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The Race for Iran

AMERICAN MISREADING OF IRAN AND THE CHANGING REALITY OF THE MIDDLE EAST

Our colleague, Seyed Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran, has prepared another sharply insightful essay, “The American Misreading of Iran and the Changing Reality of the Middle East”.  We chose to juxtapose Mohammad’s essay with the recent Foreign Affairs cover displayed above, both because the “Why No One Saw It Coming” headline is so powerfully contradicted by Mohammad’s essay and because Foreign Affairs has so frequently been a forum for “American misreading” of Iran and the Middle East of the sort that Mohammad so aptly critiques.  We are grateful to Mohammad for sharing his essay with us, and are pleased to publish it below:   

 THE AMERICAN MISREADING OF IRAN AND THE CHANGING REALITY OF THE MIDDLE EAST

by Seyed Mohammad Marandi, University of Tehran 

It is clear that the United States and its Western European allies were caught completely unprepared for the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Bahrain, as well as the upheavals throughout the Arab world.  On the other hand, many of us in the region have been repeatedly and explicitly stating for quite a while now, in meetings, seminars, and papers that the center cannot hold and that these pro-Western and corrupt regimes are sliding toward collapse; see, for example, here.   

Why is it that most Western analysts have been unable to foresee these events?  More broadly, why is there such a long history in the United States and parts of Europe of misreading and misrepresenting the situation in the Middle East?  Part of the answer lies in a hypocritical approach to the region, which gives Western policymakers no incentive to understand Middle Eastern realities.  Another important factor is over-reliance on bad sources of information about this part of the world—sources who are hardly representative of or “in touch” with Middle Eastern societies

A Challenged Superpower

Hypocrisy has been on ample display in the Obama Administration’s response to recent developments in the Arab world.  Take, for example, President Obama’s somewhat strange Nowruz message to the Iranian people this year, see here, issued on March 20, 2011.  In the message, Obama repeatedly attacked Iran for alleged human rights violations, telling the Iranian people “though times may seem dark, I want you to know that I am with you.”  He said this, however, as Iranians were watching the horrific scenes in Bahrain unfold live on their television screens.  In his message, Obama also said that “the same forces that swept across Tahrir Square were seen in Azadi Square in June of 2009”.  For many Iranians, such a statement was especially hypocritical in the wake of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks, see here, in Cairo five days earlier, offered in response to a reporter’s question about Bahrain:   

“Well, we call for calm and restraint on all sides in Bahrain.  We’re particularly concerned about increasing reports of provocative acts and sectarian violence by all groups.  The use of force and violence from any source will only worsen the situation and create a much more difficult environment in which to arrive at a political solution.

So our advice to all sides is that they must take steps now to negotiate toward a political resolution.  The security issues are obviously important because there has to be an environment of stability and security in order for these talks to proceed.  But it is important that everyone abide by that.  And we know that the Government of Bahrain requested assistance from their fellow members in the Gulf Cooperation Council.  We regret that the dialogue that was attempted had not started, and we call on all sides immediately to begin that dialogue and to look for ways to compromise to arrive at a peaceful resolution.”

Effectively, Clinton drew a moral equivalency between Bahrain’s ruling Al-Khalifa family and its battered population.  The “provocative acts and sectarian violence” that she spoke of were initially carried out by foreign mercenaries who were given Bahraini citizenship by the ruling family.  Since the subsequent Saudi-led occupation of the country, many more Bahraini civilians have been murdered while hundreds more have been imprisoned, tortured, raped, or have gone missing, see, for example, here.  With her statement that security issues are obviously important”, she not only attempted to legitimize the regime’s actions, but also to put the peaceful protestors on the defensive.   

In response to another question, Clinton refused to criticize the Saudi-led occupation and even attempted to legitimize it:     

“Question:  I just wanted to follow up on Bahrain.  And I understand that you spoke with the Saudi foreign minister just a little while ago.  And I’m wondering exactly what you could tell us about that conversation.  Presumably, you made the same kind of appeals for calm and restraint as you just did here.  But what was his response?  Are you at all disappointed that the Saudis, the UAE, and others are going in to Bahrain?

Secretary Clinton: Well, I’m not going to characterize their actions.  Under their agreements among themselves in the Gulf, they have the right to ask for that assistance, and that’s what the Government of Bahrain has done.  But I said the very same thing to the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia that I just said now.  I said that the security challenges cannot be a substitute for a political resolution.  And as they are moving in to respond to the requests by the Government of Bahrain, they, along with everyone else, needs to be promoting the dialogue between the parties.  And we have a senior State Department official there, Assistant Secretary Jeff Feltman, who is working with the parties as we speak, because we believe strongly that you can’t solve this problem by just trying to bring security to bear; you have to have a political solution.”

On paper, though, the agreements among Arab regimes in the Persian Gulf are supposed to be about mutual protection against external threats, not an accord to crush local populations.  Even if such provisions existed in the agreements, the U.S. Secretary of State is not in a position to legitimize them.

In his May 19, 2011 speech on America’s Middle East policy, see here, President Obama effectively added his own endorsement of the legitimacy of the Al Khalifa dictatorship and its supposed “legitimate interest in the rule of law”.  When referring to Syria—where, despite the obvious shortcomings of the current political order, the government has significantly more popular support, see here,  than the Bahraini regime, the U.S. President says of President Assad that “he can lead that transition, or get out of the way”.  However, when speaking about Bahrain, Obama makes no such demand of the Al Khalifa dictatorship.  Moreover, he is completely silent about the most oppressive and reactionary regime in the region, Saudi Arabia.  Indeed, Obama had the audacity to blame Iran for Bahrain’s troubles—claiming it “has tried to take advantage of the turmoil there”—while saying nothing about Saudi Arabia’s armed occupation of the country Furthermore, it must be disturbing for the people of Bahrain to hear the U.S. President subtly portray them as a minority group in their own country:      

“Coptic Christians must have the right to worship freely in Cairo, just as Shia must never have their mosques destroyed in Bahrain.  What is true for religious minorities is also true when it comes to the rights of women…”

As a consequence of their failure to predict the events in North Africa, the United States and other Western powers were forced to constantly change their political stances regarding events during the days of Revolution—and looked particularly weak, unwise and insincere when doing so.  Western states’ difficulties in understanding the Middle East are exacerbated because their sources of information in this part of the world are basically the secular elite, the wealthy, and Western-educated or even Western-oriented Muslim intellectuals.    

Whether these sources are opponents, critics, or proponents of the established political order really does not make much of a difference.  The point is that these people are simply not representative of their societies. They may be representative of parts of these societies, but those parts do not constitute anything near the majority.  Obama himself seems to have recognized this in his May 19 speech when he said, “We must also build on our efforts to broaden our engagement beyond elites”.  This is why the Western political establishment, the Western media, and most Western experts did not understand the situation in Egypt or anticipate the coming revolution there.  It is also why they did not understand the underlying popularity of the Islamic Republic of Iran among Iranians.

Western analysts could not come to terms with President Ahmadinejad’s landslide victory in the 2009 presidential election nor could they understand why the Tehran protests and riots soon fizzled out.  Their problem is that they do not realize that those who support the Islamic Republic, whether supporters, critics, or opponents of the Iranian President, are largely of the same social background as the bulk of those in Tahrir Square.  Such people did not study in private schools, nor do they spend their summers in western countries or dreaming about living in western countries.  And, for the most part, they did not vote as the Western media and Western-oriented Iranians expected them to.

The Wikileaks cables strongly support the argument that Western countries—especially the United States—form their analyses of Iranian politics through interaction with “elites”.  It seems that a disproportionate amount of the U.S. Government’s information about Iran comes from English-speaking Iranians who, oftentimes, are living in the West.  One of the Wikileaks cables—09LONDON1423, see here, which reports on the activities of a London-based Iranian opposition group surrounding the Islamic Republic’s June 12, 2009 presidential election—is a good example: 

“The feverish atmosphere in XXXXXXXXXXXX’s London office XXXXXXXXXXXX was that of a political campaign office late on election night.  The lightly-orchestrated chaos included XXXXXXXXXXXX rushing between simultaneous meetings in different rooms and on different phone lines with callers and delegations from Arabic, Farsi, and U.S. media and activists while his small staff monitored Iran video and websites and fielded a deluge of phone calls from Iran and elsewhere.  Poloff was able for the most part to stay out of sight.  By way of flagging his own role in shaping public opinion in Iran and various Arab countries, XXXXXXXXXXXX listed for Poloff the Arab, French, UK and U.S. media for whom XXXXXXXXXXXX said he has been doing XXXXXXXXXXXX daily for the past week in addition to his usual XXXXXXXXXXXX– XXXXXXXXXXXX.”

The idea that an Iranian opposition group based in London and operating with foreign funding could actually play a significant “role in shaping public opinion in Iran and various Arab countries” should be readily seen as absurd.  But many of the Wikileaks cables show how American officials constantly attempt to understand Iranian politics and public opinion through precisely such sources, see, for example, here. One of the more ridiculous cables, from the American consulate in Istanbul in August 2009, see here, reporting on the imminent demise of Ayatollah Khamenei, highlights some of the problems with this approach. 

Contrary to claims made by Obama and much of the political establishment in the United States, most Iranians viewed American attempts to support the riots in Tehran as an effort by outsiders to thwart democracy and impose their will upon the Iranian people.  While American and European officials claim otherwise, the fact that U.S. and EU policy has been to make the Iranian population suffer through sanctions—something that is also confirmed by the Wikileaks cables, see, for example, here—strengthens Iranians’ belief that the United States is seeking to impose its will on them.

Whether the United States was really trying to undermine Iranian democracy and bring down the Islamic Republic or whether U.S. officials and the media simply put too much faith in their “elite” sources is something that will become clearer in the future.  Nevertheless, what is clear is that most of the so-called Iran experts who influence U.S. government policy towards Iran, know relatively little about the country; many of them are agenda-driven and basically say what people in positions of power want to hear.

The bulk of Iranian voters, regardless of whom they voted for, accepted the election results as valid as there was no real evidence of fraud; see, for example, here, here and here.   More importantly, though, they supported the political order and constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  One of the reasons why the political order and Ayatollah Khamenei are popular among ordinary Iranians is because of the ideologically-grounded stress on moral values, social justice, independence, and support for the oppressed, as well as the defense of national dignity—as, for example, with regard to the nuclear program. The leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran is not seen to be concerned about being perceived in the west as “rabble rousers”; it also cares little for the disdain of the wealthy, pro-Western secular elite which looks down upon the “masses”.

The New Politics of the Middle East

This sort of political stance is something that we will almost certainly see more of throughout the region in the years to come. In the future, successful politicians throughout the Middle East and North Africa will be those calling for upholding moral values, independence, dignity, social justice, and meaningful support for the Palestinian people.  This will constitute a major shift in the way politics is done in the region.  It is a way of thinking very much linked to much of the mainstream Islamic world view; we are definitely not in a post-Islamic age.  From the American side, the harsh rhetoric used by President Obama against Iran in his May 19 speech seems to reflect a sense of fear or desperation in the White House about the direction being taken by the populations of the region.

These enormous changes have major implications for the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Whether the U.S. political establishment or EU governments like it or not, the Islamic Republic feels increasingly empowered, confident, and influential as a result of recent developments. It is not anticipating other countries to follow its model or political system; rather, it is expecting a paradigm shift in regional politics away from western domination.

This is a central point.  Contrary to what is often stated in Western think tanks and academic centers close to the political establishment, to say that the Iranians are pleased with what is going on in the region is an understatement. They believe that almost all the countries of the region are all controlled by Western-backed corrupt and despotic regimes that do not reflect the will of their own population or the people in the region at large.  From this perspective, almost any change in the region is good for Iran

More broadly, the current upheavals constitute a second wave in the shifting balance of power in the Middle East which involves both Iran and the United States. The first wave began soon after the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, when the United States judged that Iran and its allies had been left in a very weak position.  However, as American troubles rapidly increased in these two countries and as Israel suffered a humiliating defeat in the 2006 war with Hezbollah and failed to achieve any of its goals in the 2008 attack on Gaza (despite committing enormous atrocities in both wars), the situation began to change.

In fact, many internal critics of Iran’s foreign policy now believe that the country’s posture of resistance, which also includes its steadfast position regarding its nuclear program, has been vindicated. It is widely believed that this culture of resistance has contributed to the current uprisings and the second wave of change that we are now witnessing.  It is also believed that the same culture of resistance has made Iran popular in Arab public opinion.  This reality runs in conflict with widely accepted conventional wisdom in the West.  According to the Wikileaks cables, see here, the Saudi King frequently called on the United States to attack Iran—more specifically, to “cut off the head of the snake”—in order to put an end to its nuclear program.  Similarly, the Bahraini dictator, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, see here,

pointed to Iran as the source of much of the trouble in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He argued forcefully for taking action to terminate their nuclear program, by whatever means necessary.  ‘That program must be stopped,’ he said. ‘The danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it’.” 

 As a result of these and similar passages in the Wikileaks cables, many Americans have come to the bizarre conclusion, see here, that the Wikileaks documents prove

“that the United States and Israel are not the only two actors in the international community concerned with Iran’s nuclear program and Tehran’s foreign policy behavior.  Arabs are just as aware of the Iranian ‘boogeyman’ as the Americans and Israelis, which should give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama a relatively short sigh of relief.” 

But here, again, Western officials and analysts as well as much of the Western media confuse the views of the pro-Western elite in the Middle East and North Africa with Arab public opinion which strongly supports Iran.  As in the case of Iran, these elites and broader public opinion are regularly opposed to one another.

In 2003 the United States felt that it had isolated Iran. However, within a few years Iran’s regional position was enhanced dramatically. Whereas in the past Afghanistan and Iraq were controlled by regimes hostile toward Tehran, both countries established close ties to the Islamic Republic.  Additionally, the coming to power of the Justice and Development Party in Turkey in 2002 has also completely changed the nature of Iranian-Turkish relations

The recent second wave of change has further strengthened the position of Iran at the expense of the United States. The fall of Mubarak in Egypt has enormous implications for Palestinians.  The Islamic Republic is no longer a lone voice with what it views as its principled support for the rights of Palestinians.  The Turkish government’s strong criticism of the Israeli regime’s policies has, of course, had a major role in breaking this isolation.  But the Egyptian Revolution takes this dynamic to a completely new level.  Egypt borders Gaza and the new political order in Egypt will no longer accept the suffering imposed on the civilian population of Gaza by the EU, the United States, and Israel.  Egyptians will not accept the humiliation imposed upon them and the Palestinians in the past, and Iran can no longer be singled out by its Western antagonists for supporting resistance movements.  In the eyes of Iranians, a strong and independent Egypt will simply increase the pressure on Israel and its Western allies.

This wave of change will also force the Jordanian regime and the Palestinian Authority to change their highly unpopular policies regarding Palestine.  Any further sign of appeasement towards Israel and its Western allies will only further anger and strengthen the forces for change and revolution.

Faced with these realities, some Westerners retort that the Islamic Republic’s strategic position would be badly damaged by the collapse of the Assad government in Syria.  On this issue, two points should be made.  First, Tehran believes that Syria is in a stronger position than other Arab regimes, to a significant degree because of its traditional support for Hezbollah and the Palestinian movements.  Second, any fundamental change in the Syrian political order will increase instability in Jordan and possibly quicken the collapse of the Jordanian regime, effectively surrounding both the Israeli regime and Saudi Arabia.  The hypothetical fall of the Syrian political order will not, in the long run, be good news for the Saudis—or even for the Turks, for that matter, who are concerned about their own Kurdish and Alawite populations as well as strong Salafi trends within the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.

It is ironic that only a few years ago, it was said that Iran was surrounded by hostile forces; now, it is Saudi Arabia that feels increasingly encircled.  Iran is no longer the only country with which the Saudis have problems:  Jordan is unstable; Iranians, Iraqis, and Bahrainis are outraged because of the U.S.-backed Saudi move to crush the Bahraini people; the Egyptian people are angry because of Saudi attempts to thwart their revolution, and the opposition to the regime in Yemen will remember Saudi (and American) support for Ali Abdullah Saleh and General Ali Mohsen. The Houthis in northern Yemen, especially, will remember the extensive bombing of civilian targets in their cities and villages by Saudi forces less than two years ago and the Salafis of the south have no great love for the Saudi ruling family (or the United States) either.  Whatever happens in Yemen, it seems that the role of the future central government has been severely weakened, thus enhancing the influence of these groups. The Saudi royal family and its ailing king are growing more isolated and potentially unstable, while Iran has successfully established strong ties with almost all of its important neighbors and its ties with regional and global powers are also rapidly evolving. Hence, Iranians feel that, regardless of the situation in Syria, the current upheavals are a big plus for the region. 

Already the new Egyptian foreign minister is looking to normalize ties with Iran and has said that his country would also like to turn over a new leaf with respect to Hezbollah in Lebanon.  Iran’s relations with Tunisia have already begun to evolve.  Countries like India, China, and even Russia have already shown that they recognize the implications of change in the region; this has been reflected in their communications and negotiations with the Iranians over the past few weeks. Even Argentina feels the need to take steps towards normalizing ties with Iran, despite enormous pressure from Israel and, more importantly, the United States.

The West’s inconsistent, confused, and unprincipled response to the uprisings in the Arab world has weakened the U.S. status in the region.  On this point, the popular reaction in many parts of the world, including the Middle East, to the Western air strikes on Libya is revealing.  America’s open support for the crushing of the Bahraini uprising has infuriated many, especially ordinary Iraqis as well as Iranians.  The U.S. President has discredited himself completely after his Secretary of State’s statement that the Bahraini regime’s move to crush the Bahraini people through Saudi, UAE, and Kuwaiti forces is legitimate. It is believed that well over thirty Bahrainis have already been murdered.  If one compares the population of this small country to that of the United States, it is as if 20,000 Americans had been killed by a ruling family and a foreign occupation force.      

Against this backdrop, Iranians believe that, as a result of the Islamic and Arab awakening, the balance of power is tilting even further away from the United States.  They also believe the United States is experiencing long-term economic decline and that this will significantly strengthen Iran’s position as well as that of other countries and actors critical of current U.S. and EU policies. 

Of course, while Egypt, Hezbollah, Turkey, and Hamas all seem to gain from the winds of change along with Iran, it is quite possible that Al-Qa’ida-like forces will also make their own gains if Western countries fail to learn from past mistakes and continue imposing their will on the people of the region.  In this regard, the current Western alliance with the Saudis strengthens the export of Taliban ideology, and there is little doubt that continued Western support for such regimes will have bitter consequences.  Contrary to Obama’s claim that “we have broken the Taliban’s momentum”, it is widely believed in the region that the death of Osama bin Laden is being used to divert attention from the fact that the United States has failed in Afghanistan and Pakistan and that it will soon begin withdrawing its forces.  Such a defeat will have long term negative implications for the United States and its allies. 

Many Iranians feel that time is on their side and that there is little need for the country to negotiate with or even talk to a hostile American government.  Over the years, so-called Iran experts in the United States have made many ludicrous predictions about the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  In the months and years ahead, these incurably confident triumphalists will, no doubt, continue to caricature Iran and see imminent signs of revolution in the slightest flicker of militancy.  As long as the U.S. government relies on such advice, Iranians will continue to feel that talking to Americans is pointless and a waste of time. 

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180 Responses to “AMERICAN MISREADING OF IRAN AND THE CHANGING REALITY OF THE MIDDLE EAST”

  1. Iranian@Iran says:

    karim, be a bit honest every now and then.

  2. Ali H. says:

    I agree with the article completely. The US economy is falling apart.

  3. Liz says:

    karim,

    Apparently, no one has been paid in months! Try to make up a better story next time.

  4. Iranian says:

    Karim,

    Fabricating stories is not going to do you any good. Apparently, you do nothing but travel.

    Go and look at the Bahman 22 rallies and then get some sleep.

  5. karim says:

    Clearly, none of your can bear to defend this brutal regime.

    First, my reference to “unique skills” was not to claim some sort of special position. The point was that I go to Iran on a regular basis and I am able to visit factories and spend days living on factory sites. This allows me to talk to factory workers. For example, on my recent visit to Ahvaz I learned that workers of a government owned sugar factory had not been paid for seven months. I am sure that would make the government very popular.

    I took the train to Shiraz and learned that the conductor and some of the other people working on the train had not been paid for months. I am sure this makes the regime very popular as well. I am just reporting what I saw and heard on my most recent visit. Now if you want to put your head in the sand the deny these, then be my guest.

  6. Iranian says:

    Karim, do you see how you contradict yourself?

    “I have no doubt the IRI was extremely popular for the fist 20 years or so…It was always hated by majority of women.”

    Try your propaganda on US government funded green websites. It doesn’t work here.

  7. Iranian says:

    Everyone knows that the Islamic Republic is popular. Go find something else to complain about.

  8. Liz says:

    These are the real prostitutes:

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/183794.html

  9. Liz says:

    Iranian@Iran,

    Good point. “Karim” is probably one of those rich Iranians who are willing to do anything to get rich, yet who pretends to have principles (sort of like Scott Lucas). There is no evidence to show that anything he has written has any credibility. He probably tried to rip someone off in a business deal through his supposed unique skills and failed.

  10. Iranian@Iran says:

    Karim

    Nonsense. The Islamic Republic is highly popular, there is a great deal of diversity if you had eyes to see it, there is a tremendous amount of debate going on in the media, and it’s clear that your “unique skills” (everyone has unique skills Mr. Elitest) are in propaganda.

  11. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    Seymour Hersh told Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (DemocracyNow) that “there’s more integrity in the [intelligence] process [now]. It doesn’t mean the White House likes it.” Many ingelligence analysts recognise the catastrophe that has befallen the US due to dishonesty of politicians manipulating intelligence for political reasons.

  12. Karim says:

    Bussed-in Basiji and Pirouz,

    I do not care if Iran is an Islamic Republic or a Western Style democracy as long as human rights are respected, rule of law is established, free news media is allowed, freedom of expression and assembly are respected. Further, there must be a clear and transparent method for replacing political leaders. None of these apply to IRI. It is a fascist state run by a small circle of people who are mostly connected to the ruling class through marriage other personal relationship. Over the years I have compiled a list of connected people who run the country (e.g., Larijani brothers). One of the most recent phenomenon I have seen in recent years is that children of connected people change their names so as to reduce the anger of people (e.g., Mashai’s son has changed his last name). More importantly, the military is playing an increasingly larger role in the economy and politics.

    The mistakes and violations of human rights committed in the US do not even come close to what is taking place in Iran. We never had mass trials of Stalin style in the US. We never had mass arrests of political opposition. Yes, there was the red scare and union leaders were harassed or even killed. But we did not have mass closures of newspapers. Most importantly, US never had velayet faghih, which is the basis of a fascist state.

    No amount of excuses, whether they are the policies of Israel, US, UK and others in the region, or that Iran is under threat and so on can justify what this brutal regime is doing to its people and the amount corruption that is increasing on a daily basis.

    I have some unique skills that are in demand and I travel to Iran several times a year (I have refused to work with this government and specially the Pasdaran though it would be financially highly lucrative). I make a point of not staying in Tehran too long and to travel to other cities in Iran. Also, I make a point of spending a lot of time on factory floors talking to blue collar workers. I visit masques and even on occasions go to villages in Shiraz area and talk to farmers. I have no doubt the IRI was extremely popular for the fist 20 years or so. I also have no doubt that the IRI is extremely unpopular among the same segments of the people who were supporting it 10 years ago. It was always hated by majority of women and even more so now. If you are denying this then you are either completely uninformed or you are an agent of the regime.

  13. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Mohammed ElBaradei says yet again, he has not “seen a shred of evidence” Iran is building nukes and trying to arrange for delivery to Israel of those nukes. Much of the lying and cheating done by so many, is aimed at trying to enable Israel to keep East Jerusalem and much of the West Bank permanently, even if this means endless war or near-war. And stooges and whores, to be blunt, in mainstream US news media, help the scheme to continue.

  14. James Canning says:

    Sakineh,

    Yes, most definitely: vicious oppression, by Israel, aided and abetted by the US. Decades of vicious oppression. Decades of oppression, encouraged at every step by foolish American politicians.

  15. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Israel Fires on Protesters at Golan Border, Killing 14 wounding 225.

    Where is the American outrage?

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-05/israel-fires-on-protesters-at-golan-border-killing-three-syrian-tv-says.html

    Key quote:
    “We are marking 44 years of settlement-colony expansion,” Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erakat said in an e- mailed statement. “Israel’s illegal and discriminatory policies have led to the displacement and dispossession of our people.”

    Yes James, maybe not racist, but discriminatory policies. A pig is still a pig even with lots of lip stick.

  16. James Canning says:

    Kathleen,

    I commented on Seymour Hersh’s article in The New Yorker, and others have as well, earlier in this discussion.

  17. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    Zionism is not “racist”, though it most defintely is sectarian. Do you support the 2002 Saudi peace plan, as a resolution of the Israel/Palestine problem? (Assuming some adjustments.)

  18. Kathleen says:

    You folks have probably long ago discussed this but why has there not been a declassified form of the most recent NIE on Iran released to the public? Did anyone here a mention about the most recent 2011 NIE on Iran talked about on MSNBC, CNN, Diane Rehms, Talk of the Nation etc? Or did they leave it uncovered so that Jamie Rubin, Christiane Amanpour, Rachel Maddow, Richard Engel, Bill Kristol etc can keep repeating and allowing guest to keep repeating unsubstantiated claims about Iran?

  19. Kathleen says:

    Seymour shaking it up
    Annals of National Security
    Iran and the Bomb
    How real is the nuclear threat?
    by Seymour M. Hersh June 6, 2011

    Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/06/06/110606fa_fact_hersh#ixzz1OPq7XMUO

    ABSTRACT: ANNALS OF NATIONAL SECURITY about whether Iran’s nuclear program is being exaggerated. Is Iran actively trying to develop nuclear weapons? Members of the Obama Administration often talk as if this were a foregone conclusion, as did their predecessors under George W. Bush. There’s a large body of evidence, however, including some of America’s most highly classified intelligence assessments, suggesting that the U.S. could be in danger of repeating a mistake similar to the one made with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq eight years ago—allowing anxieties about the policies of a tyrannical regime to distort our estimates of the state’s military capacities and intentions. The two most recent National Intelligence Estimates (N.I.E.s) on Iranian nuclear progress have stated that there is no conclusive evidence that Iran has made any effort to build the bomb since 2003. Yet Iran is heavily invested in nuclear technology. In the past four years, it has tripled the number of centrifuges in operation at its main enrichment facility at Natanz, which is buried deep underground. International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.) inspectors have expressed frustration with Iran’s level of coöperation, but have been unable to find any evidence suggesting that enriched uranium has been diverted to an illicit weapons program. In mid-February, Lieutenant General James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, provided the House and Senate intelligence committees with an updated N.I.E. on the Iranian nuclear-weapons program. A previous assessment, issued in 2007, created consternation and anger inside the Bush Administration and in Congress by concluding, “with high confidence,” that Iran had halted its nascent nuclear-weapons program in 2003.

    Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/06/06/110606fa_fact_hersh#ixzz1OPqKQHwg

  20. Photi says:

    James Canning says:
    June 4, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    James, until Americans confront the perpetual war that is Zionism we are no better than barbarians. We’ve sold our human decency, and for what? America is in a full-on regression back to the days when the maintenance of institutionalized racism was discussed openly in white american society. The context and actors may have changed around a bit, but it is still racism Americans are supporting in Israel and it is still ugly.

  21. Rehmat says:

    Iran’s nuclear warhead test is aimed at Israel

    Kenneth Timmerman (‘I’m not Jewish’), the Israel-First founder of ‘Foundation for Democracy in Iran‘ in his latest anti-Iran crap published in one of Neocons’ (mostly Jewish) propaganda outlets, the Newsmaxcom, entitled ‘Iran Test Nuclear Warhead Design‘, has claimed: “Iran has built and tested all the elements of a nuclear weapon design similar to the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945, and is actively working to fit it onto a ballistic missile capable of reaching Israel, nuclear experts told Newsmax this week”.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/irans-nuclear-warhead-test-is-aimed-at-israel/

  22. James Canning says:

    In his address to Aipac, Obamas declared: “[W]e are committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Its illicit nuclear program is just one challenge that Iran poses.” Was Obama referring to Iran’s interference with Israel’s insane effort to crush the national spirit of the Palestinians?

  23. James Canning says:

    Pirouz,

    Yes, and there was a “Red scare” in the US in the early 1920s, that resulted in cutting off immigration from Eastern Europe.

  24. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Karim,
    The Iranian revolution and the establishment of the Islamic Republic is a reflection of the values and wishes of the majority of Iranians- namely having a government that is based on their religion which is Twelver Shia Islam.

    A minority of people like yourself wanted a revolution based on western or eastern models. Unfortunately for you, you were not representative of the majority of iranians. In other words if you really believe that Iran is a fascist state then this is a reflection of the views of the majority of people.

    Of course I have no hope whatsoever that you will even begin understand how unrepresentative you are of the majority- I’m sorry the VAST majority of Iranians you are. It’s OK we are used to this from your type in the last 32 years. You will keep repeating your delusions and we will continue to build our nation based on Islam. My guess is you will die first before the Islamic Republic does.

    Also, the Supreme Leader is very popular- sorry this one is a dead end for you, move along to your next lie.

    Also, this thing about promoting war and violence- I think you have been high for the last 3 decades. Please remind when the last time was that the Islamic Republic attacked anyone. Oh yeah I remember now- NEVER. It’s OK religious fanatics like us will always defend Iran and make up for types like you.

    Also, the two guys executed in Esfahan were armed robbers who killed and robbed dozens of people- oh yeah it seems the final excuse brought by their family was that they were little kids in Abadan during the war, that they were not responsible for their actions. Funny I know lots of guys who were little kids in Khuzestan during the war but strange enough none of them became armed robbers. In any case it is one the great achievements of the Islamic Republic that animals like these two are executed publicly and swiftly. Good riddance and congratulations to the great people of Esfahan for keeping their beautiful city clean of such vermin.

    Karim-jan, if you like we can continue our little discussion, but be warned that none of bullshit will stick on this forum. Welcome.

  25. Pirouz says:

    Karim,

    Here in the United States during the 1930s, doctors, attorneys, writers, etc. that were socialists, communists or anarchists were imprisoned, their newspapers closed down and members forcibly kicked out of the country.

    Was America a fascist state during this time? My American grandfather would have disagreed.

  26. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    The best information I have seen indicates that Israel assassinated the two Iranian nuclear scientists.

  27. James Canning says:

    Karim,

    You claim the Iranian government “tolerates no opposition”. Didn’t Ahmadinejad and Khamenei both support the proposed “nuclear exchange” as a means of resolving the IAEA dispute? And didn’t the “reformers” or “opposition” block the deal?

  28. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    How does one separate “good” from “evil” in the context of the current political situation in Syria?

  29. Rehmat says:

    Today (June 4, 2011), tens of thousands of Iranians including the Spiritual Leader Ayatullah Khamenei, government and military officials and foreign diplomats gathered at the Khomeini Mausoleum in southern Tehran to honor late Imam Khomeini marking his 22nd death anniversary. Similar ceremonies were held in Pakistan, Lebanon, Britain and many other countries.

    Ayatullah Khamenei in his address said: “The Imam (Khomeini) put an end of the era of political suppression and opened the gates of justice and democracy in Iran. The Imam also taught us to have our own political standpoints and not make blind compromises with the enemies. Our enemies thought that after the demise of the Imam, the Islamic revolution would fade but they were wrong because it was the people who wanted the path go on”.

    Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei voiced support for popular and anti-US movement in the region rejecting any other movements provoked by the United States or Israel.

    “Our stance regarding these public movements is crystal clear. Anywhere there is a popular Islamic and anti-US movement, we support it,” the Leader said on Saturday addressing crowds of people at the mausoleum of the late founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini. “However, if we see that a movement is provoked by the US or Zionists, we will not support that movement. We support movements that are against the US and Zionism,” Ayatollah Khamenei added.

    The Leader also praised popular Islamic movements and the wave of Islamic Awakening in the Middle East and North Africa.

    “Anywhere the US or the Zionist regime (Israel) is involved … to topple a government or occupy a country, that is the point where we are against it,” the Leader reiterated.

    Ayatollah Khamenei warned against US plots to hijack the revolutions and said, “The United States does not do anything in the interests of regional nations. Whatever they have done so far has been against regional nations.”

    The Leader urged Muslim countries to remain vigilant in the face of the Western plots.

    The Supreme leader said that Iran backs “the undivided country of Palestine which belongs to the Palestinians”. “We believe that the country of Palestine belongs in its entirety to the Palestinians.

    “Palestine will return to the arms of Islam, without any doubt,” said Ayatullah Khamenei.

    “The American solution will not succeed,” Sayyed Khamenei said. “The solution is that the people of Palestine should take part in a referendum and whatever regime they vote for, should govern.”It is this regime which has came to power through the Palestinian people’s vote will decide how to deal with the Zionist who came from abroad,” his eminence added.

    Concerning internal matters, Sayyed Khamenei said in the country there are “different political views… Do not deprive someone of security if he does not seek regime change or betrayal, or does not want to carry out enemy orders, but does not share your view.” “Piety is not trampling on one’s opponents.”

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/world-mark-22nd-anniversary-of-imam-khomeinis-death/

  30. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Hillary Clinton is not “friendly” toward Iran. Nor is Obama. I would stress that Obama was sincere when he tried to engage with Iran, but this effort was stymied by his own lack of experience and understanding, in combination with ardent “supporters” of Israel in his own administration who want to pressure Iran into allowing Israel to oppress the Palestinians into perpetuity.

  31. James Canning says:

    Karim,

    Yes, “political hacks” as you call them were dead wrong about the Soviet Union in the 1980s. And thanks to officials like Robert Gates, the US squandered trillions of dollars on unnecessary weapons etc when it was clear the USSR was nearing collapse.

  32. Max says:

    Does anyone have a link to the video of the UCLA Burke Center May 13th seminar Regarding Iran: No Good Options on the Table? Thanks

  33. Arnold Evans says:

    I just read a transcript of Barack Obama’s “Facebook Town Hall” and noticed that he wasn’t asked about and didn’t mention foreign policy at all.

    http://www.news-gazette.com/news/politics-and-government/2011-04-20/transcript-obamas-facebook-town-hall.html

    Barack Obama is fundamentally not a foreign policy president. As a gesture towards voters who are sympathetic to Republicans he kept a lot of Bush administration officials and as a gesture to the disproportionately influential segment of the US society that has an ethnic identification with Israel he has a lot of passionate Zionist officials. He really doesn’t care enough about foreign policy to look outside of the range of options presented by these officials.

    This is not to excuse him, the US is drastically worse off because of this lack of concern, but to explain.

  34. Photi says:

    *addressed to Karim

  35. Photi says:

    You have described an ideologically driven state, not necessarily a fascist state. The absence of racism and hyperbolic nationalism (false-idol worship) suggests that the Islamic Republic is something other than fascist even if it is authoritarian.

    You have not addressed issue of the infiltration of the American forces into Iranian society whose admitted aim is destabilizing the Iranian “regime.” What of that?

  36. Karim says:

    Photi, This is absolutely amazing. Can anyone deal with facts? IRI does not tolerate any opposition. Lawyers, students, labor union leaders are regularly jailed, killed and simply vanished. What else can you call this? What else can you call a regime that kills two you men simply because they made critical comments about Khamenei on a blog? This is not a matter of politics or US policy towards Iran. It is a matter of basic human rights and dignity.

    Is IRI a fascist state? Yes. It is a authoritarian regime based on religious ideology (rather than nationalistic). It advocates the creation of a totalitarian single-party state that seeks the mass mobilization of a nation through indoctrination. It seeks to purge forces and ideas deemed to be the cause of decadence and degeneration and produce their nation’s rebirth based on commitment to the national community based on organic unity where individuals are bound together by suprapersonal connections of religion. It believes that an Islamic government requires strong leadership, singular collective identity, and the will and ability to commit violence and wage war in order to keep Islam strong. IRI forbids and suppresses opposition to the state.
    IRI promotes violence and war as actions that create national regeneration, spirit and vitality.

    I just changed a few words using the classical definition of Fascism to describe IRI.

  37. Photi says:

    fyi says:
    June 4, 2011 at 9:01 am

    fyi, the whole modern world was structured around the free exchange of ideas at at a relatively fast pace made possible with the printing press. In effect, the Americans are saying to the Iranians they can only participate in ‘modernity lite.’

    Well, much to the dismay of the imperialists and much outside of their control, the Internet signals an entirely new era for humanity and no longer will attempts at information control find much success. The power asymmetry acquired by they West as a result of reaching modernity first will very soon be in the Past. For better or worse ( i would say for so much better) a multi-polar world is the future of international relations.

    It is in America’s interest to use its last breath of Superpowerdom to make an orderly and equitable transition to this new multi-polar reality.

  38. fyi says:

    Photi says: June 4, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Killing Iranian scientists, in my opinion, was one of the maost despicable acts of the Axis Powers. For the message to the Iranian people, in Iran and abroad, was that Iranians should not learn certain technologies or sciences. And if they do, they will be killed by the Christain powers of Axis Powers.

    It was an insult to the Iranian people and will not be forgotten, ever.

  39. Photi says:

    Dan Cooper,

    A couple of quotes from the article you linked:

    “Going beyond these spy activities, two Iranian nuclear scientists last year were assassinated and Hersh says it is widely believed in Tehran that the killers were either American or Israeli agents.”

    “Hersh quotes one of Pickering’s colleagues as saying if Obama were to grant a meeting, Pickering would tell him: “Get off your no-enrichment policy, which is getting you nowhere. Stop your covert activities. Give the Iranians a sign that you’re not pursuing regime change. Instead, the Iranians see continued threats, sanctions, and covert operations.”

    Could you imagine if Iranian agents were going around picking off American scientists? 100% bullshit Mr. Obama.

  40. Photi says:

    Karim,

    Here is the structure of your argument:

    Identification as Victim–>Emotional Appeal–>Therefore [evil] Fascist Regime.

    Your emotional appeal, though potentially heartbreaking, is used to obscure the bigger picture within which some of these events may or may not be happening. Instead of demonizing the Rahbar, why don’t you ask Mrs. Clinton’s thugs to get the hell out of Iran?

  41. Dan Cooper says:

    Iran And The Bomb

    US Spying Detects No Iranian Nukes

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article28231.htm

  42. Photi says:

    Simply put, labeling the Islamic Republic as a ‘fascist regime’ is just one more of the many lies which are used in the propaganda war against Iran. Karim, your imprecise and hyperbolic language makes it impossible to have a rational conversation with you. Your propaganda is implicit but plain in your choice of words.

  43. Photi says:

    If anything, the leadership in Iran tends to downplay Iranian nationalism in favor of a non-sectarian, non-racial Islamic solidarity. The Rahbar himself is an Azeri Turk is he not?

  44. Photi says:

    Karim,

    What specific characteristics does the Islamic Republic have that make the government fascist?

  45. Karim says:

    Rehmat and Liz,

    I am amazed how convincing and logical your arguments are — Not. I have lived most of my life in Iran and was stupid enough to demonstrate on behalf of Khomenei in 1978-1979. I am not sure where you guys live, but I really suggest to go and stay in Iran for a few months. Then tell me how you feel when attending a simple funeral for a friend could cost you a few months in jail. Then tell me how popular the head fascist Khamenei is when every opposition figure has to be jailed or killed immediately. Go talk to the mother of two boys who were hanged in Esfahan just two week ago (I was there FYI) when they were tried in closed courts and found guilty as being against god.

    By the way, whether Israel is a dictatorship or not, does not wash the blood of thousands of people from the hands of this fascist regime.

  46. Iranian says:

    I liked this part the most:

    As a consequence of their failure to predict the events in North Africa, the United States and other Western powers were forced to constantly change their political stances regarding events during the days of Revolution—and looked particularly weak, unwise and insincere when doing so. Western states’ difficulties in understanding the Middle East are exacerbated because their sources of information in this part of the world are basically the secular elite, the wealthy, and Western-educated or even Western-oriented Muslim intellectuals.

  47. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Fior jan: grist for your research mill.

    http://www.intifada-palestine.com/2011/06/franklin-lamb-israelis-rush-for-second-passports/

    Money quotes:

    “To paraphrase Jewish journalist Gideon Levy “If our forefathers dreamt of an Israeli passport to escape from Europe, there are many among us who are now dreaming of a second passport to escape to Europe.

    “The number of Israelis thinking of leaving Palestine is climbing rapidly according to researchers, while many more, with actual millennial roots but victims of ethnic cleansing, prepare to exercise their right of Return.”

    “…perhaps as many as half of the Jews living in Israel will consider leaving Palestine in the next few years if current political and social trends continue. A 2008 survey by the Jerusalem-based Menachem Begin Heritage Center found that 59% of Israelis had approached or intended to approach a foreign embassy to inquire about or apply for citizenship and a passport. Today it is estimated that the figure is approaching 70%.

    “…more than 100,000 Israelis already hold a German passport, and this figure increases by more than 7,000 every year along an accelerating trajectory. According to German officials, more than 70,000 such passports have been granted since 2000.

    And Fior jan: if you think its bad now, give ‘em time:

    “Currently more than 500,000 Israelis hold US passports with close to a quarter million pending applications…assurances were reportedly given by AIPAC officials that if and when it becomes necessary, the US government will expeditiously issue American passports to any and all Israeli Jews seeking them.

    Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, some one million Jews have come to Israel from the former Soviet Union, enlarging the country’s population by 25 percent and forming the largest concentration in the world of Russian Jews. But today, Russian Jews comprise the largest group emigrating from Israel and they have been returning in droves for reasons ranging from opposition to Zionism, discrimination, and broken promises regarding employment and “the good life” in Israel. Approximately 200,000 or 22% of Russians coming to Israel since 1990 have so far returned to their country.

    “…all Jews are “scared to death of what is probably going to become of Israel even if the U.S. continues its support for it.”

    “Many observers of Israeli society agree that a major, if unexpected recent impetus for Jews to leave Palestine has been the past three months of the Arab Awakening that overturned Israel’s key pillars of regional support.

    “What the Zionist occupiers of Palestine saw from Tahir Square in Cairo to Maroun al Ras in South Lebanon has convinced many Israelis that the Arab and Palestinian resistance, while still in its nascence, will develop into a massive and largely peaceful ground swell, such that no amount of weapons or apartheid administration can insure a Zionist future in Palestine. They are right to seek alternative places to raise their families.”

    There. I did a pretty good job of butchering Franklin Lamb’s article. No ashqal goosht :D

  48. Unknown Unknowns says:

    HBO Films: Too Big To Fail: Opening The Vault On The Financial Crisis

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVV6dzDOgQ0

    Religio Americana: capital as moral compass; capital as moral anchor.

  49. Unknown Unknowns says:

    BiBiJon: “… Iran’s effective strategic deterrence: just imagine how much more accurate shorter range missiles would be.”

    It does not take much to destroy a pier or two in the aal as-Sau’d deep sea supertanker dock. All it takes is for an Iranian frigate cruising in international waters (I believe the boundary is 10 miles off the coastline) to fire everything it has at the port and you are talking about a minimum of a six month repair job to make the West’s jugular vein serviceable again.

    050.016
    YUSUFALI: It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein.
    PICKTHAL: We verily created man and We know what his soul whispereth to him, and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.
    SHAKIR: And certainly We created man, and We know what his mind suggests to him, and We are nearer to him than his life-vein.

  50. Unknown Unknowns says:

    that’s smell the qahwa…

  51. Unknown Unknowns says:

    James: you sau, “On the other hand, there is a genuine concern on the part of many European leaders, that Iran may try to build nukes.”

    Methinks, rather, that the many European “leaders” should voice their “genuine concern” about their *own* country’s building of nukes, and their own country’s kowtowing to the only power who has used such weapons gratuitously on more than one occasion on civilian populations, and which yet demurs, nay refuses to foreswear their first use.

    To sleep, perchance to dream is all well and good in the land of Shaykh ash-Shpear, mein guter Freund, but you would be well-advised to wake, perchance to small the qahwa.

  52. Liz says:

    Karim,

    You should go see your Israeli doctor.

  53. Empty says:

    RE: “We have no quarrel with the Iranian people and no wish to be an enemy of Iran.”

    The above statement could be deconstructed as follows:

    1. “We” consider Iranian people and Iranian government as fundamentally separate.
    2. “We” have no quarrel with the Iranian people (but we cannot claim that they don’t have any quarrel with us).
    3. “We” have no wish to be an enemy of Iran (however, when we are showing our animosity toward Iran and behave just like her enemy it is not because we wish to do so but because her people just make us behave this way. Honestly, if only they would just bend over and let us ride them like good donkeys and call us “saheb”, all will be solved and we could all live happily ever after).

  54. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Put on your tin-foil hats, boys and girls, and fasten your seatbelts. We’re going to go on a magical mystery tour of the new age “anthropogenic” [=synthetic] phyle or religion also known as “climate change”. The last 10 minutes or so, where Martin Durkin (the documentary’s writer/ director) gently points to impacts and possible motives of the religion – its impact on third world development – makes this post, exceptionally, “on topic” to this forum, especially when one considers Ahmadinejad’s statements and vehemence that the West’s enmity towards Iran’s nuclear power program, the boycotts, etc., stem from the former’s desire to maintain its exclusive technological monopoly on nuclear energy; and his repeated statements that Iran intends to share its nuclear power know-how with third world nations.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtevF4B4RtQ

    It is about 75 minutes in duration, but amazingly, it kept my attention riveted to the screen.

  55. Unknown Unknowns says:

    BiBiJon:

    “It is important to note that the strategy was forced on Iran after the all-so-humanitarian ‘international community’ laughed off Saddam’s use of chemical weapons on Iran. Also, Iran learned a lesson from Madeline Albright’s “We Think the Price Is Worth It” (http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1084).”

    It is the dizzying heights of such grotesque hypocrisy and cynicism that makes one wonder why more people in the “developed” world don’t see the world as it really is, and as our resident Bussed-in Professor succinctly puts it: the struggle between good and evil, haqq and baatel.

    *

    “Often I feel grateful for the uniformed folks at the US defense and intelligence departments holding back their civilian bosses with some ghastly attitude issues.”

    Indeed. In the words made immortal by Jack Nicholson, “[They] can’t handle the truth.”

  56. Fiorangela says:

    Are Young Rabbis Turning on Israel? by Daniel Gordis in Commentary.

    “In conversation with these students, there’s one word in particular that makes them squirm with discomfort, and it represents the third way in which their generation differs. That word is “enemy.” There is something hard and non-malleable about the term “enemy,” and today’s students are loath to use it. They are disturbed by the intractability of the conflict in Israel, but they refuse to draw any conclusions from Palestinian recalcitrance.
    . . .

    “As Rabbi Scott Perlo, another respondent to my Jerusalem Post column, wrote: “I readily concede that there is a decided slant to the left of center in most of our seminaries….But people misunderstand the nature of this slant. We are not the generation of rabbis hoping to abandon Israel. We are the generation of rabbis who hope that God will give us the merit to be peacemakers.” How a rabbi holding a pulpit in West Los Angeles is going to become a peacemaker in the Middle East is never explained. But one thing is clear from Perlo’s article: peacemaking, this generation believes, requires imagining that we do not have enemies. Neville Chamberlain would have appreciated the company.

    . . .

    ““Engagement” is a gloriously vague notion, so evanescent in its purposes and intentions that it casts a fog over the clarity provided by genuine commitment: to loyalty, or heritage, or love, or sanctity, or duty. It is the sort of benign interaction that one can have even with enemies. Engagement is particularly easy if you refuse to acknowledge that the people who continue to celebrate those who have killed you are your enemies.

    If you asked a Jew at any other time in the history of our people whether or not he had enemies, the notion that he should consider the possibility he did not have enemies would have occasioned a blast of the mordant humor that has helped keep our tribe alive through the millennia. Today, however, the discomfort with the idea of “the enemy” and the intolerability of being in a drawn-out conflict has led these students to the conviction that Israel must solve the conflict. The Palestinian position is not going to shift; that much they intuit. But having enemies, and being in interminable conflict, is unbearably painful for them. So Israel must change. And if it will not, or cannot, then it is Israel that is at fault.”

    Gordis is miffed that young rabbis are being challenged to think about their enemies as human beings on a par with Jewish martyrs. Gordis considers that a betrayal of zionist Jewish values.
    People like Dan Gordis INSIST on hyphenating the religious background of the United States: Judeo hyphen Christian, they demand.
    The revolutionary core of the message of Jesus is to love your enemies.

    in the same issue of Commentary magazine is this blurb for an article by Michael Rubin:

    “After bin Laden: He is dead but his evil lives on and must be fought.”

    Presumably Rubin argues that bin Laden’s “evil must be fought” to the last American dollar and the last drop of American blood and until the last enemy of zionism is slaughtered.

    What would Jesus hyphen Gordis do?

  57. Rehmat says:

    Karim – Imust say you are not only pile of Israeli crap – but also a coward Zionist Jew hidding behind a Muslim ID.

    You remind me of Gilad atzmon’s conviction. SHALOM=What’s good for Jews.

  58. Karim says:

    What a pile of crap.

    “One of the reasons why the political order and Ayatollah Khamenei are popular among ordinary Iranians is because of the ideologically-grounded stress on moral values, social justice, independence, and support for the oppressed, as well as the defense of national dignity—as, for example, with regard to the nuclear program.”

    Khamenei is simply hated by people. The only time a student dared to ask him why he cannot be criticized, the poor kid disappeared not to be seen again. A popular “leader” does not have jail, kill, rape and intimidate even the smallest opposition. I am sure similar writings by political hacks like Marandi can be found in 1980′s as about Soviet Union and how U.S. was misreading it. It is Marandi and the thugs who support him that are misreading history. Fascist regimes like Iran will not last.

  59. Karl says:

    James, so you consider them friends? I.e. friendly to Iran?

  60. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    In fairness to Obama, I think he was sincere in his wish to reach out to the people of Iran in an effort to achieve better relations. I don’t think he knew how to do it, or possibly he was stymied by advisers concerned about the Israel lobby.

  61. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    I think Clinton and Obama want to please Democrats in the US Congress, and they want to placate rich Jewish campaign donors who object to Iran’s assistance to the Palestinians and to Lebanese who support the Palestinians.

  62. Liz says:

    Further evidence to show Dr. Mohammad Marandi is correct about the western (government and media) response to Bahrain:

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/183027.html

  63. Karl says:

    James, I meant, do you consider obama and clinton to be friends with Iran?

  64. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Are you asking if Obama and Clinton are friends? Or are you touching on Obama’s bungled efforts to “reach out” to the people of Iran?

  65. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    I would add that Hillary Clinton clearly lacks historical understanding and insight, and like Obama is unaware or insensitive to the dealing out of gratuitous insults, and that much of what she does is not in fact in the best interests of the American people.

  66. Karl says:

    James, well are them friends or not (regardless of knowledge, lobby etc)? Yes or No?

  67. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    I think Obama has very little historical understanding, no background in diplomacy, little comprehension of the culture of Iran and the damage done by gratuitous insults, etc. And I see Hillary Clinton as having her attention focused on pleasing powerful Jewish interests in the US. So, where does that take us?

  68. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Statement of British Embassy Israel 4 June 2011: “Foreign Secretary William Hague has commented that “We have no quarrel with the Iranian people and no wish to be an enemy of Iran.”
    http://ukinisrael.fco.gov.uk/en/about-us/working-with-israel/iran

  69. Karl says:

    James, thanks but you missed the headlines and what the practical matters shows. Obama and hillary clinton is neither enemies of Iran, do you agree with that? I mean comon, actions speaks louder than words just like Liz told you.

  70. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Two quotes from William Hague from last September: Iran “has a natural place as a leading nation in its region”; “We have . . . no wish to be an enemy of Iran.”
    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/145720.html (Oct. 7, 2010)

  71. Karl says:

    James, correct, now since its according to yourself its so evidently that UK doesnt seek regime change please give me sources, it would be a no brainer to find sources proving your claims. Right?

  72. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Let’s put the matter another way. Are you claiming you do not believe that the British foreign secretary is on public record as saying “the UK is not the enemy of Iran”?

  73. Karl says:

    James, I meant your claim is bizarre.

  74. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    And what conceivably is “bizarre” about Hague saying what should be obvious, namely that Britain is not the enemy of Iran? Russia is not the enemy of Iran either. Nor is Italy. Etc.

  75. Karl says:

    James, again please provide sources proving your point.

  76. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    It is not my style to compile files of online cites for facts that should be known to those following these matters. But I will look for some. Are you aware of Hague’s opinions?

  77. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Stephen Pollard, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, tries to cast Hague as an “enemy of Iran”. He did it most recently, to my knowledge, last November in the Daily Telegraph. Hague is soemthing of an “Arabist” (as British experts on the Middle East were known). He certainly is well-informed on the history of Britain and Britains role in the history of the Middle East.

  78. Karl says:

    James, sorry but thats just bizarre, but please give numerous sources proving your point.

  79. Liz says:

    James Canning,

    Actions speak louder than words.

  80. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Hague has said it directly several times in the recent past, and indirectly many times. The UK and Hague are not the enemy of Iran and they do not seek “regime change”. Full stop.

  81. James Canning says:

    I also recommend “War by Fops and Fools”, in the NR Rev. of Books, June 9th, by Max Hastings (reviewing two new books on Crimean War). Quote: Napoleon III sent 310,000 French soldiers to fight Russia “to ease his domestic political difficulties through the diversionary excitements of a foreign adventure.” Does anyone think of Sarkozy?

  82. Karl says:

    James, UK is one of the staunchest supporters of the hardline attitude against Iran. “no enemy of Iran”? When did he said that?

  83. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    Iran is growing stronger, despite the sanctions. Without the sanctions, Iran would grow stronger much faster.

  84. James Canning says:

    Karl,

    William Hague stresses time and again that Iran is not viewed as the enemy of Britain and that Britain is not the enemy of Iran.

  85. James Canning says:

    I recommend Malise Ruthven’s “Storn Over Syria” in the NY Review of Books 9 June 2011 (reviewing The Other Side of the Mirror: An American Travels Through Syria, by Brooke Allen). Ruthven notes that “religious and cultural differences seem to have flourished under the iron grip of a minority sectarian regime.” The writer also notes that the father of Hafez al-Assad, Sulayman, was one of the six Allawis who petitioned France in 1936 not to have their area of the Syrian Mandate included in an independent Syria that would be ruled by a Sunni-controlled parliament.

  86. Karl says:

    James, lol are you blind? The whole western world wants that (just because israel/US wants them to take that stance though). UK is one of the most aggressive nations towards Iran after US/israel.

  87. Karl says:

    Marandi pretty much encapsules the recent event with the sentence – “Iran is growing stronger, US and its allies is not”

  88. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I do not think there is much support for “regime change” in Iran, in the EU. I know William Hague, UK foreign secretary, is not seeking regime change in Iran.

  89. Pirouz says:

    Massous, BiBi,

    Strategy Page is operated by a hack. Some time ago, they plagiarized an entry of Sean O’Connor’s, trying to pass it off as their own. When they were called on it, they did nothing.

    My advice is to ignore that effort. No one in the know takes it seriously.

  90. fyi says:

    James Canning says: June 3, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    The European Union is part of a formidable military alliance, which, however, has its limitations.

    “Surrender” in this sense must be understood as “regime change” in Iran, as Dr. Albaradei has stated in his memoirs – the goal of the the Axis Powers.

    China and Russia do not want Iranian surrender, thus they extract whatever concessions they can from the Axis Powers and, at the same time, feed Iran with technology.

    Their jealousy of their position in NPT, however, is not going to translate into wrecking Iran. There is no margin for Russia and China in helping the agenda of Axis Powers in case of Iran or in the Greater Middle East.

    Russia and China are powerless to stop Axis Powers strategies in the Middle East. They are not powerless, however, to prolong the agony of the antagonists. The Axis Powers wars in the Middle East are a useful distraction to Russia and China; they will feed those fires as much as they can while extracting whatever they can out of the Middle Eastern states as well as the Axis Powers.

    The Axis Powers antagonism against Islamic Iran is not due to Israel or Jews primarily. If it were so, last month when multiple semi-official Israeli leaders started down-playing Iranian nuclear case, the leaders of Axis Powers would have immediately latched onto those statements to back-pedal.

    They did not do so.

    In fact, on the contrary, they started putting pressure on Israel to conform to US-EU sanctions on Iran (after all these years).

    This is not about Israel or Nuclear centrifuges in Iran.

    It is about breaking the Iranian power.

    And Iranian leader, as far as I can tell based on public sources, have concluded as much.

  91. Rd. says:

    BiBiJon says:
    “Also, Iran learned a lesson from Madeline Albright’s “We Think the Price Is Worth It”

    Yes mad’m the price is worth it. But, can you afford it???

    The GDP in 1981 was $3.1 trillion, today it is $14.7 trillion.
    • The National Debt in 1981 was $907 billion, today it is $14.4 trillion.
    • The amount of annual Federal income tax revenue in 1981 was $347 billion, today it is $1.1 trillion.
    • The amount of annual Federal spending in 1981 was $678 billion; today it is $3.8 trillion.
    • Total consumer debt in 1981 totaled $353 billion, today it is $2.4 trillion.
    • Total mortgage debt outstanding grew from $1.5 trillion in 1981 to $14.6 trillion by 2008.
    • Median household income was $17,710 in 1980 and is now $49,777.

    These facts reveal an empire spiraling out of control, delusional and living on borrowed time with borrowed money. The output of the country has grown by 474% in the last 30 years, while the National Debt has grown by 1,588%. Those two facts alone paint a picture of eventual collapse. The lesson of allowing politicians and bankers unfettered access to unlimited amounts of fiat currency backed by nothing but a hollow promise to pay is clear, in the divergence of income tax revenue and spending.

  92. BiBiJon says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    June 3, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    I was marveling at how not a single one of Sy Hersh’s sources/interviewees dared opine that Iran will not be a military threat to anyone for the next 250 years, just as she has not been one for the last 250 years.

    Folks can have a diversity of opinion on most anything under the sun, but cannot allow themselves to think what use would be a nuclear weapon to Iran defensively, or offensively.

    As for deterrence, and in total agreement with you, Iran has a weapon of global economic destruction: a bevy of missiles, torpedoes and sea mines that will put an effective halt to shipment of oil through the Persian Gulf. It is important to note that the strategy was forced on Iran after the all-so-humanitarian ‘international community’ laughed off Saddam’s use of chemical weapons on Iran. Also, Iran learned a lesson from Madeline Albright’s “We Think the Price Is Worth It” (http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1084).

    Often I feel grateful for the uniformed folks at the US defense and intelligence departments holding back their civilian bosses with some ghastly attitude issues.

  93. BiBiJon says:

    masoud says:
    June 3, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Agreed 100%. Strategy Page’s vitriol against Iran is a given. But, precisely because of that, their calling Shahab 3 to be an effective weapon, had me thinking the whole point of that article was that Iran indeed has highly effective weapons.

    If that is so, according to Strategy Page, of all people, AND if that is so for a missile at 1700km range, then unknown unknowns is spot on in terms of Iran’s effective strategic deterrence: just imagine how much more accurate shorter range missiles would be.

  94. Liz says:

    James Canning,

    Doha seems to be working with the Obama administration on Syria. As time goes by, Aljazeera is looking more and more like Alarabia. They are clearly trying to create disturbances in Syria rather than merely reporting them.

  95. James Canning says:

    Glenn Greenwald argues (salon.com) that the White House is attacking Seymour Hersh because it does not want it known that the Obama administration deliberately exaggerates the “threat” from Iran, even at the risk of setting up another disaster like the Iraq War catastrophe.

  96. James Canning says:

    The Wall Street Journal today also had an interesting news report on the efforts of the Obama administration to court favor with Bashar al-Assad, in hopes of cutting Syrian links with Iran. John Kerry has put a good deal of effort into the programme. But why or why do US politicians think it is sensible to try to drive a wedge between Syria and Iran? Answer: ISRAEL LOBBY.

  97. James Canning says:

    Writing in the Financial Times today (“When Tahir Square comes to Israel”), Philip Stephens notes that William Hague and Angela Merkel have had enough game-playing from Netanyahu. The time has arrived for delivering on the aspirations of the Palestinians.

  98. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    What do you mean by a “quick Iranian surrender” that you claim was demanded by the “Axis Powers” when they imposed sanctions? Are Russia and China “Axis Powers”? Do they demand the “surrender” of Iran? Hardly.

  99. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    I think Sy Hersh’s article in the New Yorker makes the point that Obama’s attitude toward Iran is not directed to stopping a nuclear weapons programme. Many powerful Democrats in the US Congress want Israel to be able to impose its own notions of a deal with the Palestinians, unilaterally. And Iran interferes with this scheme.

  100. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think you are continuing to be delusional, in arguing the EU countries want Iran “to surrender”. Yes, I do agree that trying to injure Iran is part of a strategy on the part of the “Israel first” crowd, to help Israel to continue its oppression of the Palestinians. On the other hand, there is a genuine concern on the part of many European leaders, that Iran may try to build nukes. And you of course have urged Iran to do just that.

  101. Unknown Unknowns says:

    BiBiJon says:
    June 3, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Re: missiles: I think Liz hit the mail on the head when she said that Iran’s deterrent strength lies in her ability to bring the world economy to its knees [with the targeting of oil supertankers, the single Saudi deep sea port that has the ability to dock same, and the pipelinestan infrastructure that delivers the crude to said port, plus the hundreds of thousands of US military personnel held hostage to the supply line that runs through Iraq’s Shi’a southern stronghold of Basra, currently in the hands of the Badr Brigade.

    I thikn Iran has been wise to put what little money it spends on the military into missile defense (as Uzi Rubin has stated).

    And on Sy Hersch’s article, you are on the money, as always; but I think it is very welcome news indeed that the new NIE will throw cold water onto the Oh Bumma govenrment’s hostile intentions, just as the 2007 NIE did to the Bush-Cheney cabal’s plans.

  102. James Canning says:

    Writing in the Wall Street Journal today, the well-known neocon warmonger, John Bolton, calls for the US Congress to block the Palestinian effort to obtain UN recognition later this year. What a surprise.

  103. masoud says:

    Bibi joon,

    I think that article you linked to is garbage. The Qiam is probably closer to the shahab2/scud C in diameter(or smaller), so it can’t be used to target Israel. The IRGC, not the air force operates the missiles, Iran doesn’t use chemical warheads etc…

    Another thing that bothers me is that everyone assumes that Iran uses GPS to guide it’s missiles. I think this would be both stupid and unnecessary. Four high powered radios sitting on the back of trucks and driven specific pre-determined locations a couple of kilometers apart from each other in Syria would be enough to guide a Shahab 3C all the way to tel aviv.

  104. Kathleen says:

    Thank goodness for this site. Keep sending folks here

  105. BiBiJon says:

    On Iranian Missiles

    StrategyPage, a military/defense publication not known for missing an opportunity to pour ice cold water on Iranian claims of advances in defense technologies, had a piece today which included:

    “This Shahab 3/Qiam 1 missiles are basically 1960s technology, with the addition of GPS guidance. Russian and North Korean missile technology has been obtained to make these missiles work. This has resulted in missile designs that apparently will function properly about 80 percent of the time, and deliver a warhead of about one ton, to a range of some 1,700 kilometers, to within a hundred meters of where it was aimed. By current standards, this is a pretty effective weapon.”
    ,http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/hticbm/articles/20110603.aspx

    On Sy Hersh:

    His New Yorker article missed out on an important rational for the nuclear weapon allegations against Iran. Recalling ,http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/wmd-just-a-convenient-excuse-for-war-admits-wolfowitz-539287.html

    Hersh should have pointed out:

    a) Lawyers/politicians spend a long time figuring out what kind of accusation will frighten Western sheeple, while, simultaneously, some semblance of legalese can be relied upon to move an issue to UNSC, and get a chapter 7 resolution. Lately, the WMD excuse is becoming threadbare enough for P2P (humanitarian excuse) trial balloons to be littering the skies (of Libya). But, until P2P proves effective, nobody is going to give up on the WMD excuse.

    b) Hersh quotes many of his sources as being ‘sure’ about Iran’s ultimate nuclear weapon intentions. This faith-based policy making is rooted in an oppressive and intolerant American political culture. Just as was the case with Iraq, the farthest a dissenter is allowed to go is to express doubts about present dangers posed by Saddam, but if she/he values her political life, she’d better never express any doubts about the eventual danger posed by Saddam. Hersh’s inclusion of his sources’ claimed/coerced certainty about Iran’s future evil intentions just goes to show how suffocating the US political/media culture continues to be.

  106. fyi says:

    Liz says: June 3, 2011 at 2:09 am

    Substantial trade and other relationships between Iran and Europe had been established for more than a century.

    It will take as decades to reroute them elsewhere.

    But it will happen, the unknown is the ration of EU to non-EU trade as time goes on.

    EU states have contributed to the acceleration of a natural evolution of trade patterns in the Middle East – with the rise of China, Korea, and others in the Far East – to those states.

    Again, the idea was always that they could recoup their losses after the Iranian surrender.

  107. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says: June 3, 2011 at 3:19 am

    Thank you for your comments.

    I think it was sometime in 1345 or 1346 that some people were contemplating the Islamic Revolution in Iran through a campaign of strikes, demonstrations etc. but concluded that the Iranian people were not ready for it.

    More than a decade later, that 1346 plan was put into operation and the Iranian people supported that.

    So, I definietly understand this from a political point of view and do not advocate trying to expedite History (which is often unkind to those who try to expedite it.)

    But there is a such a thing called Truth – historical Truth, scientific Truth and religious Truth.

    You owe a debt to your own intellect to understand Truth, as much as it is possible for you and within your capability.

    You do not have to conform to the narrow minded understanding of weak fearful individuals who are the products of a by-gone age (both physically and mentally) regardless of how many people agree with them.

    At the beginning, Abraham, Noah, Jesus, Moses, and Mohammad were all shunned.

    But the Truth of their message gained wide acceptance.

    I mean, Zoroaster, Summayah, Hamzah, Imam Hussein were all martyred for upholding Truth.

  108. Castellio says:

    Fara… I wish it were hilarious, it’s just sad.

    You want to know how contemporary countries “pay tribute” to the US, this is it. They buy their military products, then put their people in them, and then go fight for the empire.

    Any Canadian would have to be an idiot to think this is “making it”. It’s simply one’s obligations as the US moves to offload certain policing expenses.

    The Harper government is an extension of the Republican party of the US.

  109. Iranian says:

    Liz

    Yet another Bahraini protester has been killed:

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/183027.html

  110. Unknown Unknowns says:

    fyi says:
    June 3, 2011 at 12:57 am

    Thanks. Interesting details, with which I agree wholeheartedly. Makaru wa makr Allah…

    By the way, I had meant to respond to your earlier statement that my rebuttal (to whatever it was we were discussing) showed “nothing but contempt for the common man” (or something like that). To the contrary. The reason I support the current regime in Iran, together with the various ulema that sit on various councils (Expediency Council, Council of Experts, etc.) is not that I agree with their take on Islam and the Sharia. Not at all; my view is radically different than theirs. I support them and their views (as dated as I believe them to be) becuase I know that it is *their* views (and not mine) that is representative of the people’s, of the common man’s. And being a centerist, I bow to that center of gravity because the value of my personal conjecture (zann) (regarding government, politics and the efficacy of Sharia to and its harmony with modern times will always be trumped by the value I hold dearer, especially in times of war, and that is the value of national unity and cultural cohesiveness. And so, with respect, I maintain that it is your radical individualism that allows you to advocate a radical departure not just from tradition but from the expressed will of the “common man” whose interests you profess to defend, that is the position that expresses contempt for the common man. I hold no truck with him. I think his taste in music is appaling, ditto for his taste in the visual arts, his reading choices, etc. If there were ever a state that was truly democratic (we have not seen one yet, and I for one hope and trust we never will), then it would truly be a state of the majoritarian tyranny of the tasteless and incompetent over the naturally more qualified. Winston’s critique of democracy is witty, but of course the more serious critique is to be found in Plato’s Republic. Democracy assumes that people are equally talented in their abilities of governance, whereas of course this is patently absurd, and as in everything else, there is a bell-shaped curve that obtains and a concomitant heirarchy.

    Anyway, maybe I should have just let you have the last word. But I guess I couldn’t help myself, so I am going to have to live with the consequences, which will probably be a much longer rambling response of yours, which will then have to serve as the last word :D

  111. Liz says:

    fyi,

    Iran has also been forced to move away from a dependency on European goods. It now does a lot more real global trade than before.

    In the long term, I think that is also a big plus for Iran.

  112. fyi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says: June 2, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    The report is consistent with the aim of the Axis Powers: overthrow of the Islami Republic of Iran.

    The sanctions policy was always predicated on quick Iranian surrender. This was specially important since the pay-off to those states that supported the sanctions – such as India – were expected to come from the coffers of the post-surrender government of Iran.

    Now that the sanctions are dragging on, there are all these parties that had expected to be paid in a reasonable time for supporting the sanctions since they had incurred costs (financial, diplomatic, etc.) But they are not getting paid and will not get paid as evidence of an Iranian willingness to surrender is nowhere in sight.

    For decades RCD and now ECO were hollow shells since they did not produce goods that the member states needed or wanted. Now, due to sanctions, there is a big Iranian market for many industrial goods out of Turkey. Furthermore, the exclusion of Iran from the Axis Powers financial sector is helping financial institutions elsewhere in the world that had never ever hoped to be anything but bit players to suddenly aspire to grow larger and more powerful.

    These changed patterns of finance, banking, and trade are here to stay. EU states will never recover their position in Iran and certainly not the United States companies.

    Turkey is the largest winner. The other winner is the financial sector in Iran (banking, finance, insurance) being forced to grow and grow rationally – despite the non-sensical Islamic Economics pretensions.

    All in all, sanctions have been painful and will be painful until the necessary adjustments are made by Iran and the Iranians.

  113. fyi says:

    James Canning says: June 2, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    The fact remains that Axis Powers, in full or in part, have waged war – under one guise or another – in the Balkans, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, and now in Libya since 1991.

    The fact is that they are also waging an intelligence war, an economic war, a cyber-war, and a diplomatic war against Islamic Iran.

    Iranian leaders must assume that the Axis Powers (NATO) have plans for another war of choice against her at the most opportune time. They therefore have to be plan ahead on how to harm the Axis Powers in as many places as possible and in as many ways.

    Mr. Lavrov’s statement is another invitation to Iranians to surrender. Mr. Lavrov knows very well that Iranians are not going to conform to UNSC Resolutions that takes away sovereign rights from them. His statement are gestures to the Axis Powers that Russia remains committed to the “Reset”. These statements also project an image of a reasonable Russia. [If the p5 were reasonable they would not have taken Iran to UNSC were the Axis Powers surrendered power to China and Russia - their strategc competitors.]

    Russian’s have used the Iranian nuclear crisis to the hilt. But this crisis is now another frozen conflict of the world of diplomacy while Iran will be busy building nuclear facts on the ground.

    The Iranian nuclear dossiere is finished in that sense.

  114. Unknown Unknowns says:

    The Atlantic Council’s new 12-page report on Iran

    http://www.acus.org/publication/iran-sanctions-preferable-war-no-silver-bullet

    together with Jim Lobe’s take on it:

    ,http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=55907

    And no, unfortunately, it does not say something to the affect of, “Oh Em Gee [nasal Jewish Princess Valley Girl accent], we’re like sanctioning these like I-rain-ians where like Sy Hersch says there’s not a “single shred of evidence” that they’re like pursuing a WMD program. I am sure. Totally.”

    But if it did, it would have been a more intelligent report and all it would have taken is 3 lines and not 12 pages.

  115. Pirouz says:

    Sakineh,

    Colonel Lang is older and sometimes crotchety in his manner. He once emailed me over the Palestinian issue, telling me to “bug off.” Then when he provided an amnesty towards those he banned, he told me I’d never been banned in the first place.

    I continue to read his blog but I rarely comment or read the comments over there, these days.

    Juan Cole censored me again! It was over the subject of Bahrain. This time I offered supporting evidence from Vali Nasr’s “The Shia Revival.” Juan can be such a hypocrite, which is something conservatives are quick to point out in liberals.

  116. Fara says:

    This is hilarious. Bombing defenseless countries (Afghanistan and
    Libya), Canada has got the delusion that it is a big boy now.

    Canada considering international bases: MacKay

    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/canada-considering-international-bases-mackay-174834357.html

  117. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Fio,

    Well, I now have confirmation that you do educate elsewhere as well. I was over at Pat Lang’s site in the comment section where I noticed the fine history lesson by none other than our very own Fiorangela. The good colonel didn’t like it very much and was quite hissy, threatening to ban you, making sure to misspell your name. Here is what he said: “fiorangelo I believe I am going to ban you. Yoiu are just ttoo wordy and anti-Semitic. Pl”
    You mean you had the audacity to use words to convey your message? Shame on you! Also, apparently PL doesn’t know the difference between an anti-Zionist and an anti-Semite. Did you really get banned? If so, what an honor. As always, you go girl!

    All,
    I think this, from our couple of fine homeys went unnoticed under the radar. An interview with Nima Shirazi by Kourosh Ziabari. Israel Always Needs Existential Threat to Survive.
    Read more here: http://middleeastatemporal.wordpress.com/2011/05/29/israel-always-needs-existential-threat-to-survive-nima-shirazi-interview/

    An appeal to Nima and Kourosh: I know you read this, so, please don’t hesitate to post a link to your writings here. I am sure everybody here would love to read it. I know I would, having read you other fine material. We won’t think you are peddling your wares.

    Also,

    What is it about the death of an Iranian that gets the west so riled up asking for an investigation? Both UK and US are asking for an investigation into the death of Haleh Sahabi. This is not to say that her death should not be investigated, but where is the outrage about the forty-three Yemenis that were killed the very same day? The fourteen Afghanis killed by a drone? The twelve Iraqis? The fifteen thousand that die every day around the world from smoking cigarettes?

  118. James Canning says:

    I agree with John Glaser (antiwar.com) who, with Seymour Hersh, think the sanctions against Iran have little to do with stopping a nuclear weapons development programme and instead are an effort to coerce Iran into having differntly regarding ME politics etc. So, is the US Congress continually lying to the American people, as part of an effort to pressure Iran into making it easier for Israel to oppress the Palestinians?

  119. James Canning says:

    According to Seymour Hersh, writing in the latest New Yorker magazine, the 2011 NIE on Iran does not change the 2007 NIE on Iran, which stated that Iran stopped work on its nuclear weapons programme in 2003 and there is no evidence the situation has changed since then.

  120. Antiwar Azeri says:

    Listen to the dazing audio here http://antiwar.com/radio/2011/06/01/seymour-hersh-5/

    and discover another devastating blow to warmongering neocons who deceitfully allege “Iran is building a Nuclear bomb”.

    The first consequential blow came when in 2007 NIE stipulated Iran, since 2003 has stopped such activities (Iran insists never had any intention to manufacture any kind of WMD) .

    The new hit is also by NIE as Seymore Hersh explains in the above audio in reference to his compelling New Yorker article

    This is a real BIGGIE.

    See also Nima Shirazi’s obliging piece on the same topic:

    -http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com/2011/06/iran-nuclear-scare-timeline-update.html

    To many Iran analyst Eric A. Brill’s devastating report on June 2009 Iranian election sounded like an earthquake. As usual the corrupt MSM hid that important report from the general public, skillfully stifling the clamor such that nowadays the likes of Hillary Clinton still talk about the fraud in that election. Also little guys like Farid Zakaria continue to imply IRI’s wrong doings on that even and are silent about the following major observation and inference:

    “Many of those who marched in Tehran protesting the stolen election marched in February 11 2010 supporting the IRI since they got convinced, similar to previous elections, there was no planned rigging and suspected the ‘evil’ hands of foreigners to demonize, delegitimize and destabilize IRI. No one in MSM ever mentioned that the main reason for fizzling the protests was the above not the ‘harsh?’ reactions by the baton wielding police (or the group trials) in order to scare off the public (who in the past have proven for the right reasons they can not get easily cowed) ”

    This time it is expected NIE and Hersh’s disclosures of neocons and Israel-firsters’ gross lies having a noticeable impact on the political scenes since NIE (and Hersh) are not of low level prominence, they are big designations.

    Another good day for antiwar camp and hats off for Leveretts who were intelligent to identify those lies and resultant faulty policies and courageous to stand up for what is right.

    Always Right in the long run is the Winner.

  121. James Canning says:

    paul,

    I don’t thank “Nato” has any desire for war with Iran. And the intervention in Libya was a bit of a freak event, arising in no small part due to blunders by Gaddafi, in terms of PR. If Gaddafi had said he would seek to keep bloodshed to a minimum, after the outbreak of the revolt, there would have been far less pressure on David Cameron for Britain to intervene. The foreign secretary, William Hague, was opposed to intervention.

  122. James Canning says:

    A prominent neocon warmonger, John Bolton, was ecstatic about the rapture the US Congress experienced in the presence of Netanayahu the other day. Bolton saw it as signalling “a significant new political dynamic in the United States.”

  123. James Canning says:

    paul,

    Russia and China take pains to be polite when they discuss Iran’s nuclear programme. What is your assessment of Sergei Lavrov’s comments to Bloomberg?

  124. Liz says:

    Paul,

    I don’t think so. Iran is far too strong and any attack on the country would lead to a halt in oil and gas exports from the Persian Gulf, Northern Iraq, and Central Asia. That would destroy the global economy.

  125. paul says:

    Sadly, I think that what Marandi is missing, in his last, overconfident assessment of the probable future, is that the US/Nato/Israel faction is looking very, very hard – in places like Libya – for a form of war that can succeed without ground forces, relying heavily on airpower and on local coopted factions. Without a doubt, they are thinking about Iran as they bomb Libya. These are folks for whom the ‘military option’ is never far from their thoughts, who believe that fast-evolving military technology and realpolitik can accomplish anything.

  126. paul says:

    James, I suggest you do this little thought experiment. Imagine a world in which the US and Israel shut up about Iran’s (nonexistent) nuclear weapons program. Do you think that in such a world, China and Russia would suddenly start raving about it? No. Obviously not.

  127. paul says:

    What’s really striking about this kind of thing, is that America’s ‘enemies’ often make a lot of sense, when they comment on international situations, and even on American politics, by comparison with the often lunatic ravings of America’s policy elites.

  128. James Canning says:

    Iranian,

    I think it makes good sense for Iran to talk to the US, where it gets the chance. Iran’s wish to have normal relations (embassies open in Washington and Tehran) makes excellent sense.

  129. James Canning says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Lavrov said the sanctions would not do what the promoters claimed they would do. And he was and is correct. The Russians and the Chinese are adamant about Iran not developing nuclear weapons. Perhaps they have a concern on this score?

  130. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    I welcome a joint effort by Turkey, Iran and Egypt to resolve the Israel/Palestine problem! Turkey very nearly got Israel out of the Golan Heights, in 2008.

  131. James Canning says:

    Bob Marshall,

    Clearly the US grows increasingly plutocratic. About this there is no serious argument. However, the key element is simply that about half of the plutocrats are Jews, and many of them use their great power to prevent the US from forcing Israel out of the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

  132. Photi says:

    James,

    it’s not even a UK or an EU thing, the Muslims are a sovereign people so they should act like it. it is absurd that america be expected to be an ‘honest broker’ at this point in history. Turkey, Egypt, and Iran should lead the process.

  133. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    Yes, Americans will make a mess of things, in the Middle East, in matters involving Israel. Guaranteed. This is the reason I stress the need for the UK and other European countries to take the lead in a more aggressive fashion.

  134. Bob Marshall says:

    The Us policy failed in Vietnam to bring a change where the people of Vietnam would accept a democratic form of government. all they wanted like most Middle Eastern nations today want is to be free of western occupation in their country. to purchase oiland gas at a fair price from countries in the Middle east is one thing but to take over an doccupy these same oil and gas fiels is not acceptable nor should it be. The Middle east ha svast resources besides oil and gas and the western world is aware of this. sactions and military power is the driving force behind the US Global Hegemony. Our country is falling apart econimically while out military funds keep increasing. The sad thruth is even the Middle east is running low on oil nand that seemzs to be the big prize. Iran has oil but more important it has the largest natural gas fields in the world. maybe one day Americans will understand the goal of the forces behind the US and Natos’ quest for globaization. Opps! I think i just did. While have always hoped to see peace between Isarel and Palestine as long as the US gives 10,000,000,000 annually to Isarel and just a few million ,if that much to Palestine i can understand why Muslim countries feel sighted. it isn’t the majority od American that want war with any country. It is not our call because there is too much power behind these decisions in Washington. Every great military since the beginning of time has fallen. our government is afraid thwe American people will wake up and discover what has and is continuing to happen to our liberites and freedoms.One day we will discover there are two classes of people left. The poor and the wealthy.

  135. Photi says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    June 2, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Unknown Unknowns,

    You wrote:

    “So, with all due respect to my brother in faith, before you posit such sweet nothings as “he US['s ability to] choose now to have the foundational shift in its Middle East policy…” etc., you should consider the resistance institutional inertia if nothing else offers against such a shift.”

    Americans have an uphill and possibly insurmountable battle ahead no doubt. However, the Middle East will be saved not by Americans but by the Middle Easterners themselves. The American realization may or may not come, but what matters now is what Turkey, Iran, and Egypt do to transform their region. If Americans are left to the task we will screw it up.

  136. James Canning says:

    Iranian,

    I agree there is a pathetic element to Obama’s response to Netanyahu. I think it is clear the US is not able to act in the best interests of the American people in matters involving Israel, and I expect this situation to continue to grow worse rather than to improve.

  137. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says: June 2, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I think Iranians will continue their with their Eastern policy that was initiated under Mr. Rafsanjani.

    I think they will continue to seek out whatever technology that they can from icRussia but will neither accept Russian strategice demands/requests nor make any of their own.

    [Russia needs Iran about as much as Iran needs Russia.]

    I think Iranians and Turks are also in a mutual dependency situation; trade will increase and so will flow of contraband: drugs to Europe and restricted industrail and strategic goods to Iran.

    India is out of the picture. There won’t be any development with that state other than oil-based transactions.

    Iranians are well advised to try to keep the peace in Iraq while doing nothing to help settle any of the numerous wars and insurgencies around them.

    The continuation of the wars and insurgencies in Palestine, in Libya, in Southern Russia & Cacausus, in Yemen, in Somalia, in Afghanistan, and in Pakistan are in the interest of the Iranian state.

  138. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Yes, BiBIJon. That is good. HOwever, if I were Mr. Bloomberg, I would ask Lavrov if that is in fact the official Russian position (i.e., “So it’s a process which can only be successful if we count not on new sanctions and threats, but on negotiations, as any other situation in the world, actually.”), then why has Russia not broken with the US and is still abiding by the sanctions?

    Iran is pushing for China and Russia to break from the sanctions regime. At the rate the US is going, with its bull-in-a-china-shop attitude of 18th & 19th century brigandage in Pakistan and Libya, flouting completely any and all inernational norms and laws, I think that day will come sooner rather than later. And when it does come, the moment will go down in the annals of history as the straw that broke the camel’s back (or clipped the eagle’s wings).

  139. Liz says:

    BiBiJon,

    Vali Nasr knows very little about the Middle East, Arabs, Iranians, or Islam.

  140. BiBiJon says:

    Unknown Unknowns says:
    June 2, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I did come across this:

    Q. [Bloomburg] What is Russia’s assessment of how soon Iran could acquire a nuclear bomb?

    A. [Russian Foreign Minister, Lavrov] We don’t have any proof that Iran has taken a political decision to produce a bomb. And whatever information IAEA has does not support the conclusion that Iran is already making a bomb.

    The IAEA has access to all sites which Iran legally must show to the inspectors. Iran, does not apply, as I said, the additional protocol, and modified code 3.1, which are not obligatory, but which I think are very important, especially for Iran because apart from its rights under the non-proliferation treaty, Iran has quite important obligations, obligations related to the need to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of the nuclear program, and there are some questions that the international community wants to clarify. So the IAEA resolutions, the Security Council resolutions, are aimed exactly at this and they must be implemented. But Iran must see the light at the end of the tunnel as I said, and the conclusions of the agency would be the crucial criteria. So far, as I said, they cannot confirm the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program, but they cannot conclude that the Iranian nuclear program has a military dimension. So it’s a process which can only be successful if we count not on new sanctions and threats, but on negotiations, as any other situation in the world, actually.

    http://www.isria.com/pages/2_June_2011_116.php

  141. BiBiJon says:

    fyi says:
    June 2, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Thanks for that link, which had me thinking the climate has changed quite a bit in recent years.

    As Amb. Bhadrakumar points out, Vali Nasr was correct in predicting Iraqis will be the flag bearers of Arab Shiites.

    Egypt is also likely to be the flag bearer of Arab anti-imperialism and the champion of Palestinian rights.

    These developments give Iran a wide berth to pivot her attention Eastward and towards the North cultivating important partnerships with India and Turkey respectively.

    Do you agree, and how do you think it will unfold?

  142. Iranian says:

    It does seem that talking to the US is a waste of time.

  143. BiBiJon says:

    Couple quotes before indulging in some profundities with the slimmest possibility of cogency.

    “Many Iranians feel that time is on their side and that there is little need for the country to negotiate with or even talk to a hostile American government.”

    “As long as the U.S. government relies on such advice, Iranians will continue to feel that talking to Americans is pointless and a waste of time. ”

    Prof. Marandi has not touched on another subject: Is there any point in continuing to shout out America’s shortcomings, hypocrisy, and imperial crimes?

    Negotiating/talking is part of a broader spectrum of engagement, which to my mind also encompasses trading insults, and answering every accusation, with accusation. Considering the scope of EU/US sanctions on Iran, I’m left to conclude the west is perusing disengagement from Iran with quite some zeal and thoroughness.

    Iran’s readiness to similarly disengage would be signaled by dropping the word ‘America’ from her political discourse. I look forward to Ahmadinejad’s UN General assembly speech this fall where the word ‘America’ is absent. He should stop shaking the already awakened. It is time to share breakfast with those who have risen. Defense/offense rhetoric tactics towards the ‘West’ is a distraction from issues that actually matter. E.g. Iran/Egypt relations is far more important than dignifying every western insult against Iran, Islam, and the orient with a response. Methinks.

  144. Bobby says:

    Professor Mohammad Marandi’s analysis of the situation seems reasonable to me. What I find to be the problem is that American analysts are still thinking and writing as if nothing has changed over the past decade.

  145. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Is it just me or has Russia Today taken on a more radical anti-US/EU axis tone?

    If it isn’t just a figment of my imagination, all I can say is it’s about time, and hopefully it heralds a shift in their foreign policy to a more independent stance.

  146. Cyrus says:

    It seems that the US, in reaction to these events outlined by Marandi, is retreating more and more into a contrived reality, according to which the IRI is in imminent danger of collapes and holding on through sheer repression, building nukes and whatnot. This is fed by the various exile and pro-Israeli groups, form whom the the prospects of any genuine US-Iran dialogue is anathema. However, burying yourself in denial and spin is not a sound basis for a foreign policy. The chickens will eventually come home to roost.

  147. Rehmat says:

    On May 25, 2011 – Lebanese celebrated 11th anniversary of Jewish army’s withdrawal from its occupation of South Lebanon. On that day in 2000 – the Zionist entity suffered its first defeat at the hands of Arabs. The victory was accomplished by less than 1000 Hizbullah freedom-fighters as result of their 18 years of military resistance against the Israel Occupation Force (IOF) and their Lebanese militant Christian allies (Phlangists).

    Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary-General of the Islamic Resistance Hizbullah in a televised speech on the ocassion blasted both Barack Obama and Benji Netanyahu for killing the 2002 Saudi peace plan for Palestine.

    Sheikh Nasrallah urged Arabs and Muslims to support current regimes in Syria and Islamic Republic. “The difference between the Arab uprisings and Syria… is that President Assad is convinced that reforms are necessary, unlike Bahrain and other Arab countries,” he said.

    “We must refuse these sanctions that the United States and the rest of the West are marketing and trying to convince Lebanon to abide by, added Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.

    “The resistance will remain loyal to its goals, its path, its sufferings and the blood of its martyrs. Fear was in Netanyahu’s eyes two days ago when he was speaking before Congress about Hezbollah’s and Hamas’s missiles… we are neither frightened by Netanyahu nor by Obama and all their fleets. We belong to a land that has vanquished all the fleets and we are not scared by anyone’s threats, intimidations or accusations” Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah told told tens of thousads Lebanese assembled to mark the event.

    In Summer 2006, Hizbullah fighters inflicted a major military defeat to 30,000 Jewish soldiers invading Lebanon.

    http://rehmat2.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/lebanon-celebrates-11th-anniversary-of-israeli-defeat/

  148. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Photi:

    1
    You talk about the American People as if they are in control of their government. They are not. Their central (national) bank was privatized in 1913 with the creation of the Federal Reserve, which is no more “Federal” than Federal Express, with th eresult that every time the government wants to borrow money, instead of printing it against its own credit, it borrows it from the “bloodsucking zombies,” to use the good professor’s term. The interest on the debt has been paid for by the creation of the Federal INcome Tax (just “coincidentally” enacted in teh same year, 1913, prior to which no US citizen paid taxes to the Federal government).

    It is in the interest of these bloodsuckers to increase the national debt, just as it is in the interest of credit card companies for you not to pay off your debt.

    2
    The second group that has kidnapped your government is the military-industrial-congressional complex. The “congressional” part was in Eisenhower’s original speech, but got dropped somewhere along the way. But it is key, as this facet of the hijacking turned a representative democracy into a corporate plutocracy, with the “representatives” of the corporate oligarchs bought and paid for – be they republicans or democrats, both parties now just being a canard to give the naive dumbed-down sheeple the illusion that they are actually taking part in the decision-making processes of the important decisions that face their nation.

    It is in the interest of *these* bloodsuckers too to increase the national debt, as they survive and thrive on the corporate welfare checks that go to pay for the multi-billion dollar “defense” contracts.

    3
    The third of the spiritual zombies in this unholy trinity is a strange amalgam of radically wayward Jewish Zionists (aka Neocons) and radically wayward Evangelical Christian Zionists (aka Freekin’ Idiots). These two sub-groups are consolidated and amalgamated into the larger group of chiliasts or millinarianists by virtue of their mutually shared characteristic, based on their wayward spiritual aridity, of being unable to withstand the existential tension inherent in postlapsarian man until the Resurrection, and thus having the need prematurely to immanentize the escaton. It’s a long story (which is why I had to use those fancy technical shortcuts – sorry).

    Anyway, this third group of misfits doesn’t care about the debt, but their need for a premature rapturous climax fans in an exquisitely synergistic manner, the flames of your out of control national debt through “defense” spending by lending the other two spiritual zombies an ideological framework and rationalization (you know, bringing Christian democracy to us sand niggers and the A-rab coons on the other side of the dunes, while conviniently removing the obstacles from the path of Greater Israel).

    *

    So, with all due respect to my brother in faith, before you posit such sweet nothings as “he US['s ability to] choose now to have the foundational shift in its Middle East policy…” etc., you should consider the resistance institutional inertia if nothing else offers against such a shift.

    Only in my humbling opinion, that is :)

  149. Photi says:

    Bussed-in Basij,

    For those who are not under the Zionist spell, it is easy to see the imminent demise of US hegemony in the Middle East.

    Some in the US may view this demise as catastrophic but my personal view is that an American retreat from the Middle East (ordered or forced) will be the beginning of the American re-birth Fiorangela was speaking of the other day.

    Another personal opinion is that this same retreat/demise of US influence will also clear the ground for Islamic Civilization to bloom once more throughout the Dar al-Islam.

    Maybe that’s optimism and God know’s best, but i think there are still yet centuries left to play out in the human story. If that is true then peace is a necessity for the Civilizational enrichment of that continuing story.

  150. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Galloway puts things in their proper perspective (on Libya). 15 min. Video.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article28218.htm

  151. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Photi,
    Reply to your post in previous thread:

    I agree with you, Allah (swt) always leaves the door open for reform and you misunderstood my point as being deterministic, which it isn’t.

    The real question Photi is to what extent “the American people”- that holiest of holies in the American religion- are capable of averting the punishment and hell that the actions of your leaders have wrought. You are optimistic about their capabilities, I’m pessimistic, but if they are able to get rid of these bloodsucking zombies for the welfare of humanity, I would welcome that.

    In effect what we are talking about is a massive upheaval of the social and political order in the US, not some minor political reform- and that just doesn’t seem to be happening at the moment.

  152. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Great job, Dr. Marandi brilliant as always, God bless him.

  153. Photi says:

    the crazy thing is that an American nation living and abiding by her principles would have a much easier time seeing eye to eye with Iran than what is going on now. bizarro world.

  154. nahid says:

    fyi
    I agree with you . Iran should get A_bomb as soon as possible.

  155. Photi says:

    Important analysis by Professor Marandi. Iran wins in any scenario as Iran is standing by the legitimate aspirations of the people. The US can choose now to have the foundational shift in its Middle East policy, or the US can wait and have those realities impose themselves later. Much less bloodshed is involved in freely choosing the foundational shift (which of course requires a distancing from zionism) in US Mid-East policy.

    The US has become a nation of war-mongers, so the cynical view predicts more war ahead before we (americans) recognize our own tyranny.

  156. Photi says:

    I guess i should do more than hit F5. James Canning and Bussed-in Basiji, i left some comments on the previous thread.

  157. Mythologist says:

    so what I’m trying to say is that America is getting its information from victims of its own Soft War !!! and makes decisions based on what these detached individuals think they are seeing! This is indeed quiet strange.

    It is like I fool someone to hate an individual and then I trust him to give me some detailed information about that individual!

    Here is another funny example: You softly touch someone’s heart and mind by telling him convincingly how bad the economy of his country is and make him hate his country, then to know whether that countries economy is bad you ask him how is your economy?!

    I think US is a victim of the feedback of its own Soft War!

  158. Mythologist says:

    Soft War:
    The battle to influence hearts and minds of the target people for good or bad.
    |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
    Soft Power:
    The ability to manage the things people love or hate (heart) and things people doubt or believe (mind).
    |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
    Symptoms of being a victim of US/Zionist Soft power:

    Total lack of love for current, religion, ideology and culture; while loving a past mythical history of great Kings, religion and glory.

    The victim is detached from real-time, in love of a myth that no longer exists and perhaps never existed as such. That myth is something that Enemy’s Soft Power also magnifies and glorifies.

    The victim tends to open conversations with a negative remark about something of his/her country/people.
    The victim is blind to even the most self-evident goods of his country/people.
    The victim is blind to all the bads of the enemy of his country.
    The victim has little historical memory yet is deeply affected by a grand mythical history of his country.
    Note 1: The victim can be a highly educated individual!
    Note 2: The victim eventually develops a strange love for the culture, ideology, life style, etc.. of his enemy and embraces it willingly and easily.

    Usually in Soft Attack, one has to primarily attack the heart and then the mind, because it would be more effective this way.
    |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
    One of the main characteristics of those who are not affected by enemy Soft Power:

    Very sensitive on ideological issues, can react to the simplest of gestures or sentiments in a movie or an article, etc…

    For them Ideology and belief is like land, something feminine that must be defended and kept pure.
    |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

  159. Fara says:

    On the [P]GCC alliance with Jordan and Morocco

    The GCC plus Jordan and Morocco is a coalition of the trembling. Each of the timorous monarchs is far more afraid of his own people than he is of Iran, the United States, or any other external power.. More in here (worth reading)

    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/05/201153073955794306.html

  160. Iranian@Iran says:

    The article, I believe, is very good. I hope this is a sign that the website is becoming more active again.

  161. Iranian@Iran says:

    Sean Webster

    Jordan is already unstable and an unstable Syria or a Syria with a Salafi or Muslim Brotherhood government will be a terrible blow to the regime.

  162. Sean Webster says:

    The dichotomy that Marandi uses to illustrate Middle Eastern interests is absolutely crucial here. His distinction between the interests of the regime/elite vs. the people is something that most U.S. policy makers seem to take for granted. Too often the U.S. asks, “What does [insert any Middle Eastern country] think?” when it should be asking “What does the regime think AND, more importantly, what do the people think?”

    HOWEVER, the one aspect of Marandi’s argument that bothers me is what seems to be a baseless assertion that the fall of Assad will hasten the collapse of the Jordanian regime. What’s so special about Syria? Is it simply because that it borders Jordan? I’m not entirely convinced that instability is that fluid.

  163. Liz says:

    fyi,

    I don’t believe the two contradict one another other.

    I agree with what you say about the western response to an “existential threat”. However, I think blocking oil and gas exports can do that.

  164. fyi says:

    All:

    This statement is false:

    “a hypocritical approach to the region, which gives Western policymakers no incentive to understand Middle Eastern realities.”

    Western (Axis Powers) policy makers have no incentive to understand Middle Eastern realities because misunderstanding them does not pose an existential threat to them.

    That is, if a number of Muslims states had the capacity (like US, Russia, and very soon China as well) to annihilate all life on this planet, then their minds would have focused like the proverbial LASER beam, on developing such understandings.

    The Middle Eastern states are too weak and too insignificant for the Axis Powers to try to understand their realities. This asymmetry of power cannot be arbidged over the next decade.

    Even the formulation is problematic, you cannot – as a Middle Easterner – expect the Axis Powers or any other power to pay much attention to you unless and until you have the capacity to harm their interests.

    This is another sign of the Fallen Nature of Man; that only with violence or the ability to exercise it can one safeguard onseself.

  165. Iranian says:

    James Canning

    I believe the events over the past couple of weeks in Washington have damaged the US considerably in the ME. Everyone watched the Israeli PM give his speech and everyone now knows that the US president has no option but to obey Israel. Obama is pathetic.

  166. Iranian says:

    biadab

    I think you show your true green character. Your writing is a good example that shows why people in Iran don’t like the American backed (and largely American based)greens.

  167. Iranian says:

    A very interesting piece. He is absolutely right too.

  168. Pirouz says:

    Mirandi’s essay really takes to task the current article on the same general subject over at Tehran Bureau.

  169. Rehmat says:

    How real is Iran’s nuclear threat to Israel?

    “Between the end of June and Gates’ retirement, and the end of September and Mullen’s retirement, the danger that Netanyahu and Barak will aim at a surprise in Iran is especially great, especially since this would divert attention from the Palestinian issue,” wrote Amir Oren, columnist with Israel daily Ha’aretz (June 1, 2011)……

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

  170. biadab says:

    What a fat pile of shit. I hope to see Hilary Leverett punched in the face by a basiji willing to die for the ever-so-unpopular Leader. If that doesn’t wake her and her husband up from their dreamy depiction of Syria and Iran perhaps a rape in prison will do. A gangbang of sorts by the very fanatics they are defending. As for Marandi – he will see his end soon enough. Not a single recognition of the missteps of the Islamic Republic.

  171. James Canning says:

    Regarding Obama’s rather foolish comments in his March 20, 2011 address to the Iranian people, was he just pandering to rich Jewish supporters? Or did Obama actually believe these comments were useful?

  172. James Canning says:

    Liz,

    Read that short piece I linked, by Patrick Foy. He sums up the situation: US politicians pander to the ISRAEL LOBBY because it guarantees fat political contributions, at no risk.

  173. James Canning says:

    Yes, US leaders often know little about the Middle East, and many of the advisers also know little but they are in their slots for political reasons. Remeber Elliott Abrams? He knew little about the Middle East, yet he was #2 on the National Security Council (after Condi Rice became Sec. of State)! Why? It pleased the neocons and other warmongering elements of the ISRAEL LOBBY.

  174. Liz says:

    Very well said. Too bad American governments don’t listen to reason when it comes to Iran.