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The Race for Iran

AMERICA GOES FROM BAD TO WORSE IN THE MIDDLE EAST’S “SOFT POWER WAR”

The latest methodologically serious poll of Arab public opinion—the “Arab Attitudes, 2011” survey, see here, conducted by IBOPE Zogby International for the Arab American Institute Foundation—should (but probably won’t) be read in the White House as a wake-up call about how badly the United States, under President Obama’s leadership, is doing in the Middle East.  More particularly, the poll—conducted in six Arab countries (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates)—reveals at least three important things about current perspectives on the “Arab street”: 

–First, the poll makes clear that, after briefly improving following Barack Obama’s election to the presidency in 2008, America’s favorability ratings “across the Arab world have plummeted”.  One striking example:  America’s favorability rating in Egypt is now five percent, down from 30 percent in 2009 and nine percent in 2008, as George W. Bush’s presidency was drawing to a close.  Indeed, in most of the countries surveyed (Saudi Arabia was an exception), U.S. favorability ratings today are lower than they were at the end of the George W. Bush Administration’s tenure.  That’s not a new finding; the 2010 running of the University of Maryland’s Arab Public Opinion survey, see here, produced a similar result.  But the new Zogby poll confirms the trend.    

–Second, whatever “hope” Arabs may have felt that Obama’s election would produce better U.S. policy in the Middle East “has evaporated”.  In current Arab perceptions, “U.S. interference in the Arab world” runs neck and neck with “continuing occupation of Palestinian lands” as the greatest threat to peace and stability in the Middle East.  In most Arab countries, Obama’s own favorability ratings are now lower than George W. Bush’s at the end of his presidency.         

–Third, Arab publics (as opposed to elites) are still not buying the argument pushed by the United States and by many of their own governments that the Islamic Republic of Iran is a major threat to Arab interests.  Among the items suggested by the pollsters, “Iran’s interference in Arab affairs” came in last, by significant margins, as problems which respondents identified as significant obstacles to peace and stability in the Middle East; only in Saudi Arabia did a high percentage of respondents identify Iranian “interference” as a major security concern.  This, too, is consistent with the findings of the 2010 Arab Public Opinion Survey. 

Furthermore, except in Saudi Arabia, more respondents in the 2011 Zogby poll agreed with the statement “Iran contributes to peace and stability in the Arab world” than with the statement “The United States contributes to peace and stability in the Arab world”.  In several countries, the difference in perceptions of Iran and the United States as positive forces was sizable (e.g., in Lebanon, where 57 percent see Iran as a positive influence, compared to 16 percent who see America that way, or in Egypt, where 32 percent see Iran as a positive influence, compared to 10 percent who view America in those terms).  The Press TV report on the new Zogby poll, see here, also mentions that, according to a poll conducted in June, 45 percent of Germans believe that the United States is a more serious threat to world peace than the Islamic Republic, while only 25 percent of Germans believe that Iran is a bigger threat to peace.   

We can imagine the response to all of this in the White House:  “But President Obama has reached out to the Muslim world.  He gave the Cairo speech.  He held an iftar at the White House.  He went to war in Libya to show that he really had been rooting for the crowds in Tahrir Square in Cairo all along.  What are we supposed to do?”  

But the new Zogby clearly indicates what other polls and ongoing contact with people who live in the Middle East reveal:  “public diplomacy”—or however else one wants to describe U.S. efforts to persuade Middle Eastern publics to support initiatives and positions that hurt their interests and offend their values—does not work.  The key to strategic success in the Middle East, for the United States or any other country, is good policy, grounded in a sober appreciation of regional realities. 

On this point, the Zogby poll suggests that the most popular country in the Middle East, right now, is Turkey, under Prime Minister Erdoğan’s AKP government.  Turkey—a country that, while maintaining its NATO membership, calls Israel to account for its continuing occupation of Palestinian lands, declines to side with the United States when it judges that U.S. policy on particular issues is going in counter-productive directions, and has forged an important strategic relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Might there be some lessons for the United States in that?     

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett  

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91 Responses to “AMERICA GOES FROM BAD TO WORSE IN THE MIDDLE EAST’S “SOFT POWER WAR””

  1. Castellio says:

    Humanist writes: “Right now joining the Islamophobic propaganda camp sounds like an unforgivable evil act.”

    Well, yes… genuine and considered criticism, however, is always welcome, and comes from friends who believe good analysis makes a difference.

  2. James Canning says:

    Humanist,

    I agree with you chances of a war with Iran are not especially high just now. Even Bernard-Henri Levy describes the Iraq War as idiotic. (See Financial Times today)

  3. James Canning says:

    Klaus,

    Poll showeed 56% saw Israel as biggest threat, and 54% saw Iran.

  4. James Canning says:

    Klaus,

  5. Online says:

    Wow, awesome blog structure! How lengthy have you been blogging for? you made running a blog look easy. The entire glance of your website is magnificent, neatly as the content material!

  6. Klaus Weiß says:

    James,

    there was one poll in 2007. Israel was described as the country the international influence of which was regarded as negative by 56 percent of all participants. Iran came in second (54%), the USA third (51%).

    http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,grossbild-817094-470061,00.html

  7. Humanist says:

    Arnold,

    You say “ I don’’t see why this article is to be taken more seriously than last summer’’s article that predicted as Israeli attack on Iran by this spring”

    What makes this time a bit different is this:

    Both Bear and Giraldi are ex-CIA officers. They have many friends in places where the alarm signals are received and analyzed…….and if Giraldi’s past writings on Israel are studied today most of them can be regarded as deserving a high score for truthfulness.

    However like you, my ‘feeling’ is the probability of Israel and US starting that moronic war soon is way less than 50%. But that is just a feeling, I don’t have any conclusive evidence to prove it. In this crazy world where the crazy people are positioned in the critical thrones every crazy act is possible

  8. Humanist says:

    Pirouz_2,

    I would’ve agreed with your reasoning if my perceptions were like yours that Israeli and US foreign policies are based on rationality. One can find dozens of examples they are not.
    Likudniks are DETERMINED to do something about Iran ‘before it is too late’. Netanyahu is recorded to say something like ‘we have to cut the head of snake before it bites us’. It is also possible in his mind, as some analysts believe, Iran is analogous to Amalek. In his holy book (the one that he claims his son is an expert on and the one that he studies with his son every week), in order to handle the Amalek problem his God’s instructions are:

    “Go now and fall upon the Amalekites and destroy them, and put their property under ban. Spare no one; put them all to death, men and women, children and babes in arms, herds and flocks, camels and donkeys”. (1 Samuel 15:3,4)

    It can’t get more barbarous than that yet some Likudniks (and neocons) openly liken Iran to Amalek.

  9. Humanist says:

    Castellio,

    Suddenly I realized, at present time, my islam-bashing endeavors are parallel to the actions of right-wing neocons (and those of their creations such as the Tea Party). I believe neocons are the appalling enemies of entire humanity and anything they do is in the realm of ultimate criminality.

    I’ll wait until I sense I’ve reached a critical cross-road where my silence is unjustifiable. Right now joining the Islamophobic propaganda camp sounds like an unforgivable evil act.

  10. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    A report in Spiegel July 30, 2010 said most funding for the insurgents in Daghestan comes from robbery and extortion.

  11. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Any support for the Muslim insurrections in the North Caucasus, coming from Saudi Arabia, is not solicited by Germany, the UK, Italy, etc etc etc. Germany imprts 40% of its natural gas from Russia. It has no wish to see parts of the Russian Federation secede.

  12. Fara says:

    Iraqi MPs: Saudi Arabia is sponsoring terrorism in Iraq.

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/189662.html

  13. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Yes, more propaganda from Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post. A dedicated neocon warmonger. We should remember that Jacques Chirac told Tony Blair, before the US/UK invasion of Iraq, that the result would be almost certain to be a government controlled by the Shia and close to Iran. And it would not be a “democracy”.

  14. fyi says:

    Castellio says: July 18, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Someone has to fund these people otherwise they would starve – not to mention paying for weapons and smuggling them into the region.

    Would Iran be doing it? Or Armenia? Or Syria? Or Turkey? Or Pakistan? Or China?

    No!

    Leave it to our friends in Saudi Arabia to fund it on behalf of their Axis Powers allies.

  15. Castellio says:

    The Washington Post continues its case for a continued occupation of Iraq.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/if-we-retreat-from-iraq-will-iran-take-over/2011/07/14/gIQA4ZscKI_story.html?hpid=z5

    You’ll note how the word “Persian” is used.

  16. Castellio says:

    FYI: You’re saying that the Muslim insurgency in the North Caucasus may be funded, at least in part, by Saudi Arabia, yes? Is there any published evidence of that?

  17. fyi says:

    James Canning says: July 17, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    No it is not.

    It rumor has it that it is also funded by Saudi Arabia, perhaps on behalf of theAxis Powers, per haps not.

    And some of the Chechen and assorted other hyper-agressive Caucasion folls are in Turkey – a NATO member.

    Of course it is all a charade: Russia has no leverage with Syria, with Iran, with Egypt and with the Palestinians. Other than that, she has great influence in the Middle East.

    The only Quartet that would or could matter would be: US, Israel, Syria, Iran.

  18. Rehmat says:

    The so-called label of anti-Semitism has become a joke in the West which is totally under the control of Zionism. The latest example is Germany’s ‘modified communist’ political party Die-Linke. In the past the party has been a voice against Angela Markel’s knee-jerk support for the Zionist regime. As result Die-Linke had long been demonized by Zionist-owned media and Markel’s government as ‘anti-Semitic’ for party’s criticism of Israeli brutalities.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/bonn-%e2%80%98how-thee-define-anti-semitism%e2%80%99/

  19. Rehmat says:

    Imagine Hillary Clinton’s reaction to an International Project Management conference held in Tehran, addressed by Iran’s finance minister Dr. Shamseddin Hosseini and Tehran’s Mayor Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf – but women are not allowed to participate! I bet Dr. Susan Rice may call for UNSC meeting to discuss this violation of women’s rights in a country ruled by fanatic Muslim cleric.

    Well, last week a Management Forum conference was held in Jerusalem which was addressed by Israel’s Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Bank Hapoalim CEO Zion Keinan. According to Israeli daily Ha’aretz, women were not allowed to take any part in the conference, whether from the podium, as members of the audience or in the journalists’ enclave.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/gender-racism-in-mes-only-democracy/

  20. James Canning says:

    Castellio:

    Tass quoted Lavrov as saying July 12th: “It is a pity that [the Quartet] gathered in Washington so late.” Moscow had proposed the meeting take place in March or April. FYI apparently thinks this is all a charade on the part of Russia.

  21. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Does Russia benefit from the Muslim insurrections in the North Caucasus?

  22. Castellio says:

    FYI: It’s my understanding that both Ukraine and South Korea are now aligned with Israel.

  23. fyi says:

    James Canning says: July 17, 2011 at 2:01 pm`

    “Avoiding another catastrophic war in the ME is in the interests of every country on the planet.”

    This is patently false.

    Russia, China, Brazil, India, Mexico, Norway, Ukraine, Korea(s), Japan have no dog in that fight.

    War benefits many states; cheif among them Russia and China.

    Just like the Iran-6, the (North) Korea-6, the Quartet is a testament to US weakness as well as political incompetence. US, in each case, ceded power to other states that had no interest in resolving the problem, being incapable of addressing issues that were fundamentally of a bi-lateral nature.

    War is the only way forward for Arabs (and Muslims) in Palestine.

  24. James Canning says:

    On July 11th, after the Quartet meeting at the US State Dept., Tony Blair issued a statement saying, in part: “I think the blueprint is to recognise you’re not going to go back to precisely the same borders as 1967. But 1967 borders with mutually agreed negotiated swaps is obviously the right way forward.”

    To please rich and powerful Jews, needed of course for the 2012 elections, Hillary Clinton is trying to pressure the Palestinians into accepting a fait accompli, regarding significant portions of the West Bank, without any return whatever, for the Palestinians, from Israel. In other words, for political reasons, Clinton is trying to scr*w the Palestinians.

  25. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Sergei Lavrov has worked hard for years, in effort to resolve the Israel/Palestine problem. Avoiding another catastrophic war in the ME is in the interests of every country on the planet.

    Interesting panel discussion was held in Las Vegas yesterday (Saturday). Topic: “Liberty or Empire: America, Israel, and the Tea Party”.

  26. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Thanks. Austin Bramwell is a lawyer in New York and he writes for several “conservative” magazines. He certianly did a good job of probing the weaknesses of Charles Hill’s book.

  27. fyi says:

    James Canning says: July 17, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    The war in Palestine over Palestine will continue.

    The Quartet does not have the power to bring the war to a close.

    And why would Russia help US and EU achieve a durable peace in Palestine when the continuation of the war there – with its continued poisoning of the Axis Powers relations with Muslim states serves Russian (and Iranian, and Chinese) interests?

    The Axis Powers have the desire to end the war but do not know how – they cannot end it.

    Only war and more war will force the Israelis to leave the West Bank and the Golan.

    The demose of Mubarak and the eventual replacement of the Alawaite Regime in Syira will bring the war of liberation of Al Quds that much closer.

    A combined Islamo-Arab assault on Israel is inevitable.

  28. James Canning says:

    FYI,

    Russia Today (rt.com) on July 12th reported that Sergei Lavrov regards Israel as “too focused” on its security. It also reported that “all Quartet members” regard the ore-1967 borders as the starting point for negotiations. The ISRAEL LOBBY is pressuring Obama into changing the US stance, and Obama quite foolishly is trying to coerce the Palestinians into both recognising Israel as a “Jewish” state, and accepting Israeli annexation of significant parts of the West Bank – - before negotiations begin!

  29. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The Obama administration is trying to coerce the Palestinians into giving Israel several of its primary objectives, in exchange for nothing. This of course is typical of the US, and it reflects the desire of Democrats to gratify rich and powerful Jews whose support is needed in the 2012 elections.

  30. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    If Iran-China trade will be $40 billion this year, that is the target that Turkey hopes to reach in a few years.

    And of course, German, Swiss, Italian companies suffer. But the ISRAEL LOBBY in the US wants SANCTIONS. That the sanctions merely channel trade toward China is beside the point.

  31. James Canning says:

    Klaus Weiss,

    Do you read Spiegel? I think spiegel.de online has reported German polls showing that the US is considered a major threat to ME peace.

  32. Off-topic (Libya):

    The only portion of UNSC Resolutions 1970 and 1973 that would justify releasing the Libyan government’s frozen assets is Paragraph 18 of Resolution 1970:

    “18. [The Security Council] expresses its intention to ensure that assets frozen pursuant to paragraph 17 shall at a later stage be made available to and for the benefit of the people of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya;”

    Paragraph 18 plainly calls for frozen assets to be released for the benefit of ALL Libyans – “the people of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya” – not only those who live in rebel-held territories. This means that frozen assets must be released, if at all, mostly to benefit the people in Qaddafi-held areas, since most Libyans live there. News reports indicate that civilians are suffering from severe shortages in those areas.

    Though the US and other Western countries cannot justify releasing frozen assets exclusively to rebel-held areas, that nevertheless may be what they have in mind. If so, it will be interesting to hear the explanations offered for excluding the majority of the Libyan population, to whom the majority of those frozen assets belong.

  33. Klaus Weiß says:

    I am German, but I am not aware of any poll regarding threats to world peace being conducted recently. Unfortunately, PressTV and Irib do not publish any links … So, either not a single German news outlet has mentioned it so far — or it is a fake.

  34. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Phenomenal performance by Mahmoud ‘El Magnifico’ Ahmadinejad’s team. I’d hate to think what our performance would be if the sanctions *weren’t* working!

    Iran and China increase trade
    Sunday, 17 July 2011

    Iran Focus

    Tehran, Jul. 17 – Iran and China have signed several agreements worth $4 billion to expand infrastructure and trade ties, Iranian state media reported on Saturday.

    The agreements were signed on Saturday in front of He Guoqiang, a senior official of the Communist Party of China who is on a three-day official visit to Iran, and Iranian Vice-President Mohammad Javad Mohammadizadeh.

    The state-run news agency Fars reported that part of the deal was that China would invest heavily in some of Iran’s major infrastructure projects including a water diversion project and a dam. Chinese companies would also import large amounts of chrome Ore and Celestine from Iran.

    Earlier in the week, China’s Ambassador to Tehran stated that the total value of trade exchanges between Iran and China was predicted to reach $40 billion this year.

    Addressing an Iran-China trade conference in Tehran on Monday, Ambassador Yu Hung Yang said that the value of the two countries’ trade exchanges had witnessed a 55% growth during the first four months of 2011 and amounted to $13.28bln.

    He said trade exchanges between Iran and China amounted to $30bln in 2010, adding that “China exported $11.1bln worth of goods to Iran, while its imports totalled $18.3bln last year”.

    The Chinese envoy added that his country’s direct investment in Iran had increased by 48.3% during the first four months of 2011 amounting to $178mln.

    Iran and China are actively seeking to increase trade and cooperation in all areas. Iran’s main export to China has consistently been crude oil.

    Iran is currently China’s third largest supplier of crude, consisting of approximately 12% of China’s total annual oil consumption. This amounts to nearly one million barrels per day.

  35. fyi says:

    KVoorhees says: July 16, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    I think the most you can say is that the US intelligence services have information regarding foreign nationals in their country.

  36. fyi says:

    James Canning says: July 16, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    American Leaders and their diplomats are indeed stupid to have anything to do with the “Palestinians recognizing Israel as the Jewsih State”.

    So, the leaders of the nominally secular state of USA are asking Palestinian to act as though they are the Council of Rabbinate?

    Stupid!

  37. Castellio says:

    I don’t know who Austen Bramwell is, James, but his analysis is on the mark in the article you recommend to Fiorangela.

  38. Pirouz_2 says:

    Humanist says:
    July 16, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Personally I disagree with Baer’s predictions on several points:

    1) In my opinion there is a NON-NEGLIGIBLE and real threat of US/Israelies starting a war against Iran. But for the life of me I don’t understand why the month “Spetember” is so special? I am afraid the more “dead-lines” some people set on an attack on Iran, once those dead-lines are passed the more the REAL threat of attack on Iran will sound like cry-wolf which is VERY DANGEROUS. The danger of US/Israeli attack on Iran is real but there is no reason to think that it will happen this september or the next or even the one after that!

    2) Baer says that Israelies “hope” to bring US in that war. I am so surprised at a man as knowledgeable as Baer to say something like that. If Israel ever attacks on Iran it will be by the FULL CONSENT of the USA. Israelies without USA cannot do much to Iran. And even USA cannot destroy Natanz without boots on the ground UNLESS it uses nukes. Does Baer claim that Israelies will “nuke” Iran by September??

    3) NO MAN IN THE IRANIAN ESTABLISHMENT WILL BE HAPPY TO SEE A WAR WITH THE WEST. AND I SEE THE IRANIAN POLITICIANS AS VERY SHREWD AND SOBER MINDED IN THEIR DECISION MAKING. This is a MYTH generated by some members of the Iranian opposition in diaspora that the Iranian system is hated by an ever increasing number of Iranians (which is NOT true) and that they “survive” on their conflict with the West. This is absolutely wrong. I dont think anyone in IRGC or anywhere else in the Iranian establishment wishes for a war with USA. On the contrary they do everything in their power (short of submission) to prevent that.

  39. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Ledeen is protected by a number of rich and powerful people, many of whom are Jews determined to “protect” Israel no matter how many trillions of dollars this idiotic programme costs the American taxpayers. I agree the faking of the intel (yellowcake, Niger, etc.) warranted prison. I think Bush was actually duped by the fake intel, and that this was done intentionally.

  40. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    You might enjoy Austin Bramwell’s comments on Charles Hill, dated July 27, 2010 (“The Shallow Drafts of Charles Hill”), and his book Grand Strategies.

    http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/blog/2010/07/27/the-shallow-drafts-of-charles-hill/

    Bramwell rubbishes Hill’s contentions regarding American exceptionalism. And sets out a number of significant flaws in Hill’s book.

  41. Castellio says:

    James. Bitter laughter in Ledeen’s case. Why is he not in prison for his part in the forgery of the “yellow cake” letter from Niger?

    Arnold, I think you’re in the best position to answer your own question. You’ve consistently argued that the ability of Iran to hurt American military interests in the Middle East argued convincingly against any bombing of Iran. In your opinion, especially given draw downs in Iraq, does that still hold?

    RSH argues that the military attack is predetermined by the fundamental corruption of the American government (and all governments in general), and I’ve argued that the military action is coming as an attempt to consolidate the “gains” the US believes it has made since the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, and its actions within Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, etc.

    I remain convinced that the policy makers in the US, like Charles Hill, fundamentally believe that the US is winning an historical battle at a reasonable cost, and I repeat that they perceive the financial stress as useful for their domestic agenda.

  42. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Want another laugh? Michael Ledeen on July 12th claimed that “The [Iranian] regime is a collection of losers, men who wrecked their country, who were defeated – - alongside their al-Qaeda proxies – - in Iraq. . .” The US squandered $3 trillion on the Iraq quagmire, to defeat Iran?

  43. Castellio says:

    Unknown Unknowns: you made me laugh.

    From aging buildings burdened with asbestos to be removed to an insurance payout of billions.

  44. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Interesting article you linked (by Siverstein, regarding funding of Republican propagandists by interests connected to Israeli right wing, who of course are trying to prevent a fair resolution of the Israel/Palestine problem). Michael Ledeen was a core conspirator in the setting up of the illegal invasion of Iraq, on knowingly false pretenses. And he has been protected by American news media.

  45. Castellio says:

    Humanist, I apologize if you thought I was being sarcastic with my previous response to you. I hadn’t intended that. It’s just that oxymorons, “where apparent contradictions appear in conjunction” are by nature definitional, and definitions are only place holders in the real world. They may be placeholders of short duration, or longer, but only place holders none the less. Republicanism and Islam are influencing each other as we speak. As are Atheism and Christianity, Humanism and Buddhism, etc.

    You ask me what books I suggest, and I think, books? books? I don’t want this guy to assume he’s learning by yet more reading … maybe getting lost in a foreign city where he doesn’t speak the language, where he is dependent on the humanism of others who don’t share “beliefs”.

    Most people are good. Many are exceptionally good.

    However, I can’t resist, since you mention Darwin: Peter Munz – Philosophical Darwinism – On the Origin of Knowledge by Means of Natural Selection Routledge, 1993.

  46. KVoorhees says:

    @fyi
    Did you also believe in bin Laden’s fabulous caves, the ones with (according to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld on Meet the Press) had medical facilities, computer systems, ventilation shafts, entrances big enough to park tanks?

    The interesting thing about Rumsfeld saying that on Meet the Press in December 2001 is that if he wasn’t lying, if he believed it, that means the US government actually had no idea of the capabilities of Osama bin Laden and believed in a wildly inflated notion – wildly because the only caves they found were enough for one or 2 people to crawl into. By 11:00 am on 9/11/2001 they were proclaiming it was Osama bin Laden based on their wildly inflated notion of his capabilities.

    fyi, please check out the story of the Bukharis, Ameer and Adnan. Just google it. There is no way those 2 would have gotten into the 9/11 mix unless someone had been collecting the names and identities of Saudi pilots. And they had nothing to do with 9/11; one was dead a whole year and one was in his own apartment, found by a SWAT team. Hence, there is no credibility (to an honest person!) for any 9/11 hijacker identities.

  47. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    MJ Rosenberg ofter has pieces on Huffpo that are worth reading and make good points. Would Natanyahu start an idiotic war with Iran, to disrupt UN recognition of Palestine with 1967 borders? We can be sure the numerous stooges of the Israeli government, to be found in the US Congress, would do little to restrain Netanyahu.

  48. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    If MJ Rosenberg thinks Israel can be eliminated by military means, he is an idiot. Israel can ultimately undo itself, by failing to end the occupation of the West Bank. This is the reason the US is trying to force the Palestinians into agreeing to Israeli annexation of significant part of the West Bank. So Israel can “withdraw” from the remainder (while keeping an army along the Jordan River).

  49. James Canning says:

    I recommend “Barriers to Peace – - Christians as well as Muslims suffer from Palestine’s occupation”, by Doug Bandow in the American Conservative magazine August 2011 (amconmag.com).

  50. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Castellio says:
    July 16, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    FYI: And WTC 7, unhit by any airplane, fell down at freefall speed because….

    … because “Lucky” Larry Silverstein told them “to pull it.”

    And don’t worry, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

  51. Arnold Evans says:

    Humanist says:
    July 16, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    So on October 1, do they admit they were wrong?

    Here’s MJ Rosenberg in the article you link:

    It should be noted that the Iranian regime is quite capable of triggering a war with the United States on its own through some combination of colossal stupidity and sheer hatred. In fact, Baer says, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard would welcome a war. They are “paranoid.” They are “worried about … what’s happening to their country economically, in terms of the oil embargo and other sanctions.” And they are worried about a population that increasingly despises the regime.

    Here’s MJ Rosenberg in 2007 explaining why he openly opposes democracy in Egypt:

    http://mideastreality.blogspot.com/2011/07/j-street-vs-aipacs-visions-of-us.html

    I think that a democratic Egypt could very well repudiate the peace treaty with Israel leading to war, major Israeli (and potentially American) losses and even the end of the Jewish state. Sorry, that is too high a price to pay.

    I don’t see why this article is to be taken more seriously than last summer’s article that predicted as Israeli attack on Iran by this spring.

    Israel has been right on the verge of attacking the US since 2004 and we’ve seen this article at least once a year since then.

  52. Fara says:

    Kooshy, here is what I found on wikipedia;

    US’s debt: 58.9% of GDP(CIA and Eurostat) or 92.7% of GDP (IMF), both for 2010.

    Frankly, I don’t know why such a big difference.

  53. Fara says:

    kooshy says:
    July 16, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Kooshy, you re right. That also came to my attention and double-checked it with other sources (the US’ GDP is ~$14.6 trillion (2010)). I just wanted to qoute the source, without changing the content. I guess I could have added a question mark in front of the US’ % of GDP.

  54. kooshy says:

    Fara- I wonder if the numbers for US is correct , sound like the % should be closer to 100% almost 14T debt and the GDP is around 14T, do you know if the number is correct

    “US Federal Debt for end FY 2011: $15.476 trillion, As of June 29, 2011, the Total Public Debt Outstanding of the United States of America was $14.46 trillion and was approximately 98.6% of calendar year 2010′s annual GDP of $14.66 trillion. Using 2010 figures, the IMF places the total U.S. debt at 96.3% of GDP, ranked 12th highest against other nations.”

  55. Humanist says:

    Robert Bear predicts Israel will attack Iran in September:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mj-rosenberg/former-cia-official-israe_b_900117.html

    Should this ring an alarm bell? I remember some times back Philip Giraldi in atiwar.com presented a similar prediction.

    Both Bear and Giraldi are ex-CIA officers. They have many friends in places where the real news are…and most of Giraldi’s past ME assertions have already proven their dependability.

    Should we take these assertions seriously? I am a bit worried since Netanyahu (who lectures US officials) is representing a real power. In my view he and the invisible influential Likudnis, apart from lacking vision and being deceptive have psychopathic personalities. I doubt they can pass the recent tests of psychopathy by US researchers who use fMRI to analyze the brains of jailed hard core convicts.

    Remember Netanyahu likened Iran to Amalek. (Google “netanyahu amalek iran”, when I did that a very frightening multi-facet picture emerged….I deeply hope I drew the wrong conclusions, else maybe the world is about to face unprecedented types of trouble)

  56. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Yes, Keith Weissman worked for AIPAC in the mid-1990s when it was doing its best to block the restoration of normal relations between Iran and the US. Stated another way, Weissman was paid $100,000 per year to subvert the national security interests of the American people.

  57. Castellio says:

    Fiorangela at 12:54..

    Talking of which, Richrd Silverstein adds today: “I reported here a few years ago about The Israel Project’s “Hasbara Handbook,” created for it by Republican master strategist, Frank Luntz. He was paid handsomely for his work, earning over $200,000 from the group in 2009. Apparently, TIP is strengthening its ties to the Republican far-right even farther. Think Progress reports that Ralph Reed has a $140,000 contract to consult in the field of “political affairs” for TIP. The author of the piece notes Reed has founded a new right-wing group, the Faith and Freedom Coalition, which hosted Likud ultra-hawk Danny Danon at its last convention, which was also attended by most of the Republican presidential candidates.”

    Is this the future of the US?

    http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2011/07/16/israel-project-puts-another-high-powered-far-right-republican-consultant-on-payroll/

  58. James Canning says:

    Is it not reasonable to see the US as a greater threat to the peace of the Middle East, than Iran? Is this the opinion of most Germans? Is the US quite stupidly trying to keep a permanent military presence in Iran, to “protecct” Israel? At a cost of how many billions of dollars per year?

  59. James Canning says:

    The Financial Times had a report yesterday on the effort of the US, at the meeting this past week of the Quartet, to convince the EU, Russia and the UN, that the Palestinians should recognise Israel as a Jewish state, and accept Israeli annexation of significant portions of the West Bank, BEFORE the UN reconnnises Palestine as independent. Obviously, the US is striving to deny the Palestinians most of the leverage they will obtain from UN recognition. What a surprise. With hundreds of stooges of the ISRAEL LOBBY serving in the US Congress, the US can be relied upon to subvert the interests of the Palestinians. And the best interests of the american people. Thanks to wealth and power of Jews in the US (including the near-total control of the media, in reporting matters pertaining to Israel/Palestine).

  60. Humanist says:

    This interesting BBC video sheds doubt on existence of al-Qaeda

    http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_63362.shtml

  61. Castellio says:

    FYI: And WTC 7, unhit by any airplane, fell down at freefall speed because….

  62. fyi says:

    KVoorhees says: July 16, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Yes, I believe that 19 young Arab men hailing from the Arabian Penninsula attacked the United States.

    They did this by taking advantage of the (relative) openness of the United States and the mutual trust obtaining in that society.

    Up until late 1970s, you could walk into the cabin with your passanger(s) and set them up and then leave the plane.

    Up to around that time, you could walk into many US Public Libraries and review the technical specifications of the Bell Telephone System. That is how hackers got their start and as a consequence, a few years later, those documents were removed, en mass, from US Public Libraries.

    The 9/11/2001 attacks would not have happened in a police state like Israel or even in UK. It was a one-shot thing, with the perpetrators taking advantage of US openness – some would say security gaps.

  63. Fiorangela says:

    Castellio at 3:18pm — on listening to Charles Hill discuss his ideas on Islam with David Ignatius:

    Hill is at the Hoover Institute, I believe.

    Perhaps the name of the institute signifies that its scholars work in a fact vacuum. Laurent Murawiec’s 2008 opus, The Mind of Jihad, may have been a template for Hill’s study. Murawiec asserts that the evils of Islamic jihadism can be traced to 10-11th century millenialism http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/MindofJ .

    Hill ransacks European history only to the 17th century. Piker.

    Laziest of all authors are David Hirst, whose “Beware of Small States” pinpoints the source of the Islamic winter of discontent to the 1917 Balfour Declaration; and Ussama Makdisi. In “Faith Misplaced: The Broken Promise of US-Arab Relations: 1820-2001,” Makdisi stretches Hirst’s focal point insofar as he provides greater background and context for the intensity with which Arabs and Muslims experienced the perfidy of the Balfour Declaration.

    The Leveretts provided much appreciated background information on Charlie Hill: he fits the category that former AIPAC agent Keith Weissman, who helped to write the 1995 and 1996 sanctions against Iran, described in a recent, extensive interview: “I worked for AIPAC because I had two kids in college and needed a job. I would finally make a hundred thousand dollars.” :http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2011/06/aipac-from-the-inside-part-2-wrangling-over-regime-change.html

    Theodor Herzl’s zionist project may have had similar motives — arranging for a steady paycheck for a legion of “mediocre intellectuals,” as Herzl termed them in “Der Judenstaat.” :http://www.mideastweb.org/jewishstate.pdf

    “At the same time we continue to produce an abundance of mediocre intellects who find no outlet, and this endangers our social position as much as does our increasing wealth. Educated Jews without means are now rapidly becoming Socialists.”

    Jakob Heilbrunn observed in “They Knew They Were Right” that the original neocons were young Trotskyites, students at City College of New York (where tuition was paid by the state, by the way), who were angry that they could not gain admission to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.

    It is extremely important to recognize the extent to which history is being falsified by this legion of “mediocre intellects,” and fed on silver-plated spoons provided by Israeli ideologues, to American policymakers and the American public.

  64. Fara says:

    fyi says:
    July 16, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Unfortunately, I don’t have the corporate debt info. I accidentally found those numbers and I decided to share it here.

  65. Castellio says:

    Pirouz_2, I think you’re on the right road, personally. If one listens to the Hill interview with your perspective in mind, everything he says falls into place. But he doesn’t call it capitalism, but rather the international order. And what he means when he says procedural as opposed to “substantive” is that series of regulations that make the rapid accumulation of capital possible.

    When capitalism encourages investments in better ways, smarter means, it has enormous beneficial effects. When the rate of return isn’t being sustained by such investment and is sustained by financial crimes and perpetual war… you get contemporary America.

  66. KVoorhees says:

    I note 2 very important omissions from this poll:

    1. A question about whether people believe the official 9/11 story of 19 amateur hijackers outwitting all of the world’s intelligence services, FBI, NORAD, FAA, airport security at 4 airports simultaneously and causing the never-happened-before-or-since total explosion in air of 3 skyscrapers from fire.

    Earlier Pew polls had that question and the respondents in Muslim countries were majority disbelieving. Respondents in Mexico and other south of the border countries were disbelieving, too, I believe.

    2. A question about whether people belive the official Osama bin Laden killing raid story. You’re not going to believe it will make much of a difference if you believe it is a ludicrous fairy tale. The most wanted man in the world surprised in his underwear by a team of helicopter rappelling Navy SEALS because he didn’t even have a dog to warn him of intruders and – unless he and everyone else in his “luxury compound” was deaf – he thought they were coming for the guy next door as everyone else in that city was outside watching the commando operation.

    In fact, you might suspect that the arrogant silliness of that fairy tale means things are only going to get worse. They don’t even bother to have a modicum of credibility.

  67. Unknown Unknowns says:

    An interessting picture on Nader Uskowi’s blog:

    http://www.uskowioniran.com/

  68. Unknown Unknowns says:

    fyi

    Welcome back. I guess.

    Hope everything came out ok.

    Best,

    UU.

  69. fyi says:

    Fara says: July 16, 2011 at 3:19 am

    Thank you for posting these numbers.

    Do you know the amount of corporate debt in these countries – heard that Japanese companies, for example, have zero debt.

    Please advise.

  70. Fara says:

    The 10 most indebted G20 nations:

    Country debt (% of GDP) debt ($)
    Japan 225.8 2.44 trillion
    Italy 118.1 2.22 trillion
    France 83.5 4.70 trillion
    Germany 78.8 4.71 trillion
    UK 76.5 8.98 trillion
    Brazil 60.8 310.8 billion
    US (2010) 58.9 13.98 trillion
    India 55.9 237.1 billion
    Argentina 50.3 160.9 billion
    Turkey 48.1 270.7 billion

    Japan: Japan may hold only the sixth-highest debt level of any of the world’s nations, yet none come close when it comes to fiscal liabilities as a percentage of GDP. From 2009 to 2010, Japan’s debt as a percentage of its GDP soared by 8.1 per cent, and Mother Nature may make things worse before they get better. According to the Market Oracle, the Fukushima nuclear disaster that followed the island nation’s earthquake and tsunami in March will add up to $175 billion to Japan’s debt directly.

    Italy: One of only two nations where national debt exceeds total GDP, Italy is desperately trying to stabilize its unemployment rate. It rose from 7.8 per cent in 2009 to 8.4 per cent last year, but has since found a middle ground — about 8.1 per cent as of the latest figures. But that number doesn’t account for youth unemployment in Italy, where nearly 30 per cent of Italians aged 15 to 24 are without work as the country’s economy faces stagnant growth.

    France: Though it carries a similar debt level to the previous country on this slide, France’s liabilities appear much more concerning on a per capita basis. France’s debt level is only a sliver (well, a “sliver” by national debt levels) less than Germany’s, but the latter’s debt per capita figure is just $57,755. Each French resident, conversely, owes the equivalent of nearly $75,000.

    Germany: While it has stood in support of Greece’s faltering economy — Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to foot much of last year’s $155 billion bailout package — Germany is not without its debts, too. Germany carries the third-highest external debt of the world’s countries, and it’s not slowing down. From 2009 to 2010, as a percentage of its GDP, Germany’s fiscal liabilities grew by 6.3 per cent.

    UK: Even outside the G20 membership, the U.K. holds the second-most highest debt of any country on earth. And unlike other nations, which are slashing unemployment as the economy heals, there are several red flags hiding in the U.K.’s fiscal profile. Not only did the United Kingdom’s unemployment actually jump from 2009 to 2010 (up 0.3 per cent, a rarity on this list), its debt level similarly boomed by 8.3 per cent as a percentage of its national GDP. On a per capita basis, each U.K. citizen owes more than a whopping $144,000, a figure that dwarfs even what the average American ($45,097) is on the hook for.

    Brazil: Even Brazil, which has been oft-hailed by Canadian investing guru Kevin O’Leary as the next great economy, cannot escape a rising national debt. Still, while the South American nation’s debt rose by 1.3 per cent as a percentage of its GDP from 2009 to 2010, its inflation rate stayed constant during that time, when unemployment also dropped by more than one per cent.

    US: What else can we say about the United States’ debt? By the latest estimates, the U.S. owes nearly $14.3 trillion, and perhaps comparison is the best way to illustrate how obscene a number that really is. By contrast, the U.S. — whose debt level is by far the highest on earth, let alone among G20 nations — owes more than the entire European Union, which is made up of 27 countries.

    India: Though its national debt is nothing to sneeze at, India boasts one of the more remarkable debt per capita figures in the entire world. At a time when Canada’s debt, when spread out over our entire population, reaches just shy of $30,000 per Canuck, India — with its 1.2 billion citizens — has a debt per capita number of a measly $195.

    Argentina: As Argentina’s debt balloons, so too do consumer prices in the South American nation. According to the CIA World Factbook, Argentina’s debt as a percentage of its national GDP rose 1.7 per cent from 2009 to 2010, a year-long stretch when the country’s inflation spiked a whopping six per cent. All this, the Factbook notes, in a nation where 30 per cent of the population lives under the poverty line.

    Turkey: While Turkey seems positively restrained compared to its debt-ridden neighbour Greece, the nation is still sliding further underwater. Despite lowering its unemployment rate from 14.1 per cent in 2009 to 12.4 per cent last year, Turkey’s national debt as a percentage of its GDP jumped nearly two per cent over that same period.

    source: http://money.ca.msn.com/investing/gallery.aspx?cp-documentid=29516186

  71. Pirouz_2 says:

    I am going to give my humble opinion -in a very short few sentences- here, although I am fairly confident that very few people will agree with me:

    USA is going from bad to worse in losing the “soft power war” simply because it cannot possibly want to go in the other direction with the absolutely vital requirements of its internal dynamics. USA has at its basis the cycle of capitalism production for the purpose of non-stop ever increasing profit. Of course this is the basis of production of the vast majority of the globe. However, USA has the extra function of being the “guardian” of the current world order which makes it extra commited to the requirements of the capitalist production. The loyalty of the US statesmen -or in other words the “national interests” of the USA- is not to the interests of its people but it is to the interests of maintaining the global capitalist system of production. And this system of production DEMANDS the US hegemony (as the current guardian of the global capitalist system).
    Expecting US to change its policies to win the “soft war power” is tantamount to expecting a lion to go vegeterian in order to win the “hearts and minds” of the deers.
    So long as USA relies on the current system of production and more importantly so long as USA is the guardian of the current global system of production it can never win the “soft war”. It has to try to win the ‘hard war’ -based on military supremacy- irrespective of how the vast majority of the world population hates them

  72. Castellio says:

    worth reading: The CIA’s Secret Sites in Somalia

    http://www.truth-out.org/cias-secret-sites-somalia/1310732336

  73. Unknown Unknowns says:

    US has no credibility says:
    July 15, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Nice informative post. Thanks. It is always interesting to me to read about Turkey and her relationship with the West. Methinks the more Turkey cosies up to the West, the less she will be looked at as a role model by countries such as Egypt and Tunisia and Algeria, whose new generation of leaders is coming of age.

    To paraphrase professor Marandi: truly, the current imam of Iran and of the Shi’a of the world, our Rahbar and Vali, has negotiated these rough waters and these daunting rapids masterfully.

  74. Rehmat says:

    A 2010 Arab Public Opinion Poll found that 57% of participants believed that a nuclear-armed Iran would be good for the Arab World. A 2011 PEW poll reported that 83% of the participants called Israel the greatest threat to the region, followed by the US. Only 10% had similar views about Islamic Republic of Iran.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/how-real-is-irans-nuclear-threat-to-israel/

  75. Rehmat says:

    Reza Esfandiari – Russia and China are not weak in military strength. In fact their leaders are more patriotic than US leaders. While the formers guard their national interests – the later looks after the interests of a hostile foreign entity, Israel.

  76. US has no credibility says:

    Turkey has more journalists in prison than any other country in the world, including China and Iran, according to a press release issued Monday by the International Press Institute.

    The group based its release on a report published by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or OSCE, that said 57 journalists are currently in prison in Turkey. As of December, Iran and China each had 34 journalists behind bars.

    “While Iran and China topped lists in December by reportedly jailing some 34 journalists each, Turkey, a candidate for membership in the European Union, has nearly doubled that number five months later, raising questions about the country’s commitment to freedom of the press and the legitimacy of its democratic image,” IPI Press Freedom Adviser Steven M. Ellis wrote in an article featured on the institute’s website

    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=ipi-report-declares-turkey-world-leader-of-imprisoned-journalists-2011-04-08

    Turkey was the first Muslim country to recognize Israel in March 1949. Michael Dickson provides information on the economic cooperation between the two countries:

    Turkey is currently Israel’s biggest trade partner in the region and its second-biggest in the world, following the United States. In the first three months of 2011, Turkey exported products worth $579.3 million to Israel and imported goods worth $397.3 million.

    While Turkey purchases high-tech defense-industry equipment from Israel, amongst the goods they export are military uniforms and footwear for the Israeli army.

    No one should trust Erdugan, he is an imposter.

    The United States is trying to present Turkey as a MODEL where no one is buying because people know that Turkey has the largest number of Journalists in Prison, yet Obama and Clinton lie to the world and tell the fools Turkey is a ‘democracy’.

    Turkey not only is not under any kind of sanction and pressure from the war criminals in US and EU and Israel but is helped economically and politically. You should Turkey does not BENEFITS from HAND OUT? Turkey like Russia has received concessions after concessions from the US for her tied relations with Israel, the enemy of Muslims.

    As other writers have written: TURKEY IS A TROJAN HORSE OF IMPERIALISM IN THE REGION. NO ONE TRUSTS TURKEY.

  77. US has no credibility says:

    WHOEVER TRUSTs ZOGBY, A STOOGE of BOTH ZIONISM AND SAUDIS, MUST BE A FOOL.
    Zogby POLL is biased against Iran and IN favour of Saudi Arabia, Israel and US. Every one knows the United States has NO CREDIBILITY in the region and beyond. Obama
    was selected for his black skin to change the US image and now we know what had
    happened. No one pays any attention to war criminals.

  78. Rumi says:

    Dear Flynt and Hillary:

    Thank you for another excellent PR piece!

    As usual, you will find $100,000 in small bills stuffed in a pumpkin on a Maryland farm.

    Sincerely,
    Iranian Propaganda Ministry

  79. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Castellio:

    Methinks Gareth could have saved himself the trouble of writing a full-length article by simply limiting himself to one of the quotes he included in his article, to whit:

    “It’s still unclear what Sadr is doing,” said one U.S. official who follows the issue closely.

    An uncharacteristically vacuous piece.

  80. Castellio says:

    I’ve just listened to the Hill interview. What to say!! The fundamental difficulty is his amalgam of idealism (one never has to discuss what is actually happening to real people, only to the history of our ideas about them) and positivism (where numerous statements of ideological positioning are presented as historical facts).

    The historical fallacies come thick and unquestioned. Is this level of discussion really current?

  81. Fiorangela says:

    http://irananders.de/kommentare/news/article/falschdarstellung-der-iran-al-qaida-connection.html

    has posted Hillary Mann Leverett’s June 5 2011 RaceForIran article about alleged Iran-Al Qaeda connections

  82. Castellio says:

    For those interested in Sadr/Maliki…

    http://www.counterpunch.org/porter07152011.html

    I confess, I don’t understand the article.

  83. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Rehmat,

    I think China and Russia are still too weak to challenge the United States, but in 25 years time they will be. One of the greatest strengths (or myths) of the Pax Americana was that it was protecting freedom and democracy around the world. The United States wasn’t just a military and economic superpower but was a civilizing force that guaranteed peace and prosperity. These polls show that America can no longer project this image, and it is increasingly seen as an imperial hegemonic power that is just after its own perceived interests. For Americans living abroad, the last 10 years has really hurt their social standing. They are not respected as they once were.

  84. Rehmat says:

    A recent Pew Poll shows that China is about to take over as the next world super-power. However, the good news poll has for the ZOG in Washington – “Islamic Republic with the exception of Pakistan and Russia – is loosing its popularity among its neighboring countries”.

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2011/07/15/china-beats-us-as-world-superpower/

  85. Cyrus says:

    “The key to strategic success in the Middle East, for the United States or any other country, is good policy, grounded in a sober appreciation of regional realities.”

    Rubbish! Reality is overrated. What we need is yet another Coca Cola PR executive who can “sell” America with glitzy ad campaigns! It worked so well the last time! It is all just about razmataz, hokum and PR! We can fool ourselves so well into believing “WMDs in Iraq”, so we MUST be able to food dem Aye-rabs, right? After all, we have armies of scrivners who claim to be journalists, acting as our chorus and echo chamber. Showbiz, baby!

  86. fyi says:

    Reza Esfandiari says: July 15, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Nah, business as usual.

  87. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Shocking. Both polls seriously undermine the prestige of the United States.