorities in the US and Europe who have become the Jews in Europe in the past

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/hillary-clinton-i-love-gays-and-lesbians/

  393. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: January 3, 2012 at 10:29 am

    No chance of a limited war in the Persian Gulf; Iranians will not initiate any wars – limited or otherwise.

    I cannot account for this Iranian Officer’s statement, he might have been misquoted.

  394. Rehmat says:

    BiBiJon – Why you need to publicize a former Israeli Jewish prison guard, Jeffrey Goldberg? He is as much war-criminal and scum as Benji Netanyahu.

  395. BiBiJon says:

    Batshit-crazy, Battleship-diplomacy, and that very claustrophobic pinhead of a space as you spiral up inside an event cone.
    =================================================================

    Jeffrey Goldberg: “One of the reasons I lean against the use of force against Iran over its nuclear program is that I think the regime in Tehran is more interested in self-preservation than some people think. Therefore, it seems highly unlikely that the Iranians would make threatening gestures at a U.S. aircraft carrier group simply because it entered the Gulf. That would just be batshit-crazy. There is, of course, a theory out there that the Iranians, for domestic reasons, are trying to provoke an Israeli, or an American attack. But until proven otherwise, I’m going to believe that these bellicose statements represent empty threats.”
    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/01/the-very-definition-of-blowing-smoke-tehran-edition/250781/

    ————

    Contemplating ‘limited’ wars is not exclusively limited to Kroenig just because his imagination is limited. Iranian navy may well harass the aircraft carrier to a point of distraction — a ‘limited war’ on Iran’s terms.

    Who knows? In a lexical world where we do (but not utter the word) war, any and every action is feasible, and if heads are sufficiently buried under sand, then worrying about consequences are just as ‘quaint’ as citing Geneva conventions, right Yoo?

    Folks, we have sleepwalked into this conflict like non other.

  396. Empty says:

    Persian Gulf,

    RE: “I understand that the passage of oil through the SoH is a strategic asset in Iran’s hands and a point of pressure, only if Iran could control it fully.”

    I think if the strait of Hormuz were to come under Iran’s full control, then it would become a strategic liability and not an asset. The cost, over time, of maintaining it for a smooth flow of commodities (oil and others) would exceed the benefits of any fee she could charge. In addition, simple and isolated acts of sabotage could increase the cost to Iran or create a sense of discontent by the patrons. And more….
    I personally think that a shared regional cooperation and local management team (of the immediate neighbors) without the interference of outside actors be that the US, China, Russia, etc. would be one of the better approaches that would have benefits (cultural and geopolitical benefits) beyond the strait’s management.

    RE: “I am just contemplating the possibility of pipeline for the transfer of oil from the Persian Gulf, and why it has not be materialized yet.

    There are. Even if all the current “pipeline plans” go smoothly and in a timely manner, even if all of them become fully operationalized, even if additional pipelines are planned and built, these pipelines (as designed and operationalized): a) would still not meet the growth in demand for traffic beyond a period between 2025 -2035, depending own how optimistic or pessimistic a forecast is; b) their cost and insecurity (to maintain) far exceeds that of a maritime route.

    RE: “Does Iran get any transit fee for the passage of oil through the SoH?

    1. Only parts of the strait are considered Iran’s territory and no toll is being collected.

    2. Even more importantly, the true cost of the transportation/transit of fossil fuel (i.e. to marine life, all ecosystems, human cost, military hardware and software, etc.), currently and into the future, is not included in moving oil/gas from a point A on earth to a point B on earth. This means, a spill, for example, in the Persian Gulf would take away the livelihood of the fishermen (both on Arab and Iranian sides) and exact a cost to those societies without just and appropriate mitigation and compensation plans. And no fee could cover such cost.

    RE: Does Iran control any oil or gas field of the southern Persian Gulf states?

    You might find the following excerpt useful (originally posted on Nov. 19, 2011):

    Non-vertical [also called directional] drilling has been used to drill wells at an angle underground (other than vertical) in order to hit targets and stimulate reservoirs in ways that can not be achieved with a vertical well. This method allows for a reservoir to be tapped if the reservoir is located underneath an “unreachable”/”forbidden” area/ location by drilling a well located in the drilling pad on the edge of the “forbidden location” at an angle that will intersect the reservoir.

    The United States does not need to occupy a country. What it actually does is it creates conditions that a given country cannot develop and export its own gas, for example. This will ensure that the reserves remain untouched (more or less). Then it sets up shop in a neighboring country (let’s say Qatar) and siphons out the gas. It’s rather simple.

    For more information about this, please feel free to explore the USGS website. In particular, look at 2000+ global regions that are assessed by the new U.S. geological survey method for the assessment of reserve growth [1], for example. Once you have a solid assessment, then follow what I would call “doughnut” strategy: surround a particularly “difficult area” and then empty the middle part of any “dough” (no pun intended). Look at Libya and Tunisia “provinces” for another example: “Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated means of 3.97 billion barrels of undiscovered oil, 38.5 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered natural gas, and 1.47 billion barrels of undiscovered natural gas liquids in two provinces of North Africa.”

    Note: Reserve growth is defined as the estimated increases in quantities of crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids that have the potential to be added to remaining reserves in discovered accumulations through extension, revision, improved recovery efficiency, and additions of new pools or reservoirs.

    RE: Is it Iran or the U.S that patrols the Persian Gulf for the shipment of oil? Isn’t the divergence of interests in the Persian Gulf the main source of contention between Iran and the U.S? you know what I mean.

    You might find this excerpt useful. It’s from a comment I posted on March 15th, 2011:

    1. Early 1990s saw an emergence of the Central Asian countries and competition to access the oil in the Caspian Sea region.

    2. At the same time and for the first time in decades, other countries (i.e. Asia/China) emerged as the fastest growing markets for oil throughout 1990s. This necessitated a need for a more strategic outlook for the US and other countries in the area of energy security.

    3. The issue is/was not so much about who has oil (since anyone who had/has wanted/wants to sell it) but who possesses the means to manipulate the price and to control the “routes” (Pipelines and Maritime).

    4. Half of the 1990s was spend arguing about “pipelines” and building them (along east-west and north-south corridors).

    5. US was interested to by-pass Iran. One “East-West/Northern” route through Turkey and one “North-South” route through Afghanistan were of great interest to the United States. The shortest route was, is, and will always be North-South Caspian-Persian Gulf pipeline cut right through the middle of Iran.
    ~Check out Map #3 here: ;http://www.sras.org/geopolitics_of_oil_pipelines_in_central_asia

    6. On December 1997, A Taliban delegation was brought to Sugarland Texas for talks with Unocal [;http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/west_asia/37021.stm%5D. The talks collapse and Taliban left Texas for Afghanistan swearing to never cooperate with the US. Plan for war on Afghanistan actually began in December 1997.

    7.In parallel with the above events, the price per barrel of oil reached its lowest possible by late 1990s and into early 2000 (below $9 if I am not mistaken). This exacted severe tangible pain to the populations whose economy was substantially dependent upon oil (especially OPEC members). At the time, I remember how Germany, for example, stop shipping the most needed medicine to Iran unless Iran could pay for it in advance (I had an aunt who died as a consequence of a specific medicine that Germany had held its export to Iran for 11 months, for example). When then SA foreign minister came to the US for help, Clinton remarked very publicly and smugly that wasn’t a US problem (this was while the US and the West were filling their strategic reserves and enjoying the ‘digital boom’). When warned there would be a production cut by OPEC, he brushed off any possibility that OPEC members (especially Iran and Saudi Arabia at the time – Iraq was out of commission) could ever reach an agreement.
    You might find the following sources useful in helping with a more comprehensive look at potential oil-related events of the last two decades: ~History and analysis of crude oil prices: ;http://www.wtrg.com/prices.htm

    I think artificially keeping the oil prices very low during 1990s was done deliberately so that the US companies could sign and solidify long-term contracts with various emerging countries with oil (including Central Asian ones). They intended to raise the price afterwards in order to maximize their profits.

    8. In March 2000, OPEC members (Mr. Rafsanjani played an extremely effective and successful role in this regard) particularly Iran and Saudi Arabia reached an agreement and created a production formula to keep the price per barrel of oil between $22 – $28 with a 3-4 months of cushion. For the first time in the history of Western hegemony in the region, ants fell in the western pants and they dreadfully saw, first hand, the outcome of a regional cooperation and alliance.

    9. If you follow the 9-year US ground/air operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, you’d see that they have been heavily concentrated along the forked pipeline routes that begin in Turkmenistan and cross through Afghanistan and Pakistan, spilt toward India/China from one end an to Omman Sea from another side.

    10. To control “Maritime Routes”, US needs control of major sea ports and straights. These are among the most sensitive chokepoints are: 1) Hormuz (Persian Gulf); 2) Bab-el-Mandeb (connecting Red Sea to Gulf of Aden//Note Yemen and Somalia); 3)Strait of Malacca (between Indian and Pacific Oceans); 4) Gibraltar (Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean//Note Morocco); 5)Suez Canal (Egypt); and 6) Bosporus (Turkey). To this end, follow up the US most serious military build up and operations in the past 10 years.

    11. Military and satellite communication hardware and software development, marketing, and sale are important and important both as mean$ and as end$ to establish and secure routes and to enforce ones’ orders.

  397. hans says:

    Iowa GOP is moving vote-count to ‘undisclosed location’ – POLITICO.com

    This is obvious because they want to produce fake results. Like with Florida, tinkering with a few thousand votes can change events and they hope to do this in hiding. Recent elections have been rife with cheating and game playing. So Iran and rest of axis of good have ammunition when the land of the free talks of fairness of elections

  398. Empty says:

    Rd. says:
    January 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Good suggestions re; areas to be covered.

  399. Empty says:

    Pirouz says:

    “After the ongoing naval exercise is finished I’ll be uploading a brief post on the upcoming $11 billion dollar arms deal to Iran being made via Iraq by means of conscious denial.”
    Looking forward to the post…yes, in systems dynamic, it’s called unintended consequences. Or as the Persian saying goes:عدو سبب خیر شود اگر خدا خواهد. [translation/interpretation: The enemy’s work could turn in one’s favor if God wills it.]

    Sakineh Bagoom says:

    “My concern in this soliloquy called RFI is, do we offer any solution to the outstanding problems between Iran and the West.”
    I understand what you mean. If I have understood correctly, however, I think the overarching theme of this blog has been to advocate, without pre-conditions, for a high level US-Iran talks based upon which solutions to regional issues could be explored at that level. Most threads that have been posted, I think, have been to highlight either the importance and urgency of this need (using various changes in the region) or to dismantle the myth of US/Obama administration offer of dialogue. I’ll try to think about the points your raised and see if could get examples in the threads that fall in either of these two categories (or perhaps a third one).

    Kathleen:

    “empty” is not that interesting. What is interesting that I found out you were the very first person who posted on this blog within a short time it had been launched. So, in one sense, you’d be considered the matriarch of the posters.

  400. Irshad says:

    A few peaople asked why PG Arab states are not building pipelines that avoids the Straits of Hormuz – well, I have been doing some digging and it transpires that Abu Dhabi has been building a pipline that avoids the SoH.

    “Abu Dhabi’s government is spending $3 billion building a 375km oil pipeline from their refinery at Habshan south west of Abu Dhabi itself to Fujairah on the Emirates’ east coast which avoids the Straits of Hormuz choke point. Were some kind of conflagration to occur and Iran to attempt to close down the Straits as they promised to do, the Emirates unlike Qatar and Kuwait, would still be able to sell their oil to the world market (as well as reaping the benefits of the astronomical price, were Iran to close the Straits).

    Whilst Qatar has mooted on several occasions an idea of building a pipe for its gas through Saudi Arabia and onto Turkey, there are significant hurdles involved. Saudi Arabia has their 745 miles-long East-West pipeline but this does not have the same capacity or cost base as their shipping.

    Originally planned to open in 2009 it is now expected to open in August 2011.

    It is also interesting to note that it is a Chinese Company that has been contracted to build the pipeline. I wonder what exactly the terms were for that deal i.e. whether China insisted on ‘first dibs’ on the oil that comes out the other end, were the worst to happen.

    Hat tip: MEED Issue No 22 28 May – 3 June 2010”

    http://thegulfblog.com/2010/06/03/abu-dhabi-building-pipe-to-avoid-hormuz/

    If anyone has time – do search around this site – its full of nuggets about what is going on in the GCC countries and has some good analysis on various issues too.

  401. Hammad says:

    I think Iran is prepared for any attack and the growth of its nuclear program shows it all and Middle East should support Iran rather than any other nation.

  402. Photi says:

    Empty says:
    January 2, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Thanks Empty. The info at the link is rich. Those plotters who use knowledge for power and control are hardly new. The Western powers have been conducting this sort of intrigue in the Middle East since at least Napoleon. Apparently Edward Said’s Orientalism was not required reading for the special ops cadets, or if they did read it they read it in defiance of Said’s thesis about what should be the purposes of knowledge.

    There is no doubt the social sciences are powerful and easily manipulated for use by nefarious forces. However, doesn’t the power of the social sciences also provide the argument in favor of their importance and necessity for use towards the civil defense?

    Anyway, looking forward to your evaluation of the blog and its parts.

  403. Rd: I don’t know if I’d take one picture of a Syrian dissident with an Uzi as proof that Israel is arming the dissidents. Uzis are all over the place and have been for decades. If they had late model Israeli battle rifles, I’d be more impressed.

    Besides we don’t need that. We already have evidence from sources in the U.S. intelligence community as reported by Phil Giraldi that “someone” is flying unmarked cargo aircraft into the Turkish-Syria border loaded with Libyan mercenaries and Libyan weapons. Obviously it’s not the Syrian dissidents paying for this stuff, it’s the U.S. and the EU and the Saudis and the GCC. We can be pretty sure the CIA is involved and we know the French and probably the UK have sent military advisers as well.

    Israel doesn’t even need to be involved, it’s lackeys are handling the job nicely.

    There’s little doubt in my mind that the U.S. and the EU and the Saudis and the GCC will push Syria into a civil war over the coming year. By this time next year, there is likely to be full scale war between Israel and both Syria and Lebanon, and the U.S. and the EU will be bombing Syria just like Libya. I don’t see any way Assad can avoid that outcome short of stepping down and giving in to what the opposition wants.\

    As we’ve seen in Libya, the outcome of that is competing militias spending more time fighting each other, i.e., another fractured state which is precisely what the U.S. and Israel wants in the region.

    Iraq is a disaster, Libya is a disaster, Egypt is still in doubt, now the goal is Lebanon and Syria to be ripped apart, followed by a war with Iran. The progression is too obvious to need to be continually pointed out.

    All of which was predicted by the PNAC documents over ten years ago.

  404. Persian Gulf says:

    Empty says:
    December 29, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    I understand that the passage of oil through the SoH is a strategic asset in Iran’s hands and a point of pressure, only if Iran could control it fully. I am just contemplating the possibility of pipeline for the transfer of oil from the Persian Gulf, and why it has not be materialized yet.

    Does Iran get any transit fee for the passage of oil through the SoH? Does Iran control any oil or gas field of the southern Persian Gulf states? Is it Iran or the U.S that patrols the Persian Gulf for the shipment of oil? Isn’t the divergence of interests in the Persian Gulf the main source of contention between Iran and the U.S? you know what I mean.

  405. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi says:
    December 30, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Yes, there are obviously some merits for the brain drain phenomenon, in particular its effect on energizing the rest of the populace in case it does not leave behind a feeling of disappointment. Projecting a positive, or negative, image of a country can also be another positive side of the brain drain. It can noticeably be seen in case of Indians and Chinese for the former situation and Iranians for the later. I also would add that some so called “brain”s are destructive for the development of their country of origin due to their non-practical demands, their often false illusion of importance and the extreme degree of schism that they generate in the society. Sometimes, they better leave! We have partly seen that illusion during the last presidential election. However, one should be cautious for the bright sides of brain drain for a country like Iran. I just guess in Iran’s case, brain drain is somehow in the same direction as money drain, i.e. the opposite effect of remittance explained in that article. It could also be problematic, as explained in the article, if it exceeds a certain level.

  406. Fyi: “The 5000-strong US Marine Expeditionary Force that you have mentioned would only be the start of the US land war in Iran.”

    Quite likely. Because it puts the US between a rock and a hard place. They can’t withdraw or Iran will move in again and put the Straits at risk. They can’t push forward further into Iran because they will run into much larger Iranian forces, albeit much of those forces would be degraded via continuous air strikes on any large concentration of Iranian forces.

    “And I think 5000 is the maximum number US can support in that part of the world without bringing in reinforcements from elsewhere.”

    I’m not sure of the logistics, but Marine units come in three sizes: Marine Expeditionary Units, Marine Expeditionary Brigades or MEBs being next larger in size,
    and Marine Expeditionary Forces or MEFs being the largest. The MEB units can be from 7,000 to 17,000 men, including a considerable contingent of U.S. Navy personnel in support roles.

    They can be supported by Maritime Prepositioning Shipping Squadrons which are commercial ships located in an area of operations with the combat arms and supplies needed to support the MEBs for up to thirty days. Several of these ships are prepositioned in various areas of the world, including the Indian Ocean. These ships don’t need ports to offload their supplies.

    So the US could, especially if it was planning an attack on Iran, put up to 17,000 Marines in the area with sufficient supplies for thirty days of operations. They did this during the 1991 Gulf War.

    In addition, they can airlift several MEBs quickly. The deployment of a Marine Expeditionary Brigade by air requires 250 C-141 sorties or equivalents.

    This means Iran could be facing twenty or thirty thousand US Marines or more on their coast with full air cover from the U.S. Navy Battle Groups and long-range air strikes from bases in the region.

    In 1991, “His brigade, numbering on that date 15,248 Marines with 123 tanks, 425 heavy weapons, including artillery pieces, and 124 fixed and rotary winged aircraft, had made a 12,000-mile strategic movement, using 259 MAC sorties and five MPS ships.”

    I’m quoting from a U.S. military article on Marine deployment during the first Gulf War.

    “The aviation combat element was Marine Aircraft Group 70 (MAG-70). A kind of pocket air force, MAG-70 had both fixed-wing and helicopter squadrons, toying a great variety of aircraft. Its fighter-attack aircraft was the F/A-18 Hornet, which the Marine Corps considers to be the best combination fighter and attack aircraft in the world. Its attack aircraft were the AV-8B Harrier and the A6E Intruder. The Harrier is a true vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. The Marines are the only U.S. service that has this British-designed aircraft.

    The Corps’s heavy helicopters are the CH-53D Sea Stallion and the CH-53E Super Stallion, its medium helicopter is the CH-46 Sea Knight, and for light helicopters the Corps has the AH-1W Super Cobra and the UH-1N, last in a long line of Hueys.

    MAG-70 also had a detachment of KC-130s. The Marine Corps version of the Hercules serves both as a refueler and a transport.”

    In short, while I would expect this is not something the U.S. could throw together on a week’s notice, within a couple months of Iran doing serious damage in the Straits, the US could put together a force that could take a large part of the Iranian coast and hold it at least temporarily. The question then would be whether Iran could put together a force that could retake the coast while at the same time evading massive air strikes.

    The bottom line is that the U.S. can’t afford to allow the Straits to be closed. While the oil companies would love the price increase, the effects on the overall world economy and especially countries like Japan and China, the latter of which would then be inclined to operate against U.S. interests perhaps economically as well, would be something the U.S. would have to deal with.

    While some people see this as a reason why the U.S. would NEVER attack Iran, I see it as merely another cost of the war that the U.S. elites will be willing to pay if it comes to it – since it won’t cost THEM ANYTHING.

  407. Arnold Evans says:

    James Canning says:
    January 2, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Clearly, Iran’s enriching to 20% is taken by this newspaper as evidence of a programme to build nukes.

    No, that’s not clear, and not it’s not true. Why do you keep making this up?

    This is what a clear statement that Iran enriching to 20% is seen as evidence of a nuclear weapons program would look like:

    “We consider Iran enriching to 20% to be evidence of a nuclear program.”

    As a bonus, allow me to show you a statement that would indicate that UK (and/or Germany, France, Russia and China) are willing to accept Iran enriching to 3.5%:

    “We (spoken by a UK official) are prepared to accept Iran enriching to 3.5%”

    You’ve been doing this a lot, reading entirely unrelated statements as supporting your positions. If they believe these things, why don’t they just say them? Instead of relying on you to interpret their unrelated statements?

  408. k_w says:

    James,

    the Süddeutsche Zeitung is what many people call a quality newspaper. However, as far as the Middle East goes, news agencies like dpa (Deutsche Presseagentur) have the say. You will hardly find investigative journalism in Germany any longer.

  409. Rd. says:

    Turkish FP, rhetorical independence!!!!!!

    “Be prepared to see some of the same old wine in a new bottle: policy convergence with the West accompanied by desire for autonomous action and rhetorical criticism of the West. “

    http://www.todayszaman.com/news-265130-quest-for-strategic-autonomy-continues-or-how-to-make-sense-of-turkeys-%E2%80%9Cnew-wave%E2%80%9D.html

  410. Rd. says:

    James Canning says:

    I can see the FT making a case for release of the impounded funds, if negotiations with Iran got underway and achieved some momentum.

    You mean like a bribery?

    a form of corruption, is an act implying money or gift giving that alters the behavior of the recipient.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bribery

  411. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 2, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Yes, the hypothetical possibility always exists but the reality is quite another.

    Iran had good relations with Jordan, Egypt and Iraq when all 4 states were monarchies.

    In regards to Suddeuthsch Zeitung; Iranian leaders consider Israeli attack a threat, and they have prepared for that (it has been years).

    Relly Mr. Canning: these articles demonstrate the extent to which so many are in awe of Israel’s military might; in spite of the 2006 defeat in Lebanon.

  412. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    The Financial Times opposes sanctions against exports of oil and gas. Full stop. FT opposes any Iranian nuclear weapons capability. FT favors negotiated resolution of the dispute. I would not be surprised to see Russian rpoposal for staged reduction in sanctions to gain backing of FT.

  413. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    I can see the FT making a case for release of the impounded funds, if negotiations with Iran got underway and achieved some momentum.

  414. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    the “seige of Iran” is useful to the numerous stooges (and whores) of the Israel lobby in the US Congress. And useful to arms salesmen, lobbyists, et al.

  415. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You seem to forget that the US was on good relations, for most part, with both Saudi Arabia and Iran during the 1970s. Some problems, of course, related to Israel (for Saudi relations) and oil prices (Iran and SA).

  416. James Canning says:

    From the Suddeuthsch Zeitung today (linked by FYI): “The alternatives [to new sanctions] would be far more uncomforatable: Iran with nuclear weapons or an Israeli military strike.”

    Clearly, Iran’s enriching to 20% is taken by this newspaper as evidence of a programme to build nukes.

  417. fyi says:

    nahid says: January 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Elie Wiesel (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elie_Wiesel) created the word “Holocaust” (from the Greek ὁλόκαυστος holókaustos: hólos, “whole” and kaustós, “burnt”).

    I prefer the word Shoah (Hebrew: השואה, HaShoah, “catastrophe”; Yiddish: חורבן, Churben or Hurban, from the Hebrew for “destruction”).

  418. Rd. says:

    Nothing hidden anymore…. the true character of the free syrian army..

    http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2012/jaza020112.html

  419. nahid says:

    Dear fyi

    What is Shoah? please explain, thnx

  420. Arnold Evans says:

    Nasser says:
    January 2, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    I still believe Obama would have changed course on Iran had Ahmedinejad not been reelected. It is not politically possible to get close to someone who publicly denies the holocaust.

    Israel has a real strategic dispute with Iran as it would with any state in the Middle East whose foreign policy is accountable to local voters. The Holocaust thing was an intentional misinterpretation but Obama wasn’t the target for that.

    On the Middle East, Obama is stunningly consistent with every modern US president before him, and I think he couldn’t have reconciled with an independent Iran any more than George W. Bush could.

  421. fyi says:

    Nasser says: January 2, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Yes, US cannot be friend with Saudi Arabia and Iran at teh same time; specially considering the fact of the relationship between Saudi Arabia and US that is almost a 100 years old.

    But US and Iran can have correct diplomatic relationships – in principle.

    I do not see any strategic necessity for US to change course in Iran at the present time or in the near future. It is concievable that US will become, over the course of the coming years and decades, to be thoroughly identified as an Enemy of Islam (as she is so recognized in Punjab) and at the time she might need the redeeming powers of Iran (in the religious sense) to work her way back into the good graces of the Umma.

    But things like the Russian-Georgian War are not important to US; that whole area is irrelevant to US security (including Azerbaijan Republic) in my opinion.

    When Dr. Ahmadinejad raised the issue of Shoah, Iran was on the brink of war with US. He had to attack US in her weakest point; which was the Shoah. US, EU, Israel have lost the Umma on Shoah; it is now percieved largely as a historical lie to steal Arab/Muslim land.

    Ultimately, I think the Siege of Iran is useful to Iran and US. It stablizes a hostile relationship and makes it possible for each state to pursue her interests without concession or consideration of the other state – an impossibility.

    The loosers, of course, are the European states, India, and Southern Persian Gulf states that are hostile to Iran.

  422. Rd. says:

    James Canning says:

    As you are aware, the Financial Times in London this past week attacked the American Congressional effort to impede Iran’s exports of oil and gas. Was this being “hostile” toward Iran?

    James, Please let us know when the FT of london attacks the British parliament for freezing over 1B pounds of Iranian assets.. or better yet, when BT encourages the parliament to release those funds to Iran.

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2009/06/18/uk-iran-britain-sb-idUKTRE55H5ZH20090618

  423. Rehmat says:

    Ahmadinejad visits Latin America – Zionists Fret

    Ahmadinejad’s visit comes at the moment of US-Israel escalting threats to the Islamic Republic for its refusal to discontinue its civilian nuclear program. Last month, Iran captured a US drone and held military drill in Strait of Hormuz – to show its military capabilites to give a deadly response to any US-Israel attack in the future.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/ahmadinejad-visits-latin-america-zionists-fret/

  424. Nasser says:

    fyi says: “But Dr. Friedman is correct, US has no useful Iran policy.”

    – Also he pointed out that US can’t really be friends to both Iran and the Saudis at the same time. They regard the Saudis as more stable and predictable (rightly imo) and have chosen to continue their hostilities towards Iran. He has said several times that even if Iran were to abandon its nuclear program tomorrow the problem would still exist.

    – There needs to be some overarching strategic need for the US to break with decades long course towards Iran. Such inertia is not easy to overcome. Such a strategic need did come about when Russia invaded Georgia and Bush extended to the Iranians the lowest form of diplomatic recognition.

    – I still believe Obama would have changed course on Iran had Ahmedinejad not been reelected. It is not politically possible to get close to someone who publicly denies the holocaust.

  425. Rehmat says:

    James Canning – sorry to smash your dream about Jewish Army vs Hizbullah.

    French political analyst Theirry Meyssan, wrote that after the un-expected military humiliation of Israeli forces, several top US military officers agreed with Admiral William Fallon and senior General Brent Scowcraft that after American military failure in Iraq, it would be a suicide to attack a “well armed and organized state – Iran – potentially setting the entire region ablaze”.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/08/27/hizbullah-changed-the-me-in-2006/

  426. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 2, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    I am glad to have finally come to an agreement that the Siege of Iran will continue.

    In my opinion, this is a useless exercise in geopolitics since it only makes Iranians that much more suspicious and hostile to outsiders while, at the same time, induces them to be even more ruthless in their domestic and foreign policies.

    Sort of like the consequence of the Iran-Iraq War during which Iran and the Iranian people were pushed too far to trust any other state or international instrument or treaty – somewhat like Israel.

    It is interesting that as US-EU have endeavored to isolate Iran, Israel also has become isolated.

  427. nahid says:

    Bravo fyi

    January 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm
    January 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm

  428. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    And I would not expect Russia or China to break publicly with the other four Powers (P5+1), on Iran.

  429. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Of course the EU will not break with the US at this time on Iran. Only someone with little understanding of the situation would expect it.

  430. James Canning says:

    fyi

    Financial Times is most highly regarded financial journal on the planet, in English.

  431. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    A large percentage of Europeans loathed Israel for smashing Lebanon in 2006. William Hague especially.

  432. fyi says:

    Mr. Canning:

    I really do not believe what Financial Times states has any relevance to EU policies.

    EU will not break with US at this time over Iran; she is dominated in her thinking by similar notions as US neo-conservatives and constrained as well by the effort she has spent in harming Iran.

    As I said before, I believe EU when Mr. Straw is in Tehran again; one man who was both sensible and respectful towards Iran and the Iranian people.

    [I do not necessarily believe that it will be all smooth with Mr. Straw, but he was not insulting or condenscending.]

  433. James Canning says:

    I recommend Dr Laxha Darkman, “Obama Blinks, the Lobby Gloats”:

    http://www.israelshamir.net/Contributors/Obama.htm

    Quote: “Make no mistake: Iran is what the Freeman imbroglio was all about.”

    and: “Obama’s recent appeasement of the Israel lobby over the Freeman falala [is] an ominous example of his impotence.”

  434. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 2, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Iranians did not blunder.

    UNSC tried to take away from Iran sovereign rights by issuing paper.

    One would have expected them to have the decency of going to war first.

    But the choice of the country to be smashed was made in 2006 by US-EU Axis: Lebanon and the Executioner was Israel.

    [That war was supposed to end with the destruction of Shia Resistance in Lebanon; but it ended in the defeat of Israel and the US-EU Axis project there (for the third time in less than 40 years).]

    The choice for Iran was state cohesion and security on the one side or sanctions.

    Iranians chose state security and cohesion.

    When UNSC escalated to strategic nowhere after the defeat of Israel in 2006, Iranians correctly ignored it and continued on their path; in nuclear arena, in Iraq, and in Palestine.

    Since US planners were unwilling or unable to accomodate the Shia/Irani power, they had to escalate more and more.

    Ergo, the Siege of Iran.

    From people who think war is cheap nothing useful will come out.

  435. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The Financial Times has called repeatedly for Israel to end the occupation of the West Bank. Was this being “hostile toward Iran”?

  436. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    As you are aware, the Financial Times in London this past week attacked the American Congressional effort to impede Iran’s exports of oil and gas. Was this being “hostile” toward Iran?

  437. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think the EU would endorse Iranian enrichment to 3.5%. But you, of course, want Iran to enrich to 20%, and to stockpile the 20% U, to set up a quick further enrichment to 95%. A catastropophic policy choice.

  438. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think you are seriously delusional to be hostile toward the EU. Iranian blunders bring on sanctions, and more sanctions. Sadly.

  439. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 2, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Due to their anti-Iran stand, I wish the European Union ill.

    I hope that they suffer more economically and socially and I futher hope that they go to war with one another.

    Let us keep to that thought, God Willing.

  440. fyi says:

    All:

    This is what Mr. Canning referred to in an earlier post.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,806698,00.html

    Note that these news papers are uniformly hostile to Iran; no doubt partly due to entrenched anti-Muslim sentiment in Germany (for the last 40 years at least).

    Nothing positive will come out of these people – in my opinion.

    Only strngth and power will help sharpen their minds.

  441. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 2, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Fine.

    But these opinions do not alter the facts of the Siege of Iran by US-EU Axis.

    It will continue.

    [Some in EU actually wish for a war between Tureky and Iran – did you know that?]

    In regards to Saudi Arabia: she is an enemy of the Shia, Iran, and the Iranian people.

    Her conduct since 1950s have supplied ample evidence of that.

    Iranian leaders also have publicly stated that they will work with all Muslims except the Wahabis.

  442. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    We should recall that Charles Freeman was named chairman of the National Intelligence Council in Feb. 2009 and Aipac went berserk. And he has supported Walt and Mearsheimer.

  443. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    This is Finacial Times Deuthschland today: “There are good arguments for and against [latest] sanctions. However, it’s important that such invasive measures be approved on an international level. They should not be the result of domesic [US] policy maneuvring.”

    Sensible viewpoint. And one we will no see expressed in editorials by the Wall Street Journal. Why? ISRAEL LOBBY.

  444. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    As an entity, the EU is the strongest economic entity on the planet. Yes, problems with the euro, etc etc. But economically, EU is No. 1.

  445. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    An obvious key difference between Germany and the US is that in German high finance there are few Jews, while in the US Jews in high finance probably outnumber all other groups combined. And this fact skews the debate on Israel/Palestine, etc.

  446. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think you are quite wrong to believe opinion in Germany and other European countries is much like that in the US, regarding the Middle East. And on the UN Security Council, the US is way out of a limb of isolation, with the other 14 countries strongly disagreeing with American stupidity regarding independence of Palestine.

    Iran can be independent. But this would not include being free to threaten the national security of Saudi Arabia or other Persian Gulf monarchies.

  447. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    If you seek sensible opinions on how the US should approach Iran and the Middle East, try the American Conservative magazine or its website (amconmag.com). Neocons and liberal hawks are ripped to pieces regularly.

  448. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 2, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    In regards to “Strong Iran”; you have left a crucial adjective, “Independent”.

    US and EU cannot abide a Strong, Independent Iran.

    That is the issue.

    In regards to EU, Iran cannot do much to cultivate the European states.

    For one thing, internally very many of these states are still dominated by thinking analogous to the neo-conservatives in the United States. Short of surrender, there is nothing Iran can do to influence these states in a positive manner. She (Iran) has to wait for the change in the internal dynamics of these states, if ever.

    Moreover, these states are suffering from economic malaise which substantially reduces their native freedom of action in the international arena. Since they still aspire to play a role in the international arena, their leaders are now even more dependent on the United States; they are the junior partners of US with little scope of independent action.

    So, on the one side we have US with her degenerated internal politics and, on the other side, EU with its limited capacity of independent action. In either case, one cannot expect substantial changes in the near future (1 to 3 years). One must also note that the leaders of US and EU believe war to be cheap and peace expensive and are acting on it.

    Iranian planners, then, in my opinion, would be well advised to consider the Siege of Iran as lasting both in medium term (3 to 5 years) and the long term (more than 10 years).

    My own view, of course, is that the Siege of Iran will last several decades and it will end 2 or 3 decades after Iranians have substantially broken out of it.

  449. Fiorangela says:

    With felicitations and in response to Sakineh Bagoom, Dec. 24, 2011 6:17 pm:

    Roses are reddish
    Violets are bluish.
    If it weren’t for Constantine
    We’d all be Mitraic (ine)

    And THAT is an anxiety that nibbles at the ventricles of the zionist heart: If American & Western Christians peeled back the layers of zionist recasting that has shaped their understanding of the so-called “Judao-Christian” bible and tradition, to its historic antecedents and prototypes, they would discover that 98% of Torah is synthesized from Assyrian, Arab, and West, East, and South Asian mythologies; that the Creation story in Genesis was told centuries earlier by Avestans in Persia and India; that the ethical bases of Judaism and Christianity rely on Zoroaster, not Abraham or Moses.

    Jewish identity is defined by the Jewish bible, and, as is written in the (Catholic) “Jerusalem Bible,” in an introduction to the Book of Maccabees, 20th century Christians grant to Jews the position of “trustee of revelation.” Zionism has taken full advantage of that trusteeship position to denigrate any and all understandings of the wisdom literature that does not elevate Jews as “antisemitic.” For example, Susan Heschel condemns efforts of WWII-era German scholars to parse out the ‘historical Jesus’ from the Jewish tradition, and in a recent publication, Amy-Jill Levine reframes the New Testament as an explication of Jewish ethics; Jesus as the the leader of a Jewish resistance movement to Roman domination; and the Persian Magi as “clowns, jesters, not at all wise men but fools.”

    But accurate history reveals that the ethical norms of Judaism and Christianity were heavily influenced by Zoroaster, founder of what was the state religion of Persia for many centuries and which still inflects Islam in Iran; and the Magi carried his tradition into the fourth century Roman world until Constantine vanquished Mithra when he proclaimed the new Christian movement to be the official Roman state religion.

    Thomas Jefferson engaged in rigorous scholarship on religious matters and arrived at a way of thinking that was more in line with that of Zoroaster and of the “stripped-down” moral and ethical values of Jesus of Nazareth. Jefferson’s thinking was probably closely aligned with the German scholars that Susan Heschel castigates; that mindset influenced his contributions to the founding documents of the American experiment in republican self-government and religious freedom. Jefferson would have been appalled at the Gantryism of Christian evangelicals, who are in reality followers of a grasping and crabbed Calvinism; Darby, Scofield, Schaffer, LaHaye and other inferior and if not deluded minds.

  450. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    If you are endorsing Iran’s oft-stated policy of seeking good relations with all countries except Israel, I of cf course agree completely. FYI’s preference for Iran to be a “Shia fortress” and to pursue isolation is well off the mark, in my view.

  451. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    Your apparent belief that the Obama administration wants to “promote sectarian divide” in Iraq is based on what observations on your part?

    Do you think Obama pulled US troops out of Iraq in order to promote potential civil war?

  452. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Yes, the US is nearly completely incapacitated, in engaging in sensible diplomacy concerning Iran. And why? ISRAEL LOBBY.

    This problem is the reason Iran needs to cultivate the best relations possible with numerous other countries, and especially with Germany and other European countries.

    And essentially childish exercises like the recent trashing of the British embassy in Tehran need to be avoided if possible.

  453. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    After the collapse of the Soviet Union, George F. Kennan wrote: “Nobody – – no country, no party, no person – – ‘won’ the Cold War. It was a long and costly political rivalry, fueled on both sides by unreal and exaggerated estimates of the intentions and strengths of the other party.”

    You have a strong tendency to seek to reinforce the delusion that “the West” somehow cannot abide a strong Iran. And you try to keep hidden from view, for the most part, the obvious fact that powerful Jewish interests want to “protect” Israel, no matter how many trillions of dollars this costs the American taxpayers.

    The US clebrated a “strong” Iran, back in the 1970s. Obviously, a “strong” Iran in itself is no problem.

  454. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 2, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    I am not suggesting that Ambassador Pickeing’s essay devoid of common sense.

    I am suggesting that United States is not capable of undertaking sensible diplomacy in the Middle East, specially when it concerns Iran.

  455. James Canning says:

    I recommend Paul Pillar’s review of Richard Betts’ new book, “American Force: Dangers, Delusions, and Dilemmas in National Security”, in the January 2012 American Conservative magazine (“Fighting the Last (Cold) War”). Betts helps to explain the anomaly where the US “is spending and acting as if it were still wrestling with a USSR-like adversary.” Twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union! Diocy almost beyond belief. And we can thank the ISRAEL LOBBY for this utter lunacy.

  456. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: January 1, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    The 5000-strong US Marine Expeditionary Force that you have mentioned would only be the start of the US land war in Iran.

    And I think 5000 is the maximum number US can support in that part of the world without bringing in reinforcements from elsewhere.

  457. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Pickering calls for “a patient search for different ways to deal with Iran.” Especially diplomacy. Clearly this makes good sense. We can be sure of that simply by the fact the ISRAEL LOBBY has done its best for decades to prevent normal relations between the US and Iran.

  458. fyi says:

    Ambassador (Ret.) Pickering Opinion:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/military-action-isnt-the-only-solution-to-iran/2011/12/29/gIQA69sNRP_print.html

    Note that even he does not address the real issue – Iranin Power.

    The Siege of Iran will continue until Iran breaks out of it.

  459. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says: January 2, 2012 at 8:22 am

    #3, “Hope”, is not a strategy.

    But Dr. Friedman is correct, US has no useful Iran policy.

  460. kooshy says:

    Here is a link to an upcoming lecture in UCLA titled: Poetics and Politics of Iran’s National Epic, The Shahnameh by Dr. Mahmoud Omidsalar

    http://www.international.ucla.edu/cnes/events/showevent.asp?eventid=9164

  461. Rd. says:

    Empty says:

    Q 1. Since Oct. 1st, 2009, which specific “dimensions” of the “race for Iran” have been explored? How?
    Q 2. Which potential “dimensions” are yet to be covered? List.

    On Q2, What plans US has up in his sleeves for the upcoming election period in Iran (2012-13) Majlis and presidential elections?

    -Libya, Syria Terror campaign?

    -Creating tensions over the Greater Tunb islands over false contentions of UAE claims?

    -Releasing former Taliban commander-in-chief Mohammed Fazl from Guantanamo prison (he may have been responsible for the murder of the Iranian diplomats in 98)?

    -Promotion of Sectarian divide in Iraq?

  462. Empty says:

    Photi,

    It was part of post I did on May 7, 2011. One of the sources was the “Human Terrain Team” handbook. You could access the PDF here: [2] ;http://www.vho.org/aaargh/fran/livres9/humterrainhandbo.pdf

  463. Photi says:

    I remember reading an article sometime last spring detailing how the US government might go about building a covert program and a network of spies and potential saboteurs for use in creating pretexts of invasion and/or interference within any given society. I read the article in the context of Syria’s unrest, but the article may have only been tangentially related to Syria.

    Anyway, i would like to re-read this article, but i am not having any luck finding it. The gist of the article was that if one wants to build such an operation, groups and individuals who espouse ideological violence within the targeted society must first be identified and from there resources should be given to strengthen their positions. The ‘resources’ include money and weapons, but also propaganda resources to advance the ideological aims of the groups or individuals. The ‘bigger picture’ of this sort of covert program is to have these groups waiting in the shadows for use in inciting unrest at some future date by the covert agency (presumably the CIA or Mossad).

    Does anyone recall the article i am referring to? Any help would be appreciated.

  464. BiBiJon says:

    Thanks Fio, I, too, meant Chas Freeman.

  465. BiBiJon says:

    “drive-by assertion” is an epidemic
    =================================

    Chas Friedman’s insightful speech (thanks for the link fyi, http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/10/31/the-mess-in-the-middle-east/ ) contained the following passage:

    “It’s unlikely that any Arab country will follow Iran into uncompromisingly theocratic forms of governance that derive their legitimacy from broad confrontation with the West and its values.”

    and …

    “Iran’s hegemonic ambitions are a serious problem for its neighbors.”

    —————–

    I have lost count how many times Iranian officialdom have stated they seek amicable relations with ‘EVERY’ country (except Israel). Apparently insisting on mutual respect is somehow the same thing as a “broad confrontation with the West and its values.”

    And, this self-projection on others that leads Amb. Friedman to come up with meaningless phrases like “hegemonic ambition” makes me wonder if there is any meaning left in such phrases. I’d like to ask with what force projection capacity, or what freedom of military/economic/diplomatic action does Iran enjoy or is likely to enjoy in the region to warrant drive-by assertions like ‘hegemonic ambition.”

    I’m cheesed off only in this sense: If Chas Friedman concurs with gRuel Gerecht on ‘hegemonic ambitions’ and ‘broad hostility to western values’, then what hope is there for American discourse on the subject of Iran to benefit from any form of a dialectic rigor? US is debate-free zone when it comes to Iran; consensus rules.

  466. Fiorangela says:

    Nasser at 2:49 am posted link to video interview of Georg Friedman of STRATFOR.

    Friedman said US has no policy toward Iran; its three options are:
    1. war with Iran — very dangerous
    2. negotiate with Iran — very difficult politically
    3. hope for the best, hope for some evolution of policy/government in Iran

    I’m supporting Rick Santorum’s candidacy because I think that offers the best chance of forcing option #2. Santorum’s positions are extreme, so hateful that even somnolent Americans will be forced to confront them. His ‘surge’ in Iowa is due to the rapid decline of the other evangelical candidates, Perry and Bachman. Santorum is the ugly girl that got invited to the prom by the ugly guy, after ugly guy found out that not only were his first two choices ugly, they had bad breath (too much cheese).

    In 2006, when Bob Casey challenged Santorum for the latter’s senate seat, Santorum emphasized positions on “Islamofascism” and gay rights. He was defeated by 59% of voters.

  467. Fiorangela says:

    fyi, it’s Ambassador Chas FREEMAN, not FRIEDMAN.

    Foxman notwithstanding, there’s no indication that he is Jewish.

  468. kooshy says:

    fyi

    Thank you, I am not sure if it was first published on Tabnak, nor does Tabnak indicate where was originally published

  469. Rehmat says:

    fyi – “Ambassador Friedman is a self-hating Jew. He is brainwashed by Jew-hating Saudi Wahabis,” Abraham Foxman, national director Israel-First anri-Defamation League.

  470. fyi says:

    kooshy says: January 1, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    http://www.tabnak.ir/fa/news/215238

  471. kooshy says:

    Has anyone seen the original of this rebuttal by Dr. Barzegar to Kroenig’s article if so I appreciate if you can post a link

    حمله به ایران، بدترین سناریوی ممکن است آقای کروینگ!
    انتشار مقاله‌ای با نام «زمان حمله به ایران فرا رسیده است» که قرار است، نسخه کامل آن در شماره آتی مجله «فارین افرز» چاپ شود، فضای روشنفکری و سیاستگذاری آمریکا را در آخرین روزهای سال 2011 تحت تأثیر قرار داده است. در این نوشتار، نویسنده خطر برنامه هسته‌ای ایران را فوری در نظر گرفته و دولت آمریکا را تشویق به حمله «محدود» نظامی به تأسیسات هسته‌ای ایران می‌کند؛ مقاله‌ای که با پاسخ استاد ایرانی روابط بین‌الملل روبه‌رو شده است
    کد خبر: ۲۱۵۲۳۸تاریخ انتشار: ۱۰ دي ۱۳۹۰ – ۱۴:۲۸
    سرویس سیاست خارجی ـ انتشار مقاله‌ای با نام «زمان حمله به ایران فرا رسیده است» که قرار است، نسخه کامل آن در شماره آتی مجله «فارین افرز» چاپ شود، فضای روشنفکری و سیاستگذاری آمریکا را در آخرین روزهای سال 2011 تحت تأثیر قرار داده است.

    در این مقاله، نویسنده خطر برنامه هسته‌ای ایران را فوری در نظر گرفته و دولت آمریکا را تشویق به حمله «محدود» نظامی به تأسیسات هسته‌ای ایران می‌کند.
    «ماتیو کروینگ»، نویسنده این نوشتار و استاد جوان دانشگاه جرج تاون آمریکاست که سابقه کار در دفتر دونالد رامسفلد، وزیر دفاع سابق آمریکا را در دوران گذراندن Ph.D. خود در سال‌های 2006 ـ 2005 دارد.

    انتشار این مقاله در زمان کنونی و در مجله پر نفوذ و تأثیرگذار «فارین افرز» که مربوط به «شورای روابط خارجی» آمریکاست، می‌تواند مورد استقبال هر دو جریان اصلی آمریکایی، دمکرات‌ها و جمهوری خواهان قرار گیرد، به ویژه که انتخابات ریاست جمهوری نزدیک است و گویا، مسأله برنامه هسته‌ای ایران به عنوان محور سیاست خارجی آمریکا مورد توجه کاندیداها قرار گیرد.

    نظر به اهمیت این مسأله، دکتر کیهان برزگر، رئیس پژوهشکده مطالعات استراتژیک خاورمیانه و رئیس گروه روابط بین‌الملل و علوم سیاسی دانشکده حقوق و علوم سیاسی واحد علوم تحقیقات، مقاله مورد نظر را نقد کرده و پاسخ ادعاهای وی را داده که به شرح زیر می‌آید

  472. Reza: “The entire geography and topology of the Persian Gulf is just so perfect for a defender. As I say, this is the worst place the U.S Navy would like to operate in (they lost 2 warships accidentally during the Tanker War in the 80s), and this is a major reason why there will be no attack.”

    Wrong. The Navy can operate effectively against Iran from the Sea of Aden, the Persian Gulf in general, even the Indian Ocean. There’s no need to put an aircraft carrier in the Straits, and the Navy will never do that in war. They might put in their smaller craft, but only after even smaller craft and their air assets are providing cover.

    This is not to say that Iran can’t inflict damage on the U.S. Navy. But it won’t be capable of defeating the U.S. naval forces in the region in the same manner that General Van Ripper did in the war games (if for no other reason than the Navy is aware of that threat).

    If it is necessary for the U.S. to secure the Straits, it will do so by landing a major force of Marines with full air and sea cover on the Iranian coast. It will take quite some doing for Iran to dislodge 5,000 U.S. Marines with full air cover. You can’t move large numbers of forces against them because of the air cover. Meanwhile, they can overwhelm the lesser forces you have scattered along the coast. It would take weeks, maybe even months, but the end result would be the Straits are reasonably secure enough that tanker traffic could proceed, albeit with the occasional damage or loss of a tanker or so. Insurance rates would go up, oil prices would go up, but the oil would flow.

    This scenario is likely not to happen in the first weeks of an Iran war, but if Iran can sufficiently control the Straits to prevent most oil from passing through for some weeks or months, then clearly the U.S. will resort to that strategy. It will have no choice.

  473. Canning: “Surely you are kidding when you say the American “elite” want a war with China.”

    No.

    And “work ethic” has nothing to do with it, although certainly the U.S. elites don’t want to cede all wealth and power to Chinese elites – even if the Chinese elites do.

    The U.S. elites want to control the world to their benefit – just like most other countries’ elites want to – but only the U.S. has the military and economic might to try – at this point in history, anyway. So of course the goal of the U.S. elites is to make sure that stays the case, at least as long as they are alive.

    If that takes a war with China, assuming they can find a way to avoid the Chinese nuking U.S. financial centers, then that’s what will happen.

  474. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    The earlier proposal of Mr. Pickering in 2008 (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/03/opinion/03iht-edluers.3.10653346.html?pagewanted=all) was ignored by the United States.

    The November 2011 IAEA report on Iran was precisely formulated to destroy the Russian Step-by-Step Proposal.

    Iranian leaders expect a long period of confrontation with the United States and EU and they have acted accordingly.

    I note here that Mr. Khamenei change the Iranian position on War in Palestine; he stated that foreigners in Palestine must go back to their countries of origin (many Romanian Jews, for example) and free elections ought to be held with the participation of native people.

    This is because Iranian flexibility on Palestine, under both Mr. Khatami and Mr. Ahmadinejad, did not get anything for Iran from US.

    Likewise, help in Afghanistan in 2002 was useless; US pocketed the change, so to speak.

    There is no resolution possible; this is a long confrontation for decades; just like Cuba and North Korea.

    In the meantime, Iranians are going their way, with Russia, Pakistan, China, and Afghanistan leaving US-EU strategy were it belongs.

  475. fyi says:

    Nasser says: January 1, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Since the end of Iran-Iraq War, Iranian planners have carefully selected certain technologies and weapons systems that made sense to them without spending much money.

    They are actually doing well, considering the sums that they have spent.

    The Kilo Class submarines were just a start; good for laying mines and getting your feet wet.

    The midget submarines are effective for many operations.

  476. Nasser says:

    James Canning,

    Iran should take its defense seriously! No matter how much it costs. And of course it would be desirable to avoid conflict altogether.

    Also Iran’s cheapstake ways goes beyond the area of defense. This attitude that no doubt is an extension of their nonsensical socialist economic policies has also prevented them from undertaking or finishing major economic, infrastructural and energy projects.

  477. Lysander says:

    Also I came across this via angry Arab, along with the suggestion that this might be retaliation for the Iranian physicists.

    http://www.jpost.com/Headlines/Article.aspx?id=251312

    “Murder victim identified as chemistry expert Dr. Eli Laluz.”

    Any thoughts?

  478. Lysander says:

    I’m as far from a military expert as one could get, but it seems to me Iran could close the straights indefinitely. All they need to do is fire simple, inaccurate Hezbollah style rockets from the hills overlooking the straights right into the shipping lanes. They could do this forever and a day, assuming they’ve prepped for it.

    This will do zero damage to any US warship, but it will definitely frighten off a lot of tanker traffic and drive insurance premiums sky high.

    Strategically Iran would win without inflicting a single military casualty upon the US.

    Obviously, this should be done only in the event of an all out attack. In the unlikely event of a single Israeli attack, Iran’s best response would be to fire a few token missiles back at Israel and seize the opportunity to withdraw from the NPT.

  479. James Canning says:

    At alternet.org site, Gareth Porter has some trenchant comments about the absurd litigation in New York: “Are Crackpot Liars Being Used to Tie Iran to 9/11?”.

    Answer, of course, is affirmative.

  480. James Canning says:

    Nasser,

    I think Iran does well not to spend large sums of money on submarines that would be highly vulnerable. Shore-based missiles make sense.

    Best plan, of course, is not to get attacked.

  481. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Tehran Times says a rod was tested in the TRR, and now the plates will be built using the rods.

  482. Nasser says:

    Reza Esfandiari,

    – You make some great points as to the vulnerability of US carrier battle groups and really any such configured navies especially when operating in narrow and shallow littoral waters. In fact systems like this would make the carrier damn near useless. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXLKZDVcBt8&feature=plcp&context=C3e0ba83UDOEgsToPDskJCc0UtY01XVc0IVoa2SSjh
    Gary Brecher, the War Nerd has long written about this. But Reza, Iran has nothing of this sort!

    – My issue with you characterizing the US navy being vulnerable to Iran is this. That while I agree with you that surface vessels are inherently vulnerable and large vessels such as carriers are doubly so; surface vessels don’t really engage in direct confrontations with each other in modern times like say pirate war ships did in the past :) As the WWII Pacific theater showed, whoever achieves air superiority wins and Iran doesn’t really have an air force. US carriers will be quite safe from any Iranian surface vessel as they would be continually supported by their air wings.
    You cite examples of downed US vessels during the Iran-Iraq War, but to my knowledge they were shot down by Iraqi planes using the French Exocett missiles. Iranian vessels downed during the Tanker Wars as well as Iraqi ships downed during the two Gulf Wars were also all done from the air.

    – Given these conditions, the logical counter to the US style carrier battle group is what the Chinese have done. First, realize that any surface ship without air protection is basically a floating coffin and the Americans would be the ones to always win air superiority. So, rely on a large subsurface fleet and shore based guided ballistic missiles to counter such threats.

    – Unfortunately Iranian leaders have slacked on their naval defense and like everything else they do; they tried to do it on the cheap. They should have bought more advanced submarines as these are the only things Iran can field that can realistically threaten US vessels. But Iran has only purchased three Kilo class submarines and the operational capabilities of their home made midget subs are doubtful.

  483. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    Thomas Pickering has a number of sound ideas. He was in charge of foreign relations for Boeing for five or six years, after leaving US diplomatic service. Boeing did not and does not like the sanctions against Iran.

  484. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    If warmongering idiots hoping to “protect” Israel by arranging for an illegal US attack on Iran, actually succeed, I agree with you Israel will be the loser over the long run.

  485. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think a number of American nuclear scientists would have expected Iran to be able to enrich to 20% and produce the necessary fuel plates, even if considerable difficulty might be encountered.

    As I have said before, I think some of the neocon warmongers (and other foolish supporters of Israel right or wrong), wanted to provoke Iran into enriching to 20%.

  486. James Canning says:

    “Russia Step-By-Step Proposal on Iran Nuclear Program Offers Hope of Avoiding War”

    http://www.larouche.com/node/20861

    Touches on Dec. 13th Asia Society discussion with Thomas Pickering and Hossein Mousavian, who currently is a visiting scholar at Princeton U in New Yersey.

  487. kooshy says:

    A new article in WP that advocates diplomacy to resolve the US-Iran issues more interestingly is a comment made for this article that I like to post here in this comment author correctly comperes the US’ legislative system with that of USSR and Iraq

    Military action isn’t the only solution to Iran
    By William H. Luers and Thomas R. Pickering, Published: December 30

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/military-action-isnt-the-only-solution-to-iran/2011/12/29/gIQA69sNRP_allComments.html?ctab=all_&#comments

    Comment by:

    mbintampa wrote:
    11:51 AM PST

    “If the US government wasn’t so deeply controlled by AIPAC (For all doubters: just name any legislation passing the US congress, even naming of a post office, by a unanimous counted vote. You can’t, particularly anything in recent years. The AIPAC written legislation, sanctioning Iran’s central bank and anyone doing any transaction with them, passed the Senate unanimously and the House unanimously minus 8 votes. This legislation is not a benign legislation, some have called it an act of war, but minimally it is extremely provocative. Who else can get unanimity in such legislation. Even the votes in Soviet politburo used to pass legislation by 97% to 3%. The Saddam era Iraqi parliament used to pass laws by no more than 99%. But US senate passes this 100 to nothing. It is called being scared of being destroyed politically if you don’t go along with the extortion.), they would hire someone like Pickering, who is genuinely an expert in diplomacy and have deep knowledge of the issues, to open back channels negotiations with Iran to bring the Israeli created tension down at least a peg.

    The direction Obama administration has taken with Iran, i.e. doubling down on Bush’s strategy, will blindly lead to a military confrontation. Any military intervention, without any doubt, will cause Iran to destroy oil export facilities of Saudi Arabia, UAE and possibly Kuwait within hours. Their capability to do that much is not disputed. In response Iran’s oil export capacity will probably gets destroyed as well. We are talking about at least 10 million barrels of oil being cut off from the market for at least a year if not longer. Map that against the wold economy, the world will be in deep economic depression. We may end up seeing non-democratic populist governments emerge in countries like Greece, Italy, and Spain. Do we want to risk all of this, so that Israelis won’t be pressured to accept a peace deal with Palestinians?”

  488. fyi says:

    kooshy says: January 1, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    The reports on the nuclear fuel are confusing.

    The TRR requires nuclear fuel in the form of plates.

    Nuclear fuel rods containing natural uranium fuel pellets were already manufactured 2 or 3 years ago (for the Arak Heavy Water Reactor).

    The Axis Powers, it seems to me, did not expect Iran to be able to manufacture the TRR fuel plates (requiring 20% enrichment).

  489. kooshy says:

    Here is another one of same sort of propaganda

    “Iran tests new nuclear missile”

    “Updated at 8:15 am today

    Iran has defiantly announced it has tested a new missile and made an advance in its nuclear programme.

    The developments have raised the stakes in the mounting confrontation with the United States, which has just announced fresh sanctions targetting Iran’s central bank and financial sector, AFP reports.

    There are fears if Iran is backed into a corner it could make good on threats to close the world’s most important oil route – the Strait of Hormuz.

    The Iranian navy announced on Sunday that, for the first time, an anti-radar medium-range missile had been successfully fired.

    The Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation followed that up with its own announcement that its scientists had tested the first nuclear fuel rod produced from uranium ore deposits inside the country.

    Copyright © 2012, Radio New Zealand”

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/world/95099/iran-tests-new-nuclear-missile

  490. kooshy says:

    This clearly is the best propaganda one can expect from a western news source in this case the source is the British propaganda news agency Reuters, notice the headline, how totally different and misleading the headline is compared to the real news in the body of the article, I for myself didn’t know that one can use nuclear reactor fuel roads as missile and shoot them up if true then Iran is now a declared nuclear state, it think our own Department of Information propagandist have decided to throw in the kitchen sink hoping it will hit the completely tired of BS western audience during this presidential selection period for a new American regime.

    “Iran tests nuclear missile”

    Published: 7:49AM Monday January 02, 2012 Source: Reuters

    “Iran announced a nuclear fuel breakthrough and test-fired a new radar-evading medium-range missile in the Gulf on Sunday, moves that could further antagonise the West at a time when Tehran is trying to avert harsh new sanctions on its oil industry.”

    http://tvnz.co.nz/world-news/iran-tests-nuclear-missile-4672079

  491. fyi says:

    Karl says: January 1, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Yes, war comes, and then what?

    You think the Iranians are going to be defeated?

    Or do you think the Islamic system will collapse?

    Or do you think after the (US-Iran) war there will be a Palestinian state?

    Or do you think US-EU Siege of Iran will end after that war?

    I can tell you with metaphysical certainity that after US-Iran War or Israel-Iran War, teh destruction of Israel will become a millenial project for the Shia Islam.

  492. Karl says:

    fyi:

    Israel have atleast publicly, being against a Palestinian state since the 1960s. While the idea was raised back in last century.

    I think you are seriously misstaken if the status quo on Iran will go on for decades. War is near, and it doesnt have to be a republican, it could be the democrat in power today.

  493. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I am not against negogiations.

    I am suggesting to you that US is not yet ripe for productive negogiations with Iran.

    US (polity and its leaders) still pine for war and confrontation.

    Let us take your position that attributes the Siege of Iran, fundamentally, to the “Rich Jews” in US and elsewhere that wish to help Israel retain control of the Occupied Territories.

    That poistion (yours, I am afraid) implies that unless there is a resolution of the religious war in Palestine, there can be no progress between US(-EU) and Iran.

    Now, we know that as of now, the 2-state solution is dead; Israelis do not want any Palestinian state.

    We also know the following:

    Helmut Sonnenfeldt stated in 1972: “No matter how much in pain, the Israelis will probably use an atomic bomb before they concede the 1967 borders.”

    Therefore, I must conclude, based on your position alone, that the Siege of Iran will continue and will become a fixed feature of the international system in the coming years and decades.

  494. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Negotiations are very important. How else will one ascertain whether five of the six members (P5+1) will in fact accept Iranian enrichment to 3.5%? The US does not like to have it revealed that Israel Lobby controls the US Congress.

  495. James Canning says:

    Mahmoud Abbas has been forced to drop his condition that Israel stop growing the illegal colonies, before Israel and the Palestinians attempt further negotiations.

  496. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Reza, Pirouz,

    Here is a reminder on the war games played with Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper as a team leader, where on the third day of the games, the sunken ships were re-floated and the games restarted. Most believe the games were designed with Persian Gulf as the backdrop.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Challenge_2002 (I recommend some of the external links at the bottom)
    Due to his concerns about the scripted nature of the new exercise, Van Riper resigned his position in the midst of the war game.

  497. Castellio says:

    Reza, your comment made me laugh out loud. However, I imagine I’ll rue that moment before the year is out.

    A chipper Juan Cole has announced the end of US war on Islam over on his site. Arnold Evans rightly brings up Palestine as the key issue, and then adds interesting comments regarding Egypt.

    Personally, I think the genii is out of the bottle and the “war on Islam” is just getting going, having been pressed into the fabric of American popular concerns and now linked to “fundamental values”.

    (What do Hussein, Gaddafi, Bin Laden all have in common, other than being killed by the righteous? What do Hizbulah, the Taliban, Iran, Syria and Palestine all have in common, other than being terrorists?)

    Not so easy to walk the unleashed beast of racism and religious stereotyping backwards.

    http://www.juancole.com/2011/12/2011-end-of-us-hyperpower-its-war-with-islamdom.html#comments

  498. fyi says:

    James Canning says: January 1, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Another exercise in diplomatic fatuity.

    Nothing remotely positive will come out of this.

    The Siege of Iran and the War in Palestine will continue for the next few decades.

  499. James Canning says:

    Stephen Zunes at truth-out.org site today has great piece (“Iraq: Remembering Those Responsible [for setting up illegal invasion of Iraq”).

  500. James Canning says:

    David Batty, in the Guardian yesterday: “Iran proposes to reopen nuclear talks”. Contents of Jalili’s letter to Lady Ashton will be important.

  501. James Canning says:

    Reza,

    Yes, Santorum is complete idiot, but he is indeed in America. Idiots can do quite well sometimes.

    Happy New Year.

  502. Reza Esfandiari says:

    James,

    Rick Santorum is a complete idiot. His only constituency are Christian fundamentalists who think the earth is 6000 years old. But, as this is America, up to 40% of the population could potentially support him.

    Reza

  503. James Canning says:

    Reza,

    We should bear in mind that any US attack on Iran would be illegal because the 2011 NIE on Iran remains in place. Neocon warmongers and other supporters of Israel right or wrong have tried to discredit the 2007 NIE on Iran, but have failed to make much headway from what I can axcertain.

    Crucial step in setting up illegal invasion of Iraq was to manipulate the 2002 NIE on Iraq, corruptly.

  504. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Yes, Russia and China both want at least minimal stability in Afghanistan, and the Russians are quite right to seek a termination of American military bases in Central Asia.

  505. James Canning says:

    “I will bomb Iran nuclear sites: Santorum”

    http:www.presstv.com/detail/218865.html

    In 1994, Senator Bob Kerrey pegged Santorum correctly, saying: “Santorum is Latin for a**hole.”

  506. Castellio says:

    The following is from Pepe Escobar’s article called Playing Chess in Eurasia:
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/ML22Ag02.html

    “Moscow also sees how Washington has antagonized virtually everyone in Pakistan – with the non-stop “war of the drones”, the non-stop violations of territorial sovereignty, the non-stop threats to barge in and “take over your nuclear arsenal”. Washington’s priority is for Islamabad to attack the Pakistani Taliban in Balochistan and thus be dragged into a civil war against not only Pashtuns but also Balochis. As Moscow – and Beijing – survey the battlefield, all they have to do is bide their time while sipping green tea.

    Everything is up for grabs at the crucial intersection of hardcore geopolitics and Pipelineistan. Washington’s New Silk Road dream is not exactly a success.

    Moscow, for its part, now wants Pakistan to be a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). That also applies to China in relation to Iran. Imagine Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran coordinating their mutual security inside a strengthened SCO, whose motto is “non-alignment, non-confrontation and non-interference in the affairs of other countries”. R2P it ain’t.

    Snags abound. For China the SCO is above all about economics and trade. For Russia it’s above all a security bloc, which must absolutely find a regional solution to Afghanistan that keeps the Taliban under control and at the same time gets rid of the Afghan chapter of the US Empire of Bases.”

    Also, thanks to Empty for posting the url of the testimonial of Neumann on Youtube.

  507. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Pirouz,

    Whoever created the oil-rich Middle East had the final laugh with the Strait of Hormouz. It is simply the perfect chokepoint for the flow of oil. The entire geography and topology of the Persian Gulf is just so perfect for a defender. As I say, this is the worst place the U.S Navy would like to operate in (they lost 2 warships accidentally during the Tanker War in the 80s), and this is a major reason why there will be no attack. The U.S naval institute knows that its big aircraft carriers are just slow-moving targets:

    http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2010-01/fortress-sea-carrier-invulnerability-myth

    I find many ordinary Americans get upset about thinking of their armed forces as anything but completely invincible, but the actual military commanders know different.

  508. James Canning says:

    Sakineh,

    I too look for ways and means of resolving Middle East problems. I have argued that leadership needs to be taken more and more by European countries because the US is almost totally compomised due to effective control of US Congress by Aipac and other powerful Jewish organisations.

    Europe is richer than the US. The disparity in wealth will tend to increase, if the US continues its insanely large spending on “defence”. Israel lobby promotes idiotic levels of “defence” spending as way to “protect” Israel.

    I think Iran has all too often allowed attention to be taken away from continuing Israeli oppression of the Palestinians.

  509. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Surely you are kidding when you say the American “elite” want a war with China.

    The head of one of the huge Chinese financial organisations said the other day that the work ethic in Europe has been eroded by unions and the welfare state. Do you think this reflects a “threat” the American “elite” need to eliminate?

  510. Kathleen says:

    Who is “empty”

  511. fyi says:

    Sakineh Bagoom says: January 1, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    The Americans are not yet ripe for a resolution.

    You have to let them puruse their essentially religious confrontation against Islam on behalf of the Jewsih fantasy project in Palestine to its bitter end.

  512. Pirouz says:

    Reza Esfandiari says:
    December 31, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    There have been times when I’ve interacted with folks here in SF that have expressed a strong desire in support of a U.S. military attack on the Islamic Republic of Iran. Then I tell them the Straight of Hormuz shipping lanes are roughly the same distance from Iran as the width of the San francisco Bay. Without fail, they’re genuinely astonished and usually storm off in a frustrated state of huff.

    Yes, such an attack would carry big time risks and would not be without daily consequence for ordinary folks like ourselves at the gas pump and grocery supermarket

  513. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Empty says: January 1, 2012 at 8:06 am
    Great post Empty! Looking forward to second installment.

    My concern in this soliloquy called RFI is, do we offer any solution to the outstanding problems between Iran and the West. Our knowledge is at best handicapped by what is publicly available. That is to say, we are not privy to the machinations between entities that are done in private. For example, none of us knows what was the content of the letters that Obama sent to SL. Did they come to an understanding? There are many more examples like this. What we do here is at best an analysis of day’s events. Of course, once in while you see statements like “if I were Iran I would,” but for the most part we concentrate on an individual event and don’t put in the context of what it means in the grand scheme of things.
    So, it is good to see someone is doing analysis of (at least of their own) posts to see the bigger picture. As always, I, for one, will read with great interest.

    Happy New Year everybody!

  514. Fiorangela says:

    indeed, Paul, We the People of the planet — or at least of the Western, so-called Judeo-Christian tradition, are pretty much on our own; our leaders are murderers and plunderers. That hyphen had done a great deal of damage; a ‘god’ divided against itself cannot stand; and, no man can serve two masters.

    The head of an evangelical organization in Iowa was asked today if, in his group’s support for religious liberty, it supported the rights of Christians, Jews, and Muslims. He said, of course, we support the rights of Christians, and we support and defend Israel.
    Period.

    One of Abraham’s children was left out in the Iowa cold. Again.

  515. paul says:

    Much of this article is good. At long last the Leveretts seem to get it that the US (mis)leadership is looking for global dominance, which basically means military dominance, that this is the fundamental ‘national interest’ at stake in the Middle East. US behavior in the Middle East, and globally, has motivations that go far beyond what are conventionally talked about as ‘national interests’, which is why it often doesn’t make sense even from the standpoint of ‘national interests’ (which are themselves not legitimate, but that’s another discussion).

    What I find very disturbing about this article is the apparent assumption that legalisms can legitimate war, as long as those legalisms come from supposedly legitimate international bodies, such as the UN Security Council. What we’ve seen again and again is that the UN Security Council is used to legitimate war, and not to prevent it. We see decisions made at the Security Council based on geopolitical posturing, with small countries traded off back and forth by ‘Great Powers’. The Libyan War was an example of this that happened basically just yesterday. You could hardly have a more egregious example of a war of aggression, a war for resources, for economic domination and for military domination, and yet the Security Council was specifically used to ENABLE this war. Since then the US and Nato have attempted to run the same game plan at the UN against Syria. So far Russia has blocked this move, but it’s just a matter of time before back door deals are made and the next war moves forward. But even if there is no war on Syria, there is international pressure on Syria that equates to war, to forcing regime change on a country, vitiating its sovereignty, all based on the US not being satisfied with the docility of the regime in Syria. How surreal is it that the Arab League, itself made up of some of the most vicious and oppressive regimes on the planet, has now been effectively appointed judge and jury over Syria, via ‘observers’, with the US, Turkey and Nato waiting on the wings to act as executioners, all the whilst recruiting, training, supporting and arming rebellion in Syria. In a world such as this, HOW CAN YOU FOR ONE SECOND, FOR ONE MOMENT, EVEN IMPLY THAT THE UN HAS ANY LEGITIMACY AT ALL? It has none. None.

    And this is our global problem, isn’t it? Both within nearly all countries, including and especially the US, and globally, there is no legitimate governance. Law is used to empower and legitimate injustice. THAT is the real danger of the global situation. The danger of these times isn’t really coming from nuclear weapons and threats of war. It’s coming from the global political situation where lawlessness and the rule of brutality has become the norm everywhere, driven – it appears – ultimately by a nexus of international corporations and financial empires.

    And that, paradoxically, brings it all down to the level of human decency. What on earth is wrong with the global population? Why do we continue to play a docile and even worshipful role in fulfilling the aspirations to even more power of lawless and monstrously powerful international economic formations and entities? Where on earth is our basic humanity? Where are the human beings of good will? Where is the global formation based on human solidarity and justice? Only there is hope to be found. There are no institutions of governance left that have any legitimacy.

  516. nahid says:

    HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL

    Iran produces first nuclear fuel rod

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/218778.html

  517. Empty says:

    “have” achieved….”have” set out….etc. forgive the typos and may the new year is a year of ethics and reason.

  518. Empty says:

    Evaluation of Race for Iran: Part I

    When I begin tasks for which I spent a considerable amount of time (or even if I spend very little time), it is customary for me to perform evaluations at intervals to determine the degree to which I had achieved the goal(s) I had set out for those tasks. Posting comments on Race for Iran was not an exception. In October 2011, I began the one-year evaluation of my posts. I began posting with one goal in mind: to challenge obvious and not-so-obvious assumptions about subjects (e.g., Islam, Iran, environment, health, etc.) within the framework of my belief system. That means, I wanted to expose and challenge other hidden assumptions while being quite transparent and candid about my own.

    In cases such as this, an outcome evaluation (i.e. an accurate measurement of the actual impact(s) of the posts toward achieving a given goal) is neither easy nor feasible. More specifically, it is not easy to determine, for example, who reads the specific posts, how s/he understands the content, how s/he in turn uses that specific interpretation perhaps in another setting, and how all the variable may have consequently help achieve (or hinder) the initial goal that was set out. For all practical purposes therefore, one is left with a process evaluation (i.e. specific information about what, when, how often, how, etc.).

    Quantitatively, I have posted 127 conceptually and analytically different comments. This number does not include short responses to comments or comments that were posted as an informational post without actual analytic evaluation accompanying them. Because my comments occurred within the context of this site, Race for Iran, an appropriate evaluation of the posts needed to also include an evaluation of the site itself, or the container of the posts, if you will. Therefore, I began a simultaneous evaluation of the site which I thought might be of some interest to some of you.

    “The Race for Iran” was launched on October 1, 2009, by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett. In their opening statement, they define their goal: “We are launching this blog to track and understand the “race for Iran”, in all of its myriad dimensions. In practical terms, The Race for Iran seeks to serve three main purposes:

    First, The Race for Iran will present cutting-edge analyses of Iran and its geopolitics. Substantively, we will cover Iranian foreign policy in all of its dimensions, as well as the policies of the United States and other major regional and global players toward Iran. Many of the analyses presented here will come from us, but we will also provide a platform for other commentators, writing from their own intellectual and national or regional perspectives.

    Second, The Race for Iran will serve as a “clearing house” for essential material on Iran and its geopolitics. With the support of Ben Katcher, an outstanding political analyst with the New America Foundation’s American Strategy Program, we will assemble and frequently update documents and publications in multiple categories—UN Security Council resolutions pertaining to Iran, International Atomic Energy Agency reports on Iran’s nuclear activities, Iranian proposals for dealing with the nuclear issues and other regional and international controversies, U.S. and Western proposals for dealing with such issues, material on Iran’s economy (including its enormous hydrocarbon reserves), and resources on U.S. policy—for easy reference.

    Third, The Race for Iran will provide a forum for an ongoing conversation about Iran and its geopolitics, for interested persons all over the world.”

    In order to more specifically understand the goals, I had to breakdown each goal into specific questions as follows:

    Goal 1:
    Q 1. Since Oct. 1st, 2009, which specific “dimensions” of the “race for Iran” have been explored? How?
    Q 2. Which potential “dimensions” are yet to be covered? List.
    Q 3. Which policies of the U.S. toward Iran have been covered? How?
    Q 4. Which policies of the regional and global players toward Iran have been covered? How?
    Q 5. Has the goal for providing a platform for other commentators been met so far? How?

    Goal 2:
    Q 1. What “essential material on Iran and its geopolitics” is included to date? List.
    Q 2. How well the material is organized and how easily can they be retrieved?
    Q 3. What has been the external uses of the “clearing house”? [Statistics about who, when, how, where, etc.]

    Goal 3:
    Q 1. Does the site serve as a forum for Iran-related conversation worldwide? If so, what is its geographic dimension?
    Q 2. In what other languages is the forum translated?
    Q 3. What is the background of the “interested persons” and potential education?”
    Q 5. Who is excluded from commenting? Who is included?
    Q 4. How does the background and linguistic skills of the contributors affect the comments?

    To be continued…..

  519. Karl says:

    Casteillo:

    Yes you have responded, but what you havent done is saying why US would do that.

  520. Fiorangela says:

    it’s 2012.
    this year, there will be one more day to try to bring sanity to US and Israeli policy makers.

    Best to all.

  521. fyi says:

    Reza Esfandiari says: December 31, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    US can attack from the Sea of Oman.

    Iranian naval assets are no match in a direct confrontation with US.

  522. fyi says:

    Rehmat says: December 31, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Indians reneged on their assurances to Canada on the first CANDU reactor; 40 MW research reactor CIRUS built in 1954.

  523. BiBiJon says:

    An assessment of likelihood of war with Iran I tend to agree with.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nn2_MLsFQxM&feature=player_embedded

  524. Reza Esfandiari says:

    The Persian Gulf is really the worst place in the world for the U.S Navy to operate. It is narrow and shallow: essentially a littoral inlet or lake where American warships are easily within range of Iran’s anti-ship missiles, submarines and torpedo boats. These surface warships may have advanced defenses, but they cannot be relied on to provide complete cover. Let us not forget what happened to the USS Stark and USS Samuel B Roberts during the tanker war in the 80s.

    I suspect the Iranians would feel confident about any conflict with the U.S Navy but for the fact that they themselves need to export oil through the Straits of Hormouz. However, the fact that Iran can do damage to U.S forces in the Persian Gulf must be one reason in the calculus of the White House against the use of military action.

  525. Castellio says:

    Karl, I have responded to what you have written point by point. You do not seem capable of reciprocating in like manner. You prefer to cling to a generality that makes sense to you.

    I am quite happy to let you maintain your illusions of Pakistani-American harmony.

  526. Karl: “Why would US attack a such important ally like Pakistan. Makes no sense”

    Makes tons of sense. Pakistan is NOT an “ally” of the U.S. Pakistan has been bribed with military aid it can use against India to support the U.S. “War on Terror”. Pakistan has never been happy about this and it’s caused tons of trouble for the Pakistani government.

    Pakistan has been between a rock and a hard place because its fundamental national interests go against supporting the US in Afghanistan. But it also wants that military aid. And it doesn’t want to aggravate the U.S. over its nuclear arsenal.

    The U.S., on the other hand, wants Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal disarmed. The U.S. wants to support India over Pakistan. The U.S. wants to control Afghanistan for the oil pipeline (and the mineral wealth, not to mention the heroin, a staple product of the CIA for decades), which by definition would allow India move influence in Afghanistan.

    And most importantly, the U.S. wants another war because the U.S. elites will profit by that war.

    I was just listening to Flynt on Antiwar Radio. At one point, Scott asks him why the elites continue to push policies that don’t work. Flynt says plenty of people still believe they can, for instance, establish a M.E.L. coup in Iran.

    The point Flynt didn’t make, but which I’ve made repeatedly here, is that it’s very simple why U.S. elites “don’t learn” from history. It’s because the wars the U.S. starts cost them nothing. NONE of these people suffer the slightest damage to their careers, their finances or their persons. So why should they change? People don’t change unless they get a boot up their ass.

    It’s that simple.

    So, yes, the U.S. elites want a war with Pakistan. They want a war with Iran. They want a war with Syria. They want a war with Hizballah. They want a war with China. They want a war with Russia – if they can figure out how to get past the thousands of nuclear weapons Russia still has. They want a war with Martians if they can find some.

    As long as they continue to profit from war, we’ll have war after war. Again, it’s that simple.

    Why no one appears able to grasp that simple fact is also obvious: cognitive dissonance. No one wants to believe this is the way this country works.

    Well, but it does.

  527. Rehmat says:

    Iran is the ‘top concern’ in US Presidential election

    All GOP presidential hopeful are trying their best to demonize Rep. Ron Paul for his rational foreign policy especially toward the Islamic Iran. Ron Paul has repeatedly said that he fears an overreaction to worries about Iran’s nuclear program could lead to war.

    Ron Paul has said that there is no proof that Iran is in the process of acquiring a nuclear bomb. However, even if Iran do acquire a bomb, they’re not stupid enough to use it against Israel which already have 300 nuclear bombs.

    “What are the odds of them using it? Probably zero. They just are not going to commit suicide. The Israelis have 300 of them,” says Ron Paul.

    According to a latest NBC News poll released on Friday showed Paul tied with Romney in Iowa, showing the assault on Ron’s foreign policy is not benefiting his opponents.

    Christopher Bollyn wrote in recent article entitled The Iowa Caucus and Iran.

    One of the key issues in the GOP Iowa caucus is the position of the candidates regarding the Zionist war policy against Iran. Ron Paul is opposed to waging war against Iran while Romney and most of the others are eager armchair warriors against the Islamic Republic of Iran. With the new U.S. sanctions having brought Iranian threats to close the Straits of Hormuz, the issue is now of the utmost importance as the chances of war are greater than ever.

    Iran has been the subject of a Zionist war strategy for years in the same way that organized Jewry declared war on Germany in the early 1930s, long before the invasion of Poland in 1939. The punitive sanctions against Iran are war by other methods and unless the United States changes its approach to Iran it will find itself in another major war in the Middle East, one with unforeseeable consequences.

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2012/01/01/iran-is-the-top-concern-in-us-presidential-election/

  528. Karl says:

    Casteillo:

    What you are saying are just statements, you are not saying why it would be in the interest to wage a war against Pakistan, that is – I dont see you connecting these statements to a reason (that is ‘why’ US would do such a thing) and I am talking about war, there is no war against the government of Pakistan by the US today.

  529. Kathleen says:

    Why the same standards of justice and accountability applied to Nazi war criminals are not applied to Yoo, Addington and their ilk is a message to all. These war thugs do as they please and continue to poison the information coming out about Iran.

    Withhold the gruesome facts on the ground in Iraq from the American people prep them for eight years with propaganda about Iran. A complicit media allowing the same Iraq warmongers to repeat the unsubstantiated claims about Iran and they have set the stage without even in any way shape or form being held accountable for the death and destruction in Iraq

  530. Castellio says:

    Karl, let’s get this in sequence.

    RHS pointed out, or shared his opinion, that the US would like to target Pakistan and Iran.

    Empty then pointed out that the US has already engaged in acts of war against Pakistan.

    At 9:01 you write that it makes no sense to talk of attacking Pakistan because, and I quote, “Why would US attack a such important ally like Pakistan” (sic). You do not comment on Empty’s valid point that the US has already engaged in acts of war against Pakistan.

    I join in and point out that the US has not and does not treat Pakistan as an important ally. I do not build on Empty’s points, which reflect current military actions, but briefly set the relationship in the larger historical context.

    You reply and wonder what I am trying to prove. You then point out that the US could not find a more compliant pro-American government than the one Pakistan has currently, and repeat that it makes no sense to attack Pakistan.

    For reasons that escape me you are refusing to recognize or acknowledge: the history of American – Pakistani relations; the current military actions of the US counter to the interests of the current Pakistani government and people; and the strategic role of Pakistani nuclear weapons in any consideration of Middle East politics.

    You even say “US would never touch pakistan due not only possible today but would ignite a huge backlash.”

    Two responses to that: the US has much more than “touched” Pakistan already; and it is unconcerned about the backlash.

    I think you confuse a pro-US administration with “an important ally”. We could talk about that at length, but it is a fundamental if understandable error.

    The US wants to be able to defuse Pakistan’s nuclear independence. It is working towards that. It would like to do that with the support of an even more compliant Pakistani government. In South Korea, in Canada, and throughout Nato, many countries do not actually have control over their military, which are supplementary forces to American strategy.

    However, should Pakistan not accept that role – and the US administration clearly believes it is not moving in that direction – then the US would work to install a more compliant government. Both covert and overt means would be used, with the priority being covert, while maintaining an overt military capability.

  531. Rehmat says:

    fyi – I know Talmud allows you to tell lie to Gouam, but Rehmat did not mention India. However, for a Zionist idiot like you – India has EIGHT CANDU reactors. Be my guest and check with Israeli poodle Stephen Harper.

  532. Fiorangela says:

    Steve Clemons on Rebuilding America’s Stock of Power

    “The dominant personality of the Republican and Democratic parties runs under two monikers — but is essentially tied to the notion that the US has a moral responsibility to re-order the internal workings of other nations that constrain the freedoms and rights of their citizens. The liberal (or humanitarian) interventionist school dominates the progressive foreign policy establishment and more significantly populates the power positions of the Democratic Party today than its rivals; and in the Republican Party, various strains of neoconservatism (there is now competition among the heirs of Irving Kristol, Albert Wohlstetter and other founding fathers) dominate. Neoconservatives and liberal interventionists put a premium on morality, . . . on reacting and moving in the world along lines determined by an emotional and sentimental commitment to the basic human rights of other citizens — with little regard to the stock of means and resources the US has to achieve the great moral ends they seek.”

    Clemons is concerned that the US, which has “moral responsibility . . . goals . . .emotions . . .sentimental commitment. . . ends” but no power to achieve them.

    versus

    In “The Way of the World, A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism,” Ron Suskind quotes a “revealing” statement made by former head of British Intelligence Sir Richard Dearlove, while attending a conference at Aspen Institute a short time after the 2002 Downing Street memo was published in the Sunday Times in May 2005. It is most probable that Dearlove composed that 2002 Memo that advised Tony Blair that the Bush administration “wanted to remove Saddam through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”
    Dearlove was troubled that , despite heroic efforts and clear evidence timely presented to the Bush-Cheney administration, the evidence developed by his organization was ignored. However, British policy provided a protective cocoon for Dearlove, his colleagues, and British politicians who acted in sync with Bush rather then the advice of their own intelligence agency.
    At Aspen, Dearlove peeled back a corner of that cocoon and revealed his concern at the cost of keeping official secrets. Dearlove said:

    “In any campaign, a leader, a general adjusts their strategy and tactics to the situation, and I think now what is vitally important for all of us in confronting terror is that we attempt to climb on to the moral high ground. For a variety of reasons we are not on it at the moment, and it’s quite clear, if you analyze the chronology of the cold war, one of the reasons, I think, we ended up in such a successful position, because the West, unequivocally, at the end of the cold war, did occupy the moral high ground, and I think that if we are to be concerned with strategy and solving causes, rather than treating symptoms, a strategy that takes us on the moral high ground is absolutely essential.”

    Reflecting on a conversation he is about to have with Dearlove, Suskind writes:

    “He mentions “moral high ground” three times in those two long sentences, and I’m hoping, in our discussion, that he’ll see the connection between public honesty–between coming clean about a nation’s true intentions–and the “climb” back up to that higher ground.”

    One is forced to assume that Steve Clemons is not aware of the deceits that the Bush-Cheney administration engaged in to lead the United States and its allies to war against Iraq, or the fact that Dearlove — and Suskind, among others — are aware of those lies that were told to the American public.

    Because Clemons has his priorities precisely ass backward. It’s not sources of power that the United States needs to act out its “moral” vision of “re-order[ing] the internal workings of other nations that constrain the freedoms and rights of their citizens.” Rather, as Dearlove pleads, the United States needs to rediscover its moral center. Clemons, and other American policy makers, would do well to look to Iran’s leadership principles for that “moral high ground.”

  533. Karl says:

    Casteillo:

    Re:Pakistan: While you state many points, you never give me a reason why US would attack such a important ally like Pakistan. What you state are arguments, but arguments for what?
    There is no credible opposition that have the support of the pakistani people, US cant install a more pro-US regime than the current, because of that, there is no reason to attack Pakistan. What would the goal be? US would never touch pakistan due not only possible today but would ignite a huge backlash.

  534. k_w says:

    The new year has started 30 minutes ago here, so have a happy new year, health and wealth and always the piece of luck you’re in need of.

  535. fyi says:

    Nasser says: December 31, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Iranian planners, specially after the experience of the WMD attacks during Iran-Iraq War, must take into account not just intentions but capabilities.

    India has nuclear weapons and IRBM to deliver them into Iran.

    While Iran has had correct relationship with her since her independence there has never been any shared strategic understanding and alliance.

    Therefore, and since 2006, she must be classified as a state that has harmed Iran and could do so in the future.

    Ultimately, all these nuclear-armed states around Iran must be precieved as potential enemies and planned accordingly.

  536. Castellio says:

    Nasser writes: “Also, I remember General Musharaf reaching out to Israel during his time in office and making it very clear that their arsenal exists only to counter India.”

    Yes, and why did he feel it necessary to do that? Do you think he succeeded with his ‘reaching out’? And is he still in charge?

    Nasser writes:”Do they even have accurate enough intelligence to know with absolute certainty where all the warheads are located? I think not.”

    They’re working on it.

    In fact, given the level of penetration of American agents in Pakistani military society, and the priority of Pakistan in US foreign policy, I imagine they are much further along than the civilian Pakistanis could ever admit. Don’t forget what Obama did with his foreign policy, the main event wasn’t Iraq, the main event was Afghanistan-Pakistan. Rightly or wrongly, he placed ‘Af-Pak’ as the central concern of US foreign policy. Do you really think it was to deliver Bin Laden?

    And they don’t need ‘absolute certainty’. They are working towards high probability, and I would be surprised if they’re not there or very close.

    India is not reaching for the Middle East, it wants to hold on to Kashmir.

  537. Empty says:

    Testimony/confessions of Amnon Neumann
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KS4OXOom_vk

  538. Castellio says:

    Karl said: “Why would US attack a such important ally like Pakistan.”

    I find that a strange statement for several reasons:

    First, the US supported, and continues to support, the nuclear military development of India.

    Second, it has tried to hinder, and will continue to try to hinder, the nuclear military development of Pakistan.

    Third, Israel and India continue to draw closer. It is Israeli interests which determine US foreign policy.

    Fourth, the US has worked to ally itself to Pakistan only to support its war efforts in the region and to limit Chinese, Iranian or Russian influence. It has no genuine concern for Pakistani interests.

    Fifth, the American people, as well as the American State Department and Defense Departments, are strongly Islamophobic. Pakistan is Islamic.

    Sixth, the US has perpetrated a strategy (of drone attacks, etc.) which divides Pakistani society and undermines current Pakistani leadership, both secular and military.

    Seventh, the continuing American presence in Afghanistan more than a decade after the invasion should make it clear to all that the US intends to dominate the area militarily, and considers Pakistan as it considers Jordan or Egypt. While the State Department might use the term “important ally” for Jordan, Egypt and Pakistan, no one should be fooled by the expression.

  539. Nasser says:

    Castellio,

    Pakistan serves the geopolitical role of keeping India away from the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. Thus the Chinese and the Americans always have a stake in the viability of the Punjabi Empire. The Pakistanis realized this and very cleverly managed to seek out the patronage of these two powerful states.

    Regarding nuclear weapons, now of course the Americans don’t want the Pakistanis to have nuclear weapons but seriously what can they do about it?! Do they even have accurate enough intelligence to know with absolute certainty where all the warheads are located? I think not.

    Also, I remember General Musharaf reaching out to Israel during his time in office and making it very clear that their arsenal exists only to counter India.

  540. Nasser says:

    fyi,

    “It is precisely because of the dangers posed by nuclear-armed Pakistan and India that Iran must equip herself with nuclear weapons. That is the only way for Iran to survive as a coherent state.”

    – Please expand on this a bit more. Do you feel that India could potentially be a threat to Iran in the future or do you mean something else? What threats to Iran do you foresee emanating from Pakistan or India?

    I assumed the purpose of the nuclear arsenal (which I honestly don’t believe Iran is pursuing at the moment) would be to protect itself from extra regional powers like the US or France from carrying out attacks against it or threatening its territorial integrity like it did in Yugoslav for example.

  541. Castellio says:

    Nasser, FYI: I am interested in your discussion of Pakistan. After the destruction of Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq, and the attempted economic destruction, and promised military destruction of Iran, I do think Pakistan in the sight hairs. It has nuclear weapons which are arguably capable of reaching Israel.

    I believe strongly that both Israel and the US have plans to nullify the Pakistan arsenal.

  542. fyi says:

    Nasser says: December 31, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    The situation in Pakistan is analogous to – but not identical with – both Mexico and the Russian Empire before their respective revolutions in 1911 and in 1917; in my opinion.

    What are commons in these 3 states are: vestiges of representative government, elites that were oblivious to the welfare of the people and which were unwilling to make any concessions, and large numbers of poverty-stricken & landless peasants.

    Furthermore, just like the Russian Empire and WWI, Pakistan elite have risked their country in 2 wars in Afghanistan that was not theirs.

    There are of course major differences; the role of the Army of Pakistan does not have a counterpart in Mexico or in Russia, Pakistan is Muslim, the other 2 Christian, etc. No doubt, no historical analogy is perfect.

    My contention is that elites may steal from the people, may abuse their powers, etc. but at some point the expectation of lower classes is that these leaders will do the right thing for them. That is, they would put the interest of the ruled before the interests of the rulers [like the late Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his New Deal].

    This is not forthcoming in Pakistan. This is an issue of bread and land and not one driven by a desire for a more responsive political system or more Shria [They are already under Sharia.]

    So, in case of Revolution, I do not think that it will be Ulema who will set the agenda or provide leadership. The Revolution there, in Pakistan, could start just as it did in Russia, or in Mexico, or in Tunisia – from a small spark caused by poverty and hopelessness.

    If and when it occurs, the Revolution in Pakistan will be led by ruthless warlords who will be jockeying for power in the new state.

    My crystal ball is opaque as to how these various ethno-religious and ethno-linguistic groups will interact under revolutionary conditions.

    It is precisely because of the dangers posed by nuclear-armed Pakistan and India that Iran must equip herself with nuclear weapons. That is the only way for Iran to survive as a coherent state.

  543. Nasser says:

    fyi,

    What makes you so certain of a coming revolution in Pakistan? Pakistanis seem by and large still servile and loyal to their feudal lords. In fact all across South Asia politicians seem to be elected on the basis of what family they belong to. There is perpetual poverty, inter ethnic or inter communal (Shia Sunni, Hindu-Muslim) conflict but no sign of class warfare. Why would that change now?

    If your predictions turn out to be true however I shudder to think what would that mean for Iran, India, Pakistani Shias or US even considering Pakistan’s nukes. I mean these people would make Khomeini look like a squeamish moderate.

  544. fyi says:

    James Canning says: December 31, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    I am optimistic that Pakistanis will build the pipeline.

    If not, Iran can wait after the revolution in Pakistan sweeps away all these elites.

    And contrary to the Arab or the Iranian Revolutions, the one in Pakistan will result in massacares of these elites and their families all over Punjab and Karachi.

    No doubt.

  545. fyi says:

    Karl says: December 31, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    That bill indicates the degeneration of once great & capable people.

    The bill could be vetoed by US President or otherwise challenged in Federal Courts of the United States on the grounds that it violates the Principle of the Separation of Powers of US Constitution.

    But it is symptomatic of how fools are running the show in US.

    It reminds me of the first 20 years of Islamic Revolution where I watched in horror as one foolish act followed another one.

    I am grateful to the United States in taking the trouble of thoroughly destroying the emotionalism of Iranian leaders by teaching them very bitter and very hard lessons.

  546. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I don’t think Obama tried to act on the foolish noises about China, apart from trying to avoid creation of an issue warmongering Republicans would try to exploit for partisan gain in 2012 elections.

  547. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I continue to think you make a mistake when you assume Germany, France, the UK, are stooges of powerful Jewish interests in the US.

  548. fyi says:

    Karl says: December 31, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    As I said, the politics of the United States is now too degenrated to be able to cope with any issue diplomatically.

    US politics can only envision coercion, until it meets the larger force and then it folds; like when US COngress was making all those noises against China a few months back. When Mr. Obama tried to act on those noises, Chinese President replied quite forcefully and Mr. Obama had to concede to a thing called Reality.

    And so goes with Iran; at some point US will concede to Reality but that time is not at hand.

    In regards to war, I have analyzed it quantitatively from several different sets of data and have come to the conclusion that US-Iran War will last about 4 years. I do not believe that it will be initiated by Iran.

    Americans could start it, due to the degeneration of their domestic politics, but I do not see how they could benefit from it.

    And Israelis will not attack; unless they want to make sure that the Shia Islam will be sworn to their destruction over many many generations.

    My poistion is that US, Iran, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine should meet and formalize the HAMAS Hudna deal.

    This will stablize the situation in Palestine and remove that war as a point of contention between Iran and the United States.

    A cease-fire deal will be signed between Lebanon and Israel.

    Syria will then have the religious/political cover to resume peace neogiations with Israel.

    In the Persian Gulf the positions of Iran and US are compatible. US has stated that the freedom of navigation in the Straits of Hormuz is her “red-line”. Iranians have stated that as long as they can sell their oil, they are not going to interfere with that.

    In the nuclear arena, US redline is that Iran should not build a nuclear weapon. Iranians have stated that they have no such intentions.

    So, that leaves Iraq; that is US must accept that she will be another Shia polity, by the Shia, for the Shia; closely aligned to Iran.

    After US and Iran have agreed on these principles, others could be brought in to flesh out the details.

    One thing that will be needed is the cheque books of the Southern Persian Gulf Arabs for the post-Hudna Palestine.

  549. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I too fear we will see yet more American stupidity and interference with the obviously sensible programme to extend the Iranian gas pipeline to Pakistan.

    Do we see a Hillary Clinton more interested in pleasing powerful Jews in the US, than in pushing a sensible US foreign policy in greater Middle East?

  550. fyi says:

    James Canning says: December 31, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    You do not know how pathetique the very many members of Pakistani elite are in their slavish expectation that US could solve the problems of Pakistan for her.

    Rest assured that a few eg-carresing words followed by another set of empty promises by US diplomats is sufficient to fool those Pakistanis to delay or kill ther gas pipeline from Iran.

    Almost certainly that action will harm Pakistan and may also hasten the very bloody revolution that will destroy every single man, woman and child member of these elits.

  551. Karl says:

    fyi:

    Congress have pretty much already got a bill ready to be signed by obama cutting off diplomacy and rise the bar higher that might ignite warfare.

    http://mondoweiss.net/2011/12/aipac-championed-amendment-pushes-obama-into-a-corner-on-iran.html

  552. fyi says:

    All:

    There will not be a resolution of the Iranian Nuclear case unless and until the US planners accept the altered geo-political map of the region.

    My sense of it is that a few have but they are a very small minority but the majority have not yet reached the same conclusion.

    In its absence, and given the effort that US-EU Axis have spent in constructing the Siege of Iran, there is not possibility of any moderation.

    This war will go on.

  553. Karl says:

    James Canning:

    Again, you state alot of things 1. You get refuted 2. You still use the arguments.
    I dont see any reason argue with you if you are going to use that tactic.

    And no, like I said, why would Iran accept diplomacy when the other side is not sincere? You seems to think US, EU, Russia, China want the same thing about Iran. While US and EU seeks regime change, China and Russia is sincere and dont want this, they want to solve it through diplomacy in a way that both sides goal are reached/compromised.

  554. James Canning says:

    “Gas imports, high priority for Islamabad”

    http://www.prestv.com/detail/218687.html

    Pakistani foreign ministry says extending existing gas pipeline from Iran into Pakistan is much-needed and should happen soon.

    Will US continue its stupidity and try to interfere?

  555. k_w says:

    James,

    there is the contract about the 20% uranium — with Turkey and Brazil.

  556. James Canning says:

    Sakineh,

    I think the Saudis would accept Iranian enrichment to 3.5%-5%. If a solid business case can be made for dealing in isotopes etc, with 20% U, adequately monitored by IAEA, perhaps this would also be acceptable. I’ll look into this.

  557. James Canning says:

    Sakineh,

    If Iran operated without handicaps in the global trade structure, I can indeed see potential business opportunity for Iran involving 20% U. But Iran does have signficant handicaps.

  558. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Are you actually claiming the US wanted an independent Bangladesh, simply in order to “weaken” Pakistan? And that it was within the power of the US to bring this about?

  559. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    I think William Hague’s comments in the Guardian this past July make it clear that the P5+1 probably would accept Iranian enrichment of 3.5% U. Fanatical supporters of Israel right or wrong, in the US, would try to block it.

  560. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    You contend that Iran should ignore the wishes of Russia and China for a negotiated resolution of the nuclear dispute. Poor advice for the Iranian gov’t.

  561. Pirouz says:

    Empty says:
    December 31, 2011 at 9:14 am

    After the ongoing naval exercise is finished I;ll be uploading a brief post on the upcoming $11 billion dollar arms deal to Iran being made via Iraq by means of conscious denial.

    The U.S. military industrial complex appears unable to admit to itself the relationship that now exists between Iraq and Iran; either that or they just can’t help themselves in their pursuit of greed.

    Whatever, it’s obvious the Iranians are hopeful the arms transfer takes place. Meanwhile, the Saudis suffer from no such illusions, as they’re busy fortifying their Iraqi frontier with a high tech security fence.

  562. Karl says:

    *correction, it should read ” I support a diplomatic solution”.

  563. Karl says:

    According to israeli news, Iran is seeking new talks. Is this a good move? After all, this proves that sanctions work and therefore will continue until U.S. and its allied partners demands are reached.
    There is no reason for Iran to have talks since US and its allied partners refuse to recognize Iran right to enrich. Iran should play the double game US/EU are doing, its a dirty game but backing down only expose a weakness plus since US/EU have no plans to accept irans rights Iran will only going into the trap if accepting talks. That doesnt mean I support a diplomatic solution but since US/Israel are determined for regime change, Iran shouldnt participate in this facade of talks.

  564. fyi says:

    Empty says: December 31, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Yes, they certainly believe that they have got an excellent plan and they are getting results.

    To that must be added the noises made by both sides regarding the resumption of the nuclear talks.

    The Iranians, by participating in the talks, will achieve several things.

    One, that they are always ready for negogiations.

    Two, they are conforming to the Russians’ request for participating in the talks.

    Three, they will be helping Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign by giving him the apperance that his Siege-of-Iran policy is producing results.

    Four, they will be hoping to derail or delay the oil sanctions of EU.

    Since the Axis Powers believe they are on a roll here, they will be looking to get concessions out of Iran.

    When those will not be forthcoming, the hiatus caused by the talks will be over and the Siege will resume in full force.

    To a certain extent, the failure of these talks is predictable as there is no flexibility in US position; her internal politics is as degenerated as those of Iran during the first 20 years of the Islamic Revolution, precluding any change.

    After November 2012, we will be in the exact same situation as today; minus the Syrian card that is no longer availbale to Axis Powers.

  565. BiBiJon says:

    Fiorangela says:
    December 30, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    “gRuel Marc Gerecht” is a slice of cheese!

    http://www.iranaffairs.com/iran_affairs/2011/11/cia-agents-iran-captured-again.html

    Fio, just to be clearer, by ‘cheesy’ I mean to convey ‘beneath contempt’, undeserving of respect/awe/fear that one might accord an enemy or even an evil-doer. Annoying like a gnat? Yes. But, accorded the consideration of a worthy adversary? please!

  566. Rehmat says:

    Fox Latin America has removed its poll from Zionist propaganda organ, Facebook, after complaints from Simon Weisenthal Center in Buenos Aires. Fox Spokeswoman Guadalupe Lucero has apologized saying the poll was removed immediately and measures have been taken to prevent such incidents in the future.

    The poll had asked readers who they think is responsible for the death of Christ: “Pontius Pilate, The Jewish People or the High Priests“. The poll was to promote the National Geographic Channel’s Christmas special.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/12/31/fox-poll-who-killed-jesus/

  567. Rehmat says:

    Karl – The ZOG-controlled America’s problem with Pakistan goes back to 1947 – when Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah criticized the proposed division of Palestine for the sake of European Jews.

    Ever since, it has been America’s cover policy to dismember Pakistan. It succeeded in creating Bangladesh out of East Pakistan in 1973.

    “It is essential that we strike and crush Pakistanis, enemies of Jews and Zionism, by all disguised and secret plans,” – David Ben Gurion, first Prime Minister of Zionist entity……

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/vultures-over-pakistan/

  568. Empty says:

    During the Iraq-Iran war, there were three different groups were involved in the sacred defense: the military (ارتش), the Basij volunteer force (نیروهای بسیج), and the newly-formed Islamic Republic Revolutionary Guard (IRRG). While the military was equipped and trained (from Shah’s time), the Basij and the Revolutionary Guard neither had adequate training nor did they have any equipment worth mentioning. Often times, when asked about their tanks, fighter jets, RPGs, etc. (or lack thereof), most IRG members would respond with a smile, “our weapons are stored in the other side of the border” meaning in Iraq.

    In fact, the IRRG’s equipment during Iraq-Iran war mostly came from what they had obtained during their operations against Saddam forces. کربلای 5 [Kerbala 5] was one such operation. It was a multi-phase operation and began on January 9, 1987 in the eastern part of Basra and entire southern axis of the war regions. It lasted for 70 days. The operation was codenamed “Ya Zahra (a.s.)”. Once completed, 42,700 Iraqi soldiers had been killed, wounded, and captured as prisoners of war. Shalamcheh (شلمچه) which was considered one of the most secure, impenetrable, and strategically critical regions of the war was captured by IRG forces. By the end of that operation, IRRG had also obtained 220 tanks and armored personnel carriers, 500 jeeps, 85 assorted artilleries, and thousands of light and heavy weaponry. Also, that single operation got all the peace-loving members of the UN security council at the time scrambling and they began advocating for a seize fire.

    An Australian paper has published an article today titled, “US arms sale to Saudis sends message to Iran” [can be accessed online here: http://www.smh.com.au/world/us-arms-sale-to-saudis-sends-message-to-iran-20111230-1pfj3.html#ixzz1i7ZoeINT ]. They think they have all their ducks in a row. But we just have to wait and see.

  569. Karl says:

    Richard Steven Hack:

    Why would US attack a such important ally like Pakistan. Makes no sense, nontheless, its would be even more impossible than to attack Iran.

  570. Empty says:

    “you CANNOT hide its stink” rather….

  571. Empty says:

    Richard Steven Hack says,

    I am convinced that Obama intends to start a war with Pakistan AND Iran…

    War on Pakistan was one of Obama’s campaign pledges. In fact, the war on Pakistan expanded quite significantly during his time in office under various titles, aimed to mislead, such as Af-Pak war, Vezirestan operations and the like (anyone remotely familiar with the geography of the region knows Vezirestan assaults, for example, are in fact mostly inside Pakistan territory). So, to say that Obama “intends to start a war” ignores the evidence of the ongoing war and helps cover up their war crimes in Pakistan.

    Similarly with Iran, every single act (covert and overt) committed by the US against Iran in the past few years are all acts of war under the UN definition of war. Manure by any other name is still manure. You could change its name but you can hide its stink.

  572. Empty says:

    UK’s covert help to Saddam Hussein against Iran through Jordan according to secret files made public yesterday. This occurred at the same time as UK was publicly claiming neutrality. Full article in Financial Times could be accessed here: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/52add2c4-30b4-11e1-9436-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1i75wargN

  573. An Iranian View says:

    A very important piece of news, especially as it was carried out by Assad’s enemies:

    http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/printArticle.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=478192&version=1&template_id=36&parent_id=16

  574. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    James Canning says:December 30, 2011 at 5:35 pm
    ”My understanding is that there is not that much business available, but I could be wrong. Stockpiling large amounts of 20% U to enable quicker “breakout” in event of decision to build nukes, might not be a good idea.”

    James, you are wrong. There is actually robust business out there due to aging infrastructure in US and Canadian plants being off-line for an extended period of time. I believe I linked this before, but here it is again, just in case.
    http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Canadian_nuclear_reactor_shutdown_causes_worldwide_medical_isotope_shortage

    I wonder if the Saudis are against this business happening. Could you please check?

  575. Another reason for the US to want to attack BOTH Iran AND Pakistan…

    Pakistan defies US, honors Iran gas deal
    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/218383.html

    Note that the US now intends to remove all its military hardware in transit in Pakistan due to Pakistan’s closing of the transit route to Afghanistan. This suggests the US intends to ratchet up tensions with Pakistan further.

    I am convinced that Obama intends to start a war with Pakistan AND Iran, if not necessarily at the same time – or maybe he will. There’s no downside to this guy. As Norman Finkelstein refers to Obama, he’s a “stupifying narcissist”.

  576. Of course he’s correct.

    Iranian Navy no match for US battle group – Russian military official
    http://rt.com/politics/iran-us-russia-strait-hormuz-919/

    However, that doesn’t mean the Iranians can’t inflict some significant damage…

  577. Juan Cole now fully backing regime change in Syria – big surprise…

    Gascoigne: Syria, the Invisible Massacre
    :http://www.juancole.com/2011/12/gascoigne-syria-the-invisible-massacre.html#comment-85815

    Of course, I’m still banned on Cole’s site, so my posting a link to this article on the condition Libya is in now – thanks to Obama and Cole – will never be posted:

    Will 2012 Bring Tribal War to Libya?
    :http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/12/30/will-2012-bring-tribal-war-to-libya/

  578. Rehmat says:

    Women-only Holocaust movie!

    Robin Saex Garbose is an Orthodox Jew film producer-director. Premier of her latest film ‘The Heart That Sings’ at the 13th Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival (Dec. 17-23) created quite a fuss as no male was allowed to see the screening of the movie. Watch a short trailer of the movie here.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/12/31/women-only-holocaust-movie/

  579. Richard,

    “Eric: “how, exactly, will Iran’s use of advanced centrifuges at Qom amount to anything remotely approaching sufficient provocation for the US to attack?” The answer is very simple: it’s a fake “red line”. It’s obviously INTENDED to be considered as the same level of “threat” as withdrawing from the NPT and enriching to 90%.”

    I agree entirely. I posed it as a question, but I reached the very same conclusion. As I wrote, I’m not in favor of Iran pointlessly provoking the US, but I’m also quite strongly against Iran changing its behavior in response to absurd red-line drawing, especially when Iran has compelling reasons not to change its behavior. If that’s provocative, so be it — I’m only opposed to pointless provocation, and that’s not what Iran would be doing to upgrade its centrifuges at every opportunity.

  580. BiBiJon says:

    Fiorangela says:
    December 30, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    “gRuel Marc Gerecht” ain’t just cheesy, he is a slice of cheese!

  581. Canning: “Not too long ago, I linked a piece or two by nuclear scientists following this matter, and if I recall correctly they calculated that Iran had enough 20% U on hand to produce fuel for TRR for next eight to twelve years.”

    And that’s precisely how much they SHOULD have! The last time Iran bought the TRR fuel, they bought enough for ten years. So on what basis do you – or anyone else – conclude this is “excessive”?

    Since negotiations started on the current round of TRR fuel purchase back in 2008 or 2009, and we are now three years down the road, I think it’s reasonable for Iran to have several years worth of TRR fuel stockpiled to cover the lengthy periods of time it takes to acquire it abroad – especially since it clearly can no longer do so at all.

    Secondly, once the mechanisms are in place to produce it locally, why should Iran produce just so much and no more, since that would probably require idling the processes which would make it that much more difficult to start it up again. Many of these industrial processes can’t just be started and stopped like a machine. Everyone should be aware that enrichment cascades are very difficult to ramp up – but easy to break. It has taken Iran years to get its cascades running effectively.

    There is ZERO evidence that Iran has an “excessive” amount of 20% enriched fuel.

  582. Eric: “how, exactly, will Iran’s use of advanced centrifuges at Qom amount to anything remotely approaching sufficient provocation for the US to attack?”

    The answer is very simple: it’s a fake “red line”. It’s obviously INTENDED to be considered as the same level of “threat” as withdrawing from the NPT and enriching to 90%.

    People who write this stuff aren’t stupid. They have an agenda. By making ANYTHING Iran does a “red line”, you can “justify” a war at any point.

    Israel has been talking “red lines” for years, vaguely shifting them back and forth as they pressure US leaders to attack Iran. Currently there are articles specifically discussing what constitutes a “red line” and the US is sending a senior Pentagon official to Israel next month to “discuss” the subject.

    All of this is just smokescreen for US and Israeli public consumption while the real planning goes on behind the scenes. The same applies to articles in Haaretz today saying that Obama’s tough talk about Iran is just for show, to prove he “supports Israel”, but the Israelis don’t believe he wants to attack Iran for real.

    In fact, he does. He will do what he’s told to do. But publishing this sort of nonsense lulls the public into believing he’s not a war monger, despite all evidence to the contrary in a half dozen countries around the world and equally current leaks about plans to intervene in Syria.

    This stuff is just a “get out of jail free” card, which US leaders need after Bush’s lame handling of Iraq made it slightly more difficult to blunder about the world starting war after war.

    The US elites, as well as the Israeli elites, absolutely want a war with Iran. If Iran can collapse without one, they might be happy, but since that’s not going to happen, sanctions or no sanctions, war is absolutely inevitable.

    The only way to stop a war with Iran is to take all these bastards out – in the US and Israel. And that’s not going to happen either because the antiwar crowd doesn’t have either the political power or the guns or the nerve.

  583. James,

    “If Iran can develop a good business selling 20% U in one form or another, I personally do not see a big problem. My understanding is that there is not that much business available, but I could be wrong.”

    I agree with your first sentence, and have no clue whether such a market exists. Certainly it would look fishy if Iran started over-producing 20% uranium ostensibly for sale into a market that doesn’t really exist.

  584. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Re: Efforts of Soviet Union to avoid 1973 Arab-Israel war. Nixon and Kissinger both worried that if the US forced Israel out of the Sinai, the USSR would gain too much prestige in the Middle East as a result. Very interesting piece you linked.

  585. Fiorangela says:

    BiBiJon, actually, I admire your restraint — and humor. I sometimes worry that the walls of my house are not thick enough when outrageous statements from Kroenig, or the perennial Patrick Clawson or gRuel Marc Gerecht provoke rage-filled, and expletive-filled, reactions.

  586. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    If Iran can develop a good business selling 20% U in one form or another, I personally do not see a big problem. My understanding is that there is not that much business available, but I could be wrong. Stockpiling large amounts of 20% U to enable quicker “breakout” in event of decision to build nukes, might not be a good idea.

  587. Bibijon writes:

    “Kroenig is conceding the first two red lines will never be crossed by Iran. This makes his entire article a waste of time. So, he just had to throw in something a little more likely and a little more imminent. That Kroenig resorts to an out-of-the-blue, incongruous 3rd caveat, tells me he was fixated on war, before he started fishing for causes.”

    That’s exactly the conclusion I drew.

  588. Sakineh,

    “Agence France Presse reported on its apparent translation of the interview and added that Abbasi-Davani said Iran is no longer interested in a fuel swap deal and would rather become a supplier of 20 percent enriched uranium.”

    Interesting. That could explain Iran’s production of more 20% uranium than it needs for its TRR (assuming that is happening, as James and some others contend).

  589. k_w:

    Thanks. I really don’t think we’re in disagreement on anything here.

    As I’d stated, I understand that > 20% uranium is classified as HEU for many purposes outside of the NPT and Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. My very limited point was that the NPT and Iran’s Safeguards Agreement don’t distinguish between HEU and LEU. (Article 37 of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement does make this distinction (though without mentioning “HEU” or “LEU”) for the very limited purpose of calculating a “de minimis” exemption from IAEA regulation, but Iran doesn’t rely on that exemption, and so this distinction is meaningless for Iran).

    I also understand you can’t build a bomb with 20% uranium. That’s not the concern people have about Iran’s production of 20% uranium. Their concern is that 20% uranium is a lot closer to bomb-grade than is 3-5% uranium. As I understand the enrichment process, it’s not merely a matter of further refining, since I gather that it can be difficult to remove certain impurities as the percentage increases. Nevertheless, increasing the percentage above 20% raises eyebrows, especially if there is no known peaceful use for >20% uranium.

  590. BiBiJon says:

    Fiorangela says:
    December 30, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    I love cheese. I adore cheese.

    But, a couple of days ago, I started to think there’s a certain cache implied to terms like ‘special operation’ when describing assassination of a young scientist in front of his kid’s day care center, or ‘espionage’ when describing an out of control computer virus, or ‘hawkish’ when describing a clumsy screed written by Kroenig.

    I thought all such endeavors are beneath stately conduct. I thought the whole thing is just cheesy, no disrespect to cheese.

  591. Castellio says:

    Ah, Candide, still alive in the “best of all possible worlds”.

    Those who espouse war are rich and getting richer.

    Has anybody read Dershovitz’s latest? Quite the screed. Still holding his prestigious position in the Academy. As is Yoo. And others.

  592. Candide says:

    If a US attack on Iran does take place, then journalists like Matthew Kroenig should also be prosecuted, for promoting aggressive war – a major war crime.

  593. fyi says:

    All:

    http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/soviet-envoy-warned-nixon-and-kissinger-against-mideast-war-in-1973-documents-reveal-1.404547

    An important passage reads:

    Helmut Sonnenfeldt, the Sovietologist of the National Security Council, who was present at the meeting, didn’t believe that an Israeli-Arab compromise was possible. “No matter how much in pain, the Israelis will probably use an atomic bomb before they concede the 1967 borders,” he wrote.

  594. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    James, Eric,

    Again, this is not about enrichment. Hegemony, yes.
    Iran has indicated that it is interested in becoming a supplier or U19.75%.

    Here is an interview with Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani stating as much:
    “Agence France Presse reported on its apparent translation of the interview and added that Abbasi-Davani said Iran is no longer interested in a fuel swap deal and would rather become a supplier of 20 percent enriched uranium”
    http://www.isisnucleariran.org/brief/detail/abbasi-davani-interview-on-irans-20-percent-enrichment/

  595. fyi says:

    Rehmat says: December 30, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Canadia sold a CANDU reactor to India and she used that in her nuclear weapon’s program.

  596. fyi says:

    Nasser says: December 30, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    The French, like the other Europeans, are very uncomfortable with a religious-based government. How could they not be; after all, a major part of Enlightenment Project was the rejection of God and the concomitant destruction of the Spiritual Authority of the (Catholic) Church.

    The other motivation is the destruction of the new emergent Irani/Shia power in the Near East; a power that they do not control nor over which they have any leverage (EU states are following the splendid example of US in sanctioning themselves out of leverage).

    The third goal is laying claim to Western Asia and her natural resources – primarily oil & gas. This does not mean that they (EU states) are necessary thinking of making money off oil; rather they are thinking of using energy as a political weapons against any and all.

    The fourth reason is that they (the French) are Junior Champions of Israel. Like Americans, they are willing to indulge the Jewish fantasy project in Palestine.

    There is a fundamental conceptual abyss between Irani/Shia and the Western World – the West left God and thus cannot communicate with those for whom God is Alive.

  597. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Fiorangela says:December 30, 2011 at 2:17 pm
    ”BiBiJon, what is your beef with cheese?”

    Fio,
    Is that a cheeseburger joke?

  598. Rehmat says:

    k_w – the US and Canadian Jewish Lobby is against Canada selling its CANUs to Muslim countries. As a former consultant to AECL, I know, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey were very much interested in buying CANDU600 nuclear reactors in the 1990s.

    Interestingly, Canada has not sold a single nuclear reactor for the last 15 years. AECL is Crown Corp. which costs Canadian taxpayers $100 million per year.

    The so-called refurnishing of Canada’s four 30-year nuclear plants are carried out because Israel-Firster Stephen Harper’s government doesn’t allow the construction of new nuclear plants.

    Canada has also lost it world monopoly over supply of nuclear isotopes for cancer treatment – as its Chalk River manufacturing facility has failed to come to its full capacity due to bad design.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/10/07/bolton-iran-scored-big-victory-in-geneva/

  599. Rehmat says:

    The whining western ZOGs and their Arab poodles have now turned against the leadership of the Arab League Observation Mission (ALOM) in Syria which they choose themselves. They’re expecting that the director of ALOM, Mustafa al-Dabi, a former Sudanese general, like IAEA director general Yukiya Amano, will follow US dictation. To their great bewildement, Mustafa al-Dabi has described the situation in the opposition stronghold of Homs as “reassuring“.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/12/30/zionists-target-al-observation-mission-in-syria/

  600. k_w says:

    Eric,

    Scott Ritter wrote that

    “high enriched uranium, or HEU, is defined by the IAEA as being U-235 enriched to levels greater than 20 percent” (Target Iran, p. 37).

    AFAIK, there is little chance of obtaining the isotopes the TRR was designed for on the market because of maintainance in Canada and other places. So, they need the 20%-U235, and if they produce a surplus amount, this is quite understandable. You can’t build a nuclear weapon with it.

  601. James Canning says:

    “Conflict between Iran and West ‘the greatest danger of 2012 – Russia’s UN envoy”

    http://rt.com/news/iran-syria-libya-churkin-interview-859/

    Churkin says in the interview that it is not fair to expect Syria to implement reforms in the midst of serious unrest.

  602. James Canning says:

    “Russia rejects stop war with war solution”

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/218556.html

    Vitaly Churkin, Russian ambassador to the UN, calls for Iran and the p5-1 to negotiate a resolution of the nuclear dispute. Hear, hear!

  603. Fiorangela says:

    BiBiJon, what is your beef with cheese?

  604. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    To clarify my position: I understand that Iran has enough 20% U for all civilian needs, for at least the next ten years. So, why frighten the Saudis and other countries by producting more 20% U at this time? Why facilitate the application of more sanctions against Iran, gratuitously?

  605. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    I have consistently argued in favor of Iran’s seeking a negotiated resolution of the nuclear dispute.

    And, given that the US in effect coerced Iran into enriching to 20%, Iran can produce the fuel plates for the TRR etc, since the US is so foolishly continuing to block Iran’s IAEA application to buy the TRR fuel. What the economics are, I do not know. Maybe it is cost-effective to produce a run of plates good for 15 years? I have read reports that the TRR might be replaced. Would this mean the fuel plates are useless?

  606. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    I have never suggested that Iran should close the TRR. And I have said the US in effect coerced Iran into enriching to 20%. And that I think some of the anti-Iran, “pro-Israel” warmongers, wanted to goad Iran into enriching to 20%.

  607. Nasser says:

    fyi,

    Thank you for the link to the article in the NYTimes. Why do you suppose France is trying to be more American than the Americans on the Iranian issue? Is it merely to soothe their egos and indulge in their deluded sense of self importance or is it something else in your opinion?

    On a side note I recall the French Chief of Staff of the Army on his trip to the US stating very clearly that the military option is no longer feasible.

  608. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    I too would welcome any specific figures that might be available, as to the quantity of 20% U Iran has produced.

    Not too long ago, I linked a piece or two by nuclear scientists following this matter, and if I recall correctly they calculated that Iran had enough 20% U on hand to produce fuel for TRR for next eight to twelve years.

    I have no figures on the economics of producing the fuel plates.

  609. BiBiJon says:

    Eric A. Brill says:
    December 30, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Here’s a particularly interesting sentence from Kroenig’s piece:

    “If Iran expels IAEA inspectors, begins enriching its stockpiles of uranium to weapons-grade levels of 90 percent, or installs advanced centrifuges at its uranium-enrichment facility in Qom, the United States must strike immediately or forfeit its last opportunity to prevent Iran from joining the nuclear club.”

    ————-

    Kroenig is conceding the first two red lines will never be crossed by Iran. This makes his entire article a waste of time. So, he just had to throw in something a little more likely and a little more imminent. That Kroenig resorts to an out-of-the-blue, incongruous 3rd caveat, tells me he was fixated on war, before he started fishing for causes.

    The cheeziness is unmistakable.

  610. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Re: Israel/Palestine, remember that Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s pressed hard to get Israel out of all occupied territories. He was able to force Israel out of the Sinai but he was not able to get Israel out of the Golan, the West Bank or Gaza. And the Israel Lobby took its revenge against Carter, for having forced Israel out of the Sinai.

  611. k_w writes:

    “After the revolution, the Iranians gave their weapons-grade [93%] uranium to the IAEA [and] had the reactor rebuilt by Argentina, now for the use with 19.75% uranium. This figure is important. Anything from 20% to 100% is highly enriched stuff.”

    As Arnold or others also may point out, nothing in the NPT or Iran’s Safeguards Agreement draws a line between “low enriched” and “highly enriched” uranium: Iran is legally entitled to refine as much of either type as it sees fit, provided only that it discloses what it’s doing as and when required under its Safeguards Agreement.

    The 20% line nonetheless is important, as you note, because Iran has no known peaceful use for uranium enriched beyond 20%. For this reason, I too would become suspicious if Iran enriched uranium beyond 20%, regardless of whether it has a right to do so.

    As best we know, though, that is not occurring. Iran is enriching only up to 20% (19.75%, to be precise), not beyond. It has good reasons to do this: the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) uses 20% fuel); Iran has tried diligently to obtain 20% uranium from outside sources but has been unable to lock down a reliable source (since all deals offered so far contemplate Iran shipping out large quantities of LEU in exchange for nothing but a practically unenforceable assurance that 20% uranium will be sent back some time in the future); and Iran’s recent frustrated efforts at cooperation justify its current independent effort to produce an ample long-term supply of 20% fuel.

    If what James has said is correct – that Iran is producing far more 20% fuel than it needs for the TRR for the foreseeable future – there would be reason to wonder what Iran has in mind for the excess 20% fuel. But I’ve yet to hear good reasons to believe that Iran’s production of 20% fuel has been excessive. I’ve read several firmly-held opinions that that is the case, from James and others, but so far I’ve read nothing but unsubstantiated statements to that effect. If those statements have a basis other than opinion, I’d like to hear what that basis is.

  612. Karl says:

    James

    “Arnold claims this statement did not support my statement that the UK, France, Germany, China and Russia would support Iranian enrichment to 3.5%.”

    Yes? Hes of course right, your article makes even no claim to any percentage.

    As others have expressed, we dont really understand your motivations for these continued arguments on this topic.

  613. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    You are of course quite right that the US and its allies failed to respond to Iran’s recent offer to cease production of 20% U.

    I think this failure to respond had a great deal to do with the fact elections in the US are approaching.

  614. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    I cited William Hague’s piece in the Guardian of July 11, 2011 (“Iran’s nuclear threat is escalating”). Do you need a link? Hague said that Iran was “spurning offers of technological assistance for Iran’s peaceful use of nuclear energy” made by the “outside world” including the UK, France, Germany, Russia, China and the US.

    Arnold claims this statement did not support my statement that the UK, France, Germany, China and Russia would support Iranian enrichment to 3.5%.

  615. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Why don’t you provide a source to back your claim that the UK, France and Germany will not allow Iran to enrich uranium to 3.5%, even if this is permitted by the NPT.

  616. k_w says:

    Just my two cents: The 20% issue is an important one. The TRR was designed by the Americans. It used to be run with 93%-U235. After the revolution, the Iranians gave their weapons-grade uranium to the IAEA had the reactor rebuilt by Argentina, now for the use with 19.75% uranium. This figure is important. Anything from 20% to 100% is highly enriched stuff. So, the Iranians did anything to get rid of the material they are allegedly pursuing today. This allegation makes no sense.

  617. Fiorangela says:

    The Politics of US Sanctions on Iran, a paper by Sassan Fayazmanesh, 2002 pdf

    “. . .examines the 1979 U.S. freeze of the Iranian government’s assets,
    the role of the sanctions in the “dual containment policy” of the United States in the 1980s,
    the role of Israel in formulating and implementing the sanctions policy of the United States in the 1990s,
    the concerted lobbying efforts of U.S. corporations to combat the sanctions, and
    the incoherent and inconsistent U.S. sanctions policy toward Iran that emerged in the late 1990s.”

  618. fyi says:

    All:

    Reporting on French perspective in the New York Times

    The key passage reads:

    “If we press the regime strongly…there could be an implosion. The real objective these days should be the regime’s implosion, not more talk.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/15/world/europe/15iht-politicus15.html?ref=johnvinocur

    I personally think the aim of all these diplomatic and propaganda “Shock-And-Awe” campaigns have been to cause Iranian leaders to do something stupid. In other words, these are elements of a campaign of provocations.

    Stay tuned for more.

  619. jay says:

    Photi,

    I fully support civility and good conduct. However, from a philosophical, practical, and even religious point of view the victim is entitled to use any means to deter the perpetrator. I prefer peaceful means, and therefore advocate political and economic deterrence as a means of dissuading the bully. Dividing the unity between Arab states, Europeans, US, Russians, Chinese, I believe, is a justified policy. Combined with economic pressure, it will give Iran enough maneuvering room to weather the storm.

    I do agree with your general tenor that if Iran could manage to be exemplary, so much the better.

  620. Empty says:

    RE: Frankly I wouldn’t have a problem with US hegemony if it was some sort of an enlightened hegemony

    This statement indicates an ignorance and/or incorrect understanding of the two concepts of “hegemony” and “enlightenment”. These two concepts are inherently at odds with each other.

  621. Photi says:

    jay says:
    December 30, 2011 at 12:23 am

    Jay,

    I agree with you that victimization and conflict with Iran– not 20% enrichment and nuclear science generally– are the real issues surrounding America’s relationship with Iran. The only thing Iran can do to please the US government is to concede the Iranian dignity entirely. Fat chance this will happen, so either America changes its attitude or eventually there will be full-on conflict between the United States and the Islamic Republic. This because Iran enjoys the same spirit of independence that Americans once enjoyed to bring about our own independent nation.

    Jay, I disagree with you that Iran should practice ‘divide and rule’ tactics. If Iran does not set the example of a more civilized world, i doubt there will be any other nation who will. Iran needs to cultivate peace and cooperation in the Middle East despite all those bad actors who are inciting conflict and death.

  622. Cyrus says:

    Frankly I wouldn’t have a problem with US hegemony if it was some sort of an enlightened hegemony – but its not. Its short-sighted, influenced by interest groups, and reliant on suppression and tyranny.

  623. Karl says:

    I think James constant counter-arguments isnt worth approaching since he never give us sources for his claim.

    But the issue its very simple.

    1. US and its allies refuse the NPT for Iran, that is, they refuse Iran to have the nuclear fuel cycle for civilian purposes.

    2. Its not a question of 3,5%, 19,75% or 20%, the US and its allies refuse them all.

    3. Thats why Iran was sanctioned before 3,5%, that was Iran was sanctioned after 3,5%, thats why Iran is today sanctioned for using 19,75%. I mean its very simple, its not a question about a percentage, its about the full closure of the nuclear fuel cycle.

    4. Thats also why US and its allies have over and over again refused offers that could have solved the issue in one day. In 2010, for example, Turkey, Brazil and Iran reached a solution based on the US goals, when Iran agreed on this deal US backed down, or take the 2011 offer by Iran to end its 20% enrichment if the US and allies could give that enriched fuel to them, once again US and its allies ignored the offer.

    Just study the history of US interventions it very simple, the premise is, since US are a major power they dont need to compromise with politically, military, economically weaker states. Its all about power, they could set their own premises and trying to impose them (on, in this case – Iran). Its the same thing with the Israel/Palestine conflict, since Israel is a powerful nation, they dont need to compromise with the palestinians. If however palestinians would have been as powerful as israelis, a peace and settlement would have come already in the 50s.

  624. James,

    I have great respect for you, and have for a long time. But I must second Arnold’s complaint about your views on Iran’s enrichment to 20%. I pressed you on this a few months back, and never did get a satisfactory answer. My essential point, which I’ll speculate Arnold agrees with, is why shouldn’t Iran do this? It needs the 20% fuel, it’s offered to buy it from other countries, and the only responses it’s received so far have been either insufficient or insincere or both.

    Do you think it should just shut down its Tehran Research Reactor? Do you think it has plenty of fuel for a long time and should just put off the problem until some time down the road? Do you think it should try to revive negotiations with other countries, cross its fingers, and sign up for one of the deals offered to it a couple of years ago (assuming such a deal were offered again)?

    My answers to each of those three questions is “no.” I’m not sure whether your answer is different for any of them, but I can’t help thinking you would answer “yes” to at least one or you wouldn’t be insisting that Iran should stop enriching to 20%.

    You did make one statement a few months back that I thought might have some merit: that Iran was enriching a great deal more uranium to the 20% level than it would have any legitimate need for over the next several years. I replied that that might be reason to suspect that Iran had further enrichment in mind, but not without knowing more. First, the recent history of this 20% fuel dispute gives Iran good reasons for laying in a very ample supply. Second, it struck me as quite unclear whether Iran was in fact over-producing. Very few, if any, commenters I’ve read seem to have a clear idea how much TRR fuel Iran has left, and it was nearly as unclear to me that you had solid data on how much Iran is now producing.

    You, by contrast, seemed willing to accept a very great deal on faith on both of those important “quantitative” questions. That uncharacteristic trusting nature made me wonder whether that “over-production” suspicion was in fact your real reason for criticizing Iran on this 20% issue. I wondered instead, and still do, whether you instead would answer “yes” to one or more of the three questions posed three paragraphs above.

    I’d greatly appreciate your clarifying this for me, and I suspect Arnold and others would appreciate that too.

  625. Here’s a particularly interesting sentence from Kroenig’s piece:

    “If Iran expels IAEA inspectors, begins enriching its stockpiles of uranium to weapons-grade levels of 90 percent, or installs advanced centrifuges at its uranium-enrichment facility in Qom, the United States must strike immediately or forfeit its last opportunity to prevent Iran from joining the nuclear club.”

    If Iran were to begin enriching uranium to 90%, few will doubt that the US would attack. The odds of attack would be lower, but still high, if Iran were to expel IAEA inspectors. (I recognize that Iran has the legal right to do either or both of those things – provided it withdraws from the NPT in the latter case, of course; I am merely stating what most of us acknowledge would be the likely consequence of either action.)

    But the third item on Kroenig’s list – installing advanced centrifuges at its Qom facility – strikes me as hardly of the same provocative character. Why should Iran not use the best centrifuges it can lay its hands on? Though Iran and the IAEA disagree on when Iran must disclose more about Qom (reflecting their disagreement on which version of Code 3.1 applies to Iran), the IAEA has never expressed doubt that Iran will disclose everything it is required to disclose about Qom at least 6 months before Iran introduces nuclear material into the facility, the deadline under the version of Code 3.1 that Iran insists is applicable.

    If Iran does that, as the IAEA apparently anticipates it will, and allows the IAEA inspectors full access from then on, as the IAEA apparently anticipates it will, how, exactly, will Iran’s use of advanced centrifuges at Qom amount to anything remotely approaching sufficient provocation for the US to attack? Iran should not pointlessly provoke the US (as it would do, for example, by enriching to 90%, or by kicking out the IAEA inspectors). But I see no good reason for Iran to hamstring its nuclear program by limiting itself to outdated centrifuges when it has entirely defensible reasons for upgrading.

  626. jay says:

    Bullying is a form of victimization, not conflict. If Iran had given in to the nuclear bullying of “you don’t need your own fuel cycle”, or don’t dare enrich to 20%, we may have avoided the current point of bullying. But, make no mistake, we would have been at another invented bullying stage. Because bullying is victimization, no form of conflict resolution is useful. In fact, from this vantage point it is clear why so called diplomacy had little to no chance – and, both sides knew it from the start.

    Iran must pursue a calm, adaptive, asymmetric, divide and conquer foreign policy designed to increase the cost to the bully and its allies, decrease their unity, and minimize the cost to itself and its allies. So far, Iran is doing well. The fundamental is and must be: Never accept the bully! All the rest is tactical.

    The issue of 20% enrichment, Iran shooting itself in the foot, creating a negative image, etc. is all distractions. Irrelevant waste of time! A bully can never have enough bullying.

  627. BiBiJon says:

    Arnold Evans says:
    December 29, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Our 20% James is not alone. Many, including Kroenig have gotten it under their bonnet that Iran is striving for nuclear weapons. Consequently, they look selectively at any and every possible indication that potentially validates that assessment, while ignoring 28 IAEA reports stating non-diversion of fissile material to other than accounted for, peaceful uses.

    Just as with 20% James, you cannot engage them in explaining anything. It is a belief system that thrives on its own.

    Our 20% James wants Iran to pretend to be technologically backward, politically subservient, and bereft of courage of her convictions just to get to avoid getting bombed for pretext-du-jour.

    I guess he loves Iran for all the wrong reasons.

  628. Arnold Evans says:

    James Canning says:
    December 29, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    I think Iran blundered badly by enriching to 20%. I have said this numerous times.

    It is stupid and it is unsupported by any reasoning every time you say it.

    What fact or reasoning makes you believe 20% enrichment crosses an important line that 3.5% enrichment does not cross?

    What statement from any official of any Arab country or Russia, China, Britain, Germany or France makes you believe any of those countries believe 20% enrichment crosses an important line that 3.5% enrichment does not cross?

    What I don’t understand is your own weird fixation with 20% enrichment. You’re aware that Iran offered to stop enrichment to 20% in exchange for TRR fuel. You’re aware that the United States denied that offer. Your position now is that Iran should give up 20% enrichment for nothing.

    Then you claim, supported by nothing, that the Arab countries, Russia, China and every country but the United States agrees with you. You’ve never provided any reasoning or evidence to support that claim.

    Even if your unsupported claim was true, you haven’t presented any reason to believe Iran would get any tangible advantage for following your suggestion of giving up 20% enrichment for nothing.

    I guess it would make you, personally, feel better. I don’t know why. Your thinking on the entire Iranian nuclear dispute is just weird.

  629. James Canning says:

    Fans of Taki or the Spectator will enjoy Taki’s memories of 35 years of writing for that superb journal. http://takimag.com

    Quote: “When the Israelis demanded [Boris Johnson, editor of the Spectator] fire me, Boris answered that he would if they evacuated the occupied territories and apologised for 45 years of oppression.”

    Boris is the mayor of London.

  630. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    Assuming Iran in fact is not building nukes on the sly, to me it seems obvious that Iran should not strive to make it easier for warmongering supporters of Israel right or wrong to arrange an attack on Iran. Is this difficult for you to comprehend?

  631. JohnH says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the US goal is not to occupy Iran but to occupy the energy producing region of the country under the guise of “protecting the Strait of Hormuz.”

    As the attached map shows, most of Iran’s energy reserves are within 100 miles of the coast: http://www.payvand.com/news/11/jun/1092.html

    Saddam also tried to grab Iran’s oil producing region in 1980.

  632. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    True or false: Russia and China do not want Iran to build nukes.

  633. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    I thought I have made clear I think Iran makes a serious tactical mistake when it papers over the split in opinion, within the P5+1. Yes, the Israel lobby mandates that the US try to hurt Iran in any way possible. But this programme is not one adopted by the other five members of the P5+1.

    I think Iran blundered badly by enriching to 20%. I have said this numerous times.

  634. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    fyi says: December 29, 2011 at 3:48 pm
    ”Mr. Canning: I think it will be a good idea for you to refrain from mere assertions and try to substantiate your claims with at least some evidence.”

    Hear, hear! I am still waiting for you to do the same, practice what you preach.

  635. Rehmat says:

    Hugo Chavez: “Did US give South American leaders cancer?”

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/12/30/did-us-give-south-american-leaders-cancer/

  636. Rehmat says:

    James Canning – Dr. Ahmadinejad had invited all those ZOGs to participate in tendering in Iran’s nuclear plan, but all refused. Why? Because as part of the construction and supervision of nuclear plants – the pigs could have claimed some foul play.

  637. Arnold Evans says:

    James Canning says:
    December 29, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    This statement to me indicates the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China will accept Iranian production of 3.5% U.

    That’s not what the statement you quoted says, nor have those five countries ever made a statement saying that, nor would it matter if they did if the US has a veto, which it does over any prospective security council resolution rescinding the previous UNSC demands that Iran suspend enrichment until the US agrees it can resume.

    You have a lot of weird thoughts about Iran’s nuclear program and the dispute around it. It is difficult to figure out what your motivation is.

  638. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    William Hague, writing in the Guardian July 11, 2011 (“Iran’s muclear threat is escalating”): “If Iran is serious about developing civil nuclear energy. . . why [is it] spurning offers of technological assistance for Iran’s peaceful use of nuclear energy from the outside world, including [the P5+1}?”

    This statement to me indicates the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China will accept Iranian production of 3.5% U.

  639. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You offer no support for your contention Germany, France and UK will not accept Iranian enrichment of 3.5% U. I take it you accept that Russia and China do not object to Iranian production of fuel for the Bushehr reactors.

    I think your encouragement of a belief that only a war can force Israel to get out of East Jerusalem, makes it easier for Israel to continue to grow its illegal colonies of Jews in the West Bank.

  640. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I didn’t challenge your statement about UK impoundment of funds. I did ask why it happened and why the funds were still impounded.

  641. James Canning says:

    R S Hack, FYI,

    Turkey and Azerbaijan have a separate deal for a gas line to Bulgaria from Azerbaijan. It is preliminary, but would help to undermine the economics of Nabucco line.

  642. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The cost estimates for a new Russian gas pipeline to Italy via Turkey are about the same as those for Nabucco proposal, but Russian line would have double the capacity.

  643. Fiorangela says:

    fyi says:
    December 29, 2011 at 12:34 pm (to) Empty says: December 29, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    “You cannot take the Book of Esther as historical truth.”

    The Esther story incorporates elements found in several Sumerian myths — the story of the goddess Inanna and Sukalletuda in which Inanna travelled extensively to learn to discover right from wrong, returned to earth and, weary, rested in a garden, where Sukalletuda raped her. You don’t mess with goddesses; Inanna called down plagues upon the Sukalletuda’s entire country, and turned him into a shepherd.

    It’s not hard to read the theme of a contest between a Self and an Other; an act of disrespect or devaluation of the Self; against which the Self exacts revenge on the Other by levying disproportionate punishment, demeaning the Other, and elevating the Self.

    Other Sumerian myths feature raucus beer parties starring Inanna and Enki — Purim is a giddy celebration at which inhibitions are shed with the help of too much wine.

  644. Fiorangela says:

    In 1916 the Allies blockaded Germany, causing the death by starvation of between 700,000 and 765,000 German men, women, and children. During the war, Germans experienced the “turnip winter,” when the only food available was turnips and men survived on about 1000 calories per day. In 1923, as a result of manipulations of their financial system, the German people experienced hyperinflation. Many Germans lost all of the assets, and once again, food was scarce.

    And yet, in 1933, zionist Jews in New York declared an international boycott on Germany with the expressed intent of once again destroying the German economy and causing the starvation of German men, women, and children. That boycott was pursued for about 5 years, in 1938. Germany’s leadership did not engage in military retaliation, although numerous restrictions were imposed on Jewish people who had not been part of Germany’s war effort in 1914-1918. Kristallnacht was an orgy of anti-Jewish violence precipitated by the murder of a German diplomat by a Polish Jew in Paris. It lasted a short time but killed many Jewish people and did a great amount of damage to Jewish property.

    _______________
    In Iraq’s war against Iran, Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against Iranian (and Iraqi) civilians and soldiers. As the results of those chemical attacks, about 1 million civilians and soldiers were exposed to chemical warfare agents (low dose or high dose), more than 100,000 were seriously injured and more than 6000 were killed as the direct results of the gas attacks in the battlefield.

    Now 20 years on, more than 55,000 Iranians are suffering from serious long-term health effects of exposure to Mustard gas and need medical care.

    The United States supplied helicopters and targeting support to Saddam’s forces to carry out those attacks, and German corporations supplied the lethal chemicals, reprising Germany’s use of chemical weapons in the first world war.

    Iran appealed to the United Nations to call a halt to the proscribed attacks. “during the Iran- Iraq war from 1980-1988, the UN Secretary-General, Javier Perez de Cuellar, sent a number of specialist teams to investigate the situation.
    Although the war was still in progress the team visited battlefields and medical centers, met with casualties and took samples from contaminated materials, including unexploded bombs. Their reports raised awareness of the shocking use of chemical
    weapons by Iraq. Since the use of chemical weapons by the Iraqi regime was in clear violation of the 1925 Geneva Protocol and given that the UN expert missions unanimously concluded that chemical warfare agents had indeed been used, the UN
    Security Council should have taken immediate strong action to stop such activities. It was its responsibility to do so.

    Due to its lack of such action, Saddam Hussein’s regime continued, with impunity, to use even greater quantities of chemical warfare agents on a larger scale, against both soldiers and civilians.

    Therefore, there is no doubt that the international community including the United Nations and the Security council failed to fulfill their responsibility to try to stop the violation to International Humanitarian law and a big war crime which caused the
    death and suffering of tens of thousands of people.”

    Despite the disregard of the world for Iran’s suffering, Iran did NOT retaliate with chemical weapons against Iraq.

    In “The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran,” Yossi Melman and Meir Javedanfar write: “This sense of abandonment by the international community and helplessness against Iraq’s cfhemical attacks left a deep scar on the psyche of Iranians. It convinced many that when it came to Iran’s defense, no one could be trusted except Iranians themselves. According to an Iranian war veteran[unidentified], “We Iranians want to say ‘Never again’ to such attacks against our people.’ “ (Melman borrowed the quote from a 2006 USA Today article by Barbara Slavin).

    On another front, according to Ronen Bergman in “The Secret War with Iran” Israeli Defense Ministry officials and arms merchants implemented Operation Seashell, selling (frequently, defective) weapons to Khomeini’s government. Bergman quotes “one Israeli Defense Ministry official, a key figure in Operation Seashell, [who] recalls: “I do not remember even one discussion about the ethics of the matter. All that interested us was to sell, sell, sell more and more Israeli weapons, and let them kill each other with them.” “ (page 43).

    Iran does not carry on extensive international trade in armaments, as do the United States and Israel. Furthermore, Iran’s defense expenditures are invested in, oddly enough, weapons to defend the Iranian people against external threats, notwithstanding Michelle Bachman’s campaign spokesperson Alice Stewart’s assertion that Bachman “knows” that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons to attack the US and Israel.

    Similar to the case of Germany almost a century ago, the suffering of Iran’s citizens is not only disregarded by the world’s putative peace keeping institutions, every effort and action is being taken to repeat and intensify the unjustified and illegal torment of Iranian citizens, by boycotts imposed on Iran at the behest of zionist Jews (see :http://mondoweiss.net/2011/12/aipac-championed-amendment-pushes-obama-into-a-corner-on-iran.html.)

    The Jewish people also declare that “Never again” should innocent people suffer inhumane treatment and death. In tribute to THAT “Never again,” museums and memorials have been created in cities throughout the world, and billions of dollars in reparations have been paid to Jewish people who suffered or to organizations representing them.

    But Iran’s “Never again” experience has been handled differently — that is to say, it has not been acknowledged. In a 2009 interview of Dr. Shehriyar Khateri, linked above, of Iran’s Society for Chemical Weapons Victims Support, reporter Monalisa Joshi asked Dr. Khateri:

    Are there any compensatory claims for a chemical weapon’s victim?

    Unfortunately, nobody was ever tried for the war crimes of the use of chemical weapons against Iranians, this was even excluded from the list of Saddam’s charges in his trial and he was not given the chance to speak about his atrocities against Iranians and about those who supplied chemical weapons and its precursors for his regime.

    No international tribunal was set up to address the war crimes of Saddam during his invasion to Iran including the use of chemical weapons. The victims of chemical weapons attacks have never received any compensation for their suffering because of the above mentioned reasons.

    What course of action and relief can chemical weapons victims claim for?

    First of all they need to be recognized by the world community as victim of a war crime.

    Secondly they need international contribution by world medical community to help them to cope with their chronic, progressive illnesses.

    Third, they seek justice; they need the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks to be punished and those who supported Saddam’s regime to be tried in a fair international tribunal.”

    They seek justice.

  645. sanaz says:

    There are some reasons that US attack on Iran is against it’s national interests and Mr Kroeing needs to know more a bout Iran:

    _Using military force to demolish Iran’s so called nuclear weapons can reinforce pakistan’s influence which will strengthen China’s proxies against the US.
    _It is impossible for the US to destroy Iran’s entire nuclear infrastructure simoltaneously as it did to Syria and Iraq.Iran’s self defence structure is far more advanced than the latter states,on the other hand they were not signatories of NPT and lacked any international legitimacy.Iran’s nuclear program is considered legal by much of the international community.
    _Israel is facing with an existential threat,the US can’t head it off it’s operation against Iran which will come off with proxy attacks against Us military installations and embassies.
    _There is no better way to unify a polity than to demonize a foreign enemy.US can be the target of a massive propaganda which will
    unify Iran’s hard liners with the ruling regime,it will be a unique opportunity to reconcile.
    _Destroying Iran’s nuclear program means fundamentally changing the regime.Iran’s national calculation and motivation of power has historically led it to seek for nuclear power.
    _Tehran appreciates not only its strategic proximity to hormoz strait,through which 40(NOT 20)percent of all oil sails,but also the asymmetric military options related to it.The asymmetric options are completely ignored by the author.
    _Attacking Iran,US will encounter insurgent shiats across the world through the religious decree(fatva).
    _Saudi Arabia the US ally, is challenging with its domestic unrest,reluctant to cooperate with US in its new adventure in the middle east.

  646. BiBiJon says:

    “Were Iran to gain admittance to the nuclear club – or stopping short and attaining `breakout capability’ — it is peace that would threaten to break out instead of war, to the dismay of ideologues who have their hearts set on regime change in Iran.”

    Read more: http://www.ctpost.com/opinion/article/Stephen-Elsberry-Time-for-a-pragmatic-approach-2431159.php#ixzz1hxihw044

  647. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says: December 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Nabuco was never vaible, in part because of the Axis Powers confrontation with Iran.

    As is, the South Stream further reduces Russia’s dependence on Ukraine for supply gas to Europe and entrenches her as the primary energy supplier to Europe in the “Common Eurasian Home”.

    Note that the same policy by Russia is being pursued via a vis China and Japan; supply those two countries with oil and gas and increaing the mutually beneficial dependencies.

    This is to be contrasted with the Axis Powers policies in the Near East, 10 years of war with the possibility of more.

  648. Interesting:

    The Empire loses Nabucco: Turkey agrees to South Stream pipeline
    http://iraq-war.ru/article/263036

  649. Closing the Strait of Hormuz
    http://www.uskowioniran.com/2011/12/closing-strait-of-hormuz.html

    Will the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and the US occupy the disputed islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and the Lesser Tunbs in the Persian Gulf, as a means of starting the Iran war?

  650. Meanwhile, on the Syrian front, things are progressing exactly as I predicted.

    Obama administration secretly preparing options for aiding the Syrian opposition
    http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/12/28/obama_administration_secretly_preparing_options_for_aiding_the_syrian_opposition

    Quote:

    The option of establishing a humanitarian corridor is seen as extremely unlikely because it would require establishing a no-fly zone over parts of Syria, which would likely involve large-scale attacks on the Syrian air defense and military command-and-control systems.

    “That’s theoretically one of the options, but it’s so far out of the realm that no one is thinking about that seriously at the moment,” another administration official said.

    End Quote

    In other words, that’s EXACTLY what they’re thinking about doing. You always have to reverse whatever Obama says, because he’s an inveterate liar.

    This article talks about non-military options, but Phil Giraldi has already pointed out the decidedly military options the US is already supporting against Syria, including Libyan mercenaries, and shipments of Libyan weapons, all on “unmarked” (read: CIA) aircraft.

    Syria will be at war within the next twelve months, just like Libya.

  651. fyi says:

    Mr. Canning:

    I think it will be a good idea for you to refrain from mere assertions and try to substantiate your claims with at least some evidence.

    I recall quite distinctly that it took very many posts by myself before you finally admitted that UK had impounded 1.5 billion euros of Iranian money.

    Your assertions not withstanding, the Saudi Peace (Plan), the 2-state solution, the 1967 ceade-fire line are now quaint dead-letters devoid of any political or diplomatic potential.

    Arabs lost the East Jerusalem and only war can recover it.

    In regards to the Iranian nuclear case: US-EU position is quite clear; dismantling of any and all Iranian nuclear know-how. That is, no fuel cycle, no independent Iranian fuel manufacturing, no haevy-water reactor, no nothing.

    Really, if EU-US are desirous of better relations with Iran they could just send Mr. Straw to Iran.

  652. Liz2 says:

    James:

    Of course and Israel want a Palestinian state too. Do you think US sells weapons to all the gulf states, saudi included to invade Israel? Seriously?

    “Most Israelis probably would accept getting out of the West Bank and perhaps the Golan also.”

    I advice you to read the history on this subject. Netanyahu was elected by the israeli people much thanks to his hardline attitude on keeping the land and not giving it back.

  653. James Canning says:

    pragmatic,

    Are you serious? Iran says it does not want nukes. I think this is current policy. Iran also said it has no need to block the Strait of Hormuz at this time. Where are the “cattle” you are looking for?

  654. James Canning says:

    Liz2,

    The Saudis have engaged in extensive diplomacy for many years, dedicated to getting Israel out of the West Bank and the Golan Heights. The Saudis are completely committed and sincere on this score.

    Current government of Israel wants to keep the Golan Heights and a good part of the West Bank too. Meaning, no viable independent Palestine.

    Most Israelis probably would accept getting out of the West Bank and perhaps the Golan also.

  655. pragmatic says:

    Iran is all big hat, but no cattle!

  656. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    What are the “US terms” for ending the Iranian nuclear dispute? What are the terms China, Russia, Germany, France and the UK would accept? They clearly are not the same.

    Are you contending India wants Iran to stop producing electricity from nuclear power plants? To close the TRR?

  657. Liz2 says:

    James:

    Sure and you belive Israel want a Palestinian state too? After, all they have like the saudis, vocally said so, so it must be true right?

  658. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The Russians see grave danger in any new war in the Middle East, and they want to avoid it. They and the Chinese are sincere in trying to achieve a diplomatic resolution of the nuclear dispute. I think Iran miscalculates badly in thinking China and Russia are not sincere.

  659. James Canning says:

    Liz2,

    The Saudis want Israel out of the West Bank and the Golan Heights. Of this fact there can be no doubt.

    Iran very foolishly frightens the Saudis and the Persian Gulf monarchies. Doing so is insane.

    Current gov’t of Israel clearly intends to try to keep permanently all land cut off from the West Bank by the Apartheid Wall. Current gov’t of Israel does not want a viable independent Palestine.

  660. fyi says:

    James Canning says: December 29, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    I just do not see any negative ramifications in the continuation of the Iran nuclear case for Russia and China. The Siege of Iran, War with Iran, Sanctions on Iran are all net positives for these two states. And what could be better for them than having been able to contain US-EU in the Persian Gulf?

    In regards to India, her leaders really really expected the Iranian nuclear case to resolve itself quickly on US terms. When it did not, and they had to also add to the pressure on Iran to curry favor with US, then the extent of their political miscalculation was revealed.

    But my point still stands: in 2007 a different tack could have been taken with Iran. That it was not indicates to me that the nuclear case was not germaine; the destruction of Iranian power was the reall aim.

    What helped Iran was the grduated increase in sanctions (giving Iranians time to adjust), the financial implosion of 2007, and the Arab Spring of 2011.

  661. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning says:
    December 29, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    such a favor the US did for Japan.

    you may be interested in Occupation Without Troops: Wall Street’s Half-Century Domination of Japanese Politics

    Authors Glenn Davis and John Roberts explain that Japan was never really an independent sovereign but rather a satrap of Wall Street. Japan eventually did claim its independence from Wall Street — and experienced a ‘lost decade’ as it rebalanced itself from excessive use of credit.

    As Japan began to emerge from that lost decade, the AWEsome SHOCK of a tsunami struck Japan. Conspiracy theories about what really happened at Fukushima abound. Among the Known knowns are that at a the same time that it is known that Israel and the US had the capability, and did indeed, release STUXNET for the purpose of disrupting Iranian nuclear activity, the virus affected other operating systems using Siemens technology. The Japanese nuclear plant at Fukushima used Siemens technology. The Japanese nuclear plant at Fukushima had contracted with an Israeli firm to provide technological and other forms of security.
    Draw your own conclusions.

  662. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think it is seriously delusional on your part to believe US-EU strategy is “to take control of western Asia”. Seriously delusional.

    And you clearly find it unpalatable to see that rich and powerful Jews wants to hurt Iran, so that Jews in Israel and the West Bank can hurt Christians and Muslims. With impunity.

  663. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I agree with you that most Iranians do not comprehend the fact the Iranian nuclear porgramme has cost Iran hundreds of billions of dollars. And I agree most Iranian take great pride in defying the “West” or anyone impinging on their sense of self.

    To me, what simply does not make good sense is for Iran to make it easier for enemies of Iran (Israel Lobby) to hold “the West” together, in bringing more and more sanctions against Iran.

    Why would Iran want to have the Persain Gulf monarchies feel obliged to make common cause with Israel? This is very poor strategic thinking, to say the least.

  664. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    China and Russia have been trying to foster a diplomatic resolution of the Iranian nuclear dispute. India would much prefer a negotiated resolution of the problem.

  665. fyi says:

    James Canning says: December 29, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    In 2007, when US Intelligence Estimate on Iran was made public, US, EU, Russia, India, and China had the political cover to change course on Iran.

    For it had the effect of making positive – as opposed to coercive – diplomacy feasible.

    These state did not change their approach.

    Indians did not since US-EU did not change course.

    Chinese and Russians were willing to help facilitate US-EU into sinking deeper in the Iranian nuclear morass.

    Which leades me to conclude that US-EU were bent on the destruction of Iranian strategic autonomy.

    Please understand Mr. Canning that the opportunity loss of tens of billions of dollars does not mean much to very many of the Iranian people and leaders. For one thing, I think they do not fully understand it.

    For another thing, they (the Iranian people) cherish their independence – Iran has not been this stronly independent since the assasination of Aqa Mohammad Khan Qajar.

    The EU states, can, even today, send Mr. Straw to Iran and explore mutually beneficial arrangements. But they won’t since they are also weded to the US policy of regime change in Iran.

    US-EU leaders’ aim, in my opinion, is assertion of control over Western Asia.

    The existence of independent Iranian power is making that assertion of power impossible to maintain.

    When US destroyed Ba’athist Iraq, she caused the growth of Irani (Shia) power. The millenial Shia project for political power in Mesopotamia was finally realized and the Shia Vatican (the Qum-Najaf Axis) claimed the strategic and religious spoils.

    The US blunder has now necessitated the elimination of this nascent Shia/Iranian power. This is the gist of the situation, in my opinion.

    Thus the siege warfare against Iran and the ultimate destruction of independent Iranian power becoming the goal of US-EU policy makers.

  666. Liz2 says:

    James Canning:

    I just made clear how Saudi say one thing while doing another. You dont judge a politician by his statements, but by his words. Israel say they want 2 states, do you belive that too?
    Saudi look out for their own interests, while they make rhetoric claims for palestinians on some ocassions, its useless. Its a game.

  667. James Canning says:

    I recommend “Explaining Humanitarian Adventurism” by Philip Giraldi:

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/blog/

  668. James Canning says:

    Cyrus_2,

    China obviously does not want any interference with free passage of oil supertankers thorugh the Strait of Hormuz.

    It does seem possible, or even probable, that China will gain increasing discounts on Iranian crude, if more sanctions are imposed.

    FYI finds it nourishes the soul to defy “the West”, no matter how maqny scores of billions of dollars this costs the Iranian economy.

  669. James Canning says:

    Financial Times today reports that Turkey has agreed to Russian proposal to build enormous gas pipeline in Turkish waters in the Black Sea. Destination will be Italy.

  670. James Canning says:

    JohnH,

    Israel Lobby coerces the US Congress into behaving stupidly toward Iran. Full stop. In addition, the Saudis have concerns about Hezbollah in Lebanon.

    Iran’s production of 20% U is taken by the Saudis as strong evidence of a possible desire to be able to move quickly to enrich to 95% and build nukes.

  671. Rehmat says:

    Mossad chief: ‘Nuclear Iran is no existential threat’

    Israel’s terrorist organization Mossad chief, Tamir Pardo, one of world’s greatest assasins, told 100 Israeli ambassadors that a nuclear Islamic Republic poses no “existential threat” to the state of Israel – reported Israeli daily Ha’aretz on December 29, 2011.

    Tamir Pardo also admitted that Israel was using various means to foil Iran’s nuclear program. But even if Tehran obtains nuclear weapons, it would not mean the destruction of the state of Israel.

    “What is the significance of the term existential threat? Does Iran pose a threat to Israel? Absolutely. But if one said a nuclear bomb in Iranian hands was an existential threat, that would mean that we would have to close up shop and go home. That’s not the situation. The term existential threat is used too freely,” Tamir was quoted saying.

    It seems Pedro has openly agreed with his predecessor, Meir Dagan, who had warned Benji Netanyahu government that an Israeli attack on Islamic Republic will be the stupidest thing – as it could start a regional war which will include missile fired from Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas and Syria.

    On August 2, 2011, German news website Spiegel Online had claimed that Tamir Pardo was behind the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Darioush Rezaeinejad in Tehran on July 23. 2011

    Last year, the TIME magazine pointed fingure at Mossad for the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari and wounding his colleague Fereidoun Abbasi in Tehran. Mossad also had actually admitted that it killed Iranian nuclear scientist Ardashir Hosseinpour in 2007. He was poisoned by gas.

    It is remarkable that three events happened on the same day: November 29, 2010: publishing WikiLeaks documents mostly about “concern” regarding the Iranian nuclear program, assassinating Majid Shahriari and the appointment of Tamir Pardo as head of Mossad, the agency most renowned worldwide for its involvement in assassinations. Some Western papers even boasted that the assassination was the “latest gift presented by former Mossad chief Meir Dagan”.

    A report drafted by the human rights division at the US State Department (March 3, 2009) revealed that Mossad, in coordination with US forces in Iraq managed to assassinate 350 Iraqi nuclear scientists, 300 university professors, in addition to hundreds of army officers, pilots and experts in designing and launching missiles. The American report said that the main task of the Mossad death squad, operating in Iraq since the American invasion of 2003, was to eliminate distinguished Iraqi nuclear scientists and former civilian and military engineers after Washington failed to persuade them to cooperate and work in the United States. Israel, however, saw that the mere existence of these scientists constituted a threat to Israeli long-term national security.

    It sounds like a latest duct-tape on Bibi and Hillary’s mouths.

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/mossad-chief-nuclear-iran-is-no-existential-threat/

  672. James Canning says:

    Liz2,

    Saudi Arabia has been the strongest supporter of the Palestinians in the Arab world, everything considered. Iran very inadvisedly helps to foster continuing oppression of the Palestinians by the Israelis, by foolish hostility toward the Saudis.

  673. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    I think Obama was obliged to ignore Iran’s recent offer to cease production of 20% U, due to 2012 elections. He gets plenty of pressure from members of his own party.

  674. Liz2 says:

    I see that saudiarabia buy more jets from USA and therefore at the same time collaborate with US/israeli interest in case of Iran blocking the straits (exporting more oil to keep the price down), thus proving 1 important thing.

    1. We always hear in the public sphere that the saudi kingdom (plus various gulf states) is against war, is against escalation, sanctions and want good relations with Iran. While at the same time say that US should “cut the head off the snake” and keeping the arms race alive (saudi made the biggest arms deal ever with US last year – and keep buying and collaborating with US and their interest), where those weapons are about to be used are no secret. Thus, giving Iran every reason to acquire nuclear weapons capability.

    The reality is of course, that if it wasnt for US shielding and support, Saudi arabia nor Israel would never bark at their neighbours, they would make peace directly. Saudi arabia seems not to understand that they are themselves used as a proxy for US interest in the region, within some decades the same people (and theories) that are now urging an attack on Iran would then turn their eyes on Saudi arabia.

    Saudiarabia and the other gulf states could have blocked off the coming of war easily. However they refuse, because also them wants war. Just look how Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi arabia came to the center of the Arab spring, (counterrevolutions, armed support to libyan rebels, armed support to syrian rebels etc).

  675. James Canning says:

    Financial Times leader today: “Think hard before turning the spigot”. FT argues that interfering with flow of oil and gas on political grounds is unwise and potentially dangerous. Can the numerous stooges of the Israel lobby in the US Congress grasp this fact? Or do they simply not care?

  676. James Canning says:

    Empty,

    The Financial Times today reported that an average of 13 to 15 crude oil supertankers pass through the Strait of Hormuz each day, with almost all destined for China, South Korea, Japan or India.

  677. James Canning says:

    Empty,

    Japan obviously “submitted to US hegemony” after the catastrophe of the Second World War, and as a result returned to the ranks of the richest countries on the planet. Part of Japan’s wealth was the result of not being obliged to spend vast sums on defence.

  678. Empty says:

    fyi,

    You missed/misread the point of my post.

  679. fyi says:

    Empty says: December 29, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    You cannot take the Book of Esther as historical truth.

    Are we then to believe too that the Moab people were the desendants of Lot’s incest with his daugthers?

    There might be historical facts buried in the Old Testament but there is no scholarship supporting the historicity of the events described in the Book of Esther.

    Best to view it as a historical romance; like Ivanhoe or the Three Musketeers.

  680. Fiorangela says:

    The only thing I can think of to get the attention of the Obama administration to stop this madness, this rush to wage war on yet another Islamic sovereign state, the one that was the Grand Prize all along, is a hunger strike that spreads throughout the US population. Some of us are going to have to be willing to die, even actually die, to stop this.

    The men who signed the US Declaration of Independence pledged their Lives, the Fortunes, their Sacred Honor. Those weren’t just grandiloquent words; they face real threats to their continued well-being.

    I don’t want to make any of those sacrifices. But it looks like that’s the only way out. Where is the American Gandhi?

  681. Empty says:

    Bob Marshall says,

    RE: Esther, the Jewish Queen of Persia saves the Jews from an empire wide holocaust when she informs King Xerxes of this plot.

    It is important to note that the record of that “plot” all of a sudden was “discovered” by Mordecai. You may call it “the nuclear laptop” or “Saudi assassination” plot of the 5th century B.C.

  682. Empty says:

    Persian Gulf,

    RE: the cost-effectiveness of the alternative route for transporting oil, in case SoH is closed by Iran? is there any plan under way for pipeline through the Arabian peninsula? what about its feasibility? and, why this method was not tried before?

    Yes. There are pipelines (westward as well as southward) but the oil must eventually pass through Bab al-Mandab strait: one side is bordered by Djibouti and Eritrea (occupied by the US) and the other by Yemen. If people think managing Hormuz is tough (thanks to Iran, it has been one of the least risky routs), they should see what happens with Bab al-Mandab. The actually capacity of that strait for traffic is currently quite limited. In fact, it is predicted that it cannot be able to handle the predicted normal increases in traffic beyond 2014/2015. Also, an “accident” in Bab al-Mandab will render Suez Canal useless. So, the US/EU/British trio and local countries have very few options unless they make nice with Iran.

  683. Bob Marshall says:

    One has to understand that America loves war. Don’t believe it? http://www.addictedtowar.com This is a lot about Israel and the the Day of Purim in Persia where the Israelis killed 75,000 Persians in one 24 hour period through out Persia because of Haman who was going to wipe out all Jews. Esther, the Jewish Queen of Persia saves the Jews from an empire wide holocaust when she informs King Xerxes of this plot.He orders the Persian troops to help defend the Jews.Mordecai had refused to bow to a top official, Haman so he plotted this massacre in 743 B.C. The reason for the bombing of Iraq back into the stone age by the US was because the Israelites had been invaded by Babylonians in 605 B.C.-597 B.C. and again in 586 B.C.This time invading the southern Jewish nation, Judah. First, it was the Assyrians that God sent to conquer his disobedient children.Assyria was part of present day Iraq. The Jewish people remained in Babylon until the Persians defeated the Babylonians. King Cyrus of Persia, present day Iran, freed all political prisoners and sent the Jewish people home to rebuild their cities and holy Temple.many Jewish people having grown up in Babylon decided to stay. 42,000 returned to their homeland. Cyrus gave the Jewish people 5,400 articles of gold and silver that had been confiscated by the Babylonians, including scared furnishing from the temple. This is mentioned in Hosea 14:4,7 The majority of Iranians speak Persian, not the language of Islam, Arabic like they do in Saudi Arabia. just like Iraq had nothing to do with WMD’s, i believe this is mostly revenge for Israel. google Land destroyer/Which Way To Persia

  684. Neo says:

    There won’t be a war. The only thing that has changed over the past few years is an approaching election in USA. This is the real reason for the noise against Iran. USA has no good military options against Iran, and cannot afford such a major war.

  685. BiBiJon says:

    Formaggio, anyone?
    ================

    From http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/30/world/middleeast/30iht-politicus30.html

    The Iranian nuclear clock ticks faster and louder in 2012.

    Running parallel to the U.S. presidential campaign, this takes in a period when Israel would judge the effectiveness (or failure) of American and European plans to make Iran bend through sanctions severely limiting its oil revenues.

    The circumstances provide a largely visible series of gauges throughout the year indicating whether the likelihood of military action against Iran is growing or receding.

    Above all, the U.S. presidential election in November affords the Israelis an opportunity to exert pressure on Barack Obama to act decisively on Iran.

    ——————–

    Dear fellow NY Times readers:

    Without so much as a mild lament, John Vinocur is telling it to our face: that the awesome responsibility constitutionally vested in the US president to prosecute a war (declared, or not by Congress) will be manipulated by “Israelis.”

    And, to think Iranians complain about interference in their 2009 elections. Cheezy or not, it is par for the course folks. It is mainstream. It’s so dandy, John Yoo wants to export it through the barrel of a gun.

  686. Empty says:

    Photi,

    In the previous thread, I read some of your thought-provoking and candid comments about each generation’s responsibility toward potential wrongs committed by the previous generations (I’m paraphrasing again. If I misunderstood, please correct me). Just a few comments:

    1. I think the period of German history in 1930s and early 1940s requires thorough and critical analysis which will not be easy and requires an ongoing struggle by a few historians (especially Germans) willing to risk their freedom and livelihood to get to the bottom of things. Correct and truthful understanding of one’s history allows for a correct learning of the lessons it provides.

    2. My (very limited) understanding of Quran is that it clearly asks each generation to critically learn the lessons (the right lessons that is) provided by generations prior. It also condemns deliberately spreading falsehood about history. [Interpretation/Translation, 2:42, “Do not confound the truth with falsehood, nor shall you conceal the truth knowingly.”]

    3. These are some instructions in it about what to do with history, as I have understood:

    A. Narrate/recite (اتل) truthfully without falsification [2:71 لم تلبسون الحق بالباطل و تکتمون الحق – translation/interpretation: “why do you confound the truth with falsehood and conceal the truth?”]
    B. Recall/Remember/Take Heed (اذکروا)
    C. Note/Notice (تر)
    D. Ponder/Think (تعقل)
    E. Observe as signs/Take lessons (آیت)

    And more….

    4. There is a fine distinction between “being guilty” and “feeling guilty”. Deep awareness and correct understanding are needed to distinguish them (in oneself) and learn about appropriate steps needed to be taken with respect to either case. It is, of course, possible for one to be guilty without feeling guilty. And, it is also possible to feel guilty without being actually guilty. It’s important, however, that one’s awareness and a deep sense of justice/injustice about the deeds of the past generations do not serve as a “curtain”/ “shield” (حجاب) that obscures/distorts one’s view of the injustices that go on in one’s own generation. I think that would then really suck!

  687. JohnH says:

    The Leveretts are spot on. As I’ve been writing for years, this is all about the problem of Iranian sovereignty, which is anathema to the US. If the US were to recognize Iranian sovereignty and deal with Iran as a sovereign nation, the problem would instantly disappear.

    The US will never say this publicly. But it’s obvious. The basis for demonizing Iran has changed over the last 30 years. The pretense du jour is the nuke program, for which there is no evidence. Before that, it was about Iran arming Iraqi Shi’a, for which they found no evidence. And on, and on…

    Quite simply, the US has never gotten over the loss of the Shah and appears willing to do whatever it takes to bring his clone to power.

  688. Cyrus_2 says:

    Interesting blogpost mentioned in the WSJ comment section from kooshy’s link: http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2011/11/iran-natural-gas-giant.html

  689. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says: December 29, 2011 at 12:15 am

    There will be no clsoing of Straits of Hormuz or any other such activities.

    This is just ho-hum, signifying nothing.

    Americans and Europeans have their Siege War and will prosecute it.

    Iranians will endure and adjust.

    Look at the bright side of this for Iranians; they are being forced into thinking and actiong rationally more and more.

  690. Fiorangela says:

    Lysander wrote: “Do you think a sizable proportion of evangelicals might be persuaded by Paul’s arguments of “Israel can atke care of itself?” It probably would not convince me, but I’m hoping it does them. ”

    Alice Stewart, a spokesperson for Michele Bachman in Iowa, was on C Span this morning. If Bachman gets a sizable chunk of Iowas caucus polls, and if those numbers translate into an endorsement of Bachman’s ideas as representative of evangelicals, then No, evangelicals will not be persuaded by Paul’s argument. Bachman is bats%#t crazy.

    According to Stewart, Bachman is a passionate Christian (demonstrated by the fact that she took in 23 foster children); she believes in “American exceptionalism” and that –this is a quote — “what makes America exceptional is its strong military,” so Pres. Bachman would increase defense spending. She holds Reagan’s view of “peace through strength” and so would increase military spending to maintain “American exceptionalism” throughout the world by use of military might.

    Did I mention that America is exceptional and its exceptionalism should be maintained throughout the world by military might?

    A member of the (television) audience said to Stewart: “Obama has allowed Iran to conduct war games. . .This is a threat to our national security. Is Bachman aggressive enough to counter Iran’s anti-Israel anti-US threat?”

    Stewart responded that Bachman IS aggressive enough to counter the threat to whirled peas that Iran poses; she will NOT permit Iran to acquire nuclear weapons which “Ahmadinejad says they want nuclear rights for only peaceful purposes but we know that is not true;” and that Bachman will ALWAYS defend Israel.

    That statement was emblematic of about 60% of the calls that Mz. Stewart addressed.
    It’s worth noting that one caller stated quite the opposite view, reciting that the US has done nothing but attack Iran for its oil, since at least 1953, when Mossadeqh was overthrown, and again in 1980 when US supported Saddam in waging war against Iran.
    Alice Stewart managed to fluff her way through that set of facts, beginning her response with this remarkable statement (at 8:27 am EST): “We don’t need to be a slave to any country . . .” We need to achieve energy independence so that we are not forced to rely for our energy needs on nations that hate us.

    A few minutes later, the same caller who had defended Iran earlier, called back. The moderator, Peter Slen, disconnected the call in mid-comment (C Span callers’ numbers are identified by C Span staff, and are on (at least) a 5-second delay.)

    Yesterday, Bob Vander Platts, head of some Christian Family _???____ group appeared yesterday on C Span Washington Journal. He was speaking from Iowa, and discussed the role of Christian conservatives in the Iowa caucuses. His group endorsed Santorum, primarily because of Santorum’s domestic positions — anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-Obama health care (a curious posture given that Santorum served on the Board of a for-profit hospital conglomerate that made its money by buying up religiously-based non-profit hospitals that had been serving distressed communities, and that the corporation was sued numerous times & paid millions in fines for insurance fraud).

    Santorum was Islamophobic before it attained its current chic status, and is notoriously Iranophobic — at the Republican Jewish Council chatathon, Rick was almost rabid in his calls to kill Iranians. In Iowa, his campaign is running an ad that ends with his declaration about how he will beat up on Iran.

    Vander Platts was virulently anti-Iran and expects his Christian group to hold the same position. I don’t remember the general sentiment of calls from the audience to Vander Platts and it’s too depressing to listen again.

    That’s not a scientific survey, but it does give some indication of sentiment in the Republican Christian evangelical community. Not a hopeful scene. America is going the way of Easter Island.

  691. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Listen to how calmly Matthew Kroenig advocates death and destruction of multitudes.
    And of course MSM is primed to jump on his ideas.
    http://www.thetakeaway.org/2011/dec/29/us-prepared-attack-iran/

  692. kooshy says:

    Sanctions Italian style or better to be called spaghetti sanctions

    DECEMBER 29, 2011, 8:25 A.M. ET.Premier Monti Says

    Italy Agrees With Further Iran Sanctions

    http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20111229-703773.html

    “The only condition Italy asks for its support of sanctions hitting Iran’s ability to raise revenue from the sale of oil is that it excludes supplies to Italian energy company Eni SpA (E) from Iran for its work in the country, said the prime minister.”

  693. Cyrus_2 says:

    If Iran wants to evade economic pain caused by sanctions against CBI as much as possible without blocking the SoH militarily or by sabotage, I think it should quickly make the Chinese an offer they can’t refuse: an optimal investment-friendly climate with large profit margins in which they have the exclusive right to develop Iran’s large but largely untouched oil and gas fields. At the same time, China should drastically step up its oil imports from Iran at discount prices, so Iran will become China’s top oil exporter, surpassing Angola and Saudi-Arabia.

    I know this may bring back bad memories (AIOC, 1953, etc.) but I don’t see any other option left without giving the US the perfect excuse to attack Iran, something which a blockade of the SoH will do, making it even look like Iran is the aggressor.

    In addition, even before the sanctions it was not easy for foreign investors to develop Iran’s oil and gas fields: red-tape, corruption, small profit-margins, complicated joint-ventures, etc. This will be a good opportunity for Iran’s oil fields to get the badly needed investments, leaving the Western oil companies which pulled out from Iran whining and complaining against their governments when they see the Chinese eating cheaply from the huge pie that Iran is.

    Of course, China will have to ignore the US/EU CBI sanctions and overcome fierce US opposition, but it’s the only oil-importing country which is in a position to resist US pressure. Recently Japan said it will continue its oil imports from Iran, but in the end they will bow for US pressure, just like Italy, Greece, South-Korea, etc will.

    Finally, Russia and China should allow Iran (and Pakistan as well) to become a full member of SCO.

  694. Fiorangela says:

    Lysander, I don’t think Ron Paul is a closet zionist, not at all. But zionists will not go quietly into the night, and if Paul were elected, he would face powerful forces seeking to undermine him. Zionists mounted propaganda wars that mobilized the mindless masses to buy into wars against Germany in 1917, 1933, and against Iraq in 2002. They’re four-square behind war on Iran. Has a zionist propaganda campaign ever been denied its objective?

  695. BiBiJon says:

    Democracy on a cheese platter.
    ===============================

    John Yoo’s non-too-subtle allusion to electoral benefits of starting wars of aggression (“Our political calendar and one of our nation’s greatest threats have synchronized”) is a common, shameless refrain among war advocates.

    The other day, Chemi Shalev blogged:
    ,http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/west-of-eden/will-a-u-s-attack-on-iran-become-obama-s-october-surprise-1.403898

    “If one wants to be absolutely cynical, perhaps Panetta’s one-year deadline was intentionally calibrated with this election timeline. … [October] is the month that many of Obama’s opponents are already jittery about, fearing the proverbial “October Surprise” that would hand Obama his second term on a platter.”

    And, back in September 2010, when Jeff Golberg’s war screed, “point of no return”, in The Atlantic was followed by a forum of commenters, I think it was David Wurmser, who wanted to remind Obama that among all the uncertainties associated with war, his decision should be informed by the war’s certain benefits to his re-election bid.

    Frankly, spreading this type of democracy, and associated “liberal values” is to spread a taste for cheese.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3KBuQHHKx0

  696. hans says:

    The American Hebrew September 10, 1920:
    The Bolshevist revolution in Russia was the work of Jewish brains, of Jewish dissatisfaction, of Jewish planning, whose goal is to create a new order in the world. What was performed in so excellent a way in Russia, thanks to Jewish brains, and because of Jewish dissatisfaction, and by Jewish planning, shall also, through the same Jewish mental and physical forces, become a reality all over the world.
    We have exterminated the property owners in Russia. We are going to do the same thing in Europe and America.

    Now say this in Germany or Austria and you will be locked up? Democracy is fun!

  697. This is outrageous – what has Iran done to the United States these incessant threats against Iran, are by Jews, who have usurped political power, and are carrying out terror wars, in the name of the United States.

    To provoke a justified warlike response, against the innocent citizenry in the heartland, the same Jews have put paid trouble makers onto the streets, and carried out nuclear attacks against America on 911.

    Good friends in Iran, the common enemy is Zionist Jews, they have been waging genocidal war against America, all the same as against you, their weak spot is the 911 attacks, they are eminently, and provably responsible .. the Koran tells you to “cast truth at falsehood,” .. you must do that!

  698. Lysander says:

    Thanks, Fio. Do you think a sizable proportion of evangelicals might be persuaded by Paul’s arguments of “Israel can atke care of itself?” It probably would not convince me, but I’m hoping it does them.

    IMHO, his “green light” to attack Iran is meaningless. Israel will not Attack Iran if it is unsure of US back up. As is his promise to also cut aid to Arabs. After all, that aid goes to buying Israel friendly regimes. Cutting it is more harmful to Israel than even cutting of aid to Israel.

    Finally, his declared intent to avoid war and sanctions with Iran and eventually move towards normalization isn’t the sign of a secret Zionist.

    Eric, if the US wants to provoke a war, it can. But it seems Obama declined the opportunity to destroy the captured drone. That leads me to believe the US IS interested in the global perception. I don’t think it wants the rest of the world to blame the US for starting the war. Persuading the US public is easier, I grant you, but even then that assumes a quick, easy war. If it drags on, with serious casualties and economic consequences, then even the US public will start to ask uncomfortable questions.

    A shadow war will not bring Iran to its knees. They can retaliate in kind while denying responsibility. There are still plenty of US troops in Afghanistan, and the few that are still in Iraq are easy targets.

  699. Lysander,

    “Again, the idea is to deny the US the ability to credibly blame Iran for any attack that occurs.”

    I’m not entirely sure that matters to the US government, though I still tend to agree with you that it does. Either way, I don’t think it matters because the US government will not find it difficult to “credibly blame Iran” — at least if one defines “credibly” with reference to the US government’s audience: the American public, whose credulity sets the credibility bar pretty low.

    My strong hunch is that, if ratcheted-up sanctions don’t provoke Iran, the US will carry out secret and then less-secret provocations against Iran (as it may well be doing already) — assassinations, electronic and physical sabotage, unarmed reconnaissance drone flights, armed reconnaissance drone flights, plausibly deniable drone bombings, implausibly deniable drone bombings, and so on, until Iran is left with no real choice but to retaliate.

    And as soon as that occurs, what might have required a protracted hand-wringing debate to win Congressional approval will become a slam-dunk thumb’s up vote phoned in from the golf course between the 12th and 13th holes.

  700. Fiorangela says:

    Lysander, I too have observed that Ron Paul walks a very careful line that does not confront or antagonize those who support Israel unconditionally. His statements that “Israel can take care of itself” were a bit disconcerting; I wondered if that was a tacit green light to Israel to do what it wished to Iran, and I further wonder if the US does not have an obligation to take responsibility for the monster we have participated in creating in zionist Israel, and take steps to contain Israel.

    Yes, I think that is Paul’s strategy. I think he’s wiser than Obama, who, I suspect, thought he could outmaneuver the Faustian bargain that put him in the White House. Today, in my opinion Obama is Keanu Reeves in “Devil’s Advocate,” wishing he’d stayed in Gainesville, FL.

    Would President Ron Paul be wily and strong enough to outmaneuver the neocons/hawks/zionists/Israel advocates in the US? It’s a tall order. If he could get leaders in the CIA — Panetta might be helpful — and the military to essentially stage an ‘elected coup,’ and purge congressional and administrative offices of zionized elements, he might have a chance of resetting America’s course.

    The other day Jack Abramoff was interviewed at an event at Harvard university about the pernicious nature of the lobbying system and his proposals for remedying the problem. Having explained that most of the work — and the ideological troublemaking– in congress are carried out by staff members, not elected officials (the latter are lazy and spend most of their time fund raising, not studying legislation). Thus, a key component of Abramoff’s proposed solutions is to pass a law that NO congressional staff member could EVER work as a lobbyist, after leaving government employ. If Ron Paul could somehow start with a clean house, he might have a chance. If he could stay alive.

    ____

    Photi, Your comment deserves a thoughtful response and I’ve made two attempts to put thoughts together but more work is needed.
    One factor that causes me to think zionism is the more malevolent influence is that zionist ideology is rooted in zionism’s founding doctrines, and broadcast and assertively expressed throughout Israeli society. The US at least has a different, more humanistic and universalist foundation, and although Americans are both willfully ignorant and deliberately misinformed — propagandized, in fact, by zionists! — the American people are starting to learn what has been going on for decades, and they are rejecting it and calling for a return to founding principles. Increasingly I hear people echoing Chris Hedges — voting or the different parties are not the answer; revolution in the US is mentioned more and more frequently. While Israelis are digging in with increasing bellicosity and stubborness, Americans are considering breaking down what they’re learning is an operating system that is corrupt. Huge difference.

    A second factor that causes me to think zionism is the bad actor in this situation is the history of the problem in the Middle East. In my understanding, the turmoil harks back to the breakup of the Ottoman empire and, specifically, the Versailles Treaty that betrayed the Arab states, denying them promised self-determination in favor of a ‘homeland in Palestine for the Jewish people.’ Every analysis of the situation has got to get to the root of the matter, and it is my belief that Wilson’s betrayal of Arab nationalist aspirations is that root.

    A third factor is a complex — extremely complex — understanding of the interrelationships among Zoroaster, Torah, and the New Testament. This argument needs work.

  701. Persian Gulf says:

    sounds like we should wait to see who is gonna blink first. I think currently Iran does not have that many options externally rather than to make it a full scale war scenario. internally though, it might be, just might be, possible to show a different face.

    does anyone have any information regarding the cost-effectiveness of the alternative route for transporting oil, in case SoH is closed by Iran? is there any plan under way for pipeline through the Arabian peninsula? what about its feasibility? and, why this method was not tried before?

  702. Arya says:

    Another on point yet depressing article by the Leveretts duo.

  703. Pirouz says:

    James, I find Iranian moves predictable.

    If Iran isn’t permitted petroleum exports – by means of naval blockade or effective sanctions – then it will direct retaliatory efforts against other oil exporting activities within the range and capabilities of its military forces.

    Indications are that Iran’s leadership is convinced a military conflict is inevitable. It could take the form of an “October surprise” preceding the 2012 U.S. presidential election, or follow a non-Ron Paul GOP presidential election win.

    I also believe the intended audience for the SoH comments being made in Tehran and by the IRIN Commander to be EU’s (and others like ROK’s) political and business establishments, as deliberations are being made on the sanctioning of Iran’s CBI and petroleum exporting.

    But bear in mind the Iranians did not blink in 2007, and they won’t blink today or tomorrow.

    This is all greatly disheartening to antiwar advocates, like myself.

  704. Lysander says:

    Kooshy,

    thanks for the info. Any other ideas on how Iran could respond? My view is that Iran should prevent the US from goading them into a war that they would be blamed for. If, God forbid, war comes, let the US be blamed for starting it.

    Fiorangela,

    I’ve been a Ron Paul supporter since early 2007. I’ve been closely observing his campaign. His way of deflecting the foreign aid/Israel question is by claiming to support Israeli sovereignty which allegedly is lost by the acceptance of US aid. For example, he would “green light” an attack on Iran, (so long as the US isn’t paying for it.) Of course, I don’t buy that, but it is probably the best strategy given his position on foreign aid. My guess is that he is trying to drive a wedge between evangelicals and other Israel supporters. My suspicion is that, while they all love Israel, a lot of them are not enthused by the idea of war with Iran, especially when they are beginning to realize the extent of the US financial crisis. Presenting them with the idea that “Zionism=self reliance and independence” might offer them a way to square the circle without feeling they have betrayed Israel.

    My questions are,

    1) Do you agree that this could be his strategy?

    2) could such a strategy work?

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

  705. kooshy says:

    Lysander says:

    December 28, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    “If not that, then perhaps an old, useless Iranian oil tanker can “accidentally” sink in the straights, blocking traffic for some time.”

    Iran has experience doing just that early on during Iran –Iraq war Iran sank a few ship in a vital water way bordering the two countries Arvand Rood or shatt al arab and destroying Iraq’s oil terminals.

  706. Photi says:

    Fiorangela,

    What do you think has a greater impact on American public opinion towards the role the US government assumes in the Middle East, Israel’s security concerns or Americans’ underlying sense of mission to spread our values near and far?

    If it is all about Israel, why do American politicians spend so much time crafting their speeches to justify their belligerence in the name of “freedom and democracy”? The American people are motivated by our values and only secondarily are (non-elite) Americans concerned about Israel’s security.

    Americans care enough about freedom and democracy to bring about these values through war, and so the neocons and other warmongers know the importance of winning the ‘freedom and democracy’ debate. When did America ever go to war in the name of something other than freedom and democracy? The impulse to hegemony on America’s part has deeper motivations than zionism and probably originates in the house on a hill puritanism.

  707. fyi says:

    All:

    The US confrontation with Iran in the Persian Gulf is funded by the Arab states of the Southern Persian Gulf.

    That is, they pay for the 50,000 or so US personnel and their naval and aerial assets deployed there.

    Furthermore, US need the tension there to sell weapons in order to sustain her arms industry.

    The tension, on the other hand, helps raise the price of oil globally.

    This helps oil producers everywhere while harming oil consumers – including US and her allies.

    At the moment, US leaders have no incentive for diplomatic settlement with Iran.

    They prefer the current arrangement of Neither Peace, Nor War; all the time hoping for some other threat to Iran to emerge and that would make Iran cede on this or that issue to US.

    On the other hand, that US is pinned down in the Persian Gulf poses a constraint on US resources; a crisis elsewhere in the world could, potentially, disturb the above arrangement. That is, US resources could be needed elsewhere and the confrontation with Iran, all of sudden, would become an intolerable strategic burden.

    It is then and only then that US leader might consider honest negotiations with Iran.

    As is, much of the cost of confrontation is borne by non-US state actors. I imagine very many leaders all over the world are fed-up both with US and with Iran.

  708. Rehmat says:

    I believe Flynt and Hillary don’t want to be in Rep. Ron Paul’s shoes. It’s not good to wake-up the Zionist dogs. Ron Paul could learn a few tips from Flynt and Hillary.

    “Ron Paul is a crackpot and vicious anti-Semite,“ David Horowitz.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/rep-ron-paul-is-a-vicious-anti-semite/

  709. Lysander says:

    Iran should not openly close the SoH. Instead it should impose a toll on all **commercial** shipping that passes through Iranian territorial waters. (It could make an exception for Naval shipping so as not to be forced to stop an air craft carrier.) Since ships have to pass through Iran’s territorial waters, they can come up with some legal mumbo jumbo about why they have a right to charge a passage fee.

    If war is indeed inevitable, the key is to make it appear as the other side’s fault and not Iran’s. Out and out closure makes it easy for the US to paint Iran as the bad guy and themselves as the saviors of international commerce.

    If not that, then perhaps an old, useless Iranian oil tanker can “accidentally” sink in the straights, blocking traffic for some time.

    Terrorism (while maintaining plausible deniability) against Saudi oil terminals is also an option. It would send oil prices sky high and force nations to buy Iranian oil despite sanctions.

    Again, the idea is to deny the US the ability to credibly blame Iran for any attack that occurs.

  710. Fiorangela says:

    This essay by the Leveretts leaves me more optimistic then ever: Israel is mentioned only twice, and then in an offhand manner. Apparently, the problem of Iranian support for Palestinians, and of Israeli oppression of Palestinians; and of Israel’s “orgasmic” compulsion to attack Iran, of overwhelming Israeli influence on US Congress are all resolved! Well done Flynt and Hillary.

  711. jay says:

    RE: Leveretts: what about Iran’s national interest? Wy have you stopped short of debating Iran’s options? Why do you presume without discussion that Iran is doing the right thing for itself by defying the world’s only superpower plus the rest of Western powers?….

    Implicit in your statement is the assertion that the Western front can be pacified by Iran’s acceptance of “some” compromises. This is dangerously naive! Once one has accepted dominance by a hegemon one cannot ask for limits based on “contractual” agreements. In practice, any Iranian compromise will inevitably lead to effective dismantling of the Iranian system.

    Iranians will bear the cost of sanctions, but Iran will survive the sanctions. Europe, and in part the US, will bear some of the cost as well. Iran will shift more to the East – there will be little more to do with sanctions. US will remain over-stretched in Afghanistan and Iraq, exposed in Egypt, SA, Qatar, UAE, Nigeria, Somalia, .. and its ally under pressure from unforeseen events in Syria, Lebanon, possibly Libya (yes Libya!).. and the US herself will be under internal pressure from unemployment, OWS, and rapidly decreasing standard of living that cannot be reversed.

    War will be a disaster now and a bigger disaster later – there is no good option for the US. Short of an accidental or one concocted by warmonger, the US will have to learn to live with an independent Iran or loose herself in the process.

  712. Karl says:

    The ratching-up tactic against Iran is getting more bizarre for every day that pass by.

    Since the failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, US are trying to save face, trying to find a scapegoat for their failures. They seek to reestablish their deterrence (they had some times during the cold war).

    Note the sheer hypocrisy, that Walt exposed. That is, if Iran feel threatened by US, UK, Israel etc, does Iran have the legal right to strike those nations on the premptive theory according to the same powers that threat Iran? If not, why does US etc think they could act through this theory and threat others?
    Actually Iran does would have a legal right to do such a thing since it is an obvious threat against the nation. US etc however lacks a legal right to strike Iran since it pose no threat.
    I also read that pathetic EU and France warned Iran not to close Hormuz because that threat the “free flow of oil”, that is hurting western economies. Thats very interesting and a hypocritical statement, since US/EU have sanctioned Iran going back 30 year not to mention that they threat to impose an oil embargo which threat the iranian economy. So, how come US, EU think they could sanction anyone plus even threat with war if the other party impose sanctions on themselves? Why does these nations think they rule the world and only them are allowed to take actions to preserve their interests?
    Its the usual colonialist-thinking when powerful nations like US and EU think they could boss with less powerful (often muslim) states. Dont they think the world see their horrendus hypocrisy?

    An oil embargo would of course hurt Iran but it would also hurt the european nations even more, however like other previous adventures in the region, nor EU nor US understand the reality, they are drifting along trying to portray themselves as strong and rational but fail miserably to conduct their middle east policy reasonable. Not to mention that the world economy would dive into economic depression, especially since the power-hubs in the western world already have huge problems with their economy.

  713. James Canning says:

    Empty,

    One might well ask why Iran tends to help “the west” maintain unity in bringing sanctions against Iran, rather than seeking to ascertain differences of opinion and to widen those differences.

    Russia and China also oppose any Iranian nuclear weapons programme.

  714. James Canning says:

    “Confronting intimidation, working for justice in Palestine”, by Ilan Pappe:

    http://electronicintifada.net/content/confronting-intimidation-working-justice-palestine/10746

  715. Empty says:

    Happy Birth of Hazrat Massih (a.s.) to those who believe.

  716. Empty says:

    RE: Leveretts: what about Iran’s national interest? Wy have you stopped short of debating Iran’s options? Why do you presume without discussion that Iran is doing the right thing for itself by defying the world’s only superpower plus the rest of Western powers?

    1. Based on which reliable evidence is it asserted that submitting to the US hegemony has served any nation’s interests even the slightest bit?

    2. Iran has not only not defied the world’s Only Superpower, her greatest honor is submitting ONLY to the world’s Only Superpower.

    I submit that it is in Iran’s long term interest to avoid a war on its territory at nearly all cost (including submitting to US illegal prohibition on Iran having a civil nuclear industry) that might cause the kind of destruction that Iraq suffered in the recent US aggression.

    It is rather sad to say that this sort of advice is not surprising at all. What was it that Clayton Williams, Texas gubernatorial candidate said way back when? “Rape is like bad weather: if it’s inevitable, you might as well relax and enjoy it.”

    It’s just not worth it to risk so much likely death and destruction on the humans inhabiting the Iranian plateau for the sake of being in the right legally.

    حضرت علی‌به امام حسین‌وصیت فرمود:”نفست را از هر زبونی و پستی دور بدار هر چند تو را به نعمت‌های بی‌شمار رساند؛ زیرا هرگز برابر آن چه از نفس خویش صرف می‌کنی به عوض نخواهی یافت و بنده دیگری مباش که خداوند تو را آزاد گردانیده است‌.”

    [Translation/interpretation: “Protect yourself all that is degrading and dishonorable even if it might have some material benefits. You could never justly obtain, in return for your humiliation and loss of dignity, anything that would be considered worthy. Never become a slave of another for God created you free.” Imam Ali (a.s.) advice to Imam Hussein (a.s.)]

    Let’s please keep in mind the misery that is the probable logical outcome of everyone – including this forum – sticking to their guns.

    Or…..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mk2HmUpIYM4

  717. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Cordesman says (on video you linked) that the US “wants Iraq to contain Iran.” What utter foolishness.

  718. James Canning says:

    Roger,

    I think five of the P5+1 powers would accept Iran’s civilian nuclear power programme. This would likely make it impossible for the US not to go along. I think Iran blundered by continuing to enrich uranium to 20% when needed supply for next eight or ten years seems already to have been produced.

  719. James Canning says:

    Habibollah Sayyari, Iran’s navy cheif, says Iran does not need to shut the Strait of Hormuz.

  720. James Canning says:

    k_w,

    The Israel Lobby prevented any investigation of the conspiracy to set up the illegal invasion of Iraq, and to protect the conspirators (and reward them).

  721. Roger says:

    Leveretts: what about Iran’s national interest? Wy have you stopped short of debating Iran’s options? Why do you presume without discussion that Iran is doing the right thing for itself by defying the world’s only superpower plus the rest of Western powers?
    I submit that it is in Iran’s long term interest to avoid a war on its territory at nearly all cost (including submitting to US illegal prohibition on Iran having a civil nuclear industry) that might cause the kind of destruction that Iraq suffered in the recent US aggression. It’s just not worth it to risk so much likely death and destruction on the humans inhabiting the Iranian plateau for the sake of being in the right legally.
    Let’s please keep in mind the misery that is the probable logical outcome of everyone – including this forum – sticking to their guns.

  722. James Canning says:

    Pirouz,

    I very much doubt Iran would actually close the Strait of Hormuz to international shipping, absent outbreak of war. Iranian policy has been to keep the Persian Gulf open to all nations, absent war.

  723. James Canning says:

    One might add that the numerous stooges of the Israel Lobby in the US Congress encourage Israeli flouting if international law, and these stooges do their best to reward Israel for demonstating contempt for international law.

  724. James Canning says:

    What tends to go unmentioned is the simple fact that the Israel Lobby wants to enable Israel to continue to do whatever Israel wants, in the West Bank. And Iran is seen as a spoiler, making this programme of sustained oppression of the Palestinians more difficult. Saddam Hussein was taken out in an illegal war set up by knowingly deceiving the American people. Many of the same warmongers, and other Israel Firsters, would like to see Iran injured in order to “benefit” Israel. And f*ck the American taxpayers.

  725. Pirouz: “The lines for war are being drawn in more defined fashion”

    Exactly. The course of future events are ever more clear. I see little basis of optimism that all this can be walked back at some point. Especially, as K-W points out below. that previous instigators of aggressive war have suffered ZERO penalties as a result. The elites of the U.S. simply put will never suffer for their greed and power lust, and thus the U.S. will continue to start war after war – until the world decides it has had enough and takes the U.S. down.

    The United States will no longer be an empire by the year 2050 – and possibly much sooner. The cost to the US citizen in the process will be considerable. And they will deserve it.

  726. Pirouz says:

    The lines for war are being drawn in more defined fashion:

    1) Congress is pushing for sanctions on the CBI and Iran’s petroleum industry, effectively blockading Iran.

    2) Iran’s Navy is asserting its capacity to effectively interdict shipping at the Straight of Hormuz, imposing a reverse-blockade as a means of retaliation.

    3) The U.S. Fifth Fleet is asserting its capacity to respond to such a retaliatory interdiction.

    Personally, it amazes me how, with all our problems here in the U.S., we have a leadership bent on creating more, by means of a totally unnecessary war. Who wants to pay for $6 to $8 dollar gas, with all the other increased, associated costs? And who wants a further economic downturn? As a result, we Americans would likely see political instability here at home, something that is just beginning to take shape and form.

    Mind boggling. Takes me back to my reading of Thucydides…

  727. fyi says:

    Dr. Cordesman on US-Iran Strategic Competition

    http://csis.org/multimedia/us-strategic-competition-iran

  728. k_w says:

    This might be a naive question, but why haven’t Bush et al. been tried for their war against Iraq?