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The Race for Iran

America’s “War Party” and the Myth of Iranian “Irrationality”

Speaking with Antiwar Radio’s Scott Horton earlier this week (listen to podcast here) about our forthcoming book, see here, Flynt took on widespread stereotypes in American discourse about Shi’a Islam as a martyrdom-obsessed, death-seeking, and “irrational” culture that makes the Islamic Republic of Iran a threatening and dangerous actor on par with Hitler’s Reich.  He confessed that “I’m reaching a stage where I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when [I hear that sort of thing from] people who I don’t think know very much about Shi’a Islam, don’t know very much about Iran, haven’t spent a lot of time, I would suspect, talking about Shi’a Islam with people who believe it, live it, think about it.”  But, evoking a major theme in Going to Tehran:  Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran, he rejoins,

“Just look at the historical record.  The Islamic Republic has never used weapons of mass destruction.  In its war with Iraq—when the United States, among others, was supporting Saddam Husayn in an eight-year war of aggression against the new Islamic Republic—Ayatollah Khomeini’s own military leaders came to him and said, ‘We inherited the ability to produce chemical weapons agent from the Shah.  We need to do that and weaponize it so that we can respond in kind.  We have tens of thousands of our people, soldiers and civilians, who are being killed in Iraqi chemical weapons attacks.  We need to be able to respond in kind.”  And Imam Khomeini said, ‘No, because this would violate Islamic morality, because it is haram—it is forbidden by God—to do this, and the Islamic Republic of Iran will not do this.’  Imam Khomeini and his successor, Ayatollah Khamenei, have said repeatedly, over years, that the acquisition or use of nuclear weapons would also violate God’s law; Khamenei has said that to do it would be a ‘big sin.’  This is not the rhetoric of people who are out to bring the apocalypse down upon everyone else and themselves

The most detailed, data-rich extensive study of suicide terrorism, done by scholars at the University of Chicago and the U.S. Air War College, concluded that there has literally never been an Iranian suicide bomber…And so people like to talk about the Islamic Republic as run by these ‘mad mullahs,’ or even if the president is a layman, it’s this ‘crazy,’ ‘millenarian’ Ahmadinejad who just is waiting to get his hands on a nuke so he can turn the whole 70-plus million people in Iran into history’s first ‘suicide nation.’  And there is just absolutely no historical or even rhetorical support for that line of argument.  This is a country that, since its revolution, has basically been much, much more concerned about defending itself, defending the Iranian people, consolidating and maintaining its own independence in the face of hostile regional powers and hostile outside powers including, most notably, the United States.

Spurred by a reference to Hannah Arendt’s observation that “the most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution,” Flynt notes,

“The first task of a revolutionary, once he or she has overthrown the incumbent regime that he’s opposing, the first task is to consolidate power.  And that was certainly the case for the Islamic Republic—and the Islamic Republic had to do this when, in fairly short order as I said, Saddam Husayn launches this eight-year-long war against it, supported by most of his regional neighbors and supported by the United States.  So they were having to consolidate power while they were also having to defend the Iranian people against this onslaught.

And then if you look at what they did, after they came out of this war in in 1988—after it’s over and their military has been very, very badly decimated in this war, as has their economy as a whole—they actually diverted significant resources away from military spending, so that they can focus on postwar reconstruction, on building up a health care system, on building up an education system for their peopleAnd if you look at the outcomes they have produced for Iranians in those areas, considering the baseline they started from, it’s really impressive what they have accomplished.

Today, the United State spends 70 times more on defense than Iran.  Saudi Arabia spends more than four times what Iran spends on defense.  Israel spends twice as much on its military as Iran does.  Iran today has basically no capability to project large amounts of conventional military force beyond its borders.  The idea that Iran is going to come across its borders and, to borrow a phrase from the U.S. Army, park it’s tanks in somebody else’s front yard, is just fantasyland

So they are no conventional military threat to their neighbors.  They do have a lot of ballistic missiles—conventionally-armed ballistic missiles—which they have said they would use in response to attacks on them.  But they are certainly not the only country in the world that makes that sort of deterrent, retaliatory threat as part of its defense posture.  And if you are concerned about those missiles not flying anywhere, I would suggest you don’t attack Iran, and those missiles aren’t going to go anywhere.”

Scott Horton raises the discomfiting prospect that facts don’t really matter where Iran is concerned—that, regardless of the facts, “there is this endless drumbeat of bad things that Iran did, and it doesn’t matter that none of them are true…In the popular narrative, Iran is a terrible danger that must at some point be dealt with; I think the war party has won on that and that means it’s just a matter of time.”  Flynt responds,

“You may be correct; I hope you’re not.  Hillary and I have written the book that Harper’s was good enough to print an excerpt from in no small part because we want to do everything we can, at least, to make sure that the war party doesn’t win.

Now, it’s a very tall order.  The war party, as you describe them—we saw what they are capable of doing, in terms of getting us to invade IraqThey can manufacture intelligence, they can create threats that aren’t there, they can link a country that they don’t like to other threats that Americans are afraid of, like Al-Qa’ida—even though there is no link between that country they don’t like and Al-Qa’idaThey can manage to pull that off.  They can tie into very powerful domestic constituencies who can put lots of pressure on Congress, lots of pressure on the mainstream media, and so onWe saw with Iraq what they are capable of doing, and you’re right—they are certainly trying to do it with Iran now.

Hillary and I saw that inside government during the run-up to the Iraq WarBasically, all of the institutions Americans count on to provide a check on that sort of thing—the Congress, the media, think tanks, public intellectuals—with some few and extremely honorable and courageous exceptions, for the most part those institutions tankedThey provided no independent check on the war party.  And Hillary and I have written this book, Going to Tehran, as I said, in no small part because, at least this time around, we want someone to be asking the hard questions and making the kinds of countervailing arguments that should have been asked, should have been made before we invaded Iraq but, to a large extent, really weren’t put forward.”

Scott and Flynt also discuss the possibilities for U.S.-Iranian rapprochement.  After reviewing the 2003 Iranian non-paper passed to the United States via Swiss intermediaries, Flynt makes a broader point:

This is also part of the ‘mad mullah’ myth—that this is a regime, a government, that is either too ideologically committed to anti-Americanism or too dependent on it for its own domestic legitimacy ever to contemplate improved relations with the United States.  But, again, just look at the historical record.

The historical record is that whenever the United States has reached out to Iran and said, ‘We need your help with some problem—whether it’s American hostages in Lebanon, whether it’s getting weapons to Bosnian Muslims when U.S. law prohibited the United States from doing that, whether it’s help against Al-Qa’ida and in Afghanistan after 9/11—whenever we have reached out like that to Iran, they have tried to respond positively.  They have done much—not everything, but much—of what we’ve asked of them in those circumstances, in the hope that this would lead to an improvement in relations.  It’s never worked out, but not because the Iranians didn’t respond.  It didn’t work out because we decided to pocket their cooperation, and then cut it off.  They’ve advanced any number of proposals over the years for a more comprehensive improvement in relations, which we have pretty consistently rebuffed.

Their stated position, from Ayatollah Khamenei himself—and it’s been echoed by presidents, by foreign ministers, and by other senior officials—is if the United States is willing to accept the Iranian Revolution, to accept the Islamic Republic (the product of that revolution) as a legitimate political entity representing legitimate national interests and to deal with it on that basis, there is no barrier to improved relations between Iran and the United States—and in fact Iran would welcome improved relations on that basis.  From the Iranian perspective, it’s the United States that’s never shown itself seriously willing to proceed on that basis.  We think relations can only improve only after Iran has surrendered to every one of our demands, and then we’ll see if it’s possible, we’ll think about it then…

That’s never going to work with this political order…We tried that for twenty years after the Chinese Revolution with the People’s Republic of China, and it was an utterly stupid and counterproductive policy that, among other things, got us bogged down in Vietnam.  Fortunately, Richard Nixon [realized] that this is stupid, it’s hurting the United States; the United States needs to be able to deal with this large and important country in Asia.  I am going to accept the People’s Republic as a legitimate entity that has national interests just like we do, and we are going to see if we can’t align enough of those interests to make it possible these two countries that have been estranged from one another since the Chinese Revolution actually to have a productive relationship.  And it worked; it worked brilliantly.

That’s the kind of approach we need to take toward Iran today, toward the Islamic Republic.  It’s just like China—for twenty years, Mao and Zhou Enlai had said, ‘We’re not unremittingly and unreasonably hostile toward the United States.  If the United States is prepared to accept us, accept the revolution that we came from, accept us and deal with us as a legitimate entity representing legitimate national interests, there is no barrier to good relations between the United States and China.  We would welcome that.  But you’re not going to be able to bully us around, you’re not going to be able just to make demands of us, and you’re not going to be able to get us to compromise our sovereignty to accommodate your preferences.’  It took us twenty years, but we figured out how to do that” where China was concerned.

As to the prospects for productive American diplomacy toward Iran during President Obama’s second term, Flynt noted that he was “not at all optimistic.”  To be sure, the outlines of a nuclear deal are clear:

If you acknowledge Iran’s legal right to enrich uranium under safeguards on its own territory if it chooses to do so, then everything becomes possible…[But even in the talks over a possible deal to refuel the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) in 2009-2019] the Obama administration was never prepared to acknowledge Iran’s right to enrich…It was prepared to do a kind of narrow deal that would buy it a certain amount of time  to figure out maybe what it wanted to do on these bigger issues.  But it has never been willing to say Iran has a right to enrich…

If you look at why the Obama administration rejected the deal that Brazil and Turkey brokered with Iran over this issue in May 2010, Obama administration officials, Dennis Ross, people like that have said in public, ‘Oh, we had to reject it because the first point in the deal that the Brazilians and the Turks brokered was [an acknowledgment of] Iran’s right to enrich, and we couldn’t have that’…[The administration] put terms on it, and the Brazilians and the Turks took letters that Obama had sent to the Brazilian president and the Turkish prime minister; they even showed those letters to the Iranians while they were negotiating with them, because the Iranians were saying, ‘Are you really sure the United States is going to sign off on this?’  And [the Brazilians and the Turks said, ‘Oh, yes, we have letters from the President of the United States; look.’

But it was really just a kind of cheap trick on Obama’s part.  [Administration officials] thought that if the Brazilians and the Turks insisted on the conditions in Obama’s letter, the Iranians would never agree; then, when the Brazilians and the Turks failed, they were both members of the Security Council at that time and they would both have to support a new sanctions resolution.  It was just a kind of cheap trick.  They thought…the Iranians will never say ‘yes.’  But then the Iranians said ‘yes.’  And then it’s the Obama administration that can’t take ‘yes’ for an answer.”

Looking ahead, Flynt notes that we’ve “talked to senior administration officials just in the last couple of weeks who tell me that there is no inclination to [recognize Iran’s right to enrich]—the policy, the goal is still to get Iran to suspend uranium enrichment.”  Responding to a suggestion that Nixon was uniquely able, as a Republican with strong Cold War anti-communist credentials, to spearhead an opening to China in ways that Obama, as a Democrat, is simply not able to replicate with respect to Iran, Flynt argues,

“More important than Richard Nixon being a Republican was that Richard Nixon actually had an accurate assessment of America’s place in the world when he entered the White House, and he had really thought through what that should mean for the United States strategically.  And he understood how important it was for the United States—it was not a favor to the Chinese—how important it was to the United States to open relations with China.  And he put every ounce of political skill, Machiavellian calculation, diplomatic acumen, capacity for secrecy…all of the good and maybe not so good parts of political persona, he put all of them into this and achieved this historic breakthrough, because he knew it was strategically vital for his country.

I don’t think the main problem with Obama is that he is a Democrat.  I think the main problem is that he doesn’t really understand where the United States is in the world right now, he doesn’t really have a strategic vision for the United States, and whatever vision he does have doesn’t compel him enough, doesn’t matter enough to him that he is actually to spend and risk political capital to realize it.”

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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205 Responses to “America’s “War Party” and the Myth of Iranian “Irrationality””

  1. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    European leaders in general would like to see a resolution of the nuclear dispute with Iran. Including William Hague and David Cameron.

    You may recall that the British defence minister, Liam Fox, was close to American neocons and apparently less eager to see a deal with Iran achieved.

  2. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    An Iranian decision to stop ernriching to 20 percent, unless more 20 U was needed to operate the TRR (or a replacement facility), would gain credibility for the Iranian government. Which says time and again it does not want nukes.

    Off-the-record, American officials could deliver the message this will prevent any US attack on Iran (assuming no effort made to build nukes by other method).

  3. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    December 23, 2012 at 7:09 pm
    And what exactly does iran get in return for unilaterally halting 20% enrichment james?,I don`t think you`ve ever told us,perhaps the “friendship” of hague and cameron

  4. James Canning says:

    Jay,

    I am not the party insisting Iran stop enriching to 20 percent. China. Russia. Germany. UK. France. US. Does not matter what I think Iran should be allowed to do.

    That said, it is entirely conceivable that Iran’s IAEA application to buy replacement nuclear fuel for the TRR was blocked by the US as part of a scheme intended to force Iran to enrich to 20 percent. George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice may have been duped yet again by neocon warmongers (and other supporters of Israel).

  5. James Canning says:

    Jay,

    Britain forced South Africa out of the British Commonwealth more than fifty years ago. Are you unhappy Britain did not do this earlier?

  6. James Canning says:

    Jay,

    Tell me what was “hypocritical” about the creation of the Union of South Africa? Are you arguing that Britain should have welcomed more problems in South Africa, when world war was looming on the horizon?

    William Hague wanted better relations with Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran. Full stop. You are simply mistaken if you think this was only pretense on Hague’s part. And you fail to accept that Iran wrecked Hague’s plans by announcing its intention to treble production of 20 percent uranium. This was an act of folly, on Iran’s part.

  7. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Kissinger may have been suggesting that the interests of Iran, as Iran, are not necessarily identical with the interests of the Shia religion and its adherents.

    Maybe we should recall how much damage Philip II of Spain did to his own country, due to a mania for suppressing “heresy”.

  8. fyi says:

    Nasser says:

    December 23, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    No you are wrong.

    Once bombs start falling on Israel, Americans will attack since, in a sense, “their religion” would be under attack.

    Dr. Kissinger does not address the main issue in any of his public statements: there is a much enhanced new strategically autonomous power in the world called Iran.

    His clearest statement is so oblique as to be missed – urging Iran to be a country and not an ideology; meaning Iran should abandon her role in Syria, in Iraq, in Palestine, in Lebanon, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, and in the Southern Persian Gulf.

    [Of course that would not happen.]

    US and EU have concluded that this power should not be permitted to exist.

    Yet, they do not have the power to undo what they themselves have caused to emerge.

  9. Persian Gulf says:

    fyi says:
    December 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    “But, evidently, that will take time – and with the kind of fools we have in Majlis, it could take another decade.

    [The fools that are seriously discussing a bill that would make Iran a large prison for the female population.

    Where do you get such men?]”

    probably not very harsh to the point that you feel contempt for. but I assume you are talking about this ridiculous issue:
    http://alef.ir/vdceze8zejh8f7i.b9bj.html?174014

    Specifically regarding Hejab, even some religious friends and family members here say IR foolishly made it as its achilles’ heel. it’s very hard, if not impossible, to backtrack from that policy at this juncture. I think, IR thinks (right or wrong) that the solution to [even a perceived] moral corruption is to stick to the principles and not bend for the sake of pragmatism.

    Apparently, Mr.Khamenei could take reformists’ boat back in late 1990s and change the direction only if stupid reformists did not make obvious mistakes, and were not squeezed externally by Clinton admin. I am afraid to say he missed another opportunity during Ahmadinejad’s first term. clearly running a state is not like playing a computer game with the ability to refresh the scene at will.

  10. Jay says:

    James,

    Recall that my original post addressed your comments posted on December 19, 2012 at 2:03 pm
    to fyi in which you suggested that: a) “…Hague wanted to improve relations between the UK and Iran”, b) “… Iran’s blunder in deciding to treble production of 20 percent uranium”, c) “…There was ZERO need to treble production”.

    I, in essence, suggested that politicians’ words such as Cameron or Hauge cannot be evaluated as a measure what they really want to do because of the long history of hypocrisy.

    Your response was to suggest that it was Qaddafi and his rants that was the casus belli in invading Libya and not the duplicity of the West (in essence).

    I suggested once again that the history of political duplicity by British politicians goes way back. Other posters suggested that it is not limited to British politicians (which I agree). The point being, that one should not use political statements as statements of factual evidence. You asked for an example of hypocrisy, I gave you one, then you asked “what should the Brits had done”!! Note the fritting about?!

    You seem to have lost track of the main point along the way – from British duplicity in statements of policy to poor management of political issues – and forgotten that the point is that for you to make the claims you make you should use something other than politician’s statements to back it up. If that was all of it, one could write it off as your way of interpreting the world around you. However, you seem to apply your interpretive skills rather selectively. Who should have what level of technology, and who should not, who should have what right and who should not, … , determined not by rules of international law but by some divine rule that you have not articulated yet.

    In your view, what makes Iranians inferior so as to not allow them to enrich to 20%?
    What international rule would they be breaking? If you can trust Hauge and Cameron, why can you not trust Iran when she says that she is not creating nuclear weapons?
    Why do you think it is a blunder for Iran to insist on her rights?
    In what sense do you think Iran is not an equal so as to not qualify her to deal with the West as an equal in negotiating?
    Do you think that it is all due to some external invisible hand and the West is simply a hapless parrot?
    If the hapless parrot picture is true, why do you think Iran should value any promise or agreement made by the hapless West?

  11. Nasser says:

    fyi,

    I don’t believe Americans will necessarily start a war with Iran as soon as “rockets start dropping on Israel.”

    I think what could start a war in the future is their (false) belief that Iran just needs more push before it gives in. At the moment they are pleased with their sanctions campaign and feel like they are winning, and so I don’t see war as likely in the near future. But when sanctions inevitably fail to bring Iran to its knees they might turn to their last means of coercive power. Cooler heads might prevail but I have heard many Americans like Henry Kissinger, Jim Baker and John Podesta argue that Iran just needs to face the ultimate show of US resolve before it fully gives in.

  12. fyi says:

    Rd. says:

    December 23, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    They may not have an appetite for war but war can be forced upon them.

    If Israel attacks Iran and Iran makes good on repeated statements of her leaders that she will respond with all her might, then Americans will attack Iran as rockets start falling on Israel.

    As I said, they are only one single incident – started by Israel – away from a war that will consume them for 2 decades and leave West Asia in ruins for at least twich that long.

    It is ironic, really, that the Collosal Superpower’s strategic autonomy has been so drastically reduced in Western Asia.

  13. fyi says:

    Nasser says:

    December 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    The model of Mullah’s vs. Revolutionary Guards reminds me of an analogous model of Communist Party vs. People’s Army in China.

    In my opinion, the models are suggestive but do not capture the dynamics of either society well.

    Specifically for Iran – these models discount or do not take into account men such as Mr. Makhmalbaf, Dr. Velayati, the Larijani Brothers as well as the diversity of political opinion among the mullahs and the Pasdaran.

    Furthermore, the Iranian version of these models treats the majlis and the Expediency Council as Not-at-All – as though they are irrelevant.

    I would not be concerned about oil production in Iran and its sales; Iranians will eventually sell all their oil on the spot market. This would serve their customers as well as them; their customers can point that they are not buying any oil from Iran and Iranians can sell without the head-ache of getting paid for long-term contracts.

  14. James Canning says:

    Nasser,

    Iran is losing tens of billions of US dollars in oil sales, at a time prices are high.

  15. James Canning says:

    Michael cohen, “In defence of Chuck Hagel, as the Washington Post declares war”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/20/defence-chuck-hagel-washington-post-war

  16. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says:

    December 23, 2012 at 9:42 am

    The people who oppose Islamic Republic neither oppose Islam nor the Republic; they are opposed, for the most part, the restricted electoral system that currently obtains.

    The seeds of 2009 were planted in the second Majlis.

    Mr. Khamenei made a very bad mistake when he prevented changes to the electoral laws to be made under Mr. Khatami.

    One would hope that this issue is eventually addressed – you cannot dis-enfrachise millions of people with impunity.

    But, evidently, that will take time – and with the kind of fools we have in Majlis, it could take another decade.

    [The fools that are seriously discussing a bill that would make Iran a large prison for the female population.

    Where do you get such men?]

    In regards to the aim of the sanctions – you are wrong.

    The sanctions until 2010 were meant to prevent, delay or otherwise hinder the industrialization of Iran but not since.

    The sanctions after 2010 were meant to repeat the success of similar wars against the late martyred President Dr. Allende and the late Dr. Mossadeq.

  17. Nasser says:

    A view from Stratfor: http://www.stratfor.com/sample/geopolitical-diary/irans-management-sanctions-pressures

    “Sample Article: Iran’s Management of Sanctions Pressures

    In an announcement on state television Monday, Iranian Economy and Finance Minister Shamseddin Hosseini delivered uncharacteristically specific information regarding the effects of the U.S.- and EU-led sanctions campaign on Iran when he said that Iran is facing a 50 percent decline in its oil revenues due to sanctions, a drop valued at roughly $40 billion.

    Hosseini’s comments come amid a recent increase of Iranian defiance — Iran again denied the International Atomic Energy Agency access to its Parchin nuclear testing site over the weekend — making his admission of Iran’s inability to manage the sanctions pressure all the more curious.

    What no one in Iran is talking about publicly are the slow but steady effects the sanctions are having on the long-term productivity of Iran’s hydrocarbons industry. Some of the oldest operating fields in existence, Iran’s oil fields require costly and highly technical enhanced recovery techniques to maintain high levels of production without negatively affecting long-term productivity. According to International Energy Agency estimates, Iranian output has dropped to 2.3 million barrels per day since the beginning of the sanctions campaign in 2012 — a significant reduction from the approximate 4.2 million barrels a day averaged in previous years.

    The Iranian government has chosen defiance rather than cooperation in response to Western sanctions. If this policy continues, the potential for long-term damage to oil fields remains high if a sudden and drastic reduction in production were to occur. As the clerical elite continues its hard-line position against the West and prepares to weather a “resistance economy” rather than reaching an accommodation with the United States, the strategic value of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ hydrocarbon assets risks being depleted by poor field maintenance practices.

    Iran will hold presidential elections in June 2013, which likely will represent a watershed moment in the transition of authority and power in Tehran from the ranks of the clerical elite to that of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. While official candidate lists have yet to be announced, it is unlikely that the elections will feature any viable candidate from the ranks of Iran’s clerical establishment — a first in the history of the republic since the ratification of the current constitution in 1982. Iran has moved away from the ideals of the revolution, and Tehran has increased its covert activities and management of militant proxies in the region, which have been funded by Iran’s hydrocarbon revenues. The clerics have relied increasingly on the capabilities of the corps to manage their interests both domestically and abroad.

    This reliance on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps by the clerics to balance against the growing ambitions of other political actors has allowed the corps to increase their political and economic influence within Iran. More and more former corps commanders have filled top political and ministerial positions, and the number of clerics involved in the direct rule and enforcement of the law is dropping; almost all heavy industry contracts such as roads and bridges are granted to companies run by retired commanders. Most valuable, however, has been the corps’ ability to maintain almost complete control of Iran’s domestic energy industry. The naming of former Khatam al-Anbia (the corps’ equivalent of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) commander Gen. Rostam Qasemi to the oil ministry in August 2011 by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad all but cemented the role former corps commanders at the helm of Iran’s domestic energy industry.

    While foreign sanctions campaigns are undoubtedly increasing external economic pressure on the stability of the Iranian regime, the most potent threats to the stability of the clerical-led regime remain internal. Following the results of the 2009 presidential election, the world watched the so-called Green Revolution unfold on the streets of affluent neighborhoods in northern Tehran. Iran is well suited to manage popular unrest, as seen in the corps’ suppression of the Green movement since 2009. As external economic pressures mount on Tehran, however, the government could face a bigger threat from a disgruntled or disenfranchised corps than from popular unrest.

    Iran’s clerics have relied on political and economic incentives to maintain the loyalty of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The clerics still possess a variety of levers with which to manage their relationship with the corps, but in the face of the unintended consequences of the most recent sanctions against Iran, the clerics will need to consider the economic interests of the corps. Iran’s declining oil revenues and the possibility of long-term production reductions — even if sanctions are lifted — present a direct threat to many factions of the corps even as Iran’s uncertain regional position increases the nation’s reliance on the corps as defenders of the revolution. These combined factors give the group increased political clout while the credibility of the clerics is waning.”

  18. James Canning says:

    Lysander,

    Why would a sensible assessment by the Iranian ministry of intelligence be something you regret seeing?

    The Iranian intelligence ministry appears to reject the argument of commenters who claim the sanctions are a deliberate part of a “war” against Iran, by Obama. The truth would seem to be Obama accepts the sanctions as the only alternative available to him, under the circumstances that have obtained.

  19. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    As you point out, Iran has offered to suspend enrichment to 20%. A number of times. Given that Iran has enough 20 U to ruel the TRR for decades, one might well ask if it is in Iran’s best interests to undermine its credibility by stockpiling more 20% U.

  20. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You almost certainly are quite right to say that Obama is “singularly unsuited to strategic dialogue with Iran”. On the other hand, Chuck Hagel and John Kerry are suited to such dialogue.

  21. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Iran in fact has said it will meet with the P5+1 next month.

  22. James Canning says:

    Persian Gulf,

    Obama may very well personally not object to the growth of the Iranian economy. The ISRAEL LOBBY, of course, wants to hurt Iran in order to “protect” Israel. This is the core political problem.

  23. James Canning says:

    Persian Gulf,

    I think Obama sees sanctions as a better alternative to war. This is the apparent viewpoint of the Iranian Intelligence ministry.

    I wonder if Obama actually believes the sanctions are the best policy the US could be following.

  24. Rd. says:

    fyi says:

    “The largest risk, however, is to the United States – she is one incident away from spending the next 2 decades fighting another war in the Middle East.”

    At least according to Lavrov, there is no appetite for that either…. Even though the comment was specific to Syria.. it has its wider implications.

    “The West has “no appetite” for a military intervention in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Saturday.”

    http://friday-lunch-club.blogspot.de/2012/12/lavrov-west-prays-russia-china-will.html

  25. BiBiJon says:

    h/t casmii http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/syria-the-descent-into-holy-war-8420309.html

    The picture of Syria most common believed abroad is of the rebels closing in on the capital as the Assad government faces defeat in weeks or, at most, a few months. The Secretary General of Nato, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said last week that the regime is “approaching collapse”. The foreign media consensus is that the rebels are making sweeping gains on all fronts and the end may be nigh. But when one reaches Damascus, it is to discover that the best informed Syrians and foreign diplomats say, on the contrary, that the most recent rebel attacks in the capital had been thrown back by a government counteroffensive. They say that the rebel territorial advances, which fuelled speculation abroad that the Syrian government might implode, are partly explained by a new Syrian army strategy to pull back from indefensible outposts and bases and concentrate troops in cities and towns.

  26. Persian Gulf says:

    It is crystal clear here in Iran that no amount of economic pain would constitute a regime change in coming years (till the end of this decade I would assume). I would be very surprised if the U.S doesn’t have sufficient intelligence from Iran to understand this plain fact. I have to agree with James Canning that the true aim of the sanctions is not regime change but to constrict Iran’s otherwise rapid economic growth. Perhaps regime change is a desirable by-product.

    There is no viable opposition to the Islamic Republic. anti-IR people that I know of don’t believe this system is shakable, at least for the foreseeable future. ironically, some of them now say that Iran has to support Assad to the hilt as otherwise Iran’s core security is at stake. as one of them told me today, the post election turmoil left IR, as a political system, more secure and removed any chance of major uprising for a decade to come, even though it left Iran economically weaker.

  27. Iranian@Iran says:

    Scott Lucas,

    Your obsession with Ahmadinejad discredits you completely. There is no need for you to comment about anything. We already know that whatever the topic, you are against Iran.

  28. Scott Lucas says:

    BiB,

    Do you put credence in the reports that Velayati, Haddad Adel, and Qalibaf’s camps are meeting to decide on a single candidate to unify most of the principlists and conservatives?

    S.

  29. Scott Lucas says:

    “Ahmadinejad’s government has managed to steer the economy to where the basic indicators are all positive.”

    Sometimes the rose-coloured glasses are most impressive.

  30. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    UU,
    As you know there are two ways to regulate imports/exports. One is through tariffs the other is through the exchange rate. Iranian producers/exporters have been complaining for years that the rial was overvalued. Current rates are much closer to “real” exchange rates, previous ones were kept artificially high for various reasons (some of which were correct at the time).

    Also, Mashai will not be nominated (and if he were, wouldn’t passing vetting).

    There is a mood being created that Qalibaf is “inevitable” as president, but as always the Iranian people have a few surprises up their sleeves. There are others waiting in the wings to jump in when the first Qalibaf screw-up occurs (which always happens- remember Rick Perry and Herman Cain?).

    It will be very interesting again.

  31. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Empty-san:

    Huh. For some reason I thought you were based in the US. But yes, the upcoming elections are going to be very important, and I wonder who the Ahmadinejad camp is going to put forward if not Masha’i? (Who is going to be the Iranian Medvedev, in other words…)

  32. Sineva says:

    fyi says:
    December 22, 2012 at 4:54 pm
    I think you are pretty much correct,I for one am pretty pessimistic of any deal being made,grand or otherwise,between iran and the west at this point

  33. fyi says:

    Empty says:

    December 23, 2012 at 12:13 am

    That certainly is the case in the nuclear case where Iranians told the P5+1 that they (the Iranians) will not participate in any more meetings unless and until their right to nuclear enrichment is acknowledged.

    Yet Mr Mann, insists that P5+1 are still committed to another round of meetings with Iran.

    Iranians, of course, concluded last summer and fall, when P5+1 ignored theor repeated offer of suspending 20% enrichment, that there is no point in these meetings; so now they have set a pre-condition that P5+1 will not meet.

    Which is, per Mr. Khamenei, fine by Iranians.

    Axis Powers have their sanctions, Iranians have their nuclear industry, and Russians have what they extracted out of US and EU.

    So, in a negative sense, everyone has gotten something.

    The largest risk, however, is to the United States – she is one incident away from spending the next 2 decades fighting another war in the Middle East.

  34. Empty says:

    fyi,

    RE: “Furthermore, they count on being able to extract concessions out of Iran in Syria.”

    They are trying to apply the “prisoner’s dilemma” scenario in the case of Iran and Syria. This is because they (the decision makers) have assessed wrongly/incorrectly how things really are and they seem not to take under advisement what those who are correctly assessing the situation are saying. I personally thank the Almighty for this. There is a غشاوه (thick curtain) on their eyes and hearts and صم بکم عمی فهم لا یرجعون (*trans/int.* they have ears but cannot hear; they have tongues but cannot speak; they have eyes but cannot see; and they shall not return.)

  35. Empty says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    Thank you for the summary. I, too, watched president Ahmadinejad’s interview last night and agree with your overall assessment. I also found his rationale for going ahead with the 2nd phase of the targeted subsidies to be sound. It is quite evident (both practically and hypothetically) that the measures would very much wean the government and production sector off of oil revenue. I think the results from ’92 elections will play a very critical role on how far/which direction these programs could go.

  36. fyi says:

    Lysander says:

    December 22, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    I expect certain people in Iran to contemplate that course of action.

    But these are weak-minded people who do not grasp the threats to Iran since atomic explosions of 1998.

    Mr. Ahmadinejad certainly is not showing any sign of quitting; his estimation is that by 2015 Iran will be out of woods.

    Mr. Khamenei also has stated his position that Iran and Axis Powers cannot resolve their differences and Iran has to go on her own way.

    I think US-EU leaders, however, estimate that Iran is ripe for a deal.

    I believe them to be wrong – the future of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Afghanistan, and Persian Gulf must be on the agenda of any US-Iran talks.

    They are not – at least not publicly.

    And Mr. Obama, in my estimation, is singularly unsuited to strategic dialogue with Iran.

  37. Unknown Unknowns says:

    There was a lengthy interview with Akmanimebob last night on Channel One. The interview was about the state of the economy, on the occasion of the 2nd anniversary of the institution of the policy of making subsidies “target-specific” (?? hadaf-sazi), or I guess just ‘targeting’ governmental subsidies in the economy. It was an excellent interview. I thought he did very well, showing that despite external pressures, internal obstructions and systemic issues, his government has managed to steer the economy to where the basic indicators are all positive. Yet, of course, there is no doubt that the middle class and especially the lower middle class have been under a tremendous amount of pressure as a result of the spike in the dollar relative to the rial. What is equally true – and this came out quite unequivocally in the statistics cited in the interview (I never knew he had a brain for statistics, which he obviously does) – is that that Iran is NOT ‘experiencing the extreme harm done to her economy by US and EU’ (to quote fyi) – that is just another facet of the psyop meme. The interview is probably already up on the IRIB website for Persian speakers, but for the rest of you, my overall take was that it confirmed what I had stated several months ago (at the time of the rial’s precipitous fall), namely, that this would be good for exports, and that the government policy of supporting the manufacturing and export base will, in the short term (2-4 years), disengage the Iranian economy from its dependence on oil exports, making her economy immune to sanctions (as currently legislated and enforced). Iran’s non-oil exports are expected to surpass $50b. this (’91) fiscal year, and to double up to over $100 billion annually in 3 to 4 years at the latest. Iran’s need for foreign exchange is estimated to be between $60 and $70 billions annually, leaving a comfortable surplus with non-oil exports alone. This will be fortified in the same period with many large-scale petro-chemical projects coming online, adding to value-added oil-based exports such as pvc (pipe and pellets), fertilizer, diesel, kerosene, and gas (petrol). Overall, it seems, the Iranian economy will weather the storm, and come out much, much stronger as a result, God willing.

  38. Lysander says:

    fyi says:December 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    The link you posted suggests a very distressing situation in Iran where the leadership has to consider capitulation. Is that your reading of the situation? Because it would contradict your other comments.

  39. James Canning says:

    Daniel Drezner, “Still the worst empire ever?”

    http://drezner.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/12/still_the_worst_empire_ever

  40. James Canning says:

    Writing in the Financial Times December 22nd, Philip Stephens noted that Bibi Netanyahu is trying to bring about a war between the US and Iran.

  41. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Is China one of the “Axis Powers”, in your lexicon? Russia? Both coutnries insist Iran stop enriching to 20.

  42. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Iran has made clear it is willing to stop enriching to 20 percent. Your apparent claim to the contrary is not correct.

  43. fyi says:

    Pirouz says:

    December 22, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Peace with Iran requires an admission by US planners that “Peace is Cheap” than their current policy.

    That will not happen since costs are being borne by EU states, Iran, and any number of other states.

    Moreover, the Ameircans and Europeans cannot remove their sanctions quickly enough to make a substantial and qualitative difference to Iran.

    This is not like a physical war were bombs and bulltes stop exploding or hitting targets.

    Until and unless Iranians overcome the sanctions regime, over the next few years, US planners will not have any incentive to end their war.

    Iranians have no longer any choice in this (outside of flying a white flag) since their economic vulnerabilities have been exposed and exploited by Axis Powers.

    My reading is this:

    Axis States are calculating that they can force Iran to limit her nuclear activities – including, for example, dismantling of Arak reactor and closing of Fordo – since she is experiencing the extreme harm done to her economy by US and EU.

    Furthermore, they count on being able to extract concessions out of Iran in Syria.

    On the other hand, for reasons that I have stated numerous times, Iran will not concede anything that is Iran-specific in the nuclear case.

    Furthermore, for both strategic and political reasons (“We will never abandon our allies – unlike Americans.”) they will stay the coure in Syria. Even if the Syrian state disintegrates or Mr. Assad, in effect, becomes the Mayor of Damascus, Iranians will stay with him to salvage what they can from the wreck of Syrian Arab Republic and the Ba’ath state. Here their template would be the long game they played in Lebanon over 30 years.

    Since Axis Powers have successfully harmed Iran economically be using her vulnerabilities, Iranians will have to continue with their anti-sanction efforts even if the sanctions were to be removed over-night. In other words, for Iranian planners, the need to eliminate Iran’s economic vulnerabilities will persist even if sanctions are removed; which makes the value of the sanctions removal less than US-EU planners estimate.

    Mr. Khamenei may have authorized discussions with US – they may already have taken place – but I doubt that there could be any strategic dialogue therein.

    Axis Powers are not yet ready for that and Iranians will not be forthcoming with the concessions that these states expect and desire.

  44. Pirouz says:

    Tehran Bureau may have lost its PBS Frontline sponsorship. If true, this is great news. Those folks were unqualified in what they did, and they really offered little more than contributing to the ongoing demonization of Iran campaign. As in the case of my participation with NIAC, I spent a fair amount of time trying to make Tehran Bureau a better news source through my commentaries. But in both cases it was to no avail. If Tehran Bureau has lost it’s PBS backing, it is certainly deserved.

    Hopeful for peace with Iran in the Kerry nomination. Hagel, too, if it happens.

  45. James Canning says:

    The new top-ranking Democrat in the House, for foreign relations, is trying to suggest Chuch Hagel is “anti-Semitic”. Rubbish, of course.

  46. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Very interesting piece by Nazila Fathi that you linked. There are good reasons to believe Obama has pursued sanctions in order to avoid war with Iran.

  47. James Canning says:

    Philip Weiss has some interesting comments about Chuck Hagel (who favors restoring relations between the US and Iran):

    http://mondoweiss.net//2012/12/hagel-called-for-setting-up-us-interests-section-in-iran-and-resuming-commercial flights-so-as-to-engage-iran-on-palestinian-issue/

  48. James Canning says:

    Jay,

    Yes, of course I am aware of the horrors of the Boer War.

    The question was whether Britain acted sensibly prior to the outbreak of the First World War, when it caused the Union of South Africa to be formed.

  49. Jay says:

    James Canning says:
    December 21, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    James, surely you are aware that it was the imperialist British empire that went to war against Afrikaners
    when gold and diamonds were discovered. And, surely you are aware that nearly 1/3 of Afrikaner women and children died in British concentration camps during this time.

  50. Jay says:

    fyi says:
    December 21, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    As you suggest, a pragmatist will conclude with the utilitarian view that the extreme costs are the primary force that guides decisions on aggression.

    I am not convinced of the necessity of a nuclear weapon (although it is sufficient). However, I am convinced of the necessity for powerful and survivable massive counterstrike on land and sea targets within a 1000 mile radius of Iran’s borders.

  51. James Canning says:

    Jay,

    Surely you are aware that Britain forced South Africa out of the British Commonwealth, due to SA’s racial policies. More than 50 years ago.

  52. James Canning says:

    Jay,

    Are you arguing that Britain, faced with potential world war, should have tried to impose on the people of South Africa a political regime you would find acceptable today?

    You haven’t made any specific policy recommendations, that Britain should have followed in your view.

  53. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Gaddafi, of course, was well aware it would not be a good idea to attempt to build nukes..

    Was Gaddafi the architect of his own destruction? Largely, yes. Would he have been removed even sooner, had he tried to build nukes? Yes again.

  54. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Where do you get the idea Iran could build nukes? In fact, the question is whether Iran will fail to make a deal with the P5+1 and end up being blockaded.

  55. fyi says:

    Jay says:

    December 21, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Let us take Mr. Cannings at his word that there were no imperial interests in Axis Powers liquidation of the late Mr. Qaddafi and his governmnet; that it was caused in equal measure by the internal rivalries within the Axis States as well bluter from Qaddafi.

    Be as it may, it is clear then that only a nuclear-armed state can protect herself from Axis Powers and their corrupted and degenerated policies.

    For Libya was not a threat to US, to EU or their friend and allies. Yet, like Yugoslavia, a de facto allie in the Cold War, she was attacked and her government destroyed.

    The Axis Powers do not respect the principles of the Peace of Westphalia.

    You have to be armed with nuclear weapons to be able to resist them – there is no other way.

  56. fyi says:

    All:

    One consequence of the demise of the late Mr. Qaddafi is that no Westerner argues any longer for a “Libyan Solution” to Iranian nuclear file.

  57. Jay says:

    James Canning says:
    December 21, 2012 at 1:31 pm
    Jay,

    I will again ask you the question: …

    James, I will repeat in more direct terms. There were many correct responses, but Britain’s response to a morally bankrupt policy was not one of them.

    Your attempt to fitter from branch to branch cannot hide the simple fact that Britain, a former self-professed empire, continues to practice international political apartheid much in the same vein as her former empire status.

    Don’t take this the wrong way. I have many Brit friends – wonderful people.

  58. fyi says:

    All:

    3 articles worth reading:

    http://csis.org/twq/

    I expect the policy recommendations to be ignored.

  59. James Canning says:

    Jay,

    I will again ask you the question: what do you think Britain should have done differently, regarding the political status of blacks in the Union of South Africa?

  60. James Canning says:

    ToivoS,

    Tell me the “Western imperial interests” that were behind Britain’s programme to improve relations between the UK and Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran?

  61. James Canning says:

    ToivoS,

    Do you think Iran acted wisely, when in early June 2011 it announced it would treble production of 20 percent urnanium? This played directly into the hands of Iran’s enemies in the UK, the US, etc etc etc. And it did ZERO good for Iran.

  62. James Canning says:

    ToivoS,

    There was ZERO “imperial interest” to be served by the UK’s backing of French intervention in Libya.

    I think you should read more about Saif al-Islam and other Gaddafi family members who were deeply involved in the re-integration of Libya into the global economy, especially Europe.

  63. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    William Hague did not control Britain’s decision on whether to intervene in Libya. Full stop.

    A number of factors came into play. One of them was the wish in Britain to reduce spending on defence, by cooperating with France. This wish tended to strengthen the case of those who thought the UK should intervene in Libya, with France. Sarkozy was pushing the intervention, thanks partly to strong lobbying by Sarkozy’s friend, Bernard-Henry Levy.

  64. Sineva says:

    fyi says:
    December 21, 2012 at 12:47 am
    Agreed
    One in which iran is expected to make all the compromises as usual

  65. Rd. says:

    “Iran preparing for an extended economic war with the West.

    Key to Iranian calculations is not whether it will win, but how far the United States is willing to go. The situation suggests that Tehran is playing the long game of opting to see whether increasingly harsh Western-led measures will slowly lead to a fracturing of the international coalition on board with the Obama administration’s sanctions regime. Signs of tension in this direction are starting to appear. Just the other week, Turkey — which largely pays for Iranian natural gas in gold — clearly pushed back against the latest Senate sanctions targeting exports of precious metals to Iran.”

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2012/al-monitor/iran-economic-war.html

  66. Cyrus_2 says:

    Nominate Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense — and fight for his nomination

    In response to the news that former Sen. Hagel is a frontrunner for SecDef, a vicious smear campaign has been launched that seeks to impugn his character. While the Washington elite is committed to perpetual war, and considers American soldiers to be pawns to be moved around on the global chessboard, Hagel understands what war really means — he would be the first SecDef with actual battleground experience since Caspar Weinberger. Mr. President, please ignore the laptop bombardiers and nominate a true American patriot, who puts America and American interests first — and put the full weight of your enormous prestige behind him. You won’t regret it.

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/nominate-chuck-hagel-secretary-defense-and-fight-his-nomination/P0ZtympX

  67. ToivoS says:

    Groan, not again.
    “James Canning says:
    December 20, 2012 at 7:50 pm
    ToivoS,

    I should say, public opinion in France and Britain was crucial. Sarkozy talked Cameron into backing an atack on Gaddafi.”

    There was no demand from the public in France, Britain nor the US for war in Libya. What happened is that those in power saw an opportunity to make war without unacceptable public opposition. If fool Khadaffi was a little more sensitive to Western public opinion he would still be in power but it was his crazed rhetoric that neutered opposition to the War Parties in those three states.

    James you continue to focus on proximate events without any understanding of deeper causes. You do this over and over again with your obsession with the 20% enrichment question. You seem unable to probe even a little bit under most superficial layers of proximate causes and try to understand what is motivating Western imperial interests.

  68. fyi says:

    All:

    The canard of a cascade of nuclear proliferation is refuted here:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/nuclear-iran-wouldnt-trigger-arms-race-2012-12

  69. Unknown Unknowns says:

    http://www.raceforiran.com/rules-and-regulations-for-www-raceforiran-com-2#comments

    The above link is for the benefit of those who might not have been on the board back in March of last year, as well as a reminder to those who were, but have forgotten.

    That post was precipitated by the word virus who calls himself Sassan. The purpose of this virus (or troll if you prefer) was (and remains) deliberately to disrupt the discussion on this board. (Whether that is a professional endeavor on his part, or because his emotional makeup simply cannot abide the free discussions and so feels the urge to censor it in his own way, is irrelevant – as is the fact that the logic of his censorship undercuts his own arguments.)

    Sassan was able to impose pre-screening of comments on this site for 9 months, which, I think we can all agree, diminished the quality of the site in a substantial way. Therefore, in order to prevent this from happening again, I urge everyone who has engaged him in conversation now, or did so in the events leading to the imposition of pre-screening back in March, to read our hosts’s request carefully, and to abide by their wishes, namely, not to engage him “in any way”.

    You know, if you feel the need to engage in conversation with someone who has an anti-Iran point of view, all you have to do is go to iranian.com or some such site. By engaging Sassan “in any way”, you are going against the express wishes of our hosts, and the other members of the community should treat you and your comments accordingly, i.e. with the denigration they deserve.

    Here is the last paragraph from the linked article, which the Leverettes wrote specifically in response to this word virus, “Sassan”. The entirety of the paragraph was emboldened in the original post; (the current emphasis is mine):

    We have taken down several posts by “Sassan” as they constitute copyright infringement. However, “Sassan” posts under a variety of emails and IP addresses in a deliberate attempt to circumvent the rules and regulations of this site and to deliberately derail its discussions. Without pre-screening comments (which we do not want to do), it will continue to be difficult to prevent him from disrupting our site. Therefore, we ask the community to not engage him in any way as we explore the options we may have to stop him from disrupting and damaging ww.RaceForIran.com .

  70. fyi says:

    All:

    This document, from 1997, speaks to all the hopes an failures of Axis Powers – led by Mr. Clinton – in the Middle East.

    It was written at the height of the Unilateral Moment and thus, has Lessons to be Learnt.

    http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/acsc/97-0388.pdf

  71. fyi says:

    All:

    Flawed neo-realist analysis that, nevertheless, reaches a correct assessment for US policy.

    http://cns.miis.edu/npr/pdfs/npr_19-1_sherrill_iran_bomb.pdf

  72. Jay says:

    James Canning says:
    December 20, 2012 at 6:32 pm
    Jay,

    What do you think Britain should have done differently, regarding the political rights of blacks in the Union of South Africa?

    James,

    you continue to dig yourself deeper. This is an outrageous statement posed as a question!

    The fact that you and perhaps some of your countryman deflect responsibility for decades of indefensible suppression of other human beings, shrug your shoulders and say “What do you think Britain should have done differently…” speaks volumes about the mindset.

    The mindset is fully commensurate with your other statements, to wit, statements that are tantamount to “if only Iran would have complied with the wishes of the master….” You seem to have a priori precluded the possibility that disingenuous individuals such as Cameron and Hauge (Blair and his cronies before that) have placed, and continue to play, a decidedly negative and aggressive role in furthering the confrontation.

  73. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    December 20, 2012 at 2:33 pm
    James I`m sure you know very well that it is not the south that poses a threat to the north but the good ol` us of a,that is who the norths deterrent is meant to deter

  74. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    December 20, 2012 at 7:48 pm
    James you continually make these statements but you never back them up with anything,if he did not want a war why did he simply not say “The uk will take no part in military action against the libyan nation”,you see james aggressors never want war they are just left without any other option or at least that is the lie they tell themselves and maybe some of them even believe it as you appear too,personally I think thats a bit like hitler saying that the poles left him with no choice same for the french and the british he didn`t want to go to war but their outrageous threats and demands left no other option,its funny that the west said very little about the ssudi invasion and crushing of the peaceful protests in bahrain or mubarak were the west thought he should stay in power were they could not even call him a dictator and there was no mention of the people murdered by his security forces,and as for gaddafis son meeting the queen I remember that a certain mr Nicolae Ceaușescu got to do that too,so what?!.I have no love for gaddafi the man was a fool who alienated his natural allies and stupidly thought he could trust his mortal enemies and in the end he got what he deserved,he may have provided them with an excuse but make no mistake it was the west that attacked him at the first opportunity and I have no doubt that if the west thought they could have got away with it in syria they would have used the exact same excuse

  75. Rehmat says:

    IRNA interviews India’s Naval officer Lt. Cdr. Atul Bhardwaj:

    To a question on the possible ways to resolve Iranian nuclear issue, Bhardwaj said: “The only solution is that any inspection of Iran by IAEA should be accompanied by similar inspections of Israel“.

    “I don’t see any possitive elements flowing out from US-Iran talks, mainly because the US wants to create problem and not solve it. It’s for this reason that it keeps imposing sanctions on Iran,” said Bhardwaj.

    http://rehmat1.com/2012/12/21/indian-navy-commander-israeli-military-is-third-rated/

  76. fyi says:

    All:

    Be very concerned about public opinion among the Axis Powers; their concern for an abstraction called “Humanity” could easily be used to induce them to endrose this or that imperial project.

    Only a nuclear-armed state is immune to that – no other choice is available.

    [I recall lies of the European Union about 3000 murdered Kosovars - when they conquered Kosovo they never produced those bodies.

    Nor US produced WMD in Iraq.]

  77. James Canning says:

    ToivoS,

    I should say, public opinion in France and Britain was crucial. Sarkozy talked Cameron into backing an atack on Gaddafi.

  78. James Canning says:

    ToivoS,

    William Hague opposed military intervention in Libya. Obama was reluctant. Public opinion was crucial.

    You may recall Gaddafi’s grand reception in Paris, not all that long before the revolt broke out in Libya.

  79. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Sassan says:
    December 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Spam alert. Now reposting the same article 3 times. Once again Sassss shows his total lack of actual ideas by just spamming the same article again and again. If I didn’t know better I would suspect he enjoys the fact that his silly behavior causes the members of the reality based community on this blog to shake with laughter at his absurd trollishness.

  80. ToivoS says:

    Canning says: “They warned him that his TV rants were generating so much public demand for intervention in Libya, that such intervention would take place.”

    That Khadaffi was responsible to some degree for his fate with his crazed rhetoric is not to be denied. Pulease, James, do not tell us that the “public” demanded intervention in Libya. This was a war of choice by the War Party in power in both the US and Britain. There was no public demand for war. Khadaffi’s inflammatory language made it difficult to oppose that war, but it was the imperialists in power that wanted it.

  81. James Canning says:

    Jay,

    What do you think Britain should have done differently, regarding the political rights of blacks in the Union of South Africa?

  82. James Canning says:

    Jay,

    Iran’s announcment was in June 2011, of its intent to treble production of 20% U.

    Neocon warmongers in the US could see this as a gift. To themselves.

  83. James Canning says:

    Jay,

    You appear to be ignorant of Nate Rothschild’s efforts to improve relations between Libya and the UK.

    David Cameron and William Hague wanted to improve British relations with Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria.

    Iran’s decision (announced in July 2011) to treble production of 20 percent uranium wrecked this programme of Cameron’s (and Hague’s).

    Perhaps you think it was Colonel Gaddafi’s privilege to rant about “exterminating cockroaches” and to generate heavy public opinion in favor of military intervention in Libya.

    Hague took a lot of flak for being very reluctant for Britain to intervene in Libya.

  84. Jay says:

    Sassan,

    I do not mean to be harsh, but your repeated demonstrations of ill-temper, combined with apparent difficulties to read and analyze source material (as demonstrated by your PressTV quote), does not help your argument. Consider engaging in debate — Megalomania is not a constructive attribute.

  85. Jay says:

    James Canning says:
    December 20, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Yes James, South Africa also enjoyed steadily improving relationships with Britain. Read the article in Independent:

    Apartheid: made in Britain: Richard Dowden explains how Churchill, Rhodes and Smuts caused black South Africans to lose their rights

    There is a long historical record of bigotry and hypocrisy that cannot be whitewashed by your clever responses – at least not for this crowd. Don’t get me wrong – every nation or culture has had their dark period. However, you seem to think (or at least want us to think) that the current batch of Cameron/Hauge crows are something other than what they really are … let’s not name it.

  86. Sassan says:

    While the Leverett’s do censor and are well known for this; I see that my post was still below. I was to quick to say that but I am sure that they will go back to their totalitarian hand.

  87. Sassan says:

    I’ve seen that the Leverett’s have taken their cues from their master Mullahs in knowing how to censor and remove posts that they don’t deem favorable.

    Anyhow, this is the type of “rationality” the Leverett’s seem to talk about..:

    “Israeli death squads involved in Sandy Hook bloodbath”
    http://www.presstv.com/detail/2012/12/18/278706/israeli-squads-tied-to-newtown-carnage/

    It’s great to see what you deem as a “rational actor”. ;)

  88. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Sassan says:
    December 20, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    I see I need to quote my own post once again since you, in typically dishonest and delusional fashion are trying to ignore it.

    “As usual our good friend Sassss did not actually read the source he based his claim on. In this case, Iranian media were merely reporting on an article by Gordon Duff where he quotes another person who makes the claim. Yet another silly Zionist sourced claim down.”

    Of course, none of the abhorrent Zionist publications you cite has ever published crazy conspiracy theories about anything. Say the insanely absurd claim that Iran and Hezbollah uses suicide bombers. Or was that World Net Daily? Or publishing claims by proven frauds that assert Iran is developing EMP weapons that anyone with the ability to do a google search can disprove. That never happened, right?

  89. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You also appear to suggest Iran needs to enrich uranium as a matter of deterring an attack. Wrong again.

  90. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Once again you make the incorrect assertion that North Korea’s nukes have “kept the peace”. Wrong. South Korea would be reluctant to take over North Korea even if the NK government fled the country.

  91. James Canning says:

    Geoff Dyer has a good piece (“Chuck Hagel, Israel and Obama”) at the Financial Times online today (ft.com/rachmanblog).

  92. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says:

    December 20, 2012 at 11:01 am

    I am going to repost here my criticism of that piece by Mr. Butt.

    It, in effect, further enshrines technological inequality and perpetuates it. So US, EU, China, and Russia ought to have nuclear technology and no one else?

    [Reminds me when Iran wanted to by the TRIUMF accelerator and Canada would not seel to Iran since US and EU were opposed, even 17 years ago, to scientific progress in Iran.]

    It offers a pipe-dream of International Fuel Banks – pray tell me, on whose sovereign territory are they to be based? US, Russia, UK, or China?

    Nuclear technology, like many others, is dual use and dangeorus. Chemicals are like that and so is bio-technology. Are those areas of scientific and technological endeavor to be restricted to superior states that discovered them first?

    Likewise, the comments about the inherent dangers of off-shore drilling and the references to examples such as the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster is unpersuasive. All engineered systems have risks of failures and the failures are just the cost of doing business.

    If it were otherwise, we would still be living in caves – I should think.

    More-for-More or expansed IAEA mandate has no chance of being accpeted; IAEA cannot be turned into a disarmament agency.

    I agree with Mr. Butt that NPT is dated – probaly dead, but one cannot resurrect that treaty by making even more demands on the sovereign rights of states in the International Arena; if they want to take away such rights, they must be prepared to gop to war.

    The fact remains that nuclear weapons have kept the peace in Europe and on the Korean Penninsula and in the sub-continent of India. They are likely to lead to the same results elsewhere.

    What we need, I am afraid, is more nuclear proliferation for states with long term real dangers to their security; e.g. North Korea, Iran, and others such as Viet Nam.

    I think it will be a good idea to query Brazilians if they are willing to give up their fuel cycle. And find out what is it that they would want, if any. I doubt that they will.

    I think it will be a good idea to quantify and/or otherwise substantiate the author’s claim on the “enormously subsidized” nuclear power.

    In China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and very many other countries fossil fuels are subsidized. Are those subsidies more or less than those received by nuclear industry?

    And to what extent nuclear industry is subsidized in Japan, France, and South Korea?

    I also further think that the entire analytical side of defining “subsidy” is probematic – since a reference point cannot be defined without assuming an ideal/end state for the structure and organization of a national economy.

    [Economically, Korea and Japan should not have been industrialized; they had no independent sources of raw materials or technology. But they did since the state subsidized their industrialization; just like Russia.]

    War is definitely subsidized; that seems to be universal and yet no one cares – it seems.

    Mr. Butt, in my opinion, is writing along the same line as Mr. Goldschmidt; trying to maintain strategic ascendancy of nuclear weapons states by cunning, at times legalistic, artifices that seem reasonable on the surface of it but serve no one but the Chinese, American, Russian, and European interests.

  93. James Canning says:

    Jay,

    Consult Wikipedia, under Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, for quick read on huge improvement in Britain’s relations with Libya in the years before the outbreak of the revolt. Saif was a guest at Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, Waddesdaon Manor, etc etc etc.

  94. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Russia and the US have considerably reduced their numbers of nukes. More progress in this arena is being negotiated. Yousaf Butt should have mentioned these facts (in the piece of his that you linked).

  95. James Canning says:

    Jay,

    Surely you are aware that Gaddafi enjoyed steadily improving relations with Britain in the several years prior to the outbreak of the revolt in Libya. And surely you are aware that a number of European diplomats pleaded with Gaddafi to stop ranting on TV about “exterminating cockroaches”. They warned him that his TV rants were generating so much public demand for intervention in Libya, that such intervention would take place.

    Perhaps you think it was Gaddafi’s right to be a stupid as he found gratifying to his own ego?

  96. James Canning says:

    Empty,

    When William Hague said Brtitain wanted to improve its relations with Hezbollah and Hamas, do you actually think Hague expected Hamas and Hezbollah to become “slaves” to the British “master”? Preposterous.

    Hague also wanted to improve UK-Syrian relations. More “master/slave” activity, on Hague’s part (in your view)?

  97. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    I see no gain whatever, for “the West”, from the possible (or apparent) scheme to induce Iran to enrich uranium to 20 percent, by blocking Iran’s IAEA application to buy replacement nuclear fuel for the TRR. None.

    Fanatical supporters of Israel, howver, would be most pleased to prevent an improvement in US relations with Iran. The aims and objectives of these fanatical supporters of Israel are often in direct conflict with the national security interests of the American people.

    Do I take it you accept that American intelligence would have told American leaders that Iran would be capable of enriching to 20%, and capable of building fuel plates for the TRR, if the US continued to block Iran’s IAEA application?

  98. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Photi-san:
    I was disappointed not to see a rejoinder to my (lengthy) follow-up comment, because I think the distinction I referred to with regards to the Shari’a being the absolute constituent element of the moral fabric of the universe is key, and I’m interested to know if you agree with the distinction itself (between that and the moral relativism of modernity and liberalism), and if so, where you stand relative to the divide.

  99. Sassan says:

    PressTV: Israeli death squads involved in Sandy Hook bloodbath
    http://www.presstv.com/detail/2012/12/18/278706/israeli-squads-tied-to-newtown-carnage/

    Yes, this is the type of “rationality” we expect from such a regime. Conspiracies, conspiracies, anti-Semitism, and more conspiracies. Keep being the Mullahs lackeys. You do quite well at it Leveretts.

  100. BiBiJon says:

    No buts, another good one by Butt
    ================================

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/12/18/radioactive_decay?page=full

    I claim no credit for some of the concepts, however …

    armscontrollaw(dot)com/2012/11/05/roundtable-on-my-recent-post-in-the-bulletin-of-the-atomic-scientists/comment-page-1/#comment-1055

    Nor should Iran who has for years suggested a consortium for enriching uranium.

  101. BiBiJon says:

    test

  102. Jay says:

    Empty says:
    December 19, 2012 at 11:36 pm
    Well! As you know, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”.

    Sineva says:
    December 19, 2012 at 8:01 pm
    Some british politicians take the excellent tradition of debate (SALSA) and augment it to SALSAH – blending in hypocrisy to taste.

  103. Empty says:

    Jay says,

    “That is why when folksy folk like Hauge or Cameron say they want cordial relationship, we should all take it for what it is — you know!”

    Your criticism would be on the mark if all sides operated based on a common definitional framework for “cordial”. When they say “cordial” they truly believe in a “cordiality” set within a master-to-slave relationship. A master needs to know its place and act accordingly cordial. A slave needs to know its place and act accordingly cordial. And all will be well.

  104. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    December 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm
    And what exactly does your “cunning plan” scenario gain the west here exactly james ??

    Jay says:
    December 19, 2012 at 7:59 pm
    I agree 100%,especially that first line,beautifully put

  105. Sineva says:

    fyi says:
    December 19, 2012 at 4:14 pm
    I agree,in the context of the middle-east actions have always spoken far more eloquently and truthfully than words

  106. Jay says:

    Mr. Hauge and Mr. Cameron come from a long heritage of leaders wherein hypocrisy is mastered early and is practiced often. Mr. Cameron, the former west Papuan hero, peddling arms in Jakarta, or Saudi Arabia, to regimes he knows have no qualms turning the arms against their own civilian, while giving speeches about the brutality of Syrians, is truly a specimen to be “trusted” – he says he wants a cordial relationship. He wanted cordial relationships with Gaddafi as well, but now Gaddafi has to wait for the cordiality to reveal itself. Mr. Gadadafil catch him on the flip side.

    That is why when folksy folk like Hauge or Cameron say they want cordial relationship, we should all take it for what it is — you know!

  107. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    As you probably know, Adolf Hitler admired the British Empire and offered to leave it intact. Britain was willing to return to Germany the Mandates in Africa that were German colonies prior to the First World War.

    A number of prominent Englishmen saw the Soviet Union as a bigger threat than Germany, prior to the partition of Poland by Germany and the USSR.

    The letter you linked is from 1931.

  108. fyi says:

    All:

    Adolf Hitler letter hoping for ‘cordial relationship’ with Britain:

    http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01602/letter-full_1602572a.jpg

    [Never believe what they say, watch for actions.]

  109. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    You like to ignore the fact William Hague wanted to improve relations between the UK and Iran, when the Conservatives came into office (in coalition).

    You like to ignore the fact Iran’s blunder in deciding to treble production of 20 percent uranium led to the most severe sanctions.

    Iran injured its credibility, needlessly. There was ZERO need to treble production of 20% U.

    Do you think Iran was manipulated into this blunder?

  110. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    The scheme would have been to force Iran to enrich to 20%, and to hope that Iran went far beyond its needs for the TRR, in enriching to 20%.

    The cover story was that the foolish American leaders who blocked the Iranian IAEA application did not believe Iran could enrich to 20% and build the fuel plates.

    I have a hunch US intelligence did not doubt Iran’s ability to enrich to 20 and build the plates for the TRR.

  111. James Canning says:

    I think it will be unfortunate if Robert Menendez becomes head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, if John Kerry goes to State.

  112. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    The core issue is whether George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice could have been so stupid as to think Iran could not enrich uranium to 20% and build fuel plates for the TRR, when they both said they were concerned that Iran would enrich to 95% and build nukes.

    In other words, did Bush and Rice act out of ignorance, when they blocked Iran’s IAEA application to buy replacement nuclear fuel for the TRR? Or was this utter foolishness deliberate? And if they acted recklessly, whose advice caused them to do so?

    The issue is important because there may well have been a scheme to force Iran to enrich to 20%, to help to block any improvement in US-Iran relations.

  113. Rehmat says:

    On December 17, 2012, Professor Richard Falk was fired by Kenneth Roth, executive director US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) group as demanded by Hillel C. Neuer, executive director UN Watch, a Geneva-based Israel lobby group. Dr. Falk’s acts of “antisemitism” include support for Palestinian resistance and Iran’s right to conduct its civilian nuclear program.

    http://rehmat1.com/2012/12/19/hrw-expels-un-envoy-richard-falk/

  114. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    December 18, 2012 at 1:40 pm
    I`ve already answered this one james,probably more than once
    George Bush was a man whos ignorance was exceeded only by his stupidity but even if he had been an intelligent man I still have no doubt that he like all the other us presidents dating back to carter would still probably have underestimated iran and whoever replaces obama will continue the same pattern

  115. kooshy says:

    kooshy says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    December 18, 2012 at 12:31 am
    Morocco Panel on Iran

    Video Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ANvH3ue4fUk

  116. fyi says:

    Reposting – UK’s economic war against Iran:

    All:

    This is a detailed report on the British Government’s economic war against Iran under Mr. Cameron’s government.

    http://www.haaretz.com/britain-s-quiet-war-on-iran-1.448456

    I believe that we can safely state that UK, just like US, is an enemy of Iran.

    [Herr Hitler also desired good relations with Great Britain; most certainly even during the Blitz - when he thought he was gaining leverage.]

  117. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says:

    December 18, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    The project that you are referring to crashed and burnt in Iraq.

    That game is over.

    What is left is rear-guard strategic action; Syria is the application of that and so it the Economic war against Iran.

  118. fyi says:

    BiBiJon says:

    December 18, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    The project that you are referring to crashed and burnt in Iraq.

    That game is over.

    What is left is rear-guard strategic action; Syria is the application of that and so it the Economic war against Iran.

  119. fyi says:

    Rehmat says:

    December 18, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Closer to 1.2 to 1.4 trillion dollars per year.

    That is more that 10% of US GDP and it is not sustainable; just like the medical costs that is eating up another 10%.

  120. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Sassan says:
    December 18, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    As usual our good friend Sassss did not actually read the source he based his claim on. In this case, Iranian media were merely reporting on an article by Gordon Duff where he quotes another person who makes the claim. Yet another silly Zionist sourced claim down.

  121. James Canning says:

    “Certain powers seek to sabotage Tehran-P5+1 talks: Iran Majlis Speaker”

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/12/17/278494/some-powers-seek-failed-iranp51-talks/

  122. Jay says:

    Sassan says:
    December 18, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    I doubt you have an Iranian news source for the complet story. Do you?
    Did you read the story in the source media and see the statement “Iran blames…”?

  123. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    When the Conservatives came into office in Britain not so long ago, their programme called for improving relations with Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas. Do you regard the UK as part of the “global project” to which you refer, that a “resistance axis” of China, Russia and India must attempt to defeat?

  124. James Canning says:

    Did we hear much about the supposed “irrationality” of Shia Islam, when the late Shah was still on the throne in that country?

  125. Sassan says:

    Iran Blames ‘Israeli Death Squads’ for Sandy Hook Shooting
    Iran’s state-run PressTV ran a story Tuesday espousing the belief that Israeli “death squads” are to blame for the Sandy Hook shooting: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/163305#.UNDq8XdCOSp

    lolololololololololololol

  126. BiBiJon says:

    P.S. on BiBiJon says:
    December 18, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Bear with me while I think aloud. Iran, and the other 6 target countries mentioned by Wesley Clark are important, because the region is a keystone to a global plan.

    I’m hoping there’s rhyme/reason/predictability in this big strategic arc. It is out of frustration that US policy/actions towards none of these countries makes any sense otherwise.

    Geography, and energy resources gives the region a ‘must have’ quality.

    Now I don’t know whether the misspent trillions in Iraq has made this global overreach a way of recouping the losses, or the Trillions in Iraq were petty cash out of the global project’s budget — the original plan all along.

    Iran, according to above theory, is the battle ground for a giant axis of resistance which includes Russia, China and India vs the west. For whatever reason, Turkey has bowed out. Don’t know how it would work out for Iran.

  127. James Canning says:

    “Ahmadinejad urges P5+1 to treat Iran respectfully”

    http://presstv.com/detail/2012/12/18/278775/p51-urged-to-show-respect-for-iran/

  128. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Chuck Hagel obviously is correct, that the Israel lobby intimidates the US Congress, to the detriment of the American people. And a large part of that Lobby is Jewish.

    Bret Stephens clearly does not like Hagel, but his trying to make an issue of the use by Hagel of the term “Jewish lobby” may not gain the traction Stephens hopes to achieve.

  129. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    Do you think George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice blocked Iran’s IAEA application to refuel the TRR, because Bush and Rice thought that Iran would be unable to enrich uranium to 20% and to build the fuel plates for the TRR?

  130. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    I said that Iran would be unwise to attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz, in order to retaliate against the effort to overthrow the government of Syria.

  131. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    The “removal of Iranian oil from world markets” hurts American allies, including Japan, South Korea, Germany, etc etc etc. And the US spends about $1 billion per day on imported oil, so high oil price hurts the American public too.

    You should read Ed Luce’s comments in the Financial Times yesterday. Ed says there is no foreign policy expert in Washington who claims to know what the Obama administration’s policy toward Iran is.

  132. Jay says:

    fyi says:
    December 18, 2012 at 12:49 pm
    All:

    Thank you for the useful link. I should add that there has been one additional (unofficial) simulation (or at least rumored to have been) involving experts from RAND, Pentagon, Israeli military, and some other military brass. The result has been similar – risk volatility is high! The current assessment remains: the US will not engage Iran in a direct military conflict until significant degradation to Iran’s potential response has been verified.

  133. Rehmat says:

    Correction to the earlier comment.

    America’s defense budget, if you include Homeland Security Department – is over $1 Trillion.

  134. Rehmat says:

    The figures on defense budgets given in the article are very modest. America’s defense budget, if you include Homeland Security Department – is over $one billion. Israel’s defense budget is $16 billion excluding $3 billion annual US military aid. Saudi Arabia spent $48 billion on it defense last year. Islamic Republic’s 2011 defense budget was less than $6 billion for a population of 70 million.

    Both Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and Gen. Martin Dempsey have described Iranian leadership as “rational”. Contrary to that, veteran British journalist and author Alan Hart said in May 2012 that Israel need a military coup to survive.

    http://rehmat1.com/2012/05/06/alan-hart-israel-needs-a-military-coup-to-survive/

  135. BiBiJon says:

    Definition of ‘intimidate’
    =======================

    1. To make timid; fill with fear.
    2. To coerce or inhibit by or as if by threats.

    For a good example of both ‘irony’ and ‘intimidate’ see Bret Stephens ironical intimidation of Obama not dare tap Hagel because he uttered “intimidate.”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324907204578185223495090066.html#articleTabs%3Darticle

  136. Photi says:

    BibiJon,

    Here is a map to help him out: http://www.digitaltrends.com/international/scientists-unveil-3d-map-of-the-universe-complete-with-43000-galaxies/

    Each spec on the map represents a galaxy, which itself represents about 100 billion stars, give or take. A spec within a spec is where we are, everything else seems so petty.

    If for no other reason, Iran needs nuclear technology to join the rest of humanity in deep space exploration. A three thousand year old civilization has every interest and desire to join in on the excitement.

  137. BiBiJon says:

    The main problem: Obama doesn’t understand where the US is in the world right now
    ===============================================================================

    Well, what if he does? Or, at least he has been led to believe (given his 1st term appointments, he badly wanted to believe) that the United States is precisely where the Soviet Union was circa 1991, Great Britain was circa 1945, etc. I.e. broke reviled by the populations of its partners and its colonies.

    Britain had a successor to hand the never-setting-Sun to, and carve itself the office of evil vazir. US has no heirs. Soviet style atonement, glasnost and perestroika, are deemed as ‘no good deed goes unpunished,’ and therefore became a blue-print for doing the exact opposite, at home and abroad.

    In that context, hostility towards Iran, far from an anomaly born out of a lack of Nixonian vision, is a shoe in.

    In order to retain dominion over the globe, you must put hydrocarbon producers and customers in a vise, and hence US needs complete control over mid east. 2 ways to achieve that: a) colonize Iran; b) remove Iranian oil from world markets.

    Isn’t this what is unfolding?

  138. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    December 17, 2012 at 1:13 pm
    Any attack on iran brings with it the threat that iran will do exactly this in retaliation,if you think that iran cannot do this militarily then you are very much mistaken.One would hope that acting intelligently the us/israel would not provoke iran to take this step,but sadly intelligence is lacing at every level when applied to the us/israel especially the political

  139. Sineva says:

    Karl… says:
    December 17, 2012 at 4:20 pm
    I could not agree more,as I have said many times

  140. James Canning says:

    Josh Rogin, “Chuch Hagel does not like sanctions”

    http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/12/17/chuck_hagel_does_not_like_sanctions

  141. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    I think I already have proposed a reasonable resolution of the nuclear dispute. I favour China’s position.

  142. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    At least some American leaders fear that an overthrow of the Syrian government would lead to many years of chaos.

  143. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    If the US is going to accept Iranian enrichment to 5%, a necessary step very likely would be that the new secretary of state supports this.

  144. Karl... says:

    James,

    Thats my point, “they arent allowed” you say, apparently you dont read messages here directed to you, I just said that as soon as neocons and yourself understand that states dont like to be subjected to others, as soon as you understand that Iran is a independent state with all rights that UK have, the sooner you will come up with more realistic solutions to this conflict, instead of repeating an argument, closer to 500 times now on this site.

    You need to put down your colonial-attitude and understand that Iran doesnt need your nor anyone elses approval to enrich.

  145. Castellio says:

    James, if someone arms, trains and pays for a sniper who aims at me and my children, they are at war with me. The fact the sniper isn’t sitting in a tank has no bearing on my understanding of that fact.

    The fact that the Americans have recognized those mostly foreign snipers as the official spokepersons for the people of Syria is all you really need to know. You can rest assured that when the CIA thinks the timing for the next escalation is right, the heavy weapons will pour through the border with Jordan.

    What are you trying to say? That the Americans are trying to dampen the enthusiasm of the Jihadis on the payroll of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and themselves? If that’s your intended implication, you are way off base.

  146. fyi says:

    Karl… says:

    December 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    No deal with IAEA is possible unless and until US approves of the main Iranian condition.

    The main Iranian condition is that if an item (in the invesitigation) is closed, it cannot be re-opened by IAEA.

    Americans will not agree to this condition; if they do, that signals that they have decided to end their war against Iran.

    I do not find that very likely; they think that they are succeeding in Syria and that their economic siege war against Iran is also scceeding.

    Between now and the Iranian presidential elections they hope to achieve some, if not, many of their goals.

    So, look to more of this stalemate; Iran will not relent in Syria and will never give up her position in Iraq.

  147. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Didn’t most of Iran’s mullahs support the overthrow of Mossadegh? Did the mullahs “take Iran hostage”, in your view?

    Surely you are aware Iran would prefer to work with many large international banks, to facilitate trade etc etc etc.

  148. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Jordan has been preventing heavy weapons from crossing its border with Syria. How do you view this fact?

  149. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    The IAEA said last week it thinks a deal with Iran can be achieved next month. Are you in effect arguing the P5+1 would accept Iranian enrichment to 20?

  150. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    You appear to have difficulty accepting a simple fact: Iran will not be allowed to enrich to 20%. However, there is a possibility Iran will be allowed to enrich to 5%.

  151. James Canning says:

    Expose,

    All of the wrold’s most powerful countries want the Strait of Hormuz kept open for shipping. Surely Iran cannot close the Strait, acting intelligently.

  152. Karl... says:

    Sakineh:

    Oh there is alot of belligerent statements from kerry on Iran. Use Google.

    James:

    Why do you keep draging with the 5% argument? 5 Percent mean that Iran isnt allowed to enrich freely every other state in the world, this is a non starter and have been repeated numerous times by Iran as not being accepted. It would be like Iran set the limit for UK or US, just a ridiculous thought. Iran will never stop its legal right to enrich, as soon as you and neocons understand the sooner we could reach a deal between US/Iran.

  153. k_w says:

    @Sassan: And therefore Moshe Regev and Nahum Manbar acted as they did?

  154. Castellio says:

    I agree with this article that the US is currently prosecuting a war on Syria.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/12/17/obamas-war-on-syria-and-its-implications/

  155. Sassan says:

    Yes, the suicide bombers employed by the Islamic Republic simply tend to be Lebanese or other Hizbollah Shiite nationals. Since suicide bombings are against Iranian culture; and Iranians are living under a totalitarian fascist regime. The Leverett’s are indeed Khamanei’s representatives. Truly despicable.

  156. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    December 16, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    You really need to take that up with the relevant Iranian officials involved. Please do send them an email explaining that their decision to defend Syria against any Western aggression is “unbelievable stupidity.” I am sure they will accept your overwhelmingly compelling argument and immediately change their annoying behavior.

  157. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Reposting censored post 2

    ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    December 12, 2012 at 4:52 pm
    Richard Steven Hack says:
    December 12, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    “If I’m confronted personally, I will take it personally.”

    You are the one that sooner or later insults anyone that disagrees with your assertions and presents evidence that they are false. Virtually everyone that disagrees with Hack has been described as an “idiot” a “moron” or similar terms by Hack at one time or another. Of course Hack never actually presents any evidence that his argument is correct when he does so.

    “they have provided zero evidence for this assertion”

    No, they have provided plenty of evidence which you have ignored. You are the one who has never provided any evidence of your assertions.

    “Zero chance Iran will attack the US and NATO and Turkey and Israel to save Syria regardless of any agreement.”

    Hack do you understand that just because you say something it does not automatically become true and immune to challenge? You were just (falsely) claiming someone did not provide any evidence for their claims. You need to provide evidence for yours.

    “The US elite doesn’t care about that as long as they’ve made their money and Iran is a mess at the end requiring ten years to rebuild itself like Iraq.”

    And once again Hack fails to explain how the US will wage a 10 year war when over 20% of the worlds oil supply is cut off and the world economy incurs over 6 trillion in costs in the first year of such a war alone. The failure of Hack to account for this “exposes” his argument as unproven assertions that ignore reality rather than facts.

    “I wasn’t the one who started the insults. I’m also not the one making hyperbolic claims unsupported by any evidence whatsoever about Iran’s military capability.”

    That is an outright lie that can be seen by anyone who views the posts in question. I made several posts with a number of links that disproved Hack’s claims. Instead of providing proof that supports his claims Hack immediately reacted by calling me a moron and asserting that because he says so the information my arguments are based on was false without proving it. Hack is the one making hyperbolic claims here based on statements provided by random forum posts and neo con think tanks that never provide the evidence their opinions are based on.

    “It’s simply impossible to take that troll’s comments seriously.”

    You are the one here that insults anyone who disagrees with you and provides evidence that supports their argument, not me. You are the one that makes incredibly long posts that just repeat the same claim again and again without ever providing any evidence for it. And finally you are the one who demands that people be banned when they present information that disagrees with your worldview. I think the conclusion is obvious.

    “Fortunately for me, when the US and NATO attack Syria, Exposed will be exposed – as a complete and utter idiot. So will everyone who dismissed my predictions.”

    Good work Hack, you just insulted me again because I disagree with your unproven assertions. And just to clarify this point, not one of Hack’s predictions has ever come true. Hack predicted that Syria would be attacked by NATO multiple times this year and I and others correctly predicted it would not be.

  158. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Reposting censored post

    ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    December 12, 2012 at 4:59 pm
    I will repost this as it was a civil response to another comment and as such I do not belive it violates any commenting rule.

    Castellio says:
    December 11, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Hack is the one here who started out by insulting me, calling me a liar, etc when I presented actual evidence that disproved his assertions. For the record I will also state I have repeatedly encouraged him to provide actual, verifiable evidence that supports them. He has consistently failed to do this, and has resorted to further insults when I have presented yet more evidence that disproves his claims.

  159. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Unbelievable level of stupidity…

    “n other words, the moment NATO/US tries to attack Syria, Iran activates mutual defense agreement, closes the strait of Hormuz, and launches its missiles against
    every NATO base within range. Game over for NATO war plans against Syria.”

  160. James Canning says:

    “Idiot America: How stupidity became a virtue in the Land of the Free”

    http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/13281-idiot-america-how-stupidity-became-a-virtue-in-the-land-of-the-free

  161. fyi says:

    ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    December 16, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    The significant content is his omission of any references to China or Russia.

    Just like 1980s in Lebanon, Iranians are ready and willing to go into Syria and support their side – indefinitely.

    In practice it means that there will be no circumstance in which Iranians will not be at the negogiating table for the future of Syria – in case there be such a negogiations.

  162. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Iran has just announced it will do everything in its power to protect Syria.

    http://presstv.com/detail/2012/12/16/278398/iran-will-not-allow-assad-ouster-salehi/

    “Salehi on Sunday stressed that Iran would not allow Western projects to forcibly overthrow Assad — whether by indirect meddling in the form of arming militants or direct meddling — to succeed.”

    “The top Iranian diplomat emphasized that despite increasing foreign efforts for regime change in Syria, Iran would do everything in its power to prevent this from happening.”

    In other words, the moment NATO/US tries to attack Syria, Iran activates mutual defense agreement, closes the strait of Hormuz, and launches its missiles against
    every NATO base within range. Game over for NATO war plans against Syria.

  163. James Canning says:

    Sakineh,

    I think John Kerry would be more likely to show “political courage” on Iran, compared to Hillary Clinton. Would he accept Iranian enrichment to 5%?

  164. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Karl.. says: December 16, 2012 at 6:48 am

    Karl,

    One of the reasons that Susan Rice ran into so much trouble as her nomination was put forward is that the republicans wanted Kerry out of Massachusetts, so that they could get the recently defeated Scott Brown back in the senate. This of course will take a couple of years to play out, as the governor of Mass would name someone to finish out Kerry’s term, but Brown would be the virtual candidate for the job in the next election with good possibility of winning a seat.
    Kerry is a net zero candidate for SecState job. He is well versed in foreign affairs, but can be swayed either way when it comes to Iran. I don’t think he has made any inflammatory statements re Iran. The newly elected democrat, Elizabeth Warren, has said that she is on board to “do the Iran thing” though.

  165. Karl.. says:

    All:

    Apparently Kerry is the new secretary after Hillary, taking in regard a quick search on Kerry statement on Iran its not positive, however I guess hes better than Rice? Whats your view?

  166. Pirouz says:

    If we ever do someday attain peace and rapprochement with the Islamic Republic of Iran it will be due in no small to the contributions put forward by F/H Leverett.

    I’m happy S. Rice is out of the running. Kerry/Hagel appear to be more promising replacements for the second term.

  167. Empty says:

    1. Thank you. I look forward to reading the book when I obtain it.

    2. The US goal is to ensure that Iran lacks the ability to defend itself. This is not made explicit or at least it is not made explicit enough.

    3. “And Imam Khomeini said, ‘No, because this would violate Islamic morality, because it is haram—it is forbidden by God—to do this, and the Islamic Republic of Iran will not do this.’”

    Trillions of dollars spent on intellectualizing and producing scientific, philosophical, moral, ethical documents and organizations and treaties and charters, and chapters and universities and unions and on and on about how to safeguard innocent human lives and rights. Yet, just in the 20th century, 191 million innocent souls were killed using secular frameworks (liberalism, capitalism, socialism, nationalism, or national-socialism, …….).

    It is rather telling that an old believing (non-secular) man (r.a.) operationalized all those fancy talks by simply acting on “one line” from a Book that had set limits for him how to react:
    “و قتلوا فی سبیل الله الذین یقتلونکم و لا تعتدوا ان الله لا یحب المعتدین” (Quran, 2:190) –

    *Translation/Interpretation*: “You shall kill in the path of God those who kill you but do not exceed the limits/do not aggress for God does not like the aggressors.”
    در راه خدا با كسانى كه با شما مى جنگند، بجنگید ولى از حدّ تجاوز نكنید، كه خداوند تجاوزكاران را دوست نمى دارد.

    4. Enjoyed this one: “think tanks,………tanked”! Nice play on words.

  168. Empty says:

    Unknown Unknowns,

    RE: Dear Bussed-in Professor: I as well as the hadith reports of our Prophet and his Purified House agree with you that good deeds are more important than words, which are more important than thoughts (and intentions).

    They are “لازم و ملزوم” and mutually reinforcing. That means, one should not sacrifice one for the other and get trapped in an actualization of a false dichotomy. Rather, one must strive to recognize (deep and critical recognition) of the importance of words, deeds, and “ni’iat” – the ‘intent’. Also, sometimes, our words ARE our actions (especially for those who are in scientific, ‘elm’ and ‘feqh’ fields).

    RE: Ayatollah Javadi Amoli…. Thank you for the translation. I think his work is just awesome and I hope his program “بر کرانۀ نور” and all his lectures are published in a book format some day soon.

  169. fyi says:

    All:

    Mr. Ryabkov, states (page 4):

    “…that India has an excellent nonproliferation record, and it’s recognized by vast majority, by overwhelming majority of countries at least…”

    http://ceness-russia.org/data/page/p910_1.pdf

    So, the state that lied to Canada to get her hands on nuclear reactors and proceeded to become a nuclear-weapon state is considered to have “excellent nonproliferation record”.

    I think that I have demonstrated, finally, and in this forum, that US, EU, Russia, and China have destroyed NPT and CWBT.

    Good for them; I hope they will not flinch when their Brave New World faces them and welcome it with open arms.

  170. fyi says:

    ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    December 15, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    I think so too.

    There is no loss to Iran for supporting Mr. Assad’s government.

    One has to look to Leabnon during the 15-year period of Civil War to see how the worst case scenario for Iranian could play out.

    That is; a fragmented religious-based Civil War in which a weak central government in Damascus controls a few districts while militias roam everywhere else.

    I suppose after a decade or more of this we will have a Taif-like agreement that will end the Syrian Civil War – where Iranians and allied people are sitting at the negogiaing table.

    I emphasis again that this is the worst possibility for Iranians in Syria and it has, in my opinion, low probability of taking place.

    Across the Middle East, at this time, Iranians and their allies have to wage war and not peace.

    They have no other choice for survival.

  171. James Canning says:

    “China calls for fresh round of talks between Iran and P5+1″

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/2012/12/14/278038/china-calls-for-fresh-iranp51-talks/

  172. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    For anyone that still thinks Iran will not honor its mutual defense treaty with Syria…

    http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_12_15/Patriot-missiles-in-Turkey-can-trigger-world-war-Iran-army-chief/

  173. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Interesting comments, by Volker Perthes (that you linked). He argues that Iran should offer a regional nuclear fuel cycle programme, and not insist on an Iranian programme to enrich U.

  174. fyi says:

    All:

    Somewhat dated but still useful ideas for Iranian leaders:

    http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/iran-s-options

  175. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    UU-jan,
    Thanks for the tip, of course I’m interested in anything involving tafsir.

    You know the second thing I will rescue from my house in case of an emergency (after the family) is my Tafsir al-Mizan inherited from my grandfather. I also have the 1980s English yellow cover Allamah Rizvi translation. What am I saying, al-Mizan is part of the family :-)

    Have you noticed that Allamah(r) includes revayat at the end of every section. Get it?

    You know where to find him(r) in Haram-e Hazrate Masoome(s)…

  176. James Canning says:

    “Soviet-style disintegration awaits US: Gorbachev”

    http://www.presstv.com/2012/12/15/278137/us-to-collapse-sovietstyle-gorbachev/

  177. Unknown Unknowns says:

    B-i-Basiji Jan:

    I agree 100% that one should not be politically quietist. I am 100% in favor of velayat-e faqih, and I even believe that the vali is appointed by God and “discovered” by the majles-e khobregan, rather than “elected” by them. I would just qualify this by stating that in the absence of the ma’sum Emam, the Lord of the Age (Aj.), there is only so much we can do. We still have to do our best; but that is going to be limited. I believe (based on revayat) that human history is divided into two main phases: pre- and post-zuhur; the former is a time of toil and tyranny and injustice (irrespective of the best efforts of the mo’menin), and the latter is an era of peace and equity.

    Here’s something you might be interested in: Ketab-e Sobh will be publishing a single volume tafsir-e reva’i (they have already published the 9- and 3-volume editions) by Allameh Seyyed Hashem-e Bahrani (late Safavid period) called al-Borhan. If you are a typical Iranian with a deep interest in Shi’a Islam, chances are you have *not* read a tafsire reva’i. Of course, that is the only tafsir that is really worth anything. After you read this, you will throw your volumes of al-Mizan in the trash! Highly recommended.

  178. James Canning says:

    One might note that Nixon’s approach to China was facilitated by Pakistan, and the deal had already been worked out in advance. Nixon needed Pakistani help in getting out of the Vietnam War quagmire without excessive loss of face.

  179. k_w says:

    @fyi: Thank you.

  180. fyi says:

    k_w says:

    December 15, 2012 at 10:09 am

    The idea of Redeemer – at the End of Times – began in Zoroastrian religion; commonly called Pirouz B(V)ahram.

    Jews appropriated the idea and called the Savior – Meshachah.

    In Christianity, the Messenger of God as well as the Savior are the same individual who appears at the Start, Middle, and End of History.

    In Islam, Sunni and Shia, both believe in the Savior/Redemmer who emerges at the End of Time; Al Mahdi.

    The Twelver Shia of Iran identify this person with the 12-th Imam who is currently in a state of Occultation – just as Jesus is persumed to be in such a state presently by the Christians.

  181. k_w says:

    Please excuse my ignorance, but one of the stereotypes about Iran I’ve come across is the 12th Mahdi thing. Can anyone explain, please?

  182. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    UU-jan,
    The point is that we should see why it was that followers of Ahlul Bayt got to a point where they thought gazing at their navel in anticipation of the return of the Promised One (aj) was better than engaging in social and political action.

    My humble view is that all the revayat that talk about being passive in the ghaybat are ja’li- even the ones that supposedly have proper sanad. That’s right baby, as fake as a Chinese Rolex. And even if their sanad is correct they have to be “thrown at the wall” in the words of Imam Sadeq (as) because they contradict the Holy Quran. And yet they became the basis for a culture of zelat- see fate of Shias in Iraq.

    This is why a person like Imam Khomeini (r) is so important in the history of humanity. In fact let me suggest another “controversial” matter. Imam Khomeini (r) is the greatest aref to have walked the earth (from among the non-Ma’sum) so far. Nobody comes even close to him, not ibn Arabi, not Allamah Qazi, nobody even comes close.

    Look at the Holy Quran, it talks about what will happen to those who deny “My signs”, not who deny “Me”. I think you know where this leads…

  183. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Photi-san: I forgot to respond to your point about minority rights. Look, what liberal capitalism does is it lowers majority rights to the lowest common denominator, and then says that this is in order to protect minority rights, passing off the unspoken false premise that there can be no one great majority if the rights of minorities are to be protected. False on two counts: (1) because minorities can indeed have rights in a system of governance where the rights of the majority are not subsumed, and (2) because in liberal capitalism, when the dominant culture’s rights are eviscerated, it is not that no dominant culture remains; rather, the dominant culture that remains is that one which serves the interests of capital. (all you have to do to rove that to yourself is look at the US as it currently stands: here we had a culture that was working like a well-oiled efficient machine; but it was running on borrowed time, as it was serving the interests of the 1% of the 1%, and is now just locked down due to its internal dynamics.)

    Islam provides rights to the minorities living in its domain: Christians and Jews live and work here in Iran, as they have for centuries. But their rights are granted in such a way so as not to be at the expense of the rights of the majority (not to mention the rights of God). That is really the only way. And it is being honest, rather than a scheme where you have a system which in fact favors a small minority (the 1% of the 1%) but purports to be dispense with a majority culture in favor of granting rights to various minorities. That is a fraud of a culture, if it can be called a culture at all.

    Moslems who live in non-Moslem lands should not expect to have the same rights as those enjoyed by the people of the majority culture. That is a prima facie absurdity. But liberalism has twisted things around so badly that people who live under its cognitive totalitarian rule can no longer think in terms other than the absurd.

  184. Unknown Unknowns says:

    Dear Bussed-in Professor: I as well as the hadith reports of our Prophet and his Purified House agree with you that good deeds are more important than words, which are more important than thoughts (and intentions).

    Photi-san: I can certainly understand your not being satisfied with my answer. The issue at hand is a very large one, and there are many facets which must also be seen in order for the proof to be demonstrated, as it were. One of the more important of those facets is this difference between the liberal worldview and that of the Islamic one (which makes them fundamentally incompatible, meaning that, in my humbling opinion, you can be a liberal or a Moslem, but not both). What it is, is that Moslems believe the shari’a (sacred or canon law) to be God’s will, whereas liberals believe it to be an artifice, in the sense of something that was manufactured by man in time and space, i.e. within a given context. Put another way, Moslems believe the shari’a has timeless and absolute applicability (as well as efficacy, by the way), whereas liberals believe that its dictates are conditional, relative, conventional (agreed upon), etc. Moslems who have not grown up in traditional Moslem families, or who are a product of Western civilization (and its Weaseling ways ;o) and have ‘reverted’ (as we like to say – that is, to their original or primordial disposition or *fetra*) must realize that if they want to be part of the community, then belief in this tenet is a must. It is not up for negotiation, in other words. (Of course, one can be part of one of the myriad micro-communities on the margins of Islam, or even be a minority of one – it amounts to the same thing… but if one wants to be part of Islam as it has always understood itself, its self-definition through the ages, then one must attain to faith in that tenet.

    Death serves as the veil without which faith in the hereafter could not obtain (as we would see it with our own eyes and have *’ayn al-yaqin* or the certainty of seeing something with our own eyes, thereby negating our ability to chose freely between right and wrong actions. The shari’a is the ‘operating system’, if you will, of what is right and wrong; what is good and bad for our souls. Animals know exactly what is right and wrong for them, even down to what food they should or should not eat: they have one type of welaya or sovereignty, what is called ‘velayat-e takvini’ is Persian, which can be translated as cosmic or natural sovereignty or authority: they follow God’s dictates, as manifest in cosmic or ‘natural’ laws. And while it is true that humans also are bound by these laws, because we are free agents in the moral domain, there must be a set of laws that we must follow in order for our (moral) choices and actions be in conformance with our fetra or our innate and eternal God-given operating system. Of course, we are free, so that we are not *bound* to do so: we are free to lie, for instance. But this does not mean that the ordinance against lying is some sort of social construct, instituted by primitive societies for the greater good or something to that effect: all the junk you will learn if you study cultural anthropology and read Malinowski and Weber and Durkheim. No; lying is breaking an absolute moral law, and it has consequences just as breaking a physical or natural law has consequences, except that the consequences of moral laws are not seen in this world but in the hereafter. And again, this is because the function of the veil we call death (the barrier between the two worlds), or one of its functions, is to bring about a condition whereby free will can obtain.

    Here, look, I think Ayatollah Javadi says it better (the translation is mine):

    Comment: Welaya is a conventional and stipulative matter, and talk of the “discovery” of (an) “appointment” and of a welaya “(originating from) God” is incorrect.

    Response: Conventional matters are of two types. Some have a basis in reality {risheh-ye takvini darand} while others are conventional in the pure sense (of the word) and are part of the normal habits and customs of any culture which stem from a series of (unique local) conditions and (the) creative (cultural responses and solutions) thereto; for example, the colors and shapes of road signs, or the direction of travel on a given side of the road, and so on. But religious, ethical and (religio-)legal (norms and) “conventions” are (qualitatively) different, because all of these are real in terms of their origin and basis, and will take on real manifestations in the hereafter. So for example, just as poison is real and (its ingestion) has real consequences, similarly, lying is (a form of) spiritual poison and has real consequences, whose effects will become manifest at the Resurrection; (so that) if (the aperture of) anyone’s Third Eye is opened in this world, he will (be able to) see the poisonous nature (of lying). (Our) great (divines and sage)s have written or have conveyed to their select (pupils) of their experiences wherein they witnessed certain people whose mouths emitted fire when they talked, or saw others whose sins had transmogrified them into beasts. A man who sins (habitually) is actually diseased: [2:10] In their hearts is a disease, and so God lets their disease increase; and grievous suffering awaits them because of their persistent lying; rather than being considered to be sick through (some sort of artificial) social convention or rule (of human manufacture and provenance) .
    Religious injunctions which are in accord with man’s divine fitra {primordial disposition} cannot be ‘conventional’ (in the) pure (sense of the word). Rather, they are matters which are real and which are (actually) necessary for the perfection of man – which have been expressed in conventional language – and (because they are real), their effects will be seen on Judgment Day: [3:106] On the Day [of Judgment] when some faces will be bright and luminous and some faces will be dark [with sin]; and this can only be due to the cosmic effect of acting upon or failing to act upon the laws and ordinances of (the) religion (of Islam).
    It should be noted that what we have said so far relates to ‘conventional’ welaya which has a real and cosmic basis. As such, its basis can be arrived at both by way of philosophical and kalamic proofs, as well as by irfanic {‘gnostic’} perception; it is, furthermore, discoverable by means of (the intellectual instruments and postulates available in the science of) usul-e feqh {the theoretical basis of religious law}. But as to the cosmic welaya which is the basis of (the delegation of) the ‘conventional’ welaya (by) the morally inerrent Imams, its (cosmic) rank is such that it is not transferrable (as such), and it is immune to divestiture on the part of the people. The cosmic welaya of Imam Ali ebn-e Abi-Taleb, for example, was neither vested in him at the Pond of Ghadir, nor was he divested of it at the saqifa (of the Bani Sa’eda). Rather, that cosmic (sanctity and) rank is an invisible divinely-bestowed endowment which is beyond the competence of ordinary people, just as discussing (its nature) is beyond the scope of our current discussion.

  185. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Excellent article on why US threats against Syria are empty posturing.

    http://resistance-episteme.tumblr.com/post/37424568450/us-threat-to-invade-syria-is-most-likely-saber-rattling

  186. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Rd. says:
    December 14, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Good article, especially the explanation of the internet outage. Shows that far from what is reported in the Western MSM the Syrian Army is not “losing” or in a “stalemate” it is winning decisive victories.

  187. James Canning says:

    Dennis Ross does not want the US to accept Iranian enrichment to 5% because Israel demands that Iran not be allowed to enrich to 5%. And Obama, regrettably, pays too much attention to what Dennis Ross tells him to do.

  188. James Canning says:

    Bussed-In Basiji,

    I agree with you that Hillary Clinton’s strategic thinking ability is even worse than that of Obama.

  189. James Canning says:

    Can we thank Dennis Ross for wrecking the proposed nuclear exchange with Iran?

    Is Obama simply unwilling to pay the political price the ISRAEL LOBBY will extract, if he accepts Iranian enrichment to 5%?

  190. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    To be fair and balanced:

    Dear God, spare humanity of Condoleeza in 2016. Amen.

  191. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    I agree, Obama is neither a strategic thinker nor a risk-taker, even if he understood the strategic dimensions of the issue. Hillary in 2016 will be even worse.

    Dear God, spare humanity of Hillary in 2016. Amen.

    Looking at potential Republicans for 2016- nothing. Huntsman is the only one that is capable of intellectually understanding and handling the issue.

    But as long as presidential candidates have to get the electoral college votes of New York, Florida, Texas, Illinois or New Jersey to win, the Zionists- Christian, Jewish or atheist- and there policies will always win in the USA.

    If you can figure out how somebody can become president without pandering to the Zionist votes in those states, you will have solved the problem.

    Not likely, is it?

    Like I have been saying from the beginning, nothing will change with the current federal system in place that has been bought by the Zionists fair and square.

  192. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Fiorangela says:
    December 14, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Mondoweiss article on Hagel that reproduces a talk he gave on potential war with Iran, reading between the lines and the usual (false) boilerplate statement that all US politicians must give about how the US military is the most powerful in world history its clear that he realizes that the US would lose in any armed confrontation with Iran.

    http://mondoweiss.net/2012/12/chuck-hagel-said-idea-of-going-to-war-with-iran-is-alice-in-wonderland.html

    Many of the comments are also interesting

  193. Fiorangela says:

    The stars are aligning –

    Flynt and Hillary Leverett’s book, Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran will be released just in time for gift-giving at Obama’s second inauguration, and to those who endorse Chuck Hagel as Obama’s appointment for Secretary of Defense http://swampland.time.com/2012/12/14/kerry-hagel-front-runners-to-lead-state-defense/

    “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.” – Gandhi

  194. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    “So they are no conventional military threat to their neighbors. They do have a lot of ballistic missiles—conventionally-armed ballistic missiles—which they have said they would use in response to attacks on them. But they are certainly not the only country in the world that makes that sort of deterrent, retaliatory threat as part of its defense posture. And if you are concerned about those missiles not flying anywhere, I would suggest you don’t attack Iran, and those missiles aren’t going to go anywhere”

    In other words, just because Iran does not want or have the capability to mount some kind of massive invasion of other countries does not mean it cannot defend itself against aggression by the US. Good point.